Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Shopping!!

Also known as Black Friday. I love this day of the year. It's a tradition for my cousin, my mom and myself to go shopping on this day. We don't let anyone else go with us cause they'd get in the way and slow us down. Usually they day starts at about 3:30, and we are at KB Toys by 4:15, standing outside the mall, freezing our butts off cause the rent-a-cop won't let us in the dang door. However, this year was a whole new ball game. There is no more KB Toys where we live but Wal-Mart (ahhhh my beloved Wal-Mart) stepped up to the plate and started their sale at 5 am. No more freezing our butts off :). We were there by 4:30.

So I normally make my list on Thanksgiving day but as previously mentioned I didn't get around to that. However, I had gotten the chance to look through the sales papers several times and had a pretty good idea of what I wanted to get. So when I walked into Wal-Mart there was my pallet of remote control jeeps and hummers just waiting for me to wait on the associate to cut the shrink wrap.

When we started this tradition several years ago the stores still hadn't gotten with the program of how to handle that many shoppers in one place at one time all wanting the same thing. Some of them STILL aren't handling it very well. But our Wal-Mart usually does a pretty good job of spreading the merchandise around the store, shrink wrapping the entire pallet and holding everyone off until the exact moment of shopping time. We have never (knock on wood) been the victims of a mad stampede, a vicious cabbage patch shopper or a police interrogation. However, I don't rule out this possibility on future shopping extravaganzas. It's very funny though to watch all the new people who're just amazed, confused and scared to death every year. They are constantly trying to get the goodies before the time arrives and are scolded by the employees, they are forever telling people that "this is my first time" and "man this is crazy" and "wow I can't believe I'm up this early just to shop". My favorite has to be "I'll never do this again, it's just nuts" because that means that particular dipwad won't be in my way next year.

We always work together, the three of us, to make sure that we each get the items we are going after. We talk about it before we get in the store, we communicate with our cell phones and we are never afraid to grab extras of a particularly good deal if we think one of us might like to have one of those too. We were done this year by 8:30 but we always end up going back to some stores just to see what's left or to get something we decided we wanted after all.

The trail for this year was Wal-Mart, Best Buy, Target, Sears, Mervyns, Wal-Mart, Big Lots, Burger King (we had to have breakfast, my hangover had eased up by then) and then back to Wal-Mart. Yes, we hit Wal-Mart 3 times. There are 2 of them within 8 miles of each other they are both fun to visit.

Luckily we weren't really after the electronics this year. The stores were offering some great deals but we just didn't need those things. It's a good thing too. The stores are learning to deal with the crowds but they aren't doing so good in the "stock enough supply to meet the demand" area. Hopefully they'll work on that next year.

Once I got home I unpacked the goodies to my closet and took a 4 hour nap. My hangover was gone by then.

Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Thanksgiving!

Man I do love this time of year! Turkey and dressing is my all time favorite food but since I only have it twice a year I tend to forget that. My job is to make the ham because I haven't got much culinary skill. That's a good thing sometimes and this is one of those times. There's not much skill required to slap a ham in an inch of water inside a roaster, cover it with foil and stick it in the oven for 3 hours. That I can do. And I did.

So, ham done, pumpkin pie made the night before and I was off on my trip. Left the house with the kids and traveled the 5 minutes to my mom's house. The commute was a nightmare :). Had a great lunch and hung around for a while but man I was sleepy. So we went back home before the football game got started.

Watched the game. Cowboys lost. Pissed me off. Never did get a nap. Then we had company come over. This is significant because I should've been planning the great shopping trip for the next day. However, the couple and their kids that came over are just a lot of fun. The men went and got drinks. Normally I don't drink, which is why, 3 smirnoffs later, I was wishing I'd planned that shopping trip instead of enjoying the toasts of the season. I hit the sack at about 11 pm and when the alarm went off at 3:45 I was not in the best of shape.

Next: SHOPPING!!

The Boy finished camp!

Well Youngest Boy got through camp OK, even though I didn't get to go up there on that Wednesday to see him since Granny was in the hospital.

He said he had a great time and even made a few new friends. There was some pranks going on at the camp and some of them weren't good. I think a window ended up getting broken and someone fell out of the boat. Other than that everyone did good and nobody parished.

He did, however, lose the disposable camera I sent with him but I don't think it would've made any difference if it made it home anyway. I don't think he took any pics!

Events

Well it's been an eventful couple of weeks. My Granny passed, boy was at camp, Thanksgiving and shopping!!

Skillz and Cindy will remember that about 3 years ago my Granny had a stroke. Up to that point she had lived alone since my PawPaw passed away several years back and was a very independent and active woman. Well the stroke was severe enough to paralyze her on the right side. Therapy didn't improve the situation so she's been in the nursing home for about 3 years. She didn't like it but she did get accustomed to it and even made some new friends. She played bingo and dominos, joined in the sing a longs and had her hair and nails done quite often. There was a man named Benny, he was in the wheel chair. At lunch time he'd walk his chair over to the coffee pot and pour a cup of coffee and then carefully walk his chair over to her table and set it in front of her. She'd always thank him nicely and he'd go back to his table. Normally she only drank coffee for breakfast but when Benny would bring her a cup, she'd drink it. I never saw him do this for anyone else. The activities director's husband would come up and play dominos with them sometimes. He told my mom one time that Granny was such a sweet woman, always smiling and that his life was better for having known her.

She had 3 heart attacks in the last year but was still active from her wheel chair. On the 10th of this month they admitted her to the hospital again with chest pains. As it turned out she was dehydrated. She had been put on medication to increase her appetite because she just basically stopped eating. It didn't help much this time around. The hospital admission was on a Thursday and they kept giving her fluids but a urinary tract infection just wasn't helping matters. By Tuesday her kidneys had shut down and then it was just a matter of time.

I spent 3 nights in the hospital with her and was by her side when she passed. That was very difficult to watch her go through. The body does some pretty crazy things when its decided that its had enough of this old world. But her passing was comfortable for her and I talked to her until I knew she was no longer in the room with me. I didn't want her to be scared or feel like she was alone. The nurses left me and her alone while she started her walk with the Lord and when I knew she was with Him that was my time to mourn my loss even though I celebrated her new Life she was going to go live.

Then it was time to get down to business. I had phone calls to make, funeral homes to deal with and so on. I got a few hours of sleep and then made arrangements. The funeral was on the Monday before Thanksgiving it was an honor to speak at it. Usually one of 2 (or both sometimes) Preachers we know will officiate and everyone else just tries to make it through. But this time was different and I had some things to share. I wanted some of my memories to spark a few of their own and to celebrate her life. So I spoke about her and my PawPaw visiting his and her parents on the weekends when they were first married and had their kids. I shared about their simpler life and the way they lived it. I reminded them that every Sunday was like a mini family reunion because we always came to Granny's for lunch on Sundays. How my cousin and I practically lived at her house every summer. That the outhouse that was still used until I was about 10 stood straight until the time that a bunch of my cousins and I were in a car and it was taken out of park and the car rolled into it. After that it was still used (we had no other choice) but it leaned backwards a bit. I shared with everyone the different pieces of her time that each of my 3 children got. With the Oldest boy she'd get him early in the morning and they'd go hand in hand out to the pasture to count the cows. With Youngest boy she'd build garages for his cars out of dominos and fences for his animals out of popsicle sticks. And that Baby Girl spent hours at a time in her lap being read to from her favorite short story books.

I also told them about the time in August when I went to her to pray with her. I was worried about her being scared to die. I knew she'd go to Jesus. I just didn't want her to be afraid of the journey. So we talked and prayed, laughed and cried and I was glad to have had that talk with her.

She was an amazing woman. She was a blessing to my life and I will miss her.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Youngest Boy Goes Camping!!

I don't think I've mentioned it before but every year the 5th graders at our elementary, and some others in the State of Texas too, go camping for the week. It's a week during the school year and they stay in cabins, go boating, do archery, hunt for fossils, go on trail hikes, etc. My Oldest went when he was in 5th and still talks about it to this day.

There's a museum with all kinds of stuffed dead animals they can look at, fossils from the area and cool stuff. They go on a bunch of nature hikes and look for wild life, identify plants, etc. They go out in flat bottom boats as well as canoes in a little harbor area. It's just a week of good outdoor fun.

There's a section of girls cabins and each of them have a bathroom There's a set of boys cabins and each of them, doesn't. They have a "community" shower/bathroom area. Poor little guys. There's a dining hall where they get fed 3 times a day and the meals are better than anything they ever see at the school, or so the kids have told me. In my opinion the school lunches probably wouldn't be hard to beat. But I digress.

So Youngest boy left out this morning for camp. He's very excited. He didn't want to go at first. He's told me since LAST school year that he wasn't going to go. However, I sat down with him and let him know that it's OK to go, the rest of us would make it through the week without him, he'd make it without us, he would be having way too much fun to even think about home too much, the food is great, all his friends would be there and he'd have the most amazing time. I recited that little speech quite often. His brother even talked to him about how much fun he had while he was there too. It was a family effort.

I don't really have to make it ALL week without him. I cheat. :) See, they have a cabin counselor in each cabin. This is the adult that makes sure they brush their teeth, sleep ON a bunk and not in the floor, light a fire in the fireplace if it gets cold and leads them around by the nose all week. The counselor also helps them put together a skit to perform on Thursday night. Sometimes parents go up to watch the skits. Not me, it's too dang late at night for that kind of thing and it takes me a few hours to get there! So I improvise by going up there on Wednesday. I show up at about lunch time and go to the dining hall because that's when I know I can catch them. Otherwise they could be out in the boats, hiking or whatever. So I pop in for a few minutes, make sure he's OK and get my hugs and kisses that will sustain me for the rest of the week. Then my mom and I go to Pizza Hut in the town that's close to the campgrounds and eat before heading back to our part of the world and pick up the other 2 kids from school.

When Oldest was going to camp he was pretty excited about going........... UNTIL the night before he was to leave. Then he informed me that "maybe it's not a good idea for me to go" with tears wavering in his little eyes. But I hugged him and loved him and let him know it was all going to be OK and that when I got there on Wednesday if he didn't want to stay I'd come and get him. On Tuesday night I had his dad, brother and sister pose for a picture that I printed out and took with me. I gave it to him when I got there and he could see that everyone was OK and waiting for him to come home. He was having the time of his life anyway and I couldn't have dragged him out of there with a tractor! His little brother DID cry though while he was gone. He missed his big bro one night (they shared a bedroom back then so they were always together and are really good friends) and I heard him crying. I went in and loved him and let him know that his brother would be back in a few days. I don't think he cried again but it just goes to show how much they do need each other.

The house will be mighty quiet this week. Youngest boy is CONSTANTLY making noise. ANY noise he can possibly make with his hands or his mouth ALL the time. We are forever having to tell him to be quiet. He's not really hyper, he's just noisy. I'll take solace in the knowledge that that poor counselor will have to figure out what to do with him this week. They better make sure they give him his medicine or they'll be calling me to come and get him cause he's scaring away all the wildlife!

Age old question: Allowed only in a safe place or don't allow it knowing they'll do it anyway?

That's the question some people I know answered for themselves this weekend and they either made the wrong decision or just let too many people know about it.

I'm talking about teenagers and alcohol. I read about a parent up north somewhere who decided that it would be safer for them to have an after prom party (or after graduation, whatever it was) and allow the kids to bring their own booze. The dad sat at the door and took the keys. The rules were that if you showed up then you stayed the night. Period. No exceptions. However, the cops were called and he was busted for contributing to the delinquency of several minors. He said he did it because he knew that the kids were going to go out drinking that night anyway and he wanted them to be in a safe place where he'd KNOW that they weren't going to drink & drive therefore risking their very lives. I'm not sure whatever happened but I do believe he got off very lightly because the laws of the state weren't clear on the issue and they had no legal grounds to stand on.

The people that I know that had this issue this weekend were in a similar boat. I'm not sure if it was his idea or hers but they allowed the kids to drink on their property. The cops showed up and handed him 45 citations for contributing to the delinquency of a minor and every child there was handed minor in possession tickets. I'm really surprised they didn't put him in jail. That's a lot of citations! What's worse is that SHE works for the school! Well, she might not anymore, we'll see.

Anyway, I think it's a complicated matter. Currently my kids are 12, 10 and 8. They all think booze is nasty and I plan to foster that idea in them for as long as possible! I'm not a big drinker and neither is my husband. I'll go out to a club once a year or so and have a few. Sometimes I'll even buy a six pack of Smirnoff ice, drink one or half of one and the others will sit in my frig for 6 months until I throw it away. The Mr is the same way. But anyway, the older my kids get, and if they start hanging around with kids that think its cool, then I could be in trouble before I get them raised! So what do ya do in a situation like that?

Well, it's really hard to say and to judge for a lot of parents. On the one hand you want them in a safe place, no drinking and driving, if there's a "happening" then there's an adult around to take charge of the situation. But then again, you never know how alcohol is going to affect any particular kid. What if they are on medication you know nothing about and that they don't think will be a problem? What happens if they are all in the basement and you are upstairs to give them their space and be unobtrusive, a bunch of them really get drunk and there's a fight? Someone having sex? Someone getting raped? Someone binge drinking and getting alcohol poisoning? The list goes on and on. Sure, some things are controllable but some things are outside the boundaries of your control, like the medication issue.

Then again, can you sit back and do nothing when you KNOW beyond the shadow of a doubt that your kids and their friends are going to end up at a party devoid of any adults at all where all of the afore mentioned calamities could happen and there's REALLY nothing you can do about it cause you're not there??? Plus add the drinking and driving scenario into the mix and you've got a whole lotta misery that could happen. Oh they'll tell you they aren't going to do it but we all know better than that now don't we?

Sure, we all hope that the values and morals and pure fear of Mom and Dad's wrath will be instilled into your child and that they'd be the ones to come home before midnight on prom night squeaky clean and healthy and happy. But what are the odds??

Thursday, November 03, 2005

Thursday 3!

Well I haven't participated in one of these for while but I managed to sneak this one in today.

1) If you have a blog, why did you start it? If you don’t have one, do you think you might start one? Why or why not?

I have a blog because I like to talk. It doesn't matter if anyone wants to listen or not, I don't need an audience really. I enjoy putting my thoughts down on something and just kind of be able to tell my story every now and then. Plus it's a good place to vent every now and then when the need arises.

2) What blogs do you read most often?

I only really read 3 blogs. I'm a faithful Possumblog reader. I go back to that one several times a day. I can't really make a comment there because my firewall at work prevents it but never let there be any doubt that I'm an avid Terry fan. I also read skillzy's site. I've known him for several years and he is ever so entertaining. And finally I read up on Skinnydan once in a while. It's always important to learn about other cultures. I find some of his stories downright fascinating. All 3 of those guys are funny and I just like them a lot.

3) Finally, what do you consider to be the greatest strength(s) and most profound weakness(es) of blogging?

A strength would have to be sharing of opinions. Everyone has an opinion and sometimes you get forced into listening to those opinions that you don't really care to hear. So it's nice to have a choice. If someone is throwing something out there that I don't care to hear I can always move on. Not like when you're stuck in the elevator with some crackpot that's rather proud of their stupid thoughts for the day. Another strength would have to be just keeping up with other people and sharing their lives with them. I enjoy reading about how someone else might do something that I'm being faced into dealing with, how they raise their kids, where they get some of their information from. It's all quite helpful and when it's entertaining too, well, that's just a bonus.

A weakness has got to be the stupid spammer comments. I don't know how to deal with those yet but I'm going to figure it out. It's just annoying.

Mr's Ticket

So I've recently written about the Mr and I trying to carpool together unsuccessfully. This is a story about how much more money carpooling could save beyond just the price of gas, wear & tear on your vehicle and moments spent in cozy togetherness.

I had reminded the Mr on Tuesday night that trash day was the next day. At our house you don't just take the trash out to the curb. You have to load the trash cans into the truck and drive them down to the end of the driveway. Well that was too much trouble on Tues night so he put it off until Wed morning.

I got the kids up and got everyone ready to go on Wed morning and we were off to Grandma's. The Mr was still getting ready and realized he had to get the trash together. We left, I dropped the kids off and started driving to town. I get into town and am being cautious of the speed limit and Mr passes me. I'm sure he felt he was running late because he had to take out the trash and hadn't set his alarm for earlier than normal to accomodate the trash day issue.

Now, it's only 35 mph through town but he is certainly exceeding that. He flashes his break lights at me to let me know it was him that had just left me in the dust. Well about that time a friendly city cop passes us going the other direction, slows down, whips it around and speeds by me. At that point you just kind of know, don't you? Well Mr knew too. I was repeating these words to myself as if Mr could hear me, "turn into the gas station, turn into the gas station, TURN INTO THE GAS STATION!!". But no, he didn't need gas that morning and besides, he knew he was busted. The light's came on and Mr is pulled over.

As I pass by them my first though should've been to pray for my husband because, you see, he has a warrant out for him about 2 counties away because of a speeding ticket he got about a gazillion years ago and apparently didn't pay for it. Well our county won't take him in because they aren't going to transport him that far just for a speeding violation, but you never know when they are going to change their minds. But that wasn't my first reaction anyway. Oh no, my first reaction was to roll around in my truck seat laughing my a$$ off and by golly that's just what I did. I was giggling like a fool. I repented later.

When Mr called me I was sure to point out that if he could get his rear in gear at the appropriate time to get out of work we could car pool together and I would've reminded him to slow his behind down while driving through town. Mr said he honestly didn't realize he was going that fast when the friendly officer caught him. Uhhhhhh, uh. The cop didn't seem to care and wrote out a promisory note for Mr to visit him again in a couple of weeks with some cash in hand.

Oh well, it's just money.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

Almost halloween at my house

Well the kids and I went to the great Wal-Mart store a few weeks ago and they picked out some Halloween finery. Baby girl picked out a Barbie Bride type creation. Oldest picked out a rubbery pumpkin face mask, scythe and a funny looking hat. Youngest boy picked out a Jason hockey mask that glows in the dark, some skeleton gloves and some pitchfork lookin thing. I had no idea what the boys were going to be and they didn't really have a plan either. They just liked those things and figured they could work with them. OK, whatever.

Baby girl tried hers on and then hung it in the closet. Oldest boy told Youngest boy that his hair looks funny when the elastic stretches over his hair so Youngest proceeded to cut the elastic to his satisfaction and then tie it back together to fit his head. Oldest boy wore his hat to school for his funny hat day (for which I had to pay a dollar to a charity for him to participate. Blood suckers!!). So they did get some use out of their stuff if only a little.

Saturday we were going to go trick or treating in the next town with my cousin and her little boy. He's 2. They had the coolest costume. It was a tractor. You push a button and it inflates. He stands in the middle and it has straps that go over his shoulders to hold it up. He's got the whole front of the tractor in front and then the back end in the back. So he has to stand sideways to reach a doorbell. It was cute! It even had a button to push that would make the headlights come on and it make tractor sounds. However........ my children informed me they weren't really interested in going. WHAT!?!?! Yep, it was true, they didn't want to go. Baby girl said her bridal gown, such as it was, didn't drag the ground so she thought it didn't fit. It went to her ankles for pete's sake!! Youngest couldn't find his mask and Oldest wasn't interested, he wanted to stay home. So we did.

On Monday night they had a thing on main street like they did last year where the shop owners would give out candy, have trolley rides, costume contests, etc. Well they didn't want to go to that either so we stayed home. Since I live in the boonies we don't have trick or treaters so my house was completely devoid of festivities. I was in bed by 8:30!

Carpooling

Terry has written quite often about the downside of riding with his spouse with a few of the upsides thrown in. Well, I've discovered my own ups and downs.

The Mr's schedule changed to where he would be starting work at 4:45 am and getting out at 6:15 pm. Well as it happens those are the EXACT times I go through that town on my own way back and forth to work so why not figure out a way to save a little gas money and spend a little quality time with my man? Because he can't get this butt outta work on time, that's why!!!! Have mercy!

He was sort of opposed to the idea at first and I couldn't blame him. You see, he only drives 1 hour to work. It's only about 50 miles. While I, on the other hand, drive 80 miles to work and it takes me an hour and a half going and 2 hours coming back home. But the times lined up so perfectly we'd be foolish not to try SOMETHING to make it work. There was even a guy or two that he works with willing to ride with us. The Mr's issue was that it would never work out quite evenly because his truck would end up with more miles on it and use more gas money then he normally gets because there would be days that it would go 30 miles further than normal. However, we thought we'd offset that by letting the other 2 guys that were riding with us foot a lot of the gas bill since our trucks would be the ones doing the driving.

I drove the first week and it was just me and the Mr. The next week I had a few days off but the 2 days that I did work I drove the Mr's truck. During those first 2 weeks the Mr was NEVER out of there on time. So, instead of me getting home at 7 pm I was getting home at around 8! I'd have to sit in the parking lot until 6:30 or 6:45 waiting on him, drive to my mom's and get the kids and then go home. Normally I could get to my mom's and get home by 7:10. Well 8 pm just wasn't working so I threw that idea out until he could get more able to get out of work on time. The other 2 guys gave up on him too I think. I don't blame them.

Who knows, maybe the Mr planned it that way because he would rather ride alone. Wish granted!!