Monday, November 9, 2009

Here's the thing...

I don't think the guilt is mine to bear. At least not 100%. Far less than that.

Ok, I've been remiss in getting a certain person signed up for an online defensive driving course. A course that will reduce total points by 6, making said person's driving record look better to prospective employers.


I am not the one with a license full of tickets for bad driving habits. Habits that don't seem to change much, even though employers have said, "I can't hire you with your license like that."

What's that smell?

Inhale deeply. Smell that? No? Well, that's because it's gone. The end...finito...hasta la vista, baby. There is no longer a STENCH coming from the kitchen sink, because the disposal is GONE.

That thing was nice, don't get me wrong. But it wasn't hooked into the drain system totally right, the dishwasher wasn't hooked into it correctly, and it frequently chewed with enough power to disconnect the drain pipe completely. Mike never responded positively to this. Never. And to top it off, the switch wasn't up on the wall where it belonged. No, someone came up with the bright idea of putting it on the front face of the bottom cupboard, right below the counter edge. Right in front of the sink. It is not a lie that everyone accidently turned it on. Like dozens of times a day.

When it broke, I was sad for...oh, about a millisecond. Then good sense kicked in and I realized I would no longer be dumping bleach by the gallon or soda by the pound through that cesspool of inadequacy.

Mike ripped it all out and totally reconstructed the drain pipe configuration. No more food chewer; no more cheap-assed pipes; no more blow-ups with nasty water going everywhere, which also means no more bucket under the sink either..

Truth be told, I don't even miss the damn food chewer.

And I'm so thankful that Mike fixed everything under there.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Following the crowd

Therapists recommend concentrating on positive life events, especially in times of stress and duress. Surely it can't hurt if I try it. And when things get really bad, I try to make the positive stand out anyway. I also try to get Mike to see more positives...not easy for a chronic pessimist, I must say. Now I just need a label. Daily Gratitude? Probably overused. My Daily Thanks? My Daily Thankful? Not quite right enough.

Daily Grace.

I'm blessed to have kids that love me! Moreover, I'm blessed that my 16-yr old will, without prompting, say "I Love You, Mama!" even in the presence of all his tough 16-yr old friends.

Now, let's see if I can make it a daily habit.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

What now...

Life has a way of getting away from me at times. Schedules get hectic, people need things. Lots of things to do and not enough time in a day.

But what about what we all need to keep ourselves healthy? What about attending to our own needs, so we are better prepared to tend to others?

What happens when the stress is just overwhelming?

I'm a compartmentalizer. Not even sure if that is a proper word, but it's what I am; it's what I do.

Right now, there's just too many things going on. I've got so many compartments in my head where I've stashed things. Well, my head probably resembles some of the homes featured on Hoarders. It's time to start cleaning up, thinking things through, getting organized, and trying to decide what to keep and what to toss.

Actually, I could probably benefit by seeing a good therapist. But I'll think about that another day.

I'm not even entirely sure where to start. Further, I have to be careful what details I talk about, because some of it is so intensely private, other family members wouldn't appreciate me divulging details.

Finances are one of the biggest stressers (stressors?) right now. Mike has been working, but on temporary, seasonal type jobs. Those are coming to an end. Staying current and providing basic necessities is a struggle we're barely keeping up with. Yes, it could be worse. It could be a lot worse, so I'm grateful he's found the temp stuff. But winter is coming. He did get an offer from a former employer, which is a blessing. But it's also a curse, as the former employer tends to be...honestly, the man can be a royal ass, and is difficult to work for. But it's work. Full time work, even through the winter. Honestly, Mike doesn't have a choice but to take this offer.

Mike's dad continues to battle cancer. It is taking a toll even though the man is a fighter. He's started a new type of treatment and we're all saying our prayers that it helps. Mike talks to his parents daily, and I think it's helping all of them. They've gotten a lot closer during all this.

But Mike also learned of some family information decades old, that pretty much turned his world upside down. He's working through it, but it's brought out anger, disbelief, mistrust, despair, and a bevy of hurt feelings. It's spilled out over all of us, because we are a tight unit.

My side of the family isn't with its travails, either. I have a brother who recently separated with his wife, and a divorce is looming. She's moved out, the kids are going back and forth. The reasons behind the separation are difficult to grasp, harder to understand, and impossible to forget. I hate seeing my brother in pain, trying to find how to deal with his new reality, maintaining some sense of normal for their kids. And the kids don't understand. They're too young. They're too innocent. My heart breaks for the kids.

Another brother's actions are the latest cause of stress. It's not even stress. It's something far worse, that I haven't found words for. No one in the family has seen or heard from him in over a year. Many of us have been fearful of his return, as he's threatened all of us. Now he's back, having done something so horrendous it has shaken the entire family right down to the bedrock of our foundation. The road ahead is long and will be full of pain. Yet it will also bring about a sense of relief that we've all needed for way too long.

There has been so much turmoil, I've made a point of trying to find a positive aspect to each and every day. Some days, it's as simple as being thankful for a hot cup off coffee. I'm so thankful for the friends and family willing to listen. I'm eternally grateful for all their shoulders, as they've caught many of my tears. And were it not for modern medicine, I just might have fallen off the edge of reason.

I cling to the knowledge that all this will pass. Pain will lessen. Hurt will fade. Solutions will be found. And normal will return. But normal will be different. Normal will put us in a vast minority here, and in the unfortunate majority there.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Blame it on...

My last blog posts coincides with the approximate time I joined that mind-sucking site. I blame it all on my friends...they insisted I NEEDED to be part of it all.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Memories of activities past

I read a blog post earlier this week from Suburban Matron on the jelly wars at her house. The entry hit home, as we've serious PB&J requirements at our house.

For years, as in the first 14 years Mike and I were married, there was NEVER a jar of store-bought jelly in this house. The only exceptions might have been gift jellies, or a special flavor jelly that I picked up to curb a craving.

Years ago, I had exclusive picking rights to a friend's Concord grape vines. He didn't have much, but it was enough to make 24-36 pints of homemade jelly, depending on how well the vines set each season.

For years, I'd set aside three days for the picking, juicing, and jelly making. And by Sunday night, I'd have dozens of jars cooling. When the boys were little, that would last an entire year.

We also used to rent a house where we had plentiful plum trees on the property. Plum jelly is absolutely marvelous!

In addition, my mom would usually try to bring me fresh picked chokecherries from the family farm in North Dakota. If she couldn't get me the berries, they'd get them juiced and canned, and bring that so I could make the jelly later. Chokecherry jelly is such a favorite here, running low could easily spark a riot.

When I started school four years ago, my jelly making came to an abrupt halt. Ever since, my guys have had to live with the indignity of store jelly. And let me tell you, they weren't happy about it! The horror! I was even told by my eldest, that lack of homemade jelly could be considered child abuse. Like I said, PB&J is serious business around here.

Now that my schooling is complete, I think there's jelly in our future. I have gallons of chokecherries in the freezer from step-mom's tree (she transplanted a tree from MN and it's thriving). I have raspberries in the freezer, also from step-mom's garden. And I still have canned juice from a variety of sources, including the grapes. The juice actually works really well. If it sits for a year (or more), the solids settle which makes for a clearer final product.

I'm thinking, before the weather gets too hot, it's time to dig out the jars, the stockpots, and the water-bath canner and set aside a weekend for my own jelly wars.

My guys will fall in love with me all over again.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Today's cloud ceiling: 4 Feet

Cloud Ceilings

(photo credit)

Occasionally, kind (and often misinformed) weatherpeople are nice enough to share the height of the weather ceiling. Useless information, unless you're a pilot, I guess.

Inside the house, however, the weather ceiling is important news.

Our bathroom lacks an exhaust vent. This time of year, at least we can open the window to help vent out some of the steam. Today, the steam line was clearly visible, right at the window sill level. Forget looking in the mirror until everyone is done and the bathroom has vented for 15 minutes.

Today's eyebrow plucking exercise was accomplished by sitting on the toilet holding the hand mirror. Plucking is difficult, at best, while suffering from the effects of a tad too much coffee.

When my bathroom grows up, it's going to have a vent. Something the size of a jet engine should do nicely.

Friday, May 22, 2009

It's not just for meals

The kitchen table that is. In fact, our kitchen table rarely sees us sitting for a meal. It's more likely to see homework, internet surfing, papers for filing or tossing, and this morning, I sat to put on my makeup. Just one of the side effects of having only one bathroom and a tight morning schedule.

Lord, in my next life, could I please have a house with more than one bathroom? I just don't think a vanity would go with the kitchen decor.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I seem to have a theme for the week

This must be cat week here at Blondmondays. A friend found this video today and I laughed til I cried. This is Roach in a different fur coat:

Monday, May 18, 2009

And I thought my cats were cool...

Years ago, I had a cat who willingly rode in the car to get ice cream from the Dairy Queen. And I thought she was all that because of it. As it turns out, that was kids stuff compared to this cool cat...

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Quiet...Blessed Quiet

I absolutely LOVE Sunday mornings. They are my mornings. Everyone tends to sleep in, which for the guys means I won't hear from them until at least 10 AM. Even I sleep in, which means if I manage to stay in bed until 8, I've succeeded.

This morning, not only did I succeed, I set a record. I didn't crawl out my cozy cave until 9:05 AM.

And here I sit, nearly 90 minutes later, still basking in solitude. Mike is still sleeping, Devan is still sleeping, Dean spent the night at a friend's house, the dog is sleeping, Roach is sleeping, and Leroy is outside doing kitty chores.

It's just me, my coffee, my cigarettes, and the internet. Oh, and the birds singing up a storm.

Does life get any more perfect than this??

I think not.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

There's no one here for you to look sexy for.

Love is in the air. The moon and stars are in proper alignment. It's not too hot; it's not too cold.

She sashays through the room, hips swinging seductively, her eyes clearly displaying her best come-hither look. Invitingly, she leans against you, hoping beyond hope for just one caress, one long lazy stroke intended to invoke intimacy. When she speaks, the tone is unquestionably low and sexy, designed to ignite the fires of passion.

She is wanton. She is welcoming. She is every man's dream.

She is not me. She is my cat, and she is undeniably in heat. And she is ceremoniously driving everyone in the house crazy! The title of my post is a statement made by Mike as she writhed and showed off while stretching on a kitchen chair the other morning, trying to attract attention. I couldn't help but laugh.

I innocently suggested letting her "meet" my brother's cat, a handsome white, gray, and orange specimen of a man-cat. Just think of the beautiful babies they'd make together. You see, Roach (yes, that is really her name) is a gorgeous torty. Can't you just see the adorable offspring they could create?

But Mike says no. Hell no. We absolutely, positively DO NOT need anymore cats roaming the premises, beautiful or otherwise.


Rather than design a nursery, I called the vet. Roach will be going in June 2 to be spayed. I'm afraid to admit, if she went through another heat cycle, she'd probably end up dead at the hands of someone in this house. Very likely me.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mother's Day!!

Saddle up the couch ladies, today is our day!

I went in search of a suitable picture to honor the day. You know, something heartfelt and special that would convey the deep and abiding love we have for our mother. I did find lots of those. I also found this book jacket. In my world, this is the picture of truth.

When I was a teen, that was the state of my room, much to my mother's displeasure. Now that I'm a mom, this is often the state of my house, and their bedrooms would be considered clean if they looked like that. Ahhh motherhood.

But honestly, think hard about the title of the book. I can't imagine life without my mom. She's awesome. I don't think I realized just how hard she worked at it sometimes until I became an adult and moved on. And now that I'm a mom, I couldn't imagine life without the boys that give me that honor.

See, I'm honored to be both a daughter of a great mom, and the mother of two spectacular boys.

I just have one question, why is no one awake making me breakfast?

(Book available here.)

Thursday, May 7, 2009

I should know myself better than this...

Is it a bad thing to have to ask your husband if that time of the month is near? Probably so.

I've had a headache off and on all week. I'm not sleeping well. The quantity is good, but the quality leaves a lot to be desired. Today, I went from exhausted, to mildly moody, to highly irritated. In between, mood tears threatened. And my boobs hurt. To the point that clothing is my enemy. But running around the office, the grocery store, and home topless is not an option. And did I mention my abdomen feels like a swimming pool still under cover for the winter? UGH!

But do I know if Aunt Flo is imminent? No, sadly I don't.

I'll be checking with Mike as soon as he gets home and cleans up. I won't be getting too close until he showers off the cow shit.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Brain Purge

Nearly a month since my last entry...good grief. I've thought about it, even logged in a few times with many things to write about, but always managed to get sidetracked with something else seemingly more important.

Thinking really hard on what all those blog-worthy events were...

I did have a 'I know I'm your Mom, and I know you're 16, and I know you have a girlfriend, but I don't need to see this' moment. I came in after work just in time to see said girlfriend jump up on Devan and wrap her arms and legs around him requiring him to grab hold via a certain backside body part to prevent her from falling. What commenced was the shortest session of sizzled lip-lock that 16-yr olds can muster when they know they've been busted. And yeah, it caused a hitch in my step and the door slammed just a bit harder than intended. And yeah, it took them just a bit to collect themselves and walk out into the kitchen.

We also played host to a rabbit for an evening. The dog was banished to the kennel, but the cats were delighted to have company. I don't think the rabbit shared their enthusiasm. The girlfriend came over to borrow a computer to write a presentation for English class. The presentation was how to show a rabbit in 4-H. Because she wanted to practice the presentation, the rabbit had to come along. And Devan had the pleasure of cleaning up the piddle piles and stray rabbit turds throughout the evening. Fun times.

I've probably never admitted publicly or otherwise that I'm a chapstick whore. I have it in my purse, in my coat pocket, in my desk at work, on my nightstand, in the bathroom, in the kitchen, in my vehicle, and anywhere else it might be necessary. I'm also known to keep monthly supplies in many of the same areas. Well, except for the kitchen. And what's the connection? Well, I'll tell you. A Tampax Compak Pearl that has come out of its wrapper in your pocket feels remarkably like a tube of chapstick when you're searching by feel. Thankfully I was alone when I whipped it out of my pocket. Just a note, I've never found a chapstick that has a string attached. And yeah, I did eventually clean out my coat pocket to stash the monthlies in a more suitable purse pocket.

I now have less than a month to prepare for my Mom's first visit of the year. I desperately need to clean up the office/guest room or Mike is going to do it for me. I was sorting files, papers, computer crap, etc and didn't finish the job. There is crap everywhere! And the cats, in their quest to always assist me in whatever I'm doing, have disrupted the carefully categorized piles, requiring me to start sorting anew. I promised to do it this weekend. And don't you know the weather is cooperating nicely? It's supposed to rain all weekend ensuring that I'll spend little time outside planting flowers. So thoughtful of Mother Nature to help me out. I also promised to tackle the computer corner in the kitchen. It's scary to look at. Too scary to even talk about.

Sunday, April 5, 2009


Did I really say that my stress level was retreating? I should have known better. That simple statement immediately jinxed my day.

Yesterday included a milestone moment. One that every parent knows will arrive, yet no parent wants to experience.

Devan had his first car accident. And it was a doozy.

He and a friend were on their way back to work after lunch. In fact, I looked out the kitchen window right at the moment they both drove past the house, heading south, one right after the other.

Five minutes later, my phone rang, "Mom, please come and get me. Mike hit me." I can't describe the tone and feeling in his voice, or my immediate, and absolutely visceral reaction to hearing it. If more than two minutes elapsed between the time I got the call and hit the road, I'd be surprised.

The adrenaline kicked in before I was 1/4 mile away from the house. On a 35 mph road, I was flying at 65, flashers going, hands clenched on the wheel. When I arrived on the scene and jumped out, my knees nearly buckled.

I saw Mike's pickup from about 1/4 miles away; the front passenger corner mashed and crinkled, the tire at an obviously undrivable angle. As I got closer, I saw Devan's pickup. Sitting out in the field, everything on the driver's side from the back jump seat to the bumper pushed in and mangled. The driver's door was completely pushed in, frame warped, window gone. A trail of debris from the corner to the stopping point, probably some 150 feet.

A mom doesn't like to see such things.

His friend had a passenger, and Devan was driving solo. All three boys were walking around. Devan had a few cuts on his face, and the blood was already clotted and drying. The friend who was driving was shaking like a leaf, but bore no visible blood. His passenger didn't have any visible blood either, but was confused, unsure of where he was or what had transpired. I sat him down in the ditch next to my truck and called 911.

With the renewed surge of adrenaline running through my system, it took me a few extra seconds to figure out which intersection we were at. The 911 dispatcher had me running from vehicle to vehicle looking for leaking fluids. Finally, she informed me that sheriff's deputies and an ambulance were on the way. About that time, the friend's dad pulled up, so at least I had help keeping the boys calmed down.

The passenger was trying to talk to his mom on his cell, but wasn't getting anywhere because of the confusion. I asked him for his phone and talked to her. She was remarkable calm considering she was talking to a stranger, had talked to her son who couldn't remember anything, and had no idea where we were.

It must have taken a good 15 minutes for authorities to arrive, with paramedics right behind them. They checked out all the kids and loaded the passenger up for a trip to the hospital. They were certain he had a concussion, but weren't sure of the severity.

Devan's cuts and scrapes were from all the flying glass when his window shattered. Back home, while showering off the glass and blood, he found an impressive goose egg on his head. That explains the shattered side window.

All in all, the boys were extremely lucky. They were likely driving too fast and both earned tickets; Devan for failure to signal a turn and the other boy for following too close. The officer was extremely nice, more than fair, and even gave the boys a quick lecture about taking care.

Both pickups are likely totaled. I know Devan's is. Needless to say, in a match between a Ranger (Devan's) and a full-sized F150, the F150 won.

We haven't been able to get a complete report yet on how the other boy checked out at the ER. I'm going to place a call to the friend's parents this morning and try to find out.

Meanwhile, the fun will really start tomorrow when the insurance process starts.

I'm just thankful that everyone is ok and they weren't seriously hurt. Thinking back to the scene, it could have been much worse. There were three guardian angels putting in overtime yesterday.

Saturday, April 4, 2009


I just spent an emotional two hours catching up on a blog I follow.

Prayers for Stellan

Stress reduction plan

My stress level has dropped so much, I'm nearly in a coma.

I'm finally done with school! Final GPA is a 2.95; not great, but perfectly acceptable. I still have to do my diploma application and order my cap and gown. I decided to walk the graduation ceremony in Boise, after a lot of internal debate. I just couldn't decide while I was still going through classes, but after about a week of no school work, the decision was easy.

Mike has been home for about a month, which reduces my stress even further. I'm now free to say "Go ask your Dad." to every question put to me. He heads back to AL on Easter Sunday, and is scheduled to be gone for five weeks. We don't know if the job will last that much longer, but the hope is there. But if he comes back home, he's got a job waiting with a friend of his. More stress gone!

After the defeat of watching his pickup burn in the driveway months ago, he found a replacement. It's another Duramax, now named Maxine. She's a fancy one, she is. Complete with DVD player and game hookups - a definite plus from the kids' point of view. I haven't driven her too much, but the 13th will be here quickly.

He also bought a chainsaw while he's been home, and we've started putting up wood for the next heating season. We still need to get the stove put in, which means getting the washer and dryer installed in the basement, but those are great summer projects. He's pretty sure he's going to have the chimney professionally installed so we have someone else to call if it should leak.

I had the dog fixed about a month ago. It's amazing what the lack of balls does for settling them down. He's still an excitable idiot, but a less excitable idiot.

There are a lot of other little things I should've written about; cute or funny little things that are now lost forever. Things the boys did that I would love to be able to look back on, but now cannot. But with more time on my hands, maybe I'll get better about jotting those things down.

In the meantime, I'm trying to figure out how to live life without the perpetual stack of books, homework, and papers to be written.

There might even be a garden in my future this summer!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Look Mom, I can get dressed all by myself!

You know how they say the third time is the charm? Well, evidently, it applies to dressing oneself. This week did not start well at all in the "dressing yourself" catagory.

Monday, in a haze after only 4 hours of sleep and in the dark of the laundry room, I managed to grab 2 bras and no undies.

Tuesday, I managed the right garments, but noticed on the way out the house that I could see my bra through my shirt. There wasn't time to totally change, so I grabbed a hoodie on the way out the door, only to discover the zipper pull was missing. I wore it anyway and fought to zip the damn thing up all the way to work. Then, if that wasn't bad enough, on my second trip into the bathroom after arriving at work, I discovered my undies were inside out. WTF? It's not like I got dressed in the dark.

So today, I took great pains when picking clothes and getting dressed. I made sure the lights were on and I checked everything twice. I'm so on the damn ball today, my socks even coordinate with my shirt.

Just don't ask how my mascara looks...

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Life's Milestones

So Tuesday of this past week was a milestone. I turned 40. Theoretically, half my life is over. 40. How did I get here? Does it really mean anything?

The week preceeding Black Tuesday (as I wrote on my calendar) was full of deep, dark thoughts. It was hard to wrap my head around 40. I wasn't sure how I was supposed to feel about it. Actually, now that I've tried it on for a few days, I'm still not so sure.

It's not like I was losing sleep over the whole thing, but it definitely snuck into my immediate thoughts on more than one occasion.

My building mate put together a little surprise party at the office. She's thoughtful that way. When I got back from my post office run, there was cake and ice cream, and a building full of people. Actually, it was nice. And it was a lot of fun. And it was just another day.

Until last night. Dean talked me into buying the new electronic version of Monopoly. It's his smile. When he turns up the wattage, I'm powerless. Anyway, the boys and I are in the middle of a heated battle to make our millions and Dean looks me right in the eye and says...

"Uh, have a lot of wrinkles around your eyes."

Sigh. Last night, I really felt 40. And today, I just might go shopping for a really good eye cream.

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Dammit, did you hear me?? I said UUUNCLE!

I have so had enough.

They say the good Lord doesn't give you any more than you can handle. Can I sit the next round out? I'm getting real tired of handling.

I'm not a whiner by nature. Really. And once I get past the initial stress, I do pretty well dealing with things as they come up. Though I do owe some - ok, many - thanks to Celexa.

I've already talked about my father-in-law who is battling cancer. Part is untreatable, part is treatable. He's doing really good, for now. I haven't heard what the outcome was of the 6 bladder treatments is. Come to think of it, I don't think they'll know until next month.

After we got back from visiting the in-laws in December, Mike found out the boss had laid off everyone during that week. After giving a multitude of promises that things were fine, they had plenty of work, yada, yada, yada. Just let me blow some smoke up your asses boys so I can feel good about myself.

So Mike, by the grace of God, does find another job. But it's out of town. Right now it's in Alabama. He works 3-4 weeks straight, then comes home for a week. He's home this week.

He came home to 2 vehicles that needed maintenance. While doing routine maintenance on his, it blew a brake line. Just after one of the boys had driven it. Scared him senseless. He finished the maintenance and fixed the brake line and moved it out of the garage last night so he could put mine in. Mine is also having braking issues.

Back up just a couple days. Devan's wrestling coach told him he needed to see a doctor about a mat burn on his ear. It didn't look quite right. Mike takes him in early Monday morning. The doctor doesn't want to open it up to get a sample for a culture because that will just be another exposure to infection. looks like a full-blown staph infection. As I read his notes on our copy of the paperwork, way down in the bottom amidst the other scribbles is one that stands out...MSRA??? You've got to be shitting me. That would be the one that keeps putting kids in the hospital, on IV antibiotic drips, parents holding vigil, and some of them die. That MRSA. He's on some high-powered antibiotics and is supposed to go back for reevaluation on Saturday or Sunday.

And today is the topper. Mike calls me at work. I hadn't even been there an hour. "Hon, I need you to call the insurance office. My pickup is burning in the driveway." WTF??? I was up and grabbing my shit, yelling down the hall for my building mate to call my boss, and out the door in about 10 seconds flat. I had to get through the roadblock down the street by screaming at the cop that the fire was at MY HOUSE DAMMIT! By the time I got home, the flames were out and it was a hissing, smoldering mess. There's foam all over the truck, all over the driveway, all over our 2 storage buildings. There's a gazillion volunteer firemen in my yard, and I arrived just in time to see Mike wing his keys into the air. The hat went next.

He has never had a truck this nice. Ever. It was a 2002 GMC HD 2500 Duramax Diesel. Fully loaded except for the automatic ass wiper. This thing had more bells and whistles than a carnival. We agonized over buying it. Dumped all our savings into the down payment. Scrimped to make payments during the winter. Cursed when it needed tires last year. Praised it for hauling everything and anything. It was our Max. It is now a hunk of charred metal, melted plastic, sizzled wires, on $1000 worth of brand new tires that still hold air. The firefighter we talked to said it looked like the block heater had a malfunction. A malfunction. Really? Generally, a malfunction doesn't put me in the mind of TOTAL FUCKING LOSS.

The insurance adjuster has been here. Even though it only burned from the windshield forward, it is a total loss. That diesel motor is worth a lot to replace. And the transmission. Don't forget the front transfer case. All the electronics and computer. Two fenders. One hood. And plastic. Who knew there was that much plastic on the front end?

Mike had to run down to the insurance office to sign some power-of-attorney paperwork. Since we are both on the title, his signature will be needed for all the final paperwork. He's leaving for Alabama on Sunday and won't be here to sign anything for who knows how long. This way, the adjuster can sign in his absence and I will provide the other necessary signature. Dealing with insurance is never good. Never.

I'm so ready for a boring few months. No major upheavals. No medical emergencies. No calls to emergency services. Just a boring life of TV, meatloaf, and playing couch potato.

Is that too much to ask?

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Amazing video

I just found this on another blog I read. There just aren't words...

Is that amazing, or what?

Have I mentioned my pets annoy me?

The other day, I posted about them. As it turns out, Sunday mornings isn't the only time they irritate me. The dog is just being an ass and the kitten eggs him on. He woke me up from a nap by putting his head as close to mine as he could without actually touching me, and barking. He's got a big bark. I nearly jumped out of my skin. The kitten came careening out of the kitchen, did a NASCAR lap around the living room, coming to a stop on the back of the couch above me. Of course the dog is obligated to give going over me. Then he spilled my soda. Which puddled under my brand new book. Then he drank some. Eau de dog breath with a hint of Mt. Dew. Like he doesn't have enough energy already.

And just about then, Mike called. And coined a new phrase. He told me to call him back when I wasn't so grumpy because he didn't like calling and getting the "back side of bitch" attitude that I was sharing. To protect myself and others, I remained silent.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

The Trouble Twins

No, not the kids. The animals. Specifically the dog, a 120ish pound American Bulldog just over a year old, and a cute as a bug 6-month old torty kitten. Both have the reputation of being hell on wheels when they wake up in the morning. All that stored up energy just waiting to explode. Just like little kids, when they sleep they store energy at exponential rates and can't wait to turn it loose when their eyes open.

We (the animals and I) had the house to ourselves last night. Mike is still in Alabama, Devan stayed at his grandparents, and Dean went to a friend's house. Oh the blessed quiet; well, except for Herc (the dog) and Roach (the kitten). If they're awake, they're usually in trouble.

We decided as a group to head to bed early, watch a bit of TV and catch up on our magazine reading. That also means the other two cats will join the party in short order. Six, who must always have her pudgy self on top of me at all times, and Leroy, who can ignore absolutely everything around him. An admirable male trait, to be sure.

It was lights out shortly after 11 and everyone fell fast asleep. At 1:30, Herc wanted out, despite the fact he went out at 11. At 3:45, Herc wanted out, despite the fact he'd been out at 11 and 1:30. I try not to complain, as the alternative is far less amusing.

Sundays are for sleeping in; as much as I can convince my internal clock to do so. If I make it to 8, I've done really well. At 7:19 my phone buzzed with a text message. 7:19. AM. On a Sunday morning. It's Mike: "What ya doin up yet?" It took me three tries to write back that I was trying to sleep. Ten minutes later, the phone buzzed again. "Well kick your boyfriend out and get up call me when u are up 4 good." The boyfriend, Leroy, chirped to show his unamusement. Six started purring in my ear. The dog stopped snoring and stretched enough to move the foot stool and chair. And Roach decided it was play time. Before long, she had everyone awake. The dog started whining to go out; Six started plowing circles around my head; and Leroy stretched out across my feet.

For 45 minutes, Herc and Roach played and ran circles through the house. Herc got into the laundry and I guess he shared the fun with Roach. He came through the kitchen gnawing on a pair of Devan's shorts and Roach was right behind him proudly carrying one of my fuzzy socks.

Now, everyone except me is enjoying their morning nap. I'm too wide awake to even think about it. Damn animals. I really love my pets...except for Sunday mornings.

Saturday, January 31, 2009

How to lose 6 hours in the blink of an eye...

Turn on the computer. Really, that's all it takes.

What starts innocently enough as checking email and news headlines, quickly morphs into a black hole of other activities. Of course I read email, answering a few, forwarding a few; I checked the news on three national sites, as well as the local paper; and then trouble hit.

The simple act of a couple games of cards turned into at least 30 minutes. Dealing with numbers sets off multiple notes to self that are rolling around in my head.

I haven't updated my finances in Quicken in over a week, so better enter deposits, checks and payments. But wouldn't it be easier to set up some of my accounts as loans so I can track the balance with the statement? Absolutely. I've no idea the time I spent playing in Quicken. And I've made a committment to myself to keep everything on the computer from now on so that taxes aren't such a nightmare. Crap...taxes.

I'm pretty sure I have everything I need to do our 2008 taxes. Pull the pile off the shelf and start sorting. Recalculate Mike's expenses for traveling after finding a new stack of receipts. Double check the total for medical expenses. Gather W-2s, interest statements, mortgage statement, school loan statement. Put everything together neatly in two manila envelopes, labeled with name and contents. Whoops, also need the 2007 return for the CPA. Check. Add to envelope.

Now double check everything! Set aside to drop at office. I could easily do that when I take Dean's friend home because I'm going to be in the area. As long as I'm doing that, I may as well load up the excess trash collected from Devan's room (that tale for another time) and take it to the shop dumpster. Hmmm, side-tracked thoughts; let's stay on task.

It's handy working in the same building as the company CPA. It's been years since I've had anyone do our taxes. (One year about 14 years ago when we moved; I didn't want to mess with moving expenses, federal and two state returns.) I started out doing them by hand then got into HR Block online, and finally TurboTax. I've always felt confident doing my own, even in recent years when more and more things factor into the mix. But this year...not so much, despite having a tax class under my belt. Honestly, I just don't have the time.

Since Mike is working out of state, I'm the only adult around, so my responsibilities and chore list have grown. Or I delegate and have to supervise results. Plus, I'm trying to finish school (only 6 1/2 weeks left!). I'm working. And I'm tired.

Figuring I wouldn't like the answer, I asked the CPA how much he'd charge to do our taxes. He asked a few questions about what we'd have, thought it over a bit, and announced all he would charge is the filing fee for our 2nd state return. So I'm getting my federal, Idaho, and Oregon done for roughly $20. UNFREAKINBELIEVABLE!! He figures we trade favors, etc back and forth enough that it will come out in the wash. The man is awesome and beyond generous!

But I still have a table full of papers that I need to sort, file, or pitch. Maybe I'll save it for just a bit and take a break.


The guilt is too much. Must clean up the papers now. Can't shower since the dishwasher is running anyway.

While sorting papers, find yet another envelope of receipts for 2007. Medical and work-related travel. UGH! Moan, groan, and mutter expletives under breath. Say screw it, get a bowl of sugar covered kid's cereal and sit down for just a couple more games of cards. And lose yet another hour...

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I should blog this

Every single day something happens that makes me think, "I should blog this." And more and more days go by that contain no blog entries of any sort. Such is a busy life.

I'm slowly working on picking myself up by the bootstraps and being productive again. Certainly my self-imposed break from school was necessary for my sanity. However, having 4 weeks of total freedom from class leaves a lot of time to fill. I did a lot of chillin' with the guys and a lot of time parked on my ass reading. I lost count of the books and magazines I read.

So when class time rolled back around, well the TBR pile on my bookshelf, and even some of my classic favorites were infinitely more interesting that auditing. Auditing is just not that fun. At all. I'm one of those quirky number loving fools, and I hate auditing. So I dug my feet in and put off the inevitable. I didn't read, didn't join discussion, and fell a week behind. I'm back on track...but just barely.

And it didn't help that Mike is out of town. After we returned from SC, he found out everyone had been laid off. Despite many fervent promises from the boss that everything was just fine and there was plenty of work to do. He made calls. He drove all over the valley talking to everyone he knows. There were a few promising positions, but in the end nothing panned out.

After 3 weeks, he was put in contact with someone he worked for about 5 years ago. The company works all over the nation and had a job going strong in Alabama. Would he like to come back?

What a hard decision. Stay here without work and fall further and further behind on bills, or take a GREAT paying job and go to Alabama. But really, it was a hard decision. He hates being on the road for weeks at a time. And we hate him being gone for weeks at a time.

For the first week and a half, I lost direction. I wasn't motivated to do a damn thing but lie on the couch and read or watch tv. The laundry piled up. The pet hair piled up. Meals were forgotten. The boys were basically on their own. God bless them for being self-sufficient, because I wasn't holding up my end of the bargain.

But things are slowly righting themselves. I'm getting involved in class, meals are coming around, I've done some thorough cleaning and tossing. I think the boys are glad I'm being productive again. I know I am.

Mike will be home on the 7th, his birthday. He thinks he'll be around for about a week before he has to go back. I can't wait! I just can't wait.