Thursday, January 31, 2008

You'll be sorry you asked

Dear Whoever asked me to post copies of the layouts I got done at my scrapper's retreat last weekend (and don't worry those of you who aren't interested, there is no way I have enough time to turn this into a scrapbooking blog, so this is most likely a one-time shot ....)

A few things I feel I should disclaim before posting photos of my scrapbook layouts from last weekend, both for those of you who do scrapbook and might notice, and for those of you who don't scrapbook, wouldn't notice, and quite frankly couldn't give two shits about it.

1. My name is Kristie, and I am a scraplifter. That means that absolutely none of the layouts, ideas, color schemes, designs, or embellishments you will see here today are original. They are all directly copied (with perhaps *some* improvisation, but for the most part, blatantly stolen just as they are) from magazines, idea books, and friends. I am not ashamed of the fact that I have not one creative bone in my body. I’ll say it loud, and I’ll say it proud --- I’m a SCRAPLIFTER! (Do you think they have a 12-step program for stealers like me?)

2. My style, for the most part, is simplistic. Simplistic to the point of boring. I don’t like a lot of frou-frou on my pages, and (for those of you to whom this might mean something) it is my goal in life to meet Cathy Zleiske because she totally rocks and some day I want to grow up and scrap just like her. For those of you who don’t scrapbook, just know that my style (or lack thereof) probably doesn’t accurately represent the scrapbooking world at large.

3. Taking pictures of layouts to share can be tricky. If you leave your flash on, you’ll get a glare on the photos. If you turn the flash off, the lighting can be too dark and your pages might look blurry. In my office, I have a window to the left of the table, therefore on these layouts, the page on the left-hand side looks lighter than the page on the right side. (sigh) Which should I take first? A "Photography for Dummies" course, or a "How to Add Bling to Your Pages 101"??

4. Lastly, lest you think this is ALL I accomplished the entire weekend, there were also a few more layouts that I didn’t share for personal reasons. I didn’t think anyone reading wanted to see the naked “Before the Tummy Tuck” pictures of me ….. kidding! I’m just kidding!!! (Wow, look at how many of you just jumped up from your computer and ran away screaming..... you guys are fast.)

Besides the additional layouts, I also completed about five dozen hand-made notecards, read four People magazines, caught up with my girlfriends, and ate chocolate for at least twelve of the forty-eight hours I was there. Alas, no naps. But still, all told, an extremely successful weekend.

**Dear Jan, tips on how to get started scrapbooking coming up ....


Results of new scans, when compared to old scans:

Normal; no change. Radiology center extremely apologetic for the wait and the scare late last week. (whew)

Results of first appointment with new pain management specialist, who is actually NOT a pain management specialist, but is actually an internist who does pain management on the side, but who is the only person our insurance says he can see:

Disastrous. Nightmare of epic proportion. Awful. Frustrating. Hate-inducing. Do you need any more?

Dear Meg,

Dear Meg,

I am thrilled to hear about the donation of the MRI machine to the new hospital! You people down in Americus certainly deserve a bit of good luck and I know the hospital employees, and the patients who will ultimately benefit, will be glad to have it. Congrats!

Dear Pam D,

Dear Pam D,

I am (perhaps innapropriately) envious of you and your Lighthouse trip this year. Not only are we not attending Lighthouse this year (by my estimation, it's about a sixteen hour drive ... probably more like twenty if we actually take the kids, ha!) but thanks to the expense of our recent move, and all the money we've put into our soul-sucking rent house, our "Summer Vacation" this year will most likely be spent at the public library. Or any new friends we can make who have pools in their backyards.

Sounds like an exciting summer for those Escoe kids, doesn't it??

Dear Pam and Marisa,

Dear Pam and Marisa,

Well, since I moved to pretty much the smack-dab middle of the state, I would imagine that no matter *where* Pioneer Woman is, I’m probably not more than a few hours from her. Although from the things she writes, I doubt I will be bumping into her at Target any time soon. She might have lots and lots of beautiful photo opportunities, but a life without Target? Ack, not sure I could cope.

Dear Pam E.,

Dear Pam E.,

In answer to your question #3: no, sadly, I am not. Although I like to think that I am and my friends are usually polite enough to pretend.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Reason #983749387 I am not qualified to do home repair

Although it sounds odd to me, I have a handyman. A handyman that I really like because he calls when he says he will, and shows up when he says he will, and does exactly the job he says he will do, for exactly the price he says it will cost. Compared to some of the home-improvement-handyman-nightmare-stories I’ve heard from others, I realize that this is perhaps not normal, and I am indeed grateful.

I had hoped to do the vast majority of work to our rental property myself, and I **did** do a lot of it. But a lot more of it was stuff that I simply didn’t know how to do --- replacing sinks and cabinets, capping gas lines, running electrical and refinishing hardwood floors. Then, because I got spoiled with my handyman, and also because I got lazy and had to admit that the novelty of doing the work myself was wearing off, I hired him to do some other jobs that I probably *could* have done myself, but quite frankly, didn’t want to do, because I had other very very important things to do ... like .... um, .... sit around and watch my tivo'd episodes of the The Biggest Loser and Dance War. The tasks of painting the baseboard trim, adding quarter-round to the trim around the whole house, and hanging 17 sets of new mini-blinds fall into THAT category. Like Blaine says, time is money, and sometimes it’s more logical to pay someone else who can do it quicker and (in all honesty) better than I can.

Now, my handyman is actually a man who owns his own business doing home repair and remodeling, and he has several employees working for him. Yesterday, when he said he was sending someone over to do the trim work and the blinds, I (naively and stereotypically, I confess) expected it to be a man. I did NOT expect it to be a woman. A woman who was pleasant and friendly, to be sure, but who no doubt could kick my ass in an arm wrestling match if it came to that. This chick is Home Depot-denim, through and through. In fact, she could probably kick *Blaine’s* ass in an arm wrestling match, also, and change the oil in her truck with the other hand at the same time.

So yesterday morning, she had her power saw set up in my kitchen, and her drill hanging off her belt, and her smoker’s laugh, and watching her, I realized what a freaking weenie I am. I outweigh her by at least thirty pounds, and I’m probably ten years younger; you’d think I’d be tough enough to hang my own damn mini-blinds. So in a pathetic attempt to impress upon her that I am a woman of the 90’s,** capable and confident, I decided to do a few of the smaller projects that I’ve been putting off (again, read: lazy) at the same time that she was working --- you know, if we worked side by side, maybe we would have a sort of female bonding episode, like we were both Tim the Tool-man Taylor, if you will.

First I grabbed a straight edge razor and took several layers of old paint off the windowsills and trim in one of the bedrooms. That went ok, but quite frankly, I was sitting on the (new) hardwood floor and it was really cold on my butt. Then I was going to change the light bulb in one of the hallway light fixtures, so I dragged a ladder over there, but couldn’t get the screws undone to remove the fixture because they were screwed in really tight (I’m not kidding – really, really tight and it hurt my fingers!) and so I quit that project … whimper….

Still determined to impress her with my handi-man-ness, I found a project I could handle --- re-gluing the tiles that had popped off the wall in the bathroom. A few had come off completely and a few were loose, so I had purchased a tube of adhesive and decided to get to work on that. After all, if Ms. Bob Villa in my kitchen could work a power saw, surely I could handle gluing a few tiles, right?

So I cut the tip off the end of the adhesive and tried to squeeze some out onto a tile. But that stuff was STUCK in that tube! I squeezed, and squeezed again harder, and I couldn’t get ANY of it to come out. I mean, I realize I’m not a body builder or anything, but I wouldn’t have thought I was *that* weak! I briefly considered asking Ms. This Old House for help, but by golly, I wanted to prove my mettle in the home improvement arena, so I decided that if I didn’t have the muscles to make it work, then I would just put my weight behind it --- and I certainly have enough of that!

So I laid the tube on the counter and mashed down with all of my strength --- and the damn end of the tube popped off and shot adhesive all over the counter! I gave a dainty exclamation (I think my exact words were “Oh, shit!) and cleaned up the mess, then took the tube to show the handy-girl. I thought perhaps we could bond over the defectiveness of the product, and not that I’m desperate for friends here in this city or anything, but maybe after she would invite me out for shots of straight whiskey, or a knife throwing contest or something.

“Look!” I said, holding out the tube for her to see, “Look at this defective tube of adhesive! I mashed on it real hard, and the end just shot off and got sticky stuff all over the bathroom counter!”

She looked at me, just looked at me with this really funny look on her face. She sort of hesitated, and then said, “You *do* know that’s supposed to go in a caulking gun, don’t you?”

Hmmm. Something tells me I was the butt of a few jokes at her hunting lodge last night.

**Do you think my problem could be that the 90's are over? And I perhaps peaked about ten years ago???

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Dear Pam and Leeann (and others in the past who have been kind enough to ask about Blaine and his ongoing cancer saga),

Dear Pam and Leeann (and others in the past who have been kind enough to ask about Blaine and his ongoing cancer saga),

Thanks for asking. He is doing ok. To be honest, from a medical standpoint, the move to OK has been one of adjustments for him. Partly physical, as it is so much colder here in the winter than in Georgia. Currently, the temperature is 30, with winds out of the north at 40-45 mph – what the hell is THAT about??? --- and the cold weather causes a lot of head and neck pain. He has taken to wearing a black neoprene-sort-of-ski mask whenever he is outside that covers everything but his nose and eyes, to try and keep the radiated areas of his head and neck warmer. Otherwise, the restricted blood flow due to surgery and radiation (we have no idea if that is the real reason why, but it sounds good, so we keep saying it) causes his tongue to turn white and his neck just throbs. Fun, huh? So we call it his “ninja mask” and I remind him every morning not to stop at any convenience stores on his way to work or they will think he is robbing them.

The other simple adjustment has been all the new doctors and specialists who don’t know him or his history. It wouldn’t be untrue to say he hasn’t been as impressed with the people taking care of him here ---- not because they aren’t just as capable, but because I think when you spend five years seeing your oncologist, your head and neck surgeon, your pain management doctor, etc, you establish relationships with these people and you feel truly cared about. It’s only natural to flounder for a bit as you try to adapt to new facilities and new rules and people who aren’t as vested in your care, or don’t have a history with you. But he’ll get there.

In the short term, we’re waiting on results on his four-month cat scans. The initial report came back on Friday with “suspicious areas of growth”, which is of course slightly worrisome. We’re hoping that once they compare the scans of four months ago to the scans of last week, these new radiologists (again, doctors who aren’t familiar with his case history) will determine it is nothing more than scar tissue or already-existing fibroids from the previous surgeries and radiation. So, a little anxious until we get the all clear there.

In good news (because by golly, I am determined there will be SOME good news!) he was able to avoid the tooth extractions, and therefore, the hyperbaric oxygen treatments, that his dentist in Georgia said he needed. The dentist here was able to get down low enough to save the teeth in question with root canals, so that was a relief. It sounds odd to say root canals are the *better* outcome, but in this case, they are, and he was glad for them.

In other news, he’s really getting on my nerves because he keeps leaving his pants lying on the floor by his side of the bed when he takes them off each night, which is where my new vanity is now located, and I keep tripping on them every morning in the dark. He better start picking up his pants, is all I’m saying.

Dear Pam and Lisa C (and others in the past who have asked about my surrogacies),

Dear Pam and Lisa C (and others in the past who have asked about my surrogacies),

You know, I’m going to adopt the Nike approach and just do it. Let me get my storyline straight in my head, decide the best way to share and still be respectful of the privacy of others, and I’ll get to yakking about it. In fact, I’ll probably share way too much (female procedures! and fertilized eggs! and baginas!) and you guys will wish you hadn’t asked.

Monday, January 28, 2008

Dear Briana,

Dear Briana,

You only really need two things to get away to scrapbook (or whatever your hobby of choice is) like I do:

1. A husband who doesn’t mind, and

2. Girlfriends who are both dependable and spontaneous.

I’m lucky enough to have both. Blaine has always been supportive if I needed to get away, even if it was something as small as going to a movie by myself on a Sunday afternoon when the kids were tiny and I couldn’t take another single solitary minute of diaper changes and runny noses and Teletubbies and strained peas flung across the dining room and cleaning high chairs and whining and crying. I’m not sure if my weekend getaways were harder when the kids were smaller and it was more hands-on work for him, or harder now that they’re older --- less personal care, but much more in the way of social and school responsibilities. Either way, he’s never begrudged me my time away, and I love, love, LOVE him for it! I love even more that I come home to both kids and a house in working order, so I can leave without worry. He’s the bomb, isn’t he?

And as far as my girlfriends go, well, I’m pretty much the luckiest girl on the planet. There is a group of about twelve of us, the majority of us met either in Ohio or Georgia. Mostly military wives, we’ve scattered all over the country, but we’re committed to meeting every October for the holiday weekend. We change the location each year and drive in, or fly in, or whatever we have to do. We went away for the first time in 2000, and started "this group" in 2004; I look forward to those weekends of reconnecting more than you could know. That’s where the “dependable” part comes in, because we committed to this and everyone has stuck with it. I truly believe we’ll be one of those little old lady groups still getting together when we’re in our 80’s, still gossiping and eating chocolate and fussing about our false teeth and Medicare and irresponsible great-grandkids.

Then, usually once or twice a year, smaller parts of the group will make arrangements to get together “locally”, such as the weekend we just had. That’s where the “spontaneous” part comes in because often times it’s a spur of the moment impulse simply because we miss each other. This time it was me, and girls from Texas, Florida, and Tennessee. We went to Arkansas because it was close to the middle for everyone, and we found a resort that was offering a scrapbook retreat. Less than two weeks’ notice, but when you have girlfriends as awesome as mine, you take any chance you can to get together.

What's funny to me is that most of my life, I've preferred hanging out with the guys, and never had a lot of close female friends until I met these ladies. We've merged into this amazing group of friends, and now, I can't imagine my life without any of them in it. (sigh) Can you tell I’m feeling nostalgic for this weekend and missing them already? Plus there was a chocolate dessert buffet with a chocolate fountain and strawberries, so it was pretty much the greatest weekend on earth.

Dear Alyssa and Bridget,

Dear Alyssa and Bridget,

Oh, geez, the pressure. I had no idea people actually PAID ATTENTION to the things I write on this site. I just sort of thought my existence was good for an occasional chuckle or eye-roll ---- now I have the stress of knowing my opinion matters!

OK, for what it’s worth: Alyssa, I’m sorry, I know you don’t want to hear this, but yes, I would have made Brayden do the same thing. In fact, that issue came up just this morning at our house, when her favorite pair of jeans were in the dirty clothes and I wouldn’t let her dig them out and wear them again to school. So she had to wear a sweat-suit that she doesn’t particularly like and it really wasn’t the best way to start off on a Monday. I know you young ladies don’t want to hear it when we toss out words like “responsibility” and “consequence” and “planning ahead” (hey, I don’t like for people to throw those words at me either, and I’m 41 years old!) but honestly, we’re just trying to help you learn to lead the sort of organized life that will serve you well as an adult.

Now, lest you think I’ve thrown you completely under the bus with no help whatsoever, let me share something else with you. Our whole “Brayden is ten years old now and will be doing her own laundry” phase only lasted about six months. She wasn't tall enough to reach the laundry soap in the cabinet above the washer, so I had to help her get the wash started. Then she wasn’t tall enough to reach all the way down in the top-loading washer to transfer the load into the dryer, so I had to help her with that. Then she wasn’t tall enough to reach the hangers on the rod in the utility room to hang up the dry clothes, so I had to help her with that, (Are you sensing a pattern here?) Finally I acknowledged that simply doing it myself was easier than trying to “help” her do it. So we amended the “Escoe Self-Sufficient Laundry Age” to twelve --- a change which Kellen has reminded me of several times, as his tenth birthday draws nearer.

So Alyssa, if you’re doing your own laundry successfully, be very proud of yourself! (Even if some days it doesn’t seem to go as well as others.) And too bad we don’t live nearer one another; sounds like you and Brayden would get along very well.

Dear Liz,

Dear Liz in Sumner,

I’m pretty bad in geography, so I had to double check when looking up the facility, also, but Arkansas is the state due east (that’s on the right, right?) of Oklahoma. The resort we stayed at was a six-hour drive for me, although it became seven and a half thanks to the ice storm that hit (naturally, why wouldn’t it?) while I was driving there. More on that later.

Dear Monica H,

Dear Monica H,

Well, while I appreciate the sentiment, I have to say thanks but no thanks to the offer of meeting half-way at a spa for a massage. Not sure if you’re aware, but I’m pretty much a touch-me-not. The idea of lying naked on a table so someone I don’t know can rub my flabby body with warm oil while candles are burning and monk music is chanting in the background is about as appealing to me as sitting through the entire Michael Moore movie collection with nothing but moldy frog legs for a snack. But hey, if you ever want to meet half way for shopping and lunch, then I’m your girl.

Thursday, January 24, 2008

Will and Will Not

Starting tomorrow morning at 5am; What my weekend WILL contain:




*A cabin at a lake at a vacation resort in Arkansas


*MY music on the car radio


*Catered meals

*Possibly even a nap


*Diet Dr Pepper by the bucket-load

*Some much-needed estrogen therapy

*Did I mention chocolate?

Starting tomorrow at 5am, what my weekend will NOT contain:



*Cleaning (perhaps not even myself, depending on how lazy I get)

*Chauffeuring the small people around

*Homework projects

*Any television shows on any of the following channels: Disney, Nick, NickJr, NickTeen, Cartoon Network, Discovery Kids, PBS, ABC Family, etc. Also not any Military Channel, I'm just saying.

*Painting Rental Property or cleaning rental property or working on rental propery in any fashion

*Updating this blog

In the meantime, feel free to take the next three days to leave me a note, suggestion, or question in the comment section. You’re at liberty to ask anything you want, although there’s no guarantee I’ll answer it, especially if it’s scathingly personal, like how much do I weigh. In fact, perhaps instead of a question forum, I should just ask all of you to leave your best dieting tips. Especially after the weekend of rabid chocolate frenzy-ish indulgence I plan on having.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Eddie Who?

Yesterday, I took the kids to the public library after school so Kellen could look up a book for an upcoming “I Love My Country” report due in school. He had to select one famous American veteran to report on and have at least two different sources of information for the report. Kellen selected (with much persuasion by Blaine) Audie Murphy --- we had pulled an article off the internet (how fabulous is that Wikipedia guy, anyway?) and I thought a copy of Mr. Murphy’s war memoir To Hell and Back would make a great second source.

Unfortunately, I couldn’t remember the actual title of the book --- and did you know, they don’t have those big card catalogs in the library anymore? Now it’s all on computer, but I’m such a dinosaur I didn’t know which set of computers was which, or how to access the software, and then I couldn’t figure out what the second number was for (whatever happened to the good ole’ Dewey Decimal system???) so by the time I found the book on the aisle, it had turned into quite an adventure.

I was telling Blaine about it at dinner because I felt so stupid at the library, having to ask the librarian for help not once, not twice, but three different times. Blaine asked, “What book were you looking for?” and I replied, “To Hell and Back, but I wasn’t sure if it would be non-fiction, or autobiography, or biography, or history, or what. I finally just did a search for Audie Murphy until it showed up.”

At which point Kendrie said, “Eddie Murphy? What was *he* doing in the war?”

And I laughed and said, “No, honey, not Eddie Murphy, a man named AUDIE Murphy. He was a WWII veteran and hero and that’s who Kellen is doing his report on.”

And Kendrie looked at me and smiled, and said, “Oh, thank goodness, I was just fixing to ask you ….”

And I sat, and waited, for whatever cute, adorable thing was going to come out of her mouth, maybe about the donkey from Shrek, or Dr. Doolittle, or whatever precious, precious, precious comment she was going to make, when she continued ….

“If they had a BIG MOMMA’S HOUSE in the war!” and then she cracked herself up.

Of course, what makes it even funnier is that it wasn’t even Eddie Murphy in that movie, it was Martin Lawrence. My poor, confused white child.

(Susan and Jeanette, you might have guessed it, she said she learned about the movie from Kobi!)

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Home Improvement

I like our new house. I really do. In fact, if you remember, I went so far as to admit that after the stress of trying to get into this school district, and trying to live in something that wouldn’t qualify as section-8, that I burst into tears of relief when I found out our bid was accepted and we got it.

Do I love our new house? Love, love, love it with all of my heart and want to marry it? No. No partly because I am a bitter hag who wanted to build my own house with my own floor plans on our own acre of land outside the school district and I just can’t let go of the dream and get over it and instead I’ll nurse this burning ember of a grudge until the day I die …… and partly because this house isn’t anything like what we **would have** built ourselves.

The previous owners (who I am totally NOT going to bag on because although I don’t know them personally, we do have quite a few mutual friends and I just KNOW anything negative I might say would get right back to them …. Such is the joy of living in a small town**) bought this house in its original state, and remodeled it and added on to get something bigger; something a little more modern. The realtor told us they tore it down to the studs ….. the neighbor told me they didn’t. I don’t know which story is true, but overall, they managed to build a lovely home; it’s only four years old, and we are enjoying it very much.

But --- {you knew there would be a but, didn’t you?} There are parts of this house that possibly worked better for their family of three than for our family of five. The longer we are in it, the more things I see that are or are not working for us. And therefore, we have a laundry list of work we would like to eventually do to the place ourselves. Some projects are very small … a few are medium …. And a few are big. Can we live comfortably here in the meantime? Yes, easily, although I will bitch until my dying day that there is not one of those up and down shelves in the kitchen to easily store cookie and baking sheets. You know what I’m talking about? So instead I have to stack them horizontally on top of one another and it’s really heavy and awkward to pull out your muffin pan, or pizza baking stone, or whatever, because no matter which one you want it is inevitably on the bottom underneath all the others which you then have to drag out as well, such is Murphy’s Law …. (see Small House Renovation Project #1: Build Vertical Shelf Cabinet Area Thing in Kitchen to stack cookie sheets the proper way.)

One of the first, if not THE first, project we will undertake (code for: when we get the money) is the bedroom the girls are sharing. Interestingly, despite its size, this is only a 2-bedroom house. Both bedrooms are big, but one is the downstairs master and one is the upstairs bedroom that the girls are sharing. Kellen is sleeping in the storage room, although when I show you pictures of it, you won’t think it’s quite as pathetic as it sounds, and please don’t call Child Protective Services until I have a chance to explain.

Back to the girls. They are not happy sharing a room. And although they have plenty of space, you know what? I don’t blame them. I hated sharing a room with my sister growing up, too. We also had a room that my parents had added on to, so it was nice-sized, but we got on each other’s nerves and in each other’s space and in each other’s THINGS. The next-to-the-final-straw was the day I went to school and saw her best friend Stephanie with a cute shirt on, and I said, “Hey, Stephanie, cute shirt! I have one just like it!” and she smiled and said, “I know, this is yours.” The final, FINAL straw was the day that her boyfriend came to school wearing my most prized possession, a concert t-shirt from the 1984 Adam Ant Goody Two Shoes tour, that he had the audacity to CUT THE SLEEVES OUT OF, what kind of jackass cuts the sleeves off a concert t-shirt that doesn’t even BELONG TO HIM!?!?!? (Why no, I'm not still holding a grudge, why do you ask?) THAT was the day I decided I needed my own space, and ultimately, why if our girls really want their own rooms, we will try our best to make it happen. And I think the room they are in now is big enough that we can make it work. Here, you judge for yourselves:

See? Plenty of space for the girls to hang out, just reading books** (**photo totally staged) and relax.

Lots of space, the whole of one wall, for racks and shelves for clothing and shoes.

In fact, I have both their summer and winter clothes hanging here, and plenty of room left over. No more Rubbermaid bins of off-season clothes out in the garage for us! (Thank goodness, too, because how much of a hassle is that? And you always seem to get a cold front or warm front the day AFTER you swap out the clothes, you know what I mean?? And then you’re out there digging through the bins for something to wear …. Such a headache.)

There’s also enough room that they each have their own dresser for underwear, pajamas, swimsuits, etc.

And even another wall of shelves for things like books, trophies, hats, stuffed animals, etc. Really, whatever they might want to fit in here for the two of them. Yep, lots and lots of room for their stuff in this bedroom.

Wait, what’s that you say? This doesn’t look like a bedroom? There’s something missing????

OH, you mean like BEDS!?!?!?!?!?

Yeah, well, that’s because ---- (are you ready for this?) That’s because this is their CLOSET. Their closet, which I swear on the latest Jodi Piccoult, is 14 x 11 and is bigger than the entire bedroom either of them had in our previous house. In fact, I think it might be bigger than MY bedroom in the previous house.

You want to see the actual bedroom?

THIS is the actual bedroom! The door on the back far right is the door to the closet.

22 x 20 feet of emptiness, because my two girls combined don’t have enough crap to fill it up. Which I guess is a good thing, right? This is Brayden’s “side” ….

… and this is Kendrie’s “side”, although when you’re dealing with a room this size, it sounds silly to be dibbing on which “side” is yours.

And this is the view of the bedroom from the closet door. Sadly, I don’t have a wide-angle lens on my camera so I’m not sure these pictures will even do justice to the space.

And of course, that’s not including the full bath that is opposite the closet.

Our initial plan was to just put a partition down the middle of the room, with both ends open, so each girl could easily walk to the closet or bathroom, but still have their privacy. But then we realized that would simply make it two long skinny rooms, and we would still have all that extra closet space.

So now we’re leaning more towards taking out the wall to the closet and making two distinct rooms, so each girl can have her own bedroom. And making another door at the far end of the bathroom, so Kendrie could get to the bathroom without having to walk through Brayden’s room.

So I guess technically I’m not sure if this qualifies as a medium project, or a large project. It’s large-scale, to be sure, but overall I don’t think it would be Toooooo complicated (said the girl who can’t even hang a picture straight) since it wouldn’t involve any plumbing, and not much electrical. It’s basically nothing more than moving a few walls, adding a few doorways, and building closets in each room since the “old” closet would now be part of a “new” room. Clear as mud?

I don’t know … what do you think? Any home-improvement gurus out there with a suggestion on how we can maximize this space, without wasting any of it? I’d love to hear from you.

Until then, I’ll be in the kitchen, grumbling about my cookie sheets.


**I went to a funeral yesterday. A friend (and classmate my entire life) mother passed away and while I know a funeral is not the proper place or time for old-school reunions, both my 4th grade and 5th grade teachers were there -- And my junior high counselor -- And many parents of friends of mine. And my fifth grade teacher said of course she remembered me, I was the young girl with the beautiful blonde hair, and I said yes, but that was thirty years ago and I have to pay for the blond now and quite frankly, I’m not sure she got the joke --- but my gosh, how cool is it to live in a small town???

Sunday, January 20, 2008

How to get kicked out of your new Sunday School Class in 34 easy lessons

1. Join the biggest adult Sunday School class at your new {old} church, one with well over a hundred members, and feel slightly intimidated because dude, that’s more people than you had in the entire congregation at your last church, but the best thing to do to make friends is just dive right in and get involved, right?

2. To that end, sign up to bring donuts your fifth week there in a desperate, “Pick me, pick me; we want to make friends!” kind of way.

3. Vow to take four dozen of the sparkliest, sprinkliest, icingest donuts ever made, to impress upon everyone how much fun you are and what an asset you will be to the class.

4. Find a “Buy one dozen, get one dozen free” coupon from Krispy Kreme -- score!

5. Decide not to buy the donuts the night before the Sunday School class because you don’t want them to be all stale and nasty for all your newfound {Oh, geez, I hope they like us} friends.

6. Wake up this morning a few minutes early, allowing time to drive to Krispy Kreme and purchase donuts before Sunday School.

7. Get online; google nearest Krispy Kreme.

8. Discover nearest Krispy Kreme is almost half an hour away from your house. Revise plans.

9. Two of the human pets in your house have overslept --- tell husband you can handle things and he and oldest child should go on to church. You will get two younger children ready, go to local donut shop (sadly, no coupons) and then meet at Sunday School.

10. Get agitated at children when they are not ready on time because they are too busy lying around on the sofa moaning about how they don’t want to get up and go to church because “I’m too tired -- I’m still sleepy -- I’m cold" -- ad nauseam.

11. Leave house five minutes later than intended, but still feel confident in your plan because local donut shop is only five minutes from your house.

12. Discover local donut shop is not open on Sunday mornings.

13. Shit --- holy shit!

14. Ooops, can’t say shit, you’re on your way to Sunday School.

15. Drive to second nearest local donut shop, which is apparently also closed on Sundays. Realize Sunday School starts in twenty minutes. Start to sweat. Officially freak out.

16. Nine-year old child in back seat pipes up with suggestion to go to gas station and purchase, “those little round white donuts with the powder all over them.”

17. Thank the good Lord your nine-year old is a genius because you wouldn’t have thought of that yourself.

18. Drive to nearest 7-11 and discover they don’t sell those little round white donuts with the powder all over them. Have another moment of freaked-out panic sweating because good grief, they are expecting us in class with donuts for everyone!

19. But Ah-ha! They DO have a donut case at 7-11 with actual real live donuts in them!!!

20. For a dollar apiece.

21. Revise four-dozen donut plan down to a dozen and a half.

22. Ask 7-11 worker for donut box big enough for eighteen donuts.

23. Stuff eighteen donuts into a tacky plastic bag because that is only thing they have available.

24. While stuffing, several donuts stick to tray and tear in half which leads to suspicion that these are day-old donuts.

25. While paying for day-old, crappy, stale donuts, which will certainly not endear you to your new Sunday School classmates, realize you only have ten minutes to get to the church. Notice soda fountain, which contains dispenser for DDP. Do the quick math. Decide the risk of being late to class, with crappy day-old donuts, is worth the DDP fix that you so desperately need at this point.

26. Drive like a maniac back to the church (little old blue-haired lady in the crosswalk? WHAT little old blue-haired lady?) and discover one, single, solitary, FRONT-ROW parking space --- score again!

27. Breathe sigh of relief because you’ve made it to church on time.

28. Deliver crappy day-old donuts in ugly plastic bag to Sunday School class, apologizing to anyone who will listen for being such a loser.

29. Realize you should just shut the fuck up because nobody cares.

30. Don’t say fuck, you’re in Sunday School.

31. Panic that donuts might really be a day old, so take one to sample, despite the fact you don’t even like donuts.

32. Eat donut, drink DDP, and be completely unable to concentrate on lesson due to sugar rush.

33. Acknowledge that all new classmates assume you are a tightwad, low-class, unorganized, caffeine junkie who has no business trying to make new friends, especially in a Godly arena.

34. Wonder if the Sunday School class next door has any openings.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Kendrie Strikes Again

Kendrie: "Here, Mom, I drew a picture for you and Daddy."

Kristie: "Oh, honey, that’s nice! Thank you .... I love it!"

Kendrie: "See, it’s me and you and him standing on a hill with rainbows around us and love in our hearts."

Kristie: "Why yes, I can see. That’s me on the left -- thank you for drawing Mommy so skinny. And you in the middle, and Daddy on the other side. But why did you make Daddy’s hair so long? And black? He doesn’t have black hair."

Kendrie: "Yeah, but I couldn’t find a gray marker."

Friday, January 18, 2008

Definitely, Fasten Your Seat Belts

Thursday’s exciting schedule of events:

Take kids to school.

Pay bills.

Lunch with my mom. (Actually, pretty much the highlight of the day because I talked her into going for ice cream afterwards.)

Wait for guy at rent house to do trim work on the new floors, who never showed up, which sort of surprises me because up until this point they have been Johnny-On-The-Spot about whatever time they said.

Pick kids up from school.

PTO meeting.

Whew! See what I mean? I’m so dull that at the rate this is going, I’ll be a matte finish by the end of the month.

I did have one giggle yesterday, though. I took Kendrie to the doctor earlier this week because she’s been complaining (again) about stomach pains. You might remember last summer she was diagnosed with a case of strep that had caused some gastritis and put on Zantac. She had started complaining again about two weeks ago and the Zantac we were giving her here wasn’t doing the trick, so I took her to see her new pediatrician. Anyway, blah blah blah, not exactly sure what’s wrong, but he gave her a new prescription for a drug that helps with stomach cramps. When I looked it up on the internet (why yes, I do have my medical degree from the School of Google) it said the medication was an “anti-spasmodic.”

Ha! My daughter is a spaz!

Yes, I know. It’s the best I’ve got right now. {shaking head shamefully}

A few of you have asked for photos … maybe this weekend I’ll take a picture of me doing laundry, or cleaning the toilets, since even that would be more interesting than the drivel I’ve been typing the past few days. Please bear with me. Hopefully I'll get my mo-jo back soon.

Wait, what exactly *is* mo-jo? And did I ever have any to begin with?

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Too Much Excitement for Most of You

Because I am Mother of the Year, and so very, very involved, and because I want my children to always remember what a ball of laughs I was while they were growing up, and how much fun and joy we had together, I went upstairs with them after dinner last night and we played Dance Dance Revolution together on the Wii for an hour and a half.

Well, ok, technically I didn’t really *battle* them or anything, but I sat up there with them and cheered them on and encouraged them.

Well, ok, technically it wasn’t so much *cheering* as it was just watching and murmuring positive comments.

And if I’m being totally honest I have to confess that yes, about half an hour into it I laid down on the sofa and fell asleep.

So that when I woke up an hour later, Kellen was the only one left, determined to conquer the next level on “You Spin Me Right Round Baby” and Brayden and Kendrie had given up asking me to watch them and gone back downstairs to be with Blaine.

Oh, I don’t know. Do you think maybe it’s time to have my thyroid level checked, and see if perhaps we could bump up my dosage of Synthroid, so I quit falling asleep on the sofa after dinner like an 80-yr old grandpa?

And also, why I’m having a hard time thinking of things to blog about since I am DULL. AS. SHIT.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Vanity is the new Irony

My old house had a built-in vanity in the bathroom. I am lazy, and I am vain, so I liked very much getting to sit down each morning to apply my makeup and fix my hair in front of a well-lit mirror.

This house --- does not.

So I bought a writing desk to put in my bedroom, to use as a vanity. To apply my make up and fix my hair and make myself beautiful each morning.

Then I bought a mirror to put on the desk, so I could watch myself apply my make up and fix my hair and make myself beautiful.

Then I bought a new chair to sit at the new desk and look in the new mirror and apply my make up and fix my hair and make myself beautiful.

The chair was too high. I couldn’t see in the mirror without scrunching down like a little old lady with bad posture.

So Blaine took the covered ends off each of the chair legs, cut off a few inches of each of the chair legs, and tried to put the plastic coverings back on the ends. But they were a tight fit and wouldn’t go back on easily. And his hammer was way far away in the garage. So he grabbed my hairbrush and started banging.

So that the chair would be the right height, so I could sit at my new vanity, and look in my new mirror, and apply my make up and fix my hair and make myself beautiful each day.

The hair brush was apparently not an adequate replacement for a hammer. It snapped in half while he was pounding on the chair legs.

So now, I have a new vanity, and a new mirror, and a new chair. And un-brushed hair every day because I can’t remember to go to the store and buy a new brush. And much like the hairbrush was not an adequate replacement for the hammer, my fingers are not an adequate replacement for the hairbrush.

Un-brushed hair? After a few days?

Is not so beautiful.

I look like a bush.

So much for vanity.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Freudian Snack

Kristie: "Kendrie, I just went to the grocery store today -- I'm sure you can find *something* in the pantry to eat."

Kendrie: "But, mom, you didn't buy any of the vagina sausages that I like!"


Kristie: "Do you mean Vienna sausages?"

Kendrie: "Yeah, whatever."

Saturday, January 12, 2008


Where's that US State?

So, what's your time?

(PS. 3:42 the second time. But it's really not nice to gloat when you beat your nine-year old son, is it?)

Friday, January 11, 2008

Another Funny Wedding Ring Story. If Being Called a Fat-Ass is Funny to You. Because Whoo-Boy, it Sure is To Me!

When I got pregnant with Kellen, I gained 60 pounds. (No, that’s not a typo. Six-zero.) I lost fifty of them before getting pregnant with Kendrie. Then gained those fifty back when I was pregnant with her. Why no, I don’t suffer from morning sickness or nausea; how did you guess?

While pregnant with Kellen, my hands got so fat (along with every other cell in my body) that I had to quit wearing my wedding ring. Same thing when I was pregnant with Kendrie. But after she was born, I don’t know if my finger joints had permanently puffed up, or if the stubborn ten …. fifteen …. OK, TWENTY pounds I still had hanging around was making the difference, but I couldn’t get my wedding ring back on my finger, no matter how much hand lotion or spit I used. (That’s a lovely image, isn’t it?)

So I finally caved and went down to have my ring stretched. Or expanded. Or whatever it is they do to make them bigger. And while the lady at the jewelry store was nice, I’ll admit I was self-conscious and a little embarrassed about it. Who wants to make the public confession that they’ve gotten so much fatter, even in the fingers, that their jewelry doesn’t fit?

Then, like being mortified by my fat-ness in front of one employee wasn’t enough, when I went back later to pick the ring up, there was a different girl working. She handed me the ring to try on, and asked me if it fit better. This is the conversation that followed:

Her: Does it feel better?

Me: Yes, actually, much better. I can at least get it past the knuckle now.

Her: Were you having it sized up or sized down?

Me: Oh, sized up. (feeling self-conscious, so doing that stupid self-deprecating thing that I do) I guess that’s what happens when you’ve gotten pregnant twice only eight months apart …. Your fingers get bigger and you need to get bigger rings (embarrassed laughter)

Her: Well, I suppose. But after you have this one, you’ll just have to get it sized back down again.

Have this one? HAVE this one? Did I mention that I had already HAD the baby? Like, THREE MONTHS earlier????

So, needless to say, since I was already at the mall, I called Blaine and told him I was going shopping. For clothes that did a better job of hiding my post-baby tummy. Sadly, it’s been eight years and I’m still searching the racks. (sigh)

Thursday, January 10, 2008

With This Ring …..

A year or two ago, after Blaine had radiation, he went through this weird sort of “swollen” phase. His hands, his fingers; even his feet and ankles. For months and months, pretty much, he looked like me at about eight months pregnant. And while we could laugh at the indentions around his ankles that his socks would leave, he did hate the fact that he had to stop wearing his wedding ring. He hadn’t gained any weight (which is the reason why *my* wedding ring doesn’t fit me anymore, and why now I just wear my anniversary band on my left hand) but still, that twenty-year old ring wouldn’t go even past his knuckle. And I guess maybe the joints expanded or something, because even after the swelling finally went away, the ring still didn’t fit.

He asked for a new wedding band for Christmas this year, so that’s what I bought him. He had been carrying his old band around, attached to his key chain. After he got the new ring he took the old ring off the key chain and set it on the windowsill under the kitchen window. He mentioned casually that he didn’t know what to do with the old ring, and I said to definitely keep it, that I might like to wear it on a chain sometime. Which sparked the following conversation:

Kendrie: Well, can I have it?

Blaine: What do you want my old wedding ring for?

Kendrie, in total seriousness: To give to Nicholas.

Blaine (practically snorted with laughter): No, you can not have my first wedding ring to give to Nicholas!

Kendrie: Well, then, could you take me shopping so I can get him a new ring?

Kristie: Kendrie, why do you want to buy him a ring? Isn’t that sort of a grown-up gift?

Blaine: No, honey, I don’t think you need to send Nicholas a ring, new OR old.

Kendrie paused, and just looked at us like we had no good common sense, before replying: Mom, Dad, he’s READY for Phase Two!

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Off to a Great Start

Sorry for the lack of updates the past two days, but the vast majority of my time has been spent at our rent house. Yesterday, from 8:30 in the morning (floor guy) until 10:30 at night (cabinet guy). Since I can’t paint while they are sanding the floors, I spent the vast majority of the day sitting in a lawn chair in the master bedroom, watching “The 40-yr old Virgin” and “Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants” on our portable DVD player and re-reading Outlander by Diana Gabaldon. I did leave long enough today to have lunch with my mom, though, and Blaine took the evening shift tonight to give me a break. Although sitting alone at the rent house while big burly men work is a lot easier than being in the “real” house and having to get these three hooligans bathed and in bed at a decent time.

On another note, I began the New Year with the plan to eat healthier and be more active. So, by sitting down, watching movies and reading all day, I think my EYE muscles are going to be good and strong. I’m definitely accomplishing at least one of my goals. And who cares that my mother introduced me to the goodness that is fried green beans today -- have you ever *had* fried green beans? No? Then trust me, you should get you some. I’m pretty sure that the healthy-ness of the vegetable cancels out the bad-ness of the fried and that the bean juice will help unclog my arteries.

Yeeeeeaaaahhhhh. Diet. And exercise.

I’m off to a rollickin’ good start, aren’t I?

Sunday, January 06, 2008

The only thing …

The only thing more grueling than trying to keep three high-energy kids entertained during a too-cold-to-play-outside-for-most-of-it Christmas Break with nothing but a paint roller for company?

The anticipation of getting them up at 6:30 am for their first day back to school.

It’s 10 pm now, and they are still going strong upstairs. I hear running. I hear squealing. I hear laughing. I hear yelling. Their’s, and Blaine’s.

Lord, deliver me from tomorrow morning. Thank you in advance.

Saturday, January 05, 2008

Blaine’s turn for a nervous breakdown

The scene: Our bedroom, this evening.

The prop in question: The writing desk I just purchased.

The conditions: Blaine’s hair, standing on end. Well, if he had enough to stand on end, that is.

Blaine: No, of course I don’t **mind** putting it together for you. It’s just that it’s never as easy as they say it's going to be. This is the third or fourth piece of some-assembly-required furniture that you’ve bought since we moved here. It takes, like, all day to put them together, and it never makes sense, and I always wind up with an extra bracket or a missing screw or a piece of the instruction booklet is torn out, or something! This shit makes me crazy!

Kristie: Well, I’m sure it will look great when it’s done; you always do a really good job.

Blaine: Yeah, if I don’t lose my mind first.

Kristie: Hopefully this one will go smoothly and will only take a short time.

Blaine: Uh-huh. And maybe MONKEYS will fly out of my butt.

Kristie: Well, when they do, hand them a hammer and a screwdriver and tell them to get cracking.

I am not qualified to be a landlord. Or a parent. Or a homeowner. Or probably even a human being at this point.

You know, normally I pride myself on my optimistic attitude. Normally I don’t get bogged down by silly stuff and can see the bright side of things. *Normally* I consider myself a relatively cheerful person. But I must admit, the past six weeks or so I’ve been feeling a little overwhelmed.

The move, living with my mom for a week, setting up the new house, trying to ready the rent house, getting the kids in their new school right off the bat, trying to merge my “old” Oklahoma life with my “current” life, and then just about the time I felt I was coming up for air, the holidays fell on my head. None of these things are bad or stressful or evil by themselves, just that you add them all together and I’ve been running around like a chicken with my head cut off, busy all the time, yet feeling like a total loser because my “to-do” pile is consistently bigger than my “already done” pile, no matter how hard I work. It sort of hit an apex this week when Blaine was sick because instead of using this Christmas Break as an opportunity to get lots done like I planned, well, I’d look over at him, huddled under a blanket, alternately shivering freezing and then burning up and then getting up to puke, and good wife that I am, I just felt like, “Geez Louise! One more #*(&$#(*& thing to take care of!!” (Yes, he is one lucky man, isn’t he?)

I hate whiners, and yesterday I decided I was tired of listening to myself whine about it. About my life, and the stress in it. (Waaaah. What a baby. Was my kid diagnosed with cancer today? No? Then it was NOT a stressful day, is all I need to remind myself.) So I decided to get up today and make a fresh start --- mainly with my attitude. As long as I accomplish *something* every day, then it will eventually all get done, right? And I’m going to feel good about it in the meantime.

We needed a new cable outlet in our living room, and had Cox scheduled to come to the house this morning between 8am and 10am. I set my alarm for early enough that by the time he showed up at 8:30, I had already made a triple batch of chocolate chip pancakes and done two loads of laundry. Pretty good start, eh?

Then, the minute he was done, I loaded up the kids and drove to the rent house, where I met with the “handyman” I hired and discussed the work I want done. (OK, to clarify, the work I *can afford* to have done at this time.) But he seemed very competent and pleasant and receptive to my ideas, so when we were finished, I was feeling pretty damn smug about myself.

I had planned a bowling outing for my kids and let them invite a few classmates in an attempt to help them make friends here at their new school. So two moms that I don’t even know were meeting us at the bowling alley at noon sharp to take advantage of the free bowling passes that were given out on the last day before Christmas break started.

We had exactly enough time to make it to Home Depot and purchase a new medicine cabinet before going to the bowling alley … exactly. And not wasting a minute of time fell right in line with my new “Total Efficiency Time Management Strategy” Since I was on a roll and wanted today to be as productive as possible, off we went.

Walked in, found the precise size and color cabinet I needed, paid for it, walked out, and BLAM!!! The Oklahoma wind, which was blowing at about thirty degrees below zero and at about a bazillion miles per hour today, slammed into the cabinet, flipped it out of my cart, and the mirror shattered all over the Home Depot parking lot.

It was one of those slow-motion moments, where I could see the cabinet falling, and tried to catch it with my foot (the hell? What was I thinking? Do I have, like, a bionic foot?) A lady several parking spaces over saw what happened, looked me right in they eye, and said, “Wow, that sucked.” Yeah, thanks.

So I picked up as many broken shards of glass as I could, as the wind was whipping the curse words in an icy frenzy around my head, and then traipsed the entire length of the parking lot because for some reason I don’t understand, you have to walk IN one end of Home Depot and walk OUT the complete other end, so I had to carry that broken medicine cabinet (did I mention HEAVY broken medicine cabinet, despite my freakishly strong arm muscles??) all the way to the other end. I tried desperately to find a way to blame it on my children, but no, it was just the wind, and the fact that I’m too moronic to securely place things properly in the cart.

Kudos to Home Depot, they offered to let me change out the cabinet for a new one, no charge. I looked the customer service lady right in the eye and said, “But you understand there was nothing wrong with this one except the fact I’m a LOSER who broke it??” and she kindly said, “I’ll get one of the guys to help you get the new one loaded in your car.” Now how nice was that?

Except, we were now running a little short on time. And I had apparently bought the very last 30x30 surface mounting tri-fold mirror with white edging medicine cabinet they had. Oh, wait. Except for that one waaaaaaaaayyyyyyyyyyyyy up on the very tippy-top shelf, so they had to drag that motorized ladder from another part of the store in order to reach it.

And we were now officially late for the bowling alley.

Despite the fact I made a terrible first impression by asking these moms to meet me, then not showing up on time, they were both still waiting for me in the parking lot, free passes in hand. Free passes to the WRONG bowling alley, because I didn’t look closely enough and just assumed I was telling them the right alley. Because I’m a mirror-breaking moron.

So I loaded up their kids in my van and drove everyone to the correct bowling alley, telling the other moms that we’d eat lunch at the bowling alley, then bowl a few games, then I’d bring the kids home. I drove all the kids there, got out of the van, traipsed into the bowling alley, and discovered the restaurant doesn’t open until dinner time. So right back out to the parking lot we went, because I am a mirror-breaking, bowling-alley-protocol moron.

I took all the kids to what might have been the slowest working Burger King on the planet, but after a while, we had all been served, had eaten, and were ready to hit the lanes. Finally!

Kellen and his friend decided they didn’t want to use the bumpers, while Brayden, Kendrie, and Kendrie’s little friend did. Oh, did I mention that Brayden was already pouting because we had invited three school friends to go with her and none of them were available? She kept going on and on about how “I’m the only one here without a friend!” and I wanted to say, “What about your brother and sister? Don’t they count for anything?” Hoping things would calm down once everyone got shoes that fit (dear heavens, is that a trial all of its own or what!?!?) I put myself on a non-bumper lane with the boys, and Brayden and the two younger ones on the lane next to us, WITH bumpers.

Now, my kids enjoy bowling. They really, truly like it. But this was the first time Kellen had ever chosen to bowl without bumpers, and once he realized how much he sucked, the scowling began in earnest. By the fifth frame, when he had bowled seven gutters and had a total score of 19, he declared bowling was the stupidest game ever and he wasn’t doing it anymore. And sat down, crossed him arms across his chest, and refused to go again. When I FORCED him to finish the game, because hello, you have a GUEST here, and you are acting like a 2-yr old baby and embarrassing both yourself AND ME, he began just flinging the ball down the lane willy-nilly, not even trying, not even standing there long enough to see if he knocked any pins down. Just rolling the ball and walking back to his seat immediately with a big huge ugly pout on his face. (I’m sure if my mom is reading this, she’s laughing to herself because apparently I was a big pouter in my younger years, too. And if Blaine reads this, he’ll laugh because he says I still pout now.)

Then Brayden got beat by an 8-yr old, which really made her mad, and then Kendrie got tired and started laying down between frames. I had to admit that the only two kids acting properly were the two friends we had along, and my own children were not only embarrassing the hell out of me, but perhaps are candidates for youth boarding school. Abroad. Or, a swift kick in the ass. Either one would have been fine with me.

Then Kellen’s friend wanted to go play arcade games and I had to tell him no, because no way was I going to let him go by himself, and even bigger no way was I going to reward Kellen’s shitty behavior with money for pinball. And the longer I sat there, and watched my kids act like brats, the clearer it became that perhaps Blaine and I should have simply bought an iguana or something ten years ago instead of trying this parenting gig, at which I am so undoubtedly failing.

Finally the bowling was over, and I drove the other kids home. Riding back to our house, I lectured all the way (because we all know how much attention my kids were really paying to my rambling, right?) about how it will be a cold day in Hell before I plan anything fun for them if that’s how they’re going to act, and blah blah blah, their eyeballs were rolling back up in their heads.

Then we arrived home, I opened the garage door, still lecturing, and realized that in my rush, I didn’t pull the door closed securely enough when we left that morning. So now, the back door has been open all day, and I’ve paid good money to heat the double-car garage. Greeeeaaaaat.

That’s when it hit me. I’m too klutzy to be a good home-improvement landlord. Too easily frustrated to be a parent. And too irresponsible to be a homeowner.

Maybe I should just buy LOTS of iguanas, and try iguana farming.

Oh well, to quote Scarlett, after all, tomorrow is, another day. I’ll just keep trying, until I get it right. Or until I give the hell up and move to someplace where no-one owns a home or has any children, because that might be the only place on earth I’m qualified to live. With my iguanas.

Thursday, January 03, 2008

Not his fault

I feel like I should point out, in Blaine’s defense, that he was interested in hiring a painter right from the get-go for the rent house. *I* was the one who was all, “Hey, let me! I’m pretty handy, and I’ll save us all kinds of money, and Vern Yip makes it look so easy --- it will be FUN!” And for the most part, it has been fun. Just slightly annoying because I so drastically underestimated how long it would take, and how many coats it would take, plus add in a loss of electricity due to an ice storm which slowed me down by almost a week, and a husband who caught the flu or a stomach bug or *something* on New Years Eve and JUST stopped puking TODAY and who for goodness’ sake expected all sorts of unreasonable things like for me to pour him Sprite and bring him Saltines really, the nerve, didn’t he know I had painting to do???? …… and so bottom line, the painting is not going to be done when the guys come to put in the new floors on Monday like I had hoped.

Other than *THAT*, it’s been fun.

And while I still haven’t caved and called a painter (although dudes and dudettes, the ceilings? Seriously? I rolled the bathroom ceiling with primer tonight and my GOD am I out of shape, even with my freakishly overdeveloped shoulder muscles there is no WAY I am doing the entire rest of the house … funny, when we were thinking about living in it, the house seemed so tiny, and now that I’m painting it, it’s a freaking mansion is all I’m saying) I do have a handyman coming to give me an estimate on replacing the bathroom cabinet and sink tomorrow, and an electrician coming next week to replace all the lighting, and honestly, there’s a wee bit of light at the end of the tunnel and I am SO extremely hopeful for the final outcome.

Whew! Pictures to follow, whether you want them or not.

And for now, I think I'll shut up about it.

In the meantime, in an effort to not let our entire Christmas Break be a wash, I promised the kids I would take them bowling tomorrow. As you might remember, we don't always have the best of luck bowling. So wish us luck, 'kay?

Wednesday, January 02, 2008

The Ugly Voice of Reason

Blaine: “All I’m saying is that it’s taking a really long time, and maybe we should explore some other options. ”

Kristie: “Wah-wah-wah” (imagine the sound of the teacher voice in the Charlie Brown movies.)

Blaine: “Well, no, just that we both thought you’d be done by now. At least with the first coat.”

Kristie: Charlie Brown voice.

Blaine: “Yes, I *know* that it’s not your fault that the kids are off on Christmas Break and don’t want to spend every day there. It’s also not your fault that the Home Depot guy was all liar liar pants on fire about the paint and primer and now it’s taking longer because you’re having to do three and four coats …. It’s just that, well …..”

Kristie: Charlie Brown voice.

Blaine: “I would help you if I could, but I can hardly take off work from my brand new job to do it during the day.”

Kristie: slightly cranky Charlie Brown voice

Blaine: “Of COURSE I think you’re doing a wonderful job --- the parts that are finished look great. You’re swell, honest! It’s just that …. Well …. We need to be realistic and weigh the cost vs. the savings.”

Kristie: Charlie Brown voice

Blaine: “You know, compare what we’re saving to what we’re losing. For every week you spend painting, that’s a week we can’t have renters in it, and another week we’re getting no rental income. So in the long run, the savings of not hiring a professional painter, and the time we’re losing, is costing us money.”

Kristie: Charlie Brown voice

Blaine: “No, it’s not that I think a professional painter could do it better, and certainly not with as much love and caring as you’re doing it, just that they would do it ….. well ….. faster. You’re slow.”

Deathly. Still. Total. Mutinous. Silence.

Blaine: “Ow! Ow! Stop hitting me with your freakishly overdeveloped arm muscles!!!”

Tuesday, January 01, 2008

New Years Resolutions

You know, it’s almost too depressing to even write down. Same thing every year ---- lose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, blah blah blah. It’s exhausting, repeating myself like this every year and then dragging around the weight of the guilt and shame of never actually doing it. What? What’s that you say? The weight of shame doesn’t actually WEIGH anything? So dragging it around *isn’t* technically exercise? Well, crap, no wonder I’m not losing anything --- I thought that counted as a cardio activity!

I also vow every New Years that I will try harder to be organized, not let clutter overtake my life, and not be so discouraged by the never-ending piles of laundry. Now that last one, I think I have a handle on this time. Although I was moaning and complaining about the expense of having to buy a brand-new washer and dryer two weeks before Christmas, I can say, after using them for a few weeks, that they are fabulous. I can wash loads twice as big, and dry them in half the time. Plus my utility room is nice sized in this house so I’m not hitting my head on the dryer door when I bend over or bumping my big fat rear against the washer whenever I turn around. In fact, next to my pantry, the utility room might be my favorite room in this house --- I’ll have to share pictures so you guys can truly know the depths of my goober-ness.

But back to the weight thing. As I was stuffing my face last week with all the chocolate and carb-y wonderfulness that is Christmas, I asked myself, “What can I do this year that will be different? That will encourage me to actually stick with a diet and exercise plan past the 2nd of January? That will motivate me to in fact GET ON the treadmill, instead of telling myself that since it’s upstairs, by the time I get up there I’ve already exercised enough?”

Oh, I don’t know. Maybe the fact that this past Sunday, I had to wear maternity pants to church. MATERNITY PANTS. And I’m NOT PREGNANT. I’ve just gained so much weight that none of my dress slacks fit me. All one pair of them, that is. Obviously, I haven’t gone shopping for church clothes in the past twenty pounds few years, and it’s time to either hit the mall, or the gym.

(sigh) You know which one I want to choose, don’t you? Is it that transparent?

In the meantime, I’ve dvr’d The Biggest Loser tonight. I’m going to go sit in the living room, watch tv, and eat all the leftover spice drops from our Gingerbread House Making Extravaganza this afternoon. Hey, if I eat *enough* spice drops, maybe I’ll eventually qualify as a contestant on the show ……

Seriously. I have no idea why I have a weight problem.

Happy New Year to you, too.

PS. I didn’t journal about it because I got completely freaking overwhelmed with the move and the house and the new school and the unpacking and good heavens I’m going to have a nervous breakdown busy with the holidays, but Blaine and I attended the TSO concert last Saturday. I love, love, love that band and normally play their music on my site the entire month of December. However, I think I must have let the domain name where I store my music expire because all of a sudden I can’t upload music or access the site anymore, and quite frankly, I’m so computer-challenged that to sit down and figure it out is more than I can undertake right now. But for a hysterical and VERY TRUE account of the concert, go here and scroll down to her Dec 21st entry. She is right on the money and I laughed the entire time I was reading it.

Now, where are those spice drops?