Santa stop here

Thursday, July 30, 2009

I think I love my husband

Anybody remember the movie with Chris Rock and Kerry Washington: I Think I Love My Wife? Well, that title came to mind yesterday (that would be Tuesday since I’m late posting this blog). I have these days where I’m just overwhelmed with a flood of positive emotions for my life mate. Maybe it was the sight of him standing in the kitchen washing the mountain of dishes when I finally made it back from my mom’s house and the grocery store. I was tired and hungry; and I had a monster headache to boot. (Of course, the water was running constantly for the first 20 minutes after I arrived and was putting away dishes and preparing dinner, and that was driving me completely crazy, but I tried really hard not to say anything! After all, Mike was washing dishes and that’s what matters.) Whenever I’m in one of these euphoric moods, Mike inevitably says or does something to burst that bubble and I revert back to my unappreciative, nagging self oftentimes before I’ve even had the chance to tell him how much I love him and how wonderful I think he is. In other words, these “moments” shall we say are fleeting or short-lived. What is up with that? You’d think it’d be the other way around: my “normal” self would be the loving, dedicated spouse, and the fleeting moments would be characterized by the fussing and nagging. (Actually, in my opinion, there is a lot of love and dedication going on from what I have to put up with on a regular basis--Mike may agree as well.) All of this is to say I realize I complain a lot about Mike, especially in this blog, but he does have some redeeming qualities as well. (Please don’t ask me to name them!) Just as Chris Rock realized when tempted by that scandalous Kerry Washington, I think I love my husband.
07/29/09, cont…
Well, today is supposed to be a day of shopping for Alisa. Her b-day money and gift cards are burning a hole in her pocket. I think she figures she has enough for her hermit crabs, but we’ll hit the clothing stores first. Surely, she will have to add a little to her gift cards and that will reduce her “hermit crab” savings. (I see hermit crabs as something else for me to take care of when she gets tired of having to pay attention to them and feed them and change their water.) I always tell the kids “first things first” in an effort to help them learn to prioritize. We’ll see how the shopping turns out.
For the majority of the day I was busy with food preparation, laundry and dishes (after I brushed down the pool in the light rain, which was actually quite pleasant). It seems that every time I turned around someone was saying they were hungry. I guess in my household summertime is for doing nothing but sitting around thinking of what’s next to eat. Part of the problem is I just went to the grocery store Monday, and the kids feel compelled to eat up everything I bought simply because they know it’s there! It’d be different if they were outdoors playing or engaging in any type of physical activity, but they spend their time on the computer or playing video games—not exactly expending a lot of energy.
Anyway, my day was peppered with phone calls from a very excited Barrett who is counting down the minutes until his vacation officially begins. I lost count after 7 or 8 calls.
Around 4 p.m. the kids & I loaded up and headed to the Parker Uniform store to check out what sizes Alisa will need for next year. Of course, everything is a different size: 32 for the skirt, 14 ½ for the jumper, XXL for the long-sleeve polo shirt, 16 for the blouse and L for the cardigan. Aaron called my attention to the time around 4:50…He was supposed to be at weight training at 5 p.m., and we were in Fort Worth a good 20 minutes from home. I tried to convince him that he would only be a few minutes late, but he decided not to go. It’s too embarrassing to walk in late. The boys were “maxing out” on the weights, and the kids in Aaron’s group would all have to start over with the lower weights to let Aaron work his way up to where they were. I don’t like to be late places, either, but I thought he could at least suit up and hit the gym for part of the workout even if he missed the maxing out part. I didn’t pressure him, though. That was not a battle I felt like fighting.
We delivered X to his dad who was picking us Leyla at Tia & PaPa’s house. Just when I was worried about how to make a clean break without getting Sasha all worked up, her mom showed up to pick her up, too. We left PaPa & Tia to their quiet house and spaghetti & meatballs for dinner and headed for Costco and a girly store called “Justice.”
I ordered some prints from my camera with the 9¢ coupon at Costco. Then we took Alisa across the street to the Highlands to check out Justice. Aaron stayed in the car because the store had “just for girls” across the front doors. They had lots of brightly colored (as in neon) outfits and sparkly stuff any girl would love, but Alisa disappointed at the prices (welcome to the world of shopping, right?). A t-shirt with a silkscreen print cost $24.99, jeans were $29.99. Alisa was determined not to spend more than the $20 on the gift card and refused to put any of her cash with it, which meant slim pickings. She ended up getting jewelry. Earrings were buy 2 get 1 free, so she bought two cards with multiple pairs of studs on each and got a pair of silver hoops for “free.” She has very sensitive ears, and I hope she’s able to wear them. 8 pairs of earrings for $8.99 sounds scary to me, even if the card they’re attached to says “sensitive.” We’ll see about them soon enough I suppose.
We stopped back by Costco to pick up my prints as well as picante sauce and lettuce for tonight’s taco dinner then headed home. I had zero energy by the time we arrived. I really wanted to lie down for about 30 minutes, but it was already getting late. I took out the ground turkey and mixed it with ground beef in a skillet and let that get going while I washed lettuce and gathered the rest of the toppings to chop. I think I was moving in slow motion. There were dishes stacked from dinner, breakfast and lunch, and there was barely any room to maneuver, but I managed to pull it all together. It was after 9:00 p.m. when we finally ate dinner. I spent over an hour in the kitchen for everyone to be practically done eating by the time I sat down to the table with my plate. All I could think of was the movie, A Bug’s Life, when the ants were talking about the grasshoppers: they come, they eat, they leave! The remainder of the evening passed without much incident (of course, it was practically bedtime when we got up from the table). I managed to put away the food and leave the dishes for another time (recurrent problem in this household). I chatted with my sis-in-law (she now has AT&T so cell to cell costs us nothing-woo-hoo!) and read to Alisa until my eyes began closing on their own. I retired for the night around 12:45 a.m.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

July 28, 2009

Don’t you just hate it when you have one of those days when there’s only one crucial thing (as in it is time-sensitive) on your list of things to do, and it’s the only thing that doesn’t get done?! Well, today the one thing I needed to do was renew my library book…yes, the same one I have been trying to read for the past 9 weeks! It was 9:20 p.m. when I remembered (again) that it was due today. I realized it yesterday, and while I was in Hobby Lobby earlier today and the cashier asked what the date was. At the time it was only 5:00-ish and 9:00 seemed a long way off. Then a trip to Alberstons, waiting at the customer service counter for rain checks, returning to Tia’s, gathering up children and returning home took up some more time. Hunger prevailed when I walked in the door with my 8-piece (+2 pieces) fried chicken from Albertson’s. I put away the groceries and hurried to prepare some sides to go with the chicken: mashed potatoes & gravy, green beans, kool-aid. We ate, I returned a couple phone calls and checked e-mails. At 9:00 I got up from the computer to fix ice cream cones for Aaron, Alisa & Xavier & turn on the pool pump & filter. Never did I think of renewing that book the whole while I was online! Oh well, that oversight may have cost me 25¢.
The vast portion of my day was spent putting together a “baby girl” scrapbook for my mom’s friend from Milwaukee who is expecting her first great-grandbaby sometime next month. Mom was telling her friend “Billy” about pre-made scrapbooks where the pages are already decorated, and all you have to do is stick your pictures on it and it looks like you’ve done a ton of work. Naturally, mom got Billy all excited about the prospect, then mom couldn’t find a pre-made book anywhere-not Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, Jo-Ann Fabrics, nada; so guess who was recruited to help her put one together? Well, I agreed to the assignment thinking with the two of us, we should be able to knock it out in a couple of hours. Everything-decorative paper, stickers, letters, etc.-was included in the scrapbook; it just wasn’t assembled. It only had about 3 “sample page” ideas, though. So, mom and I were trying to get creative with the supplies on hand. We had oh so many distractions. Alisa was trying to do an edible fingerpaint (i.e., vanilla pudding with food coloring added) “babysitting” project with Leyla—“Tia, do you have food coloring? Where’s your blender? I need three bowls to mix the color. do you have paper?” Feeding time at the zoo (i.e., lunch time for the kids). Xavier & Aaron were busy feuding over the computer/internet to the point that stricter sanctions had to be imposed. Four-year-old Sasha wanted desperately to help out with the scrapbook, and asked questions every 60 seconds: “Can I glue that? Can I put this sticker on? Can I cut that paper?” When her efforts failed to get her what she wanted, and, furthermore, she was shooed out of the room to “Go play with the ‘big kids’,” she had to change her tack. Then, the issue became the big kids were being mean or refusing to play Barbies or whatever else would warrant a little attention and sympathy. My poor, poor little girl!
The remainder of my day is outlined above. Now, my eyelids are drooping, and I think I’ll turn in soon.
Yesterday, was a “down” kind of day. I have been feeling a lethargy like you wouldn’t imagine. I think I pinpointed the root of the problem when I was “chatting” with a classmate online earlier today. I told her that I feel like I simply don’t have the energy to do anything. A lot of it probably has to do with my diet and activity level (or the lack thereof-too much ice cream, not enough exercise). I can barely manage to get through the “daily grind” sort of stuff like laundry and dishes, let alone the big things around my house that need doing. My focus must now shift to Aaron’s birthday which is right around the corner. By the time it’s over, summer will practically be over as well. I feel all the more depressed because I see that I will be starting yet another semester (one where organization is crucial) with my house in the same state of chaos we’ve all grown accustomed (or resigned) to dealing with. That is not acceptable to me, but feeling depressed doesn’t exactly make one want to jump up and get in gear. On the contrary, depression perpetuates the cycle of nonproductivity: You feel a little blue so you sleep a little more; the more you sleep the less you get done; the less you get done, the more there is to do; the more there is to do, the more overwhelmed and less capable you feel to get stuff done, so you resort to your comfort zone: sleep.
I had decided not to blog because I was mainly going to fill you in on my adventures while grocery shopping in the rain (highlight of my day) and to complain about Mike’s snoring (despite the many expensive gadgets he has to prevent this phenomenon) and my having to sleep on the couch as a result. The good news was with groceries in the house we did eat well. Of course, I had to come in from the rain and prepare lunch for three able-bodied people who’d rather lie around watching movies and playing video games than fix themselves something to eat.
Yesterday was also my friend Jamie’s birthday, so I had another friend on standby until I could firm up a plan. We wanted to treat Jamie to a coffee or dessert or something to celebrate her special day. When I couldn’t get in touch with Jamie at home in the afternoon, I figured she and her husband were on a romantic date, so I didn’t bother calling her cell phone. Then, when I did reach her in the evening, she was about to eat dinner and go to the movies. She and her husband had been out taking care of homeowners-related business not on a romantic “date” afterall.
I spoke with my sister-in-law who lets me unload on her and who lifts my spirits late last night. After our conversation I was all ready to get busy blogging. I sat down at my computer and logged on. After typing a few sentences the electricity went out. I lit a couple candles and waited to see what happened. Within a few minutes the electricity was restored. I booted up the computer again, logged on and started over. When the electricity went out for a second time and didn’t come back on for a while, I figured it was time to call it a night.
It’s about time I do the same for today. Alisa has requested that I come and read to her. Aaron is having a meltdown because he accidentally saved Xavier’s video game activity over his own, and he had already beaten the entire game. Now, I guess that means he has to pick up wherever Xavier left off tonight and beat it again. Xavier is loving every minute of Aaron’s agony, and laughing like a hyena. I’d better go run interference. Good night. Until the next time…

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I was so trying to figure out why we had nothing to do on a Saturday afternoon when I realized I forgot about a big piece of the puzzle. Lani heard all about it, but I'll share it with everyone else as well. On Friday, Mike brought home an invitation for Alisa to attend the birthday party of the daughter of one of his coworkers on Saturday. Years ago, Alisa attended the same girl's b-day party at Chuck E. Cheese. We discovered at that time that the girls were polar opposites, Alisa being very quiet and reserved and Rosslyn being outgoing and talkative. Mike & Rossi kept talking about getting the girls together for play dates with the hopes that Alisa would temper Rosslyn's excessive energy and Rosslyn would coax Alisa out of her quiet little shell. Well, that (meaning the play date) never happened. I can't remember a single "play date" Mike has taken either of his kids to...just not in his nature. Anyway, all of that history is to now tell you this. The invitation was for America's Incredible Pizza Company (AIPC), a place in Euless I'd heard a little bit about but to which we'd never visited. I thought it was something like Chuck E. Cheese. I called Rossi to RSVP saying that Mike & I would bring Alisa to the party. Then, I went online to find out how to get to the place. The invitation said only: "You're invited to an INCREDIBLE Birthday Party!" and all of the typical for, date, time, from & RSVP lines. Nothing else-no website, telephone number or anything. I found their website online without difficulty and discovered that this is a buffet and anyone entering the facility must purchase a buffet and drink! The adult buffet was $8.49, kids ages 8-12 were $6.49, and drinks (including water!) were $1.89. Here, I was thinking we would take Alisa to the party and Mike, Aaron & I could sit nearby and order a pizza (which by my coupon-loving standards would probably be expensive anyway) and visit with Rossi & his family while the girls played a while. I wasn't planning on spending $30 on pizza and drinks and have to purchase a gift as well. I absolutely hate that everything comes down to "can't afford it" or "not in the budget," but I knew I'd be kicking myself in the butt when I was short about $50 for paying bills in the next couple of weeks. I'd think back to the extra money we spent to attend the birthday party and feel as if I'd been bamboozled. So, I told Mike to take Alisa, just the two of them. At least Mike could eat $9.00 worth of pizza (the "discounted" rate for those attending a party was $8.66, including the drink, for adults). He refused to go, so I had to call Rossi back and inform him that Alisa would not be attending the party afterall in case there was someone else who could use her spot. Alisa really didn't mind. I think she only agreed to go to be polite in the first place--it's not as if she was jumping up and down about attending a party for someone she only met briefly a few years ago. I really think the invitations should at the very least have a note printed (even if in fine print) instructing invitees to see their website for more details. More appropriately, they should inform invitees of the buffet & drink purchase requirement and offer the discounted rate for those attending the party. What about people like me who rarely carry cash on them, and who may or may not have even remembered to toss their purse/wallet in the car and may or may not have put their debit card back in their purse after pumping gas the day before? What then?
Then, I was a little perturbed with Mike. I felt like he should've taken Alisa anyway. His excuse is always, "She'll be more comfortable if you're there." He turned down the opportunity to work extra hours in order to be home in time to accompany Alisa and me to the party. Then, he decides not to go at all?! I accept that I should have checked out the website for AIPC before I RSVP'd for the party-that was my fault. I suppose I should be happy that he didn't go and spend extra money on a gift and pizza buffet if he hadn't worked the extra hours. In essence, he would have given up money-making potential and spent extra money. Now, however, it's the principle of the thing. I really didn't want to call Rossi back and tell him Alisa wasn't coming after I'd just called earlier the same day to say she was. What kind of wishy-washy people will he take us to be? I didn't want to take Alisa by myself because then I'd be vexed for paying $9.00 for 2-3 slices of pizza and a glass of water or I'd be miserable from trying to force down extra slices of pizza to try to justify paying the $9 for the buffet and have to suffer for that the rest of the evening (from a GI perspective). Mike slept clean past 7:00 p.m., so it would've been a chore to get him up and dressed for the 6:30 party anyway. Even if his original intention was to go with us, he probably would have bowed out at the last minute anyway. Sleep would have prevailed. NOTE TO PARENTS EVERYWHERE: Please, please, please make it known on invitations that out of pocket expenses are a part of your child's party. It is helpful to parents like me who are always a day late and a dollar short wherever we go!
I knew there was something on the calendar for yesterday. When we decided not to attend the party, it seemed like a "do-nothing day."
Today has been pleasant. I awoke and ventured outside to check on the pool. The water is much clearer. It could use a vacuum, but I didn't have time for that this morning. I came in, washed dishes and started breakfast. Alisa's flat iron was already pre-heating because I just couldn't manage to tackle her hair last night. For some reason I was on the brink of exhaustion by 10 o'clock-ish last night and couldn't pull myself out of it. Usually, I can catch a second wind after 10:30 or 11, but not last night. We had waffles, bacon and juice for breakfast, fixed Alisa's hair, dressed, fed the dog and fish, and headed off to church. I thought I was serving as a Eucharistic minister for mom so she would serve for me next week when I'm off on the RCIA retreat, but wires were crossed somewhere because there were already 3 Eucharistic ministers lined up. That was okay. I sat back and enjoyed Fr. Angelo from the Comboni Missions preach on our commission to spread the word of Jesus and help our brothers and sisters in Christ throughout the world through prayer, missions and monetary support. I just know that one day I, too, will be a missionary of some sort. I think I will start with accompanying Doctors without Borders somewhere once the kids are out of high school. Who knows where the Lord will lead me from there?
We gave Edward Briscoe and his son Leonard a ride to Starbucks after church, then we dropped Tia off at her house and arrived home ourselves. We were hungry, so I fixed nachos with tortilla chips with refried beans mixed with taco seasoning and topped with shredded cheese placed under the broiler for 5-10 minutes until the cheese was hot and bubbly. Mmmm they were yummy.
My two big goals for the day were to pay bills and make it to the grocery store. Gotta pay the bills first to see what would be left for groceries. That entailed more than a notion, however, as I would first have to take inventory, plan a menu for the week, consult with recipes for ingredients needed, write out a list, locate my grocery ads and check them to see who had what on sale, etc…I decided to get on that as soon as I got up from my nap. I crawled in bed with Waking with Enemies and read a few pages before asking the kids to wake me if I wasn’t up by 4:00.
After I got up from my nap I did find my grocery ads and begin the list. I took a little detour to begin this blog, then received a phone call from my good friend CB. I hadn’t spoken to her since we commiserated over the death of our former future husband, Michael Jackson, last month. Somehow the time has skipped to 7:55, and I must go and finish preparing dinner. I spotted two cans of tuna in the cupboard while I was in there getting a snack and decided on tuna noodle casserole for dinner. It doesn’t exactly fit with “Soul food Sunday,” but I have what I need without a trip to the store, so it will have to do. It’s pouring down rain and thundering and everything else outside, so the grocery store will have to wait. I will go ahead and pay bills and get my list together tonight so I can get my shopping done first thing in the morning while Mike is home with the kids.
Other things to do this week include a trip to the library, taking Alisa shopping (her birthday money and gift cards are burning a hole in her pocket and we have to get her sizes for school uniforms), planning Aaron’s birthday celebration (it’s right around the corner), visiting B’s place so he can give me instructions for what do to in his absence, and cooking up some stuff for Mike for this coming weekend while I’m gone on the retreat. With his mom being ill, there’s no sending him to her house to eat when I’m away like we did in the "good old days." I told Sasha she could spend the night one day this week, too. I'd better set that up because she will not forget! It will be another busy summer week, but I guess I really just wouldn’t have it any other way.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

A "do-nothing" day

Today felt very much like a do nothing kind of day. As I think back over it, though, I realize I did quite a bit. My internal alarm clock went off at 7:30, but I glanced at the clock and rolled over determined to "sleep in" a little longer. The next thing I knew it was 8:30 and I could hear Missy whining outside my bedroom door. I got up and headed outdoors with the dog. The pool still had a green tint to it even though I shocked it last night and applied algaecide the night before that! That little downpour we had yesterday, short-lived as it was, must have thrown off the chemical balance in the pool. I grabbed the "whale wall" brush and began brushing down the sides. The problem with brushing is it stirs up everything so you can't see what you've brushed and what you haven't brushed. As of this evening the water still didn't appear to be clearing as I would have expected. I'll backwash and shock it before I go to bed.
I trimmed the mint back some and tackled the overgrown grass and weeds around the pump motor. All of those weeds near a small machine like that make me a little nervous. I came in from the heat and walked Aaron through fixing his own omelet and cinnamon toast for breakfast. I fried myself an egg and had cinnamon toast, too. Alisa was still asleep. I got a call from Bear saying that his computer was back in working order by some small miracle. Hallelujah!
I folded laundry and caught up with Lani who sent me awesome photos of her & Lorenzo's trip to Idaho to visit her family and friends. I told Lo Jr. I wanted to stand up, place my hand over my heart and sing My Country 'Tis of Thee looking at the majestic mountains & waterfalls. I wanted to forward a photo of the wedding cake I did for Tiwanda's wedding, so I began tinkering with my camera. How hard could it be to download the photos from the camera and then attach them to an e-mail? Hard enough for me to throw in the towel after an hour of attempting to do just that. The kids and I basically snacked all day until dinner time when people were hungry for "real" food. Aaron decided on Lipton Pasta sides and salad for dinner. I threw in a few meatballs out of the freezer and completed the meal (Cave man Mike say, "meal not meal without meat-ugh!"). We stopped by Arlington Westlake Ace Hardware store for D.E. Powder for the pool then ventured on to Sonic to try their new "chiller" for 99 cents each. The strawberries in the strawberry-limeade chiler kept clogging the straw, but overall everyone enjoyed their treats. Mike had the cherry limeade and reported that it, too, was tasty.
My eyes are closing and I still have to tame Alisa's tresses. She didn't swim today, but I had her wash her hair anyway, because it was a tattered mess from just pulling it back into a ponytail without really combing it out. I may have to do that in the morning. I'm tired now and probably won't have much more energy once I've tended to the pool. Good night, all. Until next time...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Here comes the bride...

Well, it's Friday July 24, 2009, and I think I will be all caught up with my blog by day's end (that is, if I finish yesterday's now and blog again later for today.) My day started with a phone call from my cousin Barrett (aka "B" or "Bear") yesterday morning. His computer for which he'd just installed internet service a few days prior was not cooperating, and he was down in the dumps. We talked for an hour and a half before I said I'd better go and get on with my ever-evolving, never-ending list of things to do, especially with this wedding coming up tomorrow. I had dishes stacked and waiting for me in the kitchen. Mike is back at work, so I figured I'd better get back on some type of cooking routine so there'd be food for him to take to work for lunch the next day (still just don't understand why the man can't take a sandwich, chips and fruit like we grew up eating for lunch!).
I set Alisa up with a list of gifts she had received for her birthday and a stack of thank you notes to get started writing. I think it's a good idea for young 'uns to get in the habit of showing their gratitude, even for small things. I appreciate receiving a note of thanks or even just a brief phone call so I know someone received the gift I sent.
I was blogging away when B stopped by for a change of scenery, a bit of chit chat and encouragement, and a hug before going in to work for the afternoon. I told him about a t-shirt I saw recently which was solid black with small white lettering. It said something to this effect: "I knew there would be days like this, but I never thought they would be so bad, so frequent and so long." I'm almost certain those are not the exact words, but it's enough for you to get the drift. I told B I would have to find that t-shirt for the both of us. Having faith is not always easy, but it is a mighty, mighty good thing, folks.
At some point I took another 2-hour nap. I really think that medication I was taking made me a little drowsier than usual. That, and I haven't been to bed before 1:30/2:00 a.m. for the past week. I'm done with the pills per se, but I'll be glad when they're out of my system.
I fixed Ranch & herb Shake 'n' Bake chicken, corn, cabbage, and cornbread for dinner. It was the kids' first time to have Shake 'n' Bake, and I they really enjoyed it. Either that or they were just happy to have a "meal" that wasn't served on a bun with chips on the side. I've raised the bar for dinner tonight!
After dinner, I hurried to the library to renew Alisa's book on CD and update her library card (which was the reason I couldn't just renew the book online) before the library closed. We had checked out Blubber by Judy Blume when we went to Blanco for the weekend, but didn't get around to listening to it on the road. It was all PaPa could stand to have to listen to How to Eat Fried Worms. I figured he wouldn't be too thrilled about listening to a story of vicious elementary school age girls picking on their chubby classmate. In fact, Alisa wasn't even too interested in the book, but I wanted to listen to it "for old times' sake." I know I had to have read it along with most of Judy Blume's other books in my late elementary years, but I really couldn't remember how it turned out.
Anyway, after the library I scooped up mom and we zipped over to Michael's for more wedding cake stuff (and scrapbook stuff for mom). Upon my return, I baked the remaining cakes and washed dishes for the rest of the evening. Alisa & I did sneak in a game of Backgammon while the last cakes were in the oven. It was a great game. Alisa had three pieces left on the board & I had two pieces on spaces one and two. I just knew I had her licked when she rolled double sixes and off went her last three pieces. You win some and you lose some!
Today I have to make up a bunch of buttercream frosting. I started to just buy the tub of "decorator icing" at Michael's except for (1) I have never tasted it; and (2) I had already bought the ingredients to make the frosting. It would have meant more work and running around burning up my gas to return stuff and try to hunt down another coupon to save 40% off of the big tub. Later, I'll transport the cakes to Shannon's house to frost and decorate them. I still have to stop somewhere, probably Hobby Lobby, and get the cake boxes and cardboard circles. I think that's all that's left. Lord knows, I don't want to be up all night fooling with these cakes. I wanted to develop a few photos for Alisa to stick in her thank you notes to her friends, too. I'd better get my list of things to do today going before I forget something.
Later the same day...Well, it's 12:47 a.m. (I suppose that officially makes it Saturday), and I've been home from Shannon's for almost an hour I guess...long enough to unload the car, see Barrett off, check e-mails, turn on the pool pump, shock the water (it looks a little green & cloudy from the downpour earlier today, scratch the dog, speak to Mike & tuck in two young ones. I folded a couple of loads of laundry that had been abandoned in a laundry basket for a few days. I also finally received a little information from the IRS although it wasn't what I had hoped. I learned that amended returns take 8 to 12 weeks to process, so I guess we should hear something in the next couple of weeks at the very latest. B came over and caught me up on current events (I don't watch the nightly news very often) as well as happenings at Tom Thumb where he works part time, as I washed dishes, made lunch and made 4 batches of buttercream frosting. He dozed off on the rocking chair and I retreated to my bed for a nap around 5 p.m. My feet ached from standing on them all afternoon, and I simply wanted to get off of them. My sister in law, Renee, had called earlier to see if I could watch Sasha while she went to a "meet and greet the wedding party" dinner (this took the place of the traditional rehearsal dinner for this couple). I explained that I would be at Shannon's decorating the cakes, but Sasha could join the crowd and play with her cousins if Renee's mom wasn't available. Renee dropped Sasha off a little after 6 p.m. and we loaded up the car and headed over to Shannon's. Aaron was trying to make certain we were gone before Mike made it home from work and recruited him do some yard work. Shannon was heading into Hobby Lobby when I called to tell her we were on our way to her house around 6:30. She said to get with Derrick and order pizza from CiCi's for everyone when I got to her house. She would stop and pick it up on her way home. Four adults, four children and one baby. I figured 4 large pizzas would suffice, so I called and ordered 2 pepperoni, 1 cheese and 1 spinach alfredo pizzas from CiCi's.
Shannon found some beautiful ribbon at Hobby Lobby to embellish the cake. Although my icing wasn't as smooth as I would have liked it, the cake turned out really pretty: an 8" atop a 10" and a third 6" layer atop 3" pillars. Shannon bought artificial calla lilies for the cake, but I think she decided she'd rather have the real roses and rose petals to garnish the cake.
Sasha had a mini-meltdown because she came downstairs to ask us to call her mom or dad to see if she could spend the night with "E" (that's what she calls me), and had to explain that her mom was already on her way to pick up Sasha. Apparently, she and her mom had already discussed the fact that Sasha was not going to spend the night tonight. She was not a happy camper as they headed for the car. I think being tired had a lot to do with it, too.
So, that was my day. All's well that ends well. It's now 1:25, and I'm off to catch some z's. I am grateful for the nap I took earlier. Good night. Until next time...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

A day late

Well, it's now almost 10 a.m. on Thursday morning. I just got off of the phone with Barrett. I'd much rather be singing, "Friday night, just got paid, money in my pocket..." (smile) Where did I leave off…Oh yes, Alisa’s birthday celebration on Wednesday, 7/22/09.
As it turned out four of the five friends Alisa invited were able to attend. We left the house around 8:25 to pick up everyone. They were a little cramped until we dropped Aaron at PaPa & Tia’s (his ear was bothering him and so he didn’t end up going to weight training…slacker!), then all was well. We arrived at Pump it Up at 9:00 on the dot. I already had the waivers signed, so the girls watched the safety video and were ushered into the bounce arenas. Both A & B were open so the girls chose the less crowded side. They were the oldest ones there by a long shot. I tried to catch a few shots of the girls at play, then got them together for a group shot so I could sit down. Most novice photographers make the mistake of getting multiple shots of the same subjects while not having a single shot of a couple of the guests. I figured as long as I had a couple of group shots, everyone would be represented in the scrapbook. I then found a “quiet” bench by the fan and cracked open Waking With Enemies by Eric Jerome Dickey (the dose of mindless “smut” I’ve been trying to read since before summer school let out). I read a little but was too often distracted by girls reporting they were going to get a drink of water or go to the restroom or someone else’s kids squabbling over a Little Tikes Car. Eventually, a “field trip” group came so all of the Pop in & Play kids were ushered into Arena A, and it got a little crowded. I waited to see where Alisa & co. were and never did see them. I checked in Arena B to make sure they hadn’t missed the announcement while in the restroom and gone back in there. No big girls. I started to get a little nervous when I didn’t find them at the water fountain or in the restroom with multiple stalls, but then I found them all huddled in the single toilet bathroom holding court. Very Are You There God It’s Me Margaret? moment. One of the girls had just reached a crucial moment in every “adolescent” girl’s life the day before, and I’m certain they were holed up in the ladies room playing show and tell with her “supplies.”
A mother of a cute 3-year-old boy sat beside me and asked about what I was reading. She said she had just finished a book entitled, Same Kind of Different as Me by authors Ron Hall and somebody Moore, and had loved it. The mom on the other side of me agreed that the book was indeed an excellent read, and she informed us that a movie based on the book would be coming out soon with Samuel L. Jackson playing the lead character. I now know what book to reserve at the library (that is, IF I ever finish reading this one). At any rate, the girls were about all jumped out by 10:40 so I told them we could go ahead and pick up our pizzas and head to the park. I left them indoors as I went out to my car to get the phone number for CiCi’s Pizza and call to place our order. I ordered a medium spinach alfredo and a large half pepperoni/half cheese figuring that should be enough for five “little girls” along with the drinks, fresh fruit and cupcakes I had in a cooler in the car. The only problem was CiCi’s didn’t open until 11 a.m., so the order wouldn’t be ready until 11:10 or so. I told the girls they might as well enjoy the AC a little longer and we could head out right at 11 and not have too long to wait for the pizzas. We ended up waiting anyway because whoever I spoke with made an alfredo pizza not spinach alfredo, so they had to redo the one pizza. It was all good. We made it to the park around 11:30 (Here’s where I wish I knew how to download my photos and post them on here because I got some cute ones of the girls.) and ate pizza. The watermelon, orange slices & strawberries were pretty much untouched, but the pizza was devoured. The girls ran off to explore the park a bit then returned to open Alisa’s gifts ($20 bill, $20 gift cards to Walmart and Justice, and a "blendy pen" set) and eat cupcakes. We all left to see where the “trail” went (turns out it led to a housing development-surprise, surprise). Then, it was 12:30 and time to load up and return kids to their proper owners. I think everyone had a good time, including the birthday girl. Aubrey called her mom and asked if Alisa could come over for a couple of hours. I told her maybe one day next week, but not today because she had her cousin over (and she was spending the night with Taylor, but I didn’t mention that out loud!). We stopped by Tia’s to pick up “goody bags” Aunt Shannon had put together from some odd & ends left from Xavier’s previous parties. I dropped off Aubrey. No problem. There was a note taped to Avery’s door saying to knock next door (her Grandparents’ home) if no answer at home. No problem. Then, I stopped by Taylor’s house (I was going to drop her at home to take a nap or whatever until I delivered Alex to Aunt Faye). No one was home. No answer on her cell phone either, so we went on to my house. Then, I called Aunt Faye. No answer. I just went online to check e-mails and maybe start my blog. I told Alisa to pack her bag for Taylor’s house and change into some shorts for Six Flags. Yikes! I really did say Six Flags in front of Alex. Shoot! By 2:30-ish I had heard back from both Taylor’s mom and Aunt Faye, so I met Aunt Faye at mom’s to drop off Alex and pick up Aaron (Xavier came along, too). I delivered Taylor and Alisa to the Schulte’s home and returned to my own to lay it down.
I must have slept for close to two hours, and it felt great! Mike was working until 10 p.m. so Aaron & I had leftover chicken with pasta alfredo for dinner. Then we ran to Walmart grocery store to get cake baking supplies. I decided to go ahead and start with the baking so I wouldn’t be so far behind schedule. My personal preference is to bake one day, make frosting one day and decorate another day. Otherwise, it seems as if I’m on my feet for 9 or more straight hours (which I basically am if you consider: baking, dishwashing, more baking, dishwashing, frosting making, dishwashing, decorating, dishwashing, etc.). I managed to bake the 8” layers and one of the 10” layers before I had to stop for fear that I would become careless and mess something up. It was not as much as I had hoped I’d get done, but it was enough for one night (another reason to start early). Okay, so that’s about it for this one. I can’t seem to get caught up, but tomorrow should be easy because I didn’t do much in the way of errands, etc. today. Gotta get in bed before 1:30 a.m.! I can hear Mike snoring through the wall, and it's rhythmic cadence is kind of hypnotizing me. Of course, it doesn't sound so "rhythmic" when I'm in the same room with him. As Winnie the Pooh would say, "Oh bother!" Good night. Until the next time.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Is it Wednesday already?

Wow, what has happened to the last two days (i.e., Tuesday and Wednesday)? I think they have passed like a whirlwind simply because there was so much to do. Yesterday, I arose from my slumber around 8 a.m. and went outdoors to brush and skim the pool. Just like the damsel in distress, however, I left the replacement of the car battery to Mike. Batteries Plus was out of the battery we needed, so Mike decided to go on out to the dealership after withdrawing some cash to pay for it (that just set him back about $100 toward the money he was trying to save to get his tires). We had a coupon making the battery about $10 more than the Batteries Plus model, but it was a "genuine Honda" battery, and it came with a 100 month warranty. I then put out the trash and recycling and gathered Alisa's paperwork for ACA. I called Jamie to make arrangements for Aaron to get to and from weight training this morning. I returned Laura's call from the night before. She wanted Alisa to go to Six Flags with them and spend the night with Taylor after Alisa's party Wednesday morning. I figured it would make for an exhausting day, but Alisa would enjoy the time with Taylor. I called the IRS to see if I could speak with a real live human to check the status of our amended return. The automated system told me I needed the same information requested on the online inquiry, so I hung up. I should've checked with Monica - she was suppposed to look up the exact figures for me when she went to class on Wednesday evening. I thought I'd surprise Mike and schedule his massage since he never managed to schedule it himself the whole while he was off work: 4:45 p.m. with Amanda. That should give him plenty of time to get back from the dealership with my new battery and get good and relaxed before returning to work Wednesday morning. Pleased with the progress on my list of things to do I'd started the day before, I headed out to make copies and drop off the papers around 11:20 a.m.
After Mike returned home sometime between 1 & 2 p.m. (his brother "treated" him to lunch while we were around here scrounging for something to eat!), I called my friend Jaida who is loaning me her textbooks for Maternal Child & Pediatrics for next semester to arrange for pick up. As I was trying to get out the door to get Missy's heartworm meds, meet Jaida to pick up the books, gas up my car, stop by the library and do some grocery shopping, my cousin Yolanda called. She informed me that her mother (my Aunt Faye) had Alex (Yolanda's daughter who is Alisa's age) and they would be calling me to discuss a drop off/pick up time and place. That couldn't have been timed more perfectly. Aunt Faye & I agreed to meet at a McDonald's neat TCC-SE campus where I was picking up the books. So, off I went again, coupon from the internet for Missy's heartworm tablets in hand, to check off some more from my things to do list.
Aaron & Alisa were swimming when I returned home with Alex. Another cousin, Devo, was changing out of his trunks to go to the gym for boxing practice. Alex sat on the side of the pool and had a popsicle. I stayed inside and started dinner. I knew a couple of little people who would be hungry when they got out of the water. I fixed pasta with alfredo sauce (out of a jar), grilled chicken tenders on the George Foreman grill, watermelon (hadn't made it to the store for veggies so had to substitute fruit), and sour dough bread toasted with garlic butter. Alex didn't eat much, but she typically doesn't. A little later (as in going on 10 p.m.) the girls went with me to the grocery store to grab a few items for breakfast and Alisa's picnic. I told them they'd have to be in bed at a "reasonable" hour since we'd have an early start. Remember, too, that Alisa had been swimming so that meant her hair was wild and free!
Mike was true to his usual "end of vacation" behavior. Just as I had predicted, the battery was all he did (besides sit outside and watch the kids swim--I guess that should count for something). He even had me cancel his massage appointment because he'd rather take advantage of a nice relaxing massage when he doesn't have to go to work the next day (i.e., his next "first" off day so he has off day #2 to continue relaxing). He had the nerve to call my cell phone at 1 something in the morning from our bedroom which is literally next door to the office where I was up typing away, to request that I bring him some sherbet. I had to get up from my desk (which you should know is no easy feat if you've been paying attention to prior blogs or visited my house, ever!), stumble through the dark living room taking care not to trip over the black dog who likes lying in the middle of walkways and get to my phone in my purse on the table. Did someone ask why I didn't just turn on the light in the living room? Well, it just so happens that the dimmer switch to the living room light fixture just up and gave out several weeks ago. Mike claims it only costs about $2 for a replacement switch. One would think that it could have easily been taken care of during the 9 days he was off, but no, it wasn't. Imagine my surprise when the caller ID read "home." I knew the kids were sound asleep, but I checked their rooms anyway. I could have sworn Mike was just snoring in our bedroom. Apparently, he awoke to go to the restroom and remembered that he had gone to be without anything sweet. I fixed us both a dip and then went to bed myself.
Either my computer screen is going out, or my eyes are simply too tired to focus. I will have to close for now and bring everyone up to snuff on Alisa's festivities tomorrow. Good night. Until next time...

Monday, July 20, 2009

The day before the day before

Well now, I thought I'd get a "head start" on my blog for today. Don't know just how long I'll last since the kids have been complaining that they're hungry for a while now and my tummy is beginning to grumble a bit, too.
A day that was supposed to start with dropping off Aaron at weight training, then submitting Alisa's paperwork for ACA all went awry when I couldn't find original social security cards. Don't you just hate it when you think you've been really good about filing stuff appropriately, and then you find out that the one thing you cannot find is one of the things you need the most? I cannot check on the status of my amended return with the IRS because the online help needs a specific dollar amount. I cannot find the copies of the paperwork I sent in to verify the date I sent it or the exact dollar amount the IRS owes us. Now, it's the social security cards. I have a feeling that when I finally get around to clearing off my office desk I will find an envelope with the original copies of both kids' social security cards. You know this speaks volumes about the state of my desk if it was easier to go online, download and fill out the application for the replacement cards, call the social security administration to verify what all constitutes "proof of identity" for minors with no driver's license or passport, make a trip across town to the SSA, take a number and wait to be helped than search for the cards on my desk. Don't get me wrong, folks. These aren't bragging rights by any stretch of the imagination! It’s downright embarrassing to say the least. I am determined to get the desk cleared off before classes resume next month.
So, after our visit to the Social Security Administration, I decided to stop by Fiesta grocery store. They always have an awesome variety of produce at reasonable prices. Barrett gave me his ad yesterday after church, and they had watermelon, pineapple, apples, oranges and more on sale. We haven’t had fresh fruit in the house for a little while, now, and it was on the way home, so we stopped. I left Mike & the kids in the car while I went straight to the produce section, chose the fruits listed above and returned to the car. Well, guess what? My van wouldn’t start. Remember the blog from a few weeks ago when I went to have my oil changed and the attendant told me my battery was low? I guess he was telling the truth. Do you think I have jumper cables in my van? No. Do you think the battery jump box thing was charged and in my trunk? No. It was in the back of Mike’s car. Lucky for me I had my cell phone and it’s battery was charged enough to call Mom. She fussed about me sneaking off to Fiesta without her but sent my dad and nephew to give us a jump start nonetheless. This was one time the kiddoes were sorry I got right in and out of the store and didn’t grab a few extra things that weren’t on my list. I had eaten just before we left the house so I wasn’t on the brink of starvation, but they had eaten somewhat earlier and were hungry and hot.
Dad & Trey arrived after passing up the store at first, and it looked as if the jump start wasn’t going to work. PaPa looked like a mad scientist when he hooked up two sets of jumper cables (I had a mental image of a blue arc of electricity jumping from one car to the other and PaPa, Trey and Mike lighting up like skeletons in the cartoons), but that seemed to do the trick. The engine turned over and Trey & PaPa followed us home. Of course, Mike in all of his infinite wisdom killed the engine “to see if it would start again” before the kids got out of the car. Naturally, the car did not start again so the kids had to climb to the front to exit the vehicle. My list of things to do for tomorrow seems to be growing by leaps and bounds: make copies of Alisa’s paperwork, deliver paperwork to ACA, new battery for car (this may be #1 on the list before the other errands), gas up my car, gas up Mike’s car, pick up Alex (cousin who is spending the night with Alisa to join us for Pump It Up on Wednesday morning), return Laura Schulte’s call (friend & mother of one of Alisa’s invitees), call Jamie (make arrangements for Aaron to get to and from weight training Wednesday morning while I’m taking girls to Pump It Up), touch base with Steph regarding daughter Avery’s ear infection. A trip to the grocery store or something will be in order now that we have an overnight guest and Mike is heading back to work on Wednesday. I’ll have to cook more than burgers and sandwiches or Mike will be heading to Wendy’s & Manchu Wok at the airport to eat (major ching ching!).
It’s almost 11:30 p.m. & I’ve just finished washing up dishes. Mike delegated the emptying of the drain board and dishwasher to the kids earlier but didn’t bother washing up the dishes in the sink. It’s the day before the day before he must return to work so he is reverting back to his pre-vacation state of “resting up” all day in anticipation of being tired from work. Around 9:30 p.m. I agreed to help Alisa with her room for one hour tonight. That was before I realized I needed to put away food from dinner, wash up the lunch and dinner dishes, clean some “stuff” out of the fridge for trash pick-up tomorrow, backwash the swimming pool, etc…Now, I am tired (notice there was no “naptime” factored into today’s events), but I must help Alisa because it looks like tomorrow will be pretty full. Mike generally likes to relax on the day before he returns to work, so he may help with the battery tomorrow, but that will be about it. I’ll take whatever I can get. Good night. Until next time…

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Happy Birthday

Well, Alisa is almost officially 11 years of age. Eleven years ago we were probably filling the "birthing tub" with hot water. Midwives Vickie Patsdaughter and Karen Strange along with their apprentice were getting things set up for the birth. I was eating popsicles and walking on the treadmill. At one point I was mopping the floor because I remember Aaron and his almost 2-year-old self slipping and bumping his head. It was a regular zoo around here, unlike two years before when Aaron was born and both Mike and the midwife barely made it in time for the birth!
Last night Alisa went to bed with a headache, and apparently awoke with the same one or a new one. When she came to me still clad in her pajamas at 9:15 and complaining that her head still hurt even after eating breakfast (waffles, bacon & fruit and yogurt smoothie), I did not argue. I gave her an Advil and told her to stay home with her daddy. Aaron and I left for church. Fr. LeDoux's homily was about stealing away from time to time to renew ourselves just as Jesus and the disciples did in today's gospel reading. The ultimate goal, of course, being "a sound mind in a sound body." He took quite a while to say that and had to sing a song or two in the process as well (smile). That's our Fr. LeDoux!
I have basically piddled the remainder of the day away. I checked e-mails. Nothing pressing. I worked on proofreading Barrett's letter of interest for a position with the DISD. I made some revisions. I spoke to Shannon regarding the wedding cake. I did frost Alisa's cake and place it in the fridge (she prefers the cool whip frosting to buttercream). Now, the kids are swimming and I think I'll catch a cat nap. I found a coupon for Ryan's buffet, so dinner for the kids anyway is on them ($20-$25 for the four of us; with the coupon both kids eat free!), then we'll have cake later tonight. Since we didn't invite anyone over for cake, we are not on any specific schedule & that's kind of nice.
Well, the catnap thing didn't work. The moment I laid down my cell phone rang. Then, Alisa came in from the pool shouting my name. Then, Aaron came in to ask a question. Honestly, I had only set my alarm clock for 35-40 minutes! I got up & we all got ready to go and eat. The destination was a surprise until we parked in front of Ryan's buffet.
Tonight's "special" was turkey and dressing. Everyone ate well, and Mike didn't even order a drink. It was truly a proud moment for me! We didn't end up having cake until almost 10 p.m. We were just too stuffed from the buffet to manage more sweets.
Alisa and I (joined later by Aaron) watched "Elf" with Will Farrell. I'd never seen it before, and it was pretty cute, but the birthday girl kept fidgeting and bending her legs so they blocked the view of the television. I guess she thought she could get away with anything since it was her birthday!
I need to go...gotta get Alisa's paperwork for her new school completed and turned in tomorrow morning as well as get Aaron to weight training by 9 a.m. Good night. Until next time...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Pump It Up it is

I awoke around 7:30 with a full bladder and a desire to get to Arlington Urgent Care before it got crowded. I showered, let out the dog, turned off the pool filter, watered the plants, fed the dog and the fish, drank more water and headed out the door just after 8 a.m. Dr. Nguyen confirmed my suspicion about the UTI. Thankfully, the antibiotic he prescribed has the $4.00 generic so I was in luck. I returned home, by way of Wal-Mart grocery store where I picked up my prescription and some baking supplies for Alisa's cake, ate a bowl of cereal and swallowed down the first of ten awful tablets.
It was around 10:30 when I arrived at home, and I was expecting everyone to have already eaten breakfast, but they had not. The watched me eat my bowl of cereal and got the hint that I had no intention of cooking. I think Aaron asked if I was cooking, and I told him his Daddy would fix him breakfast. He went directly for the cereal cabinet. After everyone had found something to fill their bellies, I decided it was time to put together a plan for Alisa's big day. I asked her what she wanted to do for her birthday. We normally have cake and ice cream for family on the actual birthday (no matter the day of the week) then party with a few friends on a Friday or Saturday. Alisa said she didn't want to do anything at our house. That stung a little, but I can certainly understand. I explained that we simply could not afford to do the hotel thing right now. Why spend $100 on a hotel room for a couple of girls for a single night when she needs at least $100 worth of clothes and uniforms for the upcoming school year? I gave her the options of taking her girlfriends to Pump It Up then the park for lunch and cupcakes or Stovall water park with snacks & cupcakes. She opted for the Pump It Up from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. on Wednesday followed by lunch at the park. For those of you without kids, Pump It Up is a huge warehouse full of "inflatables" the kids can run around, bounce on, slide down, climb up, etc. With that settled I need to call parents and see who all can come. I'm thinking a couple of the girls may have to spend the night on Tuesday in order for us to get to the warehouse on time Wednesday morning, so Alisa may get her "slumber party" wish as well (even though it is in her cluttered home vs some swank hotel room).
Next order of business involves a telephone call from Sister Shannon. Tiwanna, the sister of Shan's friend Rocky, is getting married Saturday and needs a wedding cake. When Shan originally mentioned this, it was just supposed to be a "single layer" cake for a real small party. Now it has grown to 50 guests, so Shannon would like two tiers. I told Shannon I would do the cakes: a 10-inch and an 8-inch. That way it will look more "wedding-like" and feed more people. Before we got off of the phone Shannon was suggesting that we do 3 tiers so Tiwanna would have the small cake to save. How I allow myself to get roped into this type of mess everytime is beyond me! I needed a nap after that.
Tia picked up Alisa to take her shopping for her birthday. Mike & Aaron guessed it watching movies, and I laid down for a nap. The rest of the day was pretty calm. Alisa returned with a bag of cute outfits. Mike vacuumed the pool & Aaron swam for a bit. I baked Alisa's cake & cupcakes, washed dishes, and fixed dinner--nothing special (chicken nuggets, mashed potatoes & steamed broccoli with a little leftover corn mixed in). I'm trying not to go to the grocery store until I know what Mike's paycheck will look like next week. Mike has been biting at the bit to eat at a Chinese buffet the whole time he's been off. Maybe we'll do that tomorrow for A's birthday dinner then come home and have cake & ice cream...just a thought.
Mike's sister called and told us his family reunion was in full swing at Lake Arlington and why didn't we come. He totally blew her off claiming by the time we got dressed and went out there they would be packing up. How long does it take to slip into some blue jean shorts and a t-shirt and drive 15 minutes to the lake? Honestly, I just don't understand how one person can be so unconcerned about anything in life but being absolutely lazy! I definitely understand the desire to not have any commitments or obligations while on vacation, but sheesh Mike takes it to a whole new level. I asked him if he'd called his father the whole while he was off. No. Had he been by to see his mother? No. Had he even called to schedule his massage (we gave him a certificate for his birthday, and he said he wanted to use it while he was on vacation)? No. I personally cannot live like that. It's extremely difficult for me to understand how he does it, but alas, I try to bite my tongue and accept him for who he is (including his way of doing things). It is an arduous and frustrating task to say the very least!
For years (and I do mean years) I have tried to convince Mike and the kids that we should take a few days to do some serious cleaning, purging, clearing of clutter, etc. Mike has four weeks off throughout the year. Rarely are we all off from school/work at the same time, but this vacation was a prime opportunity since we didn't end up going anywhere. I mentioned this fact to Mike today, and he looked completely taken by surprise. Clean the house?! I don't remember you mentioning anything about cleaning the house. What did you want us to do? Just tell me what you want me to do after you take your nap. That sounds like a sweet offer to anyone just happening to read this blog, but I know better. It'll be just like everything else. He's busy watching Malcolm X right now so he'll get to it tomorrow. Then tomorrow will come, and he will get a call from his brother and figure he'd better go see Mama since he hasn't done that in a couple of weeks. He'll stay gone most of the afternoon. Then Monday he'll remember to call the massage school and schedule his massage. Lucky for him they will have just one opening left for that afternoon. Naturally, he'll shower and take a nap prior to going for his massage, and surely he won't want to put his relaxed muscles to work afterward. Then comes Tuesday, the day before he returns to work. That is traditionally a day of rest in anticipation of returning his nose to the grindstone. He will then ask me to put together a list of things I want him to do on his next off days. Sometimes, I wish I didn't know my own family so well. C'est la vie. Good night. Until the next time...

Friday, July 17, 2009

Alisa's good news

Well, everyone was up and at 'em this morning. I fixed bacon, grits and cheese toast and a choice of orange or grape juice for the crew. Then, I dropped Aaron at weight training and took Alisa to her "assessment" at Arlington Classics Academy. Xavier stayed home with Uncle Mike to help remind him to pick up Aaron if we weren't done by 11 a.m. It's a good thing Mike was home because Alisa & I didn't leave ACA until almost 11:30. Chermain and Sheridan were there for an assessment, too, so Alisa was excited. Chermain & I had a chance to visit for about 45 minutes while the girls were doing their thing. The secretary was telling all of the parents that the assessments would last 45 minutes to an hour. I started to get a little worried when Alisa wasn't back by 11:05, 11:10, 11:15. When she returned to the reception area she looked stricken. I couldn't tell if she was just relieved to be done with it all or if she was about to burst into tears. I hoped it was the former as I left her in the reception room to meet with Mr. Simon (don't know if he's the director, principal or what). He showed me the results of the work Alisa had done that morning. All of the notes said she'll do fine at ACA. The offered the spot, and I accepted. No need to think it over or discuss the decision. Alisa had been waiting for just this moment since we dropped off the application back in the spring. We later found out that Sheridan was offered a spot in the 4th grade class as well.
We returned home and shared the good news with "the boys" (i.e., Mike, Aaron & Xavier). Aaron was happy for his sister but a little bummed that Alisa wouldn't have Miss Pickens (his former 6th grade teacher) next year. Aaron then grabbed a bagel and cream cheese (those "everything bagels are addictive!) and I fixed Alisa & Xavier pizza bagels and mozzarella cheese sticks. While they were eating I got started on the rest of the application for ACA--lots of pages and I still have to go online to review the student code of conduct & mission statement, etc. before signing off that I've read it.
Aaron asked if he could go to his friend Shawn's house for a while. Then Shannon called not to check on her son but to suggest that we go ahead and throw Alisa's slumber party at a hotel TONIGHT! It could be a surprise for Alisa. Shan has the decorations and paper goods. We could pick up a cake (ching ching) and get a room at the LaQuinta Inn by the mall (ching ching). The girls (whoever could make it on such short notice) could hang out at the mall for a while (ching ching) and then go back to the hotel and swim and watch movies. Finally, we could all enjoy "free" breakfast in the morning and send little girls packing before checkout. Somehow I didn't get my point across that money is a major issue right about now. I just couldn't get it in gear fast enough to keep up with all of that at the last minute, so we (Mike & I) declined. I dropped Xavier and Alisa at PaPa & Tia's so Shannon could take Alisa to the mall to shop for birthday clothes. I then returned the Red Box video and arrived back home where Mike was watching JFK, the Oliver Stone movie from the early 90's (?). I checked e-mails and wondered what time Aaron was due to be picked up. Around 5:30 I was nodding at my computer and wanted to take a nap. I feared that as soon as I laid down either the doorbell or the telephone would ring announcing Alisa's arrival or Aaron's readiness to be picked up. Sure enough I was on the phone with Lani when Derrick called to say Shannon was on her way to deliver Alisa. I never heard from Aaron so just before 7 p.m. I hopped in the car and headed to Shawn's to collect Aaron and chastise him for not calling to touch base or discuss a pick up time with his father when he dropped Aaron off in the first place. Aaron looked astonished, like he couldn't believe I was there to pick him up just as Smack Down vs Raw was coming on TV! Is today Friday? How could I have forgotten! I surely should have known better. I visited with Shawn's mom for a moment (Alisa was waiting for me in the car) then told Aaron to call me when wrestling was over.
Alisa & I then headed to Barrett's house to deliver to him "The Bucket List." I told him to pay attention to the character played by "Jack" from Will and Grace. We returned home once again and Alisa got busy scrapping (it's a family thing!) while Mike & I caught the late night re-run edition of Oprah. It was all about women and sex...Mike's two favorite subjects. I'd like for Mike & I to try the "surrender date" where I have to surrender completely to Mike and allow him to plan a date from start to finish, including what I wear, where we go, what we do, etc. It's supposed to be a way of restoring his masculinity (instead of me treating him like another child) and me getting a break from decision making (if only for one night).
Aaron called about 15 minutes after it went off, so we all loaded up in my van to go and get him. I knew there must be an ulterior motive, and it was revealed when Mike started mentioning sno-cones, Braums ice cream and Sonic slushes. I was almost going to go to Sonic when I remembered an online coupon they had sent me for 99 cent Sonic chillers (cherry-limeade blended with soft serve ice cream). We returned home empty handed and had dips of Blue Bell instead. I chatted with Lani, my sis-in-law & friend then settled down in the living room to watch She's Just Not That into You with Mike. The kids were fast asleep in their respective beds by the time the movie was over. I wasn't exactly sleepy, even though I missed out on yet another nap.
I'm not feeling well, though. I've been forcing the water and cranberry capsule for fear of another UTI. This is the pits. I have a feeling (literally and figuratively) that I'll be visiting Arlington Urgent Care bright and early in the morning after an up and down to tinkle all night kind of night.

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Another lazy day

Looks like maybe I'd better take a vacation from blogging for the next few days. I'm sure no one wants to hear over and over how unproductive the White family is while on vacation. I could probably cut and paste the next few days' blogs: Woke up, did nothing, ate, did more nothing, took a nap, swam, retired for the night. I'm sorry, I forgot this is my blog, not Mike's.
Mike did get up before I did and run to the grocery store for biscuits, grape juice & popsicles. The pool looked great so I went in to fix breakfast. Now if I were my husband and I really wanted to impress my wife I would not only have gone to the store but also would have prepared the breakfast. A & A were already up and in the pool when I left to pick up Xavier and Sasha from over at Tia's house to join us for a swim.
I swam with the kids for a while. Mike sat outdoors as a spectator for a while but then went inside where it was cool & quiet to commence his routine vacation movie-thon. (I have commented before that it's a wonder the man doesn't develop pressure sores on his behind while on vacation. I guess he does change positions to eat every 3-4 hours or so.) The rest of us came in and had ham & cheese sandwiches (peanut butter for my girl), chips and cinnamon applesauce for lunch. Alisa helped Sasha wash her hair, and I blow-dried and flat-ironed it for her. She looked so grown up and cute! Sasha and I read some stories and took a nap. She was still snoozing when her mom came to pick her up.
The big kids jumped back in the pool as soon as Sasha was gone. I stayed out there and tried to read for a bit, but ended up talking to Mom on the phone for most of the time. I had to share Alisa's good news: We received a call from Arlington Classics Academy (a local charter school), and they have a 6th grade place for Alisa this coming school year! She goes tomorrow morning for an assessment.
I made burgers & hot dogs on the George Foreman grill (wanted to fire up the charcoal one, but it was way too hot outdoors) and homemade fries (only because I was out of frozen and needed to use up those few potatoes). Mike & Xavier declined the peas & carrots. I know they don't exactly go with hamburgers & hot dogs, but I thought we needed some sort of vegetable other than the pickles, onions & tomatoes on our burgers!
Mike is watching Cadillac Records in our bedroom (I can hear it through the office wall). The kids are watching Hotel for Dogs again. Xavier is my dog lover, and he didn't get to see it yesterday. I'll have to return it tomorrow which means an extra $1.08, but oh well. When they're done with the movie, we are supposed to play SORRY! and then turn in for the night. Aaron has weight training and Alisa has her assessment in the morning. Xavier will have to come along for the ride. I still have to do Alisa's hair, too. That will probably wait until the morning, so I don't have to re-do it for her appointment at ACA. Either way, I've already said we'd be turning in early tonight (as in well before midnight!)
Time to go dip up some Blue Bell and set up the game. Good night. Until the next time...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Movie Night

Mike is watching the end of his horror flick while the kids & I await our "movie night." Alisa chose Hotel for Dogs for the occasion. We have had a full but relatively laid back day. I got up when I heard Aaron stirring around 8 a.m. I went outside to check on the pool, and the water looked so inviting. I emptied the baskets, skimmed some crepe myrtles off of the surface and hooked up the vacuum. I went in to get Mike to actually do the vacuuming since he claims he doesn't know how to do it because I always do it when he's not around. (the dialogue usually goes like this: E: "Did you vaccum the pool, yet?" M: "No, I'm gonna do it a little later, after this show goes off." [later] E: "Now did you vaccum the pool? " M: "No, I'll have to do it tomorrow." [tomorrow] E: "Have you vacuumed the pool?" M: "Nah, I'll have to wait until my next off day." E: "Then I will do it myself," said the Little Red Hen... Just who does he think he's fooling with his Tom Sawyer self? I ran Aaron to weight training then came back to coach Mike through the vacuum process.

I left him outdoors doing his thing and went inside to wash up dishes from the night before and reconcile the checkbook to make sure we were all set to pay the mortgage. I left about 30 minutes before Aaron would be ready for pick up so that I could run by and pay the house note. That was the extent of my errands for the most part. I never took a nap today and didn't really miss it. I'm thinking my blogs are going way too long to hold peoples' interest so I will bullet the highlights of my day:
  • Paid house note, stopped by Sara Lee Bread Store in search of granola cereal the kids like; they were out so I bought everything bagels instead
  • Picked up Aaron, fixed breakfast: strawberry-blueberry-banana smoothie (turned out great; I think frozen fruit makes all the difference), coffee cake or bagel with cream cheese & bacon
  • Chatted with Mike for a while (this is the main reason I cannot get stuff done while he is on about Chatty Patty!)
  • Got the kids to help shred old check stubs that were on my office floor (small step for Eastlyn; giant step for White household)
  • Fixed nachos for lunch
  • Delivered Xavier to PaPa & Tia's house where his dad was picking up Leyla.
  • Stopped by Red Box at Walgreens on the way home to rent movie
  • Caught up with sis-in-law on telephone (as if a good portion of our day isn't spent e-mailing one another!)
  • Swam with the kids (even Mike got in the water!)
  • Taquitos, beans & rice, pico de gallo (made with home-grown tomato & onion) with chips for dinner
  • Tamed Alisa's wild tresses
  • Movie night: Hotel for Dogs (nice family flick-makes you want to run to the nearest pound or animal shelter and adopt a stray)
  • Discovered a new flavor of Blue Bell: Southern Blackberry Cobbler: 2 thumbs up!

Nothing earth-shattering...just a nice day spent with my family. Good night all. Until tomorrow.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

This is my life

Well, it seems as if summer is breezing by once again. I told Mike earlier today that I want this to be the last summer we fail to make arrangements for some kind of family vacation. I get frustrated because right now it's always a money thing. There is never enough of the stuff around here. We have known for the past few weeks (months actually) that we would all be off from school, work and other obligations from July 13-July 21. Today is July 14, and we are sitting at home staring at one another with no plans and no money to do a darn thing. We chose Mike's vacation days last October or somewhere thereabouts knowing that I would be in summer school for the first part of the kids' summer break. We specifically chose July for one of his vacation weeks just in case we wanted to go somewhere--even if only for a couple of days. Life never eases up, though. Just when I have managed to squirrel away a couple hundred bucks something unexpected happens, like Mike going to the dentist and getting a "snoreguard" mouthpiece custom made. That cost us hundreds of dollars which we are still paying off, and he doesn't even wear the thing. I still have to listen to him snoring at night! This was after the couple hundred dollars out of our pockets for him to have the sleep study done and subsequently to purchase the C-PAP machine for sleep apnea. That worked like a charm, but do you think he uses it? These are the reasons I don't feel the least bit guilty about taking off a weekend or two out of the year to enjoy the scrapbook retreats. Then, Mike decides to take off several days in the pay period just before his vacation knowing that his vacation check is already going to be short because it seems as if it's less than a straight 40-hour/week pay to begin with. We really are dependent upon the extra shifts and overtime he works on a somewhat regular basis (i.e., when he feels like it and/or they are available). All of this is to say, birthday season is upon us (both kids have summer birthdays), and we have nothing to work with. Shannon was trying to be helpful and assist Alisa in planning a slumber party for her birthday which is less than a week away. Unfortunately, it won't be happening this weekend. In my household, broke is broke, and that is what we are at the present moment. Mike is driving around on a wing and a prayer in need of a new set of tires for his vehicle. Alas, this is my life. I try to remember that nothing lasts always, be it good or bad. We won't always be drowning in debt and barely making it financially. I need to take a dose of my own medicine and "keep on the sunny side of life" (that's from a catchy little tune from "Oh Brother Where Art Thou?" for those of you who aren't familiar with it).
Lani sent me the following e-mail entitled "Embracing Imperfection" just when I needed it most:

When I was a little girl, my mom liked to make breakfast food for dinner every now and then. And I remember one night in particular when she had made breakfast after a long, hard day at work.
On that evening so long ago, my mom placed a plate of eggs, sausage and extremely burned toast in front of my dad. I remember waiting to see if anyone noticed! Yet all my dad did was reach for his toast, smile at my mom and ask me how my day was at school. I don't remember what I told him that night, but I do remember watching him smear butter and jelly on that toast and eat every bite! When I got up from the table that evening, I remember hearing my mom apologize to my dad for burning the toast. And I'll never forget what he said: "Baby, I love burned toast."Later that night, I went to kiss Daddy good night and I asked him if he really liked his toast burned. He wrapped me in his arms and said, "Your Momma put in a hard day at work today and she's real tired. And besides - a little burnt toast never hurt anyone!"
You know, life is full of imperfect things.....and imperfect people. I'm not the best housekeeper or cook. What I've learned over the years is that learning to accept each other's faults - and choosing to celebrate each other's differences - is one of the most important keys to creating a healthy, growing, and lasting relationship.
"Don't put the key to your happiness in someone else's pocket" keep it in your own."

I am thankful for a husband who eats burnt toast and doesn't complain, for children who are old enough to help out around the house (albeit begrudgingly), for the incredible support of extended family and friends, and for a roof over my head (even if it isn't the organized, tidy sanctuary I would like for it to be). This is my life.
I seem to be a lot less productive when Mike is around, and for better or for worse, he is officially on vacation and will be around for the next 8 days. Although I awoke a bit later than usual (8:30-ish), I got back in my regular routine: pool first, then cleaning out the fridge and gathering the garbage for pick up. I washed dishes from the night before then ran to the grocery store (since I never made it yesterday) to get those few essential staples: fruit, milk, juice, etc. Came home and prepared breakfast: coffee cake, bacon, eggs scrambled with cheese, and juice, all of which was consumed within minutes. More dishes followed. Mike & I mapped out a "round robin" of errands, but I was too exhausted from the heat of the day to think about venturing back out in it. Around 1 p.m. I laid down and told the kids to wake me if I slept past 2:30. Of course, this was the very time all three kids (remember my nephew spent the night) decided to crowd into my office, which is adjacent to my bedroom and cluttered to the point where one is a crowd, and argue over the computer and stumble over stuff all over the floor and work the dog into a barking frenzy. I did manage to nap for about an hour despite the noise. We packed a picnic lunch, grabbed the items that were due at the library and headed out around 3:30. First stop, Mike's credit union to withdraw money, then our credit union to deposit money, then the library. I forgot the mortgage payment so we skipped that stop and headed to Carter Blood Care for Mike to donate blood. The kids and I left him there and ran across the street to Leslie's Pool Supply where we were told the pool water was great, except for the chlorine being a little low. Next stop: Randol Mill Park (at 4:00-ish p.m.) to eat our "picnic lunch" consisting of ham and cheese sandwiches, jalapeno cheddar cheetos, watermelon & granola bars. It was so hot the locusts (aka katydids in Texas) weren't even chirping back and forth like they usually do. When we returned to Carter Blood Care, Mike was done and waiting for us. We returned home, and within minutes young people were splashing in the pool. At 7:30 I began the "time to get out of the pool go inside for dinner" routine. While they were bathing and shampooing hair, I sauteed some zucchini with onion and garlic in olive oil and made a homemade pizza with crescent roll crust, pizza sauce, finely chopped onion, green olives, bell pepper and turkey pepperoni. We supplemented that with lasagne leftover from last night for a complete "Italian feast." We completed our night with dips of ice cream on sugar cones (Mike had his a la mode with the apple pie). The swimming must have done them in because they didn't complain when I told them lights out at 11 p.m. I think all three of them were fast asleep by 11:15. I'm thinking the dinner dishes can wait until tomorrow. I have had a full day and I'm ready for a shower and my cool sheets. Good night all. Until tomorrow...

Monday, July 13, 2009

Back to the grindstone

I had to set my alarm clock to get up this morning because I was reminded last night that Aaron had weight training this morning from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. The alarm sounded at 8, and I hit the snooze. Before it went off a second time, I got up, turned off the alarm, and got myself in gear. I let Missy out to relieve herself and ventured outside to turn off the pool pump. I was dismayed at the clear water that afforded a great view of the green algae covering the bottom of the deep end-AGAIN! It looked worse than the day before. A pool guy once told us that having a pool was akin to having another child. It needs supervision and monitoring on a daily basis. You have to get someone to care for it when you go out of town, etc. He sure was telling the truth. It was already hot and humid just after 8 a.m., so I didn't put much stock into getting much done with the pool this morning. Then, Aaron stumbles outdoors and declares that he doesn't think he can make it to weight training because he is tired. Excuse me, since when does "tired" excuse anyone from doing what they have to do. Talk about "his father's child." He came to the wrong someone for sympathy! I told him I'd make him a smoothie and he'd feel better once he go moving. He dragged his buns back inside the house, and by the time I came in he was dressed and ready for his smoothie and a light breakfast. I might have lectured him a bit on the subject of commitment. Even though we didn't have to pay for weight training this time around, I still think it's important to finish what you start where camps and such are concerned. I dropped him off and returned home. I figured I'd update my blog for about an hour, then get started on my scrap/craft room for an hour before returning to pick up Aaron.
Suddenly, I felt extremely tired, and I couldn't really focus. Two hours later I was still sitting in my office, laptop on my lap trying to finish blogging from the weekend. It was taking me forever. Do you move slower when you're tired, too, or is that just me? I picked up Aaron and wanted only to come in from the heat and take a nap. Somehow I piddled around until 1:45 p.m. before I went to lie down. I slept from 2 something until 4:40 or so. That felt pretty darn good if I do say so myself. Then, the mental agony set in. That mental list of things to do today was rumbling around in my mind, but I just couldn't get myself together to prioritize and put together a plan: chlorine for the pool, retrieve house key from Barrett, pay house note, balance checkbook, grocery store for basics-juice, milk, fruit, pick up Aaron's ear drops from Shannon; intercept Xavier who's spending the night.
When I couldn't decide what to do or how to do it, Barrett offered to bring me my house key. He stayed for a while then ran with me to Costco for gas and chlorine for the pool. Then, we went by Shannon's job to get Aaron's ear drops (which had fallen out of his pocket last night in Derrick's walkway) and intercept Xavier for a sleepover. I came home, added water and chlorine to the pool (not looking forward to the water bill this month) and began preparations for dinner. I remembered a familysize box of Hamburger Helper lasagne in the cupboard and some ground beef and turkey in the freezer. I was tempted to run out to the store for salad fixins and garlic bread, but decided against it...just too darn hot to keep running in and out, not to mention the whole money thing. I sliced cucumbers and tomatoes and toasted hamburger buns with garlic butter. Barrett declined his dinner invitation and left to prepare his own dinner of sausage with peppers and onions after a quick trip by Kroger. I took an Advil for a headache (too much sleep maybe?) and finished dinner. We had apple pie a la mode for dessert. It's now almost midnight and Mike & I are supposed to play a round of Backgammon, but I don't know. I'm about ready for bed. Today feels like the least productive day of the summer thus far. Hopefully, tomorrow will be better. Good night all. Until next time...

full country breakfast

July 12, 2009

Good morning. This segment will have to be short and sweet. Why, you might ask? Let me answer that in three words: full country breakfast. The time is 9:15 a.m. and breakfast is served at 9:30. Wanda usually does the whole eggs, sausage, grits, biscuits & gravy, fresh fruit, homemade granola (which is absolutely awesome and worth waiting for), etc. As crazy as it sounds after all of that food I consumed yesterday (we had roasted pork loin with raspberry chipotle sauce, purple hull peas [close relative of the black-eyed pea], more of that wonderful sliced tomato with marinated mozzerlla cheese salad, ratatouille & cornbread for dinner, and homemade peach cobbler with ice cream for dessert), I am starving! Well, starving probably isn’t the right word, but maybe extremely ready for more food J. Let me not make food the focus of this entire blog.
I wanted to jot down the names of the ladies I’m scrapping with this weekend. It took me 24 hours to remember scrapping with some of them on previous retreats. My group: me, Mom (Lana Wilborn), Dawn Stewart & Betty Harris (OMM parishioner who has been collecting scrapbook supplies for some time but never really sat down to use them!). Arden’s group: Robin Nolen (who first introduced me to these retreats—that’s a great story I’ll share with you another time), Arden (Robin’s sister-in-law), Delia (Arden’s college roommate from College Station, TX), and Stephanie (Robin’s friend who has three beautiful girls). Sherra’s group: Sherra’ (our coordinator for the retreat), Jennifer (sews and does other crafty stuff like crochet and cross-stitch, but doesn’t scrap much), Kim (friend from Sherra’s church, I think), Ellie (high school band director from Denton with one of each small kids Aidan [18 mos] & Naomi [5 years] who just returned from trip #2 to Pensacola FL & Disney World. Finally, there’s Andrea’s group: Andrea (Sherra’s long time friend & college roommate), Kathy (newcomer to the group, pretty quiet), Brianne (pronounced “Bree –ahn’” also a newcomer and mother of three; homeschools the youngest), Gail (good friend of Andrea and Sherra’). The group was well-balanced and easy going. Not a lot of competition for who did the most pages or whose pages were more elaborate than others, etc. They will scrap again in November, but I don’t know if I’ll make that retreat or not. It’s smack dab in the middle of that Pedi/OB semester and I don’t foresee money being any more readily available either. We will see. *Pause for intermission*
Breakfast was just as wonderful as I anticipated: bacon, biscuits and cream gravy (I generally prefer strawberry jam on my biscuits), scrambled eggs, hash brown potato casserole (I’d almost forgotten about that dish and its cheesy, onion-y, potato goodness!), granola and a fresh fruit bowl. I ate until I couldn’t eat another bite and then headed straight back to the scrap building to get busy. Sundays are a little different on these retreats. It’s almost as if I’m afraid to get too good a groove going because there is a cut off time. People are beginning to pack up and leave (some leave right after breakfast), and I’m constantly watching the clock to allow myself ample time to pack up everything and be out by 4 p.m. The thought of packing everything up is enough to thwart any real creativity. Still I forged on ahead and completed three more pages. I think my total was 28 pages or something to that effect. I didn’t finish a lot of pages, but I was happy with the pages I did finish. Furthermore, I did meet new friends and have a ball with my old ones and eat good food and snacks, etc. I never could get “into” the Harry Potter movies, but was told to read the books for something fun and easy to read. The weekend, in my opinion, was a success. I just have to keep that inspiration flowing to motivate me to get busy with organizing my office and scrapbook stuff so I can take the time to work from home between bi-annual retreats. I mean, really, even with school, kids and everything else I don’t think a couple of hours per week is too much to devote to a hobby, especially when there is an end result as wonderful as a scrapbook which tells someone’s life story and records memorable events for generations to come (Can you hear the Battle Hymn of the Republic playing in the background, too, or is that just me?)

Around 2:45 I began the arduous task of gathering my things together and loading up the van. You’d be surprised at how much stuff three little old ladies can haul to a scrapbook retreat. Betty had to remember to get her barbecue out of the fridge in the barn where we slept. Anyone who knows Betty Harris knows she doesn’t go anywhere without provisions (smile). Jerry even dug up some plants for Betty to take home and replant in her back yard (gardening is her first love before scrapping even). We hit Burger King on the way out of town (Dawn opted for McDonald’s across the highway but joined us in the BK parking lot) and were on I-20 headed back westbound by 4:00 p.m. I was anxious to play my book on CD ( I had J. California Cooper’s Life is Short but Wide between the front seats), but we talked about the plight of overweight Americans and things as they used to be back in the day instead. We dropped Betty and all of her stuff at home, then we proceeded to Mom’s house to unload her stuff.

The original plan after dropping off Mom was to come home, unload my stuff, check on Missy then run back by Mom’s to pick her back up. She would then accompany me to Shannon’s to pick up the kids (by way of Michael’s craft store to find a Xyron sticker-making machine, of course). Time was of the essence because it was already 6 p.m. and Michael’s closed at 7 p.m. on Sundays. Once I arrived at home, however, a combination of events lead me to believe that a nap was definitely in order: the drive home was complete (and hence there was n longer a need for heightened awareness while on the road-monitoring the speed limit, defensive driving, offensive driving, looking out for the po-po, etc.); Mike wasn’t home, so the house was empty and quiet and cool, the coffee I had after breakfast had worn off, the BK Value Menu “spicy” chicken sandwich and onion rings had sunk to the bottom of my stomach and given me a case of the “itis". I quickly checked the mailbox, e-mails and telephone messages, and answered an incoming phone call. I returned a letter to my cousin who lives in Beaumont and is nice enough to write from time to time to update me on family business. Suddenly, I felt like I couldn’t go on without a bit of a nap, and so I called my sister to beg for just another hour or so of childcare. She was cool with that, so I set my alarm for 8 p.m. and laid down across the bed. The time was already 7:30 p.m.
I got up, had apple pie a la mode for dinner and headed across town to retrieve my kiddoes. Even with multiple calls announcing my pending arrival, there is no quick pick up. Aaron & Uncle Deke were just getting started good in some boxing video game. Leyla didn’t want Alisa out of her sight. About the third time I said, “Okay guys, let’s get going,” Alisa decided to warm and eat her pizza leftover from T’Lani’s house. All of this is to say it was late when we finally arrived home for good (thank goodness for that little nap or I never would have made it!). As I was watching an online (hulu) episode of “The Office” that Aaron insisted that I must see right then and there, Mike made his way in from work and retired to the bedroom. I could hear an action movie booming through my office wall.
Around midnight I dragged myself to my bedroom, and Mike asked about my weekend and I asked about his. He asked if I was going to have a dip of ice cream (this is his special language, which when translated means, “would you please fix me a bowl of ice cream, dear wife?”) I confessed that that’s what I had eaten for dinner, but dragged my tired carcass back to the kitchen to fix him an apple pie a la mode, too. I got into “The Legend of Chun Li” and didn’t go to bed until 2 a.m. Good night. Until next time…

Catch up

Saturday 7/11/09

Yesterday went just about as smoothly as it could have possibly gone. I awoke to a peaceful house around 6:30 a.m. as I predicted…just me and Missy-Prissy, the dog. I quietly went about packing my clothes and picking up this and that. Then, I began the daunting task of deciding what “stuff” to take and what to leave behind. I figured as long as I had some pictures, some paper and some stickers/adhesives I was in good shape. I still had to load up a bit more stuff than I anticipated. My goal for one of these future retreats is to pack only the stuff I need to finish a set number of pages of a particular theme. In other words, I want to be able to look at a finished product by the end of the retreat. For the past several scrapbook retreats I have completed stacks of pages, but none of them have found their way into albums. I just complete pages and then have to wonder: are these for Alisa’s album, Aaron’s album, the family album? Am I doing a personal album? If so, what should I put in it vs. the family album? It can get pretty complicated trying to figure out all of this. The end result is: stacks of pages with no complete albums. Like my friend Robin summed it up: “You don’t get to see the fruits of your labor.” I think you get the picture…yet another reason to get my act together.
Around 10 a.m. I had the van loaded with my stuff, breakfast was eaten, the dishes washed, and the trash was on the curb. Mom had only called once around 9:45 to declare that she and Betty Harris were ready to go and to inquire about my whereabouts. Well, let’s see, if you’re calling my home phone…. Our original plan was to meet Dawn at Wolf Camera, where she had to pick up some photos for the trip, at 10:30 a.m. When Dawn called at 9:15 and said she still needed to gas up her car and run by Michael’s, Hobby Lobby, the bank before heading to Wolf Camera, I surmised that we would not be meeting at exactly 10:30. I took Missy for a walk around the block since I knew she would be cooped up in her “home” (i.e., her kennel) for most of the weekend. I started to give myself a pedicure to kill some time and tame my talons, but I thought better of it. I didn’t want Mom & Betty ready to strangle me! Around 10:20 I headed on to Mom’s to load up their stuff. Dawn called while I was en route and asked if 11:00 would be okay as she still wasn’t quite finished. I agreed and continued on to Mom’s. We stopped by Jack-in-the-Box for Mom & Betty to get a bite to eat before hitting the road and arrived at Wolf Camera just at 10:55, but there was no sign of Dawn’s vehicle. I called her on the cell phone. She was just about to leave Michael’s which was just down the street. While Mom and Betty snacked on their “value menu chicken sandwiches” I shot across the parking lot to Office Depot and made a color copy of Sasha’s dance recital program cover for the couple of photos I had taken that night.
We were finally ready to hit the road around 11:25. We hit I-20 eastbound, and Betty regaled us with laughter and conversations for the next 79 miles. The last time we went to Bailiteal Farm we followed the directions from and ended up taking the scenic route through Grand Saline. This time I was going “by feel” from previous trips I had made riding with my friend Robin Nolen, who is the one who originally introduced me to the world of scrapbook retreats. We made it without a hitch, and were actually the third group of guests to arrive. Sherra, our coordinator, arrived Thursday, and was already busy working. Delia had just arrived from College Station and was unloading her van. We unpacked, met everyone and went to work.
We all scrapped and visited and got to know one another, then Wanda (the owner and cook) came by to announce that we would have breakfast for dinner and was that okay. The menu was to consist of quiche, croissants, Mexican cheese grits and homemade peach pound cake for dessert and would be served at 7 p.m. No one objected or took her up on her offer to go into town and get a hamburger instead (smile). I ate a light snack (chips and Velveeta/Rotel queso) around 5 p.m. By 6:15 I was at a crossroads. Dinner was only 40 minutes away, but I was tired. I felt like if I wouldn’t get much done just sitting there being tired but if I waited until after dinner to “rest a spell” then I may not get back up. Who wants to waste all of that precious scrapbooking time. So, I opted to go to the big barn and catch a half-hour nap (remember naps must be up to 30 minutes of over 2 hours to be “effective” and not leave you feeling worse for the wear), then go to dinner. It worked!
After enjoying the ham and spinach quiche, cheese grits casserole, a wonderful salad with fresh basil, sliced tomatoes (from their neighbor’s garden) and marinated mozzarella cheese and miniature cinnamon rolls, Jerry and Wanda served the peach pound cake. Do you think they stopped there? Of course not. They included a dip of vanilla ice cream and wonderful warm amaretto sauce with toasted almonds to complement the pound cake. Ummmmm! Even after eating all of that, we returned to the scrap building to press on into the wee hours of the morning. Mom, Betty, Dawn & I locked up around 2 a.m. after everyone else had retired. We watched SNL-the best of Will Farrell, Mama Mia, 13 going on 30 and 27 dresses while we worked. Tomorrow will be a “Harry Potter-a-thon.” Jennifer (who sews and and crochets but doesn’t really do much scrapping) brought all 5 movies. Good night/morning. Until the next time…