Saturday, January 31, 2009

Insult back-up!

While Jeff is away, he must have put Harrison in charge of insulting me. He's doing a pretty good job of it. Yesterday he was giving me a "back massage". While he karate-chopped his way down my back, he said "time for the glutes" and proceeded to karate-chop my butt. He stopped and said "Wow! Your butt really jiggles! It's like a bouncy house!" Then he suggested I put a sign on my butt that said "Caution! Oversize load! Do Not Pass!"

Today I was having trouble clasping my necklace. Harrison said "Oh, you should get this thing I saw on TV. It's magnetic and it helps old people put their jewelry on!" Nice. Love that boy!

Help Wanted

So, being the benevolent wife that I am (insert sarcastic tone here), I made a snap decision to change Jeff's ticket for this weekend's conference in Austin. He was flying home through Phoenix, and being unemployed and down about life in general, he mentioned wouldn't it be fun to just get off the plane and stay a while? So, I thought, why the hell not? My dad was on my mom's IM at the time, so I checked with him, got the go-ahead and booked his return ticket for Friday. So, now he not only gets to spend a weekend away in Austin, but he'll spend the rest of the week in Phoenix enjoying the sun! He took my laptop, too, so I have to share the main computer with all the other mere humans in the house. The indignity of it all! I figured if you work your ass off for six years for a company and go through a buy-out, narrowly escaping the lay-off of five hundred employees, then get demoted to a crummy position in a cubicle and finally called into the boss's office over a year after the initial lay-off to be told your position is being eliminated and oh, by the way, here are some boxes, please be out by 11 a.m., you deserve a week in the sun to mull it all over! He will be busy enough when he returns in his new full-time position of "looking for a job" (along with the rest of the world!).

That leaves me at home with four kids and three dogs, a part time job and a busy "kid" schedule. Whine, whine. I don't feel sorry for myself because I think of all the military wives, or people who have to live bi-coastal because one spouse has a job and the other one has to stay behind and sell the damn house in this crappy market, or hell, even my mom, who was a single mom almost every week while my dad traveled. It's a lot of work. But honestly? I'm more anxious about taking care of the stupid dogs. I already had to clean up a giant puddle (and subsequent trail) of dog pee last night. I just know one of them is going to barf this week.

No worries. I ordered pizza last night and bought pop (a treat around here) and even a few boxes of Swiss Cake Rolls to stash in the freezer. After dinner I took a bubble bath and ate two (TWO) packages of Swiss Cake Rolls while in the tub. And you know, those things are messy! I had chocolate crumbs everywhere. Which made the bath kind of unappealing. Plus, Shade was barking his fool head off in the next room the whole time. So, I had to get out of the tub to shut him up and then, just as I drained the tub and dried off, he shut up. Stupid dog! Then, Harrison decided it would be "fun" for him to sleep in my bed (recently vacated by Jeff). I let him, why not? I remember when my siblings and I used to fight over who got to sleep with my mom while my dad was gone all week. They had a king-sized bed and it seemed massive compared to our twins. So, Harrison made himself comfortable and we watched "Adrenaline Rush Hour" and fell asleep! Good times.

Friday, January 30, 2009

Men and their underpants!

So, last weekend while in Ft. Worth during a break in the meetings, Jeff came up to the hotel room and complained about his undershirt. He said "I hate how it bunches up around my waist when I'm walking, and my shirt is still tucked in." I immediately thought of an image burned into my mind - my dad walking around his room, getting ready for yet another business trip, with his always-present Fruit of the Loom white undershirt tucked into his requisite Fruit of the Loom whitey-tighty underwear! So, I suggested that Jeff do the same. Problem solved! Well, today, on his way to yet another business trip, he said "you know, that undershirt tucked into the underwear trick is the best thing since sliced bread!" He had been dealing with this "problem" for years and wow, his highly intelligent wife came up with an ingenious solution! I said "well, Jeff, you're 40 years old now and you finally learned to dress like a man!" He also said he remembered once when he bought his first suit, the salesman might have mentioned this "trick" but "he used a foreign word or something!" I said "like, 'briefs'?" to which Jeff replied "Yeah! That was the word!" Foreign, indeed.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

An Unwelcome Club

Yesterday we joined an unwelcome club - unemployed families! Jeff lost his job after weeks of suspect activity on the part of managers and after months of working in a position that was essentially a demotion from his former managerial position. He's been looking for a new position for a long time and was hoping to have his salary leverage to negotiate with new, potential employers. But no such luck. He had a meeting with his boss and her boss (both of whom are underqualified in both career skills and personality) and was told his position was being eliminated. To rub salt in the wound, he was handed several boxes and told to have his belongings out by 11 a.m. Ten other employees faced the same fate yesterday.

Obviously, this economic downturn has affected many so we're among millions of other families who are facing the same challenges. Which also means Jeff is among millions of other people looking for work, thus the competition is daunting. His skills are many and he will be an amazing addition to any company lucky enough to have him, but it's going to be a long road. One that, hopefully, lasts less than six months because that's how long we have in severance and insurance. After that, we really don't have a plan.

They say the average family should have four to six months of emergency reserve money set aside for just such an event. But there is just no way we could ever have amassed that amount of money. For one thing, our mortgage is more than one of Jeff's paychecks each month. We'd sell the house, but the market sucks. We are totally willing to relocate and realize the distinct possibility of that happening soon. Change is good. But to be unprepared in the face of such a huge life change is scary. Thankfully, I have a part-time job, but it will pay for groceries at best.

So, off we go on a rocky adventure. Jeff has never been laid off or fired in his entire life so this is all new to him. He's an extremely hard worker and keeps very busy so having entire days to himself will be a new experience. We will make the best of what we have to work with and hope and pray that he finds a position that is interesting and challenging (and heck, let's face it, as long as it's a paycheck!) soon. Both Jeff and I have t-shirts from the "Life is Good" line. Recently, he said "I wish I had a shirt that says 'Life is O.K.'" But we have a lot of blessings and so we'll focus on those for the time being. And keep an eye on the want ads!

Monday, January 26, 2009

Thank a Soldier!!!

We flew home from Ft. Worth yesterday and unfortunately, we didn't have seats together. We had two middle seats, one in front of the other. So, I was bummed, but figured, oh well, that's how it goes. A nice lady sat in the window seat next to me and a soldier sat in the aisle seat. Turns out, he was coming home (to Richland, WA) from Iraq. He had flown to Kuwait, to Germany, to Georgia, to Ft. Worth, then Seattle, then Richland. So, this poor guy was probably on a plane for the last 30 hours! In fatigues and boots. Didn't look so comfortable. But he was so nice, talking about his family and renewing his vows with his wife. When he noticed me asking Jeff over my shoulder for my book, he offered to switch seats. I said "oh, you don't want to spend the whole flight sitting in the middle do you?" and he said "not really, but I'd also rather be sitting by my spouse" and proceeded to switch with Jeff! What a great guy! He was willing to give up a comfy aisle seat to sit in the middle for four more hours. And all I could do was say thanks.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

A Few More from Fort Worst........I mean, Worth!

Here are some more photos of my day in Fort Worth. Yippee. First, our hotel - The Omni. It just opened last weekend so it's very new and nice. And huge! The next photo is of me and Jeff at the Ft. Worth Water Gardens (we were trying to find a geocache, but were unsuccessful). Then, the courthouse. Notice Texas flag. The plaque tells the story of this photograph of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance kid, taken at a photo studio on Houston Street. The photographer didn't know the well-dressed gentlemen he was photographing were infamous criminals. A sherriff noticed the photo hanging in the photographer's window, but by the time it was investigated, the gang had left town!

Fort Worth on Saturday

Today Jeff attended meetings for his conference all day and I set out in the morning, coffee in hand, eagerly awaiting the treasures that Fort Worth has to offer. Well, I believe I was duped! There is NOTHING to do in Fort Worth, unless you're hungry. In all fairness, we are in downtown so maybe it's not the best part of town for shopping (but all other metropolitan downtowns I've been to have been shopping meccas). But I found only a small handful of stores, a lot of closed restaurants and shops, and a ton of construction. No gift shops, novelty stores, shopping malls, nothing. The best place I found all day was Barnes and Noble. I spent about $11 on books from the 75% off table, and $8 for chocolate at a chocolate shop I found. So, I guess Jeff's joke about me spending only $20 on this trip was pretty accurate! Man, what a boring town. And to top it off, it was 32 degrees when I set out this a.m. and didn't get much warmer. The wind blew hard all day so my face was frozen and even my legs were numb in my jeans! I did manage to find two geocaches, so at least I can say we found a couple in Texas. I was back at the hotel in the early afternoon after spending over four hours walking all over town. I took a nap, then a bath to warm up (I was still freezing) and finally went out to dinner with Jeff, who was gracious enough to skip tonight's conference dinner to spend some time with me. Next time he takes a trip, I'm going to make sure it's somewhere fun! But I did manage to snag a few photos. The first is Bass Performance Hall. The angels blowing brass trumpets reminded me of the angel Moroni on top of the Mormon Temple! HAHA! The next photo is St. Patrick's Cathedral, which was very old and beautiful and I would have loved taking photos of the stained glass windows, but there were four people praying in the dark church and ominous warning signs to "BE SILENT! JESUS IS PRESENT IN THE TABERNACLE!" I didn't want to piss Jesus off, so I only snuck one quick photo of the stained glass, not using the flash and took some outside shots. The next photo is a statue that was the site of my first geocache and the fourth a mural in town that was the site of my second geocache. Enjoy!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Fort Worth, TX

Jeff and I are in Fort Worth, TX for the weekend. He's attending a leadership training for the American Chemical Society as chair-elect for the Puget Sound region. We arrived around 2:30 to our hotel only to find our room was delayed - by two hours! Jeff went to his meetings while I enjoyed Starbucks and some Facebook time in the lobby. Tonight he had a dinner to attend so I chose to eat dinner in the restaurant by myself. Honestly, I think this is the only time I've ever eaten in a restaurant by myself! It was fine - I got the buffet and read my book, so I was pretty oblivious to everything around me. I even had a Cosmopolitan. But drinking alone is no fun! Anyway, we are here for the weekend and tomorrow I plan to go explore Fort Worth (as far as I can get on foot!), perhaps get a pedicure or massage at the spa, and do some shopping. This hotel just opened up five days ago so the pool and hot tub are not open yet - lame! But the workout room and spa are up and running and it's a very nice hotel. So, I'm enjoying a weekend away, even if I am just blogging in a new place!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Pretty Dog, Shade!

In those few idle moments between putting the kids to bed and going to bed ourselves, Jeff felt compelled last night to dress Shade up in some of my cast-off frilly undergarments! Previous in the evening I had been sorting through my various lacy unmentionables (putting them in categories like "fits", "might fit if I lost 20 lbs" and "I have a dream"). Jeff decided a particular pink teddy and a floral camisole might become Shade so he dressed him up and paraded him about for all to admire. The really scary part? I think Shade liked it!

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


Yesterday I got to watch a little bit of the inauguration.....not much, just Obama's speech and the poem and benediction after (which was hysterical at the end - "where brown can stick around, where yellow can be mellow, and where the Red Man can get ahead, man"), and then after that I really couldn't watch more because I was working. So, I missed all the other good stuff. But just from reading posts on my Facebook this morning, it seems the general consensus is that people are pretty happy to have a new president. I'm not much for politics, but I do hope things change for the better. Although in all honesty I think things are going to get worse before they get better, but that is the natural way of things. To turn our economy around will take time and a lot of work. Patience, patience. But it's hard to wait. And we all have our stories of how the economy has affected us. We are personally feeling the effects right now and it's not easy. But today is a new dawn.........go Obama! Make us proud.

Monday, January 19, 2009

Bark Barf - or Bad Dog, Shade - Part ??

So yesterday Shade decided to "deliver" a large amount of what was essentially bark onto the family room floor. This dog is such a pain in the a$$. He will eat literally ANYTHING. Among our many happy finds - an entire box of staples, an entire bag of rubber bands (these arrived post-digestion in a perfectly formed, absolutely dry ball - amazing!), cedar siding, truck wiring, Pixos plastic beads, a variety of lip glosses, a tube of toothpaste, bedding, and paper. He has never been to the vet for any of these transgressions - everything passes through uneventfully (and we get to clean up the results!). Jeff talked this morning about getting his mouth wired shut. I suggested maybe he had pica - a strange disorder that causes people to eat non-food things due to iron or zinc deficiency. Jeff reminded me that his escapades run to food products as well. Like last night - he was in our bedroom and the girls opened the door for mere seconds, and that sneakly little criminal slipped out without a sound and was downstairs eating cake off a plate at the table in seconds! I found the overturned plate, fork and crumbs this morning as evidence. BAD DOG SHADE!

Sunday, January 18, 2009

I Hate Balloons!

I really don't like balloons. Sure, they're festive and colorful and I often use them to decorate for parties. But I hate cheap latex balloons kids get at such places as restaurants and bowling alleys. The kid accepts this latex novelty gleefully, often tied to a skinny little wrist, and takes it home where it bounces it's helium-filled self toward the ceiling and stays there until the next morning when it lays lazily on the floor, it's glory days behind it. Kind of a metaphor for life. We start out filled with possibility, bright, taut, cheerful. And we end up squishy, flat and depressing. Balloons are disappointment on a string.

All About Hannah

Hannah is jealous because she doesn't think she's getting enough press on my blog! So, here is a post dedicated just to Hannah! Hmmm......let's see, what's going on in Hannah's life that I can tell you about? She's bringing her grades up, so we now have great hope that her future career aspirations might involve more than flipping burgers or cleaning houses. Wait, she hates to clean, so scratch that. We are very proud of her efforts, however, and encourage her to do her best all the time. In other news, Hannah is going to audition for the school talent show (forcefully she says, and I tend to agree, but hey, can you blame me for wanting her to follow through on something and show off her God-given talent?). She plans to sing "I Need You" by LeAnn Rimes. She's also performing "Simple Gifts" at the Solo and Ensemble Festival on Jan. 31. An adjucator will listen to her and "grade" her performance, offering tips for improvement. She still enjoys art class and has brought home many wonderful works of art! She is very random and certainly marches to her own drum! She has a lot of friends. A highlight of last week was an assembly at school (two hours) that covered such topics as relationships and abstinence. She thinks it was slightly awkward because her best "guy" friend was sitting next to her the whole time! She is a total Narnia fan, to the point of obsession. She would like to marry William Moseley! (She says, "he's like 21, mama!"). She just got a fabulous haircut and makes everyone jealous with her thick, naturally wavy hair that looks like it came out of a magazine photo shoot! (She says "at least when it's brushed!"). She claims she can communicate with Georgie, our black Lab ("because she loves me best" - actually that is wrong, she loves ME best!). She plays the piano every day, even though it's the same three songs every time! She teaches herself to play and is quite adept at it. She also loves her DS and her Brain Age is 38. Even though she's only 13. And the best possible score is 20. I don't get it. Here is a selection of fabulous photos for your enjoyment!

Cosmic Bowling!

I wrote this post yesterday but must have walked away from the computer as the photos were downloading.......anyway, yesterday we had a dual birthday party for Harrison and Arlie at the local bowling alley. This was "cosmic bowling" which is when they turn the lights off, turn black lights on, everyone wears white so they "glow", employ laser lights, disco balls and a "steam" machine, thereby giving the bowling alley a hazy, groovy ambience. Music is played (mostly early 80's - Hayley couldn't believe I knew the words to "Walk the Dinosaur"), and everyone joins in the "cha-cha slide" dance, thus earning a coupon for a free game of bowling. Pizza, unlimited pop and birthday cake rounded out the event and a good time was had by all! Here are some photos of the day.

Thursday, January 15, 2009

More blast from the past!

Arlie and Harrison at our wedding! And kids at Riverfront Park, Spokane , WA

Just some random old photos I thought were cute!
Hayley and Arlie in CdA, ID Hannah's 11th birthday!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Doctor, doctor, give me a clue.......

Yesterday Hannah woke up complaining of an earache. Since that is unusual for her (and a kid her age) I figured she might have an ear infection. But first, I decided to try irrigating her ears, knowing that not too long ago, Arlie also had an earache and it turned out to be earwax lodged deep in her ear. Since I had observed the process of irrigating her ears, I decided I could easily try this at home! No problem, I used a bulb syringe and things went ok - at least I got her ear unclogged. So, off she went to school, with a note saying if her ear still hurt she could come home. Well, sure enough, mid-morning I get a call at work saying she needs to come home and also to see a doctor because the school nurse thought she might have an ear infection.

Later that day, I took her to the doctor. Not our family doctor, but another doctor in an entirely different practice that is affiliated with our doctor's office. To give some background, this is the same office I rushed Hannah to "after hours" when she broke her arm in gymnastics several years ago (they said it wasn't broken and she continued doing gymnastics and everything else until ten days later when we found out it actually WAS broken!). Also the same doctor's office I took her to when she had another earache (gave us ear drops that clogged her ear and made it worse!). So, we went in with shaky confidence, but I thought, an ear infection, how hard can that be?

We were a few minutes late, but we waited in the waiting room anyway. The nurse came out to get us and commented on the way back "did you have trouble finding us?" meaning "why are you late? Don't you know we run a tight ship here, missy?" I hesitated "...ummm...." and then thought, what the hell? She's going to tell ME I'm late? I spend 45 minutes on average waiting for the doctor and she's going to give me lip about being late? So I just said "No!" in a cheerful voice, thereby reducing her options of chastising me for being tardy. She introduced herself as "Bobbie" which for some reason made both Hannah and I giggle.

Cue the doctor. Dr. Billet to be exact. He waltzes in and Hannah's eyes grew wide. Nearly six feet tall, he was wearing tan cordoruy pants, a striped button-down shirt tucked neatly into his wide-wale trousers, and (no kidding) a very large yellow, polka-dot bow-tie! Besides being so comical, he was a man of few words. He promptly irrigated her ear (just like I had!) and looked in it one more time, pronouncing no ear infection. This took about 30 seconds. Hannah looked at me quizzically (because, I later learned, his advanced medical technique offered no more relief than she had felt when she came in!). The doctor then sat down and proceeded to shuffle some papers, clear his throat and twist in his spinny chair. Hannah and I said nothing (after all, we were waiting for some sage medical advice). Clearly "killing time" now (supposedly to ensure he had spent all five minutes and 22 seconds of required time to bill the insurance?), I finally decided to put him out of his misery and said "ok" as I stood up with my purse to indicate that the visit was over. He feebly mumbled something about "call us if it's not better in a few days" and walked out. Hannah and I both looked at each other with a "that's it?" look and trailed after him. Just seconds later he passed by us in the hallway and looked right through us as though he'd never seen us before. No "have a good day now" or "hope you're feeling better." Nothing.

As we left I announced (perhaps a bit too loudly but that's just my way!) "Well, that was the biggest waste of a $15 co-pay I've ever seen!" Hannah said "HOW much was it?" and I said "$15, but that's just the co-pay. Wait till the bill comes. That will be a $100 doctor visit!" She was incredulous.

The moral? Next time I "do it myself" I won't bother to spend $100 of my insurance company's money having a bow-tied doctor repeat my procedure. What a crock!

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

Just a little off the top!

I took the kids to get haircuts on Saturday. That's always a very long and expensive excursion. We go to Marie, our wonderful hairstylist. She's not your typical beautician (or whatever trendy word they're calling them these days!). For one thing, every time we go, her hair is a different style or color (always very chic!). For another, she's not afraid to drop an "F-bomb" even when talking to the kids! Anyway, she's a magician with hair, that's for sure and here are the results. (Mimi will be VERY happy to see that Mr. Harrison is now sporting a "boy" haircut and not the usual mop). Enjoy! (Note - these are cell phone photos, so not the greatest quality!).

Monday, January 12, 2009

Honey Do List

Anyone who knows Jeff know's he's like the energizer bunny when it comes to getting things done. He can clean the house, whip up a meal and do some manly garage project all without getting his feathers ruffled. But he can also spend hours in bed reading and watching TV. Typical guy!

Yesterday, I made a "honey do" list for him. It included, among a couple of other things, "vacuum house". So, after a few hours of lounging in bed and napping, he got up to go do his duties. I saw him putting the vacuum away after vacuuming the downstairs and asked (sweetly, I thought!) "don't we have an upstairs too?" to which he replied "I have to do the upstairs too? I hung your bulletin board, I took down the Christmas lights, can't I just do the upstairs tomorrow?" I hesitated "well......." and he said "Damn! You're just not happy unless I've got sweat on my brow!"

I cracked up. And didn't say another word about vacuuming. He's a good guy! I don't wanna push it! :)

Sunday, January 11, 2009


Indiana, 2007 Ohio, 2007

San Diego 2006 & Harrison's first communion 2006

My sister said she thought blogs were boring unless they had photos. So, I said "well I haven't taken any photos in a while" and she said "what? a week?" She's right, I do take photos often, but I haven't taken any this week, really. Well, except for the dogs. And on Harrison's birthday. Which was just two days ago. Ok, so I do take a lot of photos. But not all of them are blog-worthy. Still, I thought it would be fun to just publish some random photos from time to time. I wish I had the kids' baby pictures on the computer. I need to scan them or something. So, my digital world only goes back a couple of years. But I will post some old photos just for fun.


Why is everything so good so bad for you? I just hate eating healthy all the time. Honestly, I can't go a day without indulging in something that is probably bad for me in some way - too much fat, sugar, or chemicals or something! It's not that I don't like healthy food - I do. In fact, here is a list of healthy foods I like: salmon, whole wheat English muffins, avocados, tomatoes, oranges, apples, grapefruit, carrots, celery, lettuce, squash, green beans, corn, pork chops, chicken, grapes, nuts, oatmeal, peanut butter. And here is a list of foods that are not healthy that I like: Lucky Charms, Crunchberries, Little Debbie Swiss Cake Rolls, Starbucks tall decaf mocha, cinnamon scone from Starbucks, toffee almond bars from Starbucks, chocolate covered cherries, cake with frosting, chocolate chip cookies, frosted sugar cookies, various kinds of chocolate, Bailey's, fruity drinks with alcohol, beer, and basically anything that involves flour, sugar, and butter. See my problem? Why don't we all just crave healthy foods? I start the day out right most of the time - I eat a bowl of Cheerios with a little bit of honey and milk. Then, it goes downhill from there. Lunch will be healthy, with maybe a little "sweet" thrown in for after. Then, I need a snack around 2 or 3, which often involves a stop at Starbucks. Then, dinner. And as if that's not enough, dessert beckons me. Sometimes I resist, or substitute something like a bowl of cereal (sugared, always!), but mostly I like dessert. And now that the new year is upon us, and we're changing our ways, I'm trying to eat healthier. But it doesn't take much to derail me. The stress of my husband not being offered a job, or a looming medical test, or really any little bump in the road can send me to baked goods in a flash! Emotional eating? Yeah, sure it is. But let me tell you, taking a walk or "calling a friend" is no substitute for a pastry and coffee at Starbucks (bonus points if it's WITH a friend). Somehow it just makes it all better. For a while. But I really am tired of being a size 16, when not too long ago, I was a comfortable 14 and even a 12 for a good long time. However, even at this size, I find myself happy with myself in a lot of ways. Sure, I'd like to be skinnier. Sure, I'd like to look better naked (who doesn't?). But it reminds me of something my Weight Watchers leader once said "Honey, there's a reason we wear clothes!" Not too many people look good naked. So, really, size or looking airbrushed when nude are not my goals. I'd like to tie my shoes without making a grunting noise. And be able to do a certain twist in yoga that eludes me (I'm convinced it's because of my tummy flab!). And stop having to scrutinize my tops to make sure I'm not showing too much "muffin top". Mostly, I'd just like to not outweigh my husband! Or maybe just be able to borrow his jeans. Sigh.


I don't really have anything to blog about but just feel like I should add a post to my blog! HA! Today we took Arlie to a birthday party, then went to Nordstrom to buy Jeff some "interview" clothes. He's been on one interview and is hoping to schedule a couple more in the next week or so and he has exactly one suit to his name. It's ok, basic, pinstripe, but he's gained a few pounds and it doesn't fit so well. Not to mention his ONE dress shirt is too tight around his neck (that can't have been pretty in his first interview) so we bought him clothes that actually fit. And they were ridiculously expensive. Why are men's clothes so damn expensive? I mean, seriously. There's no more fabric there, really. And they are so boring - grey pants, black jacket, white shirt. At least with women's clothes you are delighted with patterns and colors. I chose Nordstrom because Jeff is a hard fit (example, he had to wear the "tailored" version of the dress shirt because the regular was too square on him, thus too much fabric, however, in a jacket he was a 42 short, because he's a short little guy but has really broad shoulders and a tiny middle!). I figured they could fit him well, alter what was necessary and had a good return policy in case everything isn't fabulous. Still, OMG. I had to get out the credit card since I have no $$ in my checking account. I'm so sick of not having disposable income! Thus, the new job for Jeff. But also because he is SICK and TIRED of his job and their asinine ways (wait, does anyone from his work read this? I hope not. Actually, I don't care. You are all idiots!). He interviewed for a job about a week ago and did not get an offer, which was really disappointing. Needless to say the general mood around here is somewhat reserved. The economy sucking has only served to enhance our money woes. Thank God the kids aren't even doing much extracurricular because we really can't afford it right now. Harrison and Arlie are both skipping softball/baseball this season and Arlie just quit her dance class. That leaves art class for the girls, gymnastics for Arlie and nothing for Harrison. I wish we could afford more like drama classes, piano lessons, etc. But I really don't know how people do it! And the kids are begging to do to Disneyland. Arlie has been dying to go to Hawaii for years now. But those things are just not in the cards for us (and many other families) at the moment. Things are tight and we're all learning to have fun on less. But today I did take out a notebook and compose "The Big List". It's basically a list of things we want or want to do that we can't afford right now but want to work towards. Like that trip to Disney (and Disney World to swim with the dolphins). And buying a treadmill for the house. And a Wii. Jeff added visiting Gettysburg. So much to do! Sometimes I want to move to a tiny, cheap house so we can afford these extras. Because our mortgage here is ridiculous. And who knows? Jeff's job search could take us anywhere. And you gotta do what you gotta do.

Friday, January 9, 2009

Spaghetti and retainers.........

We went to Spaghetti Factory for Harrison's birthday dinner. Harrison was especially pleased with his candle-topped spumoni after dinner, the singing and seeing one of his teachers at the restaurant! After dinner, Jeff got the crazy idea to smuggle our leftover bread out in the hoods of Arlie's and Harrison's sweatshirts! It was hysterical and the kids thought they were being so "bad". All the way home Arlie kept asking "was that stealing?" I explained that we already paid for it, we just took it home in unconvential form! We tried to feed it to Charlie, but apparently His Royal Highness doesn't like sourdough.

Immediately upon arriving home, Hayley had that sudden, dreadful gasp that says "uh-oh, you're not gonna like this!". She had left her retainer wrapped in a napkin on the table! Her $600 retainer. In a napkin. Exactly the place she's been told a hundred times by both her orthodontist and her parents NOT TO EVER PUT A RETAINER! We called the restaurant but they couldn't find it. So, Doug and Hayley drove back and decided to search for it (I tossed in some disposable latex gloves!). In the first bus bin she looked (alerted by a birthday candle in the bin!) she FOUND IT! A miracle, considering it was at least a half hour later, the restaurant was full on a Friday night, and the bus bins simply hadn't been emptied into the larger (and grosser) garbage yet. She is SO lucky. Doug suggested she buy a lottery ticket (if only she were old enough!).

The unexpected departure of Hayley and Doug gave Harrison an opportunity to shoot his new BB gun. What a blast! I tried it, and so did Hannah. Arlie was terrified to try it, and when we finally convinced her she was trembling! But she managed to pull off a perfect shot, hitting the target. Annie Oakley!

You'll shoot your eye out, kid!

Harrison turned 10 at 6:25 a.m. this morning (we actually counted down to the minute!). He opened his presents consisting of such cool things as Magic Rocks, his own set of Walkie-Talkies and his requested breakfast of Monkey Bread! But the crowning moment came when the presents were opened and Harrison was basking in the glow of birthday goodness and Jeff said "wait, what's this?" producing a long, wrapped package from behind the curtains. The minute Harrison saw it, he KNEW what it was and began tearing into it as soon as he got his hands on it, all the while exclaiming "I love you!". Yes, an authentic Daisy Red Ryder BB gun. Just like in "A Christmas Story". Harrison immediately proclaimed it "Old Blue" and set to aiming and pretending to fire it. Never saw a boy so happy! Here are the pictures to prove it.


Yesterday when I arrived home from yoga I found that my bag had been disturbed! Items were strewn about, papers were scattered and there was a general air of theft in the room! Adrenaline pumping, I scoured the rest of the house, seeking the perpetrators. I gasped when I found evidence! A Reese's peanut butter cup wrapper in plain sight! This clue led me to the only two culprits possible - a sneakly little Jack Russel named Charlie or his evil counterpart, Georgette. In an attempt to squeeze a confession out of one of the smarmy characters, I interrogated both at length. Not a word. These two are air-tight. However, one says the eyes are the windows to the soul, so I snapped a photo of each. You decide - which dog looks guiltier? This mystery remains unsolved...........

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Funny dog, Charlie!

Yesterday morning I was giving the dogs some water in the family room and found this red blanket on the floor. I picked it up, shook it off, and in my haste, put it on the coffee table, meaning to go back and fold it up later. Well, not a couple of minutes after that, I passed by the family room and found that Charlie had decided to make his bed wherever that nice, soft red blanket was! Usually he tries to pull it off the back of the couch or chair and make himself a "nest" (note - this is NOT a dog blanket!). But this time he decided that was way too much work and he would just make his nest on the coffee table!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Delayed start......but they're going back!

Well, the kids are going back today (much to their chagrin!). I just woke Hannah up and said "time to get up" to which she replied "why?" to which I replied "because it's a school day" to which she replied (rather wearily) "oh, I thought school was canceled!" No such luck today. The older kids start an hour late and the younger kids an hour and a half. Which means that by 10 p.m. I'll finally be able to get some things done! Like clean up the house and watch it stay clean for approximately four hours until kids start arriving home to destroy it once again. Sigh.

Jeff took off for work early this morning with Hayley in tow. He's making her drive to school in the snow! Scary. She has one more driver's ed class to take to (hopefully) pass and get her certificate and then it's a lot of practice driving until she's 16 next July and can get her license. She needs it! She's a panicky, argumentative driver (although I'm sure not with her driver's ed instructors, just with us!). I've decided it's best to have Jeff and Doug teach her to drive. I'll practice on a smaller scale, but she makes me nervous to drive on the open road. Hopefully with a LOT of practice she will become a confident driver. I just sometimes wonder if she realizes the gravity of making a mistake while driving. Despite the accident she was involved in, she doesn't seem to realize how much worse it could have been. I guess that's why so many teenage drivers have serious accidents. I don't think they fully realize the consequences of being in charge of a vehicle weighing over a ton and the damage it could do to both other cars and people!

Sunday, January 4, 2009


It is snowing again! It can't snow anymore. The kids must go to school tomorrow. Stop snowing. Stop it now!

Friday, January 2, 2009


I feel really guilty saying this, especially considering we were without kids for almost a whole week, but they are driving me CRAZY! Our quiet reverie was rudely interrupted with the arrival of the three H's on Weds. afternoon (within 20 minutes I was called "stupid" and later that day told "you can't control what we do"), and then A arrived the day after that so now all four are home and bickering non-stop! They have been off school since Dec. 17 so that makes 17 days and counting. They will go back to school at day 20 and that is just WAY too long for a vacation, especially one where they have done nothing more than sit around, watch TV, play on the computer, stay up late and eat junk food. I cannot wait for some structure and routine. Whenever our kids are at their other parents' houses, and they come home, there is always an adjustment period (longer for longer periods of time away) and this adjustment period is especially ugly for some reason. Too much of everything, I guess. All I know is Monday can't come soon enough..............

Thursday, January 1, 2009


Look, it's me as a sumo wrestler! Don't I look lovely? How many chins can you see? Have you guessed my resolution yet? Yes, that's right. To have only one (or two) chins by the end of 2009! And perhaps to lose the topknot!

More New Year's Eve

Not sure why I included both of these! HA!

Here are some more photos of the adults and kids at the party. (Note, the little blonde girl is NOT Arlie - she was in Spokane. It's Abbie, our neighbor's daughter). The adults are, from left to right: Mike, Jason, Amy, Carla, M-L and Jeff.

Wii Had Fun on New Year's Eve!

Me celebrating my strike!!

For New Year's eve, we had dinner here (Chinese) with our good friends Jason, Amy and Abbie and Carla and Mike (all neighbors). After dinner we went to Amy and Jason's house to play their new Wii. I had never played before (nor had Carla) while Jeff had played only once before and my kids have played at their dad's house. It was SO much fun! First we did bowling, then tennis and then some shooting game (where I beat Jeff! HA! I KNEW I could beat him at shooting!). I actually got a couple of strikes in bowling, which made me feel pretty good considering that in REAL life I once bowled a 32. Yes, that was my score for the entire game! (In case you were wondering if I became suddenly ill and had to leave the game early, no, that was the score for TEN frames). I loved playing the Wii because I have never been any good at video games, but this was one I could actually play (and not die in two seconds). Oh, and then we played boxing and that was hysterical! Jeff laughed so hard at me boxing and Carla loved it so much she almost boxed the TV! By the time the boxing round was over, I was sweating and my heart rate was definitely elevated. Now I want a Wii of my own!