By far the best animal one can have doesn't depend upon breed or mix. The best animals are the ones that choose you.
This has been my experience, anyway. These animals scope you out and decide you're cool and they'd like to hang out with you. There is no cooler feeling in the world than that.
I think animals like that are God sent. They always seem to show up right at a time in your life when things are tough and you could use something to commune with and just be with without all the strings that humans bring to the equation.
The first such animal of that nature came to me when I was a little girl right after my grandmother, my last remaining grandparent had died. I was 10 or 11 or so. It was an Irish Setter mix and my parents (mother) said it couldn't stay. I remember driving out to the boondocks with her and that dog, fully intent on dropping it off. I guess I was asking too many of those hard questions that kids ask because I bought it some time. We were inseparable, that dog and I. We would roam the fields and play fetch and he was my best friend. My mother decided a better solution would be to call the landlord to take care of it. He did. He shot it and left it on the front lawn.
The next such animal that came into my life was another that didn't exactly choose me exactly, but we meshed just the same. It was my first day of ASF (Auxiliary Security Force) duty in Newfoundland. It was cold and snowing, of course, and the guy I was assigned to learn from was all bent on me seeing this new dog. We had just gotten a new drug dog, so I assumed it was to get acquainted with him. I was a little reluctant because he was a working dog and a little difficult to get to know. The old drug dog was a very old Labrador retriever...there was fistfights over who got him when it was time to retire him, the whole base loved him so very much. Anyway, we keep walking right on past the dog's cage and I felt a momentary relief, and then I was wondering what are we doing traipsing through the woods? See, being the rookie, I'm starting to wonder if I'm getting set up to get punk'd or something, you know? We came to this clearing and there is this just gorgeous red dog tied up in the snow all cowered down and looking as pitiful as can be. Had I known then what I know now, his name would have been Houdini, but anyway...so, the guy lived in the barracks and couldn't take him and was ordered to shoot him like the very next morning if he couldn't find someone to take him. Apparently the dog had impregnated nearly every female dog on base and things were getting out of hand. It had no collar, so there was no way to find out who he belonged to. Being the sucker and softy that I am, I agreed to take the dog, although what I was going to do with him, I hadn't figured out yet. I loaded the dog into the car, made a mad dash to the commissary to get some dog food and continued to learn dispatch.
I called him Bert and he was a joy to have. I just loved coming home from work and having him there wagging his tail, overjoyed to see us too. He was a dog that didn't so much wag his tail, as his whole body in greeting. Licks on the face were given when we stopped to hug him. He was real good about not jumping on the baby (who is 15 now..LOL). About a month after I got him, I came home and found him gone. He had gone through the screen window and was just gone. Nowhere to be found. He came back later that evening, happy as can be, but now I was worried about being in trouble. This continued to be a pattern with him until one day he didn't return. I must have replaced every screen in the place twice. I had looked and looked and we looked up on the highway, too. No sign of him. Finally, I gave in to the inevitable and gave his food and dish away to a couple who had just transferred and didn't have time to stock up on that stuff yet.
Three evenings later, I was laying in bed reading when I heard a sound outside the bedroom door. Sure enough, it was Bert. He was all brushed and handsome looking sporting a brand new collar and name tag. It turned out that his name was really Max. I let him spend the night and called the owners the next morning. This sweet little girl about 8 or 9 answered the phone and burst into tears of happiness when I told her that I had her dog. I was sad to take him back, but he was theirs, after all. They were so very happy to see him, and I totally understood. He'd come back once a week for a visit. I'd call the family and we'd meet and swap the dog. I will always be grateful for that dog. He was an angel.
And, now we have a garage cat. I have mentioned this cat recently. Damned if I didn't have planned to take the cat to the society yesterday and it was nowhere to be found. Unbelievable. She did not show up until after it was too late to take her. But, she's growing on everybody and now that I've won her trust back, I don't want to take her anymore. She comes like a dog when I call her and she will only do it for me. It pisses the guys off, too and that's kind of a bonus..LOL! I've caught all of them sitting out in the garage with that cat on their laps, too. My husband says to me..."Oh, I see why you aren't smoking, you're just coming out here and petting that cat instead." Well, what's wrong with that? This cat will hang outside in the rain, she talks if you want her to talk, she's quiet if you want her to be quiet. She doesn't have to be on you all the time, but she'll be cool while you're petting her. She doesn't have a hostile bone in her body, unless you are a small rodent or a bird or something. She's fine with the dog living here as long as nobody lets the dog try and eat her. She doesn't go looking for the dog and bugging it..she keeps to herself. She scratches and sharpens her claws outside on a railroad tie. She naps on a towel in the garage underneath a window and behind the trunk lid that's laying there. We're fixing to move that trunk lid back to where it belongs, so that might mess with her a little. She likes to be able to hide. When she hears the door open, she'll run and hide in her spot until she sees if it's friend or foe. Then, she'll come out and be friendly, unless it's someone new. It's funny how she just moved in like that though, like she knew we would just adore her. But, since she's a she, I have to take her. We just can't be having a bunch of kittens and I don't care how cool a cat is, once they've had their first litter, you go from having like 1 cat to 25 in a very short amount of time. They are worse than rabbits.
Rob's back! That dude just rocks as far as I am concerned. I, like many others, wish him success in his very tough journey ahead. I hope that he understands just how many people love him and that all he has to do is reach his hand out to any one of quite a few people. We all desire to see him happy and healthy and more than a little ornery!
All the little crap that I bitch about..the stuff the kids do ..whatever...it's all just little crap. It's my job to keep it from becoming big crap. And, I have to say, I'm pretty good at that. My tolerance level for little bullshit is low, though. I'm all about the solution, I don't want to hear a bunch of excuses and whatnot, eh? My ass chewings, as far as ass chewings go, are pretty mild. I just say what I've BEEN saying nicely, just LOUD. It is always gratifying to see the recognition of truth in their eyes. It usually comes around the time when I say, "I've been asking you nicely, for the last 3 days, haven't I? And you had to do it one more time, well, now I'm not saying it so nice, do I have your attention?" This is in my best drill instructor voice, too. Good technique, in a way, it works. I just leave the maggot part and all that other stuff out. It's a lot easier to achieve that when you take the personal bullshit out of it. Even my little guy responds to the truth. It's like they can't hear...and you KNOW they can hear you. This actually makes me feel better in a way because a lot of it I can just blow off as being guy stuff and the not listening deal is definitely one of them. I've just learned to make myself heard. When it's important and I indicate as such, they listen up, so that's cool.
Got rid of a lot of stress yesterday as well. I also got to hang out with my husband in the garage for a few minutes before he went to work. We were commiserating about the kids and how unappreciated we are...LOL! It's good to have someone else on the same side. I guess I was a little whiny this morning... (put those eyebrows down, please.) and my husband told me to get off it already, it's not like none of his tools have ever gone missing, or his cd's, or his shirts (I don't have anyone stealing my clothes yet, except for underwear and that's a whole other post.) only to find someone wearing it a couple of weeks later. And, geez, if it happens to their stuff, all hell breaks out...it's just one of those deals where you have so many people living together. And trust me, I've seen houses where all women lived there and I don't want that. One of my best girlfriends has 5 girls and just one boy ...and you gotta feel sorry for the boy and her husband, eh? Just a little.
All I'm saying to them is that winter is coming so they better help out with getting this house in shape for all of us to be stuck inside for most of the time. Visual clutter causes stress, and a lot more of it than people realize.
Boys just think differently from girls. That's just a fact. And with kids, it's their JOB to test the boundaries and it's our job as parents to let them know when they've crossed the line.
You wouldn't recognize my little dude's room today. He got home and got busy. My daughter, she took a nap. I have to find a different approach with her. Probably just need to hang out and keep her company and it'll get done. I also made the little dude a schedule so he knows what he's supposed to be doing at what time. He was ever so grateful and gave me the whole body hug when I did that. We were able to get him organized so that this morning was smooth! Sometimes you just have to break through that wall of stubbornness. It's easier to do this when they are younger. Even he had to say this morning that he was a lot happier because he could find all his stuff. And a happy little dude is what we want, trust me. When little dude isn't happy, nobody is happy.
My favorite part of the day is when they come home from school and I get to hear all about their day...they don't talk much about the work, it's more about the social interactions they want to understand. I've noticed at the end of each school year, all the little girls get into fights all the time, and everybody hates everybody until the beginning of the next school year, they are so happy to see each other..
My daughter is a little social butterfly. She knows everybody in town, I think. We go to the store, and little girls come up to her and they all want her to come to their house...etc. She's not in to all the typical little girl stuff....a lot of it, but only as part of who she is, not all of it. She doesn't like stuff on her face, but nail polish is the bomb. The girl loves the color pink. She has something pink on every day..every day. Sometimes it's just a hair bow, but hey, there is something pink on her somewhere. She's the only one in the house that thinks like me. She is just a ray of sunshine, too. She hung out with me off and on all during Thanksgiving. She's too little to be much help, but she keeps the trash picked up off the counters where I'm cooking and that's rather huge! She can unload half of the dishwasher. It would appear that she is going to be taller than me, as well. She's bossy like me, but hell, I need all the help I can get bossing these guys around. It's good to share the duty. Sometimes, they'll do stuff for her that they won't do for me, so she's a good asset. I picked her up some pink nail polish the other day and she damn near did backflips with joy. New shoes send her into spasms too...ah, the girl is a chip of the ol' block! Mini me..LOL!
What's funny about these two is that they were both overjoyed to learn how to read...each for different reasons. My daughter was happy so she could read books; my son, so he could read the menu on tv. She would read scary stories under the covers so that nothing could get her while she was reading. That cracked me up!
So, my college boy was in the background the other day just taking care of stuff while I was cleaning the kitchen and whatnot. He's no idiot, he was earning his brownie points, LOL! This one will take initiative and actually pick something that he can do and that will make a difference, like taking the trash to the dump. Or cleaning the bathroom, or vacuuming. He did all that the other day for me. He also helped me clean all the blinds one day last week. But then, he also hasn't gone to court for his ticket yet. Generally speaking, he is far more considerate and responsible than the others. He is an anomoly, though, because I've seen a lot of kids his age and he's different from them, too. He's an old soul. I found a story he wrote a few years ago when he was just 16 that I'm going to post in the next couple of days. I hadn't read it in awhile and it's worth sharing. Oh and he also volunteered to help me with the cat and taking it to the humane society.
My 17 and 15 yr old have been working hard at school work the past couple of weeks. We're down to the wire as far as progress reports go..the end of the semester is looming. My 15 yr old is in the solid 'b' range but my 17 yr old is still struggling. He has just always hated school...always. He really had it wrong with his attitude about joining the military. He didn't want to listen when we said it counted..he thought he would just join the military right out of high school..but he can't score high enough on the ASVAB to get what he wants from the experience. He's paying the price right now for being stubborn and I hate it for him in a big way, but he's getting the lesson, albeit a little slower than his brothers. That's another thing I've learned from being a parent. People do mature at their own rate and you can't rush that. You can only, as a parent, put on them what they are capable of dealing with. Some kids take longer than others. He had a confusing start to his childhood and it was during his younger formative years, that he doesn't even remember where he got certain attitudes. The only problem I have with the child is that he's too prideful to ask for help. He would rather fail than ask for help and I just don't get that at all. The help has been offered..I am not going to shove it down his throat at his age, and still...he wants my approval not my help, but when he does stuff half assed, then gets pissed because I'm not proud of him for doing it half assed, when with a little help, he would have understood how to do it the right way. My oldest one is like that too. I know where it comes from and I just have to work around it. Some of the things that they need to understand to get along in the world, they just aren't going to understand until they're getting along in the world. With my oldest one, he finds a way to let us know that he needs some guidance. My 17 yr old doesn't...but his brothers aren't shy about narcing him out to us, if he's being a fool. They all will to a certain degree. If one of them is concerned about the other, then they aren't shy about mentioning it. Sometimes, the older ones kind of spy on the younger ones...help me get a good read on a situation..because it's all about love and I am so very blessed to have all this love around me...all this little shit...view it like a running sitcom...like Roseanne with 6 kids..
Please, people, laugh when you read of the antics of my kids. Because, truly, it's funny...
Oh, and they got some kick ass spaghetti last night for supper. I put some of these fresh tomatos I've found, they are just PACKED with flavor, and some sweet peppers, nestled on a bed of angel hair pasta. They never get stuff out of a box or can...
My woes started this morning before I even had the first sip of Dr. Pepper.
I sat down to my computer to check my email and whatnot and got gibberish when I started typing. Oh great. I check to see who was the last person on the computer...it was the grounded from the computer for looking at porn kid. Just couldn't help himself. Thought ol' mom was too stupid to figure out it was him even though he sort of erased the history. Rebooted the computer..got some funky shit on my screen...called for my computer guy, darling husband...I am telling you people there is not anything this man can't fix, shit you not...from computers to cars to everything in between..anyway, we got it rebooted and up and running and I commenced to chewing boy who's grounded from the computer's ass up good.
Then, there's the other one who wants to just mess with me in the morning...my little dude. It's raining and cold this morning and he can't find his jacket. Again. As in every morning we go through this search for the jacket routine. Today was the last day. He and my daughter got themselves some ass chewing this morning too.
I didn't get a rough draft from my other kid to proofread and he needs the help. He missed some of the ass chewing this morning, but his is coming.
Ahhh, such is the life of a mother. Tonight they are getting something out of a box or can for supper since I have to do the dishes from last night's supper of wonderful beef stew (it was good too..it's the bacon..) and I had to clean the kitchen from the night before. If I'm going to spend 2 hours of my day every day to cook to their expectations, they can do the dinner dishes..sorry...not giving in on this one.
Actually, they are good, as I've illustrated before. They are just adverse to cleaning. For some genetic or inbred reason, they can't be bothered with it, they don't see it...something and I am not the maid. I cannot keep up with cleaning house for all these people without some real competent help. Crap, I think I'm going to ask them to chip in for a maid for Christmas.
Typical Monday crap. Oh, and I was mentioning on Thanksgiving Day that I wanted to hear "Alice's Restaurant" . Several times I mentioned this. It never happened. So, I'm joking around in the garage yesterday about having spent the whole of Thanksgiving in the kitchen and ignored. My 19 yr old pops out with..."It's only because the game was on." Uh! Now that's not even right. Dayum, my husband is smarter than that...he claims his tinnitus is acting up or something..LOL. Those boys have a lot to learn about dealing with women, let me tell ya.
First of all, let me reiterate once again that my kitchen is a one-man kitchen. As in, there is only room enough for one person at a time to work. Two people might be able to work in there but that is if nobody has to move for anything. Pick a spot and stand there and cut up your stuff or stir it. My oven isn't even a real oven, any smaller and it would be an easy bake oven, no shit. My house in general is huge, but the important spaces, like the kitchen and the bathrooms...can't move around in them. No linen closet either. Yes, a house that houses 8 people has no f-ing linen closet. As well, my kitchen is right in the middle of the house. It is surrounded by an open living area and dining room. So, whatever they are listening to on the tv or stereo, I am forced to listen to as well. We have a couple of Bose speakers mounted to the wall on the outside of the kitchen and that adds to the surround sound. Acoustically, the kitchen is the PERFECT place to be when you're listening to cd's. Anyway, they used to play the war games all the time on the video game console and I was having flashbacks for awhile after I made them quit that. The racing games are ok, if they have some good music on, too. Football games...not so cool...just a bunch of talking.. talking.. talking.. whenever you can't watch and see what they are talking about. I thought it should have been ok at some point in the day for the cook to have a little 18 min break thrown into the routine, perhaps speed the process up, interact as a family..ha! ha! The kid who had the cd didn't even cough it up until yesterday.
And that leads me to the sheer amount of time we spend just searching for stuff around here. That bugs me more than anything...having to search for stuff. How the hell hard is it to put stuff where it goes instead of wherever you get done using it? Do we ever manage to teach our kids these things or is this one of those things that happens whenever they get older and have a place of their own?
Empty nest? Today is one of those days I don't think I'll have it.
Well, I got my nap yesterday and it did loads to improve my attitude!
Last night all the boys showed up and they are still here now. There was much consumption of beer while the taking apart of cars was going on. And of course, there was some wheelin' and dealin' going on over available parts. I enjoy watching them work together, because together they are accomplishing so much.
Let me tell you about naps, though. The fact that I take naps has saved more than one life in this house. Naps have always been a necessary thing with me. There were many years that naps were sacrificed for the good of all. My hectic schedule didn't allow it. I got them when I could, but the enemy never naps.
Naps aren't about sleeping, necessarily. They are about freedom of thought. For 22 other hours a day, I am available and my mind is available to ponder that which those around me need me to ponder. I have no trouble with that. For those 2 hours, though, I get to think what I want to think, meditate, pray, all of that. They are sacred to me.
I am not so rigid in my thinking as to think that I can just have a set nap time. Still, my schedule doesn't allow for that, but that's perfectly fine. I pretty much am able to control the nap opportunity most days a week.
Naps are also necessary for sleep, which is why they are 2 hours long. I don't sleep well at night. For a myriad of reasons...the oncoming menopause has a bit to do with it, my husband and I have this ongoing fight over the covers and available bed space. I think that comes from both of us having spent so many years sleeping alone. We just accept it as a quirk in our personalities and compensate other ways. He gets to sleep in for a couple of extra hours most weekends.
I have a nap ritual even. First the bed gets made and then the book gets laid out and I have a snack set up so I have something to nibble on while I'm reading and I curl up in my chair for half an hour or so until I get good and drowsy, and then I choose something to consider while I'm sleeping, whether it be a problem with the kids, or something else of my own choosing and then it's off to dreamland I go. Often I wake up with the answer, often I don't but I have some other answer. For this period of time, I don't try to force my brain to think anything, I let it go where it wants and sometimes I'm very surprised. I do try to stretch it beyond the limits of imagination, give it a workout, if you will, try to imagine other worlds, other places, other universes.
The rest of the people in the family have learned to respect that time. Read: Do not fuck with mom during nap time unless it's an emergency and there better damn well not be one. Those that are in the house that need supervision are engaged in quiet activities in their room. Coloring and reading being acceptable activities. The older ones usually just put a movie on and though they didn't nap, they came to look forward to that down time, as well. Slowly, over the years, I have made convertees of them all, each in their own style or fashion. One likes to play video games, one likes to sit outside and think in the warmer months and every available warm day in the colder months, two like to have projects to do...and so on. The end result is that it's rejuvenating to the mind and body to just step outside of the hecticness of life for a couple of hours every day.
I am very thankful that I am allowed that. I know there are some days that they are grateful when I take a nap, trust me. On those bad pmsy days, they have at least that much hope in their day, so it's a good ritual for them, too.
Naps are also necessary for me in a physical kind of way, I've found, too. Overtired=migraine for me and that rather sucks. I've found the best prevention for migraines is avoidance. Just a side note for migraine sufferers that also suffer from depression I found that the antidepressants also had a great effect in preventing migraines. And there's a tie there somewhere too...I had a migraine once due to a pressure change coming off of a mountain and spiraled into a two week can't get out of bed depression. That was wierd. It isn't mentioned much, but it's true.
I was mostly pissed because of the phone call yesterday. I talked things over with my son, armed him against the ways of my people, and said my piece. Here's how the conversation with my people goes. How is so and so doing? "Fine"...I reply..."He's accomplished, this, this and this and he's getting b's" ..etc. And when I get done, the response is.."how is he doing ...really?"..They want to know all the negative shit like how he's smoking behind the shed or something..or worse...they thrive on the negative, the drama and I don't play that shit. My kids are good, for the most part. They all do their normal kid things...kids, and boys in general will be boys. For example, the fact that my college boy got a speeding ticket..that does not sum up the whole of who he is, see what I mean? But to them, it does, it's fodder to hold over their heads forever. There is only one of my children they want to talk to...it's like they're trying to take him from me in a way. They won't acknowledge my stepchildren and really, not my other children either. And it bugs me. It's no different than the crap that my husband's ex-wife pulls, and I find something fundamentally wrong with that.
So, what my son was bitching about was the time recently that he got left at school. I felt horrible enough already...but it's happened to all of them once...I am only human...and my son looks at me and he says..."Mom, I am so sorry, I have no idea how we even wound up talking about it in the first place.." bless his heart, they're crafty, they really are. So, we talked and we're square and things are cool. It just pisses me off that people will just call for no other reason than to stir up shit with my kids. If it's not my people, it's the ex's people with the guilt trips and blah blah blah...and all these people don't. really. care. about. my. kid. They only see them as things to own, loyalty and affection to bandy about like a trophy. Not one of these people ever calls to just listen to what these kids have to say and hear their dreams and so on. It just makes me mad.
So, that was the gist of where I was at yesterday, and I'm still there a little and I'll always be there as long as people keep doing that to them. I am not at all ungrateful for the people living here in this house and for my husband's people who always lend moral support and do whatever they can to lend a hand and make things easier for everybody. I am ever so grateful to them for their unconditional love and for their encouragement. All they desire of us is that we be happy. That means a lot, more than words can say.
Those other people...I just don't have any use for them. Maybe that makes me a cold bitch but I am so beyond caring right now. My kids finally have some momentum going on in their lives and I'm not going to let anyone at all screw with that. That's just how it is. And, these people really, really, piss me off. I haven't even begun to cover it here, trust me. If ever they call up or visit or whatever and I don't have to work my ass off to undo all the psychological damage they have done, maybe then, just maybe, I will quit being pissed. But, since I doubt that's ever going to happen, I'm probably going to stay pissed until there is only one of us left.
So anyway, naps allow me to align my chi or whatever and find the strength to deal with all the assholes that are in my life. I don't really want a week off, I want to spend a holiday not dreading the phone ringing and not having to speak to people that I really just do not like and then forcing myself to be nice, too. All I want is to be shed of a few people and they just keep calling...and keep trying to drag me back down into the pits of hell with them. And, I ain't going. So there.
For the rest of the day, I'm going to be cooking once again. Yes, there is nary a morsel left. My husband got the day off so we will be hanging out and enjoying each other's company, maybe playing a little pool, drinking a couple of beers and relaxing. This is going to be very cool. He was asleep by 6:30 last night, he was so tired. I do believe I'm going to make a cheesecake today.
So, sorry for the negativity of the last couple of posts. I'll be back in the game Monday.
I am so tired, it's not even funny. It's a happy kind of tired, though, although this morning the husband and I were starting to transcend into the crabby state but we were honestly too damn tired to fight about it...LOL!
We had a steady stream of visitors from Wednesday on through yesterday evening. All the kids came by during this time to say hello and wish us a Happy Thanksgiving. We have one kid who's a little skittish, a little ashamed of his background, as it were. He came by with some food for my son and his buddy. He comes from a large family and he was saying that at one point during the day there was going to be 50 people there. He said that's when it tended to get Jerry Springerish. We laughed, not at him, but because we understood. He was doubting..he started saying, No you don't understand, I have an aunt who's like this...and one of us would raise our hand to claim a relative of similar nature. He didn't name any that we didn't have....it felt good to see someone just visibly relax because they were truly assured of unconditional acceptance. I said "Oh honey, you're just a redneck, it's alright..." and he had to laugh. Another stopped by to show off his new vehicle and ask my husband's opinion on whether it was a wise purchase or not...Another to show off his new bride with her new stomach with the news that "he's trying to keep a steady job." Ah, you win a few, you lose a few. But, the bride seemed very happy and this kid just wanted a little love but somebody is going to have to tell him this..trying to keep a steady job ain't going to cut it, you don't have a choice now. He's 19 years old. My other one had to work, but we had his dad over for turkey and fixings. He left with a plate for the kids and his pants all unbuttoned at 3/4 through the Dallas/Denver game.
After all the hubub and about 7 hours of cooking, I was ever so ready for a nap..I thought I was going to get one too..psych. I no sooner got my eyes closed and the stupid phone rang and it was one of my people. And my people thrive on the negative, they breed it, the black cloud of doom, gloom, guilt trips, and one upmanship precedes them like the hail before a tornado and they leave as much emotional damage behind. My husband, bless him, said "If I thought it would do any good, I would have postponed it, but some things are just better to get over with." I hate it when he's right. I just wish I could get over this anger. I hate it that the very sound of someone's voice can send me into a rage so deep that I don't even know myself. And all I'm asking is to be left alone. What is so f-ing difficult about that? I am not trying to tell anyone how to live their lives. Even worse that it's blood.
The next time I got a minute to rest, it was the in-laws and that was happy, except that we were supposed to be there...but that is what is so cool about them. They. Understood. That is such a wonderful feeling. Yes, they were disappointed...Yes, they really wish we were there...Yes, they want us to try and come at the soonest available opportunity...but, they still understood. I have couple of nieces to call and email today to catch everybody, but even they are going to understand why I didn't call yesterday. That is so the beauty of having a large family. My mother in law totally understood that I was wiped out last night and too tired to talk much, even. She and 3 other women had just spent the day preparing food for as many as I had and she was whooped, too. The guys go on and on about the food that I cook, and I've cooked with her before, so she knows I'm no slouch. In her kitchen, we do it her way, though, so I don't get to show my stuff often..but that's ok, too, because in her kitchen, I don't have to do all that blessed thinking...note taking and chopping, and that's a hell of a vacation, trust me!
So this morning, since my husband had to work and he's dead tired, I sure as hell wasn't going to sleep in, either. I don't think he was even conscious of it, but I can tell when he's in that mood. There was a little snarling this morning because I am also being paid back, albeit again, I don't think it's conscious, for freezing his ass out with the air conditioner all summer because he's got the heat turned up so high that there's no rest for one already suffering hot flashes. Lots of nights I've just laid there dozing in a sweat. It could be an unconcious trick to get me to put less clothes on, too. I wouldn't put that past him...hehehe. If I turn the heat down or open the window, then he gets restless legs and kicks me all damn night long. Either way, I don't sleep much at night. I've learned to work around it by taking an afternoon nap. I open the window as soon as he leaves for work until the room cools off enough to sleep comfortably in. I take care of my chores while I wait...and then I take a nap for a couple of hours. I think if I had a job and I couldn't get that nap in, we might not like each other near as much. But hey, at least he got yesterday off, he doesn't see it that way, though. He thinks that I should do all my work while he's working and then have my free time when he's off. It doesn't work like that always, though. A lot of times, my real work day doesn't start until people are here. Doing the dishes and stuff is no big deal and that stuff is always done, but it takes 2-3 hours out of my day to cook supper and that's just how it is. And how was I supposed to do that yesterday???? Anyway, that's what being overtired does to a brain.
Everyone was thrilled with the meal...so thrilled that they cleaned the kitchen and did an excellent job, I might add. That made me a hell of a lot less crabby to see that, let me tell ya.
The kids are still off from school today and it's supposed to be nice so I'm hoping that I'll be able to get outside and play with them a bit. The cat hates me now because we tried to let it in the house and the dog tried to eat it. Now it won't come near me. But, like a typical cat, it has no problem eating the food it watches me put on a dish. I'm a little pissed at my husband for that because he doesn't like cats and he was trying to scare it away and used me as a stooge and now the cat isn't gone, it just won't let anyone come near it so getting it to the Humane Society is out of the question until I can earn it's trust back and in doing that, I will of course, become attached to it. I hope that it's fixed already so that I don't have kittens to deal with, too, before I can earn it's trust again. Sigh.
All I would really like is a week alone. Alone...nobody, nothing but me and my books and music and aloneness. Not forever...just a vacation. I hate to say that I need a vacation from my husband too, it's not like that, I just need a solid week of sleep all night. Never going to happen though and I don't know if I could be away from them that long without feeling some guilt...but still, it's nice to dream, if only for 30 seconds or so.
See, I'm one of those wierd people that actually likes to be alone...a lot more than your average person, I would guess. I don't like to be alone all the time, obviously, but I actually require a certain amount of alone time. I was alone for a long time after my first marriage. 7 years, to be exact. I always had a someone in my life, but if I felt like being alone, then alone I was. I always lived alone after I had my son. There's just something liberating about having a space to be able to just...be you...without having to worry about offending someone, or embarrassing yourself or someone or whatever...think what you want to think without interruption, not have your whole stride changed by some unknown wrench that someone else's problem has thrown into the works...I remember those days well.
I think that was one of the hardest things for me to adjust to in the married life. The loss of the alone time. I still miss it but this year is the first year I've had any at all in a long time. At least 3 days a week I get 6 hours of time that's just mine. And even the other 2 are cool because my college boy likes quiet time too and doesn't usually come up from studying until lunchtime when we're both ready for a little conversation and we have lunch together and then go back about our separate ways. So, those 2 days are actually the coolest..the right balance between alone time and social time.
Needless to say, I have rather undeveloped social skills as a result. I don't do the social whatevers that you're supposed to do...I'm just more direct than that, I guess, and I don't have time to figure out what the hidden, unspoken rules are...people should, in general, just be more direct, I think...people confuse name calling with being direct, and there's a difference. There are ways to be direct in your speaking without being ugly...people seem to think it has to be one way or the other...I don't know...I just don't have time to play games, you know? I used to think in Jr. High school that it would get better, that people, in general would get better...isn't that the goal you're supposed to have when when you're in school to learn more about everything? People don't change, though. I see some of the same shit going on that goes on in Jr. High and what is up with that?
Well, the sun just came up. I swear to you little dude's smile is just as bright as the sun. He is always the first one up and hungry. Seeing that bright smile, because he's genuinely happy to be awake, and the way he just throws his arms around my neck and gives me a giant hug...why that's right infectious, it is. I feel ever so much better right now and so much more optimistic about the future of the world.
Especially since I still have plenty of food for the whole day today! I guess I'm just a little bummed because of the way the schedule fell this year...I was hoping that my husband would take today off at least so we could hang out together a bit, but apparently, part of the drama at work is why he has to work. Long story, not one I'm likely to be getting into but all of you have workplaces, it's typical shit...
Think I'm getting a nap today? Yeah, I didn't think so either.
That's how I feel right now. I am getting ready to start cooking for the big feast tomorrow. My poor husband, not only did we not get to go on vacation, but he has to work every day but Thursday and Sunday. He normally takes Wednesdays off, but since it's Thursday this week, it's Thursday this week. He could have taken today off, but he's still so bummed that we're not in Texas, it's better for him to be busy. I can do the rest of keeping his mind off of it when he's home, but geez, I am only human after all.
I got up at 4am with him this morning and made sure he had a breakfast burrito before he went off. He was a little more chipper because the red dress worked like a charm and one of his buddies called him last night. My husband is a lot more social than I am and he really needs some buddies to run around with and talk some smack with.
Anyway, the 19 yr old and I went shopping for most of the stuff yesterday. Thankfully, Wal-Mart wasn't too terribly packed and I got to spend some time with college boy and I don't get to do that very often these days beyond a good morning or a good night because he's so busy. This kid just worships the ground my husband walks on, too. He always has but as time goes on, it's just more. It's cool, very cool!
So, for the menu tomorrow..in the morning we are starting with a snack of sausage balls followed by a strata for breakfast.
Next, I have some appetizers planned, hawaiian bread with the dip, some spirals that are like stuffed tortillas cut up, and a vegetable platter.
For dinner, we are having turkey, smoked..we had a long discussion about whether to fry it or smoke it and it boiled down to somebody didn't clean the fryer the last time they used it and nobody really wanted to clean it right now...so we're still going to inject it with all that good stuff, but then on the grill is goes. Then we're having twice baked potatoes, stuffing, sweet potato souffle, corn pudding, green bean casserole, apple salad, green salad (that's what the kids call them..LOL) and for dessert apple pie, pecan pie, and apple caramal walnut pie. And then I'm not cooking til Saturday at least...maybe even Sunday!
I'm getting ready to get up from here and go start cooking sausage and wake everybody up. All the people here have been drafted to help me with things. The 19 and 17 yr old are drafted to take care of the cat. It can stay but only if they take it to the Humane Society and get a really good deal on a spay and shots. We let it come in the house last night to see how it and the dog would get along. No joy and it wasn't the damn cat's fault. Now, I don't like cat's much either but this one is a little different from ordinary cats. It was not antagonistic towards the dog at all. It really didn't even get upset until the dog tried to eat it. It took a little exception to that and got the dog good on the nose and as soon as the dog backed off, it just sat there washing it's paw. Once the dog quit trying to eat it, it was cool. So, I figure the next time, I'll take the dog outside, put her on her chain for a little while, let the cat come in and find it's hiding spots and whatnot and THEN let the dog come in. The dog is a bit spoiled, let me tell you. She is used to being the center of attention and everybody only wanting to play with her and if she doesn't get to at least greet people before they go to work for the day, she is a right bitch to live with. I'm hoping she's still young enough that she can learn to get along....she's a sweet tempered animal and pretty mellow herself.
The other people are put on trash patrol and house beautification detail and field day will commence. I always let them pick their favorite cd's, put them all in the player and hit shuffle and shit gets done a lot quicker that way. My little dude got up at 5:45 this morning and was babbling something to me about turtles this morning. He was watching the Discovery Channel and there was turtles swimming around. Then he looks at me and says.."It's great that I can read now, because now I know EVERYTHING that's on tv because I can read it!" and he just beams this smile that melts the heart because he is truly thankful that he can read. There's always somebody reading something in this house and learning to read opens up just a whole new magical world for kids. Books rule!
All my kids have completely different taste in their reading material, it kills me..but you know, all of them liked Harry Potter. My husband is deep into the 4th book now, and really enjoying them, although he won't admit it. He wouldn't have gotten that far if he wasn't though since he only gets like 30 min a night to read if that. He's enjoying his new welding book much more, I do have to admit..LOL...but that's cool, too. I read an average of one book a week, except for holiday months and then I only get 3 books in during those months. My oldest kid likes animal books and stories that feature animals as the hero. My 17 and 19 yr olds read every car magazine they can get their hands on. The 19 yr old has taken a recent interest in snorkeling or diving, so he's reading a diving book, a non-fiction. My 15 yr old pretty much will read anything. And my daughter is the same. She reads her library books and her brother's. My little dude isn't going to be much of a pleasure reader, I don't think. He might, though when he's older. He's just a bundle of energy. He would rather be doing than reading about doing. That's cool too!
My daughter is really excited because she finally gets to help me in the kitchen this year. She's been waiting to be big enough to help me in the kitchen for eons..ever since she was born, near as I can tell. I so love having a daughter to hang out with too. Even though she's only 9, she's a cool kid. She makes funny faces when the boys are up to their antics, wrinkles her nose and says "Boys are WIERD aren't they Mommy?" She does not understand wrestling at all. Especially when the oldest one gets in on it. All the younger boys will dance around the older one singing, "You can't catch us..hit us! hit us! dare ya to hit us!" You guys all know what I'm talking about. My daughter stands back observing and just cannot understand why they want the older one to hit them "when it's going to hurt and then they're going to be all mad anyway." Ahh, it's good to have someone around to ponder these mysteries called men that we love and adore so much. And me being the queen, and her being the princess, you just know we are spoiled so damn rotton we're not fit for anybody else.
The holidays are a rough time for our military members. Even if they aren't deployed to Iraq, they may be sitting just miles from home and still be unable to be with their families. The holidays are a time for low morale because everybody is just a little depressed to be where they are.
To those people that are doing this tremendous job...I thank you. I know it's tough and I want you to know that your efforts are not in vain and that at every table across America, whether they are a military family or not, you are thought of and prayed about.
I so believe in your cause that were I able, I would be beside you fighting the good fight. You are the unsung heroes...you sacrificing your lives so that others can have a better life.
You who are doing the nursing, the cooking, the cleaning, the standing of mundane watches..you are the unsung heroes and I thank you.
You, whose buddy died last week, or last year, or even yesterday and you're wondering what the hell? You are a hero too.
For all the military wives who adopt a service member into your home simply because he's far from home, you are a hero.
You who comfort those at the VA hospital..you are heros.
To those stationed overseas in a country that has no concept of our Thanksgiving, the way you congregate together and make the best of it and have a quiet celebration anyway...you are heros, too.
I am most grateful that I am an American. I am grateful to live in this country where prosperity is yours for the taking...where you can be what you want to be, have any dream and follow it through ...for the ability to always be able to do better, ..or not, if that is your choosing. For all of these freedoms that we have, I am thankful. Without our military there to defend them, we would have them no more. So, for all you military folks out there, I love you and THANK YOU! May God be with you and keep you safe.
I'm going to do my Thanksgiving post a little early because from now until the end of supper on Thursday, I'm going to be a busy little chicky.
First of all, I am very grateful for all modern conveniences, electricity, heat, all that stuff. Hot showers top that list. Man, our first year here, our hot water heater broke and we were headed to Texas and therefore didn't get a shower for like 2 days. We're always having something with the water break around here and on any busy day, if I don't get my ass right up at 5am, I'm not getting a hot shower until evening time.
I'm very grateful for each and every member of my immediate family. Especially my husband. He has the most beautiful hazel eyes that reflect his emotions like storm clouds passing through the sky. I love how they twinkle when he's happy or feeling frisky or how they melt like butter when one of the kids says they love him.
I'm grateful that I'm a step-parent. I've learned so much about parenting from being a step-parent, it's unbelievable. Somehow, it's easier to hear what they are saying when you haven't given birth to them. Perhaps that is just because I was the only one at the time that could listen objectively and it became a way of life. Still, without them, I couldn't have learned that.
I am grateful that I am a parent. The miracle of giving birth with someone you love is incredible and there is no bond like it. What I would have done without my husband in the delivery room I don't know. I didn't have easy deliveries, as a matter of fact, they were all emergency c-sections (the last one didn't have to be, but that's a different story altogether) and he was there to make sure that things were good. I knew he wouldn't lie to me and he didn't. He sneaked me water when they wouldn't let me have any because he knows that cotton mouth will make me throw up faster than anything. He cracked jokes to make me laugh and take my mind off the intensity of it all. He asked me if I was mad at him for getting me in that condition and he acted like he was joking at the time, but I was appalled that he would even ask such a thing, I was so grateful to have him there. My first pregnancy was alone. Every doctor's appointment, every worry, even childbirth and then the next 5 years. I had no one to share his first word with, or his first step or any of his firsts, so no, I wasn't mad at my husband at all. I fell in love with him all over again the night we had our first child together. And again for the second one.
I am grateful that my tubes are tied. I couldn't go through another pregnancy or childbirth frought with worry and I guess it was double for him.
Thanksgiving is the one holiday that I go all out and I do mean all out with the cooking. Thanksgiving is the only holiday we get to spend together as a family uninterrupted by others who think they have the right, other than a phone call. I must see my family torn in half every day after Christmas, every Easter, etc. etc. Thanksgiving, I'm grateful we all get to be together and laugh and watch football games, talk quietly, talk loudly, play pool...all of that.
I'm grateful that my children are happy and healthy. That is worth more than any money. I'm grateful that my younger ones have never known the fear or anxiety that my older ones had to deal with.
I'm grateful that this place is home. I'm grateful that there is an abundance of wildlife in our backyard..we have chipmunks this year and a couple of hawks. It's going to be interesting to see how that plays out. Those little suckers run fast and keep covered up as far as I can tell. I'm pretty impressed with these particular chipmunks as a matter of fact. The new cat that's moved in hasn't snatched one up, either and this is a rare cat. I do believe it must belong to someone because it is so friendly...as far as cats go. It has picked me as it's person, though, which is funny. It can get pretty snotty with the others. But it's sweet, you can mess with it and it doesn't give a shit..it's a real mellow cat. I think I'm going to take it to the Humane Society and see what I can do. I can't afford the money to get it spayed and shots for it right now...if they can give me deal on that stuff, I can get some food for it. I just sit in my chair and say "Hey Cat" and it comes and jumps on my lap and purrs and curls up and goes to sleep. I'm thinking I might be able to train it. No, I haven't checked the gender..my husband tells me it's a girl. He rubbed his nasty feet all over that cat last night...rubbing it's fur the wrong way, putting his toes in the cat's ear...cat did not give a shit. I know it sounds mean, but this just might be the perfect cat for the Acidman..wouldn't that be the shit...hehehe...
I'm thankful for our health and we're getting to that age where it's definitely on the list of things to be thankful for. They got me the new Toby Keith cd for my birthday and my husband was all into the As Good As I Once Was And Big Blue Note, for some reason. Oh, and You Ain't Leavin' (Thank God Are Ya) got a big chuckle from both of us. We used to play this game of what song he would like to dedicate to his ex-wife, and we still play, but I guess only we and now the rest of the world know. Some people look at us really strange when we start singing a song like that together because with some, like Meatloaf, we get all into...like Prayin' for the End of Time that was pretty much what expressed it for him at the end. Well, damn, people, I can't help but take pot shots at the ex-wife. She could have had what I had...did have what I have, as a matter of fact...and she didn't make very much of it, did she? So, my sympathy is limited. I am grateful that I don't have to deal with her on a day to day basis or anything like that. Makes me think that much more of my husband knowing that he did have to deal with her on a day to day basis and not only that, apparently the um...rewards...were not worth the trouble. (And, we've mapped his three kids births...right before or right after a cruise) He claims he used to just cling to one side of the bed and pray to God that she didn't want him to do his husbandly duty.
I'm thankful we found each other and that we're both in different places now. I'm thankful I'm older and wiser. I like knowing things and aging doesn't bother me.....yet (I must add this disclaimer lest these words come back to haunt me later) I'd rather be the age I am right now, and know the things I know, and have had the experiences I've had, than be younger and more ignorant and so full of pain. In my 20's, I was ALWAYS screwing something up..geez, I didn't know who I was, where I was going, or how in the hell I was going to get there. I have a clue on those things now and I like that. I like the confidence that age brings, I like being able to know my own mind, my likes and dislikes, all of that...I don't have any looks to speak of anyway, so losing them isn't going to be a deal...
In all, I'm thankful for life and all that it holds..all the mysteries, the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful,...it's all beautiful in it's own right...and of course I'm thankful that Tony Stewart won the Cup!
The little red dress is to die for. It's crushed velvet and more of a deep red, versus a scarlet red. It has a built in miracle bra to give the illusion of the perfect amount of cleavage. It has wide straps that can be up, down, or spread across the shoulders and it's about mid thigh length, just short enough that when I cross my legs and my husband tries to peek up my skirt he can 'almost' tell what the color of the day is. The perfect dress...drives him nuts. I don't wear it nearly often enough to suit him.
Today, he gets his wish. I will don above described dress and set to plying him with my female wiles until I get the hint, the ghost of a smile.
You see, circumstances and overwork have laid my dear family low this week and a huge morale builder they all need. As if the numbers didn't present enough of an obstacle earlier in the week, yesterday, it was as if the cosmic hint machine just broke down and was screaming that we needed to be where we are. First it was the dishwasher flooding all over the kitchen floor, then it was the darling child of mine who feels the need to use half a roll of toilet paper every time they utilize the facilities. We had a major flood because of that so my day was spent pretty evenly divided between the kitchen, bathroom and laundry room. Everyone will wait until the day before we leave to bring me their laundry. It takes a long time to do laundry for 8 people. Pretty much all day.
Meanwhile, my husband was having struggles of his own at the jobsite. It largely involved trying to fix a machine that wasn't intalled right to begin with and just got worse from there. So much worse, that today is a work day, too. Add that up with the days worth of work left to do around here on vehicles to get them road ready, and we just ran out of time. So, our trip was cancelled and everybody's morale is in the dumps.
Last night, as I was thinking of what I was going to do about all this, up wandered this strange cat. It's black, short haired, with big, huge green eyes. I like all animals. I don't want to own any because at this point in my life I don't have the extra money it takes to take care of one right...like being able to take the dog to a kennel when we travel. But, it came over and was friendly to me, so I pet it. It's been hanging around the house for a few days, doesn't seem bothered when the dog chases it off. So, it came up and was pretty cool, actually. It talked to me a little. It made me laugh, really. So, later, when my husband got home, I was telling him about this cat, and we walked outside and I said ..Here, Kitty, Kitty..not even expecting it to be there anymore, and here it came, running. And, boy was it ever trying to be cute. The test for my husband is to pet them like they are a dog and if they can deal with that, then they're cool. This cat rolled over on it's back when he did that..it was funny. So, we amused ourselves with the cat for awhile. Now, I hear that a strange black cat on your doorstep is a sign of prosperity...hell, yeah!
So, the kids are disappointed, the husband is disappointed...so the only thing for it is a party. I went to the store and got some race munchies and we're going to sit down with some pizza rolls, egg rolls, ultimate nachos, a coupla beers and watch Tony Stewart bring home the championship. We did watch Ted Musgrave and Martin Truex Jr. bring theirs home yesterday. So, with some good food, some good racing, and the little red dress, I'm hoping everyone's spirits will be a little better starting the week tomorrow.
I might have mentioned once or twice that my husband takes Wednesdays off. Now, in his mind, these days off are filled with silk curtains blowing in the summer breeze, particularly helpful if there's a surf pounding in the background and just a hint of salt in the air (he was a sailor for 20 years, after all). I do believe that chasing me around the house wearing nothing but something filmy and see through has entered into his vision of what a proper day off should be, as well. Along with the feeding of succulent foods by hand and of course the end result and the rest of the day spent lounging in bed in a state of contentment bordering on exhaustion.
Every Wednesday I get to watch his dream just collapse before his ever-hopeful eyes, and feel just a small pang of guilt and I have to giggle a little because he actually seems convinced that it's going to happen that way. He forgets that there is another person home on Wednesdays, too, besides us, and that kind of kills it right there, don't you think? But, it is a ritual...
Wednesdays, for me however, are a work day. There are certain things that need to be done at certain times during the week days that will interfere with the smooth operation of things in the days to come, should they not be accomplished. My work days start at 5am and go balls to the wall until 8:30am when I get my first break. Yesterday was no different. I cooked pancakes for breakfast, even. I owed the bigger boys for killing all the squirrels that were trying to live in my attic. They don't really like to kill things, but they do, just for me.
Then came the number crunching. We crunched numbers for hours to ensure that we had an adequate plan for the coming months. We have a kind of wierd division of duties in the house. He brings home the bacon, I spend it, is the simplistic way of putting it, but it's more like I'm the manager of the cash flow. I crunch the numbers and make the plan and most times he sticks to it. I have to pad the estimations of things a bit to account for his tool allowance, but that's cool because tools rule! Every now and then, though, he gets a little bewildered when I cut off his tool allowance for some other expenditure that we're going to need or already need or whatever. He always asks..."Where does the money go?" and then we crunch numbers and it comes all clear to him. As does the source of my tension if I can't make the numbers right.
Yesterday was a particularly tense time as we have other obligations that are throwing some unexpected expenses in there. It's funny how it cost money to show someone you love them, sometimes, isn't it? Shit happens like that and families sacrifice for each other and when a family member says they need you, then they need you. Some family members, though, really just don't understand how much stuff costs. They are used to only having to factor an extra cost of one into their budgets for unexpected things, or unscheduled, is a better word. I have to automatically multiply everything by a factor of 8 and when you have to do that, you start to see hidden costs and trends real quickly. For example, on a trip alone, you probably wouldn't even think about packing a cooler of drinks and food, right? No big deal..just grab a hot dog and a soda at the next gas station. Costs like $2.50 or something, chump change. Now, multiply that times 8. That chump change is starting to look like real money, now...
Anyway, certain people don't understand when they make requests of us, it's not just chump change, in either money or TIME any more...and planning for any family evolution around here, especially ones that involve travel, is an execution of at least a day. Let me tell you though, after packing enough for a survival trip for 8 people..as in if we didn't bring it, we don't have it, packing to go on a trip to visit, is no big deal!
Around 3pm, our discussions and nicotine withdrawl had sent us into opposite corners of the garage. He said...Go to the store, woman! And, so I did. I wish they sold cigarettes in like packs of 5 or something...sigh. Anyway, on my way back, I picked the kids up from the bus stop, which is right on the edge of our property anyway, but it's a rather big hill, so I thought I'd be nice. The back seat was laid down because I'm sharing my car with my son and he's been hauling his trunk lid back and forth to school in it while he repaints it. So, they scramble in, my daughter gets in first and it's up to little dude to shut the door. Even though he's 7, he's still a little dude and his arms don't reach far. I should have just gotten out and done it myself but I was a little nervous stopped in the middle of the road on a blind hill. Even though it's a residential street, people FLY down it. So, I watch as he assures me he can reach the door and then proceeds to shut the door. Just as soon as that bad boy latched, I looked and noticed that the fingers of his other hand...were still in.the.door. He noticed about the same time I did. I'm trying to be calm..I say..Sean, open the door. I CAAAAN'T..he wails... At the same time, my daughter is saying SEAN...OPEN THE DOOR...and he couldn't get it open. I get out, get to the outside of the door, just as my daughter reaches past my son and opens the door for him. Whew. The hand is freed and all the limbs are still attached..no blood. Good. Make sure hands are for sure in this time, and hop back into the car and FLY the 300 feet to the driveway all the while crooning, "It's ok, baby, we're almost there, we'll get ya fixed up, it'll be cool, you watch and see." So, we're in the driveway, I fling my door open, fling his open and snatch him out of the car and give him the hug. Now the howling stops, my daughter is chilled, and we put some ice on it and set him in front of the tv. Just a couple of dents in his middle knuckles, dreading that swelling. So, pumped with adrenaline...I really needed that cigarette. I hadn't even barely got that sucker lit when that little boy came bounding out of the house into the garage with his basketball declaring that it was ALL BETTER and carried on about his business. OH. MY. GOD. The resiliency of kids just totally amazes me sometimes. Less than 4 min. before, he looked like he had cut his fingers off (My daughter said it looked 'creepy' to see his fingers stuck in that door, that it made her stomach feel creepy..LOL)..and it's la-di-da to him...
My two high school boys came in 45 min. later and when I asked for a status report on their projects, it was revealed to me that they are nearly done. WHEW!!!! I had told them that they needed to have all their research and note taking done and rough drafts written by this Friday so I could review for them and we could make any corrections and whatnot over the holiday. I am so proud of them because they got it done. It means a LOT to them to be able to go to see their grandparents during a holiday. I know this because they worked their asses off to get this stuff done. I am so proud of them, right now! And, now they get to understand the benefit of having a holiday where that isn't in the back of their minds, how relaxing that is. My oldest son is getting a clue about how much stuff costs when he went to check on having the dog boarded for a week. This dog would not be right if we left her alone for a week. She would just be wrong, mentally...but she's not my dog, she's his and it's going to cost him a good chunk of change to have her boarded. He doesn't even mind, though. Which is good because I didn't want a dog for precisely that reason..they cost too damn much and I have 6 kids. Anybody who wants an animal has to be able to take financial responsibility for them as well as physical responsibility. He doesn't have a problem with that at all, honestly and that's cool by me. So, I get to have all the fun of having a dog, and he has to pay for her...how do I lose there? She's a great dog, too, really sweet and loving..not too needy, but a very good companion. Very quiet, but she can get rowdy if you want her too. She loves bacon...man, does she love bacon...but she will not steal food off the table. Hell, I've left my Big-Mac on the couch before and she just sat there and stared at it.
After the hair raising slamming of the door incident, it was time for me to fix supper and before you know it the day was over and it sure wasn't anything like my husband envisioned, was it? Hell, I wouldn't have a clue as to how to even begin to pretend like we were going to have a day like that while we still have this many people that depend upon us. It's good to have a dream, though!
You know how when you've been under stress for a very long time and some of it is lifted...that wonderful...free feeling you get...Yeah, like the weight of the whole world just got lifted off your shoulders. That's not how I feel quite yet.
But, the light is at the end of the tunnel and that's a very good thing.
I am so glad to see that we have enough flu shots this year. Too bad I already have the fucking flu. But, it feels pretty mild so far because I'm able to get so much rest during the day.
Made my chili this weekend finally. I cooked the beans for 2 days first and they were yummy by themselves. Then I finished off the chili and let it cook all day long and then again yesterday. It was good! So they tell me, anyway. I can't taste much with how crappy I'm feeling and they were all singing my praises, and I'm grateful because it's hard to cook without tasting.
The big weekend project was getting the squirrels to move out of the attic upstairs. They really tried to do it humanely by making enough racket fixing the underhang, hoping they would just stay away. Well, apparently, my eldest son had enough of it this morning. At 7:00am, he walks outside with the pellet gun and commences to shooting them one by one. There was a whole damn family of them in there. I gotta stop and appreciate the fact that guys get stuck with ALL the crappy jobs. Apparently, one of those little shits did not want to die. He claims he had to shoot it several times in the head before it died. He had that pained expression I have come to recognize in the male species when they have to do a particularly nasty job. It's the shit they don't talk about that's the important stuff. If they're talking about it and bragging about it...it didn't happen. If you just get a one sentence, obligatory statement on things..it happened and it was painful and be very careful poking the bear, especially in a sore spot.
I have found even more determination to quit smoking in the last couple of days. My eldest son is always supportive of that and he is joining us in the effort. He is the only one of my kids that smokes cigarettes and I really don't like it and if it inspires or motivates him to quit, then that's good for me too. Just one more reason.
For me, it has meant giving up alcohol, and Dr. Pepper...well, at least severely limiting my Dr. Pepper intake. Since we don't smoke in the garage anymore and have never smoked in the house, there aren't place triggers..just the after eating trigger which is solved by doing dishes. God knows after a meal around here, the kitchen and dining room are pretty much destroyed. It looks like a band of locusts came through my house every mealtime..LOL!
The Dr. Pepper has to go because now I'm eating every stupid thing in sight and while it is healthy snacking, it's more calories than I usually take in in a day and the way to eliminate most of them and not get fat during this endeavor is to eliminate the empty calories. I allow myself just one in the morning.
And while I'm thinking about it, Kurt Bush sucks. I am so mad at the embarrassment he has brought to NASCAR that I am speechless. And now he's going to go drive with Miller as his sponsor? I don't think I would be very comfortable with that if I were Miller. As a long time Miller fan, I won't be drinking it any more if they sponsor Kurt Bush. I might do a whole other post on all the ramifications of the stunt that kid pulled this weekend. I'm rather glad to remember that Jimmy Spencer took his shot when he got a chance. It cost him, but you know, I bet it was so worth it. I'm glad to see my man Tony Stewart winning a championship here under these circumstances and like this. I wasn't a Tony Stewart fan back in 2002 when he won his first championship but I could see that he could drive a race car. Hell, that was Sterling Marlin's year anyway, but when ol' Tony was acting the fool, and it was a sucky championship. He's changed a LOT in the last 3 years and it shows. I am proud to say today that I am a fan of Tony Stewart's. Anyway, it's going to be interesting to see how the Kurt Bush thing plays out. I don't think it's over just yet.
Well, I am off to the store to get a lightbulb for the snake and then I have some hot buttered rum mix I am going to mix up to sip on to make me feel better or at least not give a shit that I'm so damn ill.
My posting has been disjointed and light of late. The quitting smoking has taken that turn where the icky feeling sets in for a few days as all that crud comes up out of your lungs, and your sinuses shrink back to normal. And, I've caught a cold.
It was my birthday Wednesday, and I was spoiled as usual. I got to sleep til like 10am (well, go back to bed, anyway) and then they showered me with gifts. My daughter made a cake for me. It was a musical birthday. I got Pink Floyd, The Foo Fighters, 311, Toby Keith, and Ozzy. How cool is that? No cooking for me, no cleaning...it was HEAVEN. My birthdays pretty much consist of ...how old am I? Am I 40 yet? No...Oh...WOO HOO!!! (I only have 2 more years of that.) Course when I do turn 40, I'll go WOO HOO too...just because it really doesn't matter to me. I'm going to be actually happy because I'll be where I want to be..hopefully. Got to work on getting in shape and taking a little inch or two off...then I'll be laughing!
Yesterday, I started feeling icky so I sat on the couch and played video games all day long while I watched over my pot of beans for the chili I'm cooking today. After I get it all put together I'm going back to bed. I am slathered with vapo-rub and that's pretty much it. I have some cough syrup on reserve if it gets too bad. Oh, and ibuprofen.
I'm reading a new book by Michael Chrichton, State of Fear. It's pretty good, so far. A little slow in the build up, but I think it'll be worth it. The one I read last week sucked so bad, I just don't even want to mention it. There are some authors that are just too fascinated with the results of inbreeding, though.
We're going to Texas for Thanksgiving! That's always a good time. We take up so much room we have to rent the clubhouse for dinner. That always makes it fun!!! I'm not sure if we're going for Christmas or not, but I think we might try. Gotta get in all the trips we can while we can. Besides, I love it there. You don't have to force me to go to Texas anytime.
Not much to blog about when you're in bed asleep. I suppose I could recite a few of those nicotine dreams I've been having. Let me tell ya, when they say the patch will affect your sleep patterns and dreams, they are not kidding. This is some vivid stuff. I know we've all heard or watched about someone having a dream where they dreamed they were dreaming...that's some wierd stuff right there, let me tell ya.
To all of the men in our armed services, who are giving their lives daily for a cause they believe is so very worth it. That belief is going to shape a whole different country. Imagine if you were an Iraqi...to think that someone believes enough in their cause to give their lives for your country.
Here's the thing. Our armed service members are primarily in service for us, but they are in service for the world, too. Who was there when the tsunamis hit, who is ALWAYS there, anywhere we are called upon to be...we are.
So, to us, the veterans, to those who are still in, and to those who have died...I raise my glass to you.
My weekend was spend in a haze of cooking. I made burrito stuffing, and subsequently burritos, fried chicken, little pie pastries, chicken noodle something (it was good and kind of italian with roasted tomatoes ..real light), and of course the big Sunday breakfast.
Quitting smoking has found me with a lot of time on my hands. This is the part where I always get stuck. I USED to take 10 min. in between one task and another to think about what to do next. I guess somehow, my 10 min. breaks kept getting longer and longer because here I sit...bored stiff...wondering what to do next with this empty cavernous day looking out at me.
All the other triggers, I have taken care of. We didn't smoke in the house anyway, so it's not like every time I sit down I feel like having one. I moved it from the garage all the way outside, though. Plus the patch keeps the cravings down.
It's all this extra time. Guess my house is going to be a lot cleaner. And more organized. That will definitely be good!!
Right after I made my previous post, I started on my rounds. I read so many blogs now that I have to do it in shifts....
Anyway, I went over to Guy's Charming, Just Charming when my eyes befell the most beautiful, picturesque setting that I have ever seen. It was like taking a vacation right there! Thanks! Go click the link to see what I am talking about...absolutely gorgeous, you lucky dog! Now I know where I want to take my honeymoon!!!
Guys and their things...sheesh. My friend Redneck assures me that my husband's blindness to the boys' deeds is just a man thing, that all fathers do it. Well, yay for us women. So that means instead of me being able to say..."Slow the hell down, dumbass." I now have to get more creative with my words and come out with something pompous like..."You really need to reevaluate your driving style." What is UP with this?
Actually, I know what is up with this. It's a hypocrisy thing. Men do not like to be hypocrites and when their sons come home with wild tales of adventures and near misses, it takes them back to when they were kids and it wasn't as bad as anything THEY did, so you get,as a first reaction, this kind of grateful feeling that it wasn't. And even if it was as bad as something the male did in his youth, then the man thinks to himself.."How can I punish the kid for what I did when I was younger, I didn't turn out so bad." Perhaps there's even a little nostalgia involved. Perhaps the men get so lost in reminiscing about their misbegotten youths that they forget the subject at hand...
See, Moms think a little differently. They also know about this other peculiar guy trait.."man thing", if you will. That's the one where if they are doing something particularly risky and DON'T get caught..they will engage is MORE risky behavior. Instead of said close call being recognized as a signal for the potential that they could be caught, maimed, dismembered, whatever..it acts as the opposite. Getting away with stuff seems to spur them to try newer and better stuff. As a mom, and as a female, I don't necessarily avoid risky behavior. Hell, it's fun to be a little bad sometimes. My line is drawn with the close call though. That's when I've had enough..that's that little wake up call that says things could be a LOT worse, and I tend to listen to it...men scoff at this with their bumps and bruises and numerous war wounds.
I did manage to get across to the kid that whether or not he was stopped illegally did not mean that he shouldn't slow down and quit being so aggressive behind the wheel of MY car. Any car, for that matter, but in particular..mine. That's another guy thing, by the way..the aggressive driving. Word, but they are something else. I don't like to ride with any of them. They all get up on people's bumpers trying to rush them along and use their vehicles as intimidation machines. They can change personality as soon as they get behind the wheel. Every stop sign is a game of chicken..ugh. And I'm exaggerating a bit...but there is a reason that insurance rates are so damn high for teenaged boys. This is why. My husband even does it to a degree. They don't like people in their 'space' or something. I don't get it, really, I just cover my eyes and pray.
So, when my oldest son came home from work last night, he went into his CLEAN room (I LOVE this new girl he's seeing...), got his beer and came out and started chewing the 19 yr old's ass up one side and down the other. I let it happen. My husband and I just watched and laughed.
The 19 yr old thought he'd be a little more honest about his feelings to his brother than he thought he'd be with us. He thought he was going to get some sympathy or something..boy, was he ever wrong...
So, my 21 yr old is saying to the 19 yr old...Joe, didn't you see the speed limit sign? My 19 yr old replied..I swear to God..."I don't have time to look at the signs on the side of the road because I'm too busy watching the road." Same answer he gave me about looking at the speedometer. Wrong answer, by the way. My 21 yr old says, "Well, you shouldn't be driving at all then because if you can't see a road sign, you're sure AS HELL not going to see the little kid that runs out in front of you."
Whoa...SCORE for the 21 yr old!!!! The discussion was pretty much over after that.
But what the hell? How come the 21 yr old has more rights and rates higher on the opinion scale than me? He didn't have to tiptoe around his words..hell, he opened the discussion with "Hey, dumbass, you need to slow the hell down." That's just not right. And, then my husband is TOTALLY puzzled why, when I say anything, they just argue with me....And it's not like I haven't said something..he really does not get it. In some ways, it's good for me... so I don't bitch too much because I'm not sure I want it any other way...let's get that straight...It's good for me in that it keeps me solution focused, it doesn't matter who gets the message across as long as it gets across. And this time, it was to my advantage but I really shouldn't have to have someone back me up. I think this might be one of those stepfamily things. I haven't been married to him as long as he was married to his first wife and those scars are still very deep and make him very protective of his kids. And because his kids are the oldest, they're getting into all the shit first. And he knows I view them all as our kids but some shit you just can't turn off. His sister is like that with her daughters too...so I don't want to be too much of a bitch either because I REALLY hate to eat crow..hehehe...and we do have that daughter of ours gonna be this age real soon.
You know who I feel bad for...the little dude. He has 7 of us bossing him around..that has GOT to suck. But that one seems to need all of us bossing him around too, so, just more proof positive that God knows what He's doing.
I dream sometimes of an island...a deserted island with just me and a library full of books and music....calorie free beer and all the chocolate you can stand and I realize quickly that I would be bored out of my mind and lonely as hell in about an hour...
Yes, I know it's Thursday but I don't usually blog on Wednesdays, as my husband has that day off.
Every time we think we're going to just get to hang around the house and relax a bit, some of the other people that live here usually have different ideas, as I'm sure a few of you have noticed already.
Yesterday, it was my golden child. He got a speeding ticket on the way home from college Tuesday night.
He says that he went from college to the gas station to get a drink and talk about the project they're working on (they're learning to put flames on hoods, very exciting stuff). Anyway, he said he noticed the police car at the gas station drive past right when he was walking away from his friend's car. Then he got in the truck and drove away. As he was going down the hill, he said he had to slow down to go around a car that was parked on the side of the road. The speed limit was 40. As he started down the hill, he said these headlights came up really fast on him and he didn't even know it was the police car. The police car pulled him over in the post office parking lot and immediately started harrassing him about the tint that is on the Blazer. This is a 1995 Blazer that was owned by my 85 yr old father in law, for crying out loud. It has factory tint on it and you can see right through it in the front. But, he claimed his machine for measuring was broke. Then, he started quizzing him about what he was doing at the gas station, etc. The kids schoolbooks were right on the front seat. We're pretty sure he clocked him with the speedometer of the police vehicle. My son didn't think to ask to see the gun or even ask, but on the ticket, there's an equipment used section and patrol vehicle is the only thing checked. They say he was doing 59 in a 40.
My husband was all stuck on him fighting the ticket and his supposed violation of civil rights. I have tried to tell him that the kid is aggressive when he drives. I trust him driving my Blazer about as much as I trust the oldest one driving the Camaro. But, I'm down with letting them learn some stuff the hard way. I KNOW how the kid's been driving lately. Hell, the first thing he said to me when discussing the whole thing is that he never pays attention to how fast he's going from the get go because he's too busy "watching the road" and we had to have this discussion about how he WILL adjust the f-ing steering wheel so he can see the speedometer and how he better look at it occasionally. I said my piece and shut the hell up. I could tell, this was one of those situations where my husband was just blinded a little. I told the kid he better reevaluate his driving style and got the grin with the dimple that told me he knew EXACTLY what I was saying.
However, that doesn't change that it might have been an illegal stop. I'm not sure, but from the story, it seems as though it was. Given his driving style, though, this is the exact amount of time I'm giving to it...if anybody has a read on this, let me know and I'll pass it on. If he wants to do a little research on his own, then he is free to do so. Had he been doing the right thing and obeying the traffic laws in general, then I might lend more of a hand and call a couple of lawyers and put some time into it. But he didn't. So, he can either pay the fine and suck it up and take it as a lesson learned and be right from now on or he can do some research, plead not guilty, deal with whatever the outcome from that, take it as a lesson learned and be right from now on. Because if he's not, then my vehicle is no longer available to him to use.
Then I took a nap because that discussion and the fact that I was having to tippy toe around made me just...tired.
I was ever so grateful when my oldest son came home. We were telling him of his brother's misfortune (nothing is a secret in a large family) and he laughed and said, "Well, it was only a matter of time." and then the YOUNGER brother piped up and agreed and that kind of slammed my husband right out of that state of denial he was in. This bugs me sometimes, I have to admit. There are times that he puts me on a level equal to them and not in authority over them that is very damaging to my ability to be an authority figure. It also makes it so I can't just be direct...I have to find a different way to say things. I suppose it's just a quirk of being a 'blended' family and whatever, but it does get a little old sometimes. Until I could get past that denial, then he thought that I should be the one doing all that research, etc.
After my nap, I got up and made my menu for my grocery run. I asked these people to pick some food to eat because I get tired of thinking up new and exciting food all the time. I mean, there is 8 people here...if everyone picks a meal, then I'll have it covered for a week, simple, right? Every single time I ask them to do this for me, I am ever so sorry later.
My husband took this trip down memory lane...god, I wish he would blog..to this little island hopping trip in the South Pacific during his younger, wilder, sailor days to this little island where he met this cab driver who wound up showing them all around and partying with them, on over to another island where the cousin or brother of the cab driver took them around and FINALLY..(LOL) they get to this little bed and breakfast place that made this German dish ..almost like a Beef or Veal Cordon Bleu..only with some kind of saurbraten sauce...and THIS is what he wants me to make for supper one night this week. He cannot even tell me the name of it, has half the ingredients, yet you better believe that it had better be as good as that stuff he had on that island...Oh my, I do love a challenge. So, for any of you cooking types out there...if you know what this is...A roast sliced and stuffed with swiss and another white cheese, ham, wrapped in bacon, covered in a sour sauce kind of like a stroganoff sauce but darker.
Oh and I'm pmsing and today is my quit day. I did so-so. I had to have that one this morning and I didn't stick to the schedule I had for myself. I only had 2 though and most mornings I would have half a pack done by now. I'm already coughing out the crap ....in like 5 or 6 days I'm going to be a new woman. But, probably a bit bitchy and maybe a lot whiny for a little while. I hope y'all can deal with that and I promise, it's a temporary thing. And if it gets to be a bit much, then anyone of y'all is free to say..."Quit your bitchin'"...
Halloween kicks off busy season for me. Next is the rest of the holidays and then we start on the round of birthdays again. I probably won't get to rest until next Aug...hehehe!
After all these years getting so many kids ready in costumes and whatnot, Halloween preparation, all holiday preparation, really, has gotten to be a bit routine. A week before Halloween we take down The Box. The Box contains all the decorations and leftover costumes from the year before. We spent a weekend going through the box and making new costumes out of the old followed by a trip to the accessory store to get all the good stuff that goes with the chosen costumes. I'm talking scars and blood here people.
This year, I had a pirate and a princess in the little ones. They are costume purists. My daughter always wants to be a princess. She's been a princess every year. But, she doesn't want makeup to touch her face...she thinks she's quite beautiful enough, thank you. My little dude thought that he wanted a cool scar, but then changed his mind. I think he scared himself in the mirror with it, hehehe. He CLAIMS that it was because he didn't want to have to wash it off later.
My husband had candy duty as my pain treatment worked and he didn't want to get out in the cold and have that experience again. He spent like 20 min. apologizing and that made me feel horrible, because it is so nothing for him to apologize for. I had explained to him that I had already made that executive decision and to not feel bad. But, I have to say it hurt a little. Everything that he has to give up hurts a little.
My older kids were MORE than happy to help me take the little ones around and perhaps collect a little candy themselves. Man, that has been the thing that has been hard to wean them from...trick or treating. They just don't want to give it up..LOL! I even buy a ton of good candy now so that they don't feel the lack. So, me in my Mom costume, the pirate, the princess, a bandit, an inspector, and Superman set out to carouse the neighborhood. Nothing on our street; we don't even go here anymore. So, across the neighbor's yard to the next neighborhood where about half of the houses were lit up and the little ones were done. Nobody had any cool decorations to speak of. They are just so not into Halloween around here. It makes me sad, in a way. So, we went home, counted the loot, let them gorge, and off to bed they went.
My darling husband had taken care of the dishes while we were gone. Bless his heart! I think the only trick or treaters he got was us. Somehow I don't think he was lonely though. It made him feel better to know that there was something useful he could do, too. He was pretty bummed. I can gel with that, though. I felt that real strong at the race track when I didn't have the energy to walk across that field even knowing at the end of it I was going to get to sit and rest again for like 5 hours before having to make that trek again. That hurt bad. But, that pain is a signal to acknowledge the facts and make those appropriate changes. Next year is going to be a whole lot different.
Right before we trick or treaters left, my oldest son's posse rolled up in full costume and treats of beer for my husband. We had Jimmy Neutron, a werewolf, death, a long-haired hippie, and Cleopatra. They weren't going anywhere but here. They also came bearing pictures of the party they had at the race track this last weekend. It was the first race they had ever been to and I got a LOT of questions as to why my son wouldn't go with them. They are definitely on board with Talladega in the spring but I already told my husband that those boys need to camp far from us..they will bring too much drama to the equation as youth and testosterone often do. I have no idea why my oldest son would not have participated in that. He has been to races before and seems to enjoy it. Although, he only goes to Talladega with us out of a sense of duty and he hasn't followed NASCAR at all since Dale SR. died. It affected him the most. I used to get him a new collectible for his birthday every year..this was back when they ran the special paint schemes only for the Winston (Nextel All-Star, now). They don't do that anymore..they just run the special paint schemes when the sponsor decides is what I gather now. Hell, they pay good money to have that car painted just like they like, so hey..but I do miss the specialness of the Winston paint schemes. Anyway, my oldest one doesn't do the death thing very well. That's the only reason I can come up with other than those guys were a bunch of rookies and he didn't want to be partying with a bunch of rookies because he's been to those races, knows how to avoid trouble and drama..etc. I'd have to say judging by the stories, he was probably wise in skipping it. It's a learning thing and the atmospheres at those race tracks after hours are touchy.
Being a work night, all too soon it was bedtime. Today, I get to hit the grocery store, and catch up with the 19 yr old whom I didn't see at all yesterday. For him, there was no celebrating. There was work from 5am til 3:30 and school from 5-10:30.
One Halloween tradition we have that I don't know if other people have is we always have a pumpkin pie on Halloween. My 19 yr old and my little dude both seem to think that the leftover pumpkins should be used to make pumpkin pie. My husband used to just sneak and use the canned pumpkin and let him think he used real pumpkin. I don't sneak well, I think because I asked the kid the first year I got stuck with pumpkin pie duty..."Hey, I don't know how to make a 'real' pumpkin pie, but I can get this canned stuff that tastes pretty good." He said, "That's ok, I just want pumpkin pie. I don't care how you make it." Woo Hoo!!!! Honesty...it works.
I had a round of deja vu the other day talking with little dude. I had almost that exact same conversation with him. He wasn't as easy to please, though. All my kids are very ....conservation aware....and he got a pumpkin at the pumpkin farm the other day and he just thinks it's wrong to carve it up and let it rot when you could MAKE SOMETHING out of it. That is his whole moniker, my little dude...he's all about making stuff. So, I told him I could scoop out the insides and roast the seeds and maybe make some pumpkin bread. (I have some mix in the cupboard..LOL). And so we have come full circle in the parenting techniques, my husband and I have.
Oh and though NASCAR is coming to an end, AWESOME race this weekend...Monster Trucks have begun. I didn't dig the big trucks at first, but after having watched Gravedigger just kick some serious butt, the enthusiasm of my little dude, it is a bit catching.
You know, I really do have the best job in the whole world!