Saturday, December 28, 2013

If we had no bad we'd have no luck at all

I really can't make this stuff up.  I'm not that imaginative, my life the last couple of weeks sounds like some sort of bad melodramatic TV show.

My last post left off sitting in the ER with Mom waiting on results.  They came back and declared that she  had broken her sacrum.  Mom was admitted to the hospital and hopped up on morphine for the pain.  The next day she was like somebody had pulled the string on a chatty Cathy doll.   Talk, talk, talk.  I sat next to her as my fever crept up and the crud that had taken down the kids and Hubby snuck up on me.  The next day I stayed home from the hospital and Hubby went and sat with Mom most of the day and reported that she mostly slept but they were going to move her to ICU as her O2 stats had fallen and they wanted to keep a closer eye on her.   I go in on Thursday and she is completely out of it, not lucid at all, tremors like she has Parkinson's and had dementia with repeated OCD like behaviors.  I sat with her all day and her O2 stats dropped off slowly throughout the day.  I stayed as long as I could stand it and went home. Around 10:30 I hear a retching noise and weak "Moma" filter down from upstairs.  Igor had puked EVERYWHERE.  I honestly think it was one of the worst puke disasters I've had to clean up as a parent.  Two hours later I hear a whimper and he was sick again, luckily I managed to get him to the toilet in time.  Later at 2:00 a.m. the hospital called and told me that they had put Mom on a vent but "DO NOT COME DOWN HERE THE ROADS ARE TOO BAD"  I only live about 5 blocks from our town's hospital but my experience and many years of watching assorted medical shows I knew it didn't matter if I was there or not as she would be heavily medicated.  At 6 a.m. I got an automated phone call from the school advising that school was cancelled.  I got up and made coffee, showered etc. to go the hospital figuring I could catch doctors since I was up anyway. 

I walked out the back door to find the world a sheet of ice.  I stepped gingerly down the first three steps and fell down the bottom two onto my hands and knees.  I checked myself out - no injuries other than pride - and shuffled and slid to the car.  I couldn't get the car out of the driveway - it's slightly inclined - and it nearly slid into the new truck.  Thankfully it didn't hit it as Hubby would have had his undies in a twist about that.  I carefully slid back into the house and got the truck keys then went down to the corner hardware store where they were doing a brisk business in sidewalk salt and got some for myself.  I went home, spread the salt and did a perfect butt plant that was so hard my teeth jarred together.  Honestly it was a good thing it happened so quickly, and my hands were full as I'd likely broken a wrist if I'd have gotten a hand down.

I get to the hospital finally and speak to the nurses and doctors and frankly they had no idea what was going on.  I called Mom's brothers and a close family friend to tell them what was happening.  One brother and the friend make flight reservations and arrived on Saturday.   The next few days were a blur of sitting at the hospital and watching Mom breathe through a straw.

Monday the 23rd they pulled the vent.  Mom was breathing on her own well but her blood pressure went through the roof as she struggled confused, agitated and in pain.  I had left my uncle home with the boys as he had pulled a morning shift with Mom at the hospital and he needed to go the airport around 4:00.  I called Hubby who was trying to squeeze a day in at work and had him come home to take my uncle to the airport because I felt I needed to be there to keep Mom calm.  The family friend that had come to town sat with me and the two of us did a dance of adjusting pillows, bed, and repeating to Mom every 5 minutes where she was and what had happened.  I stayed until 11:00 pm that night and was both physically and mentally exhausted when I left.

Tuesday and Wednesday went better with marked improvement in Mom's mental awareness and a steady removal of tubes, wires and the like.  Thursday she was doing fairly well, still in pain but seemed to be on the mend.  Friday (yesterday) she was transferred to Milwaukee for stent surgery which should happen early next week.  Today she is complaining a lot and I'm determined to keep her awake this evening as she has her day and night confused and called me at 4:45 a.m. this morning wondering if I was going to come visit her today.

The skinny is that is seems she overdosed on morphine.  Mom has kidney disease to top off all the other problems and she wasn't clearing the morphine but they kept giving her a normal dose.  Doesn't work so well.  More CT scans on her pelvis reveal more than just a fractured sacrum but several breaks that I was told were consistent with a high speed vehicle accident.  Due to the nature of the fracture and the fragility of her bones nothing but time - at least 6 weeks - to heal her pelvis.

In the middle of all the Mom drama a stomach bug has ravaged through the household and hit everyone but me.  I think it hit Hubby hardest as the kids seemed to bounce within 24 hours, and Hubby took closer to 48 hours.  I don't know how I managed to miss it (maybe I haven't).  I've also started my new position at the library too.  I had asked for a few days off at the beginning of the fiasco and then managed to squeeze in a couple of days of training the Thursday and Friday after Christmas as the family friend was in town and sat with Mom those days.  Oh, and our kitchen sink drain clogged up!

I apologize for the crazy disjointed writing.  I'm at the hospital with Mom and between the interruptions, crazy questions from Mom, and general loss of train of thought this is probably the worst thing I've written in ages.  Honestly I can't even read through the whole post without an interruption.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Well Darn

That's not really what I want to say, but I at least try to keep the cursing down in to the smaller print.  Go ahead, guess where I'm at?  Yeah in the ER with mom.  Today I grabbed a couple of bags of groceries for her and when she came to the door to let me in she grabbed the groceries and asked me to go get her mail.  When I walked back in the house she was on the floor.  Black out again.  I helped her get up and she though she might have pulled a muscle in her back.  I got her in her chair, chased down the cardiologist who said she needed to stop taking xyz drug which was dropping her blood pressure and call again tomorrow.  I washed her dishes that had taken over the kitchen and did some tidying up, something I usually refuse to do because frankly mom is lazy.  I went home and took care of some scout stuff while Hubby scrapped up some supper, I ate and went back over to mom's to finish dishes and make her something to eat.  I fixed her a sandwich which she ate and I was going to help her get in the shower she couldn't put any weight on her right leg.  No way no how could she move.  I had Igor go get Hubby who came over and we decided she needed to go to the ER.  Hubby tried to lift her like a child and she couldn't tolerate it so we ended up calling an ambulance.

Now I'm sitting in a miserably uncomfortable chair, typing on the I pad and listening to my doped up on morphine mother rambling on and on and on.  I thought you were just supposed to sleep on those drugs.  Anyway we are waiting to see how bad the damage is.


Not that I really have more time...

I haven't really found time, I simply have a nice case of insomnia and a hacking up a lung husband to keep me awake so I thought I would fill in on some of the crazy that has been happening in our lives.

The biggest and most worrisome news is Mom's health.  She had a heart cath last week that showed significant blockages in two arteries.  One of the arteries is a kinked up mess (just strange anatomy on her part) and it would be impossible to stent it.  The other has several blockages as well.  The doctor said he would normally have went ahead and held mom and went through with a bypass surgery but she has so many other factors with the kidney disease that he wanted to run it through for 2nd and 5th opinions of the cardiologist at the mother hospital in Milwaukee.  In the meantime he gave Mom a couple of new meds that have basically given her a moderate headache and made her feel dragged out even more than normal.  Yesterday I was out Christmas shopping, and she called me and told me she fell.  There was no reason to fall, - nothing to trip over etc and I was pretty sure she had blacked out.  I called Hubby, and sent him over to take her blood pressure and check on her.  He believed she blacked out for a second or so because she didn't really know what happened, just that she fell.  When I spoke with the doctor I was hoping to put off surgery until after Christmas, but if she can't safely walk from one room to another I doubt it's a real possibility.

We have managed to pass around a nasty cold the last week.  Last weekend Igor ran a fever for a day or so, he never seemed to be too sick, just a little draggy.  Tuesday the school sent Sonny Boy home from school as he was running a fever and he missed school on Wednesday and Thursday.  Friday Hubby came home from work dragging ass due to fever and today I believe I'm on the downhill slide.  Needless to say bad timing.  I feel like I should be checking on Mom every 2 -3 hours but frankly I've put her in quarantine unless she needs us.  I'll have to over tomorrow and hunt down the verdict from the doctor, maybe I'll wear a surgical mask.

On the plus side the majority of the Christmas shopping got accomplished yesterday.  There are still a few little things to pick up and some online stuff I ordered to come in but it's done.  Now I only need to wrap it.

I received a little promotion at work.  I am now the Tech Services Assistant, which sounds like I'll be very computer oriented and such, not really. My new job will mostly entail cataloging the new books and prepping them for circulation.  The hours will change a little and I'll get a few more hours of work, plus a small pay raise for the step up.  I'm excited about the new change however it has come at a bad time as I must train for a couple of different things, and the hours will change.  When I accepted the job I took it with the idea that the hours I worked outside of the school day Mom would be able to wrangle the boys for the 1 1/2 hours they are out of school before I get home.  Work is understanding as many of the women (and it's all women) have been, or are in the same boat.  All I can do is be there as much as reasonable.  Thankfully I'm not dependent on that income, though it is nice to have a job to go to.

That's all I know for now.  Here I was hoping to have a peaceful boring Christmas this year.  I worry the kids are gonna get a complex that grandparents have a schedule of serious illness and death (FIL passed away last Christmas) at the holidays.

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Well, isn't this special

I'll add more detail later. 
Mom  had her heart cath today, the news was less than great.
Sonny Boy has was sent home on Tuesday from school and hasn't been allowed back in due to a bug.
It's REALLY stinkin' cold.
I've only managed to get like two Christmas presents purchased.
I ordered shoes from Zappos for Igor while sitting at the hospital this a.m. - figured out when I got home wrong size and they were already in transit.  Zappos great, refunded and will try to "intercept" my order like it's some sort of military mission or something.
I got a promotion at work (good news) but now I'm in training again for a while and all this happening at the holidays.
I don't know why I have to type everything centered, today I'll just roll with it.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Just when you think it's getting calmer...

The last few doctor appointments Mom has had I have sent her on her own.  Frankly they have become very routine with just about the same things asked, said, and gone over.  Therefore when Mom had a doctor appointment with the family doc the other day I didn't think much of it, honestly figuring if anything popped up crazy the doctor would call me.  Well the family doctor didn't call me but sent Mom over to the cardiologist.  The cardiologist started running tests which Mom brushed off as no big deal, they are just checking me out.  I stupidly thought that they were just being a little over-cautious and kept trucking. 

I was wrong.

When I got off work the other day I had a message on my phone from Mom to come by  "We need to talk".  I was worried as I did know that they had called her in after running a test and she wouldn't let me go with her.  Quote "I'm a big girl".  Well the "big girl"  had evidently passed out a couple times and her heart arrhythmia is getting bad enough to cause these episodes.  Mom never told me for fear I would make her move out of her house.  The doctor and the nurses crawled all over her for not telling me, for not bringing me to the appointment and so on and so forth.  Now, with Mom's consent I am now handling the scheduling and understanding of her heart condition, which frankly I have to dumb down to a 10 year old level for her.  Last week I spent an entire day at the cardiologist office while they ran some more tests that indicated a possible blockage. I had to call into work because it became apparent I wasn't going to make it there.  Week after next Mom goes in for a heart cath.  She's actually freaked out enough to try and quit smoking.

Honestly, I can't get too emotional about it.  I'm worried of course, but I just see this as the beginning of long downhill of health decline that I knew was coming.  I'm glad she's nearby so I can manage things, and frankly I feel the healthcare here is far superior to what was available in her area.  I worry about the nightmare of medical bills.  The hospital has been terrific with their charity program, I have applied for the state medical program but haven't heard from them.  I worry that her small nest egg will keep her from that - she might be better off it was gone.  I'm sure just the amount of tests in the last couple of weeks would easily eat it up.  "Obamacare" isn't a help yet as even if I could get her enrolled it won't kick in until the start of the year, though I suppose I should try to navigate that website and see what's available.

Thanksgiving I have refused to cook.  I'm trying to find somewhere to make reservations.  Hubby leaves for France the Saturday after, with the amount of stress dumping on me I'm not adding a turkey to it.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Camping Stories

Inspired by my blog pal Lyn over at Duck and Wheel with String thought I'd share a camping story or two with you.

Over the years Hubby and I, then later with the kids have camped a fair bit.  The easy camping trips where nothing goes wrong seem to fade away in our memories but the ones where misery strikes stick with us for years.  Like a bad vacation I suppose.

Back in September of this year the Cub Scout pack got adventurous and decide to organize a campout for the entire pack (around 30 kids and their adult and sometimes siblings)  I had planned on a tent with the group, until the weather turned and the lows at night were going to be somewhere in the 30's.  Frankly sleeping cold in a tent when I have a camper in the driveway seemed crazy.  I therefore packed up the camper and drove it to the nearby state park where we were having the campout and purchased the last electric site for the weekend.  Oh, one little fact that my husband was in France this week didn't really deter me.  The campout was officially for Saturday night but I took the camper out on Friday evening to get set up and have a little quiet time before the cub scout stuff began.  The day went pretty much as planned and with some shuffling around with Sonny Boy who had football games and such it was going well. 

After the scout activities ended around 9:00 pm I hustled the kids back to our campsite and tucked them into bed, watching the two of them fall deep asleep faster than you could humanly think possible.  I lie there dozing and listening to the drunks a campsite or two over wishing they would settle down but they weren't too bad.   Soon I heard a guy start yelling across the campground, "Shut-up"  and assorted other demands to be quite.  I was glad of this because the drunks were getting a little annoying.  Less than five minutes later the guys starts yelling again " I said shut the F--- up!" and the rowdy campers start exchanging words with him - loudly.  By this time I could tell it was escalating quickly and start calling the park number to try and get the ranger.  After a lifetime of menus I still couldn't get a person so I hung up and called 911.  While I'm on the phone with the 911 operator I hear the guy yell "I'm a cop and you better believe I have I weapon"  I relay all the information to the operator as a now wide awake Sonny Boy listens to obscenities fly and peeks out the tent ends of the camper.  When I hear the weapon remark I make Sonny Boy get into the floor of the camper to at least put a layer of fiberglass between him and anything that might go flying.  I remain peeking out the window and see officers approaching past my camper with weapons drawn sneaking up on the melee going on 2-3 campsites down.  Soon I could hear that they had the screaming "cop" handcuffed and they pulled a squad car up and loaded somebody into it and a few minutes later an ambulance comes into the campground and treats somebody as well.  Igor happily conked out like a comatose log slept through the whole thing.  (to be fair I didn't make him get out of bed as he was asleep on the dinette which was below window level.)

It's always an adventure camping let me tell you.  Thanks Lyn for giving me good fodder for the blog.

Friday, November 8, 2013

The Gender Gap

I'm sure everyone (all three of you who read this) has seen the statistics that show a woman earns like 77 cents for every dollar a man makes.  Women seem to have a harder time climbing the corporate ladder, women do more housework than men.  The list seems endless as to how men and women are not treated equally in the world.

I'm  going to talk about another inequality, one I've never seen on the news or Oprah.  It's the Hunting, Fishing gap.  Some might call it a Hobby Gap, but in my world I most commonly see it related to hunting and fishing.

In many parts of the country Deer Season is a national holiday for men.  Rural schools close for a day or two, camo and bright orange catch your eye at every corner and caravans of campers, and loaded pick-ups go to the "deer woods". 

Deer Widows often have nights out when the men depart, but for the most part the wives are at home going to work, and keeping things running as always.  The only difference for a non-hunting woman between deer season and not, is watching the bank account deplete and dealing with the hassles of life without a back-up or help.

What chaps my hide (and other deer widows I know) is that there is no equivalent for women.  Women rarely get to just take off, and leave.  The good Lord knows that if I decided to leave for a week it requires much more than just packing my clothes and leaving.  I must make sure all the laundry is done, there is a clear calendar, not just for me but for the rest of the family and if there are things on that calendar it's clearly marked and explained and a dozen other things taken care of because frankly we all know who runs the household.  Don't get me started on what you come home to find in the wake of being gone for more than three days as well.

Honestly Hubby is a really good guy.   I'm just REALLY peeved to see the large amounts of money and time spent trying to kill an animal.  IF Hubby kills a deer this year that "free" meat will have actually cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $100 a lb.  yeah, lobster is way cheaper.  This irks me when I go the grocery store and buy the generic because it's 15 cents cheaper and I don't buy the nice handbag I've eyeballed because it's "too expensive".

My next husband will not hunt or fish.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Fall is Here

Hey!  I'm still alive and really I haven't given up blogging but finding the time to put up more poorly written drivel is getting really difficult.  In fact I have a whole whopping 28 minutes to do this post before I have to get in the shower and only one cup of coffee under my belt so if I wander from the subject....well you know.

The household has a new definition of busy lately.  Sonny Boy is in the throes of a loosing football season and what proves to be his most difficult year of cub scouts yet.  Igor is thrilled to finally be able to participate in Cub Scouts and he's already set to make Eagle.

Hubby is busy as ever with work having taken an assignment that kept him gone for two weeks solid, one week in Palm Beach, Florida and the other in Paris, France.  Yeah - too bad for him.  He texted me a picture of the Eifel tower lit up at night with a gorgeous full moon, I sent him a picture of the school bus parked in front of me at the elementary school.  The upside with the new assignment is that he will be traveling to France several times in the next year or two and we plan on taking the kids at some point.  There is a distant chance it could turn into some long term postings of a month or two at a time and that could be really fun because I'm definitely taking up the opportunity to live there for a little while.

Me, well I'm busy, busy, busy.  Officially wearing three hats in the cub scout pack, Working - only three hours a day but gee it's amazing that seems to cut into the day - and managing all the other mundane tasks of being a mom and I'm frazzled.

Thankfully some of the chaos will end this week as the last football game of the season is Saturday.  I can't tell you how happy I am to type that.  Sonny Boy has made HUGE gains in his football ability this year, alas he's drawn all the luck of a terrible team and a terrible coach this year.  The coach is really a little over the top and I think he often forgets he's dealing with 3rd and 4th graders.  It's so noticeable that parents from the other 3rd and 4th grade team in town have reportedly been discussing it.  Sonny Boy was even ready to quit a few weeks ago and that was enough to send red flags up because he LOVES playing football, and would play year round if we could find him somewhere to do it.  I explained that this is a life lesson, he wouldn't always have teachers and coaches he likes and sometimes you just have to grin and bear it till it's over, but that I would make sure he didn't have the same coach next year.  (I'm decent friends with a guy on the board) 

Right now we are seriously shopping for a truck.  Pulling the camper with the mini-van makes us nervous as we fear the tranny will drop out from under it on a road trip.  Hubby has narrowed the search down to a couple of different trucks and will go look at another tonight.  Basically it has boiled down to buying a newer truck with fewer features and lower miles versus a truck a few years older with a few more miles and EVERY bell and whistle that can be put on one.  It's hard to make that decision because the bells and whistles are very nice and this will be our main family vehicle (buying a four door truck) and the little luxuries can make a vehicle on a long road trip.  First world problems eh?

I've been singing this little ditty a bit.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Still in the race

Tired Girl Cartoon

Not dead yet, but when I'm not doing about 300 things at one time I resemble this.  Frankly even stringing these two sentences together is taxing.  More blog to come.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

...And They're Off!!

as the bell rings on the running of the  2013/14 school year YOU ARE NOT WEARING THAT takes the lead followed half a length behind by BREAKFAST ARGUEMENT, in third place is FIND YOUR SHOES & GRAB YOUR BAG.  Coming down the back straight is HOMEWORK FIGHT and he's making strides on the leaders, rounding out the field is LOST LIBRARY BOOK, EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES,  NEED LUNCH MONEY,  and FAMILY DINNERS.
As we make the final turn HOMEWORK FIGHT is coming hard on the outside and passing BREAKFAST ARGUEMENT and gaining quickly on YOU ARE NOT WEARING THAT.  GRAB YOUR SHOES & GRAB YOUR BAG is looking winded and is being gained on by the field.  HOMEWORK FIGHT is taking the lead and half a length ahead of YOUR ARE NOT WEARING THAT.  Looks like FAMILY DINNERS has been pulled up short with a leg injury and will not finish the race.  At the wire it's HOMEWORK FIGHT for a win, place is BREAKFAST ARGUEMENT, and in a surprise longshot EXTRACURRICULAR ACTIVITIES is in show.
These are the unofficial results, hold all tickets until race results are final:
FAMILY DINNERS didn't finish the race due to a broken leg and will be humanly euthanized. 

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Busy is as Busy Does

The last few weeks have been the kind of busy that's nice, except for the fact I've been battling an almost constant migraine the last two.  Uhg, not much seems to help it, drugs make it lie down for a few hours but then I'm groggy and spacey from them.  Sleep helps some, but really one can only sleep so many hours a day.  I'm in hopes that once we have settled into a school schedule my body will decide "hey this is life now" and quit torturing me.

headache photo: headache headache.gif
The new job is going well.  I'm still in the training phase, but honestly I have the hang of the daily kind of stuff that crops up and will pick up the odds and ends as I move along.  Oddly enough there is a lot of tiny little details that go along with putting books back on the library shelf you probably would have never guessed.  Probably the hardest part is not browsing through the interesting looking books as I take care of them.  My trainer noted I will fit in well because I've read so many different things and know who Eudora Welty is - even though I've never read her. 
My want to read list has grown by leaps and bounds the last couple of weeks as I see books pass through my hands.  I have not indulged this as I am re-reading the Outlander series by Diana Gabaldon.
I'm in the middle of the next to the last book and it's like hanging out with old friends.  I haven't read through the series in several years.  I of course know the outcomes of the big plots but have forgotten the smaller snippets and details.  There is a new book to the series due out in March, it was originally scheduled for a December '13 release; but a new TV series on Starz is being developed, and my hunch is they are timing everything to whip up frenzy.  I don't really think they need to whip up too much frenzy, as it seems everyone on the fan sites are in a lather for the show and the new book.  I know I am.
Sonny Boy is in full football practice mode.  He was thrilled with it up until the last practice and they scrimmaged the other team from their league.  Sonny Boy had a bad practice (or so I heard, wasn't there) and managed to mess up the snap several times.  A kid quit on Monday, and when I asked Sonny Boy why he thought the kid quit he thought it was because the coach was too tough.  Sonny
Boy's coach is pretty tough, but I don't think it's extreme, it is football after all.
We have likely nixed our plans for camping over Labor day weekend.  The weather is threatening to be really hot and humid.  We do have an A/C unit on the camper, but without reservations on a holiday weekend the likelihood of getting a campsite with electricity is pretty nil.  I guess we'll have to make it up some other weekend soon. 
Right now my  "to-do" list for scouts is looming large.   In a fit of "sucker written on my forehead" I now wear so many hats in the pack I'm not quite sure what they all are.  I have got to sit down and get all the work whipped out very soon as procrastination has been a big enemy in that department.
I am so glad school starts soon, the boys are driving me off my rocker.  If they are not electronically entertained they are at each other's throats.  I seem to be the only one in the house with enough balls to tell them "no" when it comes to video games so of course I'm the bad guy.  I declared that once school started there would be no video games during the week, I'm sure it's going to be a battle with their pixelated minds but the two have totally forgotten how to play.  Frankly between the constant headache I have and the need to do something other than play referee I'm tempted to let them mush their brains this week just so I can have some peace.  I might let them.
This game is their current obsession and seems to be the rage with all the 9-11 year old boys I know.  Sonny Boy went to a birthday party the other day and it was completely themed around this game and he thought it fantastic.  I don't really understand it as I haven't played it, but I'm told it's like electronic Legos to an extent and it takes a fair amount of creativity to build and play in it.  The biggest problem is that it is loaded on our computer and therefore when I want to use the computer I usually have a short person at my elbow begging to play.  I have ran them off about 6 times since I started this blog post.
Well I suppose I should get off the computer myself.  My never-ending to do list is calling despite the fact I'd really just like to take a Percocet and sleep off the headache that never goes away.  Unfortunately neither is likely to happen totally.



Thursday, August 8, 2013

Whirlwind Summer

I'm having a hard time believing we are well into August already.  The summer has flown by at an extreme rate this year.  I can hardly believe it.

July was busy.  Hubby and I dumped the kiddos with their Grandma and Aunt and went out to the Pacific Northwest for a week.  It was a great vacation.  Our rental car was upgraded from cheapest available to a Mercedes with 250 miles on it.  What a car!  We saw snow capped mountains, Crater Lake, Whitewater rafted

I am in black sleeves and a yellow helmet, Hubby is the bald guy in the bright yellow shirt.  Rafting was a blast, Hubby declared the best part was the squealing noises I made as I was hit with face full of 55 degree water. 

The Oregon coast was beautiful but wicked cold.  I don't think that was unusual either as we were told we were there on a nice day!  We visited relatives and I met the last of numerous cousins of Hubby's I'd never met before.

Coming home I got the camper ready and Hubby and Sonny Boy went to EAA in Osh Kosh, WI  for a couple of days, came home, I packed them again and they went to Cub Scout camp for two days.  I'm tired of packing for camping I don't get to go on!

This week swim lessons for Igor started as well as football practice for Sonny Boy.  Just that in it's self is a lot.

The big news is I'm now gainfully employed.  I won't be rolling in the dough by any means but the job just dropped in my lap.  I was in the library back in July and I was practically shoved an application to come be a shelver.  I'll mostly work while the kids are in school which works out really well.  I start in a couple of weeks, currently they are running background checks and I go into the clinic for a physical and drug testing in just a few minutes.

Busy, Busy, Busy.  It's good though.  Possibly some big things on the horizon and I'm hoping that pans out.  It could be one heck of an adventure.  Hopefully will know if it come to fruition in a couple of months.

Thursday, July 4, 2013

The Music of the Morning

One of the things I look forward to most once school dismisses for the summer is a laid back, relaxing morning.  The chore of getting the boys up, dressed somewhat decently, fed, shoes, backpacks, etc. etc. in the morning is like trying to control the chaos at O'Hare airport while speaking only Russian.  Sure a few words get through now and then, but mostly the hoards only hear gibberish.

Summer is different.  Most days we have nowhere to be at a specific time, and if we do I specifically make the appointments at least late morning.  Instead of fighting the "good fight" I usually bow to the electronic baby sitting of video games and T.V. so I can sit in peace on the front porch and watch the world go by.  This is the first week we've not been "up and at 'em" and I've really missed my summer ritual.

Mostly I notice the sounds of the neighborhood.  Birdsong is almost constant, the twittering of robins, the chirps of house sparrows, and the cries of the always alarmed house wren are easy to pick out.  I live near the city pool and mornings are reserved for swim lessons so I can hear and occasional "boing" from the diving board and sometimes screams - particularly if it's the start of a new session and a few new water scared pre-schoolers are involved.  There is of course cars driving by and making the corner giving me snippets of their conversations, radio, and sneezes as they pause at the stop sign.  Foot traffic is regular but often eerily quite, many times I don't realize someone has gone right past my house unless Callie (dog) happens to be sitting with me and she rumbles under her breathe at them.  This summer I have the lovely sound of construction equipment a block over as the utilities are reworked and the street repaved - hopefully that will be completed soon.

My morning time on the porch gives me time to compose my plan of attack for the day, time for the caffeine to kick in, time for Sonny Boy's ADHD medicine to kick in.  A calm before the storm of life.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Tooth Fairy Fail


My children have the World's Worst Tooth Fairy.  Not only did she not deliver for Igor's tooth last week but she also neglected Sonny Boy as well.  As I type this, I have several one dollar bills drying with "tooth fairy dust" on the table along with a letter from "Toothie" explaining that she was on vacation to the Fairy-land Islands.  The letter is signed in glitter of course.  Oh she also sprinkled fairy dust on the dog's head - I'm pretty sure the dog isn't amused.

Really I think all this is a little much for nasty little chunks of white enamel.  I'm pretty sure Sonny Boy is in on all the Tooth Fairy, Santa Claus, Easter Bunny gig but doesn't want to give it up for fear of not getting "the goods".  I'm pretty sure I had it figured out by the time I was 10 years old.  Igor on the other hand buys it hook line and sinker.  I sometimes wonder if Sonny Boy plays along for Igor's benefit, but since he rarely pulls punches with his little brother I somehow doubt it. 

I googled a little to see how the tooth fairy stuff started, seems it didn't really take off until the 1920's or so and really became entrenched in the 50's with the baby boomers.  Why in the world did anyone think it was such a great idea I'll never know.  Frankly our tooth fairy is forgetful and often has to up her ante for being late.  It seems our tooth fairy is not the only one with this issue as my SIL reports the same issue with hers.  Maybe it's something to do with our family?

This will go down in family lore - How the tooth fairy was always a day or two late and we'll laugh and laugh.  Hey, at least Santa still comes on time.

Saturday, June 22, 2013

The Inheritance

Photo credit: bill barber / / CC BY-NC
Two weeks ago we loaded up the kids and left town one hour after school dismissed for the summer.  We hauled up to northern Minnesota to Hubby's hometown with the plan to garage sale his father's estate.   We arrived late on Friday night and crashed into bed with early morning work planned.
Work we did, four solid days of moving FIL's stuff that we had stashed at various relatives homes for the winter during the Live-in War and from the garage we had blocked her out of.  On average there were five of us going non-stop for 18 hours a day with lots of help from a cousin, MIL's boyfriend, friends of SIL and even Hubby's 93 year old grandmother pitching in washing filthy items, dishes and generally keeping the kids pinned down somewhat.  What a nightmare!
With the exception of one day of lousy weather, God was smiling on us as we were able to move the mess into the driveway and start spreading things out on tables and the lawn.  My best estimate on the amount of tables set up for the sale runs about 20, some as small as card tables, several 4 x 8 sheets of plywood on saw horses, and at least 10 6-8 foot school/church tables gathered from near and far.  The tables hand themes - that's how much stuff there was.  We had a Harley shelf, a gardening table, hardware, tools, power tools, and a large tent filled with clothing.
We sold an amazing array of items from a Jolly Roger flag on a 9 foot pole, a sausage mixer, taxidermy ducks and fish, camping gear and a couple of push mowers that didn't run.  We had a huge turn out of folks for not putting an ad in the paper or online.  Simply signs at the corner and cell phones pulled out with the phrase " you gotta come to this sale" uttered left cars lined up down both sides of the street for two blocks.
Of the 15-20 trailer loads of stuff brought in, not to mention the goodly amount of stuff already stashed in MIL's basement we sold the vast majority of it with only one trailer of mixed goods going to a thrift store and one of larger pieces of furniture going to Restore.  Hubby and I dragged home a trailer with assorted goodies as well.
Hubby's share of the picked over stash resulted in about 7 large Tupperware bins and a gun safe traveling home with us.  Currently the dining room looks like the start of a hoarding problem as we haven't had the motivation to tackle the stuff after all the constant schlepping the previous week.
After the sale we then started clean up over at FIL's house as hope to get it listed soon.  What a mess!  We hauled one trailer of mixed metal to the scrap yard and didn't even have them weigh it.  The next trailer of steel weighed in at 2,000 lbs, BIL's truck sported several chunks of random aluminum and a boat that the guys cut up into pieces.  The kids scrounged 22 large garbage sacks of aluminum cans out of an outbuilding.  I then started a burn pile and large amounts of scrap wood, pallets, yard debris, anything burnable really; and started feeding the flames while Hubby and BIL worked on getting a boat ready to sell.  In the process of readying the boat Hubby was using a power washer.  BIL went in the house for some reason came back out and calmly announced "We've got a problem"  In we go to find several inches of standing water through the first floor the house.  ( a pipe burst we think, didn't look too hard into it)  Thank goodness we had pulled everything out.  In the process of literally sloshing the water out the front door with a garage floor squeegee with no handle I had scrounged from the garbage pile, I got a good look at the house.  We have all agreed it's pretty much a scraper and we can't imagine anyone actually thinking they could live there.
By the end of the week we were all just punch drunk with exhaustion.  Simple mistakes and minor mishaps were rampant and so numerous I can't begin to remember them all.  Sly remarks were constant as it was either laugh or cry and we laughed at the situation as much as possible.  Some of the funnier remarks were " I'd love to have a time lapse of all the running around in random circles."  "It's a new crappy reality show name - The Inheritance"  " I could have been done a day ago if I would just quit losing my marking tape and sharpie" " I promise not to do this to my kids"  "Unless I drop dead unexpectedly, the only thing left will be my hospital gown and the bed I die in".  On and on the snarky remarks flew.
The kids frankly were left to their own devices.  Both my children and SIL's children were left to run wild for the most part and called in to eat and go to bed when we looked up and realized how late it was.  One particularly bad day, as I literally pulled a fighting Igor and Sonny Boy apart I was asking just where the hell my 14 year old nephew was because he was needed to wrangle the kids.  (he was golfing, smart kid, I should have gone and been his caddy)  Sonny Boy came down with a nasty cough which necessitated a trip to the doctor's office only to find out "It's probably viral, drink a lot of fluids"
All's well that ends well as they say.  In the end it went about as smooth as one could hope.  Every time I opened another box with a "What in hell was he doing with this?" in it, I had to remember FIL's quote to Hubby.  "When I die you're gonna find stuff and wonder, just know I had a plan for all of it."  I'd sure like to know what his plan was for that giant steel I beam in the back yard was.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Garden Tour

Mom went out of town this week.  I know (gasp) she never left when she lived with me.  Anyhow the previous tenants had dug out this little bed by a small retaining wall in front of the house and it was just bare dirt.  The house has a REALLY bad case of ugly so I thought I would use the opportunity to plant some hardy stuff over there because I'll be looking it for the next 20 years or so.  I split a couple of hostas and put a couple of nice chunks on each side of the walk and planted little yellow moss rose flowers in the bed.  I also sprung for a couple of el cheapo solar lights in hopes of keeping Mom from breaking her neck on the two steps that are there.  I had a little mulch left in a pile on my driveway from the 5 cubic yards I'd had delivered a few weeks ago so I put that down.  It's going to be up to Mom to keep it watered but I don't believe it will be too high maintenance.  I'd like to put some sort of low growing perennial there since who the heck knows who will live there next and it would be nice to have something there besides overgrown grass.  I'm not sure what to put since perennials have such a short bloom season and I don't really want to spend money.  Then again I'm the one who looks at it the most.

A year or so ago Sonny Boy built this little birdhouse for a scout project.  Last year we had a House Wren move and hatch a brood.  This year he came back and lured himself another baby momma.  Open the lid....

 and there are two tiny little eggs each about as big as the nail on my little finger.

It seems the first peony bloomed today.  Looks like I have a lot of old fashioned varieties as they don't have all those pretty ruffled petals.  It could be I just have some stunted plants.  I don't know.
This doesn't look like much (ignore the pile of tulip debris please) but someday I hope to have this bed filled with a large assortment of hostas and ferns.  It's a REALLY big bed so to plant it all at once would likely send Hubby into sticker shock.  In order to keep him from having a financial crisis I buy one or two hostas a year, divide some from my larger chunks around the yard and add to it.  This year a put some coleus in - honestly they are really there, just too little to see - to try and fill some space.  The bed starts looking better as all the tulip foliage goes away.
I found this cute little hummingbird feeder at the garden center.  I put it up and had birds already the next day.  I couldn't believe they found it so fast.   I'm sitting on the porch writing this and watching one at it right now!  I really have a crush on hummingbirds.
On each side of my front porch steps I have these big wall things.  I don't really like them overly much, but they beg for plants.  This is this year's trial.  I'm not sure how that sweet potato vine is going to do and the grass in this pot sure seems floppy, the other pot actually looks a little better.
The wooded area behind the house is in full bloom with this wild phlox.  It's pretty invasive and I usually let some it go in my big bed and pull it up once it's done.  Seems to be the only thing with big color this time of year.
...and then there is this.  Hubby dragged it home a couple of weeks ago.  Isn't it lovely with that blue steering console?  We will add to the red-neck-ification this weekend when we go get the camper out of storage and the following week bring down FIL's old truck.  I'm thinking at least one vehicle is going to get parked over at Mom's place just so we don't look so junky.
Well that's spring tour 2013.  Things will grow, things will die, and I'll mow, weed, and drag the hose around a lot in the meantime. 
Happy Growing

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

The Oregon Trail

Currently my obsession is planning our big trip to Oregon this summer.  Hubby and I haven't had more than a long weekend without kids since..... since going to Ukraine to get another child.  I'm excited for it and while Oregon wasn't my first choice I'm beginning to see why families packed up their covered wagons and feared the great unknown to get there.  Thankfully I only have get on an airplane.

This is "use up all your miles / points travel" at it's best.  I wiped my frequent flyer account that had been hoarding miles since going to Ukraine.  I don't fly that much, but much of the adoption expenses were paid for with a mileage credit card.  Honestly I'm surprised the miles were still there.  Alas with all the flying around Hubby does, he for some reason doesn't have frequent flyer miles and he flies somewhere at least once every two - three months.  I have a sneaking suspicion that he just hasn't signed up for all the frequent flyer things as he bounces around airlines a lot.

The other wipeout the rewards is with Hilton.  Hubby does tend to stay at Hilton properties when traveling for work and has earned enough to pay for a good chunk of our trip.  We will have to cough up one possibly two nights lodging as there are no Hilton properties within a reasonable drive of where we will be.  I'm eyeballing a couple of kitchey little motels that look like something from 1955.  I can't decide if I should do that or go with a chain that might have more quality control and bigger prices.  I guess I'll flip a coin.  It won't the first time I've stayed in divey joint so I'm kind of leaning toward the mom and pop place.  We will also stay at some relatives homes while there too.

The hardest part has been figuring the rental car conundrum.  If I get a car at the airport it's $55 a day.  If I get a car in downtown Portland it's $25 a day.  Sounds like an easy figure out, however cab fare from downtown to the airport runs about $40 and returning the car would be a major pain in the butt.  Last night I did figure out we can take the light rail system to downtown and walk only half a block that cost a whopping $5 for both of us.  The worst will be schlepping luggage onto public transportation.  We still have the car return problem though, but I'm hoping the relatives will help us out with that and we can return it a day early and bum a ride to the airport from them.  (Probably not a problem)  But I need to contact them and confirm before I book the rental car.

Activities planned while there is a trip to Crater Lake National Park, whitewater rafting the Umpqua River, a leisurely drive up the Oregon coast, visits to two cousins and an uncle (Hubby's), Multnomah Falls, Mt. Hood (from afar - not going to climb it of course) and general oohing and ahing over the scenery from a girl born in a place that is table top flat.

I wish it would hurry up and get here!

Friday, May 24, 2013

The Tornado and The Old Lady

Children born into their biological families of course have their own personalities.  Even twins often  vary personality wise to quite a degree.  Not being an experienced mom with a baseball team of my own, I often ponder the nature vs. nurture question when met with the polar opposites that are my children.  Mixing in those four capitalized letters of A-D-H-D plays with the chemistry of the beast as well.

The Tornado (Sonny Boy) hits the floor every morning leaving a wake of mess and destruction behind.  It's go, go, go, go, go until we chase him into bed, he's forced to be horizontal and still for 45 seconds and he passes out from exhaustion.  Like a  real tornado, my Tornado often moves through life without forethought or malice but often leaves hurts, and tears behind him.  A tornado is a complex weather pattern that is difficult to predict and hasn't really been figured out yet by scientist.  My Tornado is a complex kid, brilliantly smart and funny one minute and yet prone to take wild detour into crazyland at a moments notice.  It's difficult living with a Tornado in the house.  I am in awe of it's unbelievable power, it's unique beauty, and zest for life.  On the flip side I fear it's destructive power to tear my material possessions apart, and sometimes my sanity.  My biggest fear for the Tornado is that they often tear themselves apart with self destructive behavior.

The Old Lady (Igor) is just that. Really, it's such a good description in two words I have a hard time expanding the metaphor.  Igor worries and frets about things to come.  He MUST have a plan for the day and it is unwise to vary that plan or the Old Lady get's crotchety.  The Old Lady likes things neat and will often tidy things without being told to, though often has messes of his own about that don't bother him at all.  The Old Lady likes to be helpful and is often underfoot offering to help and voicing his opinion about the project at hand.  Like an old lady, Igor often forgets himself from time to time and acts like a kid (thank goodness).  Hubby and I often joke that if ever there was a personality perfect for military service it would be Igor, as he would thrive in a regimented environment - too bad his health issues will exclude him from taking that route.  My biggest worry for The Old Lady is that he will become such a stick in the mud he will forget to have fun in life and not sweat the small stuff.
Igor's first pack meeting as an official Cub Scout 
For all of the boy's differences they balance each other well.  Two Tornados or two Old Ladies would be way more than I could ever handle.  I guess it proves the fact that God never gives you more than you can handle - though certainly He makes your load difficult at times.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Mow, Mow, Mow, Go, Go, Go

Seems like all that we ever do lately is mow the lawn and run from one appointment / activity to another.  I have a sneaky suspicion that the summer is going to play out mostly like that.  We got the estimate back for cabinets for the kitchen remodel and after we picked ourselves up off of the floor, decided we needed to wait on FIL's estate to be settled out so we would have a better grasp on what our financial situation is.  Honestly this suits me fine, as I really wasn't gung ho to live in a construction zone for the summer after finally getting my house back to myself again.  We will still likely remodel the kitchen as the plans have turned up a very practical (maybe not magazine worthy) but attractive kitchen.

Mowing has become a full time sport.  The grass is growing so fast one can practically watch it from the windows.  Not only the amazing speed with which it grows but the entire corner of the block we are now mowing.  We have a relatively large lot, we have Mom's postage stamp of weeds (that I've sprayed with killer) and our neighbor's medium size lot.  Why the neighbors?   Neighbor had abdominal surgery 3 weeks or so ago and is unable to mow.  Neighbor's wife is working 12 hour shifts, 7 days a week and his adult children aren't worth spit.  Neighbor has helped us out of a pinch so many times that it's really not a problem, just the fact of keeping so many yards presentable at once has meant a lot of time pushing the mower around.

We are in the final countdown before school lets out and summer begins.  Currently I've been trying to either do everything appointment and task before school ends or pushing everything into August.  FIL clean-up, camping, camps, vacations and the like are filling the calendar quicker than I could imagine.  I still need to squeeze swim lessons for Igor in as well.  Thank goodness Sonny Boy has opted out of baseball, I don't think I could contend with that as well.

Well I must run - as usual.  The boys are putting on a Memorial Day concert at school and since I missed Sonny Boy's spring concert and a little show put on by Igor (because I plain forgot) Mom and I are planning to go. 

Enjoy your Memorial Day and remember our fallen soldiers.

Hubby's Grandfather U.S. Navy WWII - South Pacific
FIL, U.S. Army 1st Cavalry, Vietnam
Hubby U.S. Air Force (thank God no war service)
Don't you think Hubby looks a lot like his Grandpa?  He doesn't favor his dad as much at least in these pictures but there is an occasional picture of his dad where the same genes are very evident.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Ohh, the Horror

A couple of weeks or so ago Sonny Boy started reporting that all the girls at school hated him.  We probed a little deeper, and according to him every time we walked by all the girls (with exclusion of three) they would jump back, scream, tell him he was weird, gross and just be generally overdramatic little witches.  We gave him the general advice of ignore it, because they probably like you and are trying to get your attention.  Sonny Boy gave it some time, and I'm sure he did his best to ignore the crazy behavior, but it wasn't improving. 

Hubby decided to be proactive (I had promised not to call the school since the "gay" incident) and called the counselor without Sonny Boy's knowledge.  The school counselor in her conversation with Hubby remarked "those third grade girls are something else this year."  Ms. Counselor had lunch with Sonny Boy that day to get the scoop straight from the horse's mouth.  Sonny Boy told her that it was really mostly two girls - a far cry from ALL the girls - and named the ring leaders.  Ms. Counselor called the ring leaders in and talked to them and the only reason they could come up with that Sonny Boy was weird or gross is that at their spring concert - where all the girls were dressed up - he told several that they "looked pretty".  Oh how horrible!  My son handing out compliments makes him "gross"!  The counselor talked to the girls and it seems the shrieking behavior has stopped.

In the middle of all this drama, the local high school was putting on a performance of Les Miserable.  I'd been to several of the performances of other plays;  the kids do a really impressive job and figured it was a cheap night out for Mom and the kids.  When I told Sonny Boy that we were going the night before he was excited, as it seemed one of his classmates (one of three non-shrieking girls) was also in the play. I asked Sonny Boy as I picked him up at school if he wanted to take flowers to the girl at the end of the show, as I was hoping to foster some positive interaction with one of the nice girls.   Sonny Boy was all for that so we picked up some carnations on the way to the play.  After the play Sonny Boy darted out of the auditorium and found the little girl from his class and gave her the flowers.  Little Girl was thrilled he was there and reportedly hugged him like five times.  I was later told those were the "best hugs ever". 

Sonny Boy now reports that he LIKES Little Girl, and he's pretty sure Little Girl LIKES him but she won't admit it.  Ahh, young love.  Thank God school is over in couple more weeks.

All the boy / girl drama is worrisome for third grade though.  My scout mom friend and I had lunch the other day, and she reported some of the same antics from the girls towards her sons (twins in the same class as Sonny Boy.)   Boyfriend/Girlfriend relationships are so pushed on kids so young.  Watch any of those silly shows on Disney that draw in the pre-teens and you'll see crazy antics designed to get the opposite sex's attention.  I don't blame it all on TV of course, but I'd bet a good chunk of it comes from there.  I'm pretty sure I was still pretty interested in Barbies in third grade.

With all this drama before puberty is even really close I don't even want to imagine the middle school years.  All I can say is that I hope science comes up with some sort of implantable birth control for men by the time high school hits or I'm afraid I might become a very young grandma.

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Yes! I'm still alive (somehow)

To do a quick list of all the busy we've had going on here:

Flew down to Arkansas with Mom, rented U-Haul, loaded it, and drove it back in a three day span.

Unloaded U-Haul into Mom's rental (right next door) and moved the heavy stuff around for her and have left her to do the rest.  Mom is adjusting well I guess, I know my stress level went dramatically down.  I still go over and drag her out to walk around the block and she comes over and eats 2-3 times a week.  The best part is her craziness and nosiness are not right in my face all day.  Grant it she's still nosey, calling me the other day when I'd gone to a appointment and running errands " I see you've been out today" but at least she's not rummaging through my grocery sacks and mail before I get to it.

Sonny Boy had a spell of nastiness.  I requested his pediatrician up his ADHD medicine and he wouldn't since his grades were still good, a few days later shit hit the fan with him and after another trip to the pediatrician, a psychologist, a psychiatrist and now ongoing therapy with the psychologist and an increased dose of meds (that I said we needed in the first place) he's getting back to his normal self.  The psychologist tested him both on and off meds and seems to think he needs an even bigger dose.  I may hold off on the bigger dose until school starts back in the fall as long as we can keep things calmer around here, we'll see.

Spring has finally sprung and trying to get things done in the house is very hard when gorgeous weather and sunshine beckon me.  Therefore the yard looks very good - the interior of the house is embarrassing.

We are debating the merits of me flying up to MN and working a week and then Hubby bringing the kids up for another week and we will have a giant yard sale and try to clean up FIL's property.  Really it's such a mess that a month's worth of work probably wouldn't be enough.  The overwhelming bit of that mess sends Hubby, SIL, BIL, and I into stress overload.  Frankly I think we just need to dive in and get it done so it's not constantly hanging over our heads.

I've kept myself really busy and I'm loving having the house to myself during the day, I wish school would last another month as honestly I get so much accomplished when I don't have to stop and referee kids, feed kids and clean up their messes faster than I can get anything done.  Honestly I'd love to be able to get a good spring cleaning done before school is out but in reality it ain't gonna happen.  I'm going to settle for somewhat organized, not disgusting, and presentable.

My summer calendar is filling up so fast it makes me ill.  Vacations, camps, camping trips, etc etc are all on the books and I still don't have one good camping trip planned for the boys and I which I really hope to squeeze that in sometime too.

So yes, I'm still alive and so busy, but it's good.  (I'm not saying that too loud because you know how it goes)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

I'm a Travelin' (wo)Man....

I suppose I'll be pulling out the suitcases again soon.  It's good news though.  I hereby formally announce...

TA TA Ta DA (a trumpet fanfare)


I may have made mention in the last post the rent house behind ours was becoming available again.  Mom, as sick of us as we are of her, trotted over and talked to the landlord and decided to rent it.  Hubby and I guided her that she should ask for just a six month lease in case the disability drags out to forever or some other malady strikes.  The last week or so has been a brainstorm session of what is the most feasible and economical way to get down to Arkansas and back with her stuff.  After much internet searching and the like Mom and I will fly down, rent a U-Haul, load it with some help from Uncle's farm labor and drive it back to Wisconsin.  Hubby will stay here and either leave work early or work from home the three days or so it will take us to make the trip.

I think the landlady cut Mom a deal on the rent because last year when we inquired about it the rent seemed about $100 higher.  Mom told her there was no need to re-paint as there was just some minor dents in the paint.  So with that cost removed and knowing the yard work would fall upon our shoulders (and likely any minor repairs) and not having to look for a tenant etc. might have worked in Mom's favor.  Luckily the yard is TINY, like honestly it will take a whole extra 10 minutes to mow in the summer. 

I'm so excited, would it be wrong to start dragging her clothes over there and blow up and air mattress for her?  he he

The good part of her being close is she'll still be handy to keep an eye on the kids now and then and we can keep an eye on her as well.  I can call her over for supper a couple of times a week to make sure she's not living completely off of ham sandwiches and Lean Cuisines but if I feed the kids chicken nuggets and canned corn for supper I won't hear any complaints.  Mom is also excited she won't have to pay for internet and will be able just to hack into our Wi-Fi.  Hopefully it will work out well.  Funny when I think about it this is the third generation of our family to live next door to grandparents.  Mom lived next door to grandmother when she was a child, I lived next door to my grandmother from third grade on, and now my kids will live next door to their grandmother at least for a time.

At least three more trips are on the books for me as well, two to go up north and deal with FIL's household.  SIL asked that we come up in the next few weeks and work at trying to clean up FIL's house so we could try to market it somehow. I also promised SIL I would come up for a week or so after school is out, and we could start sorting through all of FIL's stuff and have a giant yard sale.

Hubby also got the green light and the kids are going to stay with MIL and SIL for a week while we fly out to Oregon to visit some with an uncle of his and just mill around the Pacific North West.  I've never been to that part of the country and Hubby hasn't been since he was a young child.  Definitely on our to do list is see giant redwoods in northern CA but other than that we don't know.  I have already requested if it's not entirely too much extra money that we rent a convertible or a jeep for driving around in but we'll have to see.  I hope we can swing reasonable airfare as that will be the biggest bill of the trip.  We haven't made reservations yet, but it's in the near future.

Over all things are looking up and after Mom gets moved we will hopefully fall into a more normal rhythm of middle class, middle American life.  I'm almost scared to type that because you know that just has something sneaky hiding behind it waiting to throw a wrench into the inner workings.

So keep your fingers crossed and don't swear too much at the Uhaul with two women in the cab if you happen to be somewhere between Arkansas and Wisconsin!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

I'm from a Third World Country (sort of)

Yesterday on Facebook an acquaintance from high school posted a link to a music video excited that several people were in it including her.  I watched the video out of curiosity of course.  It seems that the video was a very nicely (an probably expensively) produced music video promoting Heifer Project International.  I'm out of the loop, so it's really possible the guy singing it is some giant pop star, but I doubt it.

The video flips between images that are very distinctly South American and scenes from the town I grew up in, with some shots in front of Heifer Project's headquarters.  The scenes from my Arkansas Delta hometown were frankly more depressing than the mountain landscapes with rural people in the south American mountains.

A quick gander at Heifer Project's website shows that they only have two programs running in the U.S.  One in Oregon, and one in the Delta.  The rest of their projects are in either 3rd world countries or "second" world countries such as Ukraine. 

I'm torn though.  I'm glad that some well organized group is getting in there and trying to get people to help themselves; on the flip side I feel it destined to failure.  There is so little employment there, the school district has collapsed in mess of lawsuits and apathy, and the area is riddled with gangs and drug dealing and abuse.   People in general there have so little pride in their surroundings that when a building falls into disrepair it simply falls down and the pile stays there.  If there is a fire the burned shell of the building stays.  There are no public playgrounds or parks nor is there a tax base or a willing group of volunteers to work at things like this.  When the city does manage to scrape together a little money such as putting out concrete picnic tables the thugs come along break the tables apart.  Metal is stolen at an amazing clip - my uncle who farms there replaces culverts and parts on his irrigation systems frequently.  Depressing.

So to say that I'm from a third world "county" is not too far fetched, even major international charities think so.

This in no way colors my opinion of Heifer Project.  Honestly I feel it one of the better aid programs out there and urge you to donate money to the charity.  If you are not familiar with the philosophy of Heifer Project please read up on it as it was based on "pay forward" long before the term became popular.

In a weird footnote to the whole thing I might have been the one to put Hometown on Heifer Project's radar.  I don't know this for sure of course. A few years ago when the mayor that hired Mom was soon to be up for re-election and we knew he would likely be booted out, I spent hours on the computer trying to get agencies into the town and looking for grants.  I distinctly remember writing an e-mail to Heifer Project as they were starting new programs in the U.S. at that time.  Do I KNOW that I sent Heifer to Hometown, nope I don't, but I can't help but wonder.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Where O Where?

Where O Where is the Springtime?
Why isn't it coming to Wisconsin my home?
I searched the web over, and thought I'd found springtime,
but I checked my bankbook,
and Pftttt that idea was gone.
I you happen to be a youngster and don't remember Hee Haw the above should be sung to the following:


Besides the fact we've had more snow in March than we had in December and January combined I am still hopeful that spring is around the corner.  I can see bare ground in my yard which has a few hazards, one is the inevitable mud that happens in the less grassy areas of the yard - which a good chunk of the side yard.  The other is land mines laid by Callie.  Snow covers a lot of ills.  Today Sonny Boy was given a handful of plastic bags and told to go pick up poo.  Igor in an effort of never being left out of anything, insisted he be given a bag so he could participate as well.  Whatever floats your boat kid.  I didn't watch, but I imagine that most of the poop that was cleaned up was done by Igor just cause that's the kind of kid he is.  Good news for the kids is that I have a bid in on fancy pooper scooper on Ebay, bad news is I didn't realize that the auction didn't run out for 6 days yet, so unless I'm out bid it will be a little while before the super dooper scooper gets here.

Like we don't have enough stress going Hubby has gotten a wild hair that we must remodel the kitchen.  Now I'm not against remodeling the kitchen, all the kitchen gods agree that the kitchen is far from being functional, and only a couple of upgrades ahead of where it was when the house was built in 1893.  I'm just not sure right now is the best time to tackle such a stressful project.  However we have been planning on remodeling the kitchen since the day we bought the house 8 1/2 years ago so it's probably time.  Since the kitchen has such a poor design layout and we hope to remove a couple of walls, and somehow squeeze a mudroom/laundry out of the deal, we have hired an architect to design and tell us how to deal with the structural elements.  Today the architect came and measured all over the house from the attic to the basement.  If this proves feasible both structurally and financially I'll likely be cooking meals in the camper all summer.  Yay.

The little rent house behind us is emptying out again.  The young family that moved in last spring is in the process of moving out.  Kind of a shame as they have been our best neighbors there yet, actually keeping the lawn mown and doing a couple of little outdoor projects that looked very nice.  Mom is eyeballing it and threatening to rent it and live off of her savings.  I don't think I'm going to talk her out of it if she does.  I have no idea how much longer it will be before her disability is approved, but honestly I've had about all of it I can stand and frankly she's sick of us as well.  I'm hoping she goes for it.  Hubby says that maybe she can get a six month lease so if the disability isn't approved she would have a way out and at least we would get a break.  I'm going to keep my eyes open for the landlords and send her over to speak with them as they always come in and clean up after each tenant.

Mom has been good about going up to the library for her coupon job.   Mostly she's been stuck filing coupons which I'm sure sucks.  The upside is she LEAVES THE HOUSE for a couple of hours a week which has been really good for her.  She is still not good about getting dressed, she stayed in PJ's all day both Saturday and Sunday and most of the day on Monday.  I was flipping through the calendar today and saw that she has a shrink appointment in a couple of weeks.  I'm going to go with her and tattle.  I don't need to go and listen to her deepest darkest secrets, but I know her and she won't report she only dresses 3-4 days a week, and makes no big effort to make friends here in town.

Today I was telling Mom about a dream job opportunity (same company) that we hope comes Hubby's way.  Right now it's a very long shot, but he has definitely thrown his name in the hat.  If the dream job comes to fruition it would mean moving temporarily.  Mom's first concern was what about me?  My response was "you live here rent free!"  "But I don't know anybody!" and I told her she better get out and start making some friends.  Of course this is all just talk at this point and very well may never happen

Sonny Boy is being a handful lately.  His daily reports from his teacher are rather hit and miss.  Homework and behavior have become regular issues despite being warned, grounded and the like.  I'm beginning to think it's time to up his ADHD med dosage as he must be in a growth spurt because it's totally impossible to keep groceries around.  I honestly think I haven't seen the kid eating something in the last two weeks.  I also discovered that he was eating breakfast at home and then going and eating it at school as well!  I called the cafeteria and put a stop to that as he can eat his fill at home.

Igor had an open house this last week that Hubby and I attended.  He had glowing reports from his teacher and was proud to show off stuff.  It was the first time Hubby had been in Igor's classroom so everything was new to him.  Igor's teacher reports that his reading has really "blossomed" in the last month.  Igor really wants to be a reader but he has to work at it, however he's right on grade level so we don't have any worries.

Good News!  FIL's crazy live-in moved out of his house without us having to pay a lawyer.  Thank God for small miracles.  Maybe the plea I posted on FIL's facebook page to haunt her worked.

Well it's late, and the is quickly descending into drivel.  I always come up with great blog topics as I lie down to sleep, but like magic they are gone by the time I get to a keyboard so I write about my real life dramas.