Thursday, April 21, 2011

Pre- Vacation

I was having guilt about not blogging. I tend to carry guilt like a piece of luggage. Speaking of luggage, I am packing for four (the hubby thankfully packs himself) in our lovely redneck luggage – Laundry Baskets. We have one real suitcase. That one holds my stuff.

I have been working over-time because I feel guilty going on vacation and we have been really busy at work, plus the amount of things you have to do before vacation makes you wonder why you bother. BUT, I’m OK with being bothered – it’s my fault that I am one of THOSE people who has to leave the house immaculate. Just in case.

I have managed to tan, get my toes and nails done and get the kid’s hair cut as well as eat nothing but oatmeal for lunch so I feel decent in my bathing suit.

By this time tomorrow, we will be on our way. I have a mix of anxiety, guilt of course, and excitement. The hubby and I are avoiding each other and the kind of arguments that always pop up before a big event. (We will be celebrating our 15th anniversary while away, so we have learned when to ignore each other)

I am on my way to visit two of my very best friends as well as parents all rolled into one. It’s going to take riding in a car for 24hours with four other people, but we will get there. It hasn’t been without hurdles. The cracked windshield, a new tire and battery trouble should take care of the bad things happen in three’s scenario though.

I will have stories to tell, I am sure, and no worries you WILL hear them.

PS – I’ll be commenting on your blogs from the depths of my temporary bedroom in the middle of the night when I can’t sleep. See you then!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Spring Break!! Ain't what it used to be.......

Then vs. NOW

Then: Destination: Daytona & Panama Beach or bust.

NOW: Still going to Florida........ To my parents.  In a small town you may not have ever heard of.

Then: Bus trip. Talked Bus driver into playing Journey non-stop. Bus driver picked up lady right inside of  Daytona,  who rode the rest of the way on his lap.

Now: Honda Odyssey. Will have to put up with non stop Fox News radio since the driver is the hubby, who won’t have anyone on his lap at anytime. Guaranteed. (there will be three kids in the car- I’m adventurous, but not in front of the kids)

Then: Drinking. Throwing Up. Hangovers.

Now: I have a child who gets car sick. By the time we get to my parents I will need a drink. Maybe enough for a hangover. Recovery time might take longer.
Then: Bikinis.

Now: Not a Bikini.

Yep. Things change.

I am looking forward to my vacation. My parents are more fun than anyone I ever went on Spring Break with and I won't have to hold their hair back, or carry them to bed. (I HOPE!)

I am cautiously, apprehensively, nervously looking forward to 24hrs in the car with three kids and a hubby. I have already bribed everyone into being good. I told them when we leave, I will give everyone 25 single dollar bills. If you whine, annoy, ask are we there yet in the first 12 hours, cry, fart, spill, tease, aggravate, or wiggle, you lose a dollar. Whoever has the most dollars when we arrive to our destination, wins the dollars I took.

All three kids have developed ways in which they will win this game.

I’m kind of scared.

It’s bound to beat the time we drove home from Spring Break and stopped in every single state to do something fun and still made it home in 15 hours. (This included bowling in Georgia,  and seeing a movie in South Carolina)
Is it Spring Break or Bust for you?

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

From the Treadmill

The treadmill. Calling me as I type. It’s annoying. I hate it. But I have to use it rather than the nice outdoor walking trail, because if I am on the treadmill I can multi task. Here is a list of things I can do from my treadmill:

Go over spelling words with the youngest. I tend to go faster as she spells the words wrong.

Watch all my recorded TV shows. The problem being that the TV by the treadmill is not controllable by the remote. So at every commercial, I jump off the treadmill, run into the other room jog in place while fast forwarding, then run back to the treadmill and hop on while it is still at the speed I left it on. It actually gives me more exercise and it’s a challenge not to fall from rubber legs or hitting speed from a dead stop.

Iron. If you place the board over the treadmill, you can iron while walking. It does get a little confusing when using your arm from left to right while your legs are moving forward though, but with practice, it can be done. This is a good time to do steep incline mode so you can go slower while ironing. However, it makes you hate ironing more than you already did.

SHE can ride a bike and iron- THAT's talent

Monitor everyone’s movements in the house. With the treadmill in the basement, you are able to hear every single step of the people above you. You know when someone is in the bathroom, for how long and how many flushes it took. You know when someone is mad (little particles of dust falling is another sign to this one) You know when the cat has jumped down from somewhere he wasn’t supposed to be on top of. You know when the washer is un-balanced (falling ceiling tiles is another sign of that). It’s like being upstairs with your people even though you are in the dungeon of the basement, using the dreaded treadmill.

Folding Laundry. Since there is a never ending supply of laundry to be folded, there is always a reason to go walk on the treadmill. The problem here is folding the fitted sheets. Easy to get caught up into one and it’s a real pain getting the sheet out of the rollers under the treadmill.

Eating anything chocolate or something you have been hiding from everyone else. No one will suspect you are eating chocolate or their stash of cheetos from the treadmill. Nor will they come look for you in the basement.  Sometimes the whole house leaves while you are walking away and you never know, except the ceiling does get quiet.....

Playing a Board Game with one of the kids. They like to move all the pieces anyway, so really you are just there for moral support. This way they don’t feel like they are actually playing the game alone. All you have to do is read a card or toss the dice their way.

Check yourself out. There are mirrors in front of my treadmill. I have now perfected my treadmill strut. You know, just in case someone ever comes to visit me while I am in the dungeon. I will look very sexy with my treadmill perfected walk. I also can tell when my shorts are starting to ride up and retrieve them before they get too far…

Unfortunately, the movement messes with my eyes, and prevents me from reading, blogging, or writing. But I’m working on that.......

Come on, make me look bad - What can YOU do from the treadmill?

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Gold Linings

A little digging in the jewelry box and guess what happens? $600 is what happens! That chunk of change pays for clothes for our Spring Break trip and covers some bills. (Unfortunately, I have one child who is exactly in-between sizes, so I am currently trying to shrink the three pairs of shorts I just bought her)

A funny irony is that while clothes shopping, the hubby was accosted in the restroom by someone asking him to buy some gold necklaces which were wrapped in newspaper. Of course he declined despite our recent success. However, I just might go back to the jewelry box to dig a little deeper…. (Seriously, some of the stuff we exchanged were necklaces from high school!)

PS – Check out my new pic on the right – My amazing nephew made this new graphic. I absolutely cannot stand any picture ever taken of me; however, I think he did a pretty good job and coming from me, my toughest critic, that’s saying something! Thanks Chase! (I see yet another title among many in your future!)

Today was the first warm day our part of the world has seen since October. Normally we will have a fluke warm day in January or February, but that didn’t happen this year. It went from 50’s yesterday to very close to 80 today. Better than ANY reality TV shows you can watch, is driving around in mid east America on the first warm day in many, many months.

Break out the wife beaters! Get some air in your lungs and starting blowing up the baby pool! Send the kids outside in whatever might fit –even if it is snow pants and no shirt. (I’m only exaggerating a teeny tiny bit here) But it was fun to see every single person come out of their “dens” and feel the instant summer breeze. Windows were open even if the screens weren’t in place yet. Impromptu baseball games were formed, yard work was commencing. Not a single car window was up, and outside eating sections were full even if they hadn’t yet had their spring cleaning.

Unfortunately for our part of the world, this kind of weather will not be long lived. It’s going to be up and down for another month, but it was a nice sneak peek and on a Sunday too! (I did see one lone wooden snowman hanging on for dear life)

 Personally, I would prefer a steady 65 degrees all spring long, because I’m not quite ready to be hot. Believe it or not, it was actually hot at some point today. I might have broken a sweat- and I really dislike sweating…..

Saturday, April 9, 2011

A day in the Life of a REAL Housewife of (Insert small town here)

6am: Hubby is sneaking out of the house with all of his gun gear to go shooting. He thinks he is being quiet but I am up now wondering why he is leaving at 6am for a 9am start time. (He tells me later he thought it started at 8am- I think he was just excited to get out of the house, his penance: helping set up the whole shoot.) When I didn’t hear him start the coffee I stayed in bed and tried to fall back to sleep.

7am: Trying very hard to fall back to sleep with no success. I am designing my dream house in my head which usually does the trick)

8:10am: Just as I am beginning a good dream about soapstone counter tops, the phone rings. Because I think it might be my Mom, I jump eagerly out of bed not bothered at all. When I finally find the phone, 10 rings later, I see that it is a collection call. I am now very bothered. There goes sleeping.

10am: I have managed to watch every single show that was recorded over the week in fast forward. Drank a cup of coffee and had a bowl of cereal. No more putting it off – time to clean the house.

11am: I have managed to bribe one child into helping me by promising her new boots (that I know are on clearance and only $9) I am cursing the two other kids who are still peacefully sleeping, and the hubby who is still out having a good time. Jealousy is such an ugly look on me.

12pm: I am shaking from caffeine overload and aggravation at the stuff I have to clean on my day off of work while the people who I live with are wondering why I fly off the handle so easily. My blood boiling, I have now opened all the windows, forcing the little people running for hats and gloves. I am also immersed in switching the winter clothes with the summer clothes, leaving them defenseless against my hot flashes. Determined to find things that fit for our Spring Break trip, knowing we can’t afford a shopping spree, my daughters and I fall on the floor laughing when the 15th pair of pants come up way too short and way too tight. (This is called the hormonal stage of cleaning- lots of downs and a few ups)

1pm: I am begging everyone not to drop one single crumb of lunch on the clean floor. Asking if they really need to use the sink and wishing it was warm enough to send them all outside to eat. I want my house to be clean for at least an hour. It’s all I ask in life!

3pm: The hubby is coloring my hair. I have been a raging lunatic so now he is in angry hairdresser mode and I am threatening to go to a hair salon like normal people which would cost us at least $125.00. Does he think I enjoy having him see up close and personal every gray hair on my head?

4pm: Showered and feeling like a normal person again, excited to find pants to fit, and looking forward to picking out summer-wear. We are about to head out for a little shopping at the luxurious Target. I decide to check the bank account and then promptly put my pajama pants back on.

6pm: I have a hand-full of gold jewelry that is either broken or hasn’t been worn in years. I am certain there is enough to pay for groceries and gas for the week, plus pay the bills that are due. Taking a page from the hubby’s generosity book a week ago when he took the necklace from his neck and turned it in for $200, which paid for new shirts and spending money for our son’s school trip to D.C.

7pm: Breakfast for Dinner instead of restaurant food. A much better idea.

8pm: Playing Dominoes with the kids. Better than walking around some dumb mall carrying everyone’s bags and coats and sweating because they forgot to turn off the heat in the stores.

11pm: Thinking that no matter what the Real Housewife of a small town near you experiences life in ways the fancy housewives never could. Good, Bad or otherwise.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Does Shaking your Fist even Work?

Don’t you just hate it when you are doing something nice and something crappy is the outcome?

For example: the hubby was changing the windshield wiper blades on my car. We were on our way out to the store so I was sitting patiently in the passenger seat (like that image?? – that is a slight exaggeration), Restart.  I was angrily changing the radio channel from talk news, BACK to my music station and the kids were in the back already complaining about where we were going which was annoying me.

On the other side of the glas, the hubby was patiently putting the final touch on the passenger side blade, he smiled at me through the windshield, I imitated a smile at him. Life was good. (Getting better)

Until the blade escaped his hand and smacked into the windshield. HARD. Two tiny lines appeared before my eyes.

You know that moment of horror when you feel a strong need to smile? WHAT IS THAT?? Why do you have the urge to smile when something horrible happens and you are seemingly the only one wanting to do that too??

I kind of half smiled/cringed at him and he just gaped at me.
It did ruin the evening. Kind of hard getting over a $300 mistake when you were trying to be nice.

Makes you want to shake your fist at the sky, doesn’t it?

It Could have been Worse

Those two little cracks are making a slow trek up the windshield each day- competing with each other for length.
The real irony here: Bonus = $300. Cracked Windshield = $300. Savings for vacation = $0


Monday, April 4, 2011

If I said Lynyrd Skynyrd liked Spaghetti, they would Care More

I now understand exactly why I write.

I’ve realized that when I talk, the person who is supposedly listening is always doing something else and by the time the story is getting really good that person has moved on from listening to me, to now operating on their own agenda. They are forming the question seconds before they ask it, so I have not only lost them when they speak, but well before that moment.

Who am I kidding? I thought I was writing to be recognized for my wit, my ability to tell a story, to entertain.  Instead, I am just writing so I can complete a sentence without being interrupted. Sometimes that doesn’t even go well for me. I am always reading back what I wrote realizing my errors were the result of constant interruptions.

Tonight I was relaying why I had a bad moment at work. It was a great story. A story of – “holy c$#@, I can’t believe I did that”, to sheer panic, to worry and then immense relief. There was even a math lesson in my story. But even with that, it was a GOOD story.

There I am, telling it, feeling like I have avid listeners, they were making eye contact (well, I got a glance anyway) when the hubby begins to ask who wants ricotta cheese on their spaghetti, and all of a sudden my avid audience is now focusing on their food and asking each other questions about school.

How I Felt

I was just at the good part! No one even wanted to know what the outcome was! They all had moved on. I hadn’t even closed my mouth yet from the last sentence and they had moved on.

They didn’t even realize I was upset, let alone the story was hanging in mid-air, slowly evaporating into the steam from their food.

Even as I write this, someone has just asked me if I know why Lynyrd Skynyrd is called Lynyrd Skynyrd.

WHO THE HELL CARES! I have a story to tell over here.

(it was their gym teacher Leonard Skinner –who had a strict rule against long hair) I figured you would want to know and wouldn’t be able to pay attention to my writing until I told you…..

Leonard with Lynyrd

To make matters worse, the story, now in its incomplete, untold stage, kind of sucks. There is no point in starting it over; no one will quite understand it now.

That my friends, is why I write.

(and have small internal baby temper tantrums)

Sunday, April 3, 2011

A Shoe Story

While in college I went to the closest mall and got the first job I could find, because as you may have read in a past post, I was taught to get a job right away and take the first one that calls.

As my “luck” would go, rather than a trendy clothing store I found myself working at Thom McAn Shoes. If you are not familiar with this name, it was a shoe store that specialized in Men’s Dress shoes. (Try climbing a ladder in a skirt in the back room reaching for size 14’s on the very top shelf. Not only is the men's dress shoe box unwieldy, it weighs at least 5lbs.) They also sold Keds in every color and pattern, women’s high heels that could be dyed any color you desired for weddings and proms and little kid shoes. Needless to say, we saw all walks of life and feet and I spent the majority of my time on my knees.

While working there I learned how to lace shoes,(not a fun time for a lefty – if you are not left handed you will never understand- makes NO sense but it’s true) and measure all types of feet, (we were required to measure every single person’s foot before they tried on their shoes – YOU try telling a women she measures a size 10 who insists she wears an 8.)

I learned how to convince people their boats looked amazing, that the color puce was no problem to match, and learned patience – which meant bringing out every size 12 in a certain style on the shelf and jamming a size 13 into it, until it fit.

Thom McAn was not high-end. It wasn’t glamorous working there, my managers were not college students, but it was a job, and I liked it, up until the day I walked out and swore I would never sell another pair of shoes as long as I lived.

One thing I do not remember ever really stressing about was commissions. I did earn commission, but I don’t remember competing with the other sales people. We all got along well and had fun with it. However, this was a long time ago, times weren’t as tough, and I didn’t have to feed anyone but myself.

So on Friday night I found myself at a department store shoe section, intent on buying my sister in law some fabulous shoes for her birthday present. As soon as I picked up the first pair of shoes a sales woman approached and asked if she could help me. I told her that I was waiting for my husband before I chose, so I was OK for the moment. She gave me the look that meant – “Don’t try to blow me off girl, I’m selling you some shoes tonight.”

I really WAS waiting for the hubby. Believe it or not, he has amazing taste in shoes. All of my best shoes are ones he picked out without me present.

When he finally arrived, he of course said the pair I selected were ugly and steered me in another direction. The same sales lady approached and we were still semi-arguing, so I told her to try back in a bit. She then turned around and told every single other person looking at shoes that she would be back in a minute to help them, then continued to bring boxes of shoes out to the people she was already helping.

Once we had made our minds up, we politely waited for our sales lady. And waited. And waited.

Another very nice sales lady approached and this is when my old shoes sales memory kicked in. I asked if they worked on commission, and she then knew what the deal was. I told her I was so sorry but we were being helped by the lady over there, who was now lassoing several more shoppers in her growing circle. This nicer sales lady stepped back and said she understood but gave a glare to the customer hog and slowly backed away.

Of course the hubby caught on fast and started to joke with her about losing her commission to the sales lady who circled customers like a shark and made them afraid to say no. This nice sales lady told us she was sick of customer hog lady and she had just gotten done telling her so in the back room.

“Why make people wait, when other sales people are available,” she said with passion. Both the hubby and I were on the same page, and said we didn’t mind, and could wait a bit. (I mean we had the kids with us and weren’t really into introducing them to them true meaning of cat fights just yet)

You see customer hog, sales lady looked like she could beat all three of us up and sell 10 pairs of shoes while doing so.

We waited. We argued about me wanting to buy two pairs of shoes and he thinking that one pair was plenty. Finally we were able to toss the size and color out to customer hog sales lady while she passed with a mountain of boxes.

Nice sales lady came back and said a few more words about customer hog and we knew a storm was brewing.

Now hubby gets the brilliant idea that why not get two pairs of shoes. I mean yes, let’s please create more drama (But I’m not arguing = yeah for birthday girl!) We would buy one from customer hog and one from nice sales lady.

Sure enough customer hog came out with every pair of shoes in the size we needed, leaving nice sales lady in the back room searching.

I slowly backed away from the approaching storm. Grabbed my girls by the hands and intently looked at perfume across the aisle, while hubby was wrangled into buying two pairs of shoes from customer hog before nice sales lady even made it out of the back room.

As we left the department with our bag of shoes, nice sales lady approached. “See how she done me?” “See what I’m talking about?” We sympathized, and felt ashamed. She said, “Now I would have shown you those shoes over there, which are cheaper. Instead you have two pairs of the same shoes in different colors.”

We followed her to the shoes she mentioned and discovered that they were shoes right up my birthday girl’s alley. So we made a secret transaction all the way in the far corner cash register. Returned one pair of shoes and bought another pair from nice sales lady.

I don’t think I am going to buy shoes in a department store for a very long time.

I used my little girls like bullet proof vests and slunk out of there as fast as my shoes could carry me.

But the good news is that the birthday girl got two pairs of shoes. Both sales “ladies” will make some money.

The bad news – we somehow ended up with the wrong size of one pair and poor Birthday girl is on her own to return them. Whoops!