Sunday, August 28, 2011


Do you ever wonder what you would do if you were just you alone in the world? No hubby, no kids. I do not mean this is what I WANT. I love my life and wouldn’t change it.

Sometimes I just think about what I would do to remind myself that I am an individual as WELL as a Mom, Wife and Co-worker. It’s good to think what I would do without those responsibilities and then maybe I could fit some of that in my life now.

I know people who do exactly that. They train and run in marathons, work and are Moms. They cook, they travel, they adopt abused animals, write books, Climb Mountains, and paint.

I write a blog – whoop-de-doo. The people above do this too, that’s how I know they do all the other stuff. I work full time, I am a Mom and a wife but maybe I should take the individual me out, shake off the dust and start something.

When I drive by any small cottag-y house with a postage stamp yard or even a field of grass, I picture my individual self (from here on out otherwise known as my IS) there. I do not need a lot of space. I need the smallest kitchen ever – I would never cook if it were just me. In this scenario, I run some kind of small home town shop/store/restaurant. Everyone in town knows me. I do all my own repairs, drive an old vintage pick-up truck. I take vacations alone to places like Montana, Maine, Northern California. I have a large dog. I write. I take amazing photographs and I speak French. I wear jeans and t-shirts and vintage dresses. I am tan from riding my vintage bike everywhere I go. I know a thing or two about engines, plumbing, carpentry and even roofing. I am not afraid to get dirty. I have tons of friends and am rarely alone.

When I visit the city, I look at the tall buildings and I see a window into my IS life. I picture myself always in a sharp skirt and heels. I carry a briefcase, the latest in electronics and I have mastered looking cool, calm and collected 24/7. I work non-stop, and am always on the move. My work takes me to Italy, Ireland, New York, and Chicago. My apartment is a walk-up, with a doorman. I do not own a car. I know how to play blackjack, poker, order a drink, hail a cab, and negotiate the lowest pricing on just about anything. I never cry and I never get attached.

Both of my IS appeal to me.

Both are nothing like me right now.

When you drive by a white house in a small town, you might see a girl in capri’s and a hoodie. She drives a Honda Odyssey, works 8 -5 and keeps her house immaculate. She has called off of work as many times as you have fingers since the day she was 15. She has three kids, two cats because her kids were sad and a hubby whom she has known since high school. She reads, she writes, visits with friends when she has time. She skips vacations to pay the bills and has never been overseas. The things she is good at aren’t things you can really be recognized for.

Who is your individual self?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

I never did get to be the line leader.

I moved half-way through Kindergarten to a new town and a new school. I got there just in time for the big circus production where the teachers thought it was fun for the kids to be circus animals. I really wanted to be a dog that jumped through the hoola hoops, but it wasn’t meant to be.

I am the palest child on the left side, middle row

In first grade I was happy that my teacher had more freckles than I did. I had a lot of freckles but she was COVERED in them. We had a freckle bond and I ended up becoming her babysitter years later. I am pretty sure this was also the year that I lied to the cafeteria lady and told her we had gone to Germany on our spring break. It worked out great until she had my older brother a few lunch periods later.

For some reason we were all into catching flies.  Yes that is me to the left of the teacher.

Second grade was the year I got my glasses. Freckles, glasses and moon boots. I would have traded a pair of crutches for all three in a heartbeat.

In third grade I accidentally swallowed one of the little space guys that floated in my water pen. I was kind of panicked about that one. But then my new jeans made my legs turn blue and I thought I was dying for an entire day. I might have been a hypochondriac that year.

Fourth, Fifth and Sixth grade I spent a good amount of time being the go-between for the boys who liked my friends. That and fielding the never-ending prank calls. It wasn’t quite as embarrassing as when my Dad fought the school board for the bus to come down to our house on the street instead of us having to walk. He rode the bus a few times and then made the school pick my brother and I up in a school owned utility van.

In seventh grade I got contacts, boobs and my first French kiss behind the local library. But it still didn’t score me any dates. I might have had (1) Love is…… on the back of a hand.

In Eighth grade –I finally felt normal looking for the first time – my hair was huge, my shoulder pads were puffy and I could cuff my jeans with the best of them.

I learned in high school that the senior prank was to remove the Letter C from the school name. So in all the other schools we were known as Hard-on High ALL the time, whose mascot wore lederhosen. (the intimidating Hilltopper)

I had to take Driver’s Ed through the school program that was free, so I spent an entire semester eating my lunch in the back seat of an AMC Eagle listening to Rush Limbaugh on AM radio. I managed to not throw up one time and passed my driving test with flying colors.

bottom row, third from the left - just trying to squeeze those shoulder pads in.....

When I won prom queen my senior year someone yelled “I want a re-count!"

Not the year I won - CLEARLY wasn't ready....

My freshman year of college I drove an Aries K car that everyone called Milky. This car was towed every single Saturday of a home football game because I would forget to move it out of the parking lot our dorm shared with the stadium. I had to babysit to pay the fines, which would have been OK, except I could never get to the jobs without my car.

I failed my first college class because of a boy. He got an A.

I had my first sexual harassment experience in college when I interviewed to be a professor’s assistant. I should have known when the interview was in his home and there were no lights on.

I am so glad my school years are over. I am one person who never, ever dreams of going back. In fact, my nightmares are focused around school.

But for all the kids going back to school this week, I wish you luck and the least amount of embarrassment possible.

They seemed to have gotten the good genes.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Dog Days of Summer

or is it CAT days?
 Too much to do to really just sit down and write lately.  So here is a quickie update: (I know how you all love a good quickie) and a chance for you to give me lots of SOLICITED advice!

The hubby spends a lot more time in the yard than either of us ever realized was possible.  It really never ends. Kind of hard to ignore the weeds when you own them, but I am getting a little jealous of the way he fondles the bushes lately.

The kids hate the color of wood floors we picked out so I'll ask you what you prefer - (the wood floors are just a dream plan at the moment, we are putting it out there into the universe that we want them, WHEN we get them is the real question - but I like to plan in advance.)

My choice

Two out of Three kids prefer


Update: The snake was found - in the yard where he came from- which makes me look really stupid for cautiously checking every nook and cranny for a few days - YES, even the toilet.

Update: The pool pooper was found and unfortunately he is spending some time away for awhile. Not just for this reason and it's really kind of sad.  We did get an apology letter from him  -whether he was forced to write or not, it did have have some sincere qualities.  My question is now - Do we write back or just leave it? 

I have been dreaming of decorating for fall/Halloween - I cannot wait.  Is Labor Day weekend really too early?? I promise not to wear white pants while decorating if you prefer.

The kids are getting ready for school  (I mean I am getting them ready) - I spent one night too many in a dressing room and I'm OVER it. I HATE clothes shopping.  I get all sweaty and annoyed in the store and I can't seem to focus.  My kind of shopping is going to a small town and walking fairly quickly in and out of boutique shops.  But the thought of going to the mall gives me anxiety.  I hate Kohl's or anything similar. I typically only go to Target, but gosh darn it those kids are starting to need real clothes that can only be bought in real stores......   This is when I dream of having a personal assistant who would take the kids shopping while I got a pedicure or something...... 

My sister in law talked the girls and I into getting feathers in our hair for fun before school starts.  Yes, it's the new thing and it's really kind of fun! 

I have accumulated a few more favorite vintage things along the way:

Love the RED suitcases!  The picture is from my Dad's family home

$2 scale and FREE vintage toaster

One just wasn't enough

My Mom found the glass piece and the cookie was hand made by my son when he still loved me - you know, before he turned 14.....

Hope your summer is wrapping up nicely !

Thursday, August 11, 2011

There’s a snake in my boot!

Well, there could be.

I went for a walk tonight with one of my girls. A nice leisurely walk to enjoy the suddenly 70 degree temps, puffy white clouds and smells of barbecue’s from almost every other house. We were really enjoying ourselves – the diner style music from the town’s oldies car show was drifting down the street where we walked and a cute older lady with her cute black and white mini dog was walking toward us. She had a fisherman’s hat on and was eagerly approaching us with a juicy bit of neighborhood news.

“Did you hear about the snake on the loose?” she eagerly asked us.


“Yep, a boa constrictor has gone missing and the police are telling everyone to be cautious”.

Then I notice the cop car at the end of the walkway, and a police woman walking around stopping whoever she could. She came toward us and told us that a Boa Constrictor has been missing since Monday and it was just reported. He is only about 7ft long, green, with brown spots. I told her where our house was and YEP. Right in that area is where he went missing. She couldn’t tell me who he belonged to though. She suggested closing windows, garage doors and keeping track of smallish animals and kids.


Boa Constrictor on the loose.

Poop in the pool.

Putting a Surveillance camera on the house.

Where in the hell have I moved to???

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

A Dozen No. 2's

I love, love, love the smell of a freshly sharpened pencil. I even have three of those cool black No. 2 pencils sharpened, in my desk drawer at work and every once in a while I sniff them. (Hey at least it’s not a Sharpie) I don’t even use a pencil, EVER. But something about that smell, brings me back to the days when I had a desk whose top opened into a little mini-world of books, colored erasers, pencils with butterflies on them and bookmarks with fancy tassels.
So when it comes time to go get the kids school supplies, you can imagine that I get a little excited. Sure, it DOES set me back about $300 in just supplies alone and that is really annoying –I could do away with some of the expensive items needed like a $70.00 calculator, headphones, and every style of dry erase marker, highlighter and colored pencil ever made, but yet, hardly every used.

I actually get offended when the list says PLAIN colored folders in green, red and yellow. I want them to get the folders with the cool plaid print, favorite sports team, or cute kitten on it.  (maybe I am trying to make up for making them buy their lunches every day??)

I also get offended when I go to the school supply aisle and I see a drill sergeant mother tossing supplies into the cart like grenades with her kids in tow who are trying to keep up, but drooling over the composition book that has a colored design. I want her to let her kids pick out what they like. Let them get the impractical lunch box, and the hot pink book bag. It might cost a few more dollars, but isn’t it worth the joy they will feel going to school? Do we really have to make school a dreaded experience?

I have had the kid’s school supplies since the weekend after we moved. I am the first one to get supplies as soon as they stock them in the store. Mostly because I am excited to buy them, but also because I want the less picked over selections. I hope this makes the slightest difference with my kids when they head off to school. I hope they look at their folders and notebooks and it brings them a little smile.

So I read an article today about cutting school supply costs that should have been titled: How to Suck all the Joy out of Going Back to School. They had the gall to suggest not taking your child with you at all. If I sent the hubby alone, my kids would have folders with The Punisher or NRA logos on them.

The article also says to buy Generic. Sure, I agree to buy some things generic, but come on, a crayon is just not crayon unless it’s Crayola. Trust me, we’ve tried that route.

My favorite suggestion was to buy a backpack that will last for many years. I don’t think my kids would appreciate being in the 8th grade with a Strawberry Shortcake backpack. I know, I know, they meant buy a GENERIC back pack that is meant to last for many years. And, my son’s backpack in solid black was expensive and it HAS lasted several years. But he had 4 different versions of Spiderman from K-3rd grade and he loved every single one of them. I can guarantee we spent the same money on the 4 cheap but fun ones as we did on the expensive long lasting one.

Call me crazy, but yes, I DO buy new crayons and paints and markers each year. First of all when those things come back at the end of the year, the germ factor alone makes me run for the nearest garbage can. I’m not a complete waster, we do add most of it to the art project box, but when it comes to going back to school a brand new box of crayons might be a bright spot in an otherwise yucky day.

I have an idea – Let’s work on cutting the Prices, not the Fun.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Don't Drop the Kids off in MY Yard -

The bubble has burst.

It’s all fun and games until someone _ _ _ _ _ in the pool.

I left the house this morning; coffee cup in hand, pulled out of the garage, briefly admired my house for a moment (getting to be a little habit), glanced into the backyard and noticed the pool. Something not quite right over there. Got out of the car to get the hubby.

He reluctantly walked over to the pool. Took a look, looked into the woods, looked all around the pool area, and then said – “You’re going to have to come see it to believe it.”

        Last year my brother and family took the kids on a long weekend camping trip at the start of summer. The hubby and I should have done nothing but enjoy each other’s company but instead went out and bought the kids a pool. The kind of pool that stays up all summer, gets put away during the winter, but has the filter, chlorine, ladder, water comes up to my knees but I’ve been known to do some water aerobics in there.
The kids loved the surprise. We put it right outside of their bedroom windows and that pool was put to great use the rest of the summer. This year with the move, we got a late start. Then we had a small patching job, but finally the pool was permanently installed and put to use last weekend. The girls swam in it three times and on Saturday, I even got in and cooled off. Last night they had a friend over and I had to practically muzzle them to stop from screaming in excitement. (I have tried explaining going from no neighbors to lots of neighbors and using an indoor voice outside to no avail)

Everyone went to bed all tuckered out, happy in our little cozy home.

When I walked over to the pool and looked in, I saw what could have been a tree branch, a foot long and 8” wide hot dog, a log even, but in my heart I knew what I was looking at.

It was a POOP!

The water was streaming out at a good rate from three large knife holes in the side of the pool. The grass from the back of the yard to the woods and the flower bed was trampled.

I really wanted to believe this was from a LARGE animal, but I knew in my heart this was HUMAN POOP.

Someone entered our yard with a knife, got in the pool, did a LARGE “doodie” (and then some- yes….) and then stuck three giant holes in the pool.

The day went down the toilet from there.
Long story short, there is a very sick person living near us. We did call the police, they didn’t seem surprised, the neighbors had a few stories and basically it boils down to this: That little bubble I was living in has now burst. I am now fully aware that I am not living in a dream-land and that there are strange people everywhere. I’m trying to stay on the funny side of the story and on my drive home from work I thought about all the places I have lived and all the strange neighbors and weird situations I have been in and I’m trying really hard to not FREAK OUT.

I have now heard every horror story from everyone I know about someone who lives by them or did live near them. I have promised the kids a different swimming plan that they seem to be OK with, and I have considered adopting a very large adult guard dog for my yard.

I also have had the following suggestions:

Tell the Hell’s Angels their new meeting place is my backyard.

Invest in a paint gun and entice the person back with a disposable baby pool.

Get cameras installed (the police suggested this one)

Do DNA on the poop (Mom, I know you worked in a hospital but I just can’t seem to find the courage for this one)

Place a Porta-potty where the pool once sat.

Adopt a large adult dog.

Invite all the guys from work over for a backyard brawl.

Light up the backyard like a football field and encourage the local team to play all night long.

Record the hubby shooting his automatic weapon and play it on a reel periodically through the night.


Forgettabout it.

I’ll keep you posted on my plan of action. For now, I’m just trying to get my bubble back.

Monday, August 1, 2011

There IS a difference between Horse and House

This weekend we took much needed time to just live in and enjoy our house. After the move we had a flurry of activities and a welcome visit from my parents for a week, so we really hadn’t just lived in the house yet with no plans or obligations or really big to-do items hanging over our heads. (note I said BIG to-do items, PLENTY of small ones though!)

Friday night we ate dinner right in our little town and afterward I walked to the coffee shop for a Chai Tea Latte and three huge chocolate chip muffins for the kids and walked home. It was so nice to be able to do this. The downfall was that on Sunday while checking out at a store I realized I had no bank card. I had to sit in my car for 30 minutes going over every detail of the weekend until I came to the conclusion that of course the hubby had the card and then after arguing we determined I had put the card in my pocket on the Friday walk home.
I called our son to check my pockets so I could drive home in peace and he told us it wasn’t there. Then we drove home with much tension. Me envisioning the card lying on a sidewalk in town, picked up by some kids who were now purchasing all kinds of video games, Monster drinks and expensive apps.
I found the card in the pocket hardest to reach for a teenager who was too bothered to thoroughly check all pockets.
Don’t worry kid, paybacks are hell and I’m going to start stockpiling the cash for future walks into town.

On Saturday I woke up at 6:30am –my favorite summer hour when I don’t have to work. The birds were starting to chatter, there was a really nice breeze coming in the windows and I realized that I could only see the treetops and fluffy white clouds from my bed. (I haven’t slept in an upstairs bedroom for awhile) This time of year is my favorite for outside noises. The cricket/cicada/ frog noises are my own personal rock band. It reminds me that my favorite time of year is approaching – Fall and Early winter.

I laid in bed for an hour while the house still slept and read a few chapters of a great book I am reading. (yes, READING- I am reading again. If you are an avid reader who has had a reading block, you understand what I mean when you get it back. It’s like writing for me, it comes and goes, but once you get it back it’s the best feeling ever)

I cleaned the house which at this point is still fun as I am continuing to discover things about the house and enjoying every bit of it. (I know, it won’t last much longer……)

yes, that is the hubby with a metal detector in the yard (don't ask) and believe it or not, that grass was cut only two days prior - apparently previous owner's dog peed fertilizer.

After yard work and some good sweat equity, We had a little backyard cookout and sat in our enclosed patio eating hotdogs, baked beans and chips listening to the summer night and the occasional clip clop of Amish buggies on the street. (This was only two hours after the hotdogs were started – for some reason the fire would not catch and after much swearing by the hubby and wiping off the newsprint from the dogs we eventually got there.)

We also had to take a trip back to the old house which we now call The Cabin. The new family there found some of the girl’s DS games under the fridge (thanks, kitties) and we had been putting off picking them up. I think we all were a little apprehensive about seeing the old place again.
The last time I was there I had gone with my sister in law to clean out the closets. I was exhausted at that point and hurried through the job, not really doing more than glancing at the emptiness of the house. The hubby and our son had spent much more time there alone, cleaning and scrubbing the carpets after we left.

I didn’t realize until after our visit how anxious I had been that it was not being loved the way we loved it.

But, the great news is that it looks amazing and the family there loves it as much as we did. They invited us in to see all that they had done and proudly showed us around. Their decorating style is completely opposite of ours but somehow it was exactly right. Their furniture was giant sized, yet it fit the house perfectly. I know this may seem strange to say, but it felt really happy and I said this at one point and we all got the chills. The new family was also very apprehensive about their move from far away; their son going to a new school, their family being apart until their other house sold, and they said they felt a really good spirit from the house.

We did drive away rather quickly however- While standing outside after the tour, I kept feeling something hitting my arms and back and could see out of the corner of my eyes these things flying around (they looked like tiny birds, really)
When we got to the car, I was horrified to see the largest fly’s I have ever seen in my life all over the windows. We flew into our seats and hightailed it out of there, and still had to stop at the end of the road to let a few stragglers out of the car, (and pull the kids out from under their seats where they had taken cover.) The hubby told me they were horse flies and I am not kidding you when I tell you that they had HAIR on them like a horse.
I could literally see their eyeball’s moving. At home we have a lot of (you might call them deer, I call them V) flies because of the rainy season we have had this year, and they are annoying but thankfully normal in size. Never in my life have I been exposed to these giant HORSE flies though. If we hadn’t moved when we did, you can bet, you would find me blogging about wanting to move right now.
I assume this new family had been exposed to this kind of thing before because they didn’t seem fazed by it, but they can relax, I will not be going back for old times’ sake, now – the thought of those giant fly’s will keep me away for good.

So, I guess you can say, I’m back. I think I have successfully completed yet another milestone in life.