The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle

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Honest or Unhelpful??

Iam helpfulThere are times in my life when I ponder whether or not I am a little too honest about myself.  I know me and I know the things of which I am capable. While I believe that is a good thing, there are times when I wonder if I should share that knowledge with others. Sometimes it makes me seem unhelpful. Just ask my poor husband.

When we moved into this house last year I was well aware that there was a likelihood that we would at some point be visited by a rodent or two.  It is to be expected when one occupies a home that has been vacant for several years and is located on a farm.  (While this fact isn’t one of my favorite things about our current home it is one that I decided I could handle: eyes on the prize after all.)  Knowing this I wasn’t all together too freaked out last fall when we had a few unwanted visitors. I was expecting them and was mentally prepared.  What I wasn’t expecting was that several months later, in subzero temperatures and following a small investment in pest control products spread throughout the house, that we’d have another rodent-infidel slip in.  I mean, after all, we hadn’t seen a sign of a mouse for months and it has been freezing cold outside. Shouldn’t those little buggars be frozen or hibernating or something?  Who can blame me for letting my guard down? I truly thought mouse season had passed. You can imagine my surprise when I discovered I was wrong. Really, REALLY wrong.

Last Tuesday evening we had spent the evening cuddled in our warm house as a family. (At 15 below who wants to do anything else?)  The children had retired for the evening and I was preparing to do the same.   As I walked out of the bathroom in the hall out of the corner of my eye I thought I saw something run across our bedroom floor. ‘Nah.’ I thought. ‘I’m just really tired. It was probably just one of those weird eye things.’  I went into our room and began to change when suddenly out from under the bed the same “eye thing” streaked out and ran under my husband’s dresser.  EEEEEK! So there I was, in an unclothed state, doing what I typically do when I see a mouse: freezing on the spot. Completely immobile with the words ‘do NOT scream and wake up the kids’ I managed to grab my robe and run out to get my superhero husband who was, thankfully, home.  Had he not been home I would have ended up spending the night on the couch…at my mother’s house. (Sorry kids – you are on your OWN!) Muttering “Great” my superhero grabbed his tools of mouse destruction (a flash light and a broom) and headed for our room.  Following my usual procedure and being my typically brave self, I headed for the furthest point in the house from our room. (I do the damsel in distress well – no??)

While I was sitting in the dark pondering how much longer we were planning to live in the house and wondering what in the world was wrong with the farm cats whose job it is to catch these creepy things BEFORE they get in (they are SO fired!), I heard thunking in our room.  ‘Yay!’, I thought, “My superhero found him!! It won’t be long until I can just go to bed.”  More time passed.  More noises in our room. No triumphant husband coming out to give me the ‘all clear’.  Maybe he was just cleaning up. I decided I could be brave enough to investigate, after all I was exhausted and just wanted to go to bed.  Upon returning to our room I found him still on the floor with the flashlight looking under things.  It turns out that he had in fact spotted Mr. Mouse under the dresser but the wily rodent had gotten behind the pedestal leg so he couldn’t get to him with the broom.  Knowing that he’d have to block the furry menace in there somehow while he moved the dresser, my husband had turned around to grab something and by the time he had turned back around the creepy creature had vanished. Poof! Gone.   I walked in just as he was getting ready to  check under the bed again. Looking for assistance he asked me, “If I chase him out from under the bed can you hit him with the broom?”  Here was my moment to shine. To truly be the helpmate to this man that I vowed to be so many years ago.  Here was my chance to be my superhero’s sidekick.  I looked my sweet husband square in the eye and said, “No.”  Completely unhelpful.

As I scurried away I felt a little guilty.  I knew I should help. I knew that at moment my superhero was pondering whether or not he should find a better sidekick: one who doesn’t flee during the heat of battle.   I was in one of those moments of being completely honest about myself that generally makes me look unhelpful.  I knew that there was no way I would hit that mouse.  I would freeze and watch the mouse run by.   Though my husband had looked at me with disbelief when I answered, I knew that I was really saving him some frustration.  Really I was.  I have experience in this. My mind raced back to the many times in my childhood when, during a “mouse rodeo”, my mom would stand with broom in hand ready to help my dad. He was the “flusher” and she was supposed to be the “bopper”. What happened every time, however, is that my dad would be the “flusher” and my mom became the “dancer” – hopping up and down screaming.  To my knowledge she has yet to ever hit a mouse with a broom.  (She might have accidentally landed on one during her hopping but I don’t think so.) While these moments make for really funny stories later in life the truth is hopping or freezing up really isn’t helpful at the time. The mouse escapes and the rodeo continues in another room.

See? My honesty really was helping my husband, he just didn’t know it at the time.

man-scared-of-mice-1209-lg

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Wednesday Wonderings

 

WonderingWednesdayWe’ve experienced some thunderstorms in the middle of the night the last few nights and have officially discovered that our new family member, Lady Lola the Diva Dog, does not appreciate thunderstorms.  My first clue was waking to find her standing on my head.  I wonder why they didn’t mention that in her adoption paperwork? That might have been useful information.  Well…okay…it did say she doesn’t like loud noises. It didn’t say she’d rip into our bedroom at 80 miles an hour in the event of a lightening strike.  Good thing she’s so cute.  The bonus of our mid-night escapades is that I’ve discovered  I ponder really silly things after a few night’s interrupted sleep.  Just in time! Without further ado: this week’s wonderings!

  1. Why do you not appreciate your thigh muscles until they hurt?  I didn’t even realize the suckers were there until the day after I spent an afternoon squatting on the ground pulling out rocks. OUCH!
  2. Why does everyone feel the need to post on Facebook about the weather when it turns hot? (Or cold for that matter?)  “Guess what! It’s hot out!” I guess that is for all your virtual friends who are living under a rock?
  3. Who invented cliffhangers at the end of a television season? Sadistic bugger. I need closure people!
  4. Who knew there were so many products out there to choose from to remove “tear stains” from your dog’s eyes? Should this be that complicated?!
  5. Why do motorcycles zip around you at a hundred miles an hour and then complain that no one is watching for them? (Okay…before you go there: I know this doesn’t apply to all motorcyclists.  Just the ones on the interstate.)
  6. Does anyone else ever wonder if it is actually possible to successfully empty an entire toothpaste tube by only squeezing from the bottom? No really. I want to hear from anyone who has done it.
  7. Where do all those bugs that show up at night come from? And while I’m thinking about it: why do they think up my nose is a good place to be? EW!
  8. Why does everyone think everything you say or post is about them?  It usually isn’t but if you are feeling guilty…. (We have a saying around here: “If the shoe fits…it’s likely a Wedel female will purchase it. Oh…wait…)
  9. Am I the only one who watches commercials for the latest greatest weight loss pill and wonders how many days it makes one spend in the bathroom to accomplish that weight loss?
  10.  Finally: how can a dog annoy and amuse you at the same time?  Probably the same way my kids always have but I haven’t figured out their secret either….

Have A Happy Wednesday All!

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The Uncomplicated Project

Saturday dawned sunny, bright and full of promise.  My sweet husband was off work, I felt well rested and the day lay before us with no specific plans whatsoever. Utopia.  Over our morning cup of really yummy mocha coffee we discussed what we wanted to do over the course of the day that stretched out before us.  Relax?  Catch up some housework? Relax? Do a little yard work? Relax? (Guess which one I was leaning towards??) By cup number two we decided it was about time to tackle the one remaining landscaping project we had been dreading putting off but wanted to accomplish this year.  Though the day was supposed to get hot we decided if we started early enough we could finish early and enjoy the rest of the evening.  Having determined our days plans we set off to tackle this:

Before

This is the area in the front of our house where the two sidewalks meet into the steps that go down by the old wash house.  Yes. Wash house.  The little white house where my grandmother did her laundry before she had indoor plumbing.  Actually the white building  you see in the picture is the cellar house which is connected to the wash house but let’s not get technical.  And yes.  It is the front of the house which confuses the snot out of my kids because no one really uses the front door much so they think the back door should be the front door. I’ve tried to explain to them that no house’s “front door” opens into the laundry room.  Again…technicalities.  Since these steps lead to both doors I guess for the purpose of this post it really doesn’t matter. The point is that this mess was there to be viewed every time we sat on our front porch and it was time to do something about it. We’ve spent quite a bit of our spring and summer cleaning out areas about the farm and this was the final area left to tackle.  The fact that we’ve made it this far without killing each other is a minor miracle considering my husband’s “let’s just rip it out and start over” theory often clashes with my “my grandma planted those let’s weed around it” attitude. Combine that with the fact that neither one of us actually enjoys this type of activity – we just want it to look nice – and you have the perfect storm really.  Fortunately for him there really wasn’t much here that I wanted to preserve so we knew it was going to be a faster fix. Storm clouds were not on the horizon here. This should have been simple. Uncomplicated.

After pulling out almost everything growing in the dirt, we turned our attention to what we thought was going to be the hardest part of our project: digging the sunken bricks out of the dirt between the steps and the bank.  Those bricks are from the old “big barn” on the property – the barn built by my grandmother’s uncles – so of course I wanted to save them and reuse them as edgers. My husband cheerfully dug them up while my younger daughter and I reset them.  All was going well.  Everyone was quite content and pleasant as my husband and I left for town to pick up the mulch required to finish off our little project area.  It was a little before noon so we were right on track. Victory was in sight.

Arriving home with our mulch (and a couple bags of rock for a different area) in tow we paused for a quick bite of lunch before heading back out to finish for the day.  We were focused on completing our uncomplicated task.  That’s when the landlord, or “Daddy” as I call him, appeared.  He had mentioned before that he wanted to do some work on the concrete in that area so the water would quit pooling there and making mud, further burying the sidewalk and steps, every time it rains.  He had, in fact, purchased several bags of concrete mix to do that repair.  They are safely out of the rain in the barn waiting to be used. Apparently because we were out working in the area he remembered that project needed to be done so he was measuring and figuring while we were laying down mulch.  By the time our mulch was laid he had busted out the old step and was laying the old concrete in to “flagstone” the path behind the house.  My husband once again grabbed his shovel and my two favorite men worked together to lay the old concrete into flagstones.  (Looks great by the way.)  That project completed and back to figuring the best way to lay new concrete to get the water to run-off down the hill and rebuild the step they just removed, Daddy mentioned that at one point he had dug a trench under the handrail and filled it with rock so that the the water would run down the hill.  Muttering about some prior renters not keeping it up he pondered aloud the fact that redigging that trench and finding the now buried rock might help before he relaid the sidewalk.  Cleaning up from our other project I smiled and told him that we could probably do that…thinking we could do it another day.  Fixing the area under the handrail wasn’t on my agenda for the day.  That’s why my husband has a weed wacker. It didnt look so bad. I resumed cleaning up mulch bags. When Daddy brought up the buried rock trench again I suddenly knew my uncomplicated plans were changing.  We were about to dig up rock.

Once again the guys manned the shovels while my daughter and I helped unearth the billion and forty two rocks that had become buried over the last 5-7 years.  Big rocks….little rocks….lots of rocks.  Realizing that if we tried to find every lost rock were were going to be out there for…oh…one hundred and five years…I threw out a desperation contingency plan.  Why didn’t we just pull out the larger rocks, leave the smaller ones in the ground, retrench and then mulch the top of the trench over the mixture of small rocks and dirt.  That way we didn’t need to locate every rock and could save ourselves a week of work.  (I’ve always been more “just make it look pretty” than functional anyway. Well…when it comes to yardwork I just want to be done I’m that way.)  My plan met with approval so while my engineer minded father trenched the water run-off we quickly finished finding the large rocks. And washing 5 years of dirt off the large rocks. Yes. I washed rocks. Then we waited while my dad (I just mentioned he’s an engineer, right?) tested the run-off trench with the hose.  And a bucket.  And the hose again.  It worked  (Of course it worked.  He’s an engineer!) so we were given the green light to arrange the now ridiculously muddy large rocks and put the mulch in the now muddy area under the handrail.   I’ve seen ads for mud baths at spas and I must say….I don’t get it. There are few things I like less than playing in mud.  Since I used to make mud pies for my mother so I guess this is a new thing but I must say laying muddy rocks in the muddy ground was not my favorite part of the day. It was messy and squishy though so I guess there is some fun in that…okay…not really.  At any rate, we got it accomplished.  Satisfied that we had a well draining run-off that looked pretty we cleaned up our mess and dragged our now sun-burned – and muddy -bodies into the house just in time to take a fast shower and make dinner.  Not quite the quick project we’d envisioned but gratifying none the less.  It seems like life is that way most of the time isn’t it? Things are never as uncomplicated as you thought they were going to be but it turns out better in the end.

Just don’t say the word “rock” to me for a few days…okay?

Our Finished Project:

After

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This Week’s Headlines #41

newspaper

Oh what a week it’s been.  In news of my life I’d like to introduce our new family member Lola:

Lola

For those of you who remember this blog I posted when our old dog passed away, I told you eventually I’d want another dog.   We adopted our new sweet girl from the Nebraska Humane Society.  She’s already getting us trained.  Despite the excitement and the fact that I don’t want to quit petting her I did manage to find some time to read this week’s news and laugh. A lot.

  1. “Woman Frantic Costly Over Garage Sale Mistake” – Someone should have warned her that old vacuum wasn’t worth $250 nor does it work.
  2. “Deep Sea Trash like You’ve Never Seen Before” – Well since I haven’t hung out at the bottom of the ocean I don’t think I’ve ever seen any before.
  3. “Where Your Car Is Most Likely To be Stolen” – In public?
  4. “Beardless Brother Joins ‘Duck Dynasty’ Cast” – Are we sure it isn’t a sister??
  5. “If You Have These Habits You Might Get Hacked” –  Shopping on-line?Going on-line?  Logging into your computer?
  6. “NFL: Almost Enough Arrests To Form A Team” – Well they’ll need something to do during rec time.
  7. “Farmer Feeds Pot To Pigs” – Maybe he wanted them to quit squealing.
  8. “New ‘Terminator’ Movie Announced” – Oh good. I was just wondering when they’d resurrect that one. Now all we need is the “Back To The Future” people to get busy. Oh and the karate Kid to have a grandchild…
  9. “100 Year Old Woman Hits Another Milestone” – Because the century mark wasn’t good enough?
  10. “Summer Fashions That Flatter Fuller Figures” – Please don’t let the words “two piece” be in that article!
  11. “Bad News For Starbucks Baristas” – Menu expansion….again?
  12. “Airlines With The Best WiFi” – Yeah forget safety records. I want to know which plane will let me play Candy Crush.
  13. “Are You Sure You Want That Hamburger” – Ummm….yeah!
  14. “Food Ingredient That Is Aging Your Face” – Lemon?
  15. “New Fast Food Trend Is All About The Buns” – You mean how big ours are getting eating there?
  16. “Horse Fossil Yields Surprising Find” – Oh please don’t let this be another ancient poop story.
  17. “Obtaining a Home Loan may Be Getting Easier” – Isn’t this what caused the last problem?  Do we not learn from our mistakes?
  18. “Who Says Cars Can’t Swim” – Well no one.  We just call them boats.
  19. “School Lunches To Be Overhauled” – While I’d wholeheartedly endorse that….I’ll bet money no matter what they do the lunches will still be gross.
  20. “Dairy Queen Implements Employee Wellness Program” – Because all those High School students are out of shape? Ice Cream…wellness…sounds right to me!

And from the “Hey why didn’t I think of that?!” file:

headline

Happy Weekend All!!

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I Just Wanted To Read A Story

Supercell Near West Point Nebraska - June 2012

Supercell Near West Point Nebraska – June 2012

It seems we’ve had our fair share of severe weather this year.  I love a good storm but I’m not to hyped about the ones that look like they are going to wisk us away to Oz. A contributing factor to my recent sensitivity to the weather may have something to do with the fact that our house has no basement.  When a storm is looking ominous we have to run up the hill to my parents house to seek shelter in their basement.  It seems like we’ve spent our fair share of time there this year.  It’s been a learning experience.

We’ve learned that one shouldn’t wait too long to decide to seek basement shelter.  Running through the rain makes you wet and cold.

We’ve also learned that weather radios go off in the middle of  the night to warn you of the threat of a possible flash flood somewhere in Iowa 300 miles away.

The biggest lesson we’ve learned is that our kids are downright cranky when awoken in the middle of the night to go to Grandma’s basement.  (You’d think they’d be a little grateful we were saving their lives.) No seriously.  They are CRANKY.

Our first tornado warning experience occurred at 2am one Saturday night….Sunday morning….you know what I mean.  We were awoken by our phones ringing combined with my parents car horn beeping.  My folks were obviously trying to get our attention which was a good thing considering I had shut off the weather radio after a few nights of sleep interrupted by wind warnings issued for northeastern Canada. (I’m only exaggerating a little.)  Groggily we got up and assessed the situation and arrived at the conclusion that it was probably wise to head up to the basement.  Waking our kids and dragging them through the chilly rain that was beginning to fall didn’t make them very happy.  Shivering in their grandparents’ basement with little to do other than listen to the weather radio didn’t improve their moods much.  It was in this cranky situation I, being the ever helpful mother, decided to help out.  I’m full of great ideas in the middle of the night after being yanked from deep REM.  I quickly grabbed a gardening magazine off of the stack my mom has in her basement.  Trying to engage everyone in interesting discussion I began sharing some of the interesting tidbits of information I ran across.  Sparking no interest from anyone I switched gears and began an engaging conversation about what fabulous things we could plant.  No one was engaged.  Fine.  Party poopers.

Putting down the magazine I began to poke around in some of the other treasures my parents’ basement hold when, lo and behold, I spied one of my favorite childhood books: “Little House In The Big Woods“.  Perfect.  I decided that there would be no better way to liven up our party in the basement than to read to everyone from this classic story.  I am a very entertaining book reader I must say.  Settling in I began to attempt to share the beloved story of Pa and Ma and Laura and Mary when my children, loudly, began protesting.  “MOOOOOM! Please!”  Eye rolling.  Groaning.  More “MOM! STOP!”  Sigh.  I guess no great entertainer is appreciated at first.  My mother was the only one highly amused by my attempt to be entertaining during the storm.  The guys left to “check” what was going on outside.  The kids began to try to get the book out of my hands.  Admitting defeat (while accusing them of being party poopers) I put the book down and quietly waited for the storm warning to expire.  Fine.  Let them be bored during a storm.  No one could say I didn’t try.

That was a month and a half and about four storm warnings ago.  During the second storm warning I noticed the book had been shoved under a large pile of blankets in an attempt to hide it.  Fine.  I helped my mother sort through a box of things instead. (Who said one can’t multi-task while waiting on a storm to pass.)  The last time we made a basement appearance I couldn’t locate the book anywhere.  It seems my youngest daughter was helping her grandmother sort things one day and she might have, accidentally of course, stuffed the book in the Goodwill box.  Wow.  That was pretty cold giving away my childhood book.  I mean after all I had just been trying to help. She may have been embarrassed by my storm-induced behavior  but geez: I just wanted to read a story.

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When Life Gives You Brown Bananas….

Photo Credit: mjbphotographyanddesign.com

Photo Credit: mjbphotographyanddesign.com

When our oldest child was quite young one of his favorite books was “Alexander And The Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day.”  Can I quote it for you? No really: I can.  I read it to him that many times.  Actually after the way things were going this past weekend I don’t need to quote the book.  I lived it. Two days in a row in fact.

I woke Friday morning looking forward to completing my last day of a very long work week and getting home to my family.  We all have weeks that wear us out on occasion.  Mine was last week.  I was in a pretty good mood because it was, after all, Friday. I knew I had little on my plate to complete at work that day so I was looking forward to an “easy” day and…perhaps…leaving a little earlier than normal.  Yep. I was pretty chipper when I arrived and sat down at my desk.  Joking with a few coworkers I settled in for the day feeling pretty good.  That feeling lasted until I opened my inbox and started reading the emails that were awaiting me.  Part of my responsibilities is to QA data prior to transferring it to one of our clients.  I could go into greater detail here but I’m sure if I did it would somehow be a HIPPA violation and the last thing I need is for the HIPPA cops to come looking for me.  Anyway, the data transfer QA  is by far the least favorite part of my job. Mostly because if there is a problem with any of the data I get an email and a weekly “issues log” and I have to figure out what is wrong and why.  There in my inbox was last week’s issues log. UGH!  As I opened it and began to investigate the “issues” my mood was still pretty good.  It is a weekly occurrence and usually is some silly little thing like the scan was hard to read so it transferred into the spreadsheet incorrectly or that the original number was plain flat wrong. No big deal.  The computer makes mistakes and so do I.  I am a human after all.

I pulled files and happily went about answering questions until I hit the “issue” that made my stomach roll.  The one that turned my happy mood on its ear.  As I began investigating the final problem I discovered that the issue was caused because I had somehow shuffled all the data on the Excel sheet into the wrong place.  I had totally screwed up the file.  It didn’t matter to me that the file was submitted when I had only been at my new job for two weeks I was sick at the fact that I had messed up that bad.  As I said before, I am fully aware that I am capable of messing up.  I can live with that. No what my type A personality can’t take is when I can’t figure out how I messed up and I, still to this moment, couldn’t figure out what I did. I had no explanation for it other than I messed up…somehow.  After running myself in circles for a while I did the only thing I could do: I redid the entire file, resubmitted it to our client, and then emailed them taking full responsibility for my error and apologizing.  Knowing that my error not only affected our client but our client’s client, I felt horrible and I braced myself for the reply email that I knew was not going to be happy.

About this time my boss came in and I quickly explained the problem to her.  Thankfully she was very understanding and sweet to me, as per usual, because I was already doing a pretty good job of beating myself up.  I even offered to have her take the fee I was sure our client was going to charge for the screwed up file out of my paycheck.  Yep.  I had myself in a real funk by the time she’d arrived.  She reassured me that wasn’t going to be necessary and I handled it the best way possible so I was feeling a little better right up until the reply I was dreading hit my inbox.  I knew the reply wasn’t going to be pleasant but I wasn’t expecting to be made to feel like I’d bankrupted a company by my error. (I hadn’t by the way.) Nor was I really anticipating to be spoken to (can you apply that to an email? It doesn’t really “speak”.  You know what I mean right?) like I was an inept toddler.  As I read through the  reply I knew the day was going to get ugly.  You see with this particular client when she finds one mistake she then becomes the mistake FBI.  She digs until she hits the core of the earth.  Suddenly she suspects that if you screwed up once you had to have done it multiple times before.  I again replied my apology noting that I understood the problem it caused everyone and assured her that I would be diligent to never let it happen again.  That’s the best I could do.  I braced myself for the barrage of emails I knew were coming.  The ones questioning other things that wouldn’t have been questioned before.

They arrived.  I spent my day re-checking all the files for one of the companies her company represents while fielding the emails from her that kept hitting my inbox.  Thankfully one of my coworkers had pity on me and sweetly helped me out. (I have great coworkers.)  Had she not I might have done myself harm with my staple remover.  I contemplated it a few times during the day.  Added to the “heat” I was feeling for my screw up and the internal berating I was giving myself, the air conditioning was on the blink making the office feel somewhat like a sauna.  Now saunas are nice in a spa but not so fabulous when you are already having a bad day at work.  By the time I left for the day (not early I might add) I was hot, tired and completely drained.

It was in that frame of mind I began my commute home through the increased traffic caused by the College World Series being in town. I love the College World Series but I wasn’t in the mood for the increased volume of cars nor the fact that none of them knew what lane they needed to be in. My already frazzled state became even more frazzled after nearly rear-ending the fifteenth person cutting across four lanes of traffic to exit.  Added to that I was deeply contemplating whether or not I am cut out for my current job or whether I should begin looking for something with a little less pressure like…for instance….checking groceries at a local supermarket. (Okay I’ve seen the way people treat the workers at check-outs. I was only half serious in that thought.)  I was seriously re-evaluating every decision I have made in the last 6 months while trying not to kill anyone with my car.  By the time I arrived home I had myself in full cranky mode.  Tired, grumpy and slightly depressed I managed to make it through the might without scaring my poor family too badly.  I had my moments but I have a great understanding family.  I found myself relaxing and letting things go. Somewhere in the back of my mind I knew the next day would be better.  I was wrong.

I awoke Saturday earlier than I’d planned to the sound of ice falling from the window air conditioner in our bedroom.  We are currently living in my grandparents old house and since my grandfather would have none of that new fangled central air stuff we cool with window units.  The one in our bedroom is one from our old house and it is pretty old as evidenced by the fact that it ices up every few hours.  Because there has been no room in the budget to replace it we’ve been just dealing with it and waking up a little warm.  No big deal.  Just annoying.  As I stumbled out to start the coffee pot I failed to notice my husband had already set it up for me before he left for work earlier that morning.  Water all over the counter.  Nice.  Noticing it was warmer in the rest of the house than usual I investigated and discovered the living room unit was shut off.  After a text conversation with my husband I learned it was struggling that morning so, thinking it needed a rest or needed to be hosed out because of cotton, he’d turned it off for a while.  I tried to turn it on.  Nothing.  Because I don’t trust myself to “hose” out anything I wandered up to my parents house to enlist the help of my daddy.  He was more than willing to, once again, help out his youngest child.  After his expert assessment it was discovered the fan motor was burnt out.  I felt bad that I’d broken his air conditioner.  (I go to guilt pretty fast.  I didn’t break the air conditioner.  Time had.)   Being the amazing landlord and father he is,he assured me it wasn’t our fault and then informed me he would go buy a new one because it is his house and it needs one anyway.  The deal was that my husband could put it in when he got home from work so he wouldn’t have to.  Okay.  That was more than fair I thought.  One warmish day.  I could handle that. The third and final unit was still plugging along so it wasn’t too bad in the house. Yet.

I rushed about getting some cleaning done before the house got warmer than I prefer. My kids were not so happy about that but they wisely didn’t say much. They just helped me…while “standing up on the inside” I imagine. We had just finished when…bang…no power in the house.  Great.  What had I done now?  Locating a flashlight to check the breaker box I was about to investigate when my mom showed up at our house. Her power was out too.  Okay. At least I didn’t break something this time.  (At this point that was a bonus point.) We called in the outage to a computer generated voice, not something that inspires confidence that anyone is going to get it, and set in to wait. Not much else you can do with no power.  Have you ever noticed when the power is out and you can’t use the bathroom (one has to have electricity to pump water from a well on the farm) suddenly everyone needs to use it?  Have you also noticed that when it gets hotter in your house than normal your children start bickering over nothing?  It was in this state I texted my husband inquiring if he thought it was too early to start drinking.  Since I don’t drink I think he figured I was having a bad day. Again.

While my mom and I were trying to distract the children from bickering with a game of cards my phone rang.  It was my father in law.  It seems a little birdie (I think the bird’s name was “Whining Facebook Post”) told him we were having air conditioning problems so he had ordered one for us.  He informed me we could use it to replace our dying one in the bedroom. Feeling guilty I left to go pick up the unit he ordered.  I was too hot to argue with him but not hot enough that I didn’t feel a little guilty that they’d bought us an air conditioner.  I also felt slightly guilty that I left the bicker twins with my mother in her heating-up house while I got in my air conditioned car to go get it.  I did it anyway.  Once again fighting through stupid drivers with baseball tickets,  I obtained the amazing gift from my in-laws and made it home.  I think I only thought a few bad words during the trip and didn’t verbalize them. That was a minor miracle considering the mood I was in.  Arriving home I discovered that we still had no power.  I had two new air conditioners but no juice to run them.  I was also starting to get a “hot and tired” headache.    At this point I was afraid to even open the refrigerator because I didn’t want to let any cool escape.  Two and a half hours at 90 degrees outside was making it quite warm inside. Settling in again I silently hoped that the power guys were close to a solution and my food wouldn’t all spoil before they found one. It was then that  my husband texted that he would pick up a pizza on the way home from work.  Things suddenly started looking up a little. I didn’t need to open the fridge now.   Then the power came on.  Even better.

My Superman arrived home with the pizza and immediately began installing the new units. I of course was irritated because I thought he should eat first.  I am so rationale when I’m tired and hot.  He firmly informed me he wanted to get the air conditioners in first so the house could start cooling.  You’d think he’d know better than to be logical when I’m trying to “wife” him.  Geez.  Never the less: he began putting in the new units. That sounds simple but in this house it is a bit more complicated.  Because the windows slide open left and right instead of up and down the process involves plexiglass, foam filler and tape.  Lots of tape.  And patience.  I probably wasn’t a really great candidate to help but he put up with me anyway. It was well into evening before the job was complete and the house had a chance of cooling off.   After feeding Super-husband the pizza he wouldn’t eat earlier, cleaning up the mess from putting them in and standing in a cool shower for a while I drug myself to bed, reminding myself of the lesson that Alexander learned from his Mom: everyone has bad days.  I’d had two.  Surely tomorrow would be better.

Sunday dawned with a storm but as I woke in my cool house I didn’t care.  Checking the coffee pot before I added water I hummed about preparing for a new day.  After a good night’s sleep I found myself thankful for our amazing parents (both sets) my wonderful husband and even my bickering kids.  I even found myself thankful for my job and co-workers I enjoy. My attitude much improved by a night of cool sleep. It was going to be a better day I’d decided.  Then I noticed the bananas on my counter.   It seems the heat in the house Saturday had turned my nice yellow bananas brown.  Quickly I knew no one was going to want to eat them.  What a waste.  ‘Okay’ I thought, ‘If you make lemonade when life throws you lemons what do you do when it gives you brown bananas?’  Then I had an epiphany: Banana Bars.  When life gives you brown bananas you bake banana bars.  With cream cheese frosting on them you won’t care if you’ve had a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day…or two.

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This Week’s Headlines #40

newspaper

WOW!  We’ve made it to 40!  This milestone makes me much happier referring to the number of headline posts I’ve made than it did when it referred to my age – just saying.  Thanks to all my favorite readers for hanging with my craziness for forty posts.  You’d think I’d run out of sarcasm eventually wouldn’t you? Let me assure you as long as I breathe I will be able to pick apart headlines.  It’s like a life game for me….

  1. “Former Contestants: Miss USA Contestants Are Too Skinny This Year” – Because you all exuded such health and body fat before? Jealous much?
  2. “Sight That Motivated The Heat To Comeback Win” – The scoreboard?
  3. “Mariah Carey Flaunts Barely-There Beach Wear” –  This is news?  Doesn’t she do that like every day?
  4. “Where Teens Are Flocking Instead Of Facebook” – Someplace their parents can’t see what they are doing.
  5. “Rihanna Hits Fan With Microphone” – I guess it’s a good idea to stay out of her way.  She learned from the best after all….
  6. “Ten National Parks You Didn’t Know Existed” – I’m going to venture a guess there are a few more than that.
  7. “How To Fold A Shirt in Two Seconds” – Incorrectly. (and I’m hoping my kids didn’t read this one!)
  8. “Man Wrestles Rampaging Bull To The Ground” – Bored?  Need to reassure yourself of your viral manliness? WOW!
  9. “Car Jumps Curb In NYC” – Again…this is news?  Happens every day around here.
  10. “NASA Wants Your Help To Stop Killer Asteroids” – Great! Be right there!!
  11. “Why Are Some People This Bad At Singing?” – I’m not positive of the whole reason but alcohol is usually a contributing factor.
  12. “Are you Boiling Potatoes The Wrong Way?”  There’s a wrong way? As long as it involves boiling water and potatoes I’d say you are on the right track.
  13. “U.S. Not Equipped To Battle Zombies In A Movie” – What? We’ve forgotten how to hit the off button??
  14. “Could You Eat A Burrito The Size Of A Baby?” – Why would I want to?!?
  15. “Half a Million For 480 Square Foot House” – Somebody is a sucker.
  16. “What Is He Really Thinking During Bikini Season” – If he’s smart…nothing.
  17. “Ancient Toilet Reveals Parasites In Crusader’Poop” – Okay…1 – EW!  2-Why did are looking for them? Or anything else in there?  3- Is anyone really surprised by this? 4-EW!!!!!!!!!!!!
  18. “Is It Time To Retire?” – Oh I wish!
  19. “Is Sugar In Fruit Better For you Than Other Sugar?” – Maybe…but it isn’t as much fun.
  20. ” ‘Dumb And Dumber To’ Is Saved From Chopping Block” – More proof that some things shouldn’t be saved….

And from the “DUH!” file:

casket-headlineHappy Weekend All!!

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He’s Still My Kid

wedelmom:

A year has passed since I published this post but the words are just as true today, Our son’s 22nd Birthday, as they were last year. Happy Birthday Firstborn – We Love You!

Originally posted on The View From A Slightly Twisted Angle:

I woke up this morning to a new reality: I have been a mother for half of my life.  Today is our oldest child’s 21st birthday.  Ok…so technically I was almost 22 when he was born, but you get the drift.  The drift is I’m getting old. (Those of you with great math skills have already figured that out.)   More than that, I have officially raised a child to adulthood.  Twenty-one years ago I wouldn’t have thought that was possible.  Twenty one years ago I had no idea what I was getting myself into. Twenty one years ago I didn’t know how cool it was going to be to watch my son grow into a man I respect.  Twenty-one years ago I didn’t realize a lot of things that I know today.

I’ve often said that the reason there are so many references and blessings upon the “firstborn” in…

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Wonderful Wondering Wednesday!

WonderingWednesday

Oh wondrous Wednesday! The day I get to purge my brain of all those questions that have been pinging around for a week or two.  The only down side is that I’m afraid one of these days I’ll purge them and there will be nothing left up there.  The upside is I am quite sure I can fill it up with useless thoughts again pretty quickly.

  1. Why is it so difficult for people to admit they are wrong?  I mean I get that  no one enjoys being wrong but do you really think anyone believes you are perfect?  Get therapy!
  2. Who came up with the phrase “lose a limb”?  It kind of sounds like it was misplaced somewhere.
  3. Was anyone aware that ring around the rosey was made up during the scarlet fever epidemic?  My childhood memories just got a little spooky.
  4. While I’m on the subject, who coined the bedtime prayer that ends “If I die before I wake I pray the Lord my soul to take…”?  Sweet dreams children!
  5. And who thought singing to a baby about falling in their cradle from a tree would calm them into sleep?  We are a warped society.
  6. Why do people drive like idiots around accident sites? Learn by example people! Put on your patient pants.
  7. Why is the one kid screaming their head off in the store always in the same aisle as me?
  8. Does anyone really believe you can reason with a screaming toddler? Really?
  9. Who decided that leggings were acceptable to wear as pants? No one needs to see all of that – buy a longer shirt!
  10. Why do we think that if we use a “nice” word that people won’t know we are really thinking the cuss word? I’m not two.
  11. Bonus for the day: Did you know they sell pancake batter in a bottle?  Really? Because adding the water to the mix is so taxing?  To quote my daughter: “If you can’t mix pancake batter you really just fail at life.”

Phew!  I feel so unloaded now!  Happy mid-week all!!

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Things You Shouldn’t Text (Or Tell) Your Mother

freaking-out

I was blissfully working yesterday
when I received a text from our oldest. “Hey Mom – Guess What?!”  Because I didn’t really have time to play the “guess really stupid things until he tells you” game, I simply replied, “What?” (Boring – I know.)  “I was sitting on my porch drinking coffee with Shannon and lightening hit her car and my truck.”  Okay – WHAT?!  A few frantic mother-texts later I deduced he was indeed fine, as was his truck, however it was his final text to me which caused concern: “It was the coolest thing that’s ever made me fear from my life.”  Now this boy has been my kid for almost 22 years. You’d think by now he’d have learned what information he should and shouldn’t share with his mother.  Upon arriving home I quizzed my husband to see if he too had received a similar set of texts.  With that half-smile “I am so amused” look that brings out the twinkle in his eye and made me fall in love with him (a look his eldest child also gets and I don’t find near as adorable I might add…) he replied, “Yep.  You do know he does that to get a rise out of you – right?”  Of course I know that.  Dang kid. Works every time.  Chuckling, my husband went on to say, “Look at the bright side: he gave you something to blog about.”  Have I mentioned the man is brilliant? (Even when he is annoying me by being right?) Without further ado, I present to you a list of things kids should never text – or say to – their mother. Some of these are gleaned from real-life experience.  Okay….most of them are.

  • “My arm is in a sling.”  (And then don’t reply when I text back.)
  • “Hey Mom!  They let me keep the glock!” (Before my gun control friend start: the kid had a summer internship as a guard at a women’s penitentiary.  He’s studying to be a cop.) While I’m on the subject…
  • “They put me on the maximum security floor. Some of these women are scary.”
  • “Do we have any super glue?”
  • “Remember your favorite mug?”
  • “I have a really cool new bruise.”
  • “We’re stopped on the highway. Someone hit the school van.”
  • “How do you get chocolate off the couch?”
  • “Did you know the vacuum sucks up rocks really well?”
  • “Chill Mom. No one was badly injured.”
  • “I’m bored.”
  • “Are you stopping at the store?”
  • “How much grease does it take to clog a drain?”
  • “How important is that knob thingy?”
  • “I’m okay Mom but you need to talk to the school nurse.”
  • “The fire is a few miles away mom. Relax”
  • “It’s a long story.”
  • “Do we have anything to eat?”
  • “Are we doing anything fun tonight?”
  • “How fast does hair grow back?”
  • “Before you yell Mom I can explain…”

and finally:

  • “You’ll never guess what I did today!”

And I wonder why I’m forced to color my grey hairs….

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