Monday, December 31, 2007

Out With the Old and In With the New

On this day last year, I wrote about the many blessings that we had enjoyed in 2006. I wrote about our health, our friends and family, our jobs and about how lucky I felt personally.

I still feel lucky. We have had some challenges in 2007. We have learned some hard lessons and been handed some great opportunities. We have experienced the deaths of family members, pets and friends. It was not always the easiest of years but I imagine that is what makes the easier years seem so much sweeter and, for that reason alone, I am loathe to complain.

I’m looking forward to 2008. I’m excited about my new career and about the people I will meet, the new friends I will make and the challenges that I will face. I’m looking forward to watching my daughter turn twelve and to my son turning ten (the first double-digit birthday is a milestone that cannot go unappreciated or uncelebrated).

I have no doubt that we will face obstacles along the way but I have faith that we will have joy along the path as well as the love, support and encouragement of family and friends.

So, bring it on, 2008. I think we’re ready for you.

And, speaking of friends, we are hosting a New Year's Eve party tonight and I have absolutely nothing done yet. And I have to go into the store to work on year end stuff.

You don't suppose I should make "will not procrastinate" a resolution for 2008, do you?

Friday, December 28, 2007

On the Mend

The Man-Cub’s antibiotics seem to be working their magic; his fever is all but gone and, the night before last, he got the best night of sleep that he has gotten in exactly one week. His cough is less severe and he is back to his normal lovable self, which is good what with me being on the verge of killing him for his insolence and all.

Of course, now The Girl is coughing.

Le sigh.

In a brighter bit of news, things are going swimmingly at the hardware store. I have all but mastered (please, please, please don’t let that statement jinx me God, thankyouverymuch) balancing the daily deposits and, yesterday, I had my first experience in crisis management when not one of the daily reports that I needed actually printed (thanks to my lovely husband who failed to print them before doing a software update on the server. Love you baby. Truly, I do. Please disregard anything to the contrary that I may have said recently. Ahem.). It all came out just fine and I now know how to pull “lost” documents out of the computer through a secret back door (my job, it sounds so covert and spy-ish). So, as I said, things are going swimmingly.

On the other hand, I have to tackle the year-end stuff here in just a few days and that is more than a wee bit frightening; although I’m sure I’ll do fine and, if not, I am fully capable of flipping hamburgers at the local McDonald’s and I am a personal friend of the owner so; Plan B, already in place.

Speaking of, I cannot believe that the year is almost over. Oh, I’m really rather glad that 2007 is coming to an end as it hasn’t been the most pleasant of years compared to say, 1996 or 2005 but, still, a whole year just flown by.


And, on the topic of flying; I gotta jet.

Duty calls.

Wednesday, December 26, 2007

Dear Santa,

Thank you so much for all the noisy toys that the kids got this year; they added a completely new dimension to our “quiet family Christmas”.

Thanks also for the double ear infection that you left for the Man-Cub; that was nice.

In addition, the doctor’s diagnosis of “crackling” in his lungs (which may-or may not-lead to pneumonia) went quite well with my sleepless night and the lovely stress headache that I found in my stocking.

Not to mention how well it all complimented the screaming tantrum that PMS gave me.

I am a lucky, lucky girl, indeed.

Until next year,


Monday, December 24, 2007

T'was the Night Day Before Christmas….

…and all through the house were kids so obnoxious; their mother did grouse.

And, by grouse, I mean totally lose her shit and threaten to call the emergency line at the North Pole to tell Santa not to bother with this house. Because, my good lord, could they be any louder? Could they possibly find one more toy to drag into the fort they have constructed in the living room and in which they intend to sleep tonight? Could the uncontrollable laughter and constant giggling become any more maniacal?

I’m guessing not but; the idea of being wrong terrifies me because I am one “Could you please settle down?!” away from making the front page of tomorrow’s newspaper. And, not in a good way.

I know! Merry Christmas!

Thank heavens Hugh is taking over the parenting duties for me for a bit while I head into the hardware store to make the daily deposit; the antics of our offspring fail to tap-dance on his nerves quite as effectively as they do on mine so he might just save our good reputation as kind and loving (non-homicidal) parents, after all.

On the other hand, the man is no saint and a loooong Christmas Eve stretches before us, with the kids becoming more and more agitated by the hour, no doubt.

Pray for us, I do not want to be responsible for bloodshed on the baby Jesus’s birthday.

With that; I wish you all a very merry Christmas!

Friday, December 21, 2007

Old Job Is Determined to Kill Me

I just got off the phone with one of my (former) Board members and he was not a happy camper. It seems that some bad mojo went down at last night’s City Council meeting and he is quite concerned about the future of our (his) program and, what exactly am I going to do about it?

Um, nothing?

In brighter news, I am officially done with my Christmas shopping. Everything has been wrapped, the cards have been sent and the treats baked (with the exception of two or three things that only I eat and, according to Mr. Scale; I don’t need to be eating them anyway). In short, I am ready for Monday night’s visit from the fat jolly old elf, himself.

Today I am working at the hardware store for a few hours before heading over to the Man-Cub’s classroom for his holiday party (with my ultra-delicious relish tray, gah!). Later this evening, we are attending a Christmas party at the Boys and Girls Club and then we are making food baskets to give to two families who might need a little extra something for the holidays; a new activity that we feel the kids are old enough to appreciate this year.

Tomorrow is Hugh’s birthday and he has chosen to go hunting at dawn. Whatever floats his boat, I guess. So, while he is out stalking Bambi, I am taking The Girl to the salon for her first “grown-up” hairstyle. She was scheduled for it earlier this week but my stylist got sick and we had to reschedule; needless to say, the anticipation is slowly eroding the child’s will to live and nine o’clock tomorrow morning cannot come soon enough. Let us just pray that she likes the finished product once all is said and done.

Speaking of things said and done, my phone is ringing and caller ID indicates that it is another of my (former) Board members.

Le, sigh.

That which does not kill us does make us stronger, right? If so, I should be practically bullet-proof by now.

Bullet-proof! Like a super hero. Oh, my gawd, that would totally make my nephew's day!

Meanwhile, I must don my secret identity and head to my mild mannered job at the hardware store so, yeah; that is all.

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Just Another Busy Day in Petticoat Junction

I finished my work at the store in less than four hours today, which gave me plenty of time to take The Girl to the pediatrician’s office for her third, and final, Gardasil shot. She will proudly tell you that she is now “one less”, just like in the commercial. One less what, she has no idea as we have not quite gotten around to discussing the nitty-gritty details of sexually transmitted diseases , yet but; she’s still quite pleased with herself.

After the appointment with the physician’s assistant and her needle o’ live virus, we headed to the home of one of the volunteers from Old Job. I installed a Lifeline unit for her, which is a community service that my woman’s club provides. We enjoyed a nice visit with her while installing the unit then we headed to the Hellmouth for yet more holiday shopping. I am officially one gift away from completely finishing my shopping (which is also one gift away from bankruptcy. According to Hugh, anyway).

While we were driving to the store, I checked my cell phone voicemail and was tickled by a message left by my four-year-old nephew who wanted to know who Wonder Woman was when she was not being Wonder Woman. I am, naturally, his primary source of information in these matters and happily returned his call (Diana Prince, in case you were wondering) and, to my sister I say; Irony, it’s what’s for dinner. Grab a fork and try not to choke on the bitterness.

Speaking of dinner, I finally decided what to serve for Christmas dinner and the winner is….ham! Thanks in no small part to the Police department who gave a maple-glazed spiral ham to each of it's officers. The Girl, she is delighted as only a ham-lover can be and my wallet is thankful for the gift as well; that possible bankruptcy may well be averted for yet another holiday season.

Since we were talking about The Girl, I should mention that, this evening; the Man-Cub and I made Christmas mice cookies while The Girl held an ice pack on the knot in her arm and cried about how the band aid was pulling her arm hair; she’s one less all right, one less able-bodied cookie baker. Hopefully the soreness will be gone by tomorrow as I may have to call upon her mad stirring skillz in the preparation of the Smores Brownies that I promised to bake for the PD Christmas party.

After all, they gave us a ham; we can hardly show up empty-handed, now.
Whatever, Ebeneezer

Day two at the hardware store and I’m already getting faster. By tomorrow, I will be running the store with one hand tied behind my back.

Or not.

Speaking of tying things up, Emily and Oscar are leaving for Illinois tomorrow to spend the holidays with Hugh’s sister and her family. You see? She was ready to bolt, I was right and, clearly; I should have tied her up sooner.

On a totally unrelated subject, I had a ninety-minute massage this morning. I did it as a gift to myself; like a reward for not going postal during my last two months of employment in Old Job. I deserved it and it felt good.

In other totally unrelated yet fascinating news, I received my treat assignment for the Man-Cub’s classroom Christmas party today; I am assigned to bring….wait for it….celery and carrot sticks.

What. The. Hell.

What manner of Christmas spirit is there for children to find in vegetables? I might as well just throw a lump of coal at the poor bastards and tell them that Santa does not exist and that Rudolph made for a mighty tasty venison. I mean really, bah-fucking-humbug, kids! Have a carrot!

So…because I am a Christmas rebel, I plan to make penguins out of black olives and cream cheese instead. Hey, olives are vegetables and, hopefully, the kids will find them somewhat entertaining. And, you know, rife with the Christmas spirit.

Celery and carrots my ass.

Monday, December 17, 2007

So It Begins

I spent my first day at the store today and, holy crap, do I have a lot to learn. I worked primarily on preparing the daily bank deposit, writing payroll checks and figuring out the weekly federal deposit and people, it took me practically forevvver.

My mother-in-law was patient as a saint with me and I appreciate that but I got the distinct feeling that she would bolt for the door if given half a chance. Now, should she escape, I would not be able to get her back for love nor money so, obviously, I cannot let that happen. At least, not until I feel more confident in my duties. On the bright side, it is a hardware store and rope is plentiful.

I’ll let that sink in for a moment.

In other news, I also found a bit of time today to finish my holiday shopping. I still need to do some wrapping (as opposed to rapping which I never do) and I haven’t purchased anything to serve for Christmas dinner yet but; I am a mere three batches of cookies away from checking all the items off my baking list so if all else fails, we can dine upon spritz cookies, toast our friends and family with egg nog and call it good.

And I'm pretty sure that’s what Jesus would do.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Annnd Scene….

My last day of work was very nice. The office staff had its holiday party and, as my going-away gift, presented me with a certificate for a live pine tree to be delivered and planted in the spring. This makes me happier than you might imagine since I have always wanted an evergreen that I could decorate with edibles for the birds at Christmastime. It was a very thoughtful gift and I was touched by the gesture.

The rather large monetary bonus that I also received wasn’t too shabby, either.

In the end, I did manage to clean out my office, procrastination be damned and, it wasn’t a bad as I had anticipated. I do have two boxes of crap with zero idea of where to place the contents therein but, as Scarlet O’Hara would say, I’ll think about that tomorrow.

Speaking of tomorrow, I start at the store immediately following my annual visit to the crotch doctor and I’m actually looking forward to it. To the time at the store, not to having my nether-regions mined for exploration. In case you were confused.

Today, Hugh and the Man-Cub are off on an elk hunt and The Girl, her best friend and I are making cookie dough truffles, Rocky Road, fudge and chocolate dipped pretzels; it is a very good thing that they both enjoy such endeavors because it gets lonely crafting chocolaty goodness all alone.

This evening, we are going out to dinner with the in-laws and, upon our return, will decorate the cut-sugar cookies that I baked and froze last weekend. Decorating these cookies is one of our most enjoyable family activities during the holidays and I am really looking forward to seeing what kind of alien/space monkey/smurf design my husband comes up with this year. And, as always, I will be grateful for having the opportunity to tease him mercilessly for his efforts.

Isn’t that what Christmas is all about?

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Take This Job And…

We will be interviewing candidates for my job all day today. This is round two of interviews and should give us a clear picture of whom we want to hire. It has been a long process and I am happy to see it coming to an end. Oh, I still have ninety-five percent of my crap to clean out of my office but I’m a procrastinator of the finest quality so that really comes as no surprise and I figure I have a good two weeks before the new person comes in, anyway. Plenty of "vacation" time to casually deal with the little stuff as well as to make my transition less stressful and only somewhat fraught with angst.

Not that I would know anything about angst.

Ahem. Sooo, in between interviews, we are closing the office to attend memorial services for the husband of one of our best volunteers and I still have shopping to do for tomorrow’s small staff Christmas party and gift exchange; the day should go by quite quickly.

Tomorrow night our small town is hosting its annual holiday light parade and both of the kids plan to participate. After the parade, The Girl has a dance at the Middle School and I am planning to chaperone for the first hour (Surreptitiously and incognito, of course; from a dark corner while wearing sunglasses and a red hooker wig. Because I wouldn’t want to embarrass her or anything.).

This time of the year is always busy but, for obvious reasons, I feel as though we are on fast-forward and I’m missing out on the subtle joys of the season, which sucks. On the other hand, I have all next week to lounge about like a lady of leisure so, maybe I can make up for lost time.

From my couch. With bon-bons.

Or, you know, I'll jump in and start my new life at the store. Either way, next week looks pretty good to me.

You know, except for the part where I have to clean all that crap out of my office and find somewhere to put it at home. Talk about angst.

Monday, December 10, 2007

The End Is Nigh

Official countdown to my last day of work: Five. Can I get a yee-haw!

The kids and I did all manner of Christmas-y things this weekend including a trek to the hills with Jana and Co. to cut a Christmas tree. Last week was Kaley’s birthday and this was how she wanted to celebrate, by dragging us into the wilderness to freeze our butts off while committing tree murder.

You gotta love that kid.

I have found that, in situations such as these, a little hot cocoa goes a long way in making things right, especially when said cocoa is laced liberally with peppermint schnapps.
Also, a little bit of marshmallow and some rice krispie treats go a looong way in making frozen kids happy. In short, we had a great time.

Sunday, we baked cut sugar cookies, which are a huge part of our Christmas traditions; I think I am finally getting in the mood which should make my mother breathe a little bit easier (see Mom? Not depressed! Just a little over-whelmed, lately).

When the last of the cookies had been stored safely in the freezer, I took the kids to the paint-it-yourself pottery place. I painted a “Cookies for Santa” plate (see! Christmas spirit!), the Girl painted a dragonfly trinket box as a gift for Brandon’s mom and the Man-Cub painted a piggy bank shaped like a football for himself (the spirit of giving, it appears, arrives later for some than for others; we’re working on it).

Today, I am putting off the task of cleaning out my office; it is amazing and, somewhat dismaying; how much crap one accumulates after almost nine years in the same job.

Tonight, I have my Board Christmas dinner followed by a wicked case of heartburn (I’m guessing).

But, that's ok.
Only five more days to go.

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Mistletoe Monger

While getting my hair cut at the salon yesterday, I was approached by a man bearing a gaily festooned basket full of fresh mistletoe. I did not know such a thing existed in our area; I usually get my mistletoe at the Hellmouth where it comes in a plastic sleeve and consists of two small branches; shocking green in color and ornamented with plastic faux berries. Real mistletoe? Is light green with white non-faux berries and is quite lovely, actually. Having an opportunity to buy it from a man with a Christmas basket draped over his arm and a Santa hat on his head almost made me weep with pleasure.


I did actually weep moments later when I spied the new OPI display at the cash register. Holiday colors! With awesome names! On sale! Buy one-get-one-half-off! So, I bought four which was actually like buying three and getting one for free!

It is an illness, do not judge me!

So, I took my nicely trimmed head of hair home, hung up the mistletoe and painted my toenails with Pretty at the Premiere.

People, it does not take much to make me happy.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

I Blame the Egg Nog

This morning I stopped at the convenience store for my morning coffee. As I was checking out the cashier asked me if I had gas and it took me almost a full second to realize that what she meant was; was I buying gas? In that split second I was completely offended by the personal nature of her question.

And, for the record I was not buying gas.

I did have a bit of gas but that is neither here nor there.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

And It Didn’t Even Require a Visit From the Ghost of Christmas Past

The Christmas spirit finally found me last night while I was in the local paint-you-own-pottery store with twenty-six Boy Scouts, supervising the painting of twenty-six ornaments. Christmas Spirit, it seems, will find you in the most illogical of circumstance and location.

So, after the ornament paint-a-thon, I went home, busted out the mixing bowls and proceeded to stir up a batch of Son-in-Law cookies (which would be my mother’s special recipe for oatmeal raisin cookies, thus christened because two-out-of-three Sons-in-Law recommend them. Just in case your enquiring mind wanted to know).

Before they go to sleep tonight, the children will place their letters to Santa under their pillows in accordance with our St. Nicholas eve tradition. With any luck, Santa’s elves will prove more trustworthy than that damn Tooth Fairy, chocolates will replace the letters by morning and a lovely trail of Elf Dust will lead from windowsill to bed in each child’s bedroom.

Because I have the Spirit, man!

Today was nice

(I change topics faster than Britney Spears changes wigs, don’t I? Yes, yes I do)

My boss and eight members of my Board of Directors whisked me away by limousine to the Country Club for a fancy lunch. They gave me pink roses and jewelry and made speeches about how awesome I am and about how much they will miss having me around; it was like a first date only better.

I should totally quit my job more often. Also, my head may be fifty percent larger than it was yesterday.

But, look, Ma; no more Bah-Humbug!

*Click on photo to enlarge. But, if you do, please for the love of god, disregard the tacky trailer park in the background because, nothing says classy like a limo parked in front of a trailer park. Or, I guess that would be klassy.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007

The Christmas Newsletter No One Ever Sends

Dear Family and Friends,

Seasons greetings! I hope this letter finds you all doing well, recovering from all those ailments, addictions and afflictions that you wrote to us about last year!

We are doing great! The kids are recovering quite nicely from their recent case of lice and the school has assured us that they can return as soon as the New Year! This is excellent news since the boy is only a few missed assignments away from being held back for another year; whew! Dodged that bullet!

The girl is looking forward to returning to the sixth grade but, in the meanwhile, has shown a great deal of creativity in decorating her Home Monitoring Ankle bracelet; glitter pens are amazing!

The husband is finally home from the latest stint in rehab and we really think it might stick this time. He even applied for a job down at the landfill, fingers crossed!

I am keeping busy with my community service. I feel so rewarded! And my parole officer has said that I am a credit to the program.

Hope the New Year is as good to us as this year has been. Love to you all and, I hope Santa brings you everything you wished for; I asked for a sympathetic judge at my next hearing, keep your fingers crossed for me!


Monday, December 03, 2007

All I Want For Christmas Is a Refill of My Migraine Rx

Ah, the annual quest to take the perfect Christmas card picture! Migraine fodder if ever there was and, this year was no exception. Thank goodness for my Imitrex inhaler as it was the only thing standing between me and a date with the master bathroom toilet.

On the other hand, whew; Christmas cards done for another year! Except, I can’t decide which design to order so, a little help here? Which card do you like better? Inquiring minds want to know.

I wish I could say the weekend was productive in ways other than wrestling my children into acceptable holiday poses but, not so much.

I did manage to get the last of the evergreen garland hung around the porch and I even found the energy to festoon it with huge red bows but, when it came time to start my holiday baking, I just wasn’t that into it and, like, I’m sorry chocolate chippers, it isn’t you, it’s me. I hope we can still be friends.

Hopefully, tonight; I will find the magic energy reserves necessary to begin properly preparing for the season. I have a recipe for chocolate mice that the children are clamoring for and I promised that we could try them this year.

Plus, chocolate is good for you and, I have no doubt, will one day be scientifically proven to prevent migraines. In the meantime, did I mention, thank goodness for Imitrex?

Thursday, November 29, 2007

If It Weren’t For Negative Energy I’d Have No Energy At All

My birthday was very nice. Hugh and the children gifted me with a most awesome picnic cooler-on-wheels-gizmo. It comes with plates, utensils, wine glasses, napkins, a pewter wine stopper, a cheese board and a fancy set of cheese knives, very cool.

Hugh also risked hypothermia (not to mention his neck) to hang my Christmas lights around the porch. They look quite lovely even if he did run out of lights a mere fifteen feet from finishing (note to self: check attic for missing box of holiday lights).

I have been quite productive today. I cleaned out two filing cabinets, all of my desk drawers and a corner of my office storage room. I hope the new person appreciates the efforts and, especially the fact that I am surrendering to him, or to her; the ancient laminating machine that my predecessor passed along to me six years ago. It’s still functionable and the smell of burning plastic will be a nice reminder of my service to the cause lo these many years.

Tonight, I have my last political function as a ward of the bureaucracy; a Town Hall meeting to present the results of a large project that I have spent the last year working on. It is my coup de grace and had damn well better be well attended and hella well appreciated.

In other crappy news; the Man-Cub lost the privilege of attending after school programs yesterday following a phone call that I received from the program coordinator. Seems the child finally caved in to the taunting of the resident bully by retaliating with some name calling and, possibly, an Indian burn to the little bastard's arm. Since Hugh and I have always counseled our kids to be the bigger person and to walk away from fights; we had no choice but to punish the Cub by taking away his program time.

On the other hand, since he has been on the receiving end of the little bully-in-question’s crap since the beginning of the school year and has done a stellar job of ignoring the little asshole up til now; I do feel badly about the punishment.

Also, I kind of hope that fucking Indian burn hurt.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

You Say It’s Your Birthday?

It’s my birthday, too! Or, more accurately, it is the tenth anniversary of my twenty-ninth birthday. I think I’m holding up pretty well for having celebrated that particular milestone ten times now. Well, eleven times if you want to be specific. You all know what that means, don’t you? I’m knocking on the door to the big 4-0; I predict that, this time next year I will be prostrate on the ground crying for my lost youth and bemoaning my sad entry into middle age.

But, that’s next year, this year I’m going to party like its 1999, which, incidentally, was the second anniversary of my twenty-ninth birthday. Rock on!

Wow! I sound remarkably chipper this morning. One would think that I have completely gotten over the fact that my dog died yesterday. I haven’t but, humor is my defense mechanism and my birthday present to myself is a day without tears so, let’s think happy thoughts!

You know what I always find amusing? Dissecting my stats and, particularly, Google search terms that bring people to this blog; the most prevalent being searches for information on the Miss Congeniality movie, starring everyone’s favorite girl next door, Sandra Bullock.

Questions regarding the care and feeding of Amish Friendship Bread feature highly as well and, what can I say people; I sucked at the Friendship Bread, please for the love of the Plain People, find a more reliable source of information. That said; to the individual who Googled the phrase “Is my friendship bread doomed?” Yes, yes it is.

And, all you poor souls who got here because you were searching for Tooth Fairy letterhead (and, Christ on a cracker, there are a lot of you); I sympathize with your plight because, yeah, been there, done that, didn’t get the tee-shirt but I did create the letterhead and, if you email me I might just part with a PDF file. You’re welcome and, never fear, you are not a terrible parent. You are a sucky Tooth Fairy but it appears, we are legion.

A few misguided souls found this blog by searching for Hugh Boobies and I, um, yeah….I have no words. My Hugh doesn’t have boobies because he is a man. If he had boobies they would be Man Boobs or Moobies if you will and, um, he doesn’t so, move along you pervs.

Three people arrived via a search for Elephantigo. My advice; see a doctor, folks.

Searches for OPI nail polish landed a number of people here as well and, hello y’all! State your name and admit your addiction; it’s the first step in the recovery process.

I had one search for Debbie Feiger. If that was my Debbie, hey girlfriend! Where you been since the second grade? Call me!

Some of the search terms that have landed people here are so bizarre, I am lost for an explanation but, for the most part I find the process quite humorous and today it has proven to be quite a good distraction from my depression.

Now, with just a smidgen of Retail Therapy courtesy of the gift card bestowed upon me by my colleagues plus a bite (or ten) of the pink frosted donut that they presented to me this morning; I’ll be all good to go.

I can think of far worse ways to spend the anniversary of my twenty-ninth birthday.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Fragile Circle

"We who choose to surround ourselves with lives even more temporary than our own, live within a fragile circle, easily and often breached. Unable to accept its awful gaps, we still would live no other way. We cherish memory as the only certain immortality, never fully understanding the necessary plan."
Irving Townsend.
Sleep well, Jake.

Monday, November 26, 2007

I am Having a Grinchtastic Day!

Our time in Mayberry went by far too quickly and here I am, back in the real world. My parents, sisters, brothers-in-law, Hugh and I took full advantage of the mini-vacation of course, with two-count ‘em, two-trips to the movies (Fred Claus and Enchanted), a little shopping (ok, the brothers-in-law and Hugh didn’t so much participate in that particular activity), eating until we thought we might burst (in which Hugh and the brothers-in-law most certainly were active participants) and watching our various off-spring run about the house like maniacs hopped up on the crack.

It is one of the few occasions where we, as parents, put aside the rules and routines and actively encourage our kids to stay up late, sleep in, engage in snowball fights of epic proportions, kiss dogs on the mouth (eww, sister), and to eat foods containing absolutely nothing of nutritive value. Of course, we do it all in the name of family.

But, alas, the fun had to come to an end and here I am, back to the grind.

With Thanksgiving over, I am struggling to get in the Christmas spirit. I’m not sure why I am having such a hard time getting with the program this year but I really am. The kids and I did manage to decorate the Christmas tree yesterday. It didn’t do much to help with my mood however because, Hugh, who usually helps with the endeavor was busy tending to our nine-year old black lab, Jake, who had refused to eat for my mother-in-law while we were out of town. He has gone rapidly downhill, health wise, since and we have no idea what could be wrong. All I know is that he has lost a frightening amount of weight and his eyes are not the eyes of my usually boisterous and somewhat addle-brained loveable mutt. And I am scared.

Hugh is with him at our vet’s office as I type this. The vet is hoping to rule out poisoning and, since the dog was kenneled while we were out of town, with nothing toxic within reach; I have a hard time thinking that poison is the cause. So of course I’m worried and waiting anxiously for Hugh’s call.

Later today, I am meeting with the committee charged with the task of hiring my replacement. We are going to go over the twenty or so resumes that we have received to determine whom to interview in the coming days. I can think of better ways to spend my afternoon because I’m just not that into it.

It’s kind of like breaking up with an old boyfriend.

My job and I, we had some good times. We looked good on each other and, when the spark died; it was time to move on. Now, I have to help pick out the new girlfriend and that? Is weird. She can’t be prettier than me but, on the other hand, she can’t be ugly because, what does that say about my job’s taste in girls? I mean, really.

You can see my dilemma.

Or, maybe you can’t. Either way.

Wow. This post certainly is spiraling down the drain of despair, isn’t it?

Perhaps I should quit while I'm ahead.

Oh, yes, well... too late. Carry on, then.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Memories of Thanksgivings Past

The turkey is roasting, stuffed to the limit with my mother’s special dressing. The entire house smells like every Thanksgiving and Christmas in my memory. I can hardly wait to eat and, the beauty of it all is; I didn’t have to cook.

That right there is something to be grateful for.

The first Thanksgiving dinner that I ever cooked was for-and with-my college roommates. We were all scheduled to leave campus for our respective hometowns to spend the holiday with our families and wanted to mark the day together before we did so, we planned an elaborate celebration for the weekend before the break. It was a learning experience for all of us and, in doing it; we each gained an appreciation for our mothers or grandmothers who had cooked before us.

I was in charge of the turkey and stuffing and I must have made fifteen calls to my mother to ask questions and for clarification on answers to questions that she had already given me.

My roommates each made their own dishes and we served the meal to the boys from downstairs. The boys, I should add, were from the East Coast, Boston, I believe. They were city boys reveling in the “country life” they were finding in Colorado and we got a huge kick out of watching their experiments.

For example, the previous spring, the boys had attended the annual “Chick Days “event at the local farm implement store (not quite sure they found the “chicks” they were expecting, exactly) and had become the proud owners of a baby chick, a duckling and a small turkey, pets they had grown to love in the months leading up to Thanksgiving so; our choice of the traditional Thanksgiving meal probably appeared somewhat insensitive as far as they were concerned. Of course, that didn’t stop them from eating like they hadn’t had anything but Ramen in months.

Which, in all honesty, they probably hadn’t.

That Thanksgiving remains one of my favorite memories of the holiday. I had a lot to be thankful for and, happily, I still do, I still count my roommates among my best friends and, someday, I think we all hope to reconnect with the boys from Boston.

We won’t be reconnecting with their chicks, however because, after realizing how ridiculous an idea it was to try to raise poultry in a two-bedroom apartment (the mess, good Lord); the boys served them for dinner the following Thanksgiving.

True story.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Over the River and Through the Woods

This afternoon, we are making the trip to my parent’s house for the holiday weekend. Last night The Girl told me that she is both excited to go and not excited to go and, I assumed what she meant was that she didn’t want to leave her friends. She agreed that she would miss them but assured me that what she really meant was that, while she is super-excited to see her grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins, she totally dreads the prospect of spending three hours in the car, on a trip that often makes her carsick.

I can actually relate to both scenarios; I used to hate to travel to Texas to visit my paternal grandparents during the holidays; I loved my grandparents but missed my friends (especially around high school age) and the long drive often left me nauseous (it didn’t help matters that my grandmother was, um, not much of a cook and that her turkey stuffing was not at all like my mother’s. Cornbread? In stuffing? Who had ever heard of such a thing? It wasn’t until I was an adult and had cornbread stuffing made the right way that I garnered an appreciation for the taste and, as usual, I digress).

My point is; the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.

In true Colorado style, the weather, which has held steady at a lovely sixty degrees throughout the entire month, is predicted to turn completely foul for the weekend. I am hoping that, by leaving this afternoon, we will miss the worst of the storm and that I won’t have to drive in snow because, if there is anything worse than having a carsick child, it is having a carsick child during a three-hour drive in a blizzard.

Cross your fingers for us and, if all goes well; I’ll be blogging live from Mayberry this time tomorrow.

Monday, November 19, 2007

He Just Can’t Take Me Anywhere

Friday night, Hugh and I attended a charity function sponsored by my service club. We go every year and, every year until this one, I have abstained from drinking the wine.

Why would I abstain from the goodness that is the fermented juice of the crushed grape, you ask? Because, due to my job, I was considered a public figure and I just didn’t think it appropriate for a public figure to get her drunk on at a fundraiser for a children’s charity.

Of course, since I announced my intention to enter the private sector, all that has changed and I felt completely justified in having a small glass of wine at the event.

This became two small glasses…

…this became a rather large glass…

…followed by another rather large glass…

…and so on.

It was very good wine and, I’m fairly certain that I had a good time. I do remember having a delightful conversation with a young couple for whom Hugh had ordered kitchen cabinets a while back. It was a lengthy conversation, I am told. Also, if one didn’t know better, they might assume that I had a string hanging from my back and my name was Miss Chatty. But, you can call me Cathy.

I didn’t care. I was having fun and, if the cost of that fun included Hugh getting a great deal of amusement at my expense, well, it was a price I was willing to pay. Because, as I said, it was very good wine.

On the other hand, the part where I blatantly stalked a woman around the event simply because I knew that I knew her and could not for the life of me place her-a fact that irritated me to the point of insanity- may have been slightly over the top.

I'm sure you'll be relieved to know that I was eventually able to identify her as a teller at the post office where I pick up my business mail. You'll also be relived to know that I’m pretty sure she didn’t recognize me so my cover as an upstanding public figure remains intact.

Despite the very good wine.

How good? Good enough for me to not have a hangover at all the next day even though I passed out fell asleep immediately upon returning home from the event (I meant to sleep in my sweat bottoms, honestly). In fact, I felt so good on Saturday; I wrangled all five huge boxes of my Christmas village pieces down from the attic and set the village up in record time.

I also cleaned the house, shopped for groceries, entertained the Man-Cub while The Girl was away at a sleep-over and provided sparkling conversation at dinner. In short, I should drink very good wine more often.

And, um, we’ll just forget about that unfortunate stalking incident, mkay?

<---------Not drunk. Not drunk at all.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Hey! Who Hit Fast Forward?

Thanksgiving is a week from today.

(All hail her royal highness, Princess Obvious! Thank you, thank you very much)

Now, I am all for roasted turkey and mashed potatoes smothered in my mother’s gravy….gaaarggg….graaaavy….but!

Seriously; a week?! How did that happen? Better yet, where has this year gone? Next weekend I will be decorating the Christmas tree and hanging freaking mistletoe in every doorway, and; didn’t I just kiss the UPS man and un-decorate the tree like, yesterday?

I could have sworn I did.

Well, the tree part anyway. Our UPS man is actually a UPS woman and I’m just not that attracted to her.

Where was I? Oh, yes...a week, people! Where does the time go?

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

That’s Just Wrong

Yesterday, I wrote about a car-jacking that had taken place near our community and specifically about the measures taken to apprehend the suspect (Cop Talk 101); measures which included full-on use of every available law enforcement officer within a twenty mile radius of our town, two helicopters patrolling overhead for six hours, the services of two tracking dogs and the use of the Reverse 911 phone system to alert the residents of our fair city as to the possible danger lurking outside their doors.

Can you imagine the cost involved in such efforts?

Well, let me tell you; somewhere in the neighborhood of $30,000. 00. That’s thirty thousand dollars. American. US currency. Thirty-thousand.

Guess who pays that bill, generally speaking? We do. The tax payers. It’s a price that we are willing to pay for a sense of security and well-being within the walls of our homes.

We get a deal this time, though. This time the entire bill is going to the supposed "victim" of the alleged "car-jacking"; a teenager who, you’ll never guess; made the whole thing up.


I am outraged.

Thirty-thousand, schmirty-thousand, I missed my weekly Jacuzzi bath, people!

You can't put a price on that.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Danger Will Robinson! Danger!

For living in such a small, safe community, my weekend was unusually fraught with peril. Actual peril.

Friday, Hugh and I purchased a new flat screen television to replace the television that had been with us since the early years of our marriage. Upon finalizing the purchase, Hugh loaded the new television into the back of the Tahoe and sent me merrily on my way back to work while he drove in the opposite direction to deliver cabinets to a nearby housing development.

By the time I got home at the end of the day, I had completely forgotten about the rather huge box in the back of the car and was therefore quite shocked when I opened the rear door only to have the behemoth television box leap out of the rear cargo area clearly intent on doing me harm.

I narrowly avoided being crushed by my new electronics, is what I am saying. See? Peril. In my own garage.

Saturday, I attended a fancy-pants charity event at the local golf course where I discovered, to my horror, that my modeling service would include walking down a circular staircase while wearing four inch heels. And, skin tight dresses. Dresses with trains.

And, four inch heels; did I mention the four inch heels?

People. Walking while chewing gum has been my undoing on more occasions than I like to admit so you can imagine the anxiety produced by this particular task but; I did it. I’m not saying I did it well but, I did it. Panicking the entire fucking time, I assure you.

All that peril pales in comparison to my Sunday morning shopping trip with The Girl, though.

How could a holiday shopping spree with a pre-pubescent girl be at all perilous, you ask?

You try shopping with a pre-pubescent girl who is all kinds of jacked up on the Starbucks sometimes, my friend, and then ask that question. I dare you.

Because, if I thought my daughter talked a lot before the Grande peppermint mocha (and, I did), the volume and rapidity of conversation that followed its consumption was enough to blow my mind.

Pre-pubescent girls + Caffeine = a combination not to be trifled with.

Try it sometime. At your peril.

Speaking of pre-pubescence and things fraught with peril, this morning, The Girl mistook the pattern in her underwear for a blood smear and freaked the fuck right out. We are talking shower scene from Carrie freak-out, here. It took me a good minute to calm her down enough to realize-and to laugh at-her mistake.

On an aside, I hope to God she is at home when she does eventually start her period because that type of reaction happening in school would scar every sixth-grade boy for life. Some of the girls, too, probably. Hell, I’m an adult and I’m scarred.

And, I digress.

Anyway, last night we capped off the Weekend o’ Peril with a virtual lock-down of our small community when a carjacker from a town to the North of us ended up on our streets after the car ran out of gas. The owner of the car, who had been along for the ride, was unhurt and able to give a pretty good description of the carjacker as well as to indicate the direction he took off in. So, of course, the entire local police department, sheriff’s department, a tracking dog and two helicopters were dispatched to hunt him down.

Like an episode of COPS, minus the soundtrack.

And, I would say that it was exciting but it wasn’t, really.

In fact, it was a total buzz-kill for me since Hugh enthusiastically volunteered was required to join the manhunt and I was forced to forgo my usual Sunday night soak in the Jacuzzi tub.

I mean, I could have taken the bath, I suppose but; I was just the teensy-tinsiest bit afraid that the car-jacker would choose our house to break into and, I theorized, if that happened he would naturally try to steal my new television set.

People, I did not escape death at the hands of that electronic bitch just to hand it over to the first thug who comes along; I was fully prepared to beat him bloody with a four inch heel while screaming like a pre-pubescent girl who just saw blood in her panties for the first time if that was what it took to protect that television set from harm.

I mean, there is peril and then there are priorities.

Thus endeth the Weekend o' Peril.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Friday, Glorious, Friday!

This week has been gruesome and I am happy to be rid of it.

I’ll be happy to be done with its next five brothers as well. That’s right! Only five more weeks of working for da man! Then, I can drop all pretense of political correctness and say exactly what I like without first running it by the tiny censor inside my brain*. My mouth is looking forward to having free reign and my brain censor; she is tired and looking forward to a vacation. Tahiti, perhaps.

On a related and rather sad note, do you know what it takes for me to lose all respect for another human being whom I had previously held in very high regard? That person making a nasty slur against the intelligence of another person whom I happen to respect a great deal. Just one bitter, nasty statement is enough to undo eight years of respect. Wow. Who knew?

Moving on.

I don’t have any big plans for the weekend. I am modeling at a charity fashion show Saturday night. The event takes place at the country club of one of our nicer golf courses so it should be fancy, if not fun.

(which reminds me; I should probably break out the hair dye and deal with the silver streak in my hair, skunk is probably not the best look for the runway. )

The rest of my time will be taken up with the usual mundane household chores as well as some scrapbooking. The excitement, it is overwhelming.

Of course, I’ll take doing mundane household chores over tromping through political bullshit, any day.

*To clarify: the censor, she is tiny; my brain? Huge. Like, seriously, yoooge.
I'm just sayin'.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

As Long As She Doesn't Drink the Kool-Aid

Yesterday The Girl called me from school to tell me that she had joined the band. Her tone of voice was a twee bit defensive; better suited to declaring that she had joined a cult than a program included in the school curriculum. It was almost as though she was worried that, upon hearing her declaration, I would immediately forbid her doing it.

And, you know, hire deprogrammers to throw her ass in a windowless van right in front of all her classmates.

Ok, that would be cool.

And, I digress.

So, I am not a musical person but, as I may have mentioned (ten or twenty times), I participated in band when I was in High School and it was a great experience so; I have no idea why she might suspect that I would be anything but pleased.

Kids, they are weird.

Anyway, I asked her what instrument she was thinking of playing and braced myself for her response (drums? Are you sure you wouldn’t rather join that cult, hon?). To my relief, she thought that the flute would be her chosen instrument and I heartily approve. For one thing, I can actually see her playing the flute.

In fact, was she ever called upon to represent an animated instrument in a Disney cartoon; she could totally be a flute. She is long and thin, delicate and, you know, able to screech at a pitch that a flute would have no difficulty in producing.

What? You don’t assign animated characters to people you see in everyday life? You have never, for example, while trapped in an endless ballet class; envisioned your child’s ballet instructor as a purple hippopotamus in a hot pink tutu as she led the class in a demi-plié series at the barre? No?

You lack imagination, my friends.

(Also, in the interest of full disclosure I should mention that my son is a dead ringer for Mowgli, the jungle boy which, hello, Man-Cub, like, duh! Also, my father is totally Baloo. Not that he knows that, but, there ya go. Oh. I guess he knows it now. Hi, Dad!)


Yeah, The Girl is joining the band. I hope she has a talent for the flute and an interest in sticking with band throughout her school years.

Because I am totally looking forward to chaperoning band trips; I know what goes on on those trips.

Monday, November 05, 2007

Back at Work


That is all.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

I Have Seen the Future and I Am Scared

Friday afternoon, The Girl attended her first Middle School dance. She and her friends had been looking forward to this rite of passage for weeks; borrowing clothing from one another and brutally dissecting each other’s dance moves, hoping to stamp out any sign of dorkiness.

The Girl was particularly concerned with the correct way to slow dance because- you might want to sit down for this- she has a boyfriend. I’m sorry I did not tell you sooner, internet but, it is a recent development, which, by the way, has proven somewhat stressful to the child’s father. Me, on the other hand? I am totally fine with it because I am Cool Mom, la, la, la,…no problems here.

Luckily, the boy in question is the son of a friend and Hugh has coached him in wrestling for several years. In addition, according to my husband, the boy is terrified of him. I think it is ridiculous to take pleasure in a young boy’s fear but am willing to overlook it, under the circumstances.

Anyway, Friday afternoon The Girl called to ask if I would drive over to the school to take pictures of her and her friends. I strongly suspected that she wanted a picture of her and the boy so I went. For the record, the child did not appear to be in the least bit intimidated by me; posing obediently and politely for a picture with The Girl, in fact, it was all so sweet; I thought I might be developing a cavity right there.

She is growing up so fast.

Also, isn't he dreamy?

But, let's get to the scary part.
Yesterday I took The Girl and her best friend to the mall for some early Christmas shopping. The girls wanted to go to Hot Topic so we did and, lord gawd almighty, I am scarred for life, people. The thought of my sweet precious baby shopping at that store on a regular basis shakes me to the very core of my being. I mean, I know I joke around about her eventually turning Goth and all that but, Christ on a cracker, if that really happens; my soul will shrivel and die.

On the other hand, at least I will know where to shop so, Christmas and birthdays will be a breeze.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

Halloween Recap
I cannot believe the Annual Stay at Home Mother Project is almost over; the days have gone by so quickly.

Tuesday was taken up with work at the store as well as what has come to be known as The Great Pie Fiasco of 2007. Why? Allow me to illustrate:

A. Not enough volunteers to sort and organize the pies.

B. Too many parents who neglected to follow the procedure for picking up their child’s pie order, instead grabbing whatever they happened to see and,

C. Not enough supervision of the whole process.

Also, remember when I said that I was expecting about three thousand pies? I was a bit off; the kids sold a total of 52, 000 pies. Not kidding, fifty-two thousand pies. Moreover, we had to unload them from the refrigerated truck in which they arrived so, my arms are still sore. Oh, and I broke a nail. I know! Tragedy!

Of course, as the major fundraiser done by our school, it was totally worth it, broken nail and all. Because, 52,000 pies=major money for field trips and playground equipment and after all, it's all about the children.

(Please remind me of that when I am making excuses not to volunteer for the Great Pie Fiasco 2008, kay? Thanks!)

On a different note, yesterday’s pre-school costume contest proved just as agonizing as I had feared; the sheer number of costumes was amazing and the variety astounding. Thank goodness, we had plenty of free cookies with which to comfort the kids (parents) who failed to win prizes.

After the costume contest, I went to the Man-Cub’s classroom party, armed with two and a half dozen pumpkin fudge swirl cupcakes frosted with dark chocolate. The cupcakes were a huge hit with the kids but my favorite part of the party, personally, was watching the costume parade, especially when the teachers paraded in their costumes.

The third grade teachers dressed as the characters from Alice in Wonderland complete with Tweedle-Dee and Tweedle-Dum, the Queen of Hearts, Alice and the Cheshire Cat.

The Fifth grade teachers chose The Wizard of Oz , including the Tin Woodman, the Cowardly Lion, Dorothy, the Scarecrow and a flying monkey. A flying monkey, people! Awesome!

The second grade teachers dressed as the characters from Little Red Riding Hood and the first and fourth grade teachers garnered loud boos from the children (parents) for failing to dress up at all.

After the party, the Cub and I reverse Trick-or-Treated at the hardware store; handing out the last of our cupcakes before heading home to make dinner before Jana and the kids arrived. For the record, this was the best Halloween dinner that I have ever made.

For obvious reasons.

After dinner we Trick-or-Treated around the neighborhood and attended the local haunted house, which had been postponed from the night before due to a small fire in the building (note to teenagers decorating for a haunted house; never leave flammable materials on a heat register).

The kids enjoyed the experience and, by the time we got back to the house they were more than happy to sort through their candy and relax while the adults spent some quality time handing out candy to the remaining Trick-or-Treaters who, by the way, declared Hugh’s decorations the best they had ever seen.

I have no doubt.

Another Halloween successfully completed.
(Click on photos for larger view)

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Zorro says....

Stay safe.

The Dread Pirate Not-Roberts says...

Arrrrg, listen to Zorro.

After all, you wouldn't want to lose your head.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

It’s Alll Good

I just finished my second day at the hardware store, a day that consisted of approximately three and a half hours of work;. I could totally get used to this.

Tonight Hugh and I are taking the kids to a haunted house run by a local non-profit group. I doubt it will be terribly scary but it should be fun, nevertheless. After the haunted house, we are planning to carve pumpkins.

Every year, Hugh carves an artificial pumpkin into some ridiculously elaborate design. This year, The Girl got to chose the design and she picked a witch stirring a large cauldron; it should be awesome.

While Hugh masters his pumpkin with his Dremel tool and the kids gut their pumpkins, I rinse and season the seeds for roasting. I’m not a huge fan of pumpkin seeds but am in the minority in that regard among my family members.

Now, I am off to the school to help sort and organize frozen pies; I fear for the health and welfare of my fingertips but I’m still looking forward to helping.

I know, I find it shocking, too.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Cruising Along on the Learning Curve

I started my training at the hardware store today and was pleased to find it less overwhelming than I originally feared. That isn’t to say that it wasn’t at all overwhelming, just not quite as overwhelming as I had feared. Of course, it will take some time to learn all there is to know but I think I will enjoy the ride.

The Man-Cub had his last flag football game this evening and his team won, handily. That makes them undefeated (except for two tied games which, how do you count ties? I do not know). I am proud of the Cub and relieved to have the season over and done with; sitting outside in the cold is not my idea of heaven. I know; I am such a delicate flower.

Speaking of delicate flowers, The Girl will be attending her first school dance this Friday and she has made it quite clear that she is not interested in having her father or me at the event. You have no idea how much fun it is to tell her that we are going to be there just to watch her head spin. You know, delicately.

On the topic of head spinning, Halloween is just around the corner. I have already told Emily that I won’t be working at the hardware store that day because I have committed to judging costumes at the community pre-school costume contest as well as to supervising the Man-Cub’s class party. I’m looking forward to the latter and dreading the former; do you have any idea how hard it is to pick a favorite costume among hundreds of adorably costumed infants and toddlers? It. Is. Hard.

Halloween night, Jana and the kids are joining us for dinner and trick-or-treating and to hand out candy to the rest of the neighborhood children so at least I have something to look forward to after breaking the hearts of all those kids (and their parents who, let’s face it; made all those freaking adorable costumes). Anyway, we are all looking forward to it.

Right now, I’m looking forward to watching the latest episode of Heroes before falling into bed and sinking into a coma.

The learning curve done tuckered me out.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Nobody Said It Would Be This Hard

I am a failure at the caramel apple thing, y’all. Oh, I know what you’re thinking; how hard can it be? Really, it’s simple, right? I mean, you melt the caramels, shove a Popsicle stick into an apple, dunk the whole deal and, voila! Caramel apples, easy peasy. Come on, Chelle, what is your problem?!

Scary how well I read your mind, isn’t it?

And, yes, in theory, caramel apple dipping is simplistic but in reality; it’s haaard! I mean, the damn caramel has to be just the right temperature or it will refuse to stick to the apples. Too hot? Melts right off into a puddle of goo. Not hot enough? Sticks to the apple in globs without actually coating the apple. See? Haaard.

(On a side note, testing the temperature of the caramel by accidentally dribbling it on your son’s hand is not advisable. Umm, I’ve heard.)

Anywaaay, after much trial and error, we succeeded in adequately coating coat ten apples. It took a good year off my life but the children seemed to think that it was a fair trade.

And I’m going to remember that when they start making their Christmas lists.

Saturday, October 27, 2007

It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

No, not Christmas although, that is a wonderful time. I’m actually talking about my annual Stay-at-Home-Mother Project. Every year I take a week off to spend Halloween and the days surrounding it with the kids. This year, I toyed briefly with the idea of not taking the vacation time what with the whole I’m-quitting-my-job-and-people-are-freaking-out thing but, in the end; decided that the freaking out was precisely the reason to take the vacation and, I’m glad I did because one of my Board members pulled something so utterly ridiculous recently, I’m convinced he is mentally ill. I’m actually hoping for mental illness, so frelling insane were his actions.

And, I digress.

So, here I am.

Jana and the kids are coming over later this afternoon for a sleepover. With Hugh still in Atlanta and New Hubby away on a hunting trip; Jana and I decided that a grown-up sleepover in conjunction with the kiddie sleepover was in order. We have movies, pizza and caramel apple supplies for the kids and two choices of wine for ourselves. Let the fun begin!

Despite being on vacation, the rest of the week is pretty much scheduled with errands, volunteering at the school (Halloween parties, organizing and distributing three thousand pies sold at the recent fundraiser, you know; all the fun stuff), housework and a few hours a day spent at the hardware store training for my new life.

I do anticipate having some fun what with all the pumpkin carving, trick-or-treating, and decorating the front porch in the most ghoulish manner, though. In addition, I get to spend five days not thinking about the bullshit going on back at the office.

This just might shape up to be the best Stay-at-Home-Mother Project ever. Which is only fitting since it will be the last because technically speaking; I will become a permanent stay-at-home mom on December 14th. Or, at least as stay-at-home as you can be with a part-time job and two kids.

Hey, I'll take it.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


Certain things that my son says crack me up and, recently, he has been on a roll. Take for example this little gem uttered at last night’s football game against the kids from the local private Catholic school:

"Great. They brought nuns. We are doomed."

The delivery was so dry; you would have sworn he was a comedian with years of training behind him but, nope! Just a kid making an observation (about which he was wrong, by the way. They won regardless of the presence of the nuns).

Speaking of observations, this little ditty in the car following the game perfectly illustrates the firm grasp that my son apparently has on US currency.

Man-Cub (surveying a five dollar bill): Mom, who invented money?
Chelle: Um, the Romans. I think?
Man-Cub: So, why doesn’t it say Made in Romania on this dollar?
Chelle: Because that is American money which is obviously not made in Romania. Or, in Rome, Italy, for that matter.
Man-Cub: I get it. So, it’s probably made in China.

A future degree in Economics from a prestigious university? Not likely.

Which means, a career in stand-up is looking better and better.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

The Mundane

Not much going on here in Chelleville. The children are anxiously anticipating a long weekend thanks to school being dismissed for Parent/Teacher conferences on Friday. They are extremely excited because we have a play-date scheduled with Jana and the kids on Saturday and promises of caramel-apple dipping and movie viewing may or may not have been made.

Ok, promises were totally made.

In fact, I’m banking on the presence of caramel apples to sweeten the injustice of my having to attend Parent/Teacher conferences alone tomorrow evening since my usual PTC Wingman is abandoning me for the Fall Market in Atlanta.

While I’m fairly certain that the children are doing well in their classes and that I won’t be subjected to anything even remotely unpleasant, on the odd chance that I am; I will be handling the unpleasantness alone. And me no likey unpleasantness.

Which segues nicely into things on the work front (imagine that!). Since announcing my upcoming resignation I have been demoted to Lame Duck status here in the organization hierarchy. This has both its advantages and disadvantages as one might guess. I am powerless to effect change or to fight changes that are being proposed yet still expected to keep my Board on an even keel which is difficult, unrealistic and unpleasant. It is perfect fodder for a migraine and the only reason that I have dodged that bullet is because I have chosen to take the good advice offered to me by Very Wise People (AKA, the Parents) and just let it go.

Seriously, just lay that burden down, sister. Back awaaay from the burden. Let go and Let God and all that.

Now, on to pleasant things, me likey pleasant things.

I entered seven photographs in the annual photo show and I found out this morning that five of them placed. I took two ribbons for Fourth Place, one for Third Place, one for Second Place and one for First Place which ain’t too shabby considering the show had over four hundred entries this year, at least a third of which were in black and white category, which is where I compete. Hey, maybe I should go pro!

Or, not.

See, last night, the Man-Cub’s scout troop presented the flags at the School Board meeting held at our elementary school. They did an awesome job and I would totally share the pictures of the event had I not forgotten to take my camera. Call me crazy but, I don’t think a pro would forget her equipment.

Also, call me if you would like to hear any more of my stellar 101 Parenting Tips for Making Your Children Resent Your Very Existence.

But, let’s do keep it pleasant.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Children of the Corn

The weather this weekend wasn’t entirely perfect although, it had it's advantages. For one; it included gusts of wind strong enough to pick up the neighborhood’s vast collection of stray tomcats and hurl them across the street.

Ok, not really, the wind was strong but the cat-flinging was obviously just wishful thinking on my part. And, please, before you get all PETA on my ass; know that I lost a good hour of quality snooze time last night, thanks to the antics of the furry bastards engaging in the wooing of their female counter-parts. An hour, people! Honestly, can't they take a lesson from humans, skip the foreplay and get right down to business without all the yowling?

Anyway, we braved the wind to make our annual trek to the pumpkin patch on Saturday and I’m glad we did. The kids enjoyed themselves, as usual; they each got to pick a couple of pumpkins, one large and one small, and we spent an hour navigating the corn maze. Which, you would think I would have one decent picture to show for an hour of fun, now wouldn’t you? Alas, no. Instead, I got shots of the children dashing helter-skelter into the rows and some nice blurry shots of them whizzing by us as though Hugh and I were standing still.

On the other hand, they didn't rise from the rows armed with bloody scythes, either so, it's all good.

Plus, the effort of running around like they were high on crack or something left them exhausted and they were in bed earlier than expected that night which gave Hugh and me some lovely adult time.

Mmmhmm, you know what I’m talkin’ about.

Ben & Jerry’s and a good movie, like duh.

I’d say it was a quality weekend, weather be damned.

Although, note to Mother Nature, in the future if you could do something about those damn cats? That would be swell.

Friday, October 19, 2007

Where Is That Thicker Skin I Ordered?

Things here at the place of my (temporary) employment are spiraling down the drain faster than you can say boo.

It seems the power vacuum created by my resignation is compelling parties with vastly divergent agendas to step forward in the effort to plug the hole that will be left in the wake of my imminent departure. It’s all political and all bullshit and not at all the way that I wanted to spend the last two months of my tenure with this job.

On the bright side, it is only two months and, were I to take advantage of all the vacation time that I have accumulated; half that.

I’m tempted.

I am.

Because, the prospect of starting my new life with a bleeding ulcer just does not appeal.

Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts…..

The weather has finally shaped up. I hope it stays nice through the weekend because Hugh and I are hoping to take the kids to the pumpkin patch tomorrow. Also, Hugh would like to winterize our sprinkler system on Sunday. And, the annual amateur photo show is late next week and I’m about three entries short of what I usually contribute. Unfortunately, I’m also fresh out of inspiration for new and dynamic photos.

Hey, I know! I’ll swallow a camera and take some lovely shots of my rapidly deteriorating stomach lining!


Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts……

Thursday, October 18, 2007

The Rumors Were True

Frozen drowned rat is even less attractive than plain old drowned rat. You heard it here first.

But seriously, the weather could not have been worse for the Man-Cub’s football game last night. It ran the gamut from slight drizzle to pouring rain to sleet to hail all in the course of one brief hour. And, by brief I of course mean never ending, longest hour of our collective parental lives as we sat on the sidelines and cheered our boys to victory. Not that we complained.

Ok, maybe I complained but the other moms seemed to be hanging in just fine. Perhaps I need to grow a thicker skin. Or, develop warmer blood or something.

Speaking of needing a thicker skin, the fallout resulting from my resignation has started in earnest. No one wants to believe that I am resigning to a life of leisure and sex-with-the-boss. Instead, they are all pointing fingers at each other in an effort to determine who pissed me off enough to quit so; I will have to spend the next two months putting out fires where none should exist.

I am leaving public servitude not a moment too soon. You know, for my sanity.

On the topic of sanity (and those lacking it); my Board member/friend just entered the building. My spidey-senses tell me that she wants to go for another walk. Currently, there is yet another giant black cloud hovering menacingly over our fair city.

So, my question to you is this: Is it wrong that I am typing this from underneath my desk in the hope that she can’t find me?

I didn’t think so, either.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

A New Look Isn’t Necessarily a Good Look

I went for a walk with my Board member/friend earlier today. When we left my office the sky was clear following a morning thunderstorm. The ground was wet and and the air was a bit cool, but we were undeterred from our exercise since we generally walk the five mile route at a brisk pace and, in doing so, stay warm.

And, also, because we are freaks who don't own treadmills that would allow us to exercise from the comfort of our own homes. Well, she does, actually. So, I am the lone freak without a treadmill. Which makes her just plain crazy, I guess.

And, I digress.

So.... halfway through the walk, the temperature dipped even lower. Our brisk pace became a combination walk/jog or wog, if you will, and still; we were cold. Then a giant hail storm kicked up. With like hail and everything and, since we were in the middle of nowhere with no cell phone between the two of us (brilliant!), we had no choice but to continue the walk. Needless to say; I arrived back at the office looking every bit like a drowned rat.

It is not such a good look for me.

I hope it warms up a bit before the Man-Cub’s football game this evening because I hear frozen drowned rat is even less attractive.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

It’s Official, I’m Sleeping with the Boss

My resignation went as well as could be expected and much the way I had anticipated. My boss was supportive and excited for me as was the majority of my Board of Directors. I got the reaction I had planned on from my chair and co-chair which is to say, they were pissed. And, asshole-ish (new word, alert Wikipedia!). On the bright side, the rest of the Board stepped up in unusual fashion to put them in their place for their boorish behavior at today’s planning retreat and I was impressed, very impressed.

Following the retreat, I made a stop at city hall to confirm an appointment with the City Council and, in true small town fashion; my resignation was already the talk around the water cooler. When one of the employees asked me what the best part of my new position will be I said; "Well, I’ll be sleeping with my boss. And this time, it won't get me fired."*

Oh how I wish I could be a fly on the wall at tomorrow’s water cooler conversation.

Speaking of sleeping, last night, I had the best night’s sleep that I can remember having in I don’t know how long. Maybe there is something to this mind/body connection thing after all.

Huh. Those hippies were onto something.

*Um, you know I was kidding, right?

Monday, October 15, 2007

Highlight Reel

As expected, last week was busy. In fact, it was so busy, the details have become a bit blurry. I do remember that the key-note speaker at one of the lunches was this guy, though. Because, the image of him sawing his arm off with a pocket knife is understandably hard to forget. And, you know, totally unacceptable as lunch conversation no matter how inspirational the tale of his ultimate survival. At least, it is as far as I'm concerned.

The weekend was memorable (and a lot less mentally damaging), however. The kids and I met Emily for the three-mile Bosom Buddies Cancer walk on Saturday morning. Joining us were over eight hundred additional people and at least a hundred dogs. By the end of the hour-long walk, the Man-Cub was on a first-name basis with at least half of those dogs and had been tongue anointed by at least a quarter of the remaining canine population whom he came to know only as “hey, pup!” His sociability transcends the special divide, obviously. He should run for office.

While we were sweating for the cause, Hugh was antelope hunting in a remote area of the state. While I was thrilled for him getting to spend some quality man-time with his father and friends, I wasn’t hoping for him to actually kill something but, he did and I now have a freezer shelf full of meat which I have no earthly idea how to prepare. I’m sure Google with have some thoughts on the matter.

In news of food items that I do know how to prepare; one of the local farmers graced me with a bushel of roasted green chilies yesterday. I have three gallon-sized bags of whole peppers as well as ten Tupperware containers of diced chilies that will be joining the antelope on the freezer shelf. Maybe they can chat and come up with something delicious to do together.

On a totally unrelated topic, today is D-Day at the place of my employment. I will be dropping the “I’m quitting! Have a nice day!” bomb on my boss right after lunch and just before I am scheduled to meet with the chair and co-chair of my Board of Directors. The rest of the Board will find out at tomorrow’s annual planning retreat.

I’m a little bit sick to my stomach.

I blame that on the remaining mental image of that guy hacking off his arm.

Ok, not really.

Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts……

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Woman Ahead of Me at School Drop-Off This Morning:

Honey, ignore the blaring horn of the asshole behind me; we have all had those mornings when the kids won’t cooperate, when a missing backpack has sent us over the edge, when an emotional melt-down of epic proportions can no longer be delayed and our obviously distraught kindergartener just needs one more hug from mom no matter how many cars are waiting behind us.
It’s ok.
Empathetically Yours,
P.S. I hope tomorrow is better.

Dear Asshole Behind Me at School Drop-Off This Morning:

Shut the fuck up.

That is all.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Excuse Me If This Entry is Cheesy

I am blogging from the comfort of my own home today, thanks to good old Christopher Columbus. And, you know, the Board of Directors who decided that we should be closed today. Either way, three-day weekend, yay!

And, so far, it has been a great weekend!

Friday evening, we kicked it off with a trip to a local model railroad show with the Man-Cub’s Boy Scout troop. The boys had been doing a unit on trains so the timing of the show could not have been better.

Although my organization sponsors this event when it is held in our community (once every couple of years), I had never attended so, I was surprised to see what a big event it really is. These train enthusiasts; they get excited. The largest display included a mile of track; it was amazing. The detail in the landscapes was awesome and the boys enjoyed the guided tour and Q & A session afterwards.

Most importantly, nothing got broken, thanks in no small part to the dedicated efforts of the parents who spent the majority of the evening chasing the boys around the event center screeching, “Don’t touch! Stop running! Back away from the bridge display!”

Good times.

Following the show, the kids and I visited with Older Sister and her family who were in town for a Little Britches rodeo. It was nice to catch up a little, as always.

The rest of the weekend included the usual activities, tons of housework, laundry, etc. However, I got out of the house with Jana on Saturday evening to attend a Taste of Home home décor show, which was a nice change in my routine.

Last night, the Cub spent the night with a friend so, Hugh took The Girl and me out for Chinese, saving me the labor of cooking, which was nice.

This morning, Hugh left for work quite early and, as I type this; The Girl is still sleeping. The Man-Cub, my early-bird compadre is at the sleepover, as I mentioned so I am alone with my thoughts. It is somewhat nice and I am taking advantage of it by watching a documentary on cheese making on the Discovery Channel. I like to live large.

This quiet moment is a welcome respite since the rest of the week will be busy. I am attending a three-day conference in a neighboring town and, since the Cub has a football game on Wednesday night and The Girl has a few things going on, I am going to drive back and forth rather than staying in a hotel at the convention center.

I am also taking the time to alert certain members of my Board of Directors about my imminent departure prior to giving my official notice on Tuesday, the 16th at our annual Board Retreat. I have already broken the news to the Board member whom I walk with every Friday because I consider her a friend first and a colleague second. For the record, she was thrilled and could not be more supportive. I am not sure how the remainder of the Board will take it; I am guessing an equal split between the supportive and the completely horrified.

And I am gleeful with anticipation.

For now though, I must return my attention to The Discovery Channel. Up next: mozzarella!

Thursday, October 04, 2007

In Which My Father is Scarred For Life by a Visit to Our Home

But, first! Photographic evidence that my son is physically incapable of keeping his hands out of his mouth during football. Yes, I know; he is still getting used to the mouth guard and yet, I am perturbed.

But, not as badly perturbed as The Girl was upon seeing a grown man’s plumber-butt at last night's game. Well, not if her reaction to it was an indication, anyway.

Which is to say, there were not enough thoughts of rainbows, puppies and unicorns in this world to erase that picture from her mind's eye.

Equally perturbed by the display however, was my father who-along with my mother-made the trip from my hometown for the sole purpose of watching the Man-Cub’s game (the peep-show was a bonus).

Also, I’m pretty sure they neglected to read the fine print on the Grandparenting contract. Particularly the section that specifies grandparents must endure, without complaint, any eye trauma caused by vicious displays of butt-crackery when observing an activity in which their grand-spawn are participating. Because, my father, he complained.

But, as only my father can which is to say, humorously.

As compensation for witnessing That to Which No One Should Be Subjected, I treated Mom and Dad to homemade French-dip sandwiches for dinner. And, while I am aware that it failed abysmally as adequate compensation; it was either that or frozen fish-sticks so, work with me, here.

Besides, they just got back from a relaxing vacation to Hawaii; I wouldn’t want to add further to their spoilage. Although, I must point out they had no such regard for my children; showering them with gifts from the islands, not the least of which included the gift of a coconut which immediately sent The Girl into orbit.

On a related topic, if I hear “Can we split the coconut open yet? Can we? Can we?” one more time before the weekend, I will scream.

Or, you know, subject the child to a marathon showing of America’s Funniest Videos, the Plumber Butt Edition.

That’ll learn her.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

And He Still Found Time to Make a Touch-Down

While standing on the sidelines at last night’s flag football game, the Man-Cub could not keep himself from fiddling with his new mouth guard which, quite frankly, perturbed me and; led to the following conversation:

Chelle: He needs to keep his hands out of his mouth, already. That is disgusting.
Hugh: He’s just getting used to the mouth-guard.
Chelle: Well, it’s unsanitary.
Hugh: It’s normal. It's just going to take a while for him to get used to wearing it. Just like it took him a while to get used to wearing a cup during baseball.
Chelle: Oh god, remember how he used to have his hands in his pants, fiddling with that thing?
Hugh: Yep. And he’s older now; we should be happy he doesn’t have his hands in his pants, fiddling with another piece of his equipment.
Chelle: True, he is your son, after all.
The Girl (running away): Eewww!! Gross! Gross! Think happy thoughts, think happy thoughts! Unicorns! Puppies! Rainbows!
Hugh: And she is soooo your daughter.

Monday, October 01, 2007


Britney Spears just lost custody of her kids.

I'm shocked, y'all!



Sunday, September 30, 2007

Balloons to Heaven

Yesterday’s fundraiser went better than expected given the fact that we woke to a most nasty wind. We were worried that the weather would keep people away from the fifth and sixth grade boys’ football game where we intended to hold a hamburger fry and bake sale but the people in our community are a hardier lot than I would have imagined and they showed up en masse.

Following the game, the principal of the elementary school gave a fabulously warm speech about Brandon and his teammates then presented his mother with his jersey and a plaque explaining that the jersey was being officially retired from the school program.

The committee who planned the fundraiser had asked The Girl if she would then present Brandon’s mom with a scrapbook that the kids have been working on in their grief class and The Girl was honored to do so. She got through it a lot better than I thought she would, too.

After the presentations, we launched over a hundred balloons and, for just that brief amount of time, the wind settled down.

The parents, grandparents, teachers and friends of the football boys made for a decent lunch crowd and, as luck would have it, two high school teams from communities on opposite ends of our side of the state met on our field for their league game. This brought even more parents, etc. and we grilled burgers for three hours, making enough money to fund this year’s scholarship in Brandon’s name.

I’m so proud to be part of this community.

I’m proud of my daughter.
I’m proud of my husband who stood in winds up to thirty-miles per hour, cooking hamburgers with a smile on his face (he has a lot less hair on his arms, from being singed by the flames but, he never much cared for hairy arms, anyway).

It was a good day.