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?