Sunday, September 30, 2012

Autumn in the Rockies

Hugh, the Cub and I drove over a beautiful mountain pass to get to The Teenager's volleyball game yesterday. It was the perfect day for that type of drive; the sun was shining and the colors were vivid and glorious. They were also right at their peak; by this time next week, the show will be over and the leaves will have dropped, so, I was especially happy to have the opportunity to make the trip.

Since the volleyball games were almost two hours away, the school made the very smart decision to also schedule games in a nearby town for the same day, saving us from making the same trip twice. In between games, we were able to do a little shopping and I was thrilled to find two life-sized skeletons at a great price. I now have Hugh working on assembling them so that I can direct him in positioning them in an awesome Halloween tableau that I first saw on Pinterest.

We also had a really tasty lunch at a cute little pub, got to spend some quality time with the Man-Cub and watched the girls woop up on the competition in both towns.

It was a really good day. No wonder autumn is my favorite time of the year.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Every Day We're Jugglin', Jugglin'

My daily schedule has become a juggling act and, I am happy to report; I am remarkably good at juggling.

New Job continues to be a source of joy for me; I am learning a lot of new things at record speed and I have met a plethora of truly interesting and compassionate people; people whom make the day go by so quickly, I am often surprised to look at the clock and see that it is already the end of the workday.

The hardware store is rolling along pretty well in my absence and I have worked out a schedule that allows me to go in every other day without falling behind. This has enabled me to attend the kids' volleyball and football games on Tuesdays and Thursdays, which was a priority for me when deciding whether or not to take the new job.

Working more hours has forced me to be super-efficient at home; housework is done on a rotating basis, with each room assigned a day or two of the week during which thirty minutes of my evening is spent tidying up or deep-cleaning. Laundry still happens on Sundays, so that hasn't changed but, with the weekly schedule working out like it is; I have Saturday to spend on hobbies or attending weekend volleyball games.

I also find that I am less tired than I was when I had less to do. I know, weird.

Anyway, that is the update on how I'm managing my new duties.

Check back in with me next week to see if all my balls are still in the air or if I have completely dropped my basket. I realize that it could go either way.

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Signs of Autumn

It's been pouring buckets around here. Two solid days of rain, rain, and, more rain. Couple that with a sudden dip in temperature, the changing colors of the leaves, and, the smell of wood smoke in the air and you have the perfect description of Autumn in Colorado.

Until it snows, that is. Then you have the perfect description of winter, but, let's not go there yet.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

To Whom It May Concern

Dear Starbucks Salted Caramel Mocha,

I wanted to love you; I really, really did.
Alas, I cannot.
It’s not you; it’s me.

Ok, it's you.
Sincerely,  Disappointed
Dear Starbucks Cinnamon Dolce Latte,
Honey, I’m sorry; I was wrong.
 I want you back.
Signed, Hopeful

Dear Guinness and Finnigan,
Chasing each other around the house is a fine pastime; I approve of the exercise aspect of the activity and don't even mind when you run over the back of the couch when I am sitting on it, even though you have startled me on occasion, causing me to spill my drink. I do, however, have to draw the line at the two of you hurtling your bodies at my lower legs when I am standing at the stove; that shit is just an accident waiting to happen.
Love, The Hand That Feeds You
Dear New Job,
I love you.
And, while I realize that, according to the company's 3000 page Employee Manual, it is inappropriate for me to say that to you; I don't care.
I love you, man.
Dear Pixler Panthers,
I hope you enjoyed your 47-0 win over our boys. It's too bad that your victory came courtesy of late hits, blatant face masks and a slew of other under-handed techniques that went unnoticed-or ignored-by the hometown refs.
Your showy celebration in the end zone following the sound of the final buzzer was also a sight to see .
Way to keep it classy, gentlemen.
Signed, Sadly, Not Surprised
Dear Petticoat Junction Pirates,
Way to keep your heads up, boys! I'm proud of your conduct on the football field, today as well as of your continued good sportsmanship. You played a good game and, despite a tough loss, you played your hearts out to the very end.
Pixler would be lucky to have even one player with the sports ethics that your entire team shows.
Yours in school spirit, The Man-Cub's Mom
Dear Flannel Pillowcase,
You. Me. In the bedroom in ten.
Love, Chelle's Head

Sunday, September 23, 2012

All's Well That Ends With Cake

This has been a ridiculously productive weekend. I am starting to believe that I am at my best when I have more on my plate than when I have less; not quite sure why that is or what it says about me, but, there it is.

So, this weekend I have:

-Harvested a shit-ton of produce from my garden, including: tomatoes, bell peppers, jalapeno peppers, zucchini, and, carrots. I also whacked the heads off two of my largest sunflowers; Jana took one head off my hands and one of my new co-workers has dibs on the second.

-Cleaned my house and decorated it for Halloween. That includes the front porch, which is now sporting a spider theme, which, considering the discovery of yet another Black Widow, seems fairly apropos.

-Decorated the Man-Cub's birthday cake and supervised a sleepover of two of his friends.

-Served birthday cake to a slew of boys who then went to the local park to chase each other around with paintball guns. At the end of the day, I don't know who was more tired, me or the little warriors.
It's probably a draw.

Anyway, the Cub was thrilled with his cake and he has completely forgiven me for not making one for him last year. For the record, however, I did stress the fact that there will probably be no cake next year, what with him turning fifteen and all.

Yeah, right; who am I kidding?

Even big boys like cake.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Let Them Eat Cake

Right this moment, there is a 24" round cake baking in my oven and an almost-fourteen-year-old boy smiling happily on the couch next to me. That smiling teen aged boy has chocolate cake batter in the corners of his mouth as well as a smudge of batter on his shirt, and, for a minute; I am able to close my eyes and recall the thirteen other times that he has appeared in much the same manner.

Of course, The Cub would have me remind you that this only happened twelve other times since I gyped him out of a cake last year. Not really letting that go, is he?

He's right, though. It was an unforgivable lapse, given the time and effort that I put into (most) of those other cakes....

Year One: The 101 Dalmatians theme was carried out through the tableware and a pinata. I also made ice cream "pups"; scoops of chocolate chip ice cream shaped to resemble dog's heads with mint patties for ears. They were adorable, if I do say so, myself. Also, I set the bar high early on.

Year Two: Toy Story theme. This began the Cub's love affair with all things BUZZ LIGHTYEAR. It was through that love that the cub and I developed a ritual that lasts to this day; one of us says "I love you", the other says "I love you, more" and the first person replies "I love you, infinity" to which the second person replies "I love you infinity AND BEYOND!". Seriously, kid's going to be fourteen in two days and this conversation still plays out several nights a week.

Damn, I think I have something in my eye...what? NO! I'm not crying. Sheesh...and, I digress.

Year Three: Tarzan! This cake continues to be a personal favorite of mine; everything was edible, including the tree. Also, it took me a solid month and a half of eating Happy Meals for lunch in order to collect all those Tarzan figurines. We still have them, though; someday they will be worth....absolutely nothing.

I also loved the Cub at age three (it goes without saying that I love him just as much at thirteen and 363 days); he had the most kissable cheeks in the free world and he gave the best kisses. Also, he sorta resembled a monkey which went really well with the Tarzan theme, see above: Setting the bar high.

But, seriously, the cheeks! I die!

Year Four: Can we build it? Yes, we can! Yep, Bob the Builder was all the rage in our household. Not coincidentally, I think Hugh started demolition on our home not ten minutes after the last guest had left this party; our four-year-long home remodeling project had begun.

Year Five: Hot Wheels were quickly becoming a staple in our home. This party featured build-your-own race cars made from cardboard boxes that each child painted; we then "raced" around the yard. We even had a working stoplight, courtesy of Hugh's employment with the Petticoat Junction police department.

Year Six: Ok, this might actually be my favorite cake of all time; the volcano erupted, people! Yet, it was completely edible! Also, my OCD party planning was in full swing; we hosted the party at the local park, where I supervised the kids in a dinosaur dig (I actually buried bones in the community sand pit prior to the party), encouraged the wacking of a dinosaur-shaped pinata, and handed out party favors in the form of treat-stuffed dinosaur eggs that I had spent weeks making out of paper mache plus I lit that damn cake on fire. I...have no words.

Year Seven: The Remodel From Hell was nearing the end of its' second year and I had no patience for a party at the house; a party at the bowling alley in Hooterville fit the bill, perfectly, however. This also marks the first time in my parenting history that I purchased a store-made cake. It tasted like crap. Lesson learned.

Year Eight: The cake that almost killed me. I worked on the pirate ship for hours only to return after a good night's sleep to find that the damn thing had fallen apart. Luckily, fate intervened to dispell my nervous breakdown; fate in the form of the Man-Cub who immediately complimented me on the "cool shipwreck". With those two words, inspiration struck and a boulder was quickly fashioned out of a piece of the cake that had broken off, and, a frosting-piped figure of a skeleton laying on the boulder completed the look. The day was saved (and wine was consumed).

Year Nine: What do you get when you take a woman who finds no enjoyment whatsoever in professional football and bless her with a son who is football-crazy? A football stadium cake that tastes suspiciously of irony.

Year Ten: The Cub's party this year took place at Granny's cabin in the woods. The cake was simple and easy to transport. It was also completey edible with the exception of the cabin, which was a decorative oil lamp that I gave to Granny after the party as a thank you for hosting us.

Year Eleven: Christ on a cracker, son; football, again? See above: IRONY. Also, thank goodness for Hugh's wicked pipe-cleaner-bending skills, otherwise those goalposts would have looked less like goalposts and more like abstract art sculpture which wouldn't have followed the theme, at all.

Year Twelve: The party was held at a fun park in Neighboring City. Buying a cake at the venue was out of the question, see above: Crappy-tasting store-bought cake. Cupcakes were an awesome compromise and the tiered stand made for a nice presentation.

This brings us to Year Thirteen...



Yeah, that would be the Man-Cub's point exactly.

So, yes, the cake is in the oven.

Perhaps it should say: Happy 13/14 Birthday!

It's a thought.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

A Good Kind of Tired

I can't believe that tomorrow is Friday, already; this week has gone by so fast. Tomorrow is my half-day at New Job which gives me plenty of time to catch up on chores around the house before the weekend kicks in to gear. That will give me plenty of time to scratch the other items off my To Do list, including the baking-and decorating of-the Man-Cub's birthday cake.

That's right, it's that time of the year again; the anniversary of my boy's birth. This year, he has chosen to celebrate with a small group of friends and, by "celebrate", I mean; chase each other around the local park while shooting each other with paint balls.

Boys are weird.

Anyway, the Cub brought to my attention the fact that I failed to make a cake for his birthday last year. At first, I didn't believe it when he said it, I mean, I always make the kids birthday cakes, it's like my thing, so; how could I have missed last year? Unfortunately, however, a thorough investigation of my blog and photo archives failed to produce evidence to the contrary and I was forced to apologize to the Cub for doubting him. And, you know, I had to promise to make up for the lapse by creating a masterpiece this year.

In addition to being weird, boys are also quite persistent in their demands.

So, yeah, thank goodness for a job that allows me to work half a day on Fridays. And, not just because I have no idea how to decorate a cake that will go with a paint ball theme and can use all the time I can get to search the topic on Google, although, there is that.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Dressing For Sucess

Today I was complimented on my appearance by the teller at the bank drive-through window, my usual barista at Starbucks, and, by three of our employees at the store.

I would be flattered but instead I'm thinking that my previous uniform of yoga pants and a pony-tail weren't nearly as sexy as I had believed.

Good to know.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

The Streak Has Been Broken

Final score at the Man-Cub's football game earlier this eveing...

...the season of The Tie is over.

Well, we hope so, anyway.

In other news, I still love my new job, and, yes; I do realize that today is only day two of said new job.

Monday, September 17, 2012

This. Is. Going. To. Be. AWESOME!

I love my new job. I love the office environment, I love the people, I love the flexibility and the "family comes first" philosophy and I love the fact that I intuitively know more about my duties than I ever dreamed I possibly would.

The first two weeks of my employment are going to consist mostly of training modules, and I'm sure I am being treated with kid gloves, but, I really feel like I got a good grasp on how this job is going to go, and this was just my first day!

Did I mention that I love it?


Well, it bears repeating, because; I LOVE IT.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fancy Dinner, Redneck-Style

It's 9:35 and I am sitting down for the first time all day. I wish that was an exaggeration but, no; I have literally been on my feet and going since 8:00 this morning. During that time I have:

-Visited the hospital in Hooterville to have a blood sample taken; this would be the second sample I have had taken in the past 24 hours because, apparently, the staff at the laboratory processed the first sample incorrectly for the test that was being done, which, for the record, was a test to determine whether or not I carry Factor V Leiden in my DNA. I am no fan of blood draws, but, Factor V has to do with how the blood clots and, since both my dad and younger sister have clotting issues; my doctor decided that it was wise for me to see if I may be affected.

-Done my grocery shopping for the week, including picking up the last items of fresh produce that Hugh and I needed to make The Teenager's Homecoming dinner.

-Cooked said dinner which included a salad course followed by a plated entree of baby back ribs, french fries and sauteed baby green beans. Rolls and butter complimented the entree and a dessert course featuring a cookies and cream cake ended the meal. The effort was totally worth it; The Teenager and her friends were duly impressed and extremely complimentary despite my opinion that they were dining on a menu fit for rednecks (Teenager's choice!).

-Taken six hundred pictures of The Teenager and her friends.

In hindsight, this doesn't seem like chores that should have taken all day long but, I swear, they did. And now my feet are tired and I am ready for a nice long conversation between my butt and the couch. Here are some pictures to look at while I make those introductions.

You're welcome.


Friday, September 14, 2012

We've Got Spirit, Yes We Do

The Teenager kicked Blue and Gold Day off with yet another awesome outfit.

She was, naturally, quite excited to start the day off right.

After jumping off the porch, she beat a trail on down to the high school, where she led her junior team to victory in the Bunny Hop Conga Line competition at the annual Homecoming pep assembly.

She also did her best to contribute to the tug-of-war, but, in the end the juniors were bested by the sophomores which I'm sure wasn't embarrassing at all.

Her efforts to set an example of school spirit this week were rewarded when she was elected as the Junior class Spirit Queen at the assembly; its' a title she is proud to wear, as you can imagine, and, the lovely paper sash she was presented with earned her the right to ride in the front of the parade float that her class managed to cobble together at the last minute.

I think she was pleased, but I don't know; it's so hard to tell with her.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

This Is Getting Comical

The Man-Cub played in his third game of the season tonight; the score was a 6-6 tie. The score at the game earlier this week? 20-20. And, the previous week's score? 8-8. Prior to this season, I didn't even know that a football game could end in a tie. I guess that's middle school for you.

Anyway, the Cub had a few good plays, including a couple of tackles and a really good block. His coach, who is constantly amazed by his ability to throw all ten pounds of himself at the competition, made a point of reminding the bigger kids on the team that they are also capable of bringing down a competitor and that they shouldn't let the "little guy" have all the fun. I admit, I chuckled when he said it.

I also chuckled this morning when The Teenager left the house for the fourth day of Homecoming. It was Pirate Day and she went the distance in putting together her outfit, yet again.

Tomorrow is Blue & Gold Day and I can't wait to see what she comes up with. I also can't wait to watch the parade, despite the fact that the Junior class has been unable to secure the use of a trailer and is in danger of not having a float. After all, if The Teenager can come up with awesome outfits day after day; I'm pretty sure her class can come up with a solution to the trailer problem.

It's the pirate way.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Color Wars

Day three of Spirit Week featured each class dressing in an assigned color, and, for the first time in three years, The Teenager's class drew a color other than pink. If that wasn't reason enough to celebrate, the color that they did draw was green, which just happens to be The Teenager's favorite color in the whole world. Needless to say; she had no trouble finding something green to wear, today.

The other event of the day was the first annual glow-in-the-dark dodge ball game. This is the event that has been chosen to replace the traditional powder puff football game, you know; because dodge ball isn't nearly as dangerous as flag football.

I know, right?


Hopefully, if enough parents voice their displeasure with the tampering of tradition to the school officials, powder puff will be reinstalled on the Homecoming schedule next year, and; I know two parents who are more than happy to complain.

In the meantime, might as well make the best of a crappy situation, which; I did by dropping by the gym to try to take a few pictures of the dodge ball game. They weren't the best, but, I managed to get a couple of decent shots before fleeing the gym out of fear for my life camera.

I'm now awaiting word on which class won the competition. We all know whom I am pulling for, of course, and, if my rib wasn't still causing me such discomfort, I would totally do a few cheers for The Teenager and her adorable team of dodge-ballers...

...instead, The Teenager will have to be enthusiastic enough for the both of us. Strangely, I don't think she will have the slightest difficulty with that.