Tuesday, September 26, 2006

Change is

I am a creature of habit. I am not a huge risk-taker. I like things simple and controlled and easy. I like for there to be routine and normalcy and predictability in my life.

Most of the time.

Then sometimes.... sometimes I just get this itch to bust out of the shell that has been made 100% by me, the shell that keeps my predictability predictable. Sometimes I wonder, "Okay, so what would happen if I did this?" or "Hmmm...that's just so insane that I think I'll try it." And sometimes I do break free and stray from my routine. Then there are the times - more often than not - that I just sit back and shake my head and say, "No. I won't try that. It's too scary, too confusing, too out of my zone, too much for me." I really think too much.

And while a life of complacency and normalcy and routine is very complacent, normal and routine......well, sometimes it's boring.

So that's why the week before Christmas I'm shutting Diva Daycare down. All of my little diva-ettes will be turned over to other moderately insane caring individuals who will begin caring for them. And those new caregivers will begin loving them - but never as much as their Kiki has. Did this decision come easily for me? Oh gosh no. I have worried, fretted, cried and prayed so hard over this decision that I've nearly given myself an ulcer. I can't tell you the evenings that I have gone to bed early just so I can be alone to think and to pray. And to cry. I feel like I have a personal stake in their little lives, whether that is reality or not. Someone told me that I was being ridiculous and that I was just another person in a long line of people in their lives that would eventually be forgotten. That person was wrong. I hope. I'd like to think that someday their parents will talk fondly about the crazy woman who loved them and sang to them and danced the cha-cha with them while wearing a feather boa and a pirate hat and who taught them the fishy song and read Go, Dog, Go! to them so many times that they eventually took the word to the extreme and began telling everyone to GO!

It was such a hard decision, but I know it's the right decision. It's right for me and my family right now. And that is my ultimate responsibility. Telling the parents was hard. One adamantly refused to believe it. One teasingly offered me more money. But everyone has been supportive, even in their initial panic and disappointment.

I'm going back to school. I'm going back to school!

As my dad says, "It's about time." And it is about time. I'm excited, nervous, and absolutely scared to death, but I'm ready. I haven't gone to school in nearly 16 years and that fact alone is daunting. I'm going for a Journalism degree and by all indications should be able to get both my Associates and my Bachelors mostly online with a few night classes scattered throughout. It's utterly non-traditional and from what I hear, very hard to pursue a degree online, but my family and friends are behind me all the way and that will help me on those nights that I find myself sitting at the computer wondering just what the heck I was thinking.

I'm also very seriously researching the ins and outs of publishing a book in the very near future. It's a huge task, but strangely it seems far less scary than going back to college.

My kids are ecstatic that I'm going back to school, but Sam's worried I won't fit in the desks. Thankfully my computer chair and the couch are comfortable and I assure him I won't have any trouble with that. I did explain, though, that if I do take an actual class in a classroom that the desks are just a little bit bigger than the one he sits at every day. Abby thinks that it's rather exciting that she and I will both be doing homework in "our" office. Kady's just glad that next semester I will be the one to take her and pick her up from Lab School. And they are all overjoyed that I will be able to attend class parties and field trips with them again. Paul is glad we're moving our bedroom back to the other end of the house into a room where our furniture actually fits.

Mom and Tater are my rocks. They were the two that received the countless phone calls and endured the conversations revolving solely around me and my exhausting need to overthink any decision. They are supporting me all the way. I couldn't love them more. They are saints. Very patient saints.

My dad and step mom are supportive as well about the prospective book and college. They both have been urging me for years now to write a book and Dad could hardly wait to get off the phone with me Sunday night so he could tell her.

Our debt with the one last credit card has been moved around and is now under a more manageable kind of control. I cannot wait to tell Sears to kiss my big toe when that check clears. I'm also dropping Caller ID because there is no longer a need to dodge phone calls from them wanting money I don't have.

We booked our January trip to Disney World today.

I might possibly be available on the shelves of a bookstore near you in the next year. Okay, well my book might. Not me. You'd experience one night of my whining and alphabetizing your pantry and you'd take me back to Barnes and Noble the next morning.

Oh my gosh. I'm going back to school.

Change is good.

Sometimes I forget

Since I wrote yesterday's Round-up post in fits and starts all day long, finally posting after 10 hours of fitting and starting, I totally forgot to mention that

I won an award!!!!

I'm going to go into trite cliche mode right now when I say that I honestly did not expect to win and that it was an honor just to be nominated. Really. And I totally mean that. I was nominated in four categories last year and didn't win in any of them and really, my life has been okay for a year now. Oh yes, winning would've been great last year, but I certainly wasn't suicidal over not winning. I kind of went into this year's awards with the same attitude - winning would be super, but I wasn't going to lose any sleep over it because in my life, sleep is much too precious to lose.

When Mike went to the podium to start the awards, Tater leaned over and said, "Okay, give me your camera." I said, "If you want to take pictures that's fine, but you're not going to be taking any of me because I'm not going to win." She rolled her eyes at me. I kept my camera on because I wanted to take pictures of everyone else, not myself. I mean, I was up against some incredible bloggers, Shannon from Rocks in My Dryer being the one that I assumed would win. Even Jan of The Happy Homemaker and I discussed who we thought would win; of course, she said it was between Shannon and I and I just found that theory preposterous because oh my gosh, how could I possibly be competition for the incredible saved-by-grace mom of four?? Not to mention the fact that The Daily B*tch and Sean Gleeson were also in the Humor category! *gasp!* And if I thought I wouldn't win in the Humor category, we won't even go into the Family category because ack!! It was just too much greatness!

When Mike said, "And the winner is....R-" I was expecting to hear "Rocks in My Dryer", but instead these words that sounded strangely like "Ramblings of a Redneck Diva" came out of his mouth. It was such a surreal moment. I think Tater screamed. I just willed my legs to work and successfully propel my body toward the podium to accept my "Okie". Mike presented me with a handshake, congratulations and my year subscribtion to Oklahoma Today magazine and Babs presented me with my ducky (who, by the way, did not get in on the ducky love happening at the next table over and she's very sad about that) and a hug and Tater took my picture and I just smiled like a loon through it all.

Winning rocks.

I am sincerely grateful to all of you across the state who voted for me. You love me! You really love me!

Special, individual shout-outs to my local girls Brady's Mom, Mrs. Coach, Jen and my precious Tater. You girls are wonderful. Simply wonderful.

I called my dad Sunday night to tell him that his daughter was the funniest dang blogger in Oklahoma. He said he already knew that.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Roundin' up the bloggers


I'm pretty much a homebody and don't have much "real world" experience. I attended my share of youth conferences when I was a teen, I went to Pampered Chef's national convention in Chicago when I was a consultant, but as far as meeting up with a bunch of people who I'd "met" online and read their work on a regular basis, I had no previous experience. And I just have to say that it was awesome.

My darling, wonderful, amazing, spectacular sister, Tater, attended the 2006 Okie Blogger Round-Up with me. Now, y'all know that my Tater isn't the most avid blogger - I mean, two posts in a year hardly makes one a pro, (although she did post today!) but she agreed to go anyway. In my mind that just meant that she was an ultra-cool supportive sibling, but I am of the opinion now that she was sent as a delegate of the family to keep me safe. They're all scared of ol' Fitty, ya know. She went to the Round-Up to make sure I didn't end up in a 55-gallon barrel. Or three. (I'm a big girl, ya know.)

We decided to leave for the 3 hour trip just a little early so that if we felt the call of a casino on the way, we had time to stop. Well, of course, Cherokee Casino in Tulsa sent out a beacon and we were caught in its tractor beam. When Mom called to check in on us (making sure Tater was doing her job as chaperone) and I told her we hadn't made it past Tulsa she immediately said, "You two! Get on the road!" like she thought we'd lose track of time. Pshaw, we'd never be so silly as to lose track of time in a casino.

Mike asked us to be there at 11 to get ready for registration, and I think we managed to even get there about 10 minutes till. Even though I'd never seen Mike before in my life, I knew it was him the second I laid eyes on him. And just let me say, Mike is quite a guy! Reaching out to shake his hand, the reality of it all hit me - that I was really at a blogger gathering, meeting people I'd only previous met on the internet! He asked us to put together some packets full of - as I told everyone as they registered - "Oklahoma-y goodness". Tater and I set up an assembly line to put together bags with copies of Oklahoma Today magazine, a Bricktown visitor's guide and some coupons. We found our groove, made up packets, then waited patiently for 11:30 to arrive so that we could start registering folks.

People recognized me!!! Stunned would honestly be the only word to describe what that was like. Okay, so I had "Redneck Diva" on my nametag, but there were actually some who knew who I was without reading it. That was cool. I got to put faces with the people that I feel like I already knew so much about. I haven't been the best blog-reader as of late, so I didn't know who was going to be there, so when an adorable gal walked up and I asked for her name and she said she was Melessa of But I Digress I was tickled pink! And when a woman walked up to the table and said, "Hi.....dude" I knew it could be none other than CISSY!! I jumped across that table and hugged her neck and again felt like this was one of the neatest experiences of my life. And when Babs walked up to the table I nearly fell out of my chair!! FINALLY I was able to meet this incredible woman who can oh so successfully pull off wearing leather pants with flair! No, she didn't actually pull off her leather pants, but oh man can she wear them! And she's ornery - every time I tried to snap a picture of her, she flashed hers back at me, so I have lots of pictures of glaring orbs of light, courtesy of her.

There were other familiar names, Steph The Incurable Insomniac being one that I was excited to see, along with her lovely Lynette. They are just too adorable! And their movie, Mozartballs, is quite a piece of work. I had no preconceived notions about it, hadn't checked out the website beforehand, so I wasn't sure what to expect. Tater had visions of a 250 year old jar of formaldehyde and more than once mentioned matzo balls. Let me just say that I gave up the opportunity to be interviewed on Wild Bill's radio show so that I could watch it in its entirety. I was amused, perplexed at a few points, moved and entertained. It was worth not being on the radio, no offense to the radio.

The workshops were informative, although I did have to wake Tater up at one point when she let out a little bitty snore. Bless her heart, she's just not as into blogging as the rest of us were!

We broke for dinner and Tater and I ate at Earl's with CISSY and her husband. Yum! Barbecue and friends....that was great.

When we got back to the hotel and entered the soiree I immediately laid eyes on Brian and Aka Monty. Hugs were dispersed and boy, that was another major highlight. They didn't have apple martinis at the bar, but Brian bought me a beer. What a guy.

There were requests for me to show off my clogging skillz, but I declined, saying that there was just simply not enough beer available to me for me to perform. Maybe next year, guys.

I do have pics of the whole event, but I haven't had time to put them on the computer yet. I've been working on this post itself since 10:30 this morning, so needless to say, I've been a but busy with the little diva-ettes today. I'll try to get them up tomorrow. I will leave you with this little shot of Tater and I, though. And make sure to check out the Flickr page.

Diva and Tater

We look soooo happy. Happy like "We're currently enduring
having our toenails pulled out, but we're smiling anyway!"

Friday, September 22, 2006

Dude looks like a teacher

Last night I had Parent/Teacher conferences at the kids' school. I had an appointment in 2nd grade at 6:15 and an appointment in 4th grade at 6:30. Up until Abby hit 3rd grade, PT Conferences have always been pleasant, parental skill-confirming experiences, but now, not so much. I dread them. Well, at least for Abby. For now, Sam is still sweet, innocent and sans attitude and his conferences still go well - but he's only a year away from 3rd grade, so my time is more than likely limited. I hope I'm wrong.

I stood outside the 2nd grade door and waited until Ms. 2nd Grade called me in, biding my time by talking with another set of parents also waiting their turn. She called me in and I took a seat in a very squeaky chair on wheels and took the progress report she handed me. All A's. No surprise there. We discussed his attitude toward school and school work. I asked if his drive to succeed was an okay thing in 2nd grade. She assured me that for now it was working to his advantage. He's a good kid, a smart kid and she had no real concerns.

Sam reminds me a lot of me - his absolute need to succeed and be the best overpowers him sometimes. It worked to my advantage as well, until I went to college and it kicked my butt and I quit school. I really have issues with success, obviously. I admire my son's determination, but I know that eventually he's going to get knocked on his rear and it's going to hurt. But for now, he's a few months away from eight, he's one of the top students in his class and he's taking 2nd grade by storm. Nothing wrong with that. It's hard to watch your child do the same things you did as a kid, though, and stand by, watching, while they refuse to listen to your words of wisdom that it's okay to make less than an A+ kind of in the same way you ignored your own parents.

Parenting is hard.

The kids' classrooms are directly across from each other, but you have to walk through the teacher's lounge to make a straight line. I excused myself through a group of chatting teachers and heard a male voice say, "I'll be there in a minute. Go on in." Mr. 4th Grade was chatting with Ms. 4th Grade and I must say that just from his voice saying those few words I knew that the conference wasn't going to go all that well. Call it my mother's intuition, call it fear, call it a sixth sense regrading my success as a parent.

I went into the classroom and took a seat on the other side of his desk and waited. I tried to push away the dread, I pulled out Sam's grade sheet and tried to focus on that happiness, I checked out the seating arrangement in the room, I wanted a cigarette. Mr. 4th Grade nearly scared the snot out of me when he came in the room and shut the door behind him. After releasing my grip from the ceiling tiles because I shot straight up out of my chair, I giggled and said, "Oh great, you shut the door. That is never, ever good." He smiled and said that he teaches with the door shut and that he just feels that what goes on in his classroom is to stay in the classroom. I giggled again and said, "Just like Vegas! What happens here, stays here?" He kind of stopped fiddling with his computer and said, "Well, yes . . . I guess." Crap. I was instantly seven years old again and felt like I was sitting in the principal's office.

He folded his hands on the big calendar planner that covered most of his desk, a big gigantic calendar planner like I've always wanted for reasons I really can't explain, and said, "Now. Is there anything you'd like to address before we get started?" I really didn't have any concerns - Ab's grades are so much better than they were last year, and even though she drowns in homework most nights, she seems to be handling it well and isn't drinking Zantac like it's kool-ade and chewing Maalox like they're Sweetarts. No, 4th grade was going pretty well, actually. I told him as much and he told me that she's a good student, a bit chatty, but a good kid. He's had to move her a couple of times due to talking, which frankly surprised me, but the magnitude of my surprises was yet to be realized.

He printed out a progress report, which was a little different from the one she brought me earlier in the week. Instead of one C, she now had two. The C in English was simply because she's not doing her journal. I considered suggesting that maybe she has writer’s block, because I am sometimes plagued with that, but decided that I wasn't going to justify my daughter's laziness with writer’s block and instead said that we'd address that. The other C is in Math; not surprising really. Her mind works like her mother's - she's more comfortable with words and letters and sentence structure than she will probably ever be with numbers, integers, values and that whole adding letters to numbers thing. He stated that she struggles in Math, a fact I knew and agreed with. She has a 98% in Social Studies - the class she had D's and F's in last year. She scored a 96% on her 50 States test - something I didn't accomplish my entire 7th grade year when Mr. McGee tested us weekly until we got all 50 states correct. Other than those two C's, the rest of her grades were solid A's and B's. Yay, Abby! I was beaming!

He and I discussed the monthly orthodontist appointments and he asked that I not schedule them on Mondays anymore, which I'm not sure can be done because I'm not sure Dr. K does orthodontic appointments on other days, gotta check on that. He told me that they are to wear their Halloween costumes to the Fall Follies and then asked why I had such a strange look on my face. He looked directly at me and asked with a grin, "Okay. What is she going to be for Halloween?" I couldn't make eye contact when I told him that she was dressing Goth for Halloween this year, a fact that makes my mother cringe at the mere mention, by the way. He didn't seem amused either when he said, "Hmh. Well, you might want to make her a princess or something instead." Yeah right. That'll go over like a lead balloon. I doubt many 4th graders will be princesses this year. She’d die of mortification.

Then with all of the business and niceties done he then folded his hands together on his gigantic planner that I was so envious of and said, "Now, I need to tell you that I was really not happy with your daughter today." I could tell by his voice and his body language that this was not going to be good. Here was the little rain cloud that was threatening to rain on my sparkly, happy, sunny, rainbow-y evening of conferences. I mustered up some voice and said, "Oh no. What happened." There was no question to it, just a flat statement acknowledging the fact that I was about to hear something so very not good. Millions of thoughts were racing through my head. Had she held hands with *Chance* on the playground? Had she gotten into a yelling match with her former best friend? Had she started a food fight in the cafeteria? All of those things I was certain that I'd have been called over, but there had been no call from the principal that day. I was perplexed and filled with dread.

"She came up to my desk today and called me Dude." My hand instantly went to my mouth before I could stop it. She called her teacher Dude? Oh holy night. He explained that he had told her that wasn't acceptable, that it was disrespectful and that he had never called her by anything but her own name and only expected the same thing from her and I sat there dumbly with my hand over my mouth, listening in horror and trying not to giggle. Oh, but that wasn't the best part. When he finished telling her that Dude was not something we call our teachers she shrugged and said, "Okay, Jones." My hand was instantly vacuumed to my face when I sucked in my breath. My face instantly flushed - partly from utter embarrassment and horror at my eldest child's lack of respect and partly because I was so angry that I was seriously wondering if stringing her up by her toes would be an appropriate punishment. And I was still trying not to giggle -amidst my horror.

My precious, shy, sweet, good-natured days-away-from-being-a-ten-year-old called her teacher by his last name only. I wanted to rewind the entire day to the part right before she walked out the door to get on the bus and as soon as I hit play I would say, "Hey, Abby, have a good day and please make sure you include 'Mr.' in front of your teacher's name today, okay? I love you!" That would've made it all better. But as it was, my time travel machine was well, nonexistent and I was now sitting in front of a very angry teacher's desk wanting to fall into that proverbial nearest hole in the ground.

I've discussed here before the fact that we do allow our children a few liberties in the slang department. And I've stated that we've made it amply clear the places they can and can't say those words and if they say them in the wrong place, they pay the consequences. Well, I guess I forgot to include the fact that calling a teacher "dude" is way, way wrong. And that shrugging away his reprimand with a snotty "Okay, Jones" is even way wronger. (Yes, horrific grammar, sue me.)

This parent thing just keeps getting harder.

When my ability to speak returned, I assured her teacher that disrespect like that is simply not tolerated at home and that I had no clue where she got that clever little idea. I'm sure every parent when caught in a situation like that will assure the teacher/principal/judge/parole officer that they "have no idea where she got that," but I really don't have any idea! Here at home we insist that they say "yes" and not "yeah," that they say "no" instead of "nope" or "nuh uh," and they more often than not say "yes, ma'am" and "no, sir." I just assumed that they were that respectful at school, too. That assuming thing gets me every time.

I called Paul on the way home and when he said hello I said, "Is our oldest daughter doing anything fun at this very moment?" He said he wasn't sure and I replied with, "Well, go check and see if she is. And if she is - STOP HER FROM DOING IT because she is in OH so very much trouble!" By the time I had gotten home she'd already been given the heads up and was curled up on her bunk bed, sulking and reading. I guess she had tried to lie to her daddy about the whole incident when he called her on it, so double trouble now. Poor kid, she just didn't get it. She swears she didn't realize that dude was all that disrespectful. There were tears, there were reprimands, there were threats, there was grounding.

Have I mentioned that this parent thing keeps getting harder?

I called Tater to tell her, and other than gasping in sheer disbelief and repeating that she couldn't believe it, she didn't say anything harsh to me. My mother, however, wasn't so easy on me. She is now convinced that I'm raising a delinquent - a disrespectful juvenile delinquent (and from what I hear, those are the ones that start the prison riots.) If the Goth Halloween costume didn't convince her, the incident with the dude that teaches her 4th grade skillz did.

This parent thing........oh, you know.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Growing pains

Abby and I rarely get a moment for just the two of us these days. Heck, all three kids struggle to find quality time with us these days. They all crave time for themselves with us alone, but with three kids and two jobs and well, life in general, it rarely happens. But today Ab and I found ourselves alone in the van on the way to Tulsa, bopping happily down I-44 to the soundtrack to High School Musical. Occasionally she would tell me a story about something that happened at school and more than once reiterated her case, pleading with me to allow her to take one of the black kittens to school for the Halloween party to complete her Goth costume. (Not only no, but heck no)

I decided that today was as good a day as any - I was going to have The Talk with her. The Period Talk. With the appearance of her new bewblets, (Ohmygosh she would just die a thousand deaths if she knew this was on the blog) I know that our time of only one female in the house going through monthly cycles of insanity is limited. Her doctor tells me that once the bewblets appear it's only about a year before The Period ensues. Of course, he also told me that because she is tall, thin and active that she'd be a late bloomer, so I'm not sure how much of his information I'm taking to heart.

The CD ended and the radio presets were all fuzzy and I took that as a sign from God that The Time Had Come. I turned down the fuzz on the radio and began. I told her that since we were having kind of a big girl day, just the two of us, we would have a talk. Immediately her face went into total "oh holy night" mode. It's never good when your mother corners you and says you're going to have a talk. I should've started out better, but while God gave me the opportunity, He failed to provide me with a segue, so I was on my own.

Awhile back, she had held up my newly-boughten box of panty liners and asked, "So, just what exactly are these things for, anyway?" while she turned the box over in her hands, checking out the whole package. I gave her my usual answer:"They're for grown-up ladies, I'll explain later", making sure that no eye contact was made and that it was said very non-chalantly while I snatched away my feminine products. Then she said matter-of-factly, "Suzy carries them in her purse." "Suzy" is a girl in her class and supposedly Suzy has carried pads in her purse since 2nd grade. Poor Suzy. So I used Suzy to start The Talk.

I asked her if Suzy had ever told the girls what pads were for. She looked at me blankly in the rearview mirror. I said,"Has Suzy ever mentioned her Period?" Again the blank look. Finally she said, "Yah. She puts one at the end of a sentence. Duh." Then she grinned. She wasn't being smart-allecky - she thought I was being a dork, something that obviously mothers do regularly. I said, "No, not that kind of period. (insert deep sigh here) So.....you've never heard anyone talk about their Period?" She leaned forward in her seat and said, "Mom. What in the world are you talking about." Yep, just like that. She was already so tired of her mother trying to talk about Suzy's punctuation skills.

I then explained to her that probably within the next year or so that she, too, would have a Period all her own. I explained the hows and whys and wherefores of Periods and Womanhood and with each sentence watched my not-quite-ten-year-old's face begin to resemble that of Bitter Beer Face or someone who is being given a liverwurst pedicure. I tried to explain things without overexplaining them, give her information about What Is To Come without freaking her out (something she is very prone to doing) and at the same time keep it light. Yeah. You try that. G'head. I'll wait................ No? You didn't have any luck with that either? Sucks huh.

So finally, having given my schpiel and having sufficiently armed my daughter with knowledge that I did not posess until late into 5th grade, I finished. She was leaning back in her seat, arm slung over the back, Bitter Beer Face still on and said, "Okay, so like, that is something that I SO do not want to do." Oh, if it were only that easy, my child - "Um yes....I will be opting out of this Period thingy you talked about. Yes, that's correct. Opting. Out. No, thank you." She sighed and said, "So....like, I'm going to have to carry pads around in MY purse? Mom! I have a MAN teacher this year!" I told her that, chances are, she won't start this year and that I was just preparing her for What Is To Come. (But Tammy, my friend, since your room is just down the hall....well, guess who gets Abby Got Her First Period At School duty? I SO love you. Really.)

Things were quiet for a few minutes and finally I asked her if she had any questions. She said no. Then she said, "Mom? Can I teach you something now?" I smiled and said yes, expecting her to teach me a song or tell me a new joke. We were sharing. Instead from the back seat I hear the most gut-wrenching, bun-rattling fart I've ever heard in my life, followed by hysterical giggles. I moved the rearview mirror down so that I could see my daughter with her straw tucked under her arm, blowing for all she was worth. I nearly wrecked the car when I saw her. She looked up proudly, caught my eye and said, "MaKayla taught me that! Awesome, huh? Now, would you turn the radio back up?"

She's still my baby girl.

Tuesday, September 19, 2006


I know that because I have three children that running around like a chicken with my head cut off is just going to be a fact of life, but it seems like here lately we're on the go constantly. Gymnastics, parent/teacher conferences, school meetings, Girl Scout meetings of both kid and grown-up variety, trips, dentist and eye doctor appointments, and yearly checkups are just a few of the things that have been on my calendar in the last week or are on it for the next few weeks to come. Plus add in the fact that I work 10 1/2 hour days, still have to find time to pay bills, buy groceries, cook meals and clean the house. Okay, wait....forget cleaning the house. I've abandoned that until further notice. There's only so much I can do. I'm kind of fond of the dust because sometimes it's the only way Mr. Diva and I communicate with each other. Who knew that little love notes written in the dust on the top of the TV would someday be romantic?

Last Sunday Mom, Tater and I gave a baby shower, yesterday evening was a Girl Scout Service Unit meeting, tonight is a meeting at Kady's Lab School, tomorrow is the previously many-times-postponed trip to Tulsa to the dentist for Abby, Thursday evening we have parent/teacher conferences and Friday the kids are out of school. You'd think that no school would mean I'd have the day off - nope. That will actually add four kids to my day. Then Saturday morning, bright and early, Tater and I take off for the City for the Okie Blogger Round-Up. (Time out here for a big WHOO HOO) Then of course, Sunday we'll basically just get up and drive 3 hours home so that we can pick up our kids and then start the week all over again.

When is it too much? When do we finally say enough?

Abby and Sam, because of their ages, can pick two activities to participate in. Abby has Girl Scouts and gymnastics. Sam has gymnastics now and then basketball will start in November. Kady, because she's only 4, can pick one - gymnastics. These are their choices and thank God they conspired on the gymnastics thing and thank God again that the gym was so kind as to fudge a little and let Kady in the bigger kid class so that I don't have to go down there for another class time. She's really too young and God bless those coaches for their patience with her. The gym is 30 minutes away. So on Saturday mornings we can forget the whole sleeping-in thing - instead I bounce outta bed (Okay, maybe bounce is too strong a word) at the usual time, get around and try to do some laundry and clean the kitchen before we have to fly out the door at 10:25. Class is from 11 to noon. Then by the time we grab a bite to eat and get home, it's close to 1:30. That's when Mommy puts a magical movie in the magical DVD player and takes a magical nap for a magical 139 minutes if we watch Mary Poppins or a magical 127 minutes if we watch Annie. No, there is nothing strange about me knowing, down to the minute, just how long those movies are.

We haven't started our Girl Scout meetings yet, but will in the next two weeks. That will take up Thursday night. Basketball practice will start in December and I have no clue how many nights a week he'll practice, but I'm guessing two to three. Then in January his games will start and I hear they have one to two a week, PLUS practices.

When will I find time to breathe? When will we sit down around the dining room table and eat a meal that isn't wrapped in paper or served in a cardboard box? When will I do laundry? When will I pay bills? When will I sleep? And more importantly to Mr. Diva - when will I sleep with him?

I figure I can work the breathing in there somewhere. The dining room table, we might actually visit on Sunday evenings. Laundry and bill-paying will be done in the wee hours of morning. The sleeping, though, is still up in the air. Sex will have to be scheduled and submitted to me in triplicate no less than 2 weeks in advance.

Monday, September 18, 2006

Thirty Things

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was your first thought? "Good gosh, woman, that hair is scary!"

2. When is the next time you will have sex? *sigh* Probably tonight.

3. What's a word that rhymes with "DUCK"? Fark. (Trying to clean up the language around here just a little bit.)

4. Favorite planet? Well, it was Pluto until they turned it into a big hunk of rock instead of a planet.

5. Who is the 4th person on your missed call list on your mobile? My new phone that is missing a few vowels doesn't have a missed call list.

6. What is your favorite ring on your phone? The one that sounds like an old rotary phone. That's the one I hear when Mom calls.

7. What shirt are you wearing? My Falls Creek camp shirt from the summer of 2004. It has gnomes on it and is therefore one of my favorite shirts.

8. What were you doing 20 minutes ago? Covertly smoking a cigarette out behind the wood pile while the kids are napping.

9. Name the brand of shoes you're currently wearing? Not wearing any, although I should be.

10. Bright or Dark Room? Dark

11. What do you think about the person who took this survey? She's a hoot and never fails to make me laugh when I talk to her!

12. If you're in a room with two beds, which one do you sleep on? The one furthest from the door.

13. What were you doing at midnight last night? Sleeping, which is usually pretty rare for me at Midnight.

14. What did your last text message you received on your mobile say? It was from Cousin Stacy, offering me her laptop if I wanted to blog while I was in Florida.

15. How do you like your eggs? I can only eat eggs if I don't sit and think about what they are. Seriously. If I stop long enough to consider that I'm eating a chicken embryo I'll gag and have to throw them out. So I eat them scrambled very hard with lots of salt and cheese on them and I have to eat them while they're really hot out of the skillet.

16. What's a word/phrase that you say a lot? "No no!" The word "shit" comes in a very close second.

17.Who told you he/she loved you last? It was either Abby or Sam on their way out the door to school this morning.

18. Last furry thing you touched? Probably one of the many kittens that try to get in the door when it opens.

19. How many drugs have you done in the last three days? I drank a beer night before last and have taken my daily aspirin.

20. How many rolls of film do you need to get developed? None. I have a film camera, but don't use it. The kids, however, have about 3 disposable cameras that need to be developed.

21. Favorite age you have been so far? I would say 18 or 19. At 18 I was wild and carefree and slutty. For most of 19, I was, too, but settled down when I got married, a fact I'm sure my husband appreciated.

22. Your worst enemy? Airplane seatbelts.

23. What is your current desktop picture? The kids with Larry and Bob (Veggie Tales for those not familiar with the talking animated vegetable set) at Celebration City this last summer.

24. What was the last thing you said to someone? "Night, night, Bradley-bean."

25. If you had to choose between a million bucks or to be able to fly which one would you pick? Oh SO totally a million bucks. I would tell Sears to kiss my ass when I sent them that final payment, then I'd immediately book us a trip to Disney World for two weeks.

26. Do you like someone? I like some people, some of the time. Not often, but sometimes. I like my kids on most days.

27. The last song you listened to? "London Bridge" by Fergie (Still blows my mind that she was sweet, adorable, innocent Stacy on Kids Incorporated. Yikes. That makes me worry about my daughters.)

28. If the last person you spoke to was getting shot at, what would you do? Well, he's a baby, so I'd shield his pudgy body with my pudgy body and pray that my super-absorbent fat would stop the bullets.

29. If you could punch 1 person in the face who's in your life right now, who would it be? I am SO not saying on here, but first I should clarify that that person isn't really in my life, just kind of lurking around the edges, making an occasional scary appearance. But yeah, I'd really love the opportunity to give 'em a good punch.

30. What is the closest object to your left foot? My right one - they're crossed at the ankles.


Thanks, Mrs. Coach, for this one!

Go here, laugh hard enough to spit beverage on computer screen, bookmark. Thank you. That is all.

Okay, he's not an Oklahoma blogger, but still farkin' cool regardless. I can't say enough about him. Go visit. Seriously. I mean, look at the impression he's made on me:


Friday, September 15, 2006

Phriday's Phreakin' Photoblog, Disney-style

I didn't take my camera on this trip because the kids weren't with us and to be honest, I didn't think there would be that much to take pictures of. Oh, how I was wrong. I took TONS of pictures with my camera phone so that I could show the kids, but since it costs me to send every picture to my email, I only sent a few.

I got goose bumps several times and there were also several incidences of tears. It's so dang magical there! Yeah, yeah, that whole Magic Kingdom thing should've given me a hint. Aside from the fact that my feet swelled and my butt is huge, I felt just like a kid.

We stayed at the Pop Century hotel and I highly recommend it. No, it's not posh and it's considered one of the "budget" hotels, but it was clean and the people were friendly and the prices weren't bad. There were larger-than-life things all over the place - a 4-story-tall Mickey Mouse phone, bowling pins taller than the buildlings and this 3-story-tall Big Wheel. I was standing on the 4th floor when I took this picture.

Big Big Wheel

When we arrived in park on Friday we went straight to Downtown Disney to go shopping. I love me some shopping, but I was tired and I needed action in order to not be bored and whiney. Around 6 we headed for the Magic Kingdom and then encountered 40 katrillion rude, horny Christian teenagers. Oh. My. Gosh. I have never encountered such horrifically behaved teens! They were supposed to be the Christian kids, the youth groups, the future church leaders. I am definitely frightened and disheartened after what I witnessed. Not to mention the fact that they were all showing more belly button than Ali Baba's harem and more thigh than a bucket of KFC. And don't get me started on the groping and kissing and fondling.

Cap'n Jack Sparrow

Casting Crowns was scheduled to play at 9:30 and it was 7, so we rode the runaway mine car coaster. Not incredibly thrilling, but fun. The kids will love it. We also hit The Pirates of the Caribbean ride which was cool - the boys will love it, too. We visited a few shops then started toward the castle. One would've had to have camped out the minute they entered the park to get anywhere close. We didn't and we weren't. We were literally about a half mile back and the stage was a mere blop. The youth were horrid - loud, obnoxious, rude, smelly and it was just about more than I could handle. I'm short, I don't tolerate rudeness, obnoxiousness and b.o., therefore it was not a good experience for me. I stayed hooked through their first song and that's when I told Mom and Tater to have a good time, but I was leaving. I had my phone, they had theirs, we could meet up later. I felt like a salmon swimming upstream - a fat salmon in a very smelly, hot, humid stream of people, strollers and belly buttons. I got off course and hit a wall, had to cut across and finally found my way out to the street. I took the opportunity to sit on a curb and call my kids and husband. I was on the phone with them when Mom called to say they'd had enough and were at Casey's hot dog stand. So was I, just around the corner.

Then we ate the world's best hot dog ever. Seriously. Best. Hot. Dog. Ev. Er.

We rode Splash Mountain. Mom and Tater were in the first car, first row. When that wall of water came at them there was no amount of ducking that was going to save them. As the ride came to a close, Mom turned around to me and said, "Diva, how do I look?" I laughed and said, "You look like Benji!" (The dog. Remember? Cute, shaggy grey dog?)

The first place we went on Saturday was Disney-MGM Studio. After we went through security, but before we got to the ticket booths, we saw a crowd of people gathered, looking up at the sky. A security guard was on his radio and pointing. We asked what was going on and he told us the space shuttle was going to be taking off any minute. We watched and finally, after straining and squinting, saw it in the sky and that, my friends, was amazing. We watched it long enough to see it disappear into space. I'll probably never see that again my entire life. And after it disappeared and the crowd began to disperse we all applauded. It was a magical moment and we hadn't entered the park yet.

Tower of Terror

Of course, the first thing we did was ride the Tower of Terror. Mom and Tater had hyped me up so much that I was excited and terrified all at the same time. I needed to pee and felt like I might possibly barf. We waited all of 5 minutes to get into the pre-ride movie thing and maybe another 5 to board the ride. We were on the second row of the car, me in the middle. Mom was holding my hand, which was not doing a whole lot to help me not freak the hell out. And I really would've been okay if, when we got to the part right before they drop you, Tater hadn't started fidgeting in her seat, saying over and over again, "Oh gosh, here it comes, oh gosh, here it comes" and started grasping for my arm like I was a life buoy. When the car dropped the first time it only dropped us maybe two stories and in the short moment of coherency that I experienced I thought, "Oh geez, these two played this ride up and it's really OH HOLY NIIIIIIIIIIGHT!!!!!" That's when I left my liver, which had suddenly been turned inside out, somewhere around the 11th floor as we plumeted to the 2nd floor. Or further. Who knows how far we dropped - all I know is that by the time we were anticpating the last drop Mom and Tater were laughing like loons because all that was coming out of my mouth was, "Nonononono, not again, not again, nonononono, please NO!"

And then we got back on that thing and rode it again. Followed by two rides on the Rockin' Roller Coaster that takes you from 0 to 60mph in 2 seconds. The inside-out liver that I had temporarily left at the top of the Tower of Terror was turned right side out again and was flattened against my seat back. We had heard that a young boy had died on that coaster a few weeks before due to a heart problem that they didn't know about. Well, I guess Mom thought my ticker was weak and through the whole ride kept shouting "ARE YOU OKAY?" I kept laughing and screaming "HELL YES I'M OKAY THIS THING ROCKKKKSSSSS!" But she didn't hear me and thought I was dead. Yes, really. We ended up riding TofT 4 times that day. Twice on Aerosmith was really enough; my heart and liver could only handle so much.

Mr. Incredible

As we walked into the building to draw with the Disney artists, we saw Mr. Incredible. I squealed and shoved four little kids out of the way so that I could get my picture with him. Frozone and Elastigirl were there, too, but I was pretty well sated just getting to plant a kiss on ol' Mr. Incredible's big ol' chin, so I decided to let the other kids have the other characters. Parents were scowling at me already for knocking their children out of the way anyway.

Do you see how flat and oogey my hair was in that picture??? The humidity in Florida puts Oklahoma's to shame. Seriously. I don't know how people live there. I was stopping every 10 minutes to flip my head upside down and fluff my hair. When we were leaving the hotel room on Sunday my hair was extra ginormous. I'm talking very serious 90's hair. Tater said, "The 90's called - they want their hair back." She also told me that the big hair was no longer a good look for me, but after about 3 minutes outside it had shrunk to normal and she said, "Okay, I like your hair now. Earlier it was just not good."


Pluto was the first character we drew with the artists. I can't draw much of anything and look at what I drew! All by myself! I also drew Goofy and Stitch, but Goofy was just sad and Stitch was horrible. But I was pretty proud of Pluto. (Note: When drawing with the Disney artists, don't work ahead - you'll end up with "Muto", like Tater did. Hers had three ears.)


We stopped to watch the Stars and Cars parade that afternoon and not only did we see the real live Lightning McQueen AND Mater, (which made me squeal and scream "OHMYGOSHIT'SLIGHTNINGMCQUEEN!!!!) but Darth Vader spotted me trying to get his picture across the street and made a beeline for me. Imagine a 6-foot plus bad dude from one of your favorite childhood movies towering over you just so you could take his picture - I'm telling you folks, it was magic.

We were walking down kind of a side street in MGM when we saw JoJo from JoJo's Circus. Now, here at Diva Daycare we are not big fans of JoJo and her annoying circus, but when I saw Annie and Leo from Little Einsteins I took off in a dead run for them. Picture a fat chick with flat hair running toward two preschool cartoon characters - yeah, it was pretty funny. I forced myself to wait in line to get their picture because after knocking over a few kids over Mr. Incredible, I figured I'd better lay low - they might've had security watching me.

Leo and Annie

Wednesday, September 13, 2006


Phone conversation between Sam and I while I was in Florida:

Me: So why did you want to call me, sweetie? Did you just miss me?

Sam: I watched Parent Trap last night, Mom!

Me: Oh yeah? I bet that was good.

Sam: Yeah, it was. Have you ever seen it?

Me: Well, I saw the old one, the one that starred Hayley Mills. It was a long time ago.

Sam: Well, this one stars Lindsey Lohan ....... and Lindsey Lohan. Mom? How'd they find two of her?

Me: Son.....I'm not entirely sure. I'd think one was enough.


Conversation after a very long day in Disney-MGM Studios:

Tater: Oh crap.

Me: What?

Tater: I accidentally brought my too-small pajama pants and left my too-big and comfortable pajama pants at home!

Me: Oh no! But tell me, why did you buy the too-small ones anyway?

Tater: They were only like, $2!!!

Me: Yeah, but you have like, a $4 butt, sweetie.


Conversation while waiting for the timeshare bus to pick us up:

Tater: Yeah, that salesman told me he's worked in the park since he was 15.

Me: Wow. I'm not sure I could handle that much happiness for so long.

Mom: Oh, I'd love to work here!

Tater: He also said that he was "really good friends with Prince Charming, if you know what I mean". (She did the finger quotation marks beside her head thing and nodded while she said it.)

Me: Oh yeah? Forget the princesses, eh?

Mom: You mean, he was Prince Charming?

Me: *snickering*

Tater: Mom. No. He means he was really good friends with Prince Charming.

Mom: His best friend was Prince Charming?

Me: Mom, he and Prince Charming liked to share that "special hug".

Tater: Mom, when two princes love each other very much.....

Mom: Ohhhhhhhhhh......I get it, I get it.

Tater: It's about time.


We were about to enter the line for Tower of Terror and Mom said to the Cast Member standing there, "This is my favorite ride!"

The guy cocked his head to one side and said, "Are you talking about me?"


You might be a redneck if you are on the bullet-shaped indoor train car of horror in the Atlanta airport and when the electronic voice says, "The next stop is Concourse B. B as in Bravo" you think it says, "B as in backhoe."


We were an hour away from having to leave the park on Sunday in order to shuttle back to the hotel to catch our Magical Express bus (Something that you simply MUST do if you visit Disney - take the Magical Express. Trust me.) when I got a sudden urge for McDonald's fries, which they sell in kiosks around the park because it truly is The Happiest Place on Earth. (The only thing that would make it happier is if it rained chocolate on the hour, every hour.) While I was in line to get my fries, Mom and Tater struck up a conversation with the guy (aka: Prince Charming's boyfriend) from Disney Vacation Club - fancy title aside: timeshare.

I guess before the trip, Tater and Bub had actually discussed purchasing a timeshare and wanted to look into one associated with Disney. The salesman was quick to assure us that even though we were on a very strict time constraint that it wouldn't be a problem since we were so interested in purchasing our very own piece of Disney. I just ate my Fries of Happiness and said nothing. I was too happy. If they were offering me unlimited Fries of Happiness I would've been totally on board, but as it was, owning a piece of real estate in The Magic Kingdom wasn't on my agenda. I was along for the ride.

They bussed us to the resort and gave us free cookies. They weren't Cookies of Happiness, but they were Pepperidge Farm and that was close. We waited. And waited. We reminded the guy at the front desk that we had a time constraint, he assured us that someone would be with us shortly. I nearly fell asleep with my feet up on the coffee table, all relaxed in a big ol' comfy chair. (Hey, I normally don't put my feet up on the furniture, but the dude that took us in the room specifically said to put our feet up, so who was I to not comply?) Finally, Anne the saleslady from England, literally ran into our little room. She introduced herself and sat down to begin her very abbreviated schpiel, the brevity of which she was none too happy about.

She threw numbers at us, I tried to focus my eyes, but they were involuntarily closing. I was wishing for more cookies. I was wishing for a bed. I was not wishing for timeshare talk. I sat up straight and on the edge of my chair, resting my chin on my hand in an attempt to make myself look more interested and to wake myself up some. At that point in her song and dance she said, "So now, ladies, I notice it's just the three of you. You obviously left your husbands at home." She looked at Mom and Tater sitting on the couch and said, "Tater, you have a husband, right? Mom, do you have a husband?" Tater nodded and Mom replied, "I'm single." She nodded, then looked at me and said, "And Diva, you left your...... partner at home?" As she asked this she was looking me up and down - I guess the black t-shirt and camouflage pants I was wearing were leading her to think I was more interested in the Princesses than Prince Charming. Talk about stereotyping. I wasn't offended really........just slightly amused and perplexed. Of course, after the matchbox airplane seatbelt debacle I knew better than to look across at Mom and Tater. I knew that we'd all three dissolve into laughter.

We were running so behind due to the magical timeshare talk that we didn't have much time to think of anything more than getting to the Magical Express and then to the airport, so it wasn't until we were sitting at the Outback in the airport that I asked, "Okay, so was it just me or did anyone else get the impression that she thought I was....." Tater, without looking up from her food said, "Gay? Oh yeah. She had you pegged as a lesbian from the get-go."

Then Tater said, "You're looking a little Goth these days, too. You need some highlights in that jet black hair of yours, lesbian sister of mine." I was stunned. I thought everyone was adjusting nicely to my hair and now I find out that I need highlights? I said, "Oh come on now....do I really need highlights, Mom?" Her reply, "Welllllllllllll......" So turns out I look scary, too.

Of course, I couldn't let it go and said, "Do I really look like a dyke? I mean, I'm not and I'm not going for that look either, not that there's anything wrong with that." Tater said, "Oh just roll with it." I looked at her over my glasses.

The flight from Atlanta to Tulsa had two of us sitting together and one of us in the row behind, across the aisle. Turns out that the single person was me. Tater said, "Switch tickets with me and I'll sit by myself." I said, "Oh, I don't mind sitting by myself. I mean, no, people don't like sitting next to the fat chick, but they'll just have to get over it." Tater reached for my ticket and held hers out to me, replying, "It's not the fact that you're fat, it's the fact that you're a scary Goth in camouflage." I guess she wasn't wanting to add to the high terror alert on September 10th.

Flying high

Before last Friday I hadn't flown in 25 years. I was 8 the last time I flew and I don't remember much about it other than the fact that we had a long enough flight to have dinner and the flight attendant gave Tater and I bottles of wine and made us promise we wouldn't drink it till we got home. So now that I'm an adult who watches way too much TV and is on the internet way too much and has a tendency to obsess over way too much, the flight was making me super very much nervous. I was jumpy and nauseous sitting in the terminal. The cream cheese danish I had just eaten was threatening to do very nasty things in my stomach and I was regretting drinking a Coke, too. I wanted a cigarette and was wishing I had had time to go to the clinic and ask for some tranqs for the trip.

They called our zone to board and I willed my brain to send a message to my legs that would make them work and off we went. A security officer took a backpack right off a dude a few spots in front of us and searched him without a word of apology, explanation or even a square look in his eye. That did not help my nerves one bit. We walked down the little hallway and I was - nay, I think all of us were - expecting to see the plane at the end of it. Instead we saw a rickety looking metal stair thing. Me not being a frequent flyer assumed that this was normal and that my soap operas had portrayed air travel wrong and I followed Tater down the stairs that were really a glorified ladder. Then we followed everyone across the tarmac oh....about 4.3 miles to the smallest plane I've ever seen in my life. My son has Hot Wheel planes bigger than that thing. Tater turned around and laughingly said, "I've never flown on a plane this small!" I instantly had a gut feeling to turn and RUN. My stomach clenched and my heart started racing and I honestly thought Oh holy night I'm going to have a real live honest-to-goodness panic attack right here on the tarmac in Tulsa International Airport at 6 am and oh but it's going to be embarrassing.

But I took a few deep breaths, said a quick prayer and got on the plane - the plane that had a ceiling so low that when I stood up to my full height of 5'2" my head touched the ceiling. The seats were two and two and Mom and Tater were together, with me sitting across the aisle. There was a United States Army solider in the seat next to me and he was so not happy about having to sit next to the fat chick with nervous eyes and big hair. Seriously. He was instantly put out the second he realized I was going to be sitting next to him. I think his day got even worse when I realized that the seat belt was not going to buckle around me. Yep. The curse of the roller coaster struck again, this time on public air transportation. I was trying not to make eye contact with Mom or Tater because I knew I'd either start laughing so hysterically I'd alert security or I'd start crying so hard that an air marshal would just pull out his gun and shoot me right there on the spot. Finally, the flight attendant, seeing my plight, leaned down over me and said quietly, "If you'd like, I can get you an extension." Oh holy night. An extension. Every eye on the plane was on me, even though the attendant was very discreet. I nodded, she patted me on the leg and then I heard snickering. Mom and Tater were both holding back laughter to the point that tears were rolling down their faces.

Now, don't think that my mother and sister are cruel - on the contrary. They are both very sympathetic and well, frankly, they're big girls, too. They felt my pain and embarrassment, but they couldn't help but laugh. They both kept gasping out something about "the look on my face". Then, of course, I started laughing, too. I laughed till tears were flowing and when I stopped laughing long enough to take a breath I very quietly hissed, "I hate you both." This made us all three start laughing hysterically again.

The ride to Atlanta on the matchbox plane was very woozy. I couldn't look out the window, couldn't open my eyes, couldn't talk. While my eyes were closed I took the opportunity to pray. I got very close to God on that flight. I prayed that I wasn't going to die on a plane that was hardly big enough to hold my fat hind end, prayed that I wouldn't barf all over the put-out soldier beside me, prayed that I'd live long enough to attempt yet another diet, prayed that the rides in Disney World weren't going to be as small as my airplane seat.....oh yes, lots of praying. God and I are best buddies again, lemme tell ya. We visited the entire 2 hour flight. Mom and Tater were across the aisle, heads back, mouths open, snoring like mad and I was over there rededicating my life.

And when we hit solid earth in Atlanta I literally had to fight back the urge to kneel down and kiss the ground. Oh there was much thanking to my newly re-found best friend, God.

The flight from Atlanta to Orlando on a 757 went better because I got an extension the minute we got on the plane, before anyone had a chance to ogle the fat chick. But Mom, Tater and I were sitting side-by-side and lemme say, three fat butts side-by-side does not a supremely comfortable plane ride make. I don't think any of us had any blood in our legs by the time we landed, but that plane had individual TVs and we watched E! the entire flight so we didn't notice our lack of circulation too much. Until we tried to walk.

The flight home from Orlando to Atlanta was on a 767, one big mamba jamba of a plane. It was delayed about 30 minutes due to weather in Atlanta. Of course, I immediately was wishing for tranqs again. Seeing that the plane was GIGANTIC helped, though. Mom and I were side-by-side and Tater was across the aisle. I was able to read (The Devil Wears Prada) the entire flight and Mom and Tater slept. I couldn't sleep because we had actually flown out over the Atlantic Ocean and y'all know my insane fear of water and that is deep water. I was totally unnerved. It was a pretty rocky flight for such a big plane and the seatbelt light stayed on the entire flight. I did not like that. When we landed in Atlanta we found out that our flight to Tulsa was delayed about 10 minutes. When we walked as far as the next flight screen thingy it was delayed another 3 and by the next one, a whole 7 more.

We ate at Outback Steakhouse in the airport with plastic utensils. I'm not sure why we all three found that so dang funny, but we did. The conversation was hilarious, but I'll tell you about that in one of the next few posts.

The flight from Atlanta to home was on another Hot Wheels plane and was incredibly bumpy. After having been on the many, many thrill rides over the previous 3 days, though, I just closed my eyes and pretended I was still having fun. My seatbelt extension and I slept quite snugly nearly all the way home.

Monday, September 11, 2006

I would love nothing more than to sit right here and blog to y'all about the adventures of my weekend in Orlando at The Happiest Place on Earth, but frankly, my feet are still swollen from the plane rides (even though I slept with them propped up last night) and my hiney is really just tired of sitting. Dang, but I am old.

This morning I'm in the process of rehydrating myself and for the love of God, does anyone know how I can get my equilibrium back? Methinks the riding the Tower of Terror 5 times in a row yesterday, followed by a ride on Aerosmith's Rock and Roller Coaster has me a little off-kilter. Sitting here in my chair I literally feel like I'm on a boat that's rocking back and forth. Add a rather turbulent ride home on a plane the size of a box of matches to my gratuitous riding of many, many rides and roller coasters and I feel like I need to get my land legs again.

The trip with the kids in January can't come soon enough. I think the Tower of Terror misses me.

And even though we had gobs of fun, man, was it nice to hear an Oklahoma accent when we hit the airport this morning.

Long post full of all of the moments that made us glad we were soaked from sweat and water rides so that no one could see that we wet ourselves laughing should be up some time today.

Thursday, September 07, 2006

Well, that sucks

I won't be moblogging over the weekend because apparently Blogger doesn't support US Cellular customers. That's pretty not nice if you ask me. US Cellular customers have feelings, too! We also have cool stuff to moblog if we're given the chance.

I'm sure there is another way to go about it, but at this point it's less than 8 hours until I leave and I'd rather spend time with my family rather than scouring the internet for way to post to my blog from my mobile phone.

But there's always the chance I'll find a computer with free internet access somewhere in Florida. Don't sit here waiting with bated breath, but if you get a chance, stop in from time to time and you might be surprised. And then again, you might not.



Why is it that when I have forty bazillion things to do, I always manage to get sidetracked? I leave for Disney World in less than 12 hours, I'm still not entirely packed and what am I doing?

Well, blogging for one thing. But I've also synchronized and re-synchronized my mp3 player four times, cleaned out my junk drawer, done two loads of laundry that had about 3 pieces of clothing in each, I've painted my toenails and now I'm seriously considering mopping the bathroom floor.

WHY do I do this?????????

I don't have time to write my Ode to Okie Bloggers today - it's obvious that I have more important tasks to undertake, such as cleaning out my refrigerator and waxing my van and possibly filling in the potholes in the driveway. Yeesh.

Check the blog this weekend if you have a moment - if I figure out how to do it, I'm going to moblog from the Happiest Place on Earth.

Happy weekend, everyone!!

Wednesday, September 06, 2006

Now is the time for all good Okies to come to the aid of their fellow-Okie blogger who would like your vote

I was nominated in two categories in this year's Okie Blog Awards! I am honored, humbled and extremely flattered to have been nominated by my fellow Okie bloggers in the categories of Best Humor Blog and Best Family Blog. You really should check out the other nominees, too - we Okies are quite amazing, if you ask me!

And now voting has begun. If you are an Oklahoma blogger who had at least one post on your blog between June 16 and August 14th then you are eligible to vote. Of course, I would like for you to put my name as your choice for Best Humor and Best Family blogs, but there are some stellar bloggers in both categories that are worthy of your votes as well. (Jen, Tater, you two have no choice in the matter. Mrs. Coach, I'll babysit your kids if you throw a vote my way! I am not above bribery.)

I'm hoping to post about my favorite Okies before I head off to play with The Mouse tomorrow night. Stay tuned.

Note: For those of you who wish to vote, you can either click on the graphic above or just click here. Instructions are on the page.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Still the one

Since Mr. Diva started working the evening shift, the kids and I have created our own little Tuesday routine. I picked up a new baby just two days a week and I don't budget the money I make from him into the family bill-payin' money. It originally was going to be casino money (Gee, how shocking that that thought entered my mind), but instead it turned into Sonic money. When Mr. Diva would leave for work on Tuesdays I'd hand him $10 and then when my last kid left at 5:30, the kids and I would load up and head to Sonic and then the frozen custard shop to blow the rest.

Well, today was Mr. Diva's first Tuesday on day shift and when we started loading up this evening he looked at us all rather strangely. His first question was, "Where do you think you're going? We haven't had dinner yet!" I said, "That's where we're going. If you want dinner, you'd better get to the van." So off to Sonic we went. It cost a little more this week what with an extra person, but it was our first whole-family dinner in awhile, so I didn't mind. We enjoyed it.

On the way home, I realized how good I have it right now. Our marriage hasn't always been perfect and sometimes it wasn't even remotely good. In 1998, we had decided to separate, then found out that we were pregnant with Sam and decided to stay together until he was born. Then after Sam was born I guess we just decided it was too much of a hassle to divorce since we had two kids now and we stuck it out. We've run through some really rough times, but this new job has given us hope that we'll make it after all. Now he's more like the man I married 13 1/2 years ago than the cranky, sullen grouch that I've lived with for the last 6 years - I have my husband back. Now I can only see it getting better.

I was having a real moment right then. I was driving down the highway, the windows were down, the radio was on, I had a belly full of Sonic food, the kids had found a leftover garage sale box in the backseat and were foraging through it, my husband was sitting in the seat beside me - Oh yeah, I thought, my life is good. I punched the button to change radio stations and stopped on Shania's "Still the One". I reached over to put my hand on my husband's leg and turned to give a quick smile to the man who is still the one for me.

Yep. It doesn't get much better than this.

A shitty day

In my line of work I deal with a lot of shit. No, I don't "take shit off of people". Wait. Yes, I do. I take shit off of little people. I literally take it off their pudgy little baby buns with a wet-wipe.

Today I changed approximately 16 shitty diapers, usually 4 back-to-back, within minutes of each other. One of these was a masterpiece by JackJack. I'm talking a down the legs, up the back, all over his onesie type of masterpiece only produced by the (usually and thankfully) under-2 year old set.

I discovered this masterpiece when I picked him up out of the bouncy seat and smelled a stench that is a dead giveaway that something has gone awry in the diaper region. I did what most every parent or caregiver does - I pulled the leg of his diaper open to assess the damage - and pulled back a thumb covered in baby doo. Now, I've been doing this baby thing for 20 years now and don't consider myself a novice, wimp or weenie when it comes to all things diaper, but man, this one produced a gag from me. I then held the poor little dude out at arm's length and carried him to the changing table, tainted digit held out away from him, mind you, which wasn't easy considering it was a thumb.

Princess and Little Nicky watched in awe, mixed with what I think was horror, as their normally steadfast and unflinching Kiki gagged, moaned, grimaced and blinked back tears while trying to decide just how to take care of this mess. I first considered the water hose - just taking him outside and hosing him down - but it was a cooler day and figured that wouldn't go over well. Then I thought that maybe a bath was in order, but then what to do with the other four children in my care? Leave them with Kady in charge? I think not. So I went with Plan C - a box of wet-wipes, a plastic bag for the clothes and prayers asking God for courage for what I was about to experience.

But in the meantime, before I could even start on cleaning up the toxic mess running out of his diaper, I had to get the poo off of my thumb. I first grabbed a wet-wipe from the box and wiped off the biggest part of it, then got another wet-wipe to get the rest, then one more to do a recon mission, just in case I missed some with the first one, this time going under the fingernail to scrape out any hiding under there. The compulsive in me considered one more, but I fought back the urge and instead went straight for the economy-size bottle of Germ-X. I pumped about four very generous globs of gellatinous alcohol into my palm and rubbed furiously, my eyes starting to water again from the alcohol fumes mixed with poop fumes. Then I quickly buckled the baby and ran to the kitchen to wash my hands with antibacterial soap, then ran back for more Germ-X.

In the meantime I realized that I had pulled my thumbnail back from the skin underneath when I attacked it with a wet-wipe-covered fingernail and oohhhhh thinking of an open wound filled with baby-shit germs sent all kinds of thoughts to my brain - mainly septic shock from poop germs introduced directly into soft tissue. So I grabbed the economy-sized bottle of Germ-X once more and pumped directly onto and under my thumbnail and in the process, taught the kids a new word.

Granted, I'm not sure their parents will be glowing with pride when they show this one off to family members, complete strangers in Wal*Mart and the pastor, but well, the only word that seemed fitting was


Friday, September 01, 2006

It's already freakin' September. Um, is it just me or did August just not exist? I totally lost it somewhere.

This morning I sat down and wrote out my calendar for September. Oy vey!! One would think it was December by the looks of all the things I have planned! This weekend, of course, is Labor Day weekend, plus our garage sale. Next weekend is Disney World. I don't actually have anything for the following weekend as of yet, but I think that's the weekend that we usually take Papa to OKCity for his school reunion and I haven't heard yet if he needs us to chaperone him again. (Those octogenarians get pretty wild, ya know.) Then the following weekend is the

Okie Blogger Round-up!!!!!!

I am incredibly stoked, as you can tell by my gratuitously nauseating overuse of exclamation points. (Brian, dude. You, me and apple martinis, right? Or beer if you're worried about your manliness being questioned by drinking foo-foo, neon green, girlie drinks with me.) Ooh, much digression. Yeesh. Okay, so the weekend after OBR is Lynyrd Skynyrd and .38 Special. Then if you want to move on to my October calendar we have Abby's birthday which is going to involve a trip to Silver Dollar City to see Riders in the Sky since the kids didn't go when they were in Miami, PLUS that's the fall crafts festival there and that is totally worth dragging five kids around the park and listening to them whine that they're "bo-orrrrrrrrrrred". Then I think I have the next weekend free, but the next week is Fall Break and I'm also trying to have another Pure Romance party that weekend. THEN I think things settle down until Thanksgiving.

That wore me out just writing it.

On a happier, more jubilant note, while Mr. Diva and I were driving into Grove last night to grab a bite to eat, his cell phone rang. I knew it was Buffalo Run from the number, but answered it anyway. We both figured they were calling to see if he'd work. I handed him the phone after confirming that yep, it was the dreaded shift supervisor. I listened, already planning on dejectedly going back home on our date night, but then Mr. Diva said, "Hey, do you care if I start working day shift? Permanently?" After my screaming and squealing subsided, I heard his supervisor laughing. They had asked him last week if he'd go to graveyards for awhile, but he told them he really couldn't because of all the kids in the house during the day. No way could he sleep with all of this ruckus out here - four kids under the age of two are simply not quiet. Ever. Okay, well, naptime's pretty awesome.

I was really adjusting to my evenings alone, although I never really accomplished all of the amazing housecleaning and chores I had planned and really just mostly painted my nails and watched TV, but I know the kids have missed their daddy since school has started. A good thing is that I don't have to cook a big lunch anymore. That was a hard task to take on, what with trying to keep an eye on the babies while keeping the other eye on not burning the food. Last week while I was grating cheese for the enchiladas, Princess and Little Nicky emptied and shredded a brand new box of Puffs Plus with Lotion. It looked like it had snowed in my toyroom. On the downside of that, I will have to be more prepared when it comes to dinner since I work till 5:30 and again, the whole keeping an eye on the tissue-shredding babies comes into play. If y'all have any good crock pot or make-ahead meals you'd like to share, please send them on. My husband would appreciate it.

Yesterday, Cousin Stacey sent me a text message telling me that they were experiencing hurricane rain bands from ol' Ernresto. She's been texting me to keep me informed of the weather down there. I think she has secret dreams of being a meteorologist, but I could be wrong. Well, I decided to immediately text her right back. Heck, the kids were all asleep and I was just cleaning the kitchen and I didn't mind stopping that. I was going to write, "Screw TWC - I'll get my weather forecasts from you from now on." That was my plan. But I'm still adjusting to my Razr and the keypad on it so when I had written the word "screw" and was going to start on the abbreviation for The Weather Channel, I accidently scrolled past "t" and went on to "u". Then I hit send. Accidently.

I woke the kids up when I started screaming "No!! NONONONONONO!!!! Stop. Sending. That. Message!!!" After realizing it was too late and my favorite cousin was going to be receiving a message on her phone from her favorite cousin that said, "Screw u", I immediately dialed her number. Of course, she was driving in a hurricane and my timing sucks and she nearly wrecked, but she didn't seem to mind too much when I told her that I really hadn't intended on insulting her and her weather forecasts and that it really was my new Razr that, according to Stewed Hamm, didn't even come with the proper vowels.

We....the people

Originally published in The Miami News-Record, July 2020 Everything is different now. I’m not just talking about masks and social distancing...