Saturday, December 29, 2007

Harem Scarem

Yesterday I stayed up all day long even though every cell in my body was begging me to lie down and rest, for the love of Pete. But somewhere in my delirous, fatigued mind I figured that by staying up and cleaning house I'd either wear myself out enough that I'd finally sleep that night or else I'd land myself in the hospital. Fortunately/unfortunately, neither happened. I didn't sleep and I'm still at home. Good/bad, eh. Whatever. At this point, I'm so frickin' tired if Zach Braff came into my house and begged me to kiss his face I'd be like, "Eh, that would require like, so much energy" and I'm so not joking.

Yesterday I had done laundry all day, cleaned my kitchen, typed a blog post, screamed at my children to STOP TOUCHING EACH OTHER about 90000000000000000000 times and fixed dinner, so by about 7:00 last night I was really good and tired. The kids had already taken their showers, so I decided to be indulgent and take a long, hot shower, maybe shave my legs or at the very least my armpits. Because when you're sick and dizzy and your throat feels like it's on fire, armpit hair is pretty much the last thing on your mind. Trust me on this.

Now, here is where I should throw in a disclaimer: I am not perfect. I know, I know, this may be hard for some of you to grasp, (Okay, please know I'm holding back hysterical giggles as I type this. I'm really not this vain) but I really am quite imperfect. (Shhh, though - my 11 year old is the only one of my kids that has figured it out; the other two still think I'm awesome.) Part of my imperfection comes from the fact that I am hairy.

Yes, I just announced on my blog that I am hairy. I am a hairy blogging woman.

Just call me Chewbacca.

I wholeheartedly blame this on my father because he's a man and as a man, he is hairy, like a man should be. However, through some genetic mutation, or the fact he didn't have any sons, I got the hairy gene. Yay me. I won't go into overly gory details because you're probably already grimacing as it is, but let me share this story, an illustration of my hairiness, before I continue on with the story I originally set out to tell:

When Tater and Bub were dating, Paul and I went out to eat with them at Subway one afternoon. Bub was pretty quiet and didn't know us very well at that point. He was polite and nice, but not one to just overflow with conversation. We had finished eating and were sitting there talking - Paul and I across from Tater and Bub - when I put my elbows on the table and leaned my chin on my hands. It was at that point that Bub grabbed my arm and said, "Oh my gosh, did you know you have PUBIC HAIR on your arms?!?" Tater said, "You know, I had never really noticed it before, but yeah, Sis, it looks like you have pubic hair on your arms."


Needless to say, I wax. A lot. My dad bought me one of those EpiLady things back in the 90's - I like to think as a gesture of apology for giving me man-hair. Or maybe he's just twisted that way because as he handed it to me, he was laughing. As I get older, I have now branched out from just rampant arm hair and have started resembling Magnum PI. Yes, I have a lady-stache. I've discovered I am also part billy goat because I have chin hairs now, too. However, I can't blame those on my dad. They are entirely my fault - I made fun of Mom and Tater one too many times for having chin hairs and that bitch karma gave me some of my own.

Now, back to the story at hand: Last night as I shut the bathroom door in anticipation of a long, hot shower, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror. I managed to stifle the scream when I realized it was me staring at me and not Charles Manson. I have developed some serious black circles under my eyes from being sleepless and sick, my hair was wild and sorta mangey looking because my fever had broken during the day and I was sweating like a whore in church at one point and we all know what humidity of any kind does to my hair. I leaned in for a closer look and saw that what I had thought was a large furry caterpillar taking a nap on my forehead was instead my eyebrows. And yeah, Magnum PI was back in action.

I put off the hot shower and grabbed the wax strips and tweezers. I cannot believe my husband gave me a hug when he got home from work. I'm not sure I could've hugged something as scary as I was last night. Bless his heart - I think he really loves me. So as a gesture to him, I decided to rid my hair of all excess body hair - brows, lip, chin, arms and legs - all in one mighty de-furring event and I would emerge from the bathroom decidedly more human - and female. The things we do for those we love, eh?

I plucked my eyebrows first. I don't wax them because eyebrows are far too important to accidently take the whole thing off due to an unfortunate hiccup or something. Plucking is safer where eyebrows are concerned. I tamed them into two somethings decidedly less likely to tuck themselves into a cocoon and emerge as a butterfly. I then moved onto the lip.

I rubbed the wax strip between my hands in order to warm it enough to pull it apart into two magical wax strips, laid the extra strip on the counter and began the business at hand. I am a very efficient waxer. I do it fast because if I stop to think about what I'm doing, I will start crying at the amount of pain I am about to inflict on myself and I will stop. So here's how it goes - place strip, rubrubrub, stick tongue up into lip so you look like you're storing an acorn or two up there, close eyes, pull, wince, dance around, then hold the strip up to see the hair you just removed from your lip. It's a routine I am familar with. And I move quickly to the other side because I just caused an inordinate amount of pain and am about to do it again - I must hurry before I walk around with half a 'stache because I wimped out of waxing.

Except remember where I said I looked like Charles Manson? Focus not so much on the crazy eyes here, but instead on the crazy hair. Oh yeah, and have I also mentioned that my ears are also stopped up and as a result I am occasionally stricken dizzy like I've been on the TiltAWhirl while drunk? Oh I haven't? Well, let me just say that fluid in my ears doesn't have concern for what I'm doing at any given time - it just moves when it wants, whether I'm moving or not. The result is that I look like I'm three sheets to the wind and about to have a gran mal seizure.

Drunken seizures and wax strips do not mix.

Rather than go on about the words I muttered, the curses I swore and the tears I cried, just let it be known that keeping a pair of little bitty scissors in the bathroom is a good idea so that no one else in your house has to know that you just had to cut a really hairy wax strip out of the hair on your head.

Friday, December 28, 2007

Strep Tease

I have been a full-time mom, wife and college student for a year and a part-time employee for half a year. Any time I'd feel so much as a sniffle come on I'd declare loudly, "I don't have time to be sick!" then start drinking Airborne like it tastes good, chewing on vitamin C tablets and dousing everything around me in tea tree oil because Granny Glenn swore by that stuff and if it was good enough for Granny, by golly, it's good enough for me. Seriously, I was like a priest (albeit an overweight female priest who's actually a Baptist) sprinkling that stuff on people and furniture and anything that got in my path. I considered smearing the blood of a unblemished lamb on the doorframes a few times then decided that might be taking things a little too far - number one because I'm not Jewish and number two because ewwww. But strange as it sounds, this obsessive/compulsive behavior has worked for a year now.

So imagine my surprise when I woke up Christmas morning with a sore throat. I opened my eyes and swallowed only to realize that at some point during the night some sick had replaced my saliva with razor blades and acid. I shook it off, thinking that the humidifier must've run dry during the night and my throat was just a little parchy and in need of liquid. On my way back to get the kids so they could open presents I attempted that swallowing thing one more time (because by this point I was drowning due to lack of swallowing for five minutes) and again cursed the smart-ass who sabotaged my saliva. I also noticed that the humidifer was humming along nicely.

After we watched the kids squeal and squawk over the digital camera, pellet gun and Polly Pocket jet I asked Sam to bring me a Coke from the fridge. Surely this would be the balm for my dry throat! Turns out that a throat that has been brutally ravaged by acid and razor blades does not like Coca Cola burning a path straight down it. I know Paul was disappointed that I didn't run directly out to my computer to put pictures on my new! digital! photo frame! from him because that is normally what I do when I receive a new electronic gadget. In fact, I don't think he expected to see me for a day or two, except for when I'd come into the living room toting the frame, exclaiming, "Look what I did now!" I think he was truly disappointed when I instead grabbed two extremely heavy blankets, an extra sweatshirt and my pillow and laid down after telling him, "When I stop breathing and you have to call the paramedics, tell them that I took three Aleve. They'll know what to do." I slept for two hours and felt like I could've slept so many, many more.

I didn't even shower before we went over to visit my aunt and uncle. I just drank some Tylenol Sore Throat (talk about burn, baby burn), put on an extra sweatshirt and spritzed on some perfume to hide the stench of sick, diseased human. When Mom invited us to her house afterwards for leftovers, I looked at Paul to see whether he wanted to or not. He looked me up and down and said, "Yeah, we'll go. I don't think Kristin has it in her to cook. Hell, I don't think she has it in her to breathe tonight." By that point, I didn't.

The next day is a total blur. I remember calling to cancel the kids' doctor appointments, calling work to tell my supervisor I was dead and wouldn't be in that day and calling the sitter to let her know she was off the hook until next week. I don't remember much else. At one point, through my drug-induced stupor which was running in sync with my pain-ravaged body, I heard Abby unloading the dishwasher. Then I cried because I didn't ask her to do that and that was the kindest thing anyone could've done for me at that point. Well, aside from giving me a new throat or shooting me in the head and calling the dead wagon.

By Thursday morning I literally could not swallow. There was no space for anything to go down because my throat was nearly swollen shut. Talk about a scary feeling. As bad as I felt, I knew I had to get myself to a doctor. I showered but I'm not entirely sure how clean I got because my head was spinning so bad I was clinging to the wall for dear life. I figured at that point hot water running over my body was going to have to be enough. I somehow managed to dry my hair and even pulled Kady's up into some halfway decent looking dogears. Abby was totally on her own; thank God she's 11 and knows how to run a hair dryer. I called my mom to make sure the Indian Clinic still had a triage walk-in clinic and immediately busted into tears which didn't help matters at all. Crying is heck on a sore throat. My voice sounded like I was talking through a wad of bubble gum anyway and then add in hysterical bawling....yeah, I think I freaked my mom the hell out.

The kids were strangely quiet on the way to the clinic. I'm not sure whether it was because they were just trying to be good or if it's because they were praying I didn't wreck. It wasn't the smartest thing I'd ever done, driving while delirious. We got to the clinic a little after 8 and those kids of mine were the most well-behaved children ever to sit in that germ-laden clinic ever. They might be brats sometimes, but when it comes down to it, they're good kids. I walked out of there with a 10-day supply of amoxicillin and a glimmer of hope that I might indeed not die of strep throat. I called my mom when I left the clinic and promptly started bawling again and she offered to bring the kids lunch and said to just go home, get in bed and she'd call later. She brought the kids pizza, brought me some Mountain Dew because sweet tea tastes horrible right now (something I never ever thought I'd say or write) and Coke is still painful and also brought chicken noodle soup and lemme just say that a HazMat suit looks lovely on her. Hey, it was either don the HazMat suit or get scrubbed down like that chick in Silkwood. I think she made the right choice.

I can't sleep because evidently I will not allow myself to swallow while I'm asleep. I guess this is because my body doesn't want me to miss out on any of the available pain. How kind of it. I wake up about every 30 minutes, drooling. Yes, glamorous picture, I know. Then I force myself to swallow, then spend 5 or so minutes writhing in pain. I forced myself to eat a piece of cheese last night and felt like I was swallowing silly putty. Malt O Meal was breakfast this morning and it looks like Campbell's Tomato soup for lunch. Normally I don't mind soup, in fact, I really like soup, but dude, I really want some chips and salsa today.....

Sam asked me earlier why I keep making "that face" and I said, "Son, it's because I'm trying to swallow." He totally looked at me like I'd sprouted an extra head and then said, " do it like this..." and then he swallowed. And then I grounded him for life.

Monday, December 24, 2007

We Wish You a Merry Nap. Oh wait, that's my wish...

Goodness, I feel like I never get to sit down these days! With work and kids and Christmas and freak ice storms and volunteering to stand outside in 25 degree weather while it sleets and snows to take pictures of kids with Santa in a state park and exchanging tacky gifts with my very strange but entirely loveable family I don't have time to post! Trust me, once tomorrow comes and goes y'all are gonna get so sick of me posting you'll be enrolling me in college again.

Yesterday we headed off to Branson, MO, to Silver Dollar City and saw Santa and a gigantic Christmas tree that plays Mannheim Steamroller and drank wassail and hot chocolate and yelled at the, I did not take any pictures. However, I will share with you some pictures from the last few weeks. It's the least I can do considering I've been horribly absent.

First some pics of our yard post-ice storm:

Leaning Pine.

That's our new Native American name.

Pretty gnarly looking pile of icy limbs eh? Yeah, there were about 25 more piles just like that one alllllllll around our yard.

I took this one through the kitchen window because Paul wouldn't let me in the backyard. This particular tree is the one that fell on the trampoline and didn't destroy it. All I can hope for is a tornado now. Every time the wind blows I pray it takes that dang trampoline into the nearest barbed wire fence, but for some reason God thinks that trampoline needs to stay right where it is.....

I will never, for as long as I live, forget the sound the sounds of the trees as they broke.


We had our Festivus celebration Friday night with Mom's side of the family. Those of you who read here frequently or know any of us in person are fully aware that we are a sick, twisted lot. The exchange of tacky gifts is not taken lightly and is a contest not for the faint of heart.

The winner this year was the blow-up sheep and bottle of lube brought by my cousin Chad. If that doesn't give you a clue as to what we're like, nothing will.

If it hadn't been for the dang ho sheep, my tampon Christmas angels would've won. The look on Courtney's face when she realized they were tampons was totally priceless.

No, that's not the look. This was after she dropped them like they were on fire and had come to grips with the fact that she now owns four ornaments made from feminine hygiene products.

Cousin Alyssa with her hideous lamp, comliments of my mother.

Chad with the sheep that won him the plaque for the year. She's a purty one, that ewe.

This would be my uncle, the state representative, sporting his extreme makeover kit.

Also notice the Festivus pole. That was a new addition this year. I must say, I liked the ficus variation, but the pole is nice in its own right, I guess.


Tonight was Christmas with at Mom's with Tater, the kids and Uncle David. Mom gave me my coat (that I knew about and had asked for) a day early because after standing outside Saturday night in the wind, sleet and snow without a coat, I decided I didn't want to walk around Silver Dollar City without one. (If it hadn't been for DeLisa I'd have died of hypothermia, no doubt. That precious woman literally gave me the coat off her back. I heart her.) I haven't owned a coat in years because I've been warm-natured, for one thing, and for another, Oklahoma winters in the past few years haven't been all that bad, but strangely enough, this year I'm so dang cold-natured I stay bundled up all the time and 2007 has been a year of ice. It was time to get a coat. She also gave me a really nice jacket tonight that I didn't know about, so now there is no reason for me to be cold. Top it all off with a $50 Bath and Body Works gift card AND a bag full of B&BW stuff (including glitter spray that has made my cleavage OH so sparkly tonight), a crock pot, earrings, my very own tools which are, of course, PINK, two new bed pillows that are thicker than a bologna sandwich which is how thick the ones we've been sleeping on are, and a bag of candy and other goodies that caused me to exclaim as I opened the bag, "OH MY GOSH, it's a diabetic coma!"

I *heart* Christmas.

I went to bed at 3:30 this morning and got up at 7, Paul and I still have a Polly Pocket jet to assemble and forty gazillion other gifts to set out and I've still got four loads of laundry to finish, so I'm going to leave you all with this.....

Merry Christmas from the Hoovers!

Monday, December 17, 2007

I've got the power! (insert 90's techno music here)

Five and a half days without power.

Not something I ever wish to repeat. Ever. I make a fairly decent redneck, but a pretty crappy pioneer.

The lights came back on Friday night while Paul and I were out as a casino that had lights, noise and hot water and no children. I love my kids and all, but dang they got annoying after 5 days living in one room with them. You cannot imagine the whooping and hollering that went on when we drove up that driveway and saw our porch light and every other light in the house blazing. Apparently, even though we had no electricity and everyone in the house knew it, everyone was still flipping lightswitches on when they went into a room out of sheer habit. The result was that our house could've guided in a jetliner.

I ran the dishwasher as soon as we walked in because that filthy kitchen of mine was causing me serious freak-outs. I always run hot water in the kitchen faucet before I start the dishwasher and it was working properly at 11pm. It was such a welcome sound, that dishwasher filling and whooshing and chugging along happily in my incredibly dirty kitchen......

Turns out, that was the water heater's last hurrah. She died some time during the night. Services are pending. They'll probably be tomorrow when Paul tosses her in the back of the truck and installs the new one. The new one that works and holds a lot of hot water.

For at least a month I am going to refuse to boil water. Or even heat it on the stove. (Sorry kids, no mac and cheese for awhile) I have hauled enough water down my hallway in the last 3 days to last me a long time. And while I've never been a big fan of a bath anyway, I'm definitely swearing those off for a long time as well. I won't say I'll never take one again because that kind of statement would come back to bite me in the butt and I'd break my leg or something and have to take baths for like 8 weeks or longer, but I will say that it will be a long dang time before I voluntarily take a bath. I need my shower in the morning. A shower and coffee are the perfect way to start a day. I was deprived of coffee for 5 days and now a shower for 3 - I'm bordering on homicidal, people.

Work has been insane since last Thursday and I'll just be glad when this Thursday gets here and I'm done until the day after Christmas. The other aide and myself have been gathering last-minute requests for gifts from foster kids, last-minute donations from generous individuals and businesses and then doing last-minute shopping. I don't do last-minute well. I like order and pre-planning and lots more planning. I am learning to get over some of that working for the state. Today the other aide and I did 3 hours of toy shopping at Wal*Mart and tomorrow we're both planning on being to work before 8 in order to get the 150-some toys/electronics/clothes sorted, tagged and wrapped. Thank God we're not delivering, too. However, I do love my job, so I keep going back. Willingly. I can't believe I'm actually enjoying leaving my house and going to a job. Weird.

Because of the ice storm, finals were canceled at the college. All this did was get me out of having to take the 10 minutes out of an afternoon to report for my Algebra final and then politely leave the room. I took an "I" in the class - I'm not sure if that's better or worse than an F and frankly I don't give a flip. If I go back someday I know full well I have to take it again. I'll cross that bridge when Hell freezes over when I get to it. I managed an A in American Lit and an A in Computers. The shocker of the semester was the C I got in Macro. I just told my Sunday School teacher yesterday that I got a D in that class, never dreaming in a gazillion years that I'd get a whole C. Man, am I glad that's over. I did it. I passed. I also had a totally surreal moment when I flipped on the TV early a week ago Sunday morning to watch for weather updates and all that was on was preaching or some business program that I fully cannot fathom anyone watching on purpose - except for my Macro instructor. And maybe Stewed Hamm. Strangely......I actually almost sort of kind of knew what they were talking about. Okay, not really, but I recognized a few terms.

Tomorrow night I have to put the final touches on my tacky gift for the family Festivus celebration which is this Friday. I hope that I reach a pinnacle of tackiness this year because I already have the nail driven in my bathroom wall in preparation for the turkey I hope will soon be hanging there. Yes, I realize that last statement was incredibly weird and I'll explain our family's Festivus celebration one of these days. Not tonight. I'm not in the mood because I keep remembering that I have to get up 45 minutes early in order to heat water on the stove for my morning bath. Not shower. Bath. A tub of warm water just brimming with my filth. MMMmmmm just gets me all kinds of in the holiday spirit.

Who can conquer the day effectively knowing that the crud they just washed off their body didn't really get washed off but was instead soaked on?

Not me, man. Not me. There will be no day-conquering until I get a shower.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Blogging From Work, the final edition

Okay, this will be the last installment from work because after today I'll no longer be employed by the college. I'm sad because I really like this job, but geez, if you're not a student they don't let you do work-study. They're sticklers like that.

We are still power-less at home. We've been out since 6:30am Monday, so today is the 4th day. There were some 16,000 customers out and as far as we can tell we are the only road still out in our neighborhood. It is horribly irritating to see the neighbor's lights blazing. It is still sucking and we're incredibly cranky. Paul threw a pretty good temper tantrum yesterday morning, but eh, he'll get over it. Today was my first day back to work at the other job, the government job, the job that just got their power back yesterday. It was hard to turn that generator off at home this morning, knowing that the refrigerator was going to be all dark and lonely for some 7 hours, but I'm sure she'll be okay. I hope. I hope my Miracle Whip makes it.

I guess I should've clarified that my last post wasn't posted due to magical internet powers in my head, but instead I posted it from my mom's office where Mom, the kids and I had gone to heat up TV dinners that were thawing in Mom's freezer. Mom and I bathed KD and Sam by flashlight in her gigantic tub. I find it utterly amazing how much heat two four-wick candles can generate in a bathroom and the kids thought it was truly cool to see steam rising off their little bodies while they bathed and splashed and well, I'm glad someone had a good time. Abby and I trekked back into Mom's last night to shower in her 45' house because she has a gas hot water heater. It was much less of an adventure last night than it had been with the two younger ones. Abby and I were much more down to business and just wanted to get the heck back to the truck where we could run a heater. Tonight is again bath night for the youngest two - I figure they're little and don't have hormones and can therefore go a night without a bath. Abby and I however don't enjoy smelling like ass and we shower daily no matter how cold Mom's house is.

Our backyard is still a very scary timber yard and the plan was to clear it this weekend, but they're forecasting 6 inches of SNOW starting tomorrow night.


I never ever thought I'd say this, but I'm ready for summer.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Chilly and powerless

We are without power and have been since 6:30 yesterday morning. It sucks. Big ones. The kids are out of school going on day 3 tomorrow. How did I ever stay home with other people's children? Mine are driving me utterly mad.

We have lost about 4 whole trees and countless other limbs and branches. I was hoping that the gigantic tree half that fell on the trampoline would demolish the mother, but oh no, as fate would have it, the trampoline is fine. Have I ever mentioned that I really hate that trampoline? Right around the time we lost power Monday morning, we also heard a gigantic crash (oh we'd heard them all night long as the ice broke tree after tree, but this one was mega big) as the aerial antenna (that we don't use) crashed onto the roof of the carport. It completely bend the metal pole over.

We borrowed a generator from Paul's brother and got it hooked up last night around 6. We are running the important things like the fireplace blowers, the refrigerator and the TV and Wii. We totally have our priorities in order.

Mom will probably lose her oak tree in her front yard which has caused more than a few tears because Papa said, "I think that's just about the prettiest tree I've ever seen in my life" on more than one occasion. It's sad to see it go. Part of it is laying across her carport, though, and the rest is scattered about her yard and driveway. Tater's only lost a few limbs off her front-yard tree.

We are inconvenienced, frustrated, but it could've been so much worse. We have been blessed in spite of it all.

Oh and the best part? NEO cancelled classes all week - finals week. Students will be graded on what they completed before school let out. I was scheduled to take my Algebra final today at 1, but instead am going to just go ahead and fail it due to an act of God. Oh and the fact that I'm a mathtard.

So just know we're alive and we're managing. The Wii is helping. We're just hoping the power comes back on before the forecasted massive snowstorm hits on Friday.

Sunday, December 09, 2007

Ice, Ice Baby

I woke up around 3 this morning to the sound of thunder. I saw quite a bit of lightning and decided to get up and unplug the computers and Wii. I peed, got a drink, checked on the kids, looked outside to see only rain and went back to bed.

I woke up at 5 to the sound of my husband banging on something in the fireplace repeatedly. Over and over it sounded like he was driving steel stakes into cement blocks with a large, loud mallet. I closed my eyes and covered up, then realized I was freezing. I curled up in a ball and tried to tune out the sound of my husband's attempt to drive me utterly freaking insane. Finally the lack of warmth got to my bladder and I got up to pee. By that time Paul was done murdering whatever he had been stabbing in the fireplace and I met him mid-living room. He said, "You let the fire go out." I glared at him and said, "You fell asleep in the recliner. I put wood on it before I went to bed. Totally not my fault. You were up at some point to move to the couch, you could've put more wood on then." The reply I got was, "Wow, someone woke up grumpy this morning." As I continued down the hall toward the bathroom I resisted the urge to flip him off.

After peeing and deciding that the need to bring my body temperature up to a normal living human level overrode the need for caffeine at........crap, it was only 5am....... I went back to bed and turned on the bedroom TV then laid there and shook until the blankets warmed up. We were only under a freezing rain advisory and I assumed it was still raining.

Paul came in with an armload of wood about that time and declared it to be "slicker'n greased owl poop" outside.

Within 30 minutes we'd been upgraded to "ICE STORM WARNING" and I was begging Paul to stay home. I hate it when he thinks he's invincible in a 4-wheel-drive truck and will head out in anything. But no, he felt obligated to go because he knew of several other security officers who lived further out than we did. He called the Security Manager and they decided that yeah, they'd both go in in case no one else did.

He called me when he got there - they had 3 guests playing in the casino. When he called me an hour and a half later, they had none. I called to check on Mom and she informed me she was without power, which meant Tater was, too. My Sunday School teacher called to tell us the church was without power and services has been cancelled. I said, "Well, I'm sitting here with the mother of our Lord and Savior in my lap and we'd already decided we were leaving the manger to someone else this morning." There were a few seconds of really weird silence before I added, "Uhm, Kady's Mary in the nativity...." and then he laughed till he stopped. Right after that, the kids' SS teacher called to tell us that all 3 power substations were down in town. When I hung up with him I called Mom to tell her the situation with the substations and continued rocking the Holy Mother while we watched Smurfs on Boomerang.

We have drunk a lot of hot chocolate, I've started reading Dear John by Nicholas Sparks (which is taking off verrrrry slowly and leaving me unimpressed thus far), I've taken my Computers final, I've taken some pictures of the ice, and I've broken up about 96 fights over the Wii that mysteriously causes everyone to pick on Kady. Bless her heart, she's such a whiner sometimes. Okay, most of the time.

Paul hates soup. Any kind of soup. I can get away with potato soup more often than any other kind, but even that's pushing it. But today is just begging me to make a big pot of vegetable soup and a pan of cornbread. He can eat a sandwich if he's going to be a baby about it. I, however, am eating soup.

That is, if the electricity stays internet connection is being iffy already....

Wii should move

I've heard that the reason for the nationwide shortage of Wiis this Christmas is because older folks are buying them for health reasons and using them in lieu of a gym membership. I don't doubt it - the day after I boxed the holy livin' sh*t out of my husband, my shoulders were sore as all get out.

But I think the physical fitness aspect of it is lost on my children, especially the youngest one. I walked into the living room a few minutes ago to find her on her back in the middle of the floor, lazily waving the remote in the air. I looked at the TV to see her Mii (aka Wii avatar) golfing.

"Kady Dawn, what are you doing?"


"You are supposed to get up and move when you play the Wii."

"Why? Daddy was bowling in his recwinew wast night. He got a stwike."

Saturday, December 08, 2007

I'm not dead

Okay, so I hear that people have actually been writing down my web address from up at the Park of Lights and have been checking me out here at my little home on the web. Well, I hope y'all had time to look around a bit and really look for the good stuff because I'm afraid there's not been a lot of quality posting as of late. Just randomly pick some older stuff from the archives and don't give up on me after reading what's on my front page.

Twice in the last two weeks I've been called "funnier than hell" if that accounts for anything at all. Of course, like my 11-year-old pointed out - "Uh...Mom? Hell isn't funny at all, so is it really a compliment?" Yes. I'm taking it as one.

Oh, and leave a comment, will ya? You can even leave 'em anonymously, just so long as you leave 'em. I'd love to see who's stopping in because of a camouflage trailer and 8 pink plastic flamingos.

I have taken my Macro final and my Lit final. I felt pretty decent about the Macro test really. Well, until that last page, but I'm not losing any sleep over it. I really should be taking my Computers final like, right now, but eh, I'm posting this then I'm going to bed. I'm scheduled to take the cursed Algebra final on Tuesday at 1:00. Prayers, good thoughts and maybe mailing chocolate directly to my home or sending me a bouquet of daisies to work would be appreciated. I don't expect to pass it, nor do I expect to pass the class, but I'm taking the final just so I can tell people I didn't totally wuss out. I just moderately wussed out. Moderately is definitely better than totally. Trust me.

For your viewing pleasure....... bad pictures of my display at the Park of Lights.

There she is, all lit up and glowing. Ain't she purty? Purtier'n a pink dress, eh, Mrs. Coach?

I think the pink flamingos add so much.

Here it is without so much flash.

I'll have to try to grab some video of me walking around it one of these afternoons. That way I can point out all the nuances and special touches.

I didn't manage to get any pics of the clothesline where ol' Santa hung his duds, so yeah, I need to video it for y'all. I'll try to get to that this week, barring we're not actually entering the next Ice Age as the meterologists around here are predicting....


Sam had his first basketball game today. I cannot believe how much more improved he is from last year! His coach last year was great, but the coach this year is even better. She's teaching them basics and fundamentals and whaddaya know, he came home from practice one night and said, "Mom! You are never gonna believe this, but now I know what a layup is!!" Every time his coach told him to work on his lay-ups last year he was too embarrassed to ask him what a lay-up was, much less how to work on one. So I really have to give Coach Summers some serious kudos for teaching my boy some mad basketball skillz.

He fouled a kid today and the kid got free throws. There were fouls all over the place from all the boys on both teams, but for some reason Sam's was bad enough to let them have free shots. He was kinda proud of it, but I told him that it really wasn't something to be all that proud of considering it could get him kicked out of a game. I guess it goes without saying that he's a much more aggressive player this year, too.

They lost 29-20, but they brought it up from 11 to 20 in the first few minutes after the half, so I was impressed at whatever she said to them during halftime. It made an impression, whatever it was.

He got the crap knocked out of him at one point and I just so happened to have caught that moment on video. Paul had to work today and when I was showing him what I had recorded he kept having me replay the part where Sam hit the floor and scooted a foot backwards on his booty. Paul said, "Why didn't you get up and knock the sh*t outta him, son?" Sam shrugged and said, "Eh, it wasn't worth it. The refs were biased anyway." I don't know where he wouldve heard that........

I left the house yesterday morning at 8:45 only to get on the highway and hear my phone ring. It was the school's number and I wondered who had puked already. It was Abby telling me she had spilled a carton of milk all over herself in the cafeteria and could I bring her some clean clothes? I turned around, went back to the house, dug around in that cave she calls a room, found some clothes that I think were clean and only a little wrinkled (they were in her closet, but that means nothing in Abbyland), took them to her, then went to town. I got almost to the turnpike entrance when I remembered I hadn't picked up my work study check at NEO, so I turned around, picked that up, then decided to go ahead and cash it since I was going shopping, then when I was in the bank drivethru felt my stomach rumble and remembered I hadn't eaten breakfast, pulled into McDonald's drivethru, ordered a McGriddle and a sweet tea and waited for what seemed like 4 hours while they butchered the hog to make the sausage patty and squeezed the chicken for the egg to make a perfectly round and quite disturbing egg patty and FINALLY got on the turnpike at 10. Then I'll be danged if I didn't pass right by the exit where the Harley shop was - the HD shop, Academy Sports and Toys R Us were my main reasons for going to Joplin.

Rather than turn around, I went on into Joplin and straight to Academy Sports where I bought my son a Benjamin pellet air rifle that the salesguy told me shoots at such a high velocity that the pellets will pierce the skin and could possibly kill someone in the right situation. Oy. My husband couldn't figure out why I had such reservations...

But seeing the look on Paul's face when I showed him the gun last night was pretty awesome. He had a Benjamin when he was a kid. That's why the squirrel population in the backwoods of Wyandotte is just now recovering after a heinous mass slaughter by a red-headed freckled boy 35 years ago.

I finished all of my shopping yesterday except I never made it back to the HD store. The kids and I can do that next weekend hopefully. I may lack a thing or two for KD because with her being born 5 days before Christmas, I never seem to have enough gifts for both events. Tater and I need to decide on Mom's gifts and then I'll be completely done.

Paul says he doesn't want to get me a desk chair for Christmas, but if it's what I really want, shouldn't he just shut up and buy it for cryin' out loud? All I asked for was a laptop battery that lasts longer than 37.2 minutes (because that's about all I can get out of this one) and a comfortable desk chair. He's balking on both. I guess I should get myself a Harley - he'd have no trouble buying for me then, huh.

We got a phone call from the director of the kids' Sunday School department last night asking if the kids were going to make it to practice for the program in the morning. I hadn't planned on them going because of Sam's basketball game and the fact that I'm playing single mom on the weekends and I haven't figured out the space-time continuum yet, but the guy said the teachers had all voted and they wanted Kady play Mary in the Nativity. I double-checked to make sure he didn't mean Abby, but nope, they wanted Kady for Mary, Abby for an angel and Sam for a shepherd. So after me letting down my over-protective Mom-Guard I said I'd leave the girls at the church for practice while I took Sam to his game. It's not that I don't trust the church people, it's just that I'm neurotic and like to be with my kids for stuff like that.

While we were running around like chickens with our heads cut off getting ready this morning Kady laid her hand right on my nuclear hot Chi iron and burned the ever-lovin' you-know-what outta her hand. Fortunately I had some Silvadene and bandages and wrapped her hand. I was comforting her after she was bandaged up and she sobbed, "But Momma, how can I cawwy da Baby Jesus wif DIS on my hand?" I said, "Oh honey, you shouldn't have any trouble carrying Baby Jesus. He should be pretty light. Ask Joseph for help if you need it. As the step-father of our Lord and Savior he really should step up and help you out." Abby, not impressed in the least by all the drama, said, "Man.... if there was ever going to be a Mary with a burn from a straightening iron, it would be from our family."

Conversation between Abby and me after KD's 26,000th meltdown of the day:

"Good grief! Mom, why is she crying AGAIN?"

"I don't know, honey. I guess she's just having a bad day."

"And you say I need a Midol! Can you give a 5 year old a Midol?"

"No, I don't think you can, but she'll be 6 in a few weeks. Then you can share yours."

Sam and Paul have no chance at all. None.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Blogging from Work, part hell I don't know

I'm at my work-study job for the next to the last week, so there will likely only be one more installment of Blogging From Work. Try not to cry too hard because this means that I will actually be blogging from HOME again! Whoo hoo!!

Oh and many thanks to everyone who offered to help us with Wii shopping. We managed to get our hot little hands on one yesterday after my mother stalked the Baxter Springs, KS, Wal*Mart until they had one. The kids got off the bus at 3:35 and were happily virtual-bowling by 3:45.

Today, my arms and shoulders are sore from all the baseball my son and I played last night. And I totally knocked my little sister out in boxing AND I chopped onions faster than her once. (We won't mention the 40 gazillion other times she out-chopped me...) My gosh, I don't know how we lived life normally before we owned a Wii. It's a good thing I quit school so I'll have more time to play now.

In about 34 minutes I will start taking my final Macroeconomics test. In about 25 minutes I should be quite done failing it as effectively as I possibly can. I got a 69 on the last test which was open-book. Does that tell you anything about how much I understood this class? Tomorrow or Saturday I will take my final in Computers and then I will be done since I'm not taking the Algebra final. Or at least, I don't think I'm taking it - the instructor hasn't responded to the pleas of the students who are wanting to know when the heck the final is. She may insist we all take it and if she does, fine. I'll take it, but I won't pass it. And you can't make me.

Okay, I'm off to find the new room they've moved Macro to. We were in two different rooms in two different buildings during last week's classtime and this week we're scheduled to be in some conference room in this building, yet.... I don't recall ever seeing a conference room in this building.

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Putting that baby to bed

I just completed my final in my American Lit class.

Tomorrow night I will impair my vision attempting to type in the smallest font possible, one page front and back of notes for my Macro final. I'm not hopeful that a cheat-sheet is going to make the test any better - the test we took last Thursday was open-book and I don't feel like I did any better than on any other test.

Friday I will take the final in my Computers class. I'll make a C just like on every other one I've taken, but with the curve I'll get an A or at least a mid B. I still love that curve.
I am going to flunk Algebra. And I'm okay with that. The class is pass/fail. If you don't complete all 186 topics, you don't pass. I was 40-some behind the other night, managed to work hard enough to get it up to 30-some behind, then took a friggin' "assessment" (fancy schmancy word for test) and it knocked me back to nearly 60 behind! If you miss it on the assessment it adds it back into the topics. See, I mentioned that retention thing I don't have goin' on.....I totally wasn't lying. So, I'm going to fail because I have no intention of losing out on valuable sleep in order to bust my arse to get ahead only to get kicked to the curb when I take another assessment.
I should be kollij-free by the weekend.

Friday, November 30, 2007

Wii would like to play...

...except we can't because I think the Wii doesn't actually exist.

The associates at Wal*Mart are all secretive about when their shipments arrive and the folks at Toys R Us are actually quite snippy and answer the phone with "Thank you for calling Toys R Us, we are out of Wiis and don't know when we'll get more. How can I help you today?" The gal at one of the 10 Wal*Marts I called today said she was screening calls when I asked for Electronics. I told her I was looking for a Wii and she said "So is everyone else."

7 years ago when PS2's were $350 and all the rage we walked right into a Wal*Mart and plunked down a chunk of our income tax return and walked home happy as pigs in sh*t ready to give ourselves carpal tunnel and flatter brain waves. There was no stress in buying the PS2.

Now I'm ready to hunt down those two fellas in the funky white car.

Hell yes Wii would like to play -- Wii just kidnapped your asses and oh yes, Wii will be playing.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Busy, busy, dreadfully busy

This is the next-to-the-last week of school for me. I cannot tell you how thankful I am that it is almost over. I am so ready to have this monkey off my back. I am still about 58,000 topics behind in Algebra, though and have a final to take, so I think it's pretty evident that I'm not going to get an A in the class. I'm not holding my breath on passing it either because I have absolutely NO retention in this subject! I can do problems, get a handle on them enough that the program will let me move on to the next topic and the next day when it reviews the previous day I have to look back over the work to remind myself what the hell I did just 24 hours ago. I truly am a mathtard. However, I was able to help Abby with her algebra homework the other day. My FIFTH GRADER. The fifth grader who is doing pre-algebra. Yeah. But thanks to one of my dearest friends in Texas I was able to impart upon her the wisdom I was given regarding order of operations. So I guess my kollij experience hasn't been entirely for naught.

I have one last assignment in my Lit class and one final paper. The paper is a literary analysis and since I did my last paper over "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Poe I decided to do this one over "The Minister's Black Veil" by Hawthorne. She picked my last paper to itty bitty smithereens, so I'm not hopeful that this one will fare any better, but I'm gonna give 'er a whirl. I want to be a writer, I'm told I'm good at WHY IN THE HECK do my English/Lit teachers rip me a new butthole every time I write a paper???? Not words of encouragement like "You have hidden potential. Hey, do you blog?" or "This paper is evidence that you are a diamond in the rough. Let me put you in touch with my cousin who is an agent" or anything like that. Instead I get "Double-space your sources, dipwad" and "You nitwit, you left out 16 commas. Duh." Okay, so technically she didn't call me a dipwad OR a nitwit, but I think she was secretly thinking it. And in my defense, I was going on about 2 1/2 hours of sleep when I wrote that paper - although I'm sure all the other Freshman were going on less. Of course, they were sleepless because they'd been partying with a beer bong, a trampoline and a goat named Bubba and I had just been crying hysterically for 14 hours straight over the fact that I have no mad math skillz and obviously no mad grammer skillz either. But I'm not bitter.

Tomorrow night is the last Macro test before the final. I got a whopping 65 on the last one and while these last three chapters are over money and monetary policy and I kind of almost halfway understood it, I'm still not going to get excited and think I might fare better than failure. Failure looks good on me these days. See? I think my butt looks smaller in failure, don't you? Okay, maybe not, but I still have awesome boobs.

Monday I took KD to the doctor because we spent all day the Friday after Thanksgiving doing breathing treatments because she sounded like a baby harp seal. I was close to taking her to the ER, but back-to-back treatments did the trick. Of course, she bounced off the walls after that and nearly drove me nuts with the incessant talking, shaking and chattering because of it. Her PA said her asthma has progressed from Stage 1 to Stage 2, meaning that instead of the occasional to rare flare-up, she's now having more frequent flare-ups. He put her on the Advair inhaler which he seems to think will do the trick. I'm sure her teacher will appreciate it when the new meds kick in and I'm not writing her a note every day giving her endless information about KD's breathing and wheezing.

Today I took the kids to the dentist in Tulsa for the six-month checkups/x-rays/cleanings. No cavities again, thankfully. Even though I have neglected them this entire year, I have still demanded they brush their teeth. I refuse to go totally redneck and allow dental decay in my children's mouth. In fact, because Abby is an overachiever like her mother, she's growing two whole extra teeth. When they handed me her x-ray I noticed these little nubbins down below and between a molar and bicuspid. Shortly after I noticed them, the hygienist said, "Doctor, I think Abby has some extra teeth." I asked if it was rare and he said rare, yes, unheard of, no, but he hasn't had a case in his practice in years. Leave it to my kid. He said they would eventually need to be extracted and I asked, "They'll have to be cut out, right?" He whirled around at me and said, "We prefer not to use the word 'cut' around the children." Whoops. My bad. It didn't seem to bother Abby regardless. Anyway, he wants to give them some time to develop a little more before he removes them, which hopefully will be before they undo all the progress we've made in the attempt to keep her out of braces.

Sam and I got a stern lecture because he's still not doing his lip exercises and I'm still not enforcing it. He hates doing them and I hate making him. Normally I am a bit of a drill sergeant when it comes to making my kids do things that I feel important - so I guess maybe I've decided the lip exercises aren't important? I dunno - I just hate making him walk around with a popsicle stick pinched between his lips in an effort to make his lips strong enough to pull a Volkswagon. After the dentist lectured us both thoroughly, he then told me that he will not start Sam in any orthodontics until he breaks the habit of biting his lip which can only be broken by doing those stupid lip exercises. So now, it has become "important" and I will soon go into full-force drill sergant mode. He's already getting some kids making fun of his teeth and I'm tired of him wallering his food around because he can't chew properly and if it means he has to walk around with a stupid popsicle stick in his mouth to train him to not bite his lower lip, so be it.

Today at work I learned that the Easy Bake Oven has been recalled because of "partial finger amputation." OW. I thought the foremost safety hazard with an Easy Bake was spontaneous combustion of your house and/or daughter wearing non-flame-retardant pajamas and running with scissors while her shoes are untied, but nope, turns out we all have to look out for them lobbing off part of their fingers, too.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

And now you're 9

Dear Sam,

Bless your little heart, you have drawn such a rotten spot in the family that not only are you the middle child, but you were also born right smack in the middle of the Thanksgiving holiday. Your little sister was born just five days before Christmas and her whole life we've made insanely annoying efforts to differentiate between her birthday and the holiday, but somehow your birthday still manages to get lost in the insanity that is our dysfunctional family at Thanksgiving. However, that whole being the middle child thing has made you so sweet and understanding that you just roll with it. Thank you. And bless you. A lot.

You not only drew a spot in-between two sisters, but you also managed to get the middle spot in Mom's grandkids as well. You don't have any choice but to be flexible and easy-going. That's not always been the case, though....

When you were a baby I was convinced you were posessed. Or at least broken. Son, you were not all the way out of my body before you let out your first blood-curdling, hair-raising scream and it was downhill from there. You were a screamer. Actually "screamer" just doesn't adequately describe what you were when you were an infant. There are no words to adequately describe the noises you made, I'm afraid. You never really cried all that much, but the screaming - you screamed when you were happy, sad, angry, hungry, tired, well-rested and if Elmo had walked in and presented you with a lifetime supply of Oreos, you'd have still screamed. I remember one particular family vacation when there were 9 of us in a rented condo looking forward to some relaxation and fun, but you decided that that was the particular weekend that you were going to practice making me want to bang my head against something hard. At one point, after you had screamed and hollered for what seemed like endless hours, your Grammy walked out of the room and patted me on the arm and said, "It's a good thing I love that little shit because I sure don't like him very much." It was that next week that I made an appointment with your pediatrician and when that poor woman walked into the exam room I held you out to her at arm's length and said, "Fix him. He is broke." She laughed, but I didn't. In fact, I believe I busted into tears. I was convinced you were deaf - that was the only plausible reason in my exhausted mind that would explain why you screamed virtually nonstop. However, she looked you over from head to toe, did all kinds of little tests to check your hearing, played with you awhile and you charmed her socks right off. When she was done, she picked you up, kissed your head, handed you back to me and said, "Sweetie, he's not broke. He just likes the sound of his voice. Just try to enjoy him until he gets tired of it." And years later, I can't tell you exactly when you outgrew the screaming. Maybe you just got tired of your voice all of the sudden and maybe you gradually phased out the screaming. However it happened, I'm glad it did. I love you and all, but wow, you were loud.

Sam, you're an amazing child. You are giving and kind, yet you are obnoxious and annoying - usually in the same breath. I will never understand the complexities that make up you, my son, and frankly, it's probably better that way. It adds to the whole package, I think. You are a charmer, no doubt, and the teachers at school and your classmates love you and your personality. Sometimes we call you "Eddie Haskell" because you tend to overdo some compliments every now and then....okay.....a lot....but as your mother, I have every right to blame it on the fact that you are the middle child. I will use birth order to explain away you and your sister's behavior until someone with a lot of letters after his name tells me I can't. So, again, it's because you're the middle child that you try so hard to please everyone. And tell them they're pretty. And smart. And the best mother/father/teacher/aunt/etc. in the world. And my, those are lovely pearls you're wearing, Mrs. Cleaver.

I don't know what God holds in His hands for you, Sam, but I just have this feeling in my heart it's going to be something amazing. I mean, I hope your sisters do wonderful things, too, but something in me says that you're going to do amazing things for other people. It's just your nature. Your Grammy has said for years she thinks you'll end up being a minister or pastor and it's funny, but you have mentioned a desire to do that as well. Lately you've been asking lots of questions about God and salvation and how will you know when God is talking to your heart. As a mother, I want to be able to know exactly what to say in every situation and answer all of your questions the right way, but in this case I repeatedly answer you with, "You'll just know." And it's the truth, however frustrating it is to you. Just be patient.

You've also mentioned that you want to be a solider when you get old enough. The patriotic part of me thinks that would be wonderful. You would serve our country well. But the momma in me wants to grab you so tight and scream NO and forbid you from going within 500 yards of an Army recruiter's office. But as hard as it will be, if the time comes that you decide to become a solider.....well, I'll probably cry a lot, but I will be the proudest mother to ever live.

I am so happy that you're my son. Most days you are the one that makes me throw my head back and laugh really loud. You are dorky and corny and you get easily frustrated when things don't work out the way you think they should. You suck at your times tables and love Captain Jack Sparrow - wow, you're me. I cannot resist kissing your head and the smell of your sweaty little-boy hair makes me happy to be alive. I never dreamed that a little boy with big teeth and freckles would make me feel like the luckiest woman on earth.

Happy birthday, son. I love you.



Thursday, November 22, 2007


The other day we had the most glorious leaves in our yard! They were pretty and crunchy and just perfect for burying the kids in and taking pictures. So we did. Paul even got into the spirit of it all and used the leaf blower to make these two gigantic piles - one in the front yard, one in the back. What ensued was over an hour of picture snapping, sloppy dog kisses because Jake loves him some leaf piles, a sweat bee in my bra and several good pictures, believe it or not. I took a family picture, too, but I'm saving it for another day. In the meantime, enjoy these....

Happy Thanksgiving, y'all!

A very redneck Christmas

Monday night I had a hair bow party of my very own. The girls and I had gone to one last week and spent so much money and wanted so many more bows that we had to have one of our own. Look at me talking like I wear the bows myself. I assure you, though, I do not. But, I do *heart* hair bows.

During the party, "Grammy's Connie" mentioned that they had had several displays pull out of the Park of Lights at the state park that day. Every year, Twin Bridges state park opens the park up to area individuals, businesses and organizations and they make light displays throughout the park. Then folks can drive through from Thanksgiving night until Christmas and vote for their favorite.

A few nights before that, Paul and I had been talking about how much fun it would be to set one up and decided that next year we would do one with a redneck theme. Hearing Connie talk about the lack of participation this year, got Paul and I to thinking that maybe, just maybe, we could get it together. After the hairbow party we talked about it until nearly midnight then decided that we just didn't have time to do it this year since the displays had to be done by Wednesday night. However, the power of my mother and Connie is too much to be reckoned with by mere mortals and Tuesday morning Mom called me at work to tell me that yeah, we were doing one.

I got to the park at 2 yesterday and after driving to Connie's to switch the hitch on Paul's truck, driving to her daughter's to get the itty bitty camouflage camping trailer, getting bitten on the ankles by her retarded boxer dogs, driving 40 mph from her house to the park with a line of cars behind me, then driving a massive Dodge Ram hauling an itty bitty camouflage trailer through a wind-y road in a state park, Mom and I started setting up my display.

For me, this whole thing was a big deal. I think I've grown as a person through this. See, I'd never pulled anything and was a bit nervous. Paul has never let me pull anything because he says my backing up skillz are a bit lacking, but, by cracky, yesterday I pulled that camper and even backed it up a bit. I also don't drive his Dodge very well because it's a freakin' yard barge. But I did it. I even walked out to my neighbor's old dilapidated shed yesterday afternoon to fetch some baling wire to rig up the signs. I just kept chanting "Don't scream in front of your kind old neighbor, don't scream in front of your kind old neighbor" to myself and no diva-eating rats came at me. I got rust under my fingernails, learned that even frozen fingers are capable of tearing duct tape, discovered that spanking my fist-fighting children will calm them right down and after that they'll behave like little redneck Christmas angels and also have decided that my mom is more redneck than she'd ever admit.

I think it goes without saying, the display is very redneck. Paul says it's not redneck enough, but I think that considering we decided on and completed the task in a matter of about 30 hours, I think we made a pretty fair showing. If you're a local, you really need to drive through the park and check out all the displays and then vote for me for the display you think is best which probably isn't mine, but vote for me anyway. Everyone who has a display has worked hard - of course, most of the people were intelligent enough to do so before the temperatures dropped to the mid-30's yesterday and didn't stand out in the freezing drizzle and gale force winds to set theirs up, but still a lot of hard work has gone into each display.

I will take pictures to show those of you who aren't local because, really, you need to see it to complete your holiday. It ain't Christmas until you see a camouflage camping trailer surrounded by pink flamingos and decorated with mismatched lights hung with love, Christmas spirit and lots and lots of duct tape.

Friday, November 16, 2007

A story

Once upon a time there was a girl. She was a cute girl, not a gorgeous, Most Popular Girl in the School girl, but a good girl nonetheless. She was voted Teacher's Pet her Senior Year and had been called that her entire education career. She got her first C when she was a Freshman and cried for days. Everyone said she should be a teacher. She was in Band and Competitive Speech and was on the Honor Roll and ran for Student Council President (even though she didn't get it). Everyone said she'd really be something. Everyone said she had to go to college and that, boy howdy, would be her ticket to the world. She could do anything, everyone said.


All she wanted to be was a mommy. She wanted her own dream, not the one everyone was dreaming for her. But she took the ACT and even threw in the SAT. She went on an overnight trip to an all-girl's college in Missouri because they had an incredible Drama program and were heavy on the arts. Everyone said that school would make her a wonderful English teacher (and a lesbian, but we won't go there). She enrolled at the junior college in her hometown with a whopping 18 hours her first semester. She didn't declare a major because she wasn't sure what she wanted to be. She started getting horrible headaches from the stress of trying to succeed in something she didn't want. She started skipping classes. She cried a lot. Her momma said she needed college because what if she wound up divorced at 40 with two teenagers and no education? She told her momma that she didn't think that would happen to her. Her daddy said she needed to stay in school because he had gone back to school in his 30's and it wasn't all that much fun. Teachers told her she was making a mistake. She didn't think she was.

So she dropped out of college. She disappointed everyone. Her parents, her teachers, and everyone who said she'd be something. She knew she'd be something, but it wasn't going to be an English teacher.

She went to work in a daycare as the toddler teacher. She was doing what she wanted to do until she could have kids of her own. She loved her job. Then her fiance dumped her and she moved to a college town 3 hours away to get away from everything that reminded her of her failure. She got a good job, thanks to a friend of her mom. She started smoking. She went to the bars and had a good time. Until her ex boyfriend from high school moved down there, too, and started calling her for booty calls and then would kick her out after sex. She missed her momma. So she moved home, got another job as a daytime nanny for some great kids and was still biding her time until she had kids of her own because that..... that was her dream.

She met a man. Not a boy, but a man. He loved her. He sang to her while he was drunk and then he kissed her and held her so tightly and she felt so safe and somehow centered. She fell in love. So did he. Three months later, on an icy New Year's Night, they got married and began their life together. She got a great job as a Pharmacy Technician and thought about going to Pharmacy school, but that was only available at a school 4 hours away and she didn't want to leave her momma again and he didn't want to leave the only place he'd ever lived. She dreamed of all the babies she'd have with him and they were happy.

They decided to start trying to have a baby and found out she wasn't able to have babies like normal people do. She went on fertility pills and the first month they saw two pink lines and they were ecstatic. Her dream was coming true. She quit her job at the hospital and prepared herself for motherhood. Then that dream turned into a nightmare when they found out that their dream, their promise, their baby had died. For five agonizing weeks she carried in her womb, the womb that had failed her, a child that was no longer living. She slipped deeper and deeper into depression before she finally called her doctor and said she needed closure and that the "natural" way of aborting her child wasn't healthy for her. Two days later she was empty and alone and sad and angry. She was very angry. A few months later she went back on the fertility pills because well, that was her dream and no one was going to take that away from her. She was told, after months of failure and disappointment, that she would never have children and they should try to adopt. After crying a boat full of tears and telling her husband that he should leave because she was broken and she was a failure, he held her and told her he wasn't going anywhere and they called the adoption agency.

Then they saw two pink lines. She took hormones to sustain the pregnancy, the pregnancy she wanted so desperately and they had a baby. A beautiful dark baby that looked like a papoose and she was perfect. They were told to love her with everything in them because they'd never have another. And they did. The girl's dream had come true. Not exactly the way she had planned, but she had a baby and a husband and she was happy.

Then their marriage started to fall apart. She was angry, he was angry. They slammed doors and yelled and she cried. The baby cried. And they decided they would get a divorce. The next day they saw two pink lines again and when she asked him what he thought about it he replied, "Well, I guess we aren't getting that divorce, huh?" They had another baby, the surprise blessing they were told they'd never have. A boy. They put on a good show - mommy, daddy, girl and boy. Things got better. She got happy again. Things were rough, but she was happy.

They bought a house in the country and because of a housewarming gift in a black nightie one night after the kids were asleep, they saw two pink lines again in a few weeks. She laughed at the doctor that told her she'd never have any kids. They had another girl. They were happy. They were complete. She was a stay-at-home mommy and her life's dream had been fulfilled. They bought her a van. She was a mom in a van with three kids and a husband and she felt like her life was exactly where she wanted it to be. They had a nice home, toys for the kids and the grownups, she babysat other kids while she raised her own and her heart was full.

Then the kids got bigger and she felt the walls of her house closing in on her because she never left it and she wasn't so happy anymore. She quit babysitting and started college again after 16 years because she didn't know what else to do. Because she lived in the information age, she went to school online while her youngest was still at home. Then her baby started Kindergarten and she got a job and enrolled for another semester of college. She found herself stretched incredibly thin. She was missing out on reading to her kids before bed. She yelled at her kids and made them cry which in turn made her cry. Her kids would start sentences with, "Momma, I know you're busy, but....." and that made her sad. She was struggling to keep her grades up. If she concentrated more on school, she neglected her kids and husband. If she spent more time and energy on her kids, her grades suffered. She began to hate her job. She quit sleeping. She gained 30 pounds. She started getting horrible headaches from the stress of trying to succeed in something she didn't want. Again. She cried a lot. She had a total meltdown one weekend and that got her to thinking - why was she making herself miserable for something she didn't want? She wanted to like her job again, she wanted to read a book that didn't deal with principles of economics she didn't care about, she wanted to make cookies for her kids when they asked, she wanted to sleep in the same bed with her husband. She wanted to write a book.

The girl, who was now a woman in her mid 30's, was tired. She wasn't sure what to do. She cried. She prayed. Others prayed for her. One friend said she'd pray that she would find a way to prioritize better and that offended her. How dare anyone tell her her priorities weren't right? Then she found out that there was a lecture in her night class that she could not miss because she would fail the class if she did. It just so happened that that lecture was on the same night as her daughter's play at school. She cried when she told her daughter that she couldn't go. Her daughter was understanding and said it was okay, but deep down in her heart she knew it wasn't.

She had finally disappointed herself.

And she prayed that God would help her. She literally fell to her knees and asked for help. And when God told her that school would always be there if she needed to go back, but her kids were only going to be 5, 9 and 11 for a little while, she felt a sense of peace literally wash over her and she quit crying. She took a deep breath and she praised the God who had never abandoned her and had been there all the time, but He, too, had been pushed way down the priority list in the midst of her self-centered confusion.

She withdrew from the classes she had enrolled in for the next semester. She bought her daughter roses and asked her husband to give them to their daughter at the play because she couldn't be there and then she apologized a few dozen more times. Her family and she began a countdown - a countdown to when they'd get their momma and wife back. She still felt God's peace and knew that He had had it all under control the entire time - but she had to be knocked down to look up.

The End.

Note: Her lecture was cancelled and she was there to give her daughter the roses in person.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Tickle Me Virus

I've got a tickle in my throat. One of those annoying, your throat doesn't really hurt, but you continually feel the need to clear it and baby cough. I hate that. Our office sounds like a TB ward - virtually everyone's coughing and hacking, and those that aren't coughing are sneezing and sniffling.

I'm hooking myself up to a Vitamin C IV as I type and I'm heading to the bathroom to submerge myself in orange juice. Sam's had the sniffles for a week and has become quite proficient at sniffing and snuffling until I finally scream, "For the LOVE of PETE, son! Go BLOW YOUR NOSE!" Now he's added to his repetoire a nice rumbly cough that never quite gets covered in time, which causes me to threaten to beat him into a sniffling pile of snot if he doesn't cover his mouth.

I will type this and jinx myself, but (I'm now typing with my fingers crossed) so far Kady is doing great. It was the night before Papa's funeral last year that I made a run to the ER at 1am with a blue-lipped wheezing little girl who almost got her first overnight hospital stay right then and there. The weather goes from overnight lows in the 20's to daytime highs in the 70's, then levels out at 60 day and night, then plunges again into subarctic temps. This is the time of year you shiver all the way to work with the heater blasting on your toes to thaw them, then on the way home from work you're stripping off layers of clothes and running the AC. Ah, Oklahoma. This is also the type of weather that triggers asthma attacks in bazillions of people. I'm just waiting for her "scawy sound" to wake me up in the middle of the night.

There are some big ol' changes happening in my life right now (No, not THE change, God forbid) and I'd love to write the big ol' post that I've been composing in my head all day, but alas, I hear the call of the wild Algebraic equation and I hearken to it.

Oh wait.....that's just the sound of my son sniffling the William Tell Overture in his sleep.....

Hopefully, Friday, all the changes will be in place and I can sit down and write the post that will hopefully be cathartic for me, but will more than likely just look like word diarrhea alllll over my blog. Lucky you.

Monday, November 12, 2007

A year without

Sunday marked one year without Papa. I spent the better part of the morning shedding intermittent tears, especially during the Veteran's Day service at church.

I just miss him so much.

The following is what I wrote after he passed and what I said at his funeral. It was hard, but I did it. And I wasn't alone. He was there with me.

This past week has kept all of us family members in pretty close quarters and oh, the stories we’ve shared about Papa. Scott, Keith, Sis and I have all mentioned how exciting it was riding in that orange truck. And now in the summer if we were in shorts we’d try as hard as we could to find a position to sit in so that those seat covers wouldn’t rub the hide off of the backs of our legs. Riding in that orange truck was a very big deal and even a bigger deal when that orange truck took us to the Townsman. Walking in there and being met with a cloud of cigarette smoke and the smell of grease was a big deal for us grandkids. We’d sit in those booths and not have the slightest idea what anyone was talking about, but we’d sit there and itch the backs of our legs that were still raw from riding to town on seat covers made from God knows what and feel pretty darn important just being with Papa.

If there was a way to calculate all of the hours of Hee Haw and Lawrence Welk that we watched with Papa I’m sure that number would be in the millions. And if we were fidgety and not really into the show that night we were given a classic Papa "Be still!" Heather said it was years before she realized that when Papa said "be still" he just meant be quiet and that she really didn’t have to sit there not moving.

Heather and I both remember him saying ‘Hey Sugarbabe!" when we’d run and hug him. Keith said he’ll never forget how Papa would come in that back porch door at the end of the day. You’d hear the screen door open and shut and then you’d hear "HOWDEE!" as he walked into the kitchen. I don’t think any of us can forget it - no one could say howdy quite like Papa. Courtney told us about how they greeted each other every time - He’d say, "How’s my baby?" and Courtney would reply, "I’m good. How’s my Papa?" And he’d give her the same answer every time - "I’m better."

He was a man of few words, but the words he spoke were memorable.

Keith said the other night, "I will never ever forget the sound of the milkers" and before he could say another word Heather and I joined him with donk chhh, donk chhhh. I’d sit in the corner of the milk barn on a bucket turned upside down, the radio would usually be playing either some very twangy country music or sometimes the news, the milkers would be making their own music and I’d swat flies and watch Papa do his job.

I’m sure it was incredibly dangerous the places we played and the things we did on that farm, but we all survived and seem to be fairly normal adults in spite of it. If it hadn’t been for hanging out in the milk barn, prowling around the shop, climbing on farm machinery and spending hours and hours playing on the propane tank, picking blooms off the trumpet vine on the well house and making glass after glass of Ovaltine, I’m not sure I’d be the person I am today. We are all better for having known Papa - not just his kids and us grandkids, but every one of us here today.

As I grew up I spent less time at the farm and with Papa due to being a teenager, growing up and such. But as I had my own children I found myself getting reacquainted with him again. All five of Heather’s and my kids loved their Papa Leo so very much and we couldn’t make it into Mom’s house without them running across the yard to give Papa hugs and kisses. He was so proud of those great-grandkids. He’d see us drive up and come out onto the porch to see the kids. And he always kept a can of peanuts next to the couch. Now, I’m sure he ate a few himself, but I’m fairly certain that he kept that can there for the kids. Those kids could obliterate a can of nuts in no time flat and the next time they’d come over there’d be another one waiting on them.

Heather and I got to take him to his school reunion in Edmond twice. The first year Uncle Homer was with us. It only takes about 3 hours to get to Edmond, but he insisted on leaving at 5:30am. Of course, when you only drive 45, you allow a lot of extra time. That’s why Heather always offered to drive - but we still left at 5:30. We girls just wondered what we were going to do in Edmond for 2 ½ hours, but Papa took care of that. We got the guided tour of Waterloo and heard so many stories about growing up in a time that it took an entire day to get from Edmond to the City and back in a wagon. There were tons of stories. But the best part of the entire day that first year was on the way home. Heather was driving that big Lincoln and was just trying her best to keep it between the lines. You know Papa wasn’t a big conversationalist, so the car was pretty quiet. Heather and I were talking quietly about the kids or something when all of the sudden a semi started honking at us. She had just passed the big truck, but didn’t think she had done anything wrong. She said, "Kristin, why is he honking at me?" Then we heard a snicker from the back seat. We turned around to find Papa slumped down in the seat doing the arm pull thing to get that trucker to honk at us. He was grinning from ear to ear and said, "Ah, I haven’t done that in years."

There isn’t a person in this place today that wasn’t touched in some way by Papa. Your lives are richer and better in some way because of him - whether it was because you were related to him, you were a neighbor, you worked for him at the farm or because he helped you out at Ken’s Farm and Home. While people were coming up to visit him at the hospital last week, the one thing I heard over and over again was what a great man he was. We really did have the best.

I remember once when I was little, walking with Memaw back up to the house after we’d gone to see Papa out in the shop. I was holding her hand and looked up and asked her if Papa was saved. She looked down at me and said, "Your Papa is a good man." I said, "Yes, but is he going to Heaven?" She squeezed my hand and said, "Heaven is full of good men." That particular conversation stuck with me for years. And well, it took him awhile to get around to it, but Papa did take Jesus as his Savior and I know today that there’s one more good man in Heaven.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Out of the frying pan

I enrolled today. And looks like I have a non-paid internship with the local newspaper.


Of course, the local newspaper isn't my lifelong dream, but it will hopefully look good on a resume and will give me something to put in my portfolio.

My advisor said I could do 1, 2 or 3 hours of credit with the internship, but that however many hours of credit I chose, I'll have to actually work twice that many. I opted for right in the middle and took 2, so I'm an indentured servant for four hours a week. And he seeemed to think that I can start pretty quick, well before the semester even starts. I think that's good? I'm not sure yet. I don't have any delusions that I'll actually do any real writing for the paper, but if they throw a softball my way, I'll sure take it.

Because of the internship and the fact that the schedule had one class listed wrong, I will be taking 14 hours next semester. The Introduction to MassComm was listed as a one hour class in the course schedule, but it's actually 3, so I had to leave behind the Creative Writing class I so wanted. I hope that the local paper is a fair trade.

The History of Film class sounds fun and easy - we watch a film every week and do a review of it. He's not strict on attendance and we can watch them at home if they're available to rent. The Photography class is taught by an adjunct teacher and my advisor said it would be a good class to take after the hellish semester I've just endured since it's a lot of fun. I also got the internet AmerLit class I wanted.

He assured me that he can make a case for my Advertising class to count as my Mass Media Writing requirement and I also double-checked to make sure that my 14 hours from 1991 are still countable. As the woman in the registrar's office said, "Honey, those credit hours don't go bad." I was so relieved that I'm not going to have to take Government again - the same instructor that I had 16 years ago is still there and he's still a very liberal Democrat and I'm out of the closet as a Republican. I doubt it we'd get along any better now. I can't tell you how many times Stacie would smack me on the leg and say under her breath, "Quit agitating him! We'll never get out of here if you don't stop!" and there was rarely a class period I didn't leave in tears of absolute frustration. Of course, then I was a rebelling 18 year old who was angry at the world. Now I'm an exhausted 34 year old mother of three - I don't have much fight left in me.

While next semester is technically more hours than this semester, I think altogether it will be a better one. It has to be. I can't take it getting any worse. I think the fact that I'm taking these classes in person, in the classroom will lighten the load somewhat. I am grateful for the internet courses up to now because they allowed me to start a semester earlier than I would have been able to otherwise, but internet classes are really hard. Not like childbirth hard or sitting in the ER with your blue-lipped child who is gasping for breath hard or even missing your daughter's stage debut because you really just cannot miss the last lecture in Macro before finals because you simply cannot fail this class hard, but still pretty hard.

And it looks like I'll be graduating in December 2008. I think. Since NEO doesn't have a full-fledged Print Media Mass Comm program anymore, my advisor says we'll have to get creative on a few credits. Hey, creative is good for me. Worst case scenario, I'll graduate in the spring of 2009. Gosh, that is like, so forever away.

Gosh, I hope I recognize my kids when they come to my graduation.

Oh, and it appears my husband traded his boat for a Harley yesterday. There's a high possibility I'll be a widow by spring. He was reckless on the Honda, but has had a Kawasaki to be boring with, so now that he has a Harley I'm pretty sure he'll do something stupid again. (Note to self: Check on the status of his life insurance.)

Hello, my name is not Steve

Hi, my name is Kristin D. Hoover, but you can call me Mom, Momma, Kiki, Aunt Kiki or Your Majesty. Diva will do, too. Never in my life have I bungee jumped and frankly, I have no intention of ever doing so. The one person who can drive me nuts is my darling husband of nearly 15 years. My high school was good ol' Wyandotte High School. When I'm nervous my teeth itch. The last song I listened to was Glamorous by Fergie. If I were to get married right now it would be to someone that my husband really liked because they're going to have to get along with each other, I guess. My hair is tolerable for the first time in my life. Thank God for Chi. When I was 4 I was absolutely adorable. Last Christmas was the first Christmas without Papa and kind of melancholy. l'd be 'et for a tater. When I look down I see my rather splendid rack that is splendid thanks to little plastic pillows of air that hoist the girls into a position that is much prettier than their natural state of perpetual droopiness. The happiest recent event was finding out that we can have one page of notes on our Macro final. I nearly cried when he told us. If I were a character on LOST I'd be whiny and intolerable and they'd end up burying me alive in the sand or Michael would end up shooting me. By this time next year I hope to be gainfully employed in a job that I love. My current mood is anxious for some reason. I have a hard time understanding Algebra and princples of Macroeconomics. There's these girls that are mean girls and I thought we all got over that in like, 9th grade, but oh wait, I guess that was just me. If I won an award, the first person I would tell would be Mom. I want to buy some perky boobs. I plan to visit Disney World in 2008. If you spent the night at my house we'd watch movies and eat popcorn and fix each other's hair and giggle and drink lots of soda and squeal a lot and talk about boys. I mean, men. Because talking about boys is just creepy at my age. The world could do without Algebra. The most recent thing I've bought myself is a new watch because I seem to have lost mine. The most recent thing someone else bought me is an ink pen. I bought her WhiteOut last week and this week she bought me a pen. I like her a lot.
My middle name is Dawn.In the morning I drink enough caffeine to kill a small elephant and it's still not enough. Last night I was sitting in my Macro class as clueless as I am every week. There's this guy I know that drives me nuts and not in a good way. If I was an animal I'd be a spider monkey or a ferret on crack. A better name for me would be Kristin D. Hoover, Famous Author and Spokeswoman for the National Society of Obliterating Algebra from the Face of the Earth Forever, better known as the NSOAFEF. Tomorrow I am helping my sister unpack the 40 gazillion boxes that are currently holding the contents of her house. Tonight I am going to a hairbow party to make GIGANTIC hair bows for my two daughters because I will continue to put big bows in their hair until they are married and their husbands make me stop.I wish this semester was over and I had about 2 weeks to do nothing but clean house and do some counted cross-stitch.

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...