Friday, April 27, 2007

My little girl

Here's a really poor-quality video I shot of Kady showing me her new skill. In an hour's time, the little shit taught herself how to ride a bike without training wheels. When I think back to all of the hours of frustration and tears that went into teaching her big brother and sister how to ride a bike and hearing Abby scream over and over, "I HATE THIS BIKE!" and hearing Sam beg and plead for us to "please just put the training wheels back on," I realize how truly different this third child is from the other two. She's one determined little girl.

She's gotten better now and her bubby taught her how to use the brake, thankfully.

She also lost a tooth last Sunday. She hasn't even started Kindergarten. *sigh*

You can barely see that teeny tiny little space in there in the picture, but when she smiles now....Oh gosh, it just melts me.

To explain this picture a little: Paul's method for pulling teeth is to bop the kids on the head at the same time he pulls the tooth. The bop on the top of their head distracts them from him pulling the tooth and they don't panic.

It didn't backfire until the time TotOne told her teacher, "Last night my Uncle Pa-Paul hit me on the head and I lost a tooth."

At the dentist's office on Wednesday, she was sitting in one of the chairs that spin, waiting her turn. She was, as usual, jabbering away about nothing to no one in particular. Barbara, one of my favorite assistants there, said, "Kady, who are you talking to?" She didn't even stop spinning her chair when she replied, "No one. I just tawk for da sake of tawkin'." Barbara looked at me and said, "Hmm...wonder if she's heard that a few times." I said I had no idea what she was talking about.

Used to

I finished my History class last night. The final document assignment is turned in, the last quiz is taken and it is finished. One down, three to go.

Last night I went to bed at 11.

As in, before Midnight.

As in, I didn't fall asleep at the keyboard.

As I crawled into the bed where he was already half-asleep, Paul opened one eye and said, "Who are you and why are you in my bed? My wife's not gonna be happy you're here."

He also looked around the living room last night and said, "This. This is bad. Real bad." And it really is. The man is not lying and/or exaggerating.

We haven't sat in the big chair in weeks because it still has the kids' winter bedspreads and flannel sheets folded and sitting in it, awaiting storage God knows where. I truly believe that every shoe in the house is in the living room and I'm too tired/distracted to harp at the kids to put them up. Add about 4 billion toys to the shoes, too. Then this morning Princess got hold of some drawing tickets from the casino and has effectively strewn them about so it looks like a slot machine threw up in here and I honestly could care less. It made her happy to do it and she was so proud. She came up to me, patted me on the leg and said, "Titi? Titi? Ook!" (Kiki just doesn't quite come out right, so I've become Titi for the time being.) And I said, "Oh Princess that is wonderful! Go do it again!" and man, did she run as fast as her stubby little not-quite-two-year-old legs could take her to do it all again. Yeah, Queen Tammy is probably not getting her money's worth on childcare these last few weeks. It's a good thing we're friends.

Last night I went to a Pampered Chef show (my 4th since February - my kitchen is stocked) and twice the Consultant had to say, "Wake up, Kristin, you're dozing." Once when she asked if we had any questions I asked, "So what impact do you think Reaganomics had on the 1980's?" In my defense, she didn't specify that it should've been Pampered Chef questions. She is trying so hard to get me to sell PC again and oh how I want to, but . . . . Oh, I don't know. On the way home I called Paul and asked, "So....would you kill me if I started selling Pampered Chef again?" His answer: Yes. I told him it was more flexible than a casino job, but he said there was more work involved with running a home business than there is to going to the casino to wrench around on slot machines for 8 hours. He has a point.

I used to be in a routine of running the dishwasher before bed and unloading it first thing after I got out of the shower in the morning while my coffee brewed. Now, I run the dishwasher when we're out of forks or bowls. Mrs. Coach admits that has become the norm at her house, too, so I don't feel near as bad.

I used to do a load of laundry every day so I could keep up. Now, I do it all on Sunday. I usually throw a load of Paul's uniforms in mid-week, but the kids are on their own. By Friday they're going to school in jeans with holes in the knees, mismatched holey socks and a sincere apology from me, their guilt-ridden mother.

The kids probably need a Flintstone chewable vitamin or a PediaSure or NutraPal or something. Not only have I not fixed actual food in two weeks, but I haven't allowed anyone to sit at or eat at the kitchen table either. I normally do all of my school work in my office at my desks, but since I had research stuff and notecards and paper clips and 4,000 bags of empty Quakes bags to aid in my studies, I haven't allowed anyone near the Shrine of Insanity in my dining room. Wednesday night after gymnastics I stopped at Nott's grocery for some lunchmeat (the best lunchmeat EVER) and Abby said, "Wow. Something besides peanut butter and jelly!" and Sam chimed in with, "Or EasyMac!" Okay, okay, so I have been a little distracted. Kady and Paul are the only ones who haven't really complained about the lack of food. Kady has discovered the power and magic of tortillas. She will put the most horrendous things on a tortilla and eat it happily because she can do it herself - pb&j, carrots, Fun Size Snickers bars and the traditional ham and cheese, although not all at the same time, thankfully. Paul is content with sandwiches most of the time, especially when it's hot. Of course, it hasn't really been hot......but he hasn't complained, bless his heart.

Last night, before the Pampered Chef party, I decided last-minute to throw on some makeup. My face actually screamed because I think it thought it was being poisoned or smothered or something.

And while I did wear makeup to the party, I did not change out of my sweats. In my past life, I never would've gone to a party in sweats. Especially sweats that had baby spit-up on them, which I did not notice until I pulled into her driveway. But last night I did. So while I was moderately embarrassed at my attire, I was really comfortable while I slept through the demonstration.

Thursday, April 26, 2007

Can I?

Is it a bad thing that you take your entire shower with your eyes closed because it just feels better to keep them that way because it seems that they miss being closed?

Is it wrong that you haven't actually slept in the same bed as your husband in a week because either you are in the office (which is a subdivision of our bedroom) typing like a madwoman until 2am and he can't stand the pecking sound or you have camped out on the couch so you can type like a madwoman while watching Jay Leno because you've lost touch with the outside world and who is that young whippersnapper who plays Meg Ryan's son in that new movie and my gosh, son, why don't you shave every now and then, razors are pretty cheap and I think I'm officially old because I'm very sad that Meg Ryan is playing a mom in a movie with the aforementioned shaggy-chinned boy and she's not even the love-interest heroine. Wait, didn't that sentence start out as a question?

I figured up my History grade last night and right now I have a 91% in the class. If I don't do this last document assignment it'll only drop me down to a B. I seriously considered just not doing it last night. Seriously. But then I was overcome with this insane sense of guilt for even thinking about not doing it. Then I remembered how tired I am. Then I thought, my instructor has no heartfelt personal desire to see me succeed (at least I don't think he does) and it's not like I'm a History major and while I really wanted this semester to end with all A's, at this point in my exhausted life, I'd be okay with a B. But instead my husband went to bed without me (again) and I eventually turned off the TV because frankly Conan makes me throw up a little in my mouth and then woke up at 2am with my fingers on the keyboard and my chin laying uncomfortably on my chest.

And what did I do yesterday, but enroll for another semester. Next fall you'll get to read whining about Computer Concepts, General Physical Science, Intermediate Algebra and Macroeconomics. Aren't you just lucky? No wait! Please don't run screaming from my blog! Really, I'll stop whining! Just come back! Who am I kidding - I'm still going to whine. I just hope you like me enough to endure it and someday when I'm a famous writer/journalist you'll be able to say you saw me through the bad times. Okay? Just keep thinkin' about tomorrow. It clears away the cobwebs and the sorrows. At least that's what I hear.

Seriously, did you read that schedule of mine for next semester? It's a very numbers-intensive-thinking-the-way-my-brain-doesn't-naturally-think load. I am insane. After sleeping on it (briefly) and hearing from my little sister that the guy who teaches that science class is crazy hard, I may wait and take it later. I'm not sure I can handle both it and Algebra in the same semester. My advisor is checking on an American Lit class to see if it will count as a Humanities credit and if it does, I may swap it for Science. It's with the same instructor that I took Comp II from this semester and she really likes to make you write, but hello, that's kind of what I want to do with my life so I'd better get used to it. We'll see what happens.

I did, however, walk out of my advisor's office yesterday floating about four inches off the ground. She's told me several times throughout the semester, but reiterated it again yesterday - I have a talent for writing. Now, you might think that I should probably kind of know this, but I really am a humble kind of person. And my self-esteem is about a quart low half the time. While I love to write and it makes me insanely happy to do it, I didn't realize until just in the last year or so that I really might be kind of good at it. I mean, I like what I write, but I am never sure that other people think it's as good as I do. Ya know? My dad told me last night that he's been trying to tell me that I'm talented for years, but that I just haven't listened. According to Freud all I want to do is....oh wait, we are SO not going there. I have really got to stop Freuding everyone. Especially myself.

Anyway, she complimented my writing and suggested that I get my name out to the local papers and make myself available for freelance jobs, editorials, etc. Oh wow, but does that make me step right outside of my comfy little world of safety and non-rejection. The prospect is utterly exciting and makes me giddy at the thought, but in the same breath it scares the pea-wadding right outta me (anyone who knows what pea-wadding is WITHOUT GOGGLING gets 10 extra credit points and my eternal admiration). And while I'm scared of putting myself out there and never being offered any work, I think I'm going to do it. Why? Hmh. Maybe I'm a masochist. Maybe I'm delirious from lack of sleep. Maybe I want to prove to my husband that writing isn't silly and that "pecking around on that keyboard" might actually pay a bill or two one of these days. But mainly, I want to be able to prove to myself that I can. Plus, it'll allow my dad to once again say, "Told you so."

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Freud, dude

You have to say the title like Bill and Ted did - Frood, dude.

The Freud paper turned out to be 7 pages total, with the Works Cited. I'm not going to say it changed my life, but it did make me want to call my father. Is that wrong?

Tonight, in the event we are not blown away by a herd of wild tornadoes (which is highly likely - TWC isn't painting a pretty picture for the heartland tonight) I will write the very last four-page document assignment paper for History.

Tomorrow I enroll for next semester (Yes, I am doing this again, but no worries, I'm taking the summer off so you get a break from the whining for awhile. Well, whining about school anyway.) and take the kids to Tulsa to the dentist.

Thursday I plan on writing my two-page Advertising paper which is my special end-of-the-year bonus sent down from Heaven because the instructor thought she'd been posting assignments since Spring Break and turns out she hadn't and well, now it's too late to make 'em up and thank you, Dear Lord, for making that one work out in my favor.

Somewhere in the midst of all of this, I have to read The Glass Menagerie - something that had been stricken from my mind after nauseating overload of it in HS Competitive Speech (any scene from The Glass Menagerie and the piece A Sandpiper to Bring You Joy are two that I never wanted to hear again after I graduated.) and answer some questions over it and take a quiz over it.

Monday I take the finals in Psychologyand English (Over The Glass Menagerie no less) and the final History quiz (if I don't opt to take that one over the weekend) and then.....then I will be done.

And according to my kids, I will be fun again.

By the way, Mrs. Coach emailed me earlier to tell me she got a 96% on her first final! WAHOO!! Celebrate with her, folks. This woman has endured hell this semester. Drop by and tell her she's awesome, k? Thanks.

And another by the way - voting is open in the third Writing Challenge at Write in the Thick of It. Eleven entries! Or, if you talk like The Count on Sesame Street, "Ee-leh-wen! MUAH HAHAHAH!" Anyway, clear a spot in your schedule and settle in to read some wonderful stories this go'round! Voting is open until midnight next Monday, the 1st.

Now I'm off to tie down all small children in my care, cover my van in bubble wrap and put on my shoes because that's about all I know to do in preparation for a tornado - you can hear me hollering as soon as the sky turns cloudy, "Put on your shoes, kids! We're under a tornado watch!" I will be splinter-free when I stumble around the wreckage anyway.

Monday, April 23, 2007

Bloggers are the best people

In response to my desperate plea this morning, I got a ton of email today. Not only did that make me feel pretty durn loved, but also reiterated the fact that bloggers are awesome. Really.

My last article for the Norse Wind has been submitted and we'll see what my advisor says tomorrow. In the meantime, I need to thank a lot of people. Have I mentioned that they rock? Please check these folks out - they deserve it.

(They're all linked, but you have to mouse-over their names. I've screwed up my template yet again.)

Derek at Son of Cheese because dude, you are indeed crazy nuts and I muchly quoted you.

Carrie at Random Silliness Without the Use of Children who is a former Norseman and hilarious to boot. I've been wanting to shout her out for a long time. She deserves much traffic.

The ever-important and OH SO PRETTY Hillbilly Mom over at her Hillbilly Mansion, where laptops go to die. Even if she refuses to come out of hiding.

Cazzie!!! at I Don't Do Mornings is always the first one to post a story for the writing challenges and never fails to entertain and educate us about Aussies and all of their Aussie doings.

MamaKBear who is now an ecstatic and jubilant mommy forever and no one can take that away. Not to mention she's an Okie. That alone makes her awesome.

The Shoe Diva is artsy and clever and I love, love, LOVE her blog!

My ever digressing friend and fellow Okie Blogger, Melessa, who I swear I'm going to visit this summer.

My former English teacher and now blogger, the woman responsible for introducing me to Romeo and Juliet and taught me the words to the school song, Mrs. E.

Brian, another fellow Okie Blogger I had the privilege of meeting last fall at the Round-Up. Man, you never cease to amaze me.

A new acquaintance of mine, courtesy of Cap'n Neurotic and Write in the Thick of It, Bubblegum Tate, who tells us Your Blog Must Die, Mine Alone Is Best. And does it with a pulp fiction-y, super hero-y flair.

And the two non-bloggers who replied, Bell and Rebecca. Thank you, ladies. Your input was greatly appreciated.

I wasn't able to quote everyone in the article, but the responses I received on such short notice were a wonderful way to make this last week of my first semester as a returning college student a little less "AAAAAGGGGGHHHH!" and much more "Okay, so maybe I won't gouge my eyes out with an unsharpened pencil after all."

I love you all.

Saturday, April 21, 2007

Ugly footstools

Yesterday I went to an auction at my great aunt and uncle's place. Uncle Homer passed away a couple of years ago and Aunt Erma passed away last month. Uncle Homer was Papa's brother and I loved him so dearly. The two times that Tater and I took those two to the City for their school reunion are some of my most precious memories. Uncle Homer was an amazing wood worker - cabinets, tables, furniture, you name it, he could build it. And build it well. Mom told me that if I wanted a memento I needed to come to the auction, so yesterday after I finished filling in at Mom's office, Kady, Princess and I headed to Fairland.

As soon as I got there, I got my number and Mom told me to bid on a handmade treadle sewing machine table. I hightailed it down to the end of the row where the action was and managed to get the table for $17.50. I love bidding at auctions. I'm a big chicken, though, most of the time and don't get caught up in the excitement like most people I've seen. I was tickled pink about the table and after the crowd moved on, I browsed around to see if there was anything else I wanted. I saw a pair of foot stools that looked familiar, so I went to Mom's table to ask her a question. She confirmed what I thought - they were my great-Granny Glenn's footstools.

I can't tell you how many times as a child that I sat on and played on those footstools. Tater and I would sit on those things and watch the news at noon while we ate tablet after tablet of Vitamin C (it's a wonder we didn't OD - we thought they were candy) and alfalfa sprouts (it's a wonder we didn't get the runs as many of those things as we ate). Oh, they're not very pretty - covered in a green and cream patterned plastic - but those footstools are a piece of my Granny, a piece of my childhood. I got nothing of Granny's when she died, not one thing. Am I bitter? Yeah, pretty much. But going into that whole thing would take way too much time and frankly, I have a feeling that certain family members read this and would know I was talking about them and boy, if I thought the tension was thick already.... (No, Cousin Stacey, it's not you, lol.) Let's just say that I am not one to easily forgive and forget when you mess with and disrespect the people I love. 'Nough said.

Okay, so after that little digression..... I got the foot stools. One for me, one for Tater. I didn't even think they existed any more, so what a wonderful surprise for us.

I almost bought a piano yesterday, too. The only thing that stopped me was that I could hear Paul screaming, "What were you THINKING??" and could almost envision the bursting of blood vessels in his neck and forehead and I just wasn't sure I wanted to deal with that. I was sick after the bidding stopped, though - it sold for $250. But again with the bursting blood vessels and stuff, so it worked out. Even when I told him I had considered buying it, he got all riled up, but after he calmed down he told me that if I want a piano that bad, his mom has an old upright at her house that probably wouldn't take too much effort to get. I'm just not sure my living room is big enough for that beast - it's HUGE.


Ever have one of those days where you can't think of a thing to write in your blog?

Thursday, April 19, 2007

Limericks - Fun for everyone!

Today is the day that my limerick assignment has to be turned in. I have written some good ones, some bad ones and several I've gotten as far as the 4th line and scrapped 'em because I just couldn't make that last line work.

I posted a few last week and the "Girl/Boy conversation" one is going to be turned in. I liked that one. Here are two others I've written. I just can't decide which one should be turned in.

Maybe you can help. Tell me which one you like best:

I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do
When a person asks, "How do you do?"
Do I ask them, "Do what?"
or just answer them not?
Or I could answer, "What’s it to you?"

My doctor suggested a diet
and so I decided to try it.
I ate so much fruit
that I started to toot
and decided food's better if you fry it.

Hey, it's the end of the semester, I am averaging about 4 hours of sleep a night. Work with me here.

But now here's where it gets fun. In the comments section of this post, tell us YOUR limericks. One, two, a dozen, whatever. Clean, dirty, I don't care. Leave your limericks for all to see!(Hillbilly Mom sent me a dirty one the other night because she's cool and you know how I am like a giggly 12 year old when it comes to dirty stuff. I laughed out loud. Maybe she'll share it here. Maybe she won't because she's a lady and not prone to public displays of filth like I am. See if you can coax it out of her.)

Come know you want to. They're addictive.

Bloggers - show us your limericks!

Dinosaur cassettes

This morning Abby was desperately trying to convince me she needed to take a small backpack full of crap on her class field trip today and I was totally stopping her from doing that. Because, for one thing, I'm the mom and for another, this time I had a better reason than, "Because I said so."

When I was in junior high, we went on a band trip to a college campus to watch a concert of some kind. (You can tell I was obviously affected by the performance because I don't remember much from it. I think it was the Army band or something like that.) Back then, bus trips were something to be anticipated and were cause for extra deodorant, many, many generous sprays of Liz Claiborne or Colors and gum. Lots of gum. So before we left, I loaded up my kicky new black leather backpack purse with my headphones and Walkman, Bon Jovi, Duran Duran, Weird Al and Tori Amos cassettes and multiple, multiple mix tapes recorded with my jam box off of the radio. And a book or two. And gum. Lots of gum.

After the concert, we boarded the bus to find that our shit was gone. Gone. Purses, backpacks, pillows, leather jackets, and all those mix tapes. My generic Walkman from Gibson's, gone. My Weird Al tapes, gone. My leather backpack!! GONE!

So when Abby wanted to take her GameBoy, mp3 player and an Artemis Fowl book she borrowed from Mr. Dude, I vehemently said no. She was so not happy with me. I explained that losing four Weird Al tapes back in 1987 had had a profound, lasting impact on me and I was not going to let her fall victim to an unlocked school bus as well.

As Abby walked down the hall to put her crap back up - her expensive crap - Kady asked, "Mom, why can't Abby take her stuff?" and again I began to explain. I said, "Honey, Momma doesn't want Abby to lose her imporant stuff, okay?" She nodded that she understood, then asked, "Who's Weird Al?" I sighed and wondered how in the hell could I give an accurate and fitting description of one of the greatest music artists of all time. Then it hit me.

"The 'White and Nerdy' guy." She said, "Ah! He's cool." (I, a nerdy child of the 80's, wholeheartedly concur.) But then she kicked me in the gut when she asked, "What's a cassette?"

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Can it get any better?

Last night was the opening night of The Casino That Shall Not Be Named. I called my mother-in-law to see if she could watch my kids and Tater's tots so that we could get in on the opening night action. She was totally agreeable because she's just cool like that. Plus, last week, in a matter of a mere 4 days, Paul brought home $2900 from the casinos. She was hoping that maybe his luck rubbed off on me. I was hoping that, too.

The games were tight down at The Nameless Casino and it didn't take Tater and I long at all to blow our money and whine about it. Mom called to say she had just hit town after her road trip to NC and wanted to meet us out at Buffalo Run. She also brought $100 for each of us because we were pathetic and whiny. Granted, the money was a loan, but how awesome is my mom? She missed us, is my only theory. Or maybe it was the fact that she hit a jackpot in Tunica.

I couldn't find anything I wanted to play, so I wandered around aimlessly and talked to Mom, Tater and everyone's favorite security guard for awhile. I followed Mom over to the quarter slots, which I rarely play anymore, and decided to try a twenty. I played it down to $1.75 and then hit it for $52. I cashed that puppy out and put in another twenty. It played down to $2.00, then I hit a red spin. I figured it would be like most red spins - 15 or so quarters. Oh, but no. By the time it finished its three red spins I had $390 on my machine. Yes. Three hundred and ninety dollars. After they picked me up off the floor, I cashed out in a hurry. I paid Mom back her $100, paid Tater back some money I owed her and stuffed the rest in my purse. Then I called Paul to tell him that I was going to Wal*Mart.

I bought my laptop last night. And a wireless router. Because The Mighty Buffalo smiled down upon me, my geeky purchases only cost me $600. Yesssssssssss. I am a truly happy wanna-be geek.

I am typing my very first post ever from my brand new HP laptop while using my wireless broadband connection. Granted, I am sitting a mere three feet from my desktop......but I could pick this puppy up use it while on the toilet if I so desired. Which I don't. Just so you know.

I had a really good hair day yesterday, too.

Life is good.

Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Right where I'm supposed to be

Last week was not the best week I've experienced in awhile, as I'm sure you'll remember the whining in this post and this one. So what did I do, but invite my niece and nephew - Tater's tots - and Mrs. Coach's kids over for a sleepover. Paul said I was a numbskull of taking on a party involving six elementary school kids, plus a preschooler, but I knew what I was doing.

It was exactly what I needed.

Those seven kids were like medicine for me. Therapy, so to speak. They were loud and rowdy and obnoxious. The boys kept farting and beating each other with plastic swords. They played Godzilla on the PS2 and got even more wound up. The girls dragged out every Littlest Pet Shop pet and every stitch of dress-up clothes in the house, chased the boys with makeup and squealed like their toes were being eaten by rabid hamsters. Paul sat in the recliner and grumbled about the noise.

And in the middle of all of that, I sat at my dining room table and cut out scraps of fabric with my pinking shears. I was completely aware of what was going on around me, fully cognizant of the cacophony in the next room and I was as happy as a lark.

My mom has been out of town this week and called to check in while I was sitting there in a reverie of Disney Princess and Tinker Bell fabric. She asked what I was doing and without hesitation, my reply was, "I'm just sitting here doing what I'm supposed to do."

Simple as that - I was doing what I was supposed to do. It hit me like a ton of bricks. No matter how crazy things get, I have to realize that those three kids I gave birth to are the absolute most important things in my life. They are the reason I get up in the morning. Everything I do, in some way or another, comes back to being about them. Going to school, cooking dinner, doing laundry, paying the's all for them.

Don't misunderstand, I haven't lost view of myself. Not in the least. I know who I am and what I'm all about, but I also know that nothing makes me feel more complete and whole than those kids. Staying at home on a Friday night, cutting out squares of fabric so that my daughters, my niece and their friend can decoupage them onto terra cotta pots makes me giddy. Watching my son, my nephew and their friend chase each other up and down the hall with the incredibly annoying, wish-we-had-said-no-to-that-one, Star Wars gun from Disney World and the Captain Jack sword with sound effects, makes me laugh. I spent $30 on junk food earlier that day and I was nearly as happy as the kids when I unveiled the "bag of crap," as they called it. The only rule I gave them was "Please don't destroy the furniture, kids." And with that, I turned 'em loose.

Paul followed me into the kitchen at one point and said, "Holy shit, why do they have to be so LOUD?"

"Because they're kids. It's what they do," I replied as I hugged him. "And tonight.....tonight, my dear, we are doing what we're supposed to do."

Monday, April 16, 2007

Look, Mom! Geeks!!

I am still on a feverish hunt for a laptop and let me just say, buying our last house was simpler than what I've gone through for this thing.

Saturday the kids and I took off for Joplin to see what Best Buy had to offer. We pulled into the parking lot and there were three Geek Squad VW's parked in front of the store. Abby gasped from the middle seat and grabbed my shoulder.

"Mom! What are THOSE?"

I grinned and said, "Those are Geek Squad cars. Cool huh?"

"Totally. So.......what's a Geek Squad?"

"Geek Squad is a company of really smart folks who can answer all sorts of techy questions. I'd love to be a Geek......." I said, trailing off in a reverie of geeky daydreaming while I parked the van.

"And this store has Geek Squad people?" she asked.


"Sam! Ohmygosh! Sam, there are Geeks inside this store! We are going to see GEEKS!" She had turned around in her seat by then and was bouncing like a chihuahua on meth.

We went in the store which was crazy busy. We spoke to a really nice guy from HP because all of the official Geeks were busy helping the frazzled folks who got in the store quicker than we did. I didn't find what I wanted and needed so we left. I was sitting in the van, digging through my purse so I could call Bub, our official Family Geek. I heard Abby sigh dejectedly behind me.

"What's wrong, Ab?"

"We didn't see any Geeks."

"Ya think?"

"Well, I didn't see any."

"You didn't? Remember all those guys in khaki pants and white shirts?"


"Those, my dear, were Geeks."

There was a moment of silence before she finally said, "And they looked so normal."

She walks in beauty? Yeah right.

Last night I declared that I was going to finish my poetry presentation if it killed me.

It nearly did.

I sat here and whined and cussed and yes, even pleaded with my book to make some kind of sense. I Googled other critical analysessesssesss (analyses, analysi....shit) of "She Walks in Beauty" by Lord Byron and still got nothing from it. I totally get that he's enamored by this chick - his COUSIN, dudes - but I totally don't get why he didn't just say, "She is smokin' hot and I wanna hit that" and be done with it. No, instead he compared her to a cloudless night with starry skies and said she had a "calm" face. Maybe I have just never been involved with a highly romantic man, but I prefer a much more direct approach. I truly think that if a guy said something like that to me I'd bust out into giggles and the moment would be lost. A calm face? The only time my face is calm is ...... well, I'm not sure my face is ever calm. I run at 90mph all day long.

Once, in a bar when I was a mere 19 years old, a guy was incredibly schnockered and like 20 years older than me, but was hitting on me nonetheless. He leaned in and in a very beer-y and cigarette-y smelling stupor slurred, "You have verrrry inviting shoulders." I busted out laughing and said, "Riiiiight. And what are they inviting you to do?" (Wrong question. Totally wrong question.) Looking back, I see that the guy was trying so hard to impress me, but I guess I instead found him ridiculous. The point is, I prefer my husband to say, "HooooooEEE, Momma! You look good in them camouflage capri pants, baby! Let's throw some candy in the yard, holler for the kids, then lock the door behind 'em. I figure that buys us ten minutes or so. Whaddya say?" I mean, I guess it's all in what you're used to.

Anyway, by 10:45 last night I was in tears over this stupid poem and my head was pounding and I went to bed. But this morning it's a different story. I've had a pot of coffee, 6 mini chocolate donuts and I'm rarin' to go.

I better go put on my calm face and get to analyzing.

Sunday, April 15, 2007

The sigh heard 'round the world

I have higher-speed internet. It's not lightning-fast, but it's a helluva lot better than what I had.

I am content.

Last week I checked my speed on dialup - I was downloading and uploading at 22kbps. Ouch. I checked things just awhile ago and was dowloading at just over 500kbps. Upload was kind of slow at 78, but oh well.

If I weren't so tired and frazzled at the fact that just this afternoon I turned on my computer for the first time since last Thursday and it's the last two weeks of school, I'd tell you all about my weekend because I'm sure you're all just dying to know and frankly I want to tell you, but instead I'm going to go for a record at the longest sentence ever typed on this blog and just say that I'm really tired and frazzled and I want to go to bed, but instead I am going to finish this (insert choice of long, loud, stream of expletives here) poetry presentation tonight if it kills me.

Lord Byron was one messed up dude. And his poetry is weird.

But I had a good weekend and I have three really awesome kids. And I have faster internet.

Life is good.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

She's oh so pretty (and talented, too)

People may piss her off most of the time, but by cracky, Hillbilly Mom won Super Tiger Dragon's Writing Challenge over at Write in the Thick of It with her oh so tender story about The Ice Baby!!

Can I get a woo woo?

(crickets chirping)

I can't? Well fine. Be that way.

Drop by the challenge site and congratulate her or stop by her blog and do it. Either way, she deserves a woo woo or something.

She has already sent me her scathingly brilliant list of The Words for the next challenge and they should be up some time tomorrow, Lord willin' and the creek don't rise.

There once was a man from Nantucket

These last three weeks of the semester are a veritable whirlwind of poetry and drama and lemme tell ya, I'm addled. Yes, addled. I'm too consumed with the poetry to worry about the drama just yet. I still have a week before I tackle that part. But seriously.....

Iambic pentameter? Trochaic tachometer? Odiferous odometers? Wtf? I was just under the impression that you wrote things that rhymed and called it poetry. Who knew there was a science to it? Well, I guess the poets knew it. Duh.

I am enjoying the fact that we have to write two limericks, though. I've been composing them in my head all day. Hey, it helps with the addling.

Okay, okay. I'll share since you asked so nice.


There once was a man from Nantucket
who wore on his head a blue bucket.
Every time that it rained
his poor head was in pain,
So he took off the pail and said, "F*ck it."


See, this is where my mind goes during times of stress. I go straight to the dirty words. It makes me feel better.


Said that girl to the boy, "I love you."
Said the boy to the girl, "Me, too."
"You love me?" said she.
"I love
me, " said he.
And she smacked his dumb head with a shoe.


But wait! There's one more!


While standing outside one cold night
I found myself shaking with fright.
What I thought was a kitty
turned out to be "Fitty"
And it turns out my momma was right.


(If you're not a regular long-time reader who knows that my mother is convinced that I'm going to end up chopped up in a 55-gallon drum, that last one will make no sense, but I'm fairly certain that Hillbilly Mom will chuckle. "Fitty" the 55-gallon drum maniacal killer was named by her, after all.)

Okay, that's it. I'm limericked out for tonight. Back to studying about scansion and meter. Whoohoo.

Monday, April 09, 2007

Cold snap

Last week was not only one of the worst in general that I've experienced in awhile, but it was also freakin' cold. The girls all had sleeveless Easter dresses and we made a mad scramble for sweaters and even had to break out winter coats last week. Kady has dug through the neat, organized totes full of winter clothes that I had all ready to store for the season and has successfully removed all of her blanket sleepers once again. Paul was so jealous a few weeks ago because all the guys at work were riding their bikes to work (motorcycles, not bicycles), but we didn't have the money to get the insurance caught up on it and get it tagged. Once our income tax return came in, it snowed. He's rather angry about this weather. We nearly froze our cajones off yesterday hiding then watching the kids hunt eggs. We stood there shivering, playing warmer/colder with them finally in an order to just get them to hurry the heck up and finish already.


Usually I can just tough out a cold or virus with minimal complaining (Well, except on here. I save all my best whining for you, Dear Reader.) but last week's mystery virus sent me to bed on Tuesday. Literally to bed. Normally when I'm sick I'll camp out on the couch so I can be a part of what's going on, but still rest. Nope. I went to bed and stayed there most of the day. I was in bed still when Paul left to go camping at 3:30. I dragged myself to the living room just before the bus got here with the big kids. By about 8 that evening I was running a 101' temp and felt so bad I was crying. It's been a long time since I've been that sick. I picked up the phone twice to call Paul so I could ask him to come home, but decided not to. He rarely gets to go do stuff like camping anymore because he works weekends and none of his friends do. I survived the night, obviously, but it wasn't fun. Wednesday I still didn't have enough energy to even take Kady to school. She missed Monday and Wednesday last week, poor thing. Thursday I babysat and prayed I wasn't contagious anymore. Oh, and that night, I got a raging case of The Diarrhea. I'm guessing it's Rotavirus, which is making the rounds. So now, not only am I peeing myself every time I cough, but I'm also getting really good at clenching to make sure I don't have an accident as well. Good times, good times.


I managed to get an 85% on my second History paper, the one I had to write about Margaret Sanger. Considering I wrote the whole thing with my jaws clenched and nearly broke my keyboard from typing so hard, I don't think a good, solid B is too bad. I think I've got an A in there now. I got an email from my Psych teacher today, too. I've got a 93% in that class. Advertising, as far as I know is still an A, but I'm kind of behind so I could be failing for all I know. The last time I heard, I had an A in English, too. Yay me.

English is getting ready to get hairy again. Things cooled off for awhile, but now it's like we're all in fasttrack courses and someone hit the fast forward button. Poetry, sonnets, limericks, The Glass Menagerie (I should still know some of it - everyone and their dog used it back in my ol' Competitive Speech days.) All assignments are due by May 2nd. That means that in about 3 weeks, I am having one massive party.

I'm still very undecided as to what I'm doing next semester. I have a few choices - stick with NEO and change degrees entirely, stick with NEO and just do general classes for another semester or two and see if they bring the program back which will lengthen my time in school altogether, or switch schools and continue with Mass Comm and get things done quicker. *sigh*


Anyone have any advice on laptops? My friend Shawn from the old Fizzle 'n Pop writing challenge days is helping me, but I'd like to hear ya'll's opinions, too. Anyone? Anyone? Bueller?

I'm just itching to get one!! Ooh ooh! And Wednesday is the day they are supposed to come and hook me up to broadband! I'm all a'flutter! After Wednesday, my homework will get done so much quicker I'll probably have so much time on my hands that I'll find myself cleaning house or something.

Nah. That won't happen.

Saturday, April 07, 2007

Look it up

Today is one of those days I'm finding it difficult to enjoy parenting. I used to think that that alone made me the worst parent in the universe, but now I know that every parent has days like that and don't pretend you don't. You are a liar if you say you don't and Jesus doesn't like it when you lie. It makes Him cry. And right here at Easter you shouldn't lie and make Jesus cry. It's a holiday all about Him ya know.

That train of thought in that last paragraph? Yeah, the one about Jesus and the crying and lying and stuff? That is how every conversation I've had with my children today has gone - except that is nothing compared to what I've actually endured today. One thought, one question, one statement leads to another and another and eventually a question about the origin of the name Wal*Mart turns into a discussion of which kind of apple is sweeter and (Sam says) Granny bought us apples once that weren't very sweet and Momma made a pie out of 'em and (Kady says)I don't really wike pie 'cept for chocwet pie but (Abby spews with eyes rolling) Mom doesn't make chocolate pies, you dork, because like, only Grammy does that because Mom is no fun. Gaw. All three kids would participate in one humongously, drawn-out sentence which seemingly had no end.

I have had children for ten and a half years and today for the first time - from my ten year old, no less - I got the question, "Why is the sky blue?"

Huh? Seriously. Huh??

I was sitting at a stoplight when she asked and I think there are still the imprints of my fingers in the steering wheel and I might be marginally deaf because of all of the honking that the other Easter Eve shoppers whose kids were driving them nuts were doing. When I pried my fingers from the steering wheel and managed to drive onward I still hadn't answered my child.

Now, here is where not only my ingenuity as a parent tested, but my overall intelligence as well. If she were three, I could answer with, "Because that is how God made it. Isn't it pretty? What other things are blue? Yes, Cinderella's dress is blue! You are so smart!" But she's not three, she's a tween and a simple "Because God made it that way" doesn't hold as much water as it used to. Not that my children are heathens or anything, but they require more substance to an answer now. They want whys and wherefores and real, honest explanations that make sense. That whole "Where did God come from?" issue was discussed at lunch just today. I came to terms with that topic years ago when I realized that I would never figure it out and gave into my faith. Abby and Sam can't grasp it quite yet and faith ain't cuttin' it. Yet. Eventually they'll get it. I hope. If not, then yeah, they'll be heathens.

I am sure that somewhere in my education I learned why the sky is blue. I'm fairly positive it was in Science, probably the Earth kind. I was probably in junior high at the time. I was also probably very hormonally freaked out and boy crazy during that particular lecture and that is why now, at the ripe ol' age of 34, I do not really know why the sky is blue.

When I was a kid and I asked a question of my parents the pat answer was, "Look it up." We had a bookshelf in the dining room full of three different sets of encyclopedias that my parents bought when they found out they were pregnant with me. Oh, the knowledge beheld on those tomes! I did a report in 2nd grade about oranges and got all of the information from the gigantic blue encyclopedia with "O" on the spine. Plucked it right from the second shelf where it had been waiting for my entire 8 years. That was the beginning of my love of those encyclopedias. Now, I was a rather precocious speller from an early age and was given the nickname "Walking Dictionary" because of my penchant for spelling gigantic words and spelling them correctly and always knowing the definition of any obscure word I used in teenage conversation. ("Facetious" made my friend DeLisa giggle. I used it a lot. Because she was. But that is neither here nor there.) But there were some words that I didn't know (*gasp!*) and if I asked my parents, I got the answer, "Look it up." They said they were showing me how to do things myself, be resourceful and self-reliant.

Now I know the truth. They didn't have a clue. Just like I don't.

Initially, my instinctual response for the question of "Momma, why is the sky blue?" was "Look it up" but then remembered that we don't own a set of encyclopedias. So I said what has become my pat parenting answer:

"Google it."

Thursday, April 05, 2007

A pre-Easter poem

'Twas 3 days until Easter and all through the kitchen
the kids were coloring eggs and Momma was a'bitchin'.
"Next year it's back to the plastic ones," she said
"These dyes on my fingers - what a pain in the head!"

The children were happy, colored from head to toe
while Dad sat in the recliner and watched it snow.
A freak April snow storm rolled into the air
and the weather combined with vinegar dyes made Momma a bear.

"It just doesn't seem right to color eggs while it snows!"
and with that Momma finished a bottle of Jim Beam in one go.
The longer they colored the hard-boiled chicken embryos
Momma seethed and wished to the bar she could go.

Then the kids said, "Hey Momma, we made some for you!"
and on the eggs they'd put hearts and wrote "Momma, I love you."
She put up the whiskey and drew them all near
and said, "We're still not coloring real eggs next year."

A week I'd rather not repeat. Ever.

First, let me start off by saying that I'm sick. Again. All those years I watched 40 gazillion children in my home and I never got anything worse than a sniffle, yet 4 months after I quit, I get sick - really sick - twice. I have coughed so hard that my ribs hurt and I pee my pants every time I even think about coughing now. I may require surgery. Or a cork.

Tater had it a few weeks ago and she's still living today so I'm holding on to that hope. I really don't have the money to see the doctor and I'm fairly certain it's viral, so I'm just going to stick it out here at home. So I can pee myself in private.


Okay, so y'all know how Paul has this wonderful, amazing job at The Casino That Shall Not Be Named? And y'all know how I had a job there, too? (Anyone notice the use of the word "had"?)

I quit after my first day of training. While I have jokingly referred to myself as The Quitter all week, I don't want anything to really call me that and be serious about it because I'm sick and cranky and I will cut you if you make me mad. I might even pee on you.

First of all, I was kind of misinformed about the training schedule. I moved heaven and earth to make arrangements for Kady on Monday so I could go (she even missed Lab School, dammit) and then found out once I got there that I had to be there on the day shift for the next two weeks. I not only have a Kady at home, but I still watch Princess five days a week and part-time watch a baby. I don't have vacation time, PTO or anything like that. While watching 1 1/2 kids is way more flexible than the full load I had before the year ended, it's still not something you just call in whenever you feel like it. Okay, so that scheduling snafu aside, then we were all told that no matter if we were hired on part-time or not, everyone would be working full time for the first two months. Where I was told in my interview that I could work 6p-midnight, I was actually on the schedule from 5 pm-1am or 6pm-2am, my choice, except I had to take the 6-2 option because of Paul's schedule.

Have I not whined on here enough about how hard this first semester of college has been? Right now I have all A's and I am not about to jeopardize that 3 weeks from finals. Working from 7:30am to 4:30pm here at home while working in some studying, working from 6pm to 2am at the casino, arriving home around 2:30 if I get off on time, then having to get up at 6:30 to get Paul and the kids off to work and, when would I sleep? Or see my two oldest children? Or do any quality studying? Or write those last two papers, much less do the research for them?

I came home Monday night and promptly burst into tears that didn't stop flowing until I cried myself to sleep. I bawled into my sister's ear on the phone and it got to the point where all that would come out was, "I (hic hic hic) love (hic hic) YOUUUUUUUUUU!" Yeah, I'm precious when I'm freaking out. I bawled in Tammy the Queen's ear for over 30 minutes. I bawled at Paul any time I wasn't bawling into the phone.

So I quit. One day of training and I quit.

I will have to say that the Supervisor I Almost Had was stoicly nice about it. He's former military and doesn't emote a whole lot, but he was as nice as I think he could be. The gal that actually hired me said that if I got things worked out and wanted to come back this summer, they'd probably have something for me. I doubt I come back this summer, but it was nice that she said that.

There have been two times in my life before this that I have had such visceral, vehement reactions to a situation and in both previous situations I went with my sobbing, wailing, emoting guts and things worked out, so I'm hoping that this situation proves to work out the same. I sure feel better now that it's over. Well, as better as I can feel with displaced ribs and an overactive bladder.


And then, to top it all off with a nice big fat cherry - I got an email from my advisor at NEO. She is leaving at the end of the semester and they have decided to neither replace her nor continue on with the newspaper. She is THE Print Media chick and it looks like the program is defunct.

After 12 years as a stay-at-home mom with no direction whatsoever, I finally decide to grow up and pick a field I'm interested in, pursue a degree and then wham, now that's gone, too. Poor Cap'n Neurotic, he was the first person to IM me today and bless his heart, he's received the brunt of my whining. Well, Paul's the lucky one who has gotten it in person, but Cap'n has received the IM's full of grrrrr's and whines. What a good friend.

I guess I'm going to go with an English major now and check into other colleges' Print Media programs. *sigh* I loved being a Norseman. "Go, go, NEO - find someone to continue the Print Media Mass Comm program!!"

Sunday, April 01, 2007

Marriage Meme

I got this from Lori and well, you know me........ I can't resist.

1. Where/How did you meet? We were both taking country and western dance lessons and we were both partner-less. I had just come out of a really bad engagement break-up, Paul was single and Red decided that we needed to dance together.

2. How long have you known each other? 14 years 6 months

3. How long after you met did you start dating? We had dance lessons on Tuesday and we went out on our first date that next Saturday.

4. How long did you date before you were engaged? One month. Not one to waste a lot of time, my man.

5. How long was your engagement? 2 months exactly. He asked me to marry him on October 30 and we were married January 1st.

6. How long have you been married? 14 years, 3 months.

7. What is your anniversary? New Year's Day. I did that so that he'd never forget the date, plus in my young, naive mind I thought we'd always be partying on our anniversary. Little did I know that a few years would pass and fuddy-duddy-ness would set in and "I hate fighting the crowds of drunks" would be the answer when I would ask about anniversary date plans.

8. How many people came to your wedding reception? Not many. We sent out about 100 invitations to the wedding, but only about 35 showed up. The roads were slicker'n greased owl shit.

9. What kind of cake did you serve? Pretty typical wedding cake - white with white icing.

(We were way into the cowboy stuff back then. The napkins had a picture of a little cowgirl kissing a cowboy with a lasso around his neck. Precious. Just precious. I make fun of people who have shit like that at their weddings now.)

10. Where was your wedding? Northwest Baptist Church in Miami.

(The marquee said "Congratulations Paul and Kristin")

11. What did you serve for your meal? We didn't have a rehearsal dinner because it was hard enough to get everyone to just show up for the rehearsal on New Year's Eve and we didn't have a dinner after the wedding because, well, we were poor.

12. How many people were in your bridal party? Tater was my maid of honor and Paul's oldest brother was his best man.

(I wish this picture were clearer. Tater had HUGE hair. HUGE, I tell ya! Big and poufy with a blonde streak in the front, like Elvira or something.)

13. Are you still friends with them all? We're related to them. Friends by association and all that.

14. Did your spouse cry during the ceremony? Nope. We were both nervous, but neither of us cried.

15. Most special moment of your wedding day? Learning that Paul hadn't gone back to bed after he brought me to Mom's at 4am. Instead he had stayed up memorizing our vows so that he wouldn't mess them up, even though I had told him that he just had to repeat after the preacher. He was so sweet about that.

16. Any funny moments? As Paul and I were saying our vows, I looked up at him and discovered a bead of sweat running down his nose. Holding back a giggle, I watched as it stopped at the end of his nose and just hung there. By that time he realized it was there, too, but he was holding my hands and didn't want to let go to wipe it away. It wasn't until the prayer that he let go long enough to take care of it. At that point the shaking because of nervousness gave way to shaking because we were trying not to laugh.

17. Any big disasters? An ice storm rolled in that afternoon. We were supposed to head to the church around 5 and I was getting ready at 3 when Tater came in and said, "It's raining!" About 30 minutes later she busted in and said, "It's icing!" And that's when Mom started doing her usual take charge/freak out thing and we went to the church early. That's why I painted my nails in my wedding dress. Nearly gave my mother a heart attack over that, too. When the wedding was over, Paul's uncles and my cousins lined up from the church to the truck to help me so I wouldn't break a leg on my wedding night. When I threw the bouquet, I pretty much just threw it to my best friend at the time because diving for it would've been dangerous.

18. Where did you go on your honeymoon? We were supposed to go to Springfield, MO, that night, but it was so slippery we literally slid as far as the Super 8 in Miami and stayed there. I don't think we could've even made it home to Wyandotte.

19. How long were you gone? Overnight. We had a new blue heeler pup that Mom was pupsitting and instead of burdening her with the ornery little shit any longer we decided to just pick him up and go home.

20. If you were to do your wedding over, what would you change? We wouldn't have so much corny, hokey wedding stuff, like that cake topper and the napkins. And we'd definitely have a dance. (Of course, not at the Baptist church. Because then we'd all go to Hell.) I'd also have had our song played, instead of just going along with the church's suggestion that no secular music be played. Dangit, every cowboy wedding needs a George Strait song! We really needed Strait. Of course, today there is no way in hell I would have a cowboy wedding. Definitely black flowers, though. Love black flowers.
21. What side of the bed do you sleep on? I'm on the left because that's the furthest side from the door. He's insistent that if someone breaks in, they get him first. Yeah. Because then the murderer is nice and warmed up by the time he gets to me.

22. What size is your bed? Queen. Oh how I wish it was a King. We are not snugglers. We do not like to touch when we sleep. In fact, when we finally got to take our honeymoon three months after the wedding, we were both so excited about the King bed in the suite that we were delirious. We lined pillows up down the middle, dividing the bed in half. We slept awesome that night.

23. Greatest strengths as a couple? We can paddle and navigate a canoe like a couple of professionals with no fighting. We can't paint a room without WWIII breaking out, but by golly, we can paddle a canoe. And we can also both cuss really well. (Oh, I was supposed to answer that seriously? My bad.)

24. Greatest challenge as a couple? Deciding how to spend our income tax return. We always fight at tax time. (Oh, again with the serious answer? Geez. I suck.)

25. Who literally pays the bills? Paul doesn't have a clue when it comes to the bills. When I was on bedrest trying not to go back into premature labor with Kady, my mom had to come out and pay the bills for us. She'd write 'em out and I'd sign the checks, propping the checkbook on my gigantic belly. He sat in the recliner and looked dumbfounded that she knew how to do all that when she didn't even live here! Amazing what women can do when they put their minds to it.

26. What is your song? There are two songs that make me instantly go back to when we were young and all mushy, gushy in love and stuff: "I Cross My Heart" by Geoge Straight and "Shameless" by Garth. Paul sang "Shameless" rather drunkenly to me one night on a date. It was so sweet. "I Cross My Heart" is from the movie Pure Country where the world learned that George Straight is really pretty much only good at singing and looking pretty, not acting. Paul took me the theater to see it several times. We really wanted that song played at our wedding.

27. What did you dance your first dance to? Are you kidding?!? *gasp* We were Baptists!

28. Describe your wedding dress. It's just easier to show you a picture. When it comes to stuff like that, I'm just going to say, "It was white. And long. And I had to wear fake boobies because I was so flat-chested."

29. What kind of flowers did you have at your wedding? Black and white flowers of some kind. It was winter so I couldn't have the daisies I wanted because I worked at a bridal shop and the gal told me she simply refused to make my bouquet out of daisies for a New Year's Day wedding. So they were black and white roses and white lily looking things. Heck, I have no idea. I just told her my colors and she took care of it.

30. Are your wedding bands engraved? What do they say? Nope. Paul's on his third replacement band. He was so dang skinny back then! He's outgrown it a few times. And there was that one time he nearly lost his ring and finger in a car when he worked at Wal*Mart. We were so poor back then we could barely afford the rings, much less actual words on them.

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...