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.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

She said what?

This morning I was trying to get ready for work an hour ahead of when I usually go in, so I was flat-ironing my hair in like, warp speed. I had asked Sam to make KD a piece of toast for breakfast and he, the child who wouldn't speak to me last night because he was still angry I wouldn't let him skip school, was quite amicable about it. And KD was so polite and thanked him for making her breakfast. I should've known it wouldn't last long.

I know all siblings fight, but for some reason, Sam and KD fight worse than any two siblings I've seen since Tater and I were kids. Now, Tater and I were quite the arguers and I guess there was many a night Mom would go to bed and cry, wondering what she'd done wrong to make the two of us hate each other so much. Some might say that my two youngest children's penchant for arguing is that wonderful thing called "Payin' for your raisin'" and I don't mean dried fruit. I mean paybacks are heck.

So it wasn't long after I heard the toaster pop up and the knife scraping butter onto the toast that I also heard the fighting begin. She mocked him. He shook his butt at her. She stuck her tongue out. He acted like he was going to punch her. I try to ignore most of it, but sometimes it's hard to do that, especially when the boy holding her Baby Alive hostage is causing her to screech like she's being skinned alive. This morning I was so rushed, I was choosing to ignore most of it.

I heard Kady giving her bubby attitude and then I heard this, "Weww, Bubby. I bet you don't know dis." and then I heard Sam's reply, "Hmph. I bet I do!" You know how it goes. Usually the conversation to follow involves someone being a poopoohead and someone always cries.

But this morning, however, I heard my five year old say, "Okay, Mistew Smawtypants.....what does 'fastidious' mean? Huh? Betcha don't know." If I had been in the room, I guarantee you she had her arms crossed across her chest and she was bobbing her head. Then, of course, came Sam's snarky reply, "I don't have a clue what 'fastibbius' means and you don't either! So hmph!"

"Uh huh. Yuh huh I do too know what it means, BUBBY! It means 'to be picky or choosy' SO THERE!"

Footsteps were rapidly coming my way down the hall. "MAWWWWWWWWM! What does 'fastibbius' mean?" Hiding my grin I replied, "Well, your little sister was right. It means to be picky or choosy. Sorry little dude."

He drooped up the hall only to enter the dining room and find his little sister waiting to pounce on him again. "Okay, Bubby. Here's another one: puh-wethowa. Puh-wethowa means 'a lot.' And 'migwation' means 'to twavel to bettew weathew.' Oh! Oh! And 'emuwate' means TO COPY! So HA HA on you!"

And I really wanted to laugh because she was so dang sure of herself and I wanted to laugh even harder because Sam was struck totally speechless by his little sister's mad vocabulary skillz. But I could hold back the laughing no longer when Abby came into the bathroom and said, "Do you hear that? Do you hear the words that child is saying? What are they feeding them in Kindergarten??"

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

A big ol' "Praise the Lord!!"

Remember that meltdown I had over the weekend? (You don't? Well, I guarantee ya, my family does.) Turns out, it was quite unnecessary, as most of my meltdowns usually are.

Saturday's meltdown was mainly over the fact that I was nearly 5 weeks behind in Algebra. At the beginning of the semester she gave us a schedule and told us that in order to finish all 180 topics by finals week, we needed to do 12 topics a week. Okay, no big. Except that the website told me I had 231 topics to finish, therefore I needed to do 16 topics a week. To someone who isn't mathtarded and doesn't have 3 kids and a husband and two jobs, this probably wouldn't be a big deal, adding 4 topics a week, but yeah, well, haven't we already established that I am a big whiney baby? Yeah. It was a HUGE deal. I could never get caught up and just got steadily further and further behind. A few days ago I emailed my instructor, something I should've done a long time ago because turns out, the company who runs the website updated the cirriculum and added 51 extra topics and the instructors didn't realize it. She told me they would be removing the extra topics tomorrow, so now I'm only about a week behind!!! I'm happier'n a bulimic in a room fulla tongue depressors.

This week I only have to do this and last week's Algebra topics, write 8-10 questions/comments about Edgar Allan Poe and "The Fall of the House of Usher" which will be no big deal since I just wrote a paper over both and maybe, just maybe I'll get a week or two ahead in Lit as well. I do have to go to Macro tomorrow night, though, since I missed last week because of the fundraising auction and will miss next week to see my daughter's stage debut.

I got my grade for the last Macro test, by the way - a big fat 64%. But hey, you'll see me shedding no tears. I have a 73% in the class. You really can't get more average than that. One more bad test, though, and you'll see tears, though. I'm still praying that something miraculous happens in that class.

Four weeks until finals. I can hardly contain my glee at the mere prospect of this hellish semester ending. I am going to try to enroll for next semester tomorrow. If things go the way I want them to (ha! Like that happens often) I will take 13 hours next semester:

Intro to Mass Communications - The class all MassComm majors are supposed to take their first semester. Oops. It's only my third. It's one hour a week. Like Freshman Orientation only more mass-ly communicative. Or something like that.
Beginning Photography - I am so stoked about taking this class I can hardly stand it.
Photo Lab - Even more stoked there's a lab!
History of Film - This is one of those 3-hour, one day a week classes, but instead of 6-9 like Macro is this semester, History of Film is from 1-4. I won't be missing any evenings with my kids!
Creative Writing - This is the only class I'm taking that isn't actually a course requirement, so it's actually counting toward nothing other than the fact I want to take it. I need to do something fun and for me next semester and since getting lipo and a boob job while in Disney World on the Tower of Terror with Zach Braff who just happens to like kissing my face is out, I'll just take Creative Writing.
Survey of American Literature II - Part Deux of the AmerLit class I'm taking this semester, same instructor and my only online class next semester. I just hope and pray she runs Part Deux like she's running Part Uno (yep, I know I switched languages - because I don't know how to spell the French word for "one")(I can say it, I can't spell it)(Yes, I know where Google is on the Internet)(No, I don't want to look it up) because it's predictable and I'm learning something and I'm almost enjoying it, strangely enough.

So there ya have it - let's just hope I don't fail Macro and have to take it again next semester.


Monday Abby stayed home from school because her face was all swollen up from her sinuses. She's always had allergies and sinus issues, but never this bad. She laid on the couch with warm washcloths on her face all morning, watching SpongeBob through two little peepholes, bless her little heart. She's better, but still not 100%. She does not have silver snot, however.

Today, when I got home from work, after I met Mrs. Principal so she could load up the time machine, I went in to change clothes and realized I had the beginnings of a headache. The internet was having issues with both computers, so I took that as a sign from God that I needed to veg instead of solve linear equations. And veg I did. When KD and Sam walked in the door from school (Ab was at play practice) I was semi-conscious on the couch. Sam curled up next to me and KD crawled into the recliner. I dozed off and when I woke up I looked around and didn't immediately see KD. I finally found her curled up in the chair, tears streaming down her face. Of course, feeling horrendous maternal guilt for dozing when there was obviously an issue with my youngest child, I hauled myself up off the couch to figure out what was wrong. She quietly said her eyes wouldn't quit cwying and her tummy was wumbly and her head huut weal bad. I scooped her up and sat down with her on my lap and felt heat emanating from her. Bless her little heart, she was running a fever and hey, just send that Mother of the Year trophy to my post office box, will ya?

All three of us were cuddled up on the couch - Kady soaking up my extra pats and rubs due to extreme guilt and Sam pouting because I won't let him skip school and repeatedly saying that I was punishing him for being the healthy child - when Paul and Abby got home. Paul took over Kady duty while I threw in a load of laundry and made Paul a lovingly microwaved homemade meal of Schwan's chicken pot pies. Fortunately Abby can nuke a HotPocket and Sam thinks Tyson chicken patties are manna from Heaven.

Kady's crashed on the couch right now, still slightly fever-y and I guess she won't be getting that flu shot tomorrow. And while I'd love to stay home from work yet another day this week, I guess I'll take Mom up on that offer to stay with KD tomorrow while I run back and forth across the county, going to work, going to the school to pick up Abby and Sam, taking them to the dr's office for flu shots, taking them back to school, enrolling for next semester, working at the college THEN going to my night class. I'm already tired just thinking about it.


Yesterday was our Thanksgiving dinner at DHS. Today they put out the leftovers in the kitchen and I wasn't in the mood for turkey so I just heated up some broccoli rice casserole only to discover that the warmth I was feeling in my guts was from the jalapeno peppers the preparer had added to what would've been a perfectly good casserole WITHOUT the peppers. Omg, that was a bad, bad trick to play on unsuspecting government employees. We're already cranky as it is - adding jalapenos to broccoli just adds to the agitation.

It's the first full week of November and I have already managed to fill up every single weekend until the end of the year. HOW does that happen?? Between son's birthday, 3 parades (in one day, no less), parties, volunteering to take pictures of children with Santa at a drive-thru state park light display event thing, finals, youngest daughter's birthday, a trip to Branson to Silver Dollar City because that's where the real Santa is and we can't miss seeing the real one, and oh yeah, Christmas, I'm a busy girl until 2008. Who am I kidding, it's going to spill over into 2008.

BUT in 2008 there will (hopefully) be no Macroeconomics.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Domo Arigato, Mr. Roboto

Abby and TotOne are in the elementary school's little theatre production this year. This is a big thing for my formerly shy Abby, the child we never thought would speak above a whisper, the child who was a PreK dropout because of her debilitating shyness. Since I am a former drama queen (although my family would argue the "former" statement) I am ecstatic over her absolute love for the stage. She's even talking about being in Speech/Drama when she goes across the street next year to the Big School. Be still my heart. Some mothers go berzerkers over cheerleading; I'll be one of those crazed drama mamas.

So when the elementary principal asked me if Tater and I would make a time machine for the play, I said yes, I would, but Tater was too busy and that Paul and I would take care of it. I know, I know, that was rather silly of me, wasn't it? I haven't shaved my legs in weeks because I don't have time, I sleep about 4 hours a night, if that, these days, and there is what I fear to be a permanent imprint of my husband on our couch because I don't even have time to sleep with him these days. So what in the world made me think I had time to construct a time machine? It's the insanity, I'm telling you. I'm utterly farking insane.

I tried to protect my little sister from the drama involved, because I really thought I could do it, but I eventually caved and finally admitted that uhm, I had uhhhhh, "Itoldtheprincipalthatwe'dmakeatimemachinefortheplaypleasedon'tbemad." She was strangely calm, but I think she was using some fancy schmancy breathing exercise to keep from ripping me limb from limb. Then she calmly said, "Let me call Mrs. Princpal and tell her that neither one of us are capable of doing this. I will take care of this and from now on, Kristin, sweetie, JUST SAY NO."

But then even she felt convicted and said she thought we could do it, but if I ever EVER agree to building anything for anyone EVER again, I am totally on my own.

And just for the record, in case you were planning on going out to find one this weekend, refrigerators do not come in boxes anymore. Now you know.

Thank God recliners still do. A friend that works for a furniture store deposited two gigantic boxes on Tater's front driveway last week. I stopped by this weekend to put them in my van, but they are so enormous that I couldn't even get them in the sliding door. So Paul had to get a trailer and haul them home on a trailer because his truck has a cap on the bed and essentially he just has a really long car with a trunk for all the good that bed is. I had to call the principal this morning and tell her that someone with a real truck was going to have to come pick up the time machine at my house tomorrow afternoon because alas, it is not an actual working time machine and I can't just hit the painted-on lever and warp down to the school. Where are Doc Brown and Marty McFly when you need them?

Last night he and I painted the boxes metallic silver. Of course, it was dark outside and I discovered this morning that we didn't do a real bangup job and as soon as I got home from work today touched up the light spots and then painted the insides of the boxes where the door will eventually be.

I also got delightfully high. See, the boxes are pretty deep and I had to lean over the side to paint down in there and yeah, I lost a few brain cells doing it. The best part? In addition to my silver index and middle fingers on my right hand, I also just blew my nose and blew out silver snot.

I'm Kilroy.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Chuck E. Cheese Halloween possums

I would rather have my toenails ripped off by rabid ferrets on crack than visit Chuck E. Cheese with 8 kids. Well, any number of kids for that matter, but it just so happens that tonight there were 8 of them. I always leave there with a headache. Always. No wonder they serve beer - no sane parent could withstand the misery that is Chuck E. Cheese without alcohol.

Tonight's trip to hell was for TotTwo's birthday party and that, of course, set Sam to thinking about his upcoming birthday in two weeks. He had that look on his face and the mom in me knew what he was thinking - heck, the flush from recent gigantic robotic mouse, more caffeine than he's had in his entire almost 9 years and enough flashing lights to send an epileptic into a grand mal seizure to beat the band was still on his little freckled cheeks and I knew he was planning his own birthday adventure. Oh, but I, being the spoilsport of all motherdom said, "You're not planning a party at stinky ol' Chuck E. Cheese, are you? Because I hear that it's totally so like, out these days." And because he's the middle child and ever so eager to please he replied with a shrug of his shoulders and a simple, "What? Chuck E. Cheese? Nah. Let's just go bowling." I so won.

And for the 90 bazillion tickets my kids got from playing God only knows how many video games, they got: Abby - a red pom pom that she literally whipped her sister with the entire ride home and eventually got it taken away from her; Kady - a pink and silver tiara that was broken by her cousin who was all hopped up on the methamphetamine they put in Chuck E. Cheese pizza within about 2 minutes of ownership; and Sam - a foam dart launcher that is actually pretty cool because he managed to smack his Grammy right above the eye from across the restaurant.

I'm just glad Sam "wants" to go bowling for his party and that Kady wants to have her three "bestest gowfwends in the wowd ovew to pway" for her birthday. My gosh, after Abby's slumber party where the girls popped locked and dropped, I don't think I can handle another wild party this year.


Friday night Paul, Tater and I loaded up and met up with 14 other people from the Casino That Shall Not Be Named to go through the corn maze. I really had way too much homework to go and since Mom had the kids all night I hated to miss an opportunity of quiet Algebra time, but Paul seemed so excited about it I couldn't not go. So I dragged my sister along for fun. My gosh, if it hadn't been for her, I'd have slit my wrists or drowned myself. Wow, it's a good thing I never actually worked there - they are a bunch of poopoo heads! I mean, we're talking no laughing, no joking - heck we even made it through the corn maze in 20 minutes! When we went as a family back in October TotTwo and I got lost in one section for 45 minutes. I think we were in there nearly 2 hours. But man, these casino people were all business - it was like we were being graded on corn maze proficiency.

When we met a small group at the casino Tater and I were acting like total goofasses, I'll admit, but my gosh, someone had to have fun and it was obvious no one else was going to. Paul said we were supposed to meet up with someone named Amanda. I asked, "Amanda who?" and before Paul could reply, Tater said, "Amanda Hugankiss" and we both exploded into hysterical juvenile laughter that immediately pissed Paul off for some reason. As we were driving later I said, "Wow, honey, your friends sure are not as fun as I thought they'd be." He never took his eyes off the road when he said, "Well, maybe it's because you're an ass." Ouch. That stung. So I pouted for awhile, then decided that pouting was not fun and started being an ass again. I gotta say, we definitely had more fun as asses.

After the maze we went to Pizza Hut (with a few casino people, namely Amanda Hugankiss and her husband that we named Ben Dover because we're asses like that) (however, Amanda and "Ben" thought we were funny even though no one else did) and then on to Grand Lake Casino from there. We'd been there about 45 minutes when I started feeling really crappy, like so tired I couldn't hold my eyes open, achey and just generally blechy feeling. We left and I came home to crash like the assy ol' party pooper I am. The next morning I woke up feeling like I'd been run over with a backhoe and the feeling has continued. I'm sure that led to my ultimate massive hysterical breakdown yesterday.

Today has been better. Well, except for the Chuck E. Cheese thing.


Just now I was sitting here in my office, typing away at this post and enjoying the absence of any math problems in front of my face for a few stolen moments when I heard some clattering outside on the carport. We feed the cats on the freezer to keep Jake from eating their food and figured it was one of them havinga late night snack. Then I looked up to find this in the window sill:

For a few seconds I didn't quite comprehend what it was. The fur was lighter than our cats' and it wasn't registering what it was. Until it showed it's pointy face - it was a possum. I hollered at Paul, "Hey! Paul! There's a possum in the window! Grab my camera off the table and get the gun!"- because even though I'm a redneck, I'm a blogger first and foremost and knew there must be photo documentation of any critters here at Diva Ranch. We stood out here in my office for quite awhile, watching it, snapping pictures and marveling at its lack of fear. Finally I turned to Paul and said, "Umm...aren't you going to kill it?" He replied dryly, "Yuh. I was just waiting for you to get all the shots you wanted." Isn't he sweet?

Then he smacked it on the heck with a gigantic stick. If you are an animal lover, particularly a lover of possums, do not look at the next picture.

Let this be a lesson to any critter looking to get into mischief at my house - you will end up dead and on my blog. You've been warned.

I'm just glad the kids were already in bed. Had they been awake there'd have been tears and a funeral. As it was, Paul just threw him over the fence and went back to watching CourtTV.


And because I'm sure y'all are anxiously waiting, here are a few pics of the kids in their Halloween costumes.

Abby was a bag lady this year, complete with shopping cart. The shopping cart seemed like a good idea at first - until I realized that I was the one loading and unloading that mother at every stop.

She was a pretty convincing bag lady, methinks - considering that when she went wheeling her cart into the lobby of the administration building at the college, the ladies in the business office thought she was a real homeless person.

Sam was a wizard and I gotta say, it was awful cute for a last-minute, oh-my-gosh his Halloween costume doesn't fit thing. Tater bought it on a clearance rack at the Disney Store a few years ago, so technically he was supposed to be the Mickey sorcerer from Fantasia, but....

.... if I had a nickel for every time I heard him holler "Wingardium Leviosa!" and "Accio [everything on the face of the earth, including at one point 'a gigantic grizzly bear]" I'd be a rich woman tonight.

Kady was Goth this year. I wish she'd have gotten on board with it last year when the other two dressed Goth, but oh well.

It's hard to remain Goth-y when you're five and wearing chocolate and pizza all over your deathly white face, though. I guess this is why you don't see a lot of Goth in Kindergarten.

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Average and dehydrated

I am having a very bad day. I've actually had a whole fracking caboodle of bad days.

A mere one day past deadline, at 2am, I wearily turned in my barely six-page paper on "Gothicism in American Literature" which analyzed "The Fall of the House of Usher" by Poe. The instructor gives all assignments a one-week grace period at the price of a drop in one letter grade, but waived the grade penalty for this paper. I think I love her. The paper wasn't my best work, but at this point in the semester I have abandoned the Pollyanna -ish thoughts of maintaining the 3.75 GPA from last semester and I'm just shooting for passing all of the classes. At this point, Cs are SO acceptable. And I never, ever, EVER thought that thought would ever be in my head. Ever. I have become average and frankly, I'm pretty okay with it. In fact, below average is looking better and better.

I got behind in everything because of Halloween. I know, I know, blame it on an innocent pagan holiday and use it as a scapegoat, but seriously, it really was Halloween that made me behind. See, we were sent an email at work that "encouraged" us to dress up for Halloween and in my mind "encouraged" meant "show up in costume or else." I was going to go with my original plan of a loose interpretation of Tracey Turnblad from the movie Hairspray because well, fat chicks are pretty limited on costumes at Halloween time - I mean, dressing up like Paris Hilton is out, as well as dressing as a French maid or Catwoman. We're pretty much destined to be the Cookie Monsters, Grimaces and fat old ladies with walkers come October 31st. But the Friday before Halloween, the day I am off EVERY WEEK, the day that everyone in my department KNOWS I am not going to be in, it was decided that Child Welfare was going to all dress as scarecrows. 'Scuse me? Scarecrows? My initial response when the other aide told me on Monday - a mere TWO DAYS before Halloween - was, "I don't think so, sister. I just won't dress up. That's BS." (That was a much milder version than what I actually said, mind you.) Then my wise younger sister told me I wasn't being a team player and that working with a group of people at a real big-girl job required bending like a willow, not standing firm and unmoving like a 400 year old giant sequoyah and after I told her to stick her willow where the sun don't shine, I realized she was right and set to work making my costume.

I hot glued raffia to the inside cuffs of a shirt I picked up at the Friendship House for $1.75, sewed patches all over my shirt and jeans, hot glued my finger to my jeans and tried my best to get into the spirit of things. Tater came over and hot glued the raffia to my hat and helped me figure out my makeup and such. I didn't do any homework, but I had a killer scarecrow costume. In fact, it was so killer that I won best costume at work. Yeah, I'm such an overachiever at stupid stuff that it's mind-boggling.

So now I'm about 150 problems behind in Algebra. I was behind before and am even behinder now. And I have literally - not exaggerating here - cried all day. If I am not yelling, I'm crying. Those are my two capabilities right now - screaming and sobbing. My kids are quite bewildered and my husband just sits in his recliner and tries not to breathe too loudly for fear I will murder him in his sleep. An hour and a half ago I was crying so hard I thought I was going to hyperventilate. I was talking on the phone with Tater while I was blubbering to beat the band and it hit me that I sounded like my five year old when she's throwing a tantrum. I am not only average, but I'm also a big baby. These are the things college has taught me, people - that I'm not as good as I thought I was and that I am not able to juggle my life as it is right now. I am going to get an F in multi-tasking this semester.

I have cried so much that my head feels like it's going to split wide open, my eyes are blurry and dry and there' s a chunk of my hair that is all stiff because after I hung up the phone with Tater, I laid my head down on the edge of the kitchen sink and sobbed some more. That is, until I realized that my hair was in the pan that was soaking in the sink. So I stood up and while I sniffed back four gallons of snot and blinked through my tear-speckled glasses, I dried the parts of my hair that had just marinated in chicken casserole and soap bubbles the best I could with a dish towel of questionable cleanliness.

Someday when I'm famous and happy and stable, will y'all remind me about this blog post? Just in case I ever get too big for my britches and think I'm all hot stuff or something? Because this is a pretty humbling moment.

Tater reminded me that at this point, a mere five weeks from the end of the semester, I just have to pass. I don't have to have a good grade, I just have to have a grade. She added that an F is also a grade. She also said that I'd be surprised at how many people have to take Algebra more than once - I told her I wouldn't be surprised at all. Then she told me that I truly do have a gift - a gift for writing, a gift with words, a gift that is the ability to put words into stories that entertain and make people laugh and someday that gift is going to take me somewhere... but that I did not, however, have a gift for doing math because I am a mathtard and there's nothing anyone can do about it. And then I laughed. And I realized that I have one awesome family.

My oldest daughter did a load of laundry on Thursday night. All by herself. My son hasn't had to be reminded twelve times to take out the trash all week. My youngest emptied the bathroom trashcan and only left half a dozen pieces of trash on the floor this time rather than the usual dozen and a half. My husband attempted to snake out the washing machine line that backs up when the washer drains; and even though he didn't succeed, he at least attempted it because it was adding to my frustration. At TotTwo's football game this afternoon my mom patted me on the leg - she didn't have to say anything, she just reminded me she was there. All of these people love me and know that I will someday be sane and back to my normal self.

Or else they're just trying to keep me calm until the guys with the white jackets arrive.

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...