Saturday, March 29, 2008

Good news/bad news

Good news - Jake came home!

When I came home from getting my new Rockr that I am going to sleep with tonight, under my pillow, clutched in my hand because I love it so much, he barked at me. As soon as those three kids heard him bark they were flying out that front door so fast Jake hunkered down like he was in trouble. Bless his puppy heart. He's been in a fight, has a couple of pretty good scratches on his back, but other than that he's fine.

Bad news - No podcast tonight.

We ran down to Wyandotte to visit with Paul's brothers and on the way home Abby said she wasn't feeling good. We walked in the door and she immediately started yakking. Poor kid. We haven't decided yet if it was carsick or if she's got a bug. Regardless, she's still really dizzy and queasy, so any attempts at recording anything are put on hold until tomorrow after church. Tater's on board, so unless someone else starts ralphing between now and then we should be a go.

Oh yeah, more bad news - No hair pictures either.

Because I have yet to actually fix my hair. I know, I'm a skank. Actually I just didn't feel like fixing it, plain and simple. If I'm going to show the entire innernets my hair, I want it to look good because I am vain that way.

So Jax, honey, you might as well go rent Enchanted or watch the new SpongeBob followed by the Kids Choice Awards or paint your toenails. Nothing to see here tonight except a puking eleven year old and me in my pajamas with really bad hair.

Gardasil Jake Phone Hair Mistaken Identity Enchanted

Yesterday I took Ab to the doctor at 7:30 to get her 2nd Gardasil shot. I hope beyond hope that she never needs to protection its giving her.

Jake is missing. He's been gone since Monday. He ran off last spring when he got all twitterpated and came home a week later, skinny, hungry and tired. As he came up the driveway after a week's reproduction vacation we looked like an episode of The Waltons as the kids tackled him, Paul got down off the tractor, I stepped out on the porch, drying my hands on my apron......wait, I don't own an apron. Nevermind. Paul said as he scratched Jake's ears, "If I'd been doing what you've been doing all week, dude, I'd need a few sandwiches and a nap. Good job, bud." We're all still hoping that he's just out giving Bob Barker something to do commercials about, but Paul says for some reason he doesn't think that's the case this time. I am remaining hopeful, but Paul's already calling around for a replacement beagle. I don't know how he thinks you can replace a lab/chow with a beagle, but oh well.

Paul and I spent our morning off together phone shopping. Our phone batteries wouldn't hold a charge anymore and since Paul's phone *gasp* didn't even have a camera or Bluetooth on it we decided it was time to bring him on up to this century. He picked out a Motorola [insert meaningless series of numbers here]. It's nothing fancy, but has Bluetooth capabilities, a camera and can even receive picture messages. He feels like a real pioneer in modern electronics, bless his heart. I picked out a Motorola Rockr, which of course, they did not have in the store that day. However, as I type this, my brand! new! Rockr is sitting at the Radio Shack in Miami with a post-it on it that says "Redneck Diva" and that makes me happy. Okay, so it doesn't really say Redneck Diva. It says "Hoover." I'm waiting on the water heater to finish doing its thing since my asshat husband literally ran down the hall, underwear in hand, to jump in the bathroom before me. He doesn't have new colored hair to fix or make up to put on, but somehow he thought he cleanliness was closer to godliness than mine. Asshat.

I got my hair done yesterday. Story and pictures in upcoming post.

Last night we watched the two-hour Dateline about the Indiana girls whose identities got switched after a horrible car accident. I cried. A lot. I also kissed my kids extra long and decided they are never going to college. Or on dates. Okay, actually I decided that they're never leaving my sight again.

We also watched Enchanted last night. I can honestly say that it is probably one of the best movies I've seen in a very, very long time. I had seen the park song scene on the internet before, but seeing it in the movie last night had me laughing out loud, rewinding it and totally wanting to make a dress out of curtains. You need to click that link right now and watch it so that you, too, will know. And maybe we can make matching curtain dresses.

Tater and I are planning on recording our first webcast sometime today. Details soon - Keep checking back throughout the day!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

Stinky and giggly and still mathtarded

I love Easter and while I don't know exactly why we devil eggs at Easter, I do love me some deviled eggs. However, I hate the fact that right now, every time you open my fridge you are whammed in the face by the smell of farts. I told Paul this morning that if he doesn't finish off those eggs by tonight they are going to the dog. Thank goodness Jake's not a house dog - he'd asphyxiate us all if he were in the house after eating a half dozen leftover deviled eggs.

This week I started working 7 hour days at work. After all these years I am starting to act like a productive member of society. Yes, it is strange. I haven't quite adjusted to it yet (heck, I'm only on the second day of it), but I think it will be okay. The problem is, in 7 hours sometimes there isn't enough for both T-Racey and I to do the entire time. Today I decorated my desk calendar and dusted my shelves and desktop, caught my planner up-to-date (we have a wedding in the near future, you know!) and did stop short at painting my toenails. The county director was in the office, after all. At one point I got up to stretch my legs and walked over to T-Racey's desk and she was decorating her desk calendar, too. Hey, they're the ones that gave us markers, crayons and glitter - blame it on the state.

Starting next week I'll have another mad skill to put on my resume - tax preparer. Here's the funny part - they don't know that I am a total mathtard. When the Intake supervisor called us into her office I asked if I needed a box of kleenex. She said no, then said, "Well, on second though, you might. Especially if you're like me and don't like numbers." I nearly burst into tears right then and there. Then she said, "Girls, you have been nominated..." Immediately started picturing the ceremony where I would receive my award..... then I snapped back to reality and figured I should probably find out what we'd been nominated for. We do work in Child Welfare, which means on any given day we could be doing pretty much anything and I'm not joking. Today, however, we were asked to help out the volunteer agency that is helping the oldsters in the area file with the IRS for their tax relief income stimulus give me my extra money, you whippersnapper, thing. She walked us through one person while we listened with one ear and with other ear listened to all the old folks in the room grumble, "Well, this is sure slowing things down!" and other elderly exclamations. Then after she had given me so much information my brain was starting to smoke, she then told us that she didn't bring any extra computers today and we would start next week. Yay. I also finagled it so that we can wear jeans on Screw Up The Elderly's Taxes Day from now until April 15th, so even if I screw up a few dozen octogenarians' tax rebates, I'll be wearing jeans while I do it.

One time when I was in high school we did Communion during the evening service. I usually occupied the back row, furthest corner from my parents with my merry band of rebelling hooligans, but that night I was sitting with Mom for some reason. Whoever had filled the cups that night had filled them all way too full and the mere act of cell regeneration was causing them to threaten to spill. Mom, Tater and I were both trying to hold those little plastic cups of grape juice without making a mess and then ..... then we all three got the giggles. Now, while we were holding completely still it was precarious, but then trying to hold back a raging case of the giggles during a solemn religious ceremony it was even worse. We were never so glad than when the preacher said, "This cup is my blood." Before he could completely get out, "This, do in remembrance of me," Mom, Sis and I were already slugging ours back. Dad was on the riser in his song leader's seat and well, let's just say we all got a lecture on the way home. It was so totally worth it because we still get the giggles to this day when we talk about it.

Segue - today I got the giggles like that at work. Granted, there wasn't a solemn religious ceremony going on, but I mean, I could. not. stop. For nearly an hour I giggled like a total dork. I don't know if it's the nice warmer weather or the fact that working 7 hours a day is a total shock to my system or what, but I was goofy like that all day. T-Racey is my doppleganger -- or maybe I'm hers.... -- so then she got the giggles, too. Then our new clerical worker got in on it and we were all three, at one point, doubled over in T-Racey's cubicle, unable to talk because we were laughing so hard. What were we laughing about? Can't tell you, but I can tell you that it was entirely inappropriate, insanely juvenile and immature and twice Judy, the new clerk, thumped me on top of the head to straighten me up. One of the other caseworkers commented at that point that they don't have as much fun doing their job as we do doing ours. They make a heck of a lot more than us, so I think it's a pretty fair trade-off.

I'm thinking about doing a podcast/webcast/oh you know, that thing where you talk and then put it on the internet for all to hear - what do y'all think? Do you think you could sit through half an hour of me yammering on about stuff? I dunno.......give me feedback.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Have a cigar, it's spring, my friends

Yesterday I worked four hours, then because I didn't have enough fun in that amount of time, I went back and worked two more. I know, I'm sick that way. It was either that or go back and work today, MY DAY OFF, and the prospect of that just didn't make me happy. Didn't make Paul or the kids happy either, so I split my time and got it done. Which is good - if I'd gone in today I'd have been forced to partake of the merriment that is Good Friday at the Department of Human Services. I can only imagine what that would've been like. Plus, I don't partake of merriment with most of my coworkers anyway.

Last night Kady went to spend the night with her "bestest fwiend evew" so Paul, the other two kids and I settled in to watch Bee Movie after LOST was over. (The only episode of LOST that I haven't watched in its entirety in the history of the show. I know! I wasn't all too pleased about it either. I'm totally thinking we need to move on up to this century and get a DVR. I hear it's all the rage with kids these days.) Anyway, back to the movie about held my attention for all of thirty minutes, which was bout 29 longer than it held Paul's. When I woke up as the end song began to play, Abby was curled up next to me and Sam was the only one still awake. He declares it to be "freakin' awesome" but when three out of four people sleep during it, I'm not wholly convinced. He is nine, ya know.

Poor little Abby lost her voice last night, bless her heart. She really didn't feel good, looked worse and sounded awful, but while she's till snotty today, she seems to be feeling better. She's still croaky, but heck, so am I and I had the flu a month ago. Today, though, she's better enough to have caught a two foot long catfish down at the pond with her daddy and brother this morning. She just now came and hollered at me to "Hurry, Momma and COME'RE!" I ran out to the porch thinking Paul was having a heart attack or had hooked himself with a lure or something, but instead I see my oldest daughter, my pre-teen who looks frighteningly fully-teen, holding a five pound catfish by the mouth, just pretty as you please. She was beaming as she said, "Omygosh you HAVE to take my picture with it!" Now, Kady would not be caught dead holding a fish, but stuff like that rocks Abby's world to no end. I'm not on the laptop now, but the next time I'm on it, I'll add the pictures to this post, so check back. Because I'm sure you have nothing better to do.

Mom picked up Sam and Kady awhile ago and she and Pops are taking them to see Horton Hears a Who. Ab saw it earlier in the week with a friend, so the plan was to rent I Am Legend so she could watch it. She's so much like me in that she loves to get scared on a fairly regular basis, but Sam and Kady are still a bit young for end-of-the-world-cancer-vaccines-gone-wrong-and-mutated-humans-eating-people movies. Unfortuantely, the two videos stores in town have no copies in and won't until Tuesday. Movie Gallery has 100 copies and they're all gone - the clerk said they were lined up outside in the rain on Tuesday. Now, it was a good movie and I really liked it, but it wasn't worth standing outside in a line at the video store the morning it's released. If you like it that much, people, go buy it. Geez. So, tonight we're watching Sydney White, which is definitely no doomsday flick, but I still have a teeny tiny girl crush on really like Amanda Bynes, so I'm sure it'll be fine.

Mamacita now has three kittens. The other two were born today. Yeah, today or at the very earliest last night very late. This whole ordeal started on Wednesday! I've never seen or heard of anything like it. I could be wrong on how many were born today - we still haven't figured out if the first one was miraculously healed or if it died and she carried it off. Regardless, the kids think it's the original kitten and that's all that matters. She moved them to the barn, which is bad parenting in my opinion, since she puts them on plywood which is laid across the rafters. Oh, it's fine now, but when they start moving around.......well, last time she had a litter, Paul was standing in the barn working on the tractor when a kitten fell on him. It, of course, fell to the ground, he picked it up and hollered at me, "Dear, it's raining kittens!" The kids tried to relocate them yesterday, but she immediately put them back. Thankfully the boat is gone now and she won't hide them in the hull like last time. Oh, that was a mess.

I have to think of something really exhausting to do with the kids tomorrow since we have to get up at 4am on Easter Sunday. Sunrise Service starts at 7:00 which means we have to leave here by 6:30. The kids want to hung eggs before Paul leaves for work, therefore we will be getting up well before the sun rises. I hope the Easter Bunny has us up at the top of his list - otherwise we're going to beat him.

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Let's talk about sex, baby

A fellow mom-to-a-pre-teen and I were discussing cell phones and cell phone usage amongst the pre-teens we know. She mentioned that she knew of two 11 year olds that had texted some inappropriate things to each other. As I was discussing our conversation with Paul later I just said, "a certain three-letter word" and didn't say what that three-letter word was. My 11 year old doesn't hear most of the things we say unless, of course, we are talking about things we don't want her to hear, so naturally I found her in the hallway, listening to the conversation. I didn't make a big deal about it and ran her off, the conversation ended and I went about my business.

Later I was on the couch and she curled up next to me, slid her hand into mine and said, "Mom, I know who you were talking about to Mrs. Suzy's Mom earlier." Since Mrs. Suzy's Mom hadn't named names, of course I was curious to see who the kids were. I said, "Oh really. How do you know that?" Now, keep in mind I was hoping that her information was coming through tween gossip only and not from first-hand experience. Given that she doesn't have a cell phone I really didn't think it was her, but I guess stranger things have happened.

She took a deep breath and said, "It was [name withheld to protect what innocent he has left, God bless him]." Having said that sentence, she let out her breath and looked at me quite nervously. I said, "Well, how do you know it was him?"

"Mom, he says ass all the time."

I hugged her so tight and said, "Well, those three-letter words can get you in trouble, huh? Is that the only bad three-letter word you know?"

She nodded.

And I remembered to breathe.


From a conversation I heard last week:

"Well, I hear that sex is like riding a bike and if that's the case......girls, when I get the chance I'm gonna get on there and pedal just as fast as I possibly can."


Since I quit school in December I have been working quite hard to restore my mojo and let me tell you, a year without a mojo is a rough year indeed. It's been especially hard on my husband. Bless his heart, that man has a lot of patience. So I've been making a real serious effort to not have a headache come bedtime and to not whine that "5:30 comes early, big boy, so hurry things along, will ya?" I mean, people, I'm really trying.

Saturday night Paul and I dropped the kids off at Mom's so we could go see 10,000 B.C. (have I mentioned that we both loved it?) Since Paul works on Sunday we don't get to stay out late on Saturdays anymore, so we were going to see the early show, pick up the kids and go home. Well, then I remembered I needed to pick up a few things at Wal*Mart, so I asked him to swing by there before we got the kids. Immediately, he looked at his watch, sighed and said, "Yeah, but we need to hurry." It was fairly early, so I questioned his speeding through the downtown like that hot blonde guy from The Fast and the Furious. He said, "I don't want it to get too late. You know......" and shot me a sidelong glance.

I laughed and said, "Oh, honey, don't worry about it. Tonight I'm a sure thing."

"You are?" He asked it so incredulously that I was almost offended, but instead I laughed again and said, "Hon, lately you have been so absolutely sweet to me that I am more than happy to oblige, if you know what I mean."

This time he laughed and said, "Well, it's about time."

I said, "Dear, marriage is a give and take. You've given, so..... you scratch my back, I'll scratch yours."

He was quiet while he continued navigating his way toward Wal*Mart, then suddenly he put his arm around my shoulders and pulled me to him. He'll do that occasionally to kiss me on top of the head and has done that since we were dating, but instead of leaning over to kiss me....

He scratched my back.

Spring Break ain't for sissies

Friday - Multi-age sleepover. All three kids had a friend over. It actually went well. I was shocked. That works WAY better than one kid having friends over and the other two tormenting the hell out of them.

Saturday - Fiddlefarted around the house. Mom watched the kids while Paul and I went to see 10,000 B.C. And loved it.

Sunday - Kady woke me up because she sounded like a baby harp seal. Took the two big kids to church while Kady and I hung out here and did breathing treatments. By Sunday evening her fever was 103.

Monday - Early morning phone-in to work, then early morning call to the PA to get appointments for both girls, then call to orthodontist to cancel Ab's appointment for that afternoon. Both girls are now on antibiotics for the crud that has settled in their sinus cavities. Oh yeah, and it rained. A lot.

Tuesday - More rain. On my early morning trek to pick up the sitter, I thought I was going to have to break out the oars. The road to our house was covered in four places. Yay.

Today - Work. No more rain, but lots of flood water. Not as bad as July, but still not pleasant. Work is busy and amicable. Better than last week, for sure.

Before we left the house this morning we noticed the cat was pacing and acting strange. I had a feeling last night that she was going to have her kittens during the night. Abby got back where she was nesting, but there wasn't anything back there then. When we got home I had Ab check the nest. She said there was one kitten, but Mamacita was nowhere to be found. I figured she was in the process of moving her usual four kittens to the barn. But instead, here she came around the corner, still fat and very obviously still pregnant. She wouldn't go back to the nest, so I had Sam feed her while Ab grabbed a rag and picked up the kitten which was not moving. Instantly Kady started bawling, Sam wiped back some very manly tears while Abby and I tried to determine if she was still alive. It wasn't looking promising, but then she opened her mouth and gasped, mewed a little and went still again. By this point Abby was now crying and I did what I do best - call someone who knows more than I do, in this case, my husband. He told me to put the kitten and a blanket in a box and put it where Mamacita could get to it and that if anyone was going to get that kitten to breathe and move it was going to be her. Ab put Mama in the box, but she didn't do anything more than sniff the kitten which made Kady bawl and squall and made Sam so angry he went out and sat by the basketball goal and cried alone.

I'm perplexed. This is Mama's probably 8th litter, so she's obviously not a novice, but I've never seen a cat only have one kitten and then stop for a break. I mean, it's not like she was going to the kitty spa in between or anything. Agh. If anyone out there reading (All two of you who haven't given up on me and my frequent absences) is a cat expert, please comment or email me.

Abby's still morose, Kady is singing "This Little Piggy" with a Joe Scruggs CD right now, but in 5 minutes or so she'll be back on my lap bawling about the kitten because that's what she's done for the last hour (I'm thinking bi-polar....) and Sam is watching Game Plan. I'm trying to wade through a week's worth of emails and figure out how to win back my readers who are sick of me flitting in and out of their lives at random like a herpes outbreak.

Spring Break used to be a lot more fun.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

The weight of the world is heavy

I know, I know, I've been strangely absent from the blogosphere lately. This may be in part due to the fact that I am utterly and hopelessly addicted to spider solitaire and can do little else than obsessively play it.

Oh, and also I've had a lot on my mind. Sometimes it's too much to process, ya know?

Thursday Paul called me on his way home from work and said, "You need to call your Mom. I just got a text - Ellis died." After I stopped my heart from hitting the floor and getting all dirty and germy and stuff I said, "WHAT?" Ellis was a man that I have known my entire life. His wife and my mom were best friends in high school, I went to school with both of his sons, worked with his oldest son at DHS, etc etc. Needless to say, I called Mom and yes, it was true. Not only did this family lose their husband and father, it made the situation ten thousand times worse because he was on a business trip in Las Vegas when it happened. I cannot even begin to imagine what his family went through and my heart truly goes out to them.

Thursday evening was the school carnival. I was a member of the PTC a few years ago and wow, I am so glad I was on the participant end of the carnival this year. Not that I'm saying that the carnival completed me or anything, but I got to follow my son around while he played Pin the Surfer on the Wave, shot a few hoops, fished at the fish pond and won his girlfriend oodles of stuffed crap, and nervously looked out for my oldest daughter who was allowed - for the first time - to walk around without a parent. ACK! She's growing up! Paul took Kady and I gave them both explicit instructions to NOT GET HER DRESS DIRTY and to NOT LET HER JUMP ON THE INFLATABLE JUMPING THING THAT HAS GOD KNOWS HOW MANY GERMS ON IT. Kady was a princess candidate and while her class didn't win, she looked utterly adorable up there on the stage with the little boy from her class that wore a pin striped suit and stood about four feet away from her like she had Kindergarten cooties or something. We left promptly at 7:40 in just enough time to fly home and watch LOST. Because we totally have our priorities in order.

Friday I spent the day with my husband and folks, when someone you know unexpectedly dies it tends to put everything into serious perspective. Paul and I have had some rough times in our marriage, but I honestly have to say our marriage is the best it has ever been. There were times I wanted to hang it up, call it quits, get the heck outta Dodge and just leave, but I am so, so glad I didn't. He is such a precious man and I can't express exactly how much I love him.

His schedule has changed recently and now we both have Fridays off together. I got the kids off to school, laid down on the couch and dozed awhile, then we got around and took the truck to the Dodge dealership to get the oil changed, had lunch together, bought tags for the Harley and the new van, visited with Mom at the courthouse, took the van out and traded it for the truck so it could have an oil change, too (we're equal opportunity vehicle owners) and then came home to catch our kidlets off the bus.

I like Fridays.

Mom and Pops picked the kids up around 4 and took them to town for pizza, ice cream and a sleepover. Good heavens, they were happy kids. They adore their Grammy, but now that they have a Pops, too, well, let's just say that our family is complete. Paul and I had plans to go have dinner at the Stables (free food vouchers from our birthdays, we've just been too sick to use them and no one wants to waste good expensive food when they can't taste anything) and then go see 10,000 BC.

Dinner was great, although it took somewhere around 9 hours for them to get our food to us because my husband insists on ordering his steaks well done. Ruins a perfectly good steak in my opinion, but he says he just hates to hear the sound my steaks make when I cut into them - he says the mooing is distracting. By the time we finished eating it was exactly 7:00 and the movie started at 7:05. It wasn't far to the theater and I figured we would just miss the previews, but no, Mr. Gamblypants said we couldn't make it. Now, I know my husband well enough to know that if he gets settled into a casino and starts winning (heck, even if he's losing) he doesn't want to leave. I knew that if we didn't go to the early show, we wouldn't go at all. He assured me I was wrong. Mmhmm....riiiiiight, honey. So I pouted enough that he finally took off for the door. I figured he'd just go home, but instead he said, "Okay, you don't like to gamble here. Pick somewhere else. Because we are having date night and you are GOING to have fun." So I picked The Big Fancy Casino.

He gave me $20 to start and I promptly lost it. He gave me $40 more. I put in $20 of it and cashed out with $175. Not a bad start. I gave him his $60 back and put in another $20. I cashed out with $200 that time. Then another $20 gave me $300. Over the course of about an hour I won about $1600. Yes, SIXTEEN HUNDRED DOLLARS. None of it was taxable because I won it all in small amounts. The most I cashed out at one time was $700. I know! It IS exciting! And my husband, who is a sore loser, took his turn pouting. So I started giving him money in an attempt to MAKE HIM HAVE FUN. We ended up blowing about $400 of my winnings before we left, but still I walked out with a good chunk of money and it was decided that I would pay Mom back the money I owed her from Christmas (She's a gem to pick up stuff for me if she finds stuff on sale) and take the kids shopping for summer clothes.

Saturday morning I got around and headed to town to get the kids from Mom's, Paul dragged out the big plastic totes full of last year's summer clothes and when we got back home we essentially trashed the living room. It looked like twelve clothing stores exploded in our house. Abby, of course, has outgrown EVERYTHING because she's AS TALL AS HER MOTHER NOW. Sam outgrew his jean shorts, pajamas and all of his shoes. Kady, as usual, has enough clothes to outfit a small third world country. She gets hand-me-downs from her big sister and from her cousin so we are never at a loss for clothes for her. After the Trying-On Of Summer Clothes 2008, we loaded up and headed for Joplin. We hit Target first and bought Sam jean shorts and pajamas and bought Abby her first real bras (God help us all) and some capris and poor Kady didn't get anything. She cried. Of course.

Instead of treating our kids to dinner at a restaurant we made them even happier by taking them to the food court at the mall. I will never understand why the food court is so awesome to them.

And then the mall shopping began. We went to Children's Place first and got Kady a sundress and some plastic Croc-looking shoes that are so adorable I wish I had size 13 1/2 feet. Abby got some more capris. Sam and Paul stood at the front of the store - Paul sighed heavily and Sam ogled the little Girl Scouts who were selling cookies out front. After that we went to Steve and Barry's and let me just say, if I could marry Steve or Barry or both of them, I so totally would. Everything in the store was $8.98 or less! How can you beat that? I mean, seriously???? Abby is totally in love with Amanda Bynes' clothing line, Dear and bought oodles of shirts because they say "Dear AB" on them. I mean, if I could find shirts with my nickname on them I'd buy oodles of them, too. Paul got three nice summer dress shirts, Abby and Kady both got new jeans, Sam whined that his feet hurt and that shopping was stupid and girls are weird for liking it. After that we went to Old Navy where Paul got some shorts, the girls got some sundresses and Sam continued whining and declaring that girls are mentally unstable. Then we hit Payless for shoes. Kady ended up crying because the first pair she tried on was too small and she busted into tears and said, "What if we can't find any that fit me and I have to be SHOE-LESS!!!" We sent Ab off to the women's section because OMG, HAVE I MENTIONED SHE IS AS TALL AS HER MOTHER AND WEARS REAL BRAS AND HAS FEET THAT ARE ROUGHLY THE SIZE OF DELAWARE?? Sam and Paul picked out two pairs of shoes in about 1.2 minutes and then sat down to gripe and complain some more while Kady and I argued and she cried and I threatened until finally we found her some shoes and no, she won't have to go shoe-less this summer. Paul's nerves were shot, Sam was just utterly exhausted (he said) so I bought everyone ice cream to shut the males up. It worked. After that it was to Bath and Body where I got two tubes of chapstick and two new lip glosses. One last stop (we thought) at the bookstore where Sam bought YET ANOTHER Captain Underpants book and Kady got a Fancy Nancy Goes to the Museum, a Step One reader, and Abby got nothing because she simply HAD to go to Claire's before the mall closed because she "SO needed a new purse! Duh!"

Did anyone notice that I won a boatload of money and I walked out of the mall with two chapsticks and two lip glosses? Anyone? Okay, just checking. I thought it was just me that noticed.

Sunday was church, a church dinner, a pizza party for the basketball team, and laundry. Lots of laundry. Because apparently we bought an entire mall the day before.

Yesterday was when the bottom dropped out and that's when the world just plopped its fat hiney down on my shoulders and said, "Here, carry me."

I went to Ellis' funeral and I'm here to tell you people, if there isn't laughing at my funeral I will personally come back to haunt each and every one of you who had anything to do with it. I think funerals should be like the one I went to yesterday - stories were shared about growing up, about how much he loved his grandkids, and what a great person he was. I'd better look down from Heaven and hear y'all talking about how dang funny I was, is all I gotta say. I sat between Mom and a girl that was in Tater's class and between the three of us we shed enough tears to float a cow, as Kady would say. Some were tears of grief, some were tears of joy, but they were tears, nonetheless.

After that I went to the office and that's where things got incredibly worser. Of course, I can't share any of the details, but let me just say that the world that had already plopped itself on my shoulders decided at that point to shift around and bounce a few times and nudge it's butt bone into my shoulderblades. Oh and it gained 40,000 pounds.

My emotions were so raw and I was so sad that when Paul came home and told me that his friend who is currently stationed in Iraq had apparently had a stroke, I lost it. I mean, just lost it. I lost my doojies all over the place and then some.

I called my mom, because who better to bawl to than your momma, and unloaded on her. I hated to do that to her because I knew she was grieving herself, but I had to get it out. About an hour later she called and said, "We're on our way out. We'll be there in 15." When I asked why, she replied, "We're gonna have a Come To Jesus meeting." Turns out, they just came out to do what parents are supposed to do - comfort and listen. Pops hugged me and said, "I heard something about you today. I heard that you are pretty tenderhearted when it comes to kids. Listen to me, that's a good thing. Don't ever stop being tenderhearted." Of course, I bawled.

We got a phone call around 10:00 last night from Daniel's wife (Paul's ex-fiance. Yeah, that's WAY weird.) They flew Daniel to Germany this morning to do some tests, but it appears that he's fine. Praise God.

When Paul and I got into bed last night he pulled me into his arms and held me while I sobbed and questioned and he said he didn't have any answers, he didn't know why things happened, but he knew one thing - that he loved me more at that moment than he had ever loved me before. Of course, that sent me into more crying because how in the world did I get so lucky?

The world is lighter today. I still feel it there, occasionally shifting its weight, as a reminder that it's there, but it's lighter. I can handle it - I have new lip gloss.

Monday, March 03, 2008

Just in case there was any confusion

Mom gave me a Dymo label maker for my birthday this year and let me tell you, for someone with OCD, this gift is freakin' AWESOME. I have to resist the urge to sleep with my label maker because I love it that much.

Last week, in one of my few moments of energy, I decided to label the medicine cabinet. I mean, since I was practically living in it, getting many, many medicines from it every 4-6 hours, I figured it needed to be organized.

On the front of the second shelf I put a label that says "Alcohol/peroxide" and one in all caps that says "KADY'S RESCUE INHALER," which could also read "THE INHALER THAT CAN KILL KRISTIN." I labeled a spot for the bandaids and gauze/tape.

On the bottom shelf I have a lazy-susan so that anything you might need can be easily accessed by simply turning the magical lazy-susan of medicinal goodness. There's a label that says "Pain relievers" and one that says "Cough." There's also one that says "Allergies" and even one that says "Diarrhea."

But Abby decided that my labelling wasn't clear enough and took things a step further:

I laughed so hard I nearly needed one.

In like a lion

Saturday, even though I still wasn't cleared to be out amongst people yet, my mom and her fiance' (that is just weird to mom's fiance'......yep, still weird) and my sister and her kids came out to our house. Wanna know why?

To fly kites!!!

We had a couple of Strawberry Shortcake kites leftover from Kite Day at school a few years ago, but Mom and Pops said not to worry, they had kites for the kids. A couple of Dora the Explorers for TotOne and Kady, a couple of Spidermans for the boys and Abby stuck with the old Strawberry Shortcake. Paul dug around in the barn and came out with a ratty looking Pooh bear kite that he patched with cardboard and duct tape. He ain't called a redneck for nothin', folks.

Mom and I got the kids out in the middle of the field and started helping them all get their kites going and here comes Pops......with the most gigantic kite I have ever seen in my life. HUGE!! The kids were awestruck and suddenly those Spiderman and Dora kites paled in comparison with the gigantic multi-colored thing that Pops was launching.

The wind was really blowing and the men decided that the tails on the kites were too light for the wind that day, so Paul went to the barn and returned with a roll of duct tape and a fishing pole. He rigged his ragtag Pooh Bear kite to the fishing pole and folks, if there was ever a doubt that my husband was a redneck, well, that right there should alleviate any of that nonsense. After his kite was soaring with the help of a spoonbill rod, he and Pops set out to make heavier tails for the kids' kites - with the duct tape. Eventually there were six kites in the air, all soaring with the help of a roll of $2 duct tape from Wal*Mart.

When I was a smartass teenager walking the halls of good ol' Wyandotte High like I owned the place, if you had told me that someday I would be standing on my very own 40 acres with my husband and our children, flying kites with the help of duct tape and a fishing rod, I'd have laughed in your face and told you that you were SO like, smokin' dope, for sure. Because I was like, so going to marry a doctor and drive a Volvo and drink martinis.

Martinis are so overrated.

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Alternative Medicine

I just made a batch of oatmeal raisin cookies from my Memaw's recipe. No matter how rotten things are, that always makes me feel better - not just eating them, but the process of making them. I miss her so much sometimes it hurts and as weird as it sounds, when I make her cookies I know she's close.

One bite of an oatmeal raisin cookie and I'm back in the kitchen at the farm at the table that always had a tablecloth on it, the one I remember most was mustardy yellow vinyl and incredibly ugly. That table is now in my mom's dining room and still, always has a tablecloth on it. I hope that someday that table is a source of memory and comfort to my kids. Growing up, I ate many a butter sandwich at that table - and not margarine on Wonder Bread, but real butter on Roman Meal wheat bread. By the time you attempted to spread the little slices of butter you had whittled off, your bread was pretty much obliterated, but oh well, you ate it anyway and it was so good. And for some reason, my bowels always worked better after having spent the day at the farm. That Roman Meal must've had serious fiber in it.

I have more memories of Papa at the farm than I do of Memaw because she was sick most of my life. But I do remember the day Tater got flogged by the rooster. I, being the stellar, protective sister that I am, high-tailed it to the house at warp speed just in case that rooster decided that one little girl wasn't enough and started looking for more. Oh, don't think I was a completely selfish, horrible sister - I hung around long enough to see that Uncle David had scooped Sis up and was running right behind me. I busted in the back door, zipped through the back porch and into the kitchen. Memaw was at the stove, I can see her there as vividly as if that rooster flogged Sis yesterday, and turned around to see what had caused me to run in the house screaming bloody poultry murder. Uncle David came in after me and Memaw said something like, "D*mn rooster" and I left the two adults to the tending of my newly-flogged little sister. I went into the living room and collapsed into Papa's leather recliner with the cigarette burns on the arms and tried to keep from crying.

I was the only one of us four grandkids that didn't get flogged by that rooster. I like to think that it was my well-honed survival skills, but I think honestly it was because I was, pardon the pun, chicken and knowing that the odds were against me, I stayed in the house the rest of that summer. I think we ate that rooster with some noodles that fall.

Speaking of eating, I remember eating plenty of meals at the farm. Most of the time it was just Papa and us, a few times I remember a farm hand eating with us, though. If Uncle David wasn't there, Mom was the chef du jour, whipping up something that was usually fried, always delicious and there was always Roman Meal bread and butter on the table. There was a green bowl that I always remember as being the creamed corn bowl. I don't remember there ever being anything in that bowl other than creamed corn. Awhile back, Mom presented me with the creamed corn bowl. I have put potatoes, green beans and even salad in that bowl, but the only thing that seems perfect is creamed corn. Paul's the only one in the house that will eat creamed corn and I usually throw most of it out, but I don't know.....sometimes you just gotta have creamed corn in that perfect bowl. I also have a pink platter that Mom said Memaw always served fried chicken on. The other night I put our oven-warmed Tyson crispy chicken strips on in and that's as close as this girl gets to frying chicken these days, other than taking my family to KFC. While that wasn't Memaw's style, I think she'd understand.

Right now, though, I am sitting at my own kitchen table, laptop in front of me and a pink platter laden with oatmeal raisin cookies next to me. I am suddenly overwhelmed with the urge put a tablecloth on my table and set out a dish with real butter on it. Funny, though, I have no desire whatsoever to fry chicken. Thank God. That was one talent from Memaw I did not inherit and I'm wise enough to realize that. I'll leave that to the professionals - my mother and Colonel Sanders.

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...