Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Beginning the Metamorphosis

Today was the big day. Or should I say The! Big! Day! Today's the day Sam got his braces. We have hassled and labored and fretted over this boy's mouth since he was in preschool. We knew early on his mouth wasn't quite right. In fact, at the risk of making this a very big TMI moment, my two oldest kids had a hard time nursing as newborns because of their incredibly high palates. Sam's was by far the worst and I swear if he opened his mouth and you hollered ECHO near him it'd reply back ten times, "Echo! Echoechoechoecho...".

When he was barely 5 the previous dentist put a palate expander in Sam's mouth which wasn't worn very long and, once removed, everything crowded right back where it had been. I chalk it up to the fact that the dentist was a doofus, but maybe there were other reasons. (I'm holding to the doofus theory no matter what anyone says.) This dentist also said his mouth was fine, there was nothing that majorly wrong and refused to do anything more than insist the child hold a popsicle stick in his mouth 2 hours a day to "retrain" himself not to bite his lower lip. Sorry, but when your teeth protrude that far out you really have little other choice but to bite your lower lip and I doubt any popsicle stick would ever cure what ails his little mouth. Grrr.

Sam's teeth have since then continued to protrude more and more and of course, because kids are cruel, the teasing at school last year got more and more brutal. And watching the poor kid chew was just enough to make you want to cry. Because nothing matches up right, he doesn't really chew so much as he just wallers his food around until it's mushy enough to swallow. And oh the choking. Makes dinnertime an adventure.

Back in April I made consultation appointments for both he and Abby and the orthodontist said Abby's mouth was fine other than a very minor overbite and crossbite, but she could go the rest of her life the way she was and braces would be for purely cosmetic reasons. But he took one look in Sam's mouth, looked at me and said, "God love this child. That's a trainwreck in there." I nodded and fought back tears, relieved he saw what I saw and instantly I knew that Dr. Doug was going to do what was necessary and not once did he mention a popsicle stick. I hearted him instantly. Besides, his daddy was my orthodontist 25 year ago, so I was already comfortable in the office and with the office staff that had taken care of me back in the day.

Below is a real before picture, considering the child hasn't had a haircut since long before school was out. He was desperately going for the Zac Efron look, but when he got up yesterday morning and I realized his hair was nearly as long as mine and he had no desire whatsoever to fix it or even comb it (ah pre-pubescence) I decided it was time for a cut. Personally, up to that point, I was totally digging the little dude's hair but uhm...he's lazy and I got tired of hollering at him to wash it and comb it and to quit letting homeless people live in it.

So here's today's before pic. I would just about bet his head weighs 5 pounds less.

And here he is this afternoon:

Not only do you get a bonus close-up shot, but you also get a BONUS close-up shot of the ice cream moustache he's sporting. Lucky you!

And now for the picture that makes me cringe. Bless his baby heart, he really did get the worst of Paul's and my mouths. He got his daddy's overbite and my crowded, crooked teeth. I apologize to him daily.

The doohickey going across the roof of his mouth is an RPE - rapid palate expander. I have a key to wind him up twice a day. Yes. Seriously. I have to crank that thing wider twice a day for two weeks. They told me that at the end of two weeks he'll actually have a wider gap between his two front teeth. Can you say OW?

Sam can. Below is him right now this very minute. He's curled up on the couch, doped full of Motrin, watching as much dang Nick and Disney as he wants.

It's the least I can do for giving him crooked teeth.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Heatin' Up

Our house was built in 1976 and was built with a fireplace, a standard ol' fireplace. Later on the previous owners put in an insert, the insert you see below. I'm sure it was a good fireplace. You know, back when disco was in and John Travolta had it goin' ON. However, its days are long gone, just like gone are the days of carrying a handled comb in your back pocket so you can redo your "feathers" throughout the day as needed.

We recently went on a mission to find a pellet stove. Paul's an ancient 46 years old and therefore has declared himself too old to cut wood anymore. We have a two strapping pre-teens who are probably two years away from helping their dear ol' dad out in that department and really, I like hauling wood, but nooooooo he says, he's too old. Whatever.

We went to Flames in Joplin, picked out a stove that is like 40 bazillion BTUs and guaranteed to heat the Astrodome or something. Okay, so it's only 45,500 BTU and will heat 2200 sq ft, but stop being so picky about my wild exaggerations, you. I think the guy was a little freaked out by my humor in the store since I use it frequently and I'm thinking he doesn't. Don't get me wrong, he's a nice guy and seems to know his stoves, but well, not everyone is as entertained by me as I am.

We went home, measured, called the guy back and he was then worried the space we had was too big rather than the usual problem he has when customers don't have a big enough space. *sigh* He said he'd just come out and check it out in person. Sense of humor or not, the dude was totally racking up points in the customer service department. Indeed we must have a giganto fireplace because he had to custom-build a base for the thing to sit on, again racking up CS points for me. AND he showed up on the day he said he would, unlike our leprechaun Amish friends who seem to think "3 weeks" is a relative term and not literal like we worldly sinners take it. ANYway...

He showed up right on time and got straight to work taping off the fireplace so he could get on the roof and begin to chip away at about 33 years of creosote and soot that had accumulated in our chimney. The same chimney he said was in very poor shape, so poor that he said if we had built a fire in the fireplace this winter and didn't have a flue fire it would be a serious miracle. (And he told us this after we'd already bought the stove, so it's not like he was just saying that to scare us into buying.) Yikes.

Below is the "runway" Abby thought he'd set up just for her to model on. I told her to hang and rattle. She instead just went back to the Batcave and read a book. Chicken. We'll call it stage fright.

One might see the next picture and think, "Wow, Diva, focus next time!" but one would be thinking incorrectly there because that is not a product of poor focusing, but instead of a product of the aforementioned 33 years' worth of creosote and soot. Yes. Floating. In the air. Of my house. Where my asthmatic child lives. FUN.

And here's the new stove on the handy dandy lift. Fortunately the dust didn't take long to settle. All over my furniture, carpet and US, thus allowing the next pictures to be clear again.

And here's our brand spankin' new pellet stove! The bricks in the center above it are still soot-stained and Paul's got some muriatic acid to clean it, but remember he's soooo geriatric he's either forgotten or his bursitis and gout have him down and he can't. Either way, hopefully he'll get around to that soon.
Paul had to run up to a neighbor's house to borrow some pellets because we haven't bought ours yet and the stove guy didn't bring any, but they poured 'er full and cranked her up and yeah, that was one of the days it was 104 outside, so just imagine how fun that was.

So now that part of Extreme Home Makeover: Redneck Edition is over and we're waiting on the Amish to put in our new windows. By the end of July we'll be ready for winter. Bring on the snow, Oklahoma! Please? Really? Just cooperate this winter and give us some, okay? We'll all appreciate it. Okay, maybe my mom and I will be the only ones, but don't let that stop you - we'll appreciate you enough for everyone. Promise.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

Hey. You.

Y'all, make sure you bop on over to my review blog and check out some of the things I've written about recently.

That is all.


Sunday, July 05, 2009

What happens when you give rednecks explosives

This is really the first year that all five of Tater's and my kids are old enough to do fireworks pretty much on their own, so we grownups just sat back the other night and swatted mosquitos and watched the barn swallows and bats swoosh around over their heads, maybe secretly hoping someone would get divebombed, but that's only a maybe and you can't prove I was thinking that. Tater and her kids weren't going to be here on the 4th, so the evening of the 3rd they came out to blow things up here on our lush 40 acre estate. Sam had bought some army men at Dollar Tree for the express purpose of blowing them up and the boys immediately set up the "war" as soon as the tots arrived.

We intentionally got the firecrackers with slow fuses because Kady is still pretty skittish when it comes to firecrackers and the guy at the stand said they could also be exploded underwater. *Insert evil laugh here* It didn't take long to completely obliterate the cats' water bucket.

After watching them shoot bottle rockets and jumping jacks and smoke bombs and tanks and chickens and various other small-scale explosives, Tater wistfully said, "Man, wouldn't it be cool if we could blow up something else? Like something really messy? Like a stick of butter!" Now, I wasn't too keen on sacrificing a stick of butter for the sake of a little redneck entertaiment, but the butter was quickly forsaken when Paul said, "Abby, go inside and get one of those little cups of Jello."

As you can tell from the awful cackling coming from Tater and myself, we were highly amused.

And then, because the Jello was so hilarious, we decided to blow up some pudding.

It was actually a bit of a letdown.

Hope y'all had a happy 4th!

Friday, July 03, 2009

The Curse!!

Anyone who has read around here for any length of time knows that July 3rd is a cursed day for us here at Diva Ranch. Well, usually. Last year we managed to avoid anything cataclysmic happening, though, so this morning dawned hopeful that we would avoid the curse once again, thus making it a two-fer.

No such luck.

All morning, while I have played around on Facebook done laundry and cleaned house, Kady has been begging me to make Rice Krispie treats with her. Now, I have very bad luck with Rice Krispie Treats and have absolutely no idea why. I consider myself to be pretty durn skilled when it comes to All Things Kitchen, but these little marshmallowy delights absolutely refuse to turn out when I make them.

Once, I made a batch and put them in my fancy Pampered Chef bread tube that everyone in the universe has used to make pretty shaped treats. Everyone said "Oh yeah, just butter the tube, press the mixture in and let it set up. Then you just push it out the end, slice it up and you have pretty treats!" Paul was impressed at my desire to make snacks to pretty. Well, he was impressed until I called him into the kitchen where he found me standing there, tears streaming down my face, bread tube in one hand and hammer in the other. Then he just laughed. Years later I can as well, but then? Oh then, I was devastated. It took us half an hour to chisel and hammer and pound and curse the cemented treats in that tube and at that point when we only got out one little chunk, I just ran a sink full of water and stuck it down in there to soak the mess out. It took two days.

I have tried making them on the stove and in the microwave. I have considered hiring them made and am not above buying them. But today my little bug just really wanted to make 'em with her momma.

Would you like to see what happened today?

You can see here I have the standard ingredients for making Rice Krispie Treats - Rice Krispies and marshmallows. Can't get much simpler, right?

Okay, I melted my butter in the bowl like the directions said and then added the required 36 large marshmallows and then microwaved them on high one minute. When I pulled them out to stir (as directed on the package) they didn't look melty at all. So back in the microwave for 30 more seconds they went and I knew that it was those last 30 seconds that was going to turn them into a melted delightfulness of sugary goodness that was needed to mesh with puffed rice cereal to make my youngest child happy.

After a combined total of FIVE MINUTES of microwaving they never fully melted. Apparently someone switched my marshmallows with silicone.

And see how my Kadybug looks now? Isn't she JUST PITIFUL?

Yes, the Curse of the 3rd lives on. In my kitchen.

Da Winners

Using a random number generator I have picked the winners for my big ol' giganto, super-duper, fantasmically wonderful, stupendous 5 year blogaversary giveaway!

Sonic Card - Rebecca of Rebecca's Ramblings.

Bows #1 - Brook and Kel

Emails have gone out to notify the winners. If by some chance they have fallen off the face of the earth and I don't hear from them by Monday, July 6th, I'll redraw.

Thank you so much to everyone that entered!

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...