Friday, November 27, 2009

Dear Sis

Dear Sis,

Tomorrow you move. I could just add the line "You suck" and call this complete because it sums up my feelings at this moment.

Actually no, it wouldn't be complete because there are so many other things I want to say.

You and I are just about as alike and different as two sisters can be. At times I find it so hard to believe that we share the same set of parents, but at other times it's like we share a brain.

You like asparagus. I personally would rather chew on a dog turd than eat that nasty stuff.

We haven't done it in a long time, but that whole bursting into song IN HARMONY thing? Still freaks me out.

You wear heels and suffer through the pain for the mere sake of fashion. My sneaks and I wouldn't know fashion if it hit us with a Coach bag.

We both love us some Michael Buble'.

You do math puzzles FOR FUN. I used to have Mom write a notebook page full of sentences just so I could diagram them FOR FUN.

You feel like there is so much more out there waiting for you, full of opportunity and adventure. I feel like all that stuff out there is waiting for me so it can chop me up into pieces, stuff me in a 55 gallon drum and bury me in its backyard.

We both love our kids and feel we're doing right by them and anyone who doesn't agree is not only a complete a**hole, but will probably also get mowed over.

For the rest of my days I will remember and be appreciative of the time you took a brussel sprout for me.

I will also remember all those times when we were kids that I shot you down, hurt your feelings and dismissed you because you were annoying.

The night we were dragging Main and you made me laugh SO hard then flipped the seat down so it looked like I was a raving lunatic laughing by myself? Yeah, also a very fond memory.

I slapped a kid for you on the school bus when he kicked you. The week of riding in the front of the bus as punishment was totally worth it.

You were there last summer during the church drama that dented my faith and made me doubt humanity and religion and people as a whole.

When I was about 15 I told you you could just wake up one day gay, not knowing you had OCD and that very thought would terrify you for years. Of course, I also told you that if you pulled your pants and your underwear up at the same time you would get sick, so you should've known I was full of it.

You held onto my arm for dear life the first time I rode the Tower of Terror and made my first trip to Disney World one I will never forget.

You refrained from punching me in the mouth the day I backed you against a wall and screamed in your face. The only thing that saved me from a fat lip that day was the fact I was pregnant. I deserved a fat lip, pregnant or not.

You killed my goldfish.

I probably broke 27 traffic laws driving your orange kitten to the vet after the dog got hold of her and shook her nearly to death. Dad was pretty peeved about that vet bill, but you were so upset I couldn't just do nothing.

You allowed me to be there for your first child's birth and I'm so glad you were there for the birth of my last. You have allowed me to have a very important hand in raising your children and for that I am eternally grateful.

You were and still are one of the few people that acknowledge the baby we lost as a real child, someone to be missed. Everyone else was quick to sweep his death under the rug, but you were an Auntie from the start to a child you never knew.

I haven't been there for you lately and I've already apologized for this, but I feel the need to do it again. It's because of my selfishness and fear that I have pulled back. I hope you can forgive me for doing this. You and I have a very special and unique relationship as sisters and I am terrified that is never going to be the same. I have had so many women say they wish they had the same kind of relationship with their sister that you and I have. I'm scared that putting 200 miles between us is going to change that. I still don't understand your need to go because as I mentioned before that same world out there that seems so welcoming and full of promise and opportunity to you seems cruel and unforgiving to me, but boy how I admire your courage. I always have. I worry, but it's because I'm the big sister and it's my job.

Be good. Always lock your car and apartment. Sleep with your cell phone under your pillow. Call me. Read my blog. Be cautious. Know that because we're broke and can't come see you does not mean we don't have the desire. Take pictures. Play your Wii. Read books. Glee and LOST should still be priorities, as well as calling me during both. Be safe. Take a vitamin every now and then, okay?

The night of the Glenn Thanksgiving last week, when you were here early, both of us in the kitchen, singing songs from Glee and dancing like idiots while the bruschetta baked and your banana pudding mixed will probably be one of my most precious memories ever. I almost said something as it was happening, but decided to keep my mouth shut and just enjoy.

If things get tough, if you've had a bad day, you know where to find me - you know I'm not going anywhere.

I love you,


Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Christmas, Possums and a Whole Lotta Drama

I said I was going to post here at least every other day, managed ONE POST before I blew it. I am awesome.

Yesterday Paul, my niece Karissa, Conner and I spent the entire day at the state park setting up our display for the Park of Lights. Okay, we took about 45 minutes out of that to go eat deliciously greasy hamburgers at the Turtle Stop Cafe', but the rest of the time we were at that dang park. We couldn't have done it without Karissa - she kept Conner occupied with a seemingly endless supply of Froot Loops and entertainment, plus she kept me amused and entertained by adding "on a steek" and "That's what she said" to the end of virtually every sentence spoken.

Cars have been driving through to see get a preview, I guess. One car stopped and rolled their window down. I stopped what I was doing and looked up, but they just waved and I could see they were laughing. They drove on and next thing I know there's this little kid, about 11 or 12, standing next to my outhouse! His mom asked if she could take his picture next to it. I would've been happier if he'd wanted his picture taken with me but I guess my outhouse is the next best thing.

We left the park around 3 with chapped lips, no fingerprints because of all the duct taping we did (we can embark on a life of crime!) but a sense of accomplishment at what we'd managed to get done. Or maybe we were all just punch-drunk and exhausted.

In fact, that's why I didn't post last night - I just flat fell asleep. I changed in my pj's, sat in my big chair to read Wicked and boom I was out. Sam woke me up laughing and saying, "Mom, if you're going to read you should probably open your eyes." The whole house was in bed by 9. You know the whole household is tired when even the kids are asking to go to bed.

This morning Paul, the kids and I went back to finish up at the park. Courtney called me mid-morning and asked if she could bring Conner to me since Aunt Janet had to have some unexpected surgery. Abby had a great time babysitting him so I could listen to my husband mumble and complain about how he had no idea how we were going to power the display despite the extension cords snaking all over the ground. I ended up driving to Fairland to buy four more cords to satisfy him. He still mumbled, though.

I think the best highlight of the day was when Pops handed me a staple gun and told me to go have fun. My momma works for the county election board and their display is next door to ours. I am probably a pretty bad neighbor because I kept going over and bugging them. I'd gone over to borrow a cup of sugar see if they had a stapler and he gave me an actual staple gun. Oh the power! I probably put WAY more staples in that garland than were necessary, but oh wow did I have fun.

The next-to-best highlight was using his big hammer to drive stakes into the ground. Again, THE POWER! My mom had walked over to bring me a Mountain Dew and got so tickled watching me hammer and punctuate every blow with a word - "GET - IN - THE - GROUND". She said she was about to get misty at the sight of me doing physical labor. She's so funny.

The display is now done except for a pair of socks that Paul's going to have to hang on the line on his way home from work tomorrow afternoon. We're in a bigger spot this year and we're right on the highway. We had to get more lighting because not only did we add a few more large items but we are just spread out more. There are still a lot of trees around us, but hopefully being right on the highway will keep the squirrels at bay and keep them away from our lights. If we start having trouble I'll either call Leslie with OK Tourism or just sic the BACA guys on 'em.

The display opens tomorrow night at 6pm and will be open until 9. Make sure you drive through and see the lights. Heck, drive through many, many times and vote each time! I don't know our display number, but it will be out in front of the display. Really, just keep your eyes peeled for the possums. Ours don't move much, though, so if you see one scurrying it might not be our display.

Sunday, November 22, 2009

It's THAT Time Again

You know, if the holidays came around in the summer I'd be able to do everything that needs to be done without flirting with a psychotic break. Just sayin'.

I HEREBY PROCLAIM that from now until the first of the year I am going to post something here AT LEAST every other day. It may be something wondrous and splendid and it may be a string of letters and characters from me banging my head on the keyboard. Still, check back. Both could prove to be edutaining and informational.

If my daughter gets an iTouch before I do I will literally throw myself on the ground and scream and cry. Unfortunately it looks like I have a tantrum to perform because my mother-in-law gives the kids $200 apiece for Christmas. And not me. :-(

Last night I stayed up until 1am watching Brokeback Mountain and drinking what may or may not have been an alcoholic drink from a Mason jar.

I have decided that the 21 year old me would find that scenario laughable. She has no idea. have no idea. Oh you know what I mean.

We had our Annual Glenn Family Festivus Planning Meeting Friday night. The bylaws were amended, there was mucho goosing by the Sergent at Arms and while the meeting was very raucous and loud, I think it was the most fun Planning Meeting we've ever had.

To learn more about our Festivus Celebration and see pictures from last year's gathering go here, but be warned: there are pictures there that actually have been used against me by a very angry woman who tried to ruin my reputation. (Yes, seriously.) If you are offended by pictures of a fully-clothed man in a candy g-string and don't have much of a sense of humor you should probably not go look. However, if your family is as crazy as mine you should seriously consider adopting a tradition like that yourselves. The Festivus tradition, not the candy g-string tradition. Unless that's how you roll and if it is, you are awesome.

It has been decided by several family members that over the Christmas break we are going Duggar hunting. We'd like to be able to add "Duggar Sighting" to our list of what we did over the holiday.

We love our Duggars here at the Diva Ranch - so much so we renamed our prolific momma cat (formerly known as Mamacita) Michelle Duggar. She has done as much for the feline population as the human Michelle Duggar has done for the human population. (Maybe even more, but we figured asking the real Michelle Duggar to rename herself Mamacita was out of the question.) We asked Abby if she'd like to be a Duggar someday, seeing as how John David is a teenager and the next male in line to marry, but she said she wasn't willing to give up her skull wardrobe and flat-ironed hair. However, my Kady is totally on board and thinks being a Duggar would be "Duggarific". We now call her J'Kady.

I have rag-rolled Kady's hair several times over the last few years. The first time she looked like the Cowardly Lion. The second time, Little Orphan Annie. For Halloween this year she was a gypsy and I l o o s e l y rag-rolled her hair. The results were beautiful ringlets that lasted two days without making her look like a member of the Jackson 5. So the other night Abby asked if I could roll hers l o o s e l y as well.

Yeah. Something went awry. After sleeping on the rags all night she was excited to see the finished product the next morning. I unrolled the rags and had her flip her head over so I could finger comb the curls out. When I finished I had her flip her head up. Instead of busting out into the loudest BWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA I had in me at 6:30am like I SO wanted to, I instead grabbed her by the shoulders and turned her toward the mirror. The look on her face was a Kodak moment and I hate it I missed catching it with the camera. When she could speak again she said, "Oh Momma you have to DO SOMETHING!" I pulled the sides back. She made a face. I grabbed it all and pulled it back into a ponytail. Okay, have you ever been to the county fair and walked the area between the cattle barns right before a show? Ever seen those kids take a teasing comb and a bottle of AquaNet to a cow's tail? If you're a city slicker and have no idea what I'm talking about well, you are just going to have to use your imagination because I have Googled every possible combination I can think of to find a picture of a cow's tail before a show and can't find one. Dadgummit.

Anyway, her ponytail was a gigantic ball on the back of her head and she was starting to panic. Next try was me piling it on top of her head. She groaned and said, "Well, just stick a tiara in there and send me to the ball, MOTHER." Oops, my bad. So I grabbed a wide-toothed comb and started trying to relax the curls. Ugh, it just made her hair W I D E, as I kind of though it would. The clock was ticking, she had tears threatening to spill over and at one point declared she was NOT going to school. Finally, I pulled it back into a ponytail again, this time with the curls not so tight and angry-looking, and managed to arrange them and tame them with hairspray.

Word to you mothers: Be ye careful with the rag rolls. For thou knowest not how your child's hair will reacteth. Thus, tryeth the rolling of the rags out on a weekend first. Henceforth. And stuff.

This afternoon, after we get our bellies full of turkey and all that other yumminess, we Hoovahs are headed to the state park to get the ball rolling on our Park of Lights display. As usual, we have procrastinated and lollygagged until we're down to a few days to get it set up, lit and running. We do it every year and I said this year would be different, but life has just kind of gotten in the way as life is wont to do. Stupid, inconvenient life.

(Pictures of the first year's display here. Not sure where last year's display went...)

We are setting up at a different spot this year, right on the highway, in an effort to elude the dadgum squirrels that kept eating our lights in years past. We gave our spot to the nice fellas at BACA (Bikers Against Child Abuse) because number one, I *heart* them and because number two, if anyone can scare those squirrels into the stopping of the chewing, it's those guys. They're really just big ol' tenderhearted teddy bears, but the squirrels don't know that.

Starting Thanksgiving night you can mosey on our to Twin Bridges State Park by Wyandotte, OK, and get yourself into the Christmas spirit by driving through and seeing the lights everyone has put blood, sweat and tears into for your pleasure. It's free to go through, but you can leave a donation at the end if you so desire. Make sure you look for the outhouse and possums and vote for ME!

Oh and as it gets closer to time I'll let you know when you can drive through and actually SEE US! I know! Seeing bazillions of Christmas lights AND getting to see your favorite hometown Redneck Diva is THE BOMB. Trust me on this.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Review This

Hey y'all, mosey on over to my review blog and check out the latest!

My reviews of a book, a few CD's, a website for moms and a Cinnabon treat - it's all over there!

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

And now I vomit on my keyboard

Last week was bad. Now, yes, I realize that it could've been worse and technically I have no right to complain and whine around, but it's my blog and you've decided to share in this splendiferous journey known as My Life, so settle in and listen up, childrens. Momma Diva is tellin' a story.

On Halloween my biological dad told me that he has five tumors on his thyroid or parathyroid and they were going to have to do biopsies and surgeries and essentially the doctor said, "You'll have another 20 good years. By then you'll be 78. That should be long enough." Kind of callous and cold if you ask me. While my relationship with my father isn't as close as I'd like it to be, he's still my father and I do love him. Parental mortality isn't a subject I care to dwell on at any time, much less when everything else around me is crap.

I haven't said anything about it here on the blog, but if you're my friend on Facebook you've seen me mentioned a few times that my little sister is moving. As in away from me. I don't like to talk about it because it sucks. I've had many little meltdowns over the past month or two, but Tuesday of last week I just lost my stuff and went and blew a freakin' gasket. Unfortunately I lost that stuff all over my momma and because she is one of the two people I can tell anything to, she got the brunt of every emotion that had been bubbling up inside. There are more issues than just Sis moving and let's just suffice it to say that it all sucks a big ol' bunch of sucking.

Wednesday Sam had an orthodontist appointment to get another round of metal installed in his little mouth and an hour later Kady had an appointment with her PA because her eczema is causing her to scratch like a puppy with mange all the livelong day. I am so tired of her scratching to the point of bleeding and so is she, bless her heart. Because we didn't know how long Sam's appointment would take Paul drove his truck to town, too, just in case I had to leave before Sam was done to take Kady to her appointment. It ended up that timing-wise we were fine so when Sam was done Paul just took him to get ice cream and go home while Kady and I headed across town.

Now, because there are signs all over the waiting room that scream TURN OFF CELL PHONES BEFORE ENTERING EXAM ROOM I did. I really wanted to concentrate on what the PA was saying, too, so really my cell phone was forgotten for the 30 minutes we were in there. With prescriptions in hand Kady, Conner and I made our way to the van and as I reached in my purse to turn my phone off vibrate I felt it going off. Before I flipped it open I noticed there were about eight missed calls. That is never, ever good in my world. I answered with a trepiditious "hello" and was greeted with my husband's voice angrily asking, "DID YOU NOT PAY THE ELECTRIC BILL? Of COURSE you didn't because WE DON'T HAVE POWER!"

See, it's one of those months where it's a decision - pay the electric bill and have power or pay my van payment and have transportation. Oh and throw in food and water and toilet paper. I know we're not the only ones who have had to make such a decision. We can't be. I honestly thought there was enough time to skate by on the electric bill until the next payday, but apparently I was totally wrong. We've received a cut-off notice a time or two in our life, but they've always given plenty of notice of the impending doom and managed to get things righted. Guess they just decided we needed a big ol' wake-up call this time.

I asked Paul how much it was going to take to get it turned back on and he informed me that he had been too angry to ask. He had called to report the outage and was informed that his wife is horrible at pooping money and therefore didn't pay the bill. So I hung up with him, took a deep breath and did what I had to do - I called my momma. I was composed until I heard her voice and that's all it took. I lost my stuff yet again. She didn't judge, she didn't scold, she just said, "How much do you need?" It was 2:35 when I called the power company and was told that if I made the payment before 3:00 I could avoid $60 MORE on top of the insane amount they were already charging to turn it back on. I went from Mom's office to her bank, to my bank, then to a parking lot to call the nice lady at REC who managed to get my payment in at 2:58.

I called Paul back to let him know we'd have power by 5 and apologized for being irresponsible and asked him to please not yell at me because his yelling wasn't going to make me feel any worse than I already felt. He was so sweet and said no, there would be no yelling. Strangely enough, his compassion and understanding made me cry more. So by then I had cried myself into a pounding headache, had managed to calm Kady down who had started crying shortly after I had because she has a strict policy that no one cries alone in her presence and decided that power or no power I needed a Sonic sweet tea. Kady and I scrounged around the van (a fun, distracting game) and found enough change to get me a sweet tea, Cousin Courtney a diet Dr. Pepper and her a cherry slush then we took Conner home where I sat on Courtney's couch and cried for 45 minutes while we waited for Kady's prescriptions to be filled.

That night Paul and I sat down and looked at our spending and made some decisions. Man, it sucks being a grownup.

Last year we bought virtually all of our Christmas online at Walmart using BillMeLater, paying it off with our income tax return. Sunday I sat down to do my shopping and BillMeLater denied the purchase because apparently we have a "seriously delinquency" on our credit report, i.e., the $400 hospital bill we have tried to make payments on and they sent our check back because it wasn't the amount they wanted us to pay.

Fortunately, Paul's momma bailed us out on Christmas. Instead of having ham or turkey for our holiday dinners we're going to be eating humble pie.

While talking to Cousin Courtney this weekend she asked how my NaNoWriMo project was coming. I told her I just couldn't do it and I had quit. She immediately started a supportive and uplifting speech then stopped and said, "Wait, which do you need me to be right now? Supportive and understanding or do you need tough love? I can do either." I love her so much I can't even begin to express it. I told her I needed understanding and that I needed her to tell me that being a mother is more important than writing a novel this month. She wholeheartedly agreed and instead turned her pep talk around to encourage me to try again during a month of MY choosing. Have I mentioned how much I love that woman?

Sam and Kady are both playing basketball this year and from now until February we will be living at the gym at least two nights a week and all day on Saturdays once games start. Not to mention that for the next month Sam has Little Theatre practice as well, meaning that Thursdays you will find one or more member of the Hoover clan at the elementary gym from 3:30 until 7:30pm. I don't begrudge one second of this because this is something our kids want and we will make it happen if it means giving up even more. Those kids are my everything and no novel will ever hug me at night and tell me it loves me more than soup. Everything I do in this life is about them, even when I think it isn't.

Now before anyone gets all preachy at me about money -- Paul and I talked about me going back to work again and it still doesn't pay us for me to do that. We like me being at home and until we get to where we can't feed our kids it will likely stay that way. We're in that uncomfortable spot just under the poverty level where if you stay where you are and scrape by the skin of your teeth, paycheck to paycheck, you keep medical insurance for your kids and free school lunches. If you add another income you lose all that and you pay more than you make in insurance and food and gasoline and clothing. See, I can still wear my old holey sweats and save us money!

We made a choice several years ago to give up any and all credit cards. We do our absolute best to only buy what we need and pay cash. We didn't do as much this last summer, we don't run out and buy the iTouch we want so desperately we can taste it, we only get our highlights touched up every 9 months because we don't have a credit card BUT by March of next year we will also own our vehicles, have no credit card debt and while it's hard now, we know there's a light at the end of this really poor tunnel.

Why am I writing about this? It's not for sympathy. I guess it's to let anyone out there who has had their power cut off, who has had to tell their kids that even Santa is feeling the pinch of a rotten economy, who has had to give up TLC, Disney Channel and Spike which means no more Duggars, Hannah Montana or WWE, who has had to lean on family to get them through.... well, you're not alone. You really aren't. You can ask for help if you have a support system, you can swallow your pride and admit things are tough, you can send me emails and I will cry with you.

This Thanksgiving I think I'm going to be more thankful than I've been in years. Yes, it's tough and I've seen happier days, but I am blessed with three healthy kids, a husband who puts up with my poor budgeting skillz, a roof over my head and no one in this house has ever had to miss a meal.

And my father just called - the biopsy showed no cancer.

Thank God.

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

NaNoWriMo boo boo! Stick your face in doo doo!

I've heard about it for years. I actually looked into it last year. I guess it was just in the natural progression of things that I would actually do it this year.

I am writing a novel this month. I am participating in NaNoWriMo. OH MY GOSH. Please take this moment to put together a Priority Mail Package for me full of Mountain Dew, Xanax, Dunkin Donuts coffee and chocolate Tootsie Pops. I find I can concentrate much better with a chocolate Tootsie Pop crammed in my maw. Yes, seriously. It causes synaptic firing or something. Google it.

People tell me all the time they think I should write a book. However, no one has ever told me to write one in a month. Also, my plans for a book are really more of an Erma Bombeck type format, short stories, essays and the like. (Hey, kind of like my blog! Wow. How creative of me.) So this writing a 50,000 word work of fiction is really causing me to step out of my warm little bubble of security and comfort.

I have set a personal goal of 2000 words a day. I know there will be days I don't get there. Yesterday I wrote 1794 by day's end, but in my defense, yesterday my goal was 1800 words. Today I have written two words so far. Of course, I've also been trying to keep the puppy from using Conner as a chew toy, doing laundry and cleaning up puppy mess. Oh and being interrupted 92 times when my husband finds something on Jerry Springer and Maury SO amusing he must rewind the TV to show me - like how that gal in the g-string pulled out some other chick's weave while their boyfriend threw Cool Whip at them. (Why the boyfriend had Cool Whip on stage in the first place is beyond me, but then again, I don't even pretend to understand half of what happens on those shows.) Plus, all those closets in my house are now in URGENT NEED of being cleaned out and organized. I'm also sick and tired of all those pictures of the kids being just stashed in totes under the beds and those picture albums aren't going to fill themselves, ya know. Oh and? I'm thinking about hand crafting our Christmas cards this year. You know, because I've never done that before and it might be fun and what? No, I'm not avoiding writing. Why do you ask? Oh, because I'm writing a blog post instead of my novel? Hmh. You might have a point.

My friend Cap'n Neurotic said at this point last year he had 10,000 words and he had 4600 last night. I told him he sucks. My friend Delinda had nearly 3500 words last night. She sucks, too. And I also admire them and applaud their progress. Because they are rocking the NaNo, which is only somewhat like rocking the Casbah yet much more fulfilling. My cousin Lori is my favorite cheerleader of all. She was one of the "winners" last year and she's awesome like that. She's a continual source of encouragement and tips. She may find me sobbing on her doorstep one of these nights. (Lori, just give me a Tootsie Pop and I'll go away. Well, I'm pretty sure...)

I have wondered many, many times who the dingbat was that decided NOVEMBER was the right month to crash-write a novel. I mean, does that person not celebrate Thanksgiving? Does that person not have pumpkin pies to bake and a house to clean? Does that person not shop for Christmas presents early? Wait. Wait wait WAIT. I know the answer to these questions. Because that person is obviously not female. That person may very well be my husband.

I considered giving up the night before it all started, so to stop myself from backing out I ordered the t-shirt. Yes, I am that dorky. But I also know that the money in my PayPal account is so precious right now that ordering a t-shirt for a project I weenied out of before I even started was not an option.

And while I think the design is great and I look forward to wearing it I think instead the official t-shirt slogan should be, "I wrote a 50,000 word novel in a month and all I got was this lousy t-shirt."

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...