August 17, 2014

Luckily, I had the foresight to take tomorrow off...I'm gonna need it.

Yesterday was "the" day.  The day that Man-Child moved back to school; this time by-passing the dorms and headed straight for an apartment.

The Husband had borrowed the van from work (remember this; it's key) which we proceeded to load up with his dresser, night stands, bed, and other paraphernalia.  Then we filled up Man-Child's car.  Turns out, I was to drive up with Man-Child...while sitting in the passenger seat (YIKES!).  To be honest, I had hoped that there would have been a need for a third car so that I could drive up myself.  That didn't happen.

Apparently, the work van has magical capabilities (aka removable seats) and my car wasn't necessary.  So there I was; stuck being a passenger both ways (with a maniacal driver one way and a very, very slow driver on the way back) *sigh*

I am not a good passenger, according to my guys.  But this is just not true.  My passenger abilities are directly correlated to the person driving...and usually, the drivers just aren't up to par.  Yes, maybe I do have control issues...

Turns out, Man-Child isn't that bad of a driver.  On the highway.  The in town driving?  Terrified the hell out of me.

The Husband got a head start...but we quickly passed him.  We waved and went on our merry way, figuring he would eventually show up at the apartment...probably about 20 minutes after we arrived.

After several near misses at a couple of red lights; one time found me slamming my foot against the dashboard as I braced for the obvious imminent impact (much to Man-Child's annoyance); we found ourselves *this* close to rolling into the college town when my phone rang.  It was the Husband.

When I answered, he asked where we were.  I told him.  And then he proceeded to tell me that he had just passed a certain landmark and that the transmission was shot on the van.  Oh. My. Hell!  The only blessing?  He had made it UP the mountain before the damn thing failed.

He said that he was going to try to limp into town and was going directly to a shop.  He didn't want us to come back for him.  At least not yet.  Once we hung up, I started to look for shops that might be open on a Saturday.  Luckily, the Toyota dealership/Service Station was open AND it was located at the edge of town.

I called the Husband back and told him where to find the dealership.  He told me he'd call me once he knew what was what.  Man-Child and I headed to the apartment wondering just how in the hell we were going to transport his bed, etc., from the dealership to the apartment with nothing more than his teeny-tiny, two-door car.

The Roommate was there when we arrived.  We explained what had happened and the first words out of his mouth were, "What can I do to help?" and I knew I liked this kid.  Despite the fact that two days before we'd received notification that "someone" hadn't yet paid his half of the rent...(let's hope this was the oversight he claimed it was and not a *trend*).  As I was hanging Man-Child's brand new shower curtain (note to self: those curtain rings are crap and I should never buy that type again) the Husband called.

The Toyota place couldn't fix the van.  He was going to have it towed to the Dodge dealership and asked me to come pick him up.

What I neglected to mention was the fact that this was THE weekend for everyone coming back to school.  Which means that traffic was BEYOND horrific.  So I offered to go pick up the Husband and the Roommate, helpfully, offered up his truck to go the Dodge dealership to load up Man-Child's stuff.  The fact that this Roommate had a truck was like a gift from God, at this point.

So I went one way and they went another.  I'm sure they sat at that Dodge dealership for at least an hour.  Why?  Because I was stuck at one light for at least four cycles.  It took forever to go what was, probably, four miles away.  I wish I was exaggerating.

While I was waiting in traffic, I called the Husband and informed him that the boys had a truck and would take the stuff from the van back to the apartment.  The relief I heard in the Husband's voice was palpable; that was one less thing to worry about.

So eventually, I picked the Husband up and we fought the traffic to get to the Dodge place, where the boys were waiting.  The Dodge place promised that they would have the parts to fix the van by Tuesday, now how long it would take to actually fix it is up in the air, as they were slammed.  The Husband's boss was unbelievably kind about the whole thing.  He was more concerned that we were all okay.

The boys loaded one load into the truck and drove away.  The Husband and I sat with the van since we couldn't lock it.  Well actually, we could have locked it but that would have been pointless since just the day before BOTH windows had failed.  In the down position.

When the boys returned, we refilled the truck and headed away.

For some reason, I had this crazy idea that the desk I'd bought Man-Child would be easy-peasy to put together.  It wasn't.  The Husband doesn't have much patience for those types of things, so I took the lead on that.  And about two hours later it was assembled.  And then, and only then, were we able to  bring in his bed, dresser, etc.  Why?  Because putting together that damn desk took up the whole room and some of the living area as well.

Is that the end of the hell we were living through?  No.  At one point during the assembly, I stepped outside to stretch my legs only to watch a police officer walk up to the neighbor's apartment.  Luckily, she had called him and he hadn't been called about her.  Apparently, there was some sketchy guy hanging around the pool ogling her daughter.  Lovely.  So it's only now that I realize that the apartments my only child will be living in are not only not just for students but there's a sketchy guy in the neighborhood.  A sketchy guy that the police, as I overheard, are already aware of...needless to say, I was ready to pack him back up and take him home.  He can afford to skip a year of school, right?

But then there was the problem of getting home.  How?  The lone rental car agency was closed.  Of course.  Our only option was Man-Child's car.  *sigh*  Our weekend just got that much more crazier.

After feeding both boys (and "medicating" the Husband with alcohol; he obviously needed it) we stole borrowed his car and I drove us back down the mountain.  Both exhausted and not really looking forward to the fact that we had to drive back UP the mountain today to return Man-Child's car; which in reality he will need since he is no longer living on campus, and to cover the van's gaping windows with plastic since there is a possibility of rain in the forecast.

The Husband declared that we would be heading up early, early, EARLY in a bid to save some of the weekend.  But he must have taken pity on me after realizing just how exhausted I was from yesterday, he let me sleep in.  Until 7:30 am.  Not to be rushed, I had a cup of coffee and perused the paper.  Finally, we headed out about 8:30 am, me in my car and the Husband in Man-Child's.  Whereupon, I immediately lost him.  How I don't know.  Eventually, we re-connected and headed over to the apartment.  It was a good thing we re-connected because the Husband had no idea how to find it since he'd been sidelined as a passenger the day before.

After spending some time buying essentials that Man-Child needed (i.e., food) and taping up the windows to the van, we took him for a very, very late breakfast/lunch; because obviously, when we are there we are there to feed him.  And somehow I found myself driving us home.  This is surprising because the Husband is much more a control freak about driving than I am.

So now we are home.  Exhausted, spent and ache-y.  The house is quiet - kind of (the tv is on but not at its usual ear-splitting decibel) and the Husband is napping on the couch; and I can feel "it" - the Boy isn't at home, it's rather lonely.  I will adjust after a day or so - or maybe a week - of him being gone.  The knowledge that one day soon he won't be coming home to stay ever again teases the back of my brain; but I refuse to acknowledge that just yet.

And tomorrow?  Thank God I had the foresight to take tomorrow off because that is when I will get everything done that I had planned to do today.

August 10, 2014

The hunt is on...

Well, that title's not technically true.  I've been hunting ever since we sold our house.  And let me tell you; Zillow (and other sites like it) are a wonderful way to sooth your nosiness.  Getting to peek inside homes without having to actually, you know, interact with people.

Of course, I've seen some homes that have left me scratching my head.  Like the one that was For Sale By Owner.  Which meant, of course, that all the pictures were taken by the owner and not a real estate professional.  Every single picture of this particular house showcased clutter.  EVERYWHERE.  So much so that I couldn't even focus on the house itself.

Other houses are devoid of any personality.  I realize that Realtors encourage homeowners to remove personal items, etc.  But somehow, I don't think they mean for people to remove every single piece of artwork or knick-knack.  It's that OR (even worse, in my mind) these people actually live in homes with no artwork on the walls; without pretty things that make them smile.

Well, now that I've gotten all that out of the way...on to what the true purpose of today's post.

Today, the Husband and I ventured out to a couple of Open Houses.  I had a list of five - which, to be honest, was probably over-reaching considering most Open Houses are from 2:00 pm to 4:00 pm.  The odds of being able to hit them all in that limited time frame was slim.

The list quickly got knocked down to four as the Husband had absolutely NO interest in one.  Fine.  As we were getting in the car the Husband asked, "What are we  going to do if we find a house we love today?" I responded that we'd call the landlord and see what could be worked out, since our lease is through the end of the year.  And then I added, "I'm fairly certain this will not be a problem since we can't agree on anything house-wise."  He agreed...finally, something we can agree on!

As we drove to the first one on the newly shortened list, he began grumbling.  "What do you mean this place is across Market Street?  I don't want to live over there.  Do you know what goes on over there?"

Turns out - the neighborhood, though nice enough, really wasn't what either of us are looking for - and the house wasn't actually "open" anyway.  So we drove off to the next house on the list.  This one had us hopeful.  The area is nice and the pictures online were fabulous.

The house itself?  It was okay.  But even I could tell that this house hadn't been built well.  The first thing I noticed in the living room was that the wall and the ceiling weren't exactly touching each other the way they should.  Plus there was creaking everywhere.  We won't even talk about the narrow stairs and the rickety banister.  Another one crossed off the list.

So we headed to the final house.  This one was GORGEOUS online.  I only had two reservations about this house.  It was built in the 60's so I figured there would be absolutely NO closet space and I was concerned about aluminum wiring.  When we first moved here, we put an offer in on a house.  The inspector informed us that there was aluminum wiring and then went into great detail about how bad that was and that the odds of the house catching fire and killing us all was massive.  Needless to say, we didn't buy that house.

Now whether or not this house had aluminum wiring, I have no idea.  This house was crossed off the list pretty quickly as the Husband thought the sunroom was poorly done - I disagreed in that I saw what the owners were going for by using the planked ceiling...but it didn't go well with the rest of the house.  This was a nice house but it was too chopped up for us.  And, as expected, closet space was minimal.

And as we all know, I will NOT be sharing a closet with my husband ever again, if I can help it.

So, as I said, the hunt is on.  But I have a stash of floor-plans and an eye on a lot in a neighborhood we love.  Why?

Because every other house hunt we've been on has ended with us building a house.  Somehow, I have a feeling this one might end the exact same way...

July 28, 2014

Call me's better than calling me delusional

As the date for Man-Child's return to college nears, I have found myself buying various items for his apartment.

I FINALLY got a list of the items his room mate will be basically boils down to a toaster, a sofa and a table.

Not quite the bounty that Man-Child had led me to believe.  Until I can get into the apartment to see what kind of space I have to work with (hopefully one day this week), I'm holding off on the larger items needed (dresser, bed, etc.).

To say that Man-Child has absolutely NO interest in decorating his apartment; much less outfitting it, is an understatement.  Once I realized that, and acknowledged it, I was able to shake off any indecisiveness that I may have had regarding buying things like dishes, flatware, glasses, etc.  He just doesn't care.  I could buy him a purple and green paisley shower curtain and pair it with yellow and orange striped towels and he wouldn't even notice this hideousness of this combination.

(Let's not even THINK about all the stuff I gave to Goodwill that he could  have used when we moved!  NO.  We will NOT think about that...dammit, if only I could have foreseen the future...we could have easily supplied him with most everything he will need!  But NO!  We aren't THINKING of that....*sigh*)

Today, in a fit of optimism, I bought him cleaning supplies.  Yes, I know.  I KNOW! I am deluding myself to think that he will use these supplies on a regular - or even irregular - basis.  But I remain hopeful.  I have been hammering home the fact that he will be ON HIS OWN.  And he will need to TAKE CARE of his abode - particularly since we would LOVE to get our deposit back.

But considering that his bedroom currently looks like it was ransacked by DEA Agents in pursuit of finding the drug kingpin's stash.  And his bathroom?  UGH.  Actually, I don't even want to TRY to string together the words that would describe his bathroom...because the situation is THAT disgusting.

Yeah, I know...I AM delusional. *sigh*

Further adding to my delusion?  That I'm determined to send those supplies.  And will demand that he use them.  Often.  Or, at the very least, frequently.

Yeah, I know....

Those cleaning supplies will NEVER get used.


July 23, 2014

So, what keeps you amused and inspired during that LONG eight hour day?

The day in and day out drudgery of work.  Oh sure, I like my job - quite a lot, actually - but the whole get up early, get dressed and go out to interact with people five days a week part?  That part doesn't appeal to me as much as you might think.

So in an effort to keep myself amused and coming back every day, I have accumulated a few things, as one does when living in an office by day, that make me smile whenever I see them throughout the day.

Like this little guy...

Now, ordinarily, I'm not a "gnome" person.  Oh sure, I have ceramic toadstools and other little things that hang out in my yard (when I HAD a yard);  but gnomes aren't a part of my collection.  Usually they don't appeal to me.  But *this* little guy?  He makes me smile every time I see him.  Particularly, when I find him fallen off his perch and in the dirt.  How he lands in the dirt EVERY TIME - and not shattering himself on the credenza - I don't know.  It must be part of the gnome magic.

And that little guy behind him?  The one you can barely see?

He is like a metronome.  His little head goes back and forth all day long.  And the complete phrase that he is standing upon?  "I'm in my worry free zone."

Okay; fine!  Here's what he looks like in all his glory...

Why yes, that IS a sandal-shaped notepad behind him.

And then, there is always THIS guy...he NEVER fails to make me smile when he catches my eye.

He's a little Martian-type guy with a magnetic head to hold onto his "hair".  I call him my Google Guy; since Google is imprinted upon his tummy.

And then there is this whole menagerie of creatures...

Yes, the photos in the background are included in the menagerie of "creatures."  

The unopened can of Diet Coke?  Yeah, I can't even remember WHY it's there.  The mug with the phrase, "I've got an attitude and I'm not afraid to use it" is to remind others not to bother me before I've had my coffee...and even tread carefully, as I don't have time for the asinine.

In addition to the things that make me smile, several quotes can often be seen floating around my cubicle.

Like those that remind me to have fun...

"I miss recess" which is a little Nigglywiggly from a random Hershey's Kiss that I came across once.  I loved it so much I taped it to one of my walls.

I also have quotes scribbled on Post-It Notes that remind me to be kind.  Such as this one...

"Kindness is in our power, even when fondness is not." -- Samuel Johnson

I don't remember where I came across that one - but it struck a chord.  A deep chord.  Particularly in the workplace...where I often come across people that I'm not fond of, unfortunately.  So, the reminder is nice.

Taking a little tour of my desk, every once in awhile, and remembering how and why I have that tiara or the shoe tape dispenser...or the Google guy, for that matter, never fails to bring a smile.

So...what about you?  What do you keep at your desk that makes you smile, reminisce or inspires you?

July 7, 2014

How do you DO conversation? No, really. HOW?

My dad just called to wish me a Happy Birthday.  For tomorrow.  He figured since he wouldn't be home tomorrow, he'd call today.

My birthday isn't tomorrow.  But, he gets points, just the same.  He remembered the correct month.

All this just brought back the memory of him signing me up for the lone season that I played baseball on a team.  As he was filling out the paperwork, he looked up and asked me what my birth date was - I was shocked.  HOW could he not KNOW this?  The date of birth of his only daughter?!

Looking back, I can see how it happened.  Hell, I can barely remember how old I am these days; so now I know why so many women declare themselves 29, year after's because they aren't quite sure exactly how old they really are and the effort of doing the math is just too much.

My dad and I aren't as close as I wish we were.  I know he loves me and he knows that I love him; but conversationalists, we are not.

I also know that we are two peas in a pod.  According to my mother, I look like him and that used to tick her off to no end after they were divorced.  Particularly, if we were not seeing eye to eye at a particular moment and then she would declare, "MY GOD!  You look JUST like your father right now!"

I've also discovered another way in which we are alike.  We aren't good at "chit-chat."  I don't call him as often as I should because of this (and, there is the fact that I'm not really a fan of talking on the phone these days...I have a feeling he isn't either); because it's physically PAINFUL to try and carry on a conversation between the two of us.

As he is now retired and living on his own - he doesn't have any day to day to experiences to relate.  When I ask what he's been up to, his reply, invariably is "Nothing.  Just sitting around."  To say that he isn't living up to his potential for a man his age is an understatement.  But, considering his health issues, I suppose I can understand.

When he asks how we are doing, I invariably reply "Fine.  Nothing going on around here.  Just going to work and coming home."

The conversation then devolves into talking about the weather...*sigh*

Did you know, that where he lives, there hasn't been any rain in several weeks?!  And that's it's HOT?!

Even if he watched much television, we couldn't talk about that - as I don't watch much either.

And then there are the long silences, as we both struggle to come up with SOMETHING to talk about.

It's painful, y'all.  Very, very painful.

So tell me, all you do you do it?  How do you chit-chat?  No, really.  Tell me.  How do you start, and keep, a conversation going?  Because I'm here to tell you - a conversation between two introverts is pretty much nonexistent.

July 6, 2014

Setting up house...

As most of you may remember, Man-Child will be living off campus in the coming school year.

While I AM happy to report that he was able to find housing and a roommate before I finished hyperventilating over the fact that he'd missed the housing deadline and before I had to step in to figure it out...I have to admit the whole thought of him living off campus gives me pause.  Mainly because, even though he IS in college and is ALMOST twenty (hyperventilating again...HOW in the hell did THAT happen?!), it's that first HUGE step into on his own without a meal plan, etc.

And then?  Then I looked up and it was already July (HOW in the hell did THAT happen?!) and realized...he will be going back to school in about a month...already (I'd add another "HOW in the hell did THAT happen?!" here - but that would be overkill.  Right?)  And then further realized, he is in no way, shape or form, armed to live off campus.

No.  I'm not too concerned about the possibility of his starving.  Although, I do believe his cooking skills might rival mine (although, to be fair, he has been having sporadic cooking lessons with his father.  In the meantime, I have not.  So he's probably further along than I am at this point).  I am positive of the fact that he is perfectly capable of taking himself off to someplace that serves food.

No; today it dawned on me.  Not living in a dorm = needing more stuff.

Yes, he has sheets and towels.  He has a shower caddy.  He has a microwave.  He is perfectly outfitted for living in a dorm.  What he doesn't have?  Everything else.

I remember moving into my first apartment.  I, literally, had nothing.  No furniture. No kitchenware (not that I really needed any - and still don't, apparently).  I had no inkling what went into setting up house.  I bought what I needed as I went along - when I could afford it.

That is definitely not the start I want for my son.  He has assured me he has a bed.  But other than that?  Nothing.  And, to be honest, I'm not too sure about the whole bed thing.  He says his roommate has a bunk bed set and will let him use the one he's not using. He also claims that he has some other furniture - but what, I'm not quite clear on.

So now I'm making lists and trying to remember what it was like to figure out what was necessary and what wasn't.

Plates.  Silverware.  Glasses.  Pots. Pans. Vacuum cleaner, broom, mop, toilet brush (hahaha - like he'd actually USE any of it?). What else?  Shower curtain.  That one, I recall, DID surprise me.  For some reason, it had never occurred to me that showers didn't come with shower curtains (or necessarily, rods).  God, I was SO naive and clueless.  Looking back, it's a miracle I've made it this far in life...

So today I took a drive out to Ikea to see what I could see.  And discovered he needs EVERYTHING.  Upon my return (with only two bath mats...which are intended for this household, I might add *small pat on the back for frugality*), I have instructed Man-Child to reach out to his roommate to find out EXACTLY what he will be bringing.  I then told Man-Child that we need to take a trip up the mountain in the next couple of weeks for measuring, etc.  And then we will be taking another trip to Ikea to round out his needs.

I have also determined that Ikea needs to be much closer than an hour and a half drive from my house.  And upon second thought - maybe it IS a good thing that they are an hour and a half drive from my house.

So what say you?  What am I forgetting?

July 2, 2014

I can't even come up with a title for this...

It's finally happened...we knew it was bound to happen...eventually.

The boy has found my blog.  Well, technically, he has found out the title to my blog.  Which means, shortly, he will be reading my blog (until his eyes cross from the utter boredom of it all and he wanders away).  Luckily, for me, he was unable to actually Google my blog at the time.  Perhaps he was distracted by someone until it was time for him to leave for an appointment...

At any rate, he's gone - for now. But he'll be back eventually.  Because he is curious about whether or not he makes a regular appearance here.  So, here's the deal.  He doesn't.  That's our story and we are sticking to it.

The boy is actually quite the contributor at a very successful sports blog-type place on his own.  I've read his stuff and must say I'm quite impressed; even though I really don't understand the content about the game, I am able to appreciate his ability to research his topics and express his thoughts and opinions so clearly.  I, of course, take full credit for that.  Since he's mine, I'm allowed to do that, you know.

I, of course, have been blogging here fairly regularly (I use that term quite loosely since lately, it's been few and far between) for quite some time now.  Anonymously.  And have come to appreciate having this space to share my thoughts and opinions.  But more than that, I have come to appreciate and value the friendships that have been borne from this humble space.

He can't understand why I don't want to "share" my writings with him.  It's not that I don't want to share.  It's more along the lines of this is MY space.  And, there is a fair share of embarrassment.  And there is another fair share of "I really don't want people I know to see this" because, from the beginning, I have kept a sharp line between In Real Life and my online life.  Not because I'm being ugly or hateful about the people in my Real Life - but because I don't want to have to censor myself.

If I have to worry about censoring (even more than I already do) then there isn't much point to doing this, in my opinion.  Which is why I have this irrational fear (as if it will ever happen) that one of these days one of my posts might go "viral" - because, God forbid, should that happen then things would have to change.

So, my dear son, here's the deal - if you are reading this (and I'm fairly certain you will be); know's MY space.  And I want to keep it no sharing with your friends or anyone we know.  If you want to stop by, on occasion, feel free.  But, you must realize, that you may occasionally make an appearance here - mainly because I love you to the ends of the earth and back; because I am SO proud of you and your accomplishments to date; and because occasionally you say or do something that makes me laugh so hard, that I can't help sharing.

And if you ARE going to be stopping by here to see what I'm up to - feel free to comment, if you desire.  But remember, it's anonymous, so choose your "handle" wisely.

And, by the way?  I love you.