August 30, 2010

An Honest Opinion

I have been struggling and struggling over here with that damn blinking cursor.

I knew I had something to say.  But I just couldn't find it.

In a fit of desperation, I typed out a whole post on this one jack-ass at the office. Luckily, for you, I decided to let that one breathe for bit before I hit publish.  You are welcome.

I decided to go take a shower and think about it.  Before I hit the shower, I was brushing my hair and tried out a different look.  I thought it didn't look too bad but wanted a second opinion.  So I went in search of Man-Child.

Bless him, he was sitting at the table doing his Algebra homework.  Thank God he doesn't need my help there - because if confronted with one of those problems I would have just cried.

So, I asked him, "What do you think?"

He said, "About what?"

"My hair - do like it this way?"  He just kind of shrugged.  So I pressed him.  And he said, "What's that on your face?"

"It's hair!" I exclaimed.

"Is it supposed to look like that?" he responded.

Me: *sigh* "Yes."

Him: "It's all right."

Me: "But do you like it? It doesn't look goofy?"

Him:  "I don't know."

Me: "Hmmph!" as I start to walk off.

Him: "What do you WANT from me?!"

Me: "An honest opinion would be nice!"

Him:  "My honest opinion is that I don't have one!"

And with that - I deleted the other post and you got this one instead.

August 29, 2010

Apparently, I'm turning into my mother. . . . .

Friday night I feel asleep in great anticipation for this weekend.

Saturday, bright and early, the boys were off to Asheville, again.  Foolhardy men that they are they actually agreed to help my beautiful Step-Daughter move.  Again.  When asked if I'd like to accompany them, I laughed hysterically.  I'm barely over the move into this house almost three years ago so why would I willingly go help someone else move?  Especially someone who just moved six months ago?  Ahhh to be young and foolish.  I recall moving every six months or so when I was her age.  I have since wised up and only move when necessary now.

I had the whole weekend planned out.  I was going to loll about reading (books and blogs) and doing absolutely nothing that did not need doing.  To revel in the (rare) silence.  To do girl-y things like shopping, shaving my legs, wearing a mud mask.  I was going to type the greatest of all blog posts EVER!  It was going to be wonderful!

I vaguely remember someone (possibly Hubby?) kissing my cheek and whispering goodbye at some ungodly hour Saturday morning.

I recall waking up at a more decent hour, having coffee and reading the paper.  I remember logging on to catch up on your blogs.  The last thing I can remember is running out the door for a quick (essential) errand Saturday morning and thinking "Boy, this mudroom is a mess!"

Apparently, upon returning I morphed into my mother and went into a cleaning frenzy.  According to all the signs I started immediately on the mudroom and went from there.

As I sit here, more than thirty-two hours later, with every part of my body sore and aching, the entire house is spotless.  Apparently, I even took apart a fan and cleaned it inside and out.  Obviously, even the vacuum cleaner got cleaned - as parts of it are sitting out drying as I type.  It has become apparent to me that I even broke my cardinal rule(s) and cleaned Man-Child's room!  And?!  Did his laundry!

I know.  I am a very mean mom.  But in my defense, at least when he is in college he will know HOW to clean and do his laundry.  Will he do it?  I doubt it.  BUT he will know how.

In the meantime?  No wonder the child has allergies.  I about DIED just dusting his room.  Seriously.

My conclusion?  Other than the fact that my mother lives on in me (occasionally)?  I live with pigs.

When Hubby called to wish me a goodnight last night (and let me know that absolutely NOTHING got moved today-why am I not surprised? I mean seriously.  We are talking about young girls here.  Who, from what I recall, are very scattered about this sort of thing) I informed him of my accomplishments so far.  His response?

"Oh.  So we can't come home then?"

He knows me so well.

August 25, 2010

Getting to Know You . . . .

The ever gorgeous Wilderness Chic has tagged me in this fun, little getting to know you post.  I was so honored and promised that I would do this yesterday.  Clearly, I failed to keep my promise.  But things have been rather hectic around here what with school starting, my shower continuing to leak, our dry-cleaning mysteriously showing up inside our locked garage instead of at the front door, fire alarms going off (yes, again)....the list is really endless.  But finally, finally I have buckled down and answered the questions.

Without further ado, here are the answers to WC's questions:

1.  At what time of your life were you happiest and why?

I would have to honestly say that the last 20 years have been.  In that time I've met and married Hubby and had Man-Child.  Yes, we've had ups and downs (and I expect that we will continue to do so until he succumbs to my will and learns to just say "Yes, dear.") but I've never felt as loved and cherished or as secure as I have during this time.

2.  Where and when did you meet the love of your life?

About 20 years ago, I met Hubby at my best friend's sister's house.  The sister lived next door to Hubby-to-Be and these two matchmakers could NOT stand the fact that we were both single and decided to fix us up.  It turned out to be one of their most successful fix-up's as we were married within six months.

3.  Favorite item of clothing or most treasured possession.

This is really a tough one - as I'm not one to usually attach emotionally to items . . . but upon serious thought, I think I would have to say that a dirty, and much loved, Pooh Bear and the remnants of a blanket that were Man-Child's "loveys" when he was small.  Whenever I run across these items in the closet or a drawer I always smile and my heartstrings are pulled, because whenever I remember MC as a little guy these items are always there.

4.  Must have makeup or beauty item?

Without a doubt, hands down that would be my lipstick.  It's nothing fancy or expensive (Cover Girl Outlast) but that stuff stays on for just about the whole day (or night) so I never have to worry about re-applying - and I have found my most perfect shade.

5.  What do you think is your worst vice or fault...honestly?

Well, Hubby would claim my shoes....but as you and I both know, that is not a vice it is a necessity!  I would have to say my impatience with fools and foolishness and the uncanny ability I have to obsess over the most trivial matters.

6.  Would you tell your friend, if you knew her husband/wife was cheating on her/him?

I'd like to say yes, without reservation.  But then I've seen too many "shoot the messenger" scenarios.  I think it would have to depend on the situation.

7.  What ambitions, wishes or desires, for your life, do you still hold close to your heart?

Travel.  I have a whole list of places I wish to see - one that just keeps expanding as I "meet" new people through blogging.

8.  Where do you see yourself five years from now?

This may come as a shock - but I'm not a "projectionist" (gasp!  I know! What with all my list-making, etc. you'd expect me to be one.  But I'm not).  In 5 years, we'll be preparing for Man-Child's senior year in college (we'd better be!) and I guess we'll just see what comes next.

Now the way I understand this, I am supposed to come up with 8 different questions and pass this on to 8 others that I wish to get to know better.

Well, we all know that sometimes I have a hard time following the rules.  So once again, I'm bucking the system (sorry WC!).  I'm going to ask anyone that follows along to answer the same questions (if you wish) that WC asked, as they were perfect getting to know you kinds of questions.  Have fun and I look forward to seeing what you have to say.  Now, I'm off to figure out how to get that contractor here to fix that leak STAT! Because if I have to shower in MC's bathroom one more time. . .

August 23, 2010

The first day of school and a new aversion.

Well, I wanted to do a post that showed Man-Child's first day of school pictures through the years.  But....the majority of those photos are actual prints that have never actually been digitized - yet. (So sue me, I'm a busy woman!)  On second thought, some of them might actually be on the dead computer that is currently sitting in my closet.....and if that is in fact the case, I may just cry.

At any rate, if I took the time to scan all eleven years worth of pictures; actually twelve if you count kindergarten (which the more I think of it - the more certain I am that the last couple of years of pictures are on the dead computer *sob*) then this post would never get done.

I'd start out with great intentions.  Really.  And things would be moving along - and then I'd get side-tracked (by someone who needed the computer, or for me to find something, or for me to drive him somewhere, or....well you get the idea).  And then before you know it, it would be next year and I'd be right back to where we started.

So, with all that being said - here is Man-Child on his first day as a junior in high school.

Yeah, that pile of wrinkled clothes in the forefront?  They came out of MC's bookbag last night.  Ewww!  In my defense, I did demand that he take them upstairs last night as I was headed to bed.  Obviously, he "forgot".  Also, sorry for the poor quality - but I got one shot.  That's it.  But? He smiled.  So that makes this picture a keeper.

Apparently, he has acquired a recent aversion to me taking pictures of him.  Which results in shots like these:

It may look like he's praying - but he's not.  He's hiding from me without making a scene in the restaurant.

This shot makes me feel like a star-stalking paparazzi.  I actually have quite a few like this.  Or like this -

Where I have to sneak up on him ninja-style and snap a shot even though the lighting is wrong.  All because he won't let me pose him and take pictures.  *sigh* Gone are the days when he'd see the camera and just start striking a pose and yelling "One more!  Take one more, mommy!"

So today, he trudged off to school for his first day as an upperclassman - you would have thought he was being sent to the gallows.  At school.  With his friends. I bet if they asked him to pose he would.

August 22, 2010

Warning - This is going to be random

As you know, Friday was Man-Child's first game of the season.  He told me that Varsity games are much more of an "event" than JV games.  He wasn't kidding.  I had to park what seemed like a mile away and hike my way to the field through throngs of teenagers.  In fact, I ended up missing the kick off and the first touchdown, which apparently happened in the first minute or two of play.  There wasn't a seat to be had in the bleachers - so I had to stand at the fence for the entire game - the majority of which I couldn't see because of those big boys on the sidelines.  But I was able to snap a few pictures.

See all these big boys? Add about twenty or more in a row - that's why I couldn't see much of the game.
I'd worry much more if he was the one being tackled; instead of being the tackler.
He's itching to get in the game - he hates being on the sidelines
All in all, it was a good game.  We won 50-0.  According to Man-Child and Hubby it wasn't a great game since there wasn't any competition.  In fact, our guys backed off in the second half to give the other a team a chance.

In other news, if you are on Twitter, then last weekend you will have witnessed my bad mom moment when I suddenly realized (2-3 hours later) that Man-Child wasn't upstairs sleeping as I had assumed.

You may recall that last Friday Man-Child had a scrimmage game that was located a couple hours away resulting in a very late night.  On Saturday, I woke up and proceeded with my usual routine.  As I was making my coffee I found a note that said Gone Fishing.  I knew hubby had planned to go that morning and thought it sweet that he left me a note reminding me.  Which should have been my first clue.  Hubby rarely leaves me notes.

After a few hours of tiptoeing around the house, in an attempt to let Man-Child rest up after his game and late night, I wandered into the kitchen and glanced at the note again - it was signed by Man-Child. *sigh* What kind of mother doesn't know where her son is at all times?  On the up side, he left a note so I guess I've trained him well in that department.  The reason I'm telling you all this?

The clutter in the background - it's a figment of your imagination.
Because Man-Child caught his first fish.  And it was a pretty big one.  Apparently, he has pictures with it still on the string so you can see it properly, but he has yet to email them to me.  The brat.  Hubby has tried and tried to get MC interested in fishing ever since he was a little guy to no avail.  MC went with his buddies just to hang out.  Apparently, his friends are pretty avid fishermen.  So while they were doing whatever it was they were doing to prepare to fish, MC was practicing his casting.  While practicing, this thing jumped onto his hook.  I can just imagine the looks of amazement from his friends - here they knew what they were doing, when this newbie comes along and accidentally catches the biggest fish of the day!

Tomorrow is the first day of school - how did the summer go so quickly?  I'm still in shock over the fact that MC will be a JUNIOR this year.  How can that be?  It's going to be a busy year with PSATs to be taken, to seriously start thinking about college, a driving license test to be taken, finding the money (somewhere) to get MC a car (so I can quit being the taxi service that I have become) and a myriad of other tasks that I have yet to be clued in on.

As yesterday, I was lazy, restless and just a bit stressed nothing (and I mean nothing) was accomplished.  So today, I don't have the option of being lazy or restless (there's nothing I can do about the stressed part unfortunately).  Which means there will be a whirlwind of activity going on around here - laundry, cleaning, taking MC to get shoes for tomorrow (which this is his fault since he's been too "busy" to go with me), trying to get his haircut (again, his fault.  They had all week to do this and they didn't), getting his books and things together.  Hopefully, all this activity will keep my mind too busy to worry.

That pretty much wraps up what's been going on over here.  I warned you it would be random.

August 18, 2010

Today I did a good thing

Every year for the past six years or so, I have assisted in a program at our company where we collect school supplies for a local needy elementary school.

I know, I know.  The whole school supply thing is a touchy subject for a lot of people.  And I don't blame them. It seems ridiculous to me that our school district has a recently approved budget of $598.6 Million which is funded via county and state taxes.  In addition to that, an estimated $9.5 Million has been allocated from the "education" lottery.  That's a LOT of money, folks.

So where is it going?  There are 120 public schools in our county.  Many of these schools are in great disrepair and desperately need renovations.

All that aside, there is a need for school supplies that for some reason just isn't being met.

A few years ago, our company partnered with a community program to help provide schools with the materials they need.  Unfortunately, due to budget cuts this program was no longer in force this year.  As a group, we decided to do it on our own.

We set up donation boxes in our buildings for about a month.  Today was the day that we gathered all the items donated and delivered them to the school.  We were disappointed with what we had to offer because in past years we had been able to provide so much more.  In fact, one woman was so disenchanted with the meager offerings on her floor that she went out and spent $200 of her own money on school supplies to donate.

The teachers and the principals weren't disappointed in the least.  The excitement on their faces was told us just how grateful they were.  One teacher even made a point to come around and give all of us a hug - the smile on her face was radiant.  A recent survey revealed that teachers spend an average of $623 of their own money each year because they don't want to see children go without (and that's a conservative estimate - I've seen some studies that put the amount closer to $1,000).  I know I can't afford to spend that much out of my pocket every year on school supplies - and I know that our teachers, who don't make nearly enough, can't really afford that either.

As we were preparing to leave we had a brief conversation with the principal who told us that these supplies would be gone very quickly.  She also inadvertently revealed that there are many students at this particular school that are classified as homeless.

We were shocked.

We knew that this school had a large number of families enrolled in the school lunch program for needy children.  It never dawned on us that the children were that needy.

Upon returning to the office, I did some quick research.  It turns out that our school district currently has over 71,000 students enrolled for the coming year.  A little bit more digging revealed that as of January 27, 2010 1,230 students in this district are considered homeless.

I was stunned.

When I think of homeless people, I generally think of that scruffy looking guy who stands on the street corner with a homemade sign.  I don't think of children; particularly elementary school children.  Kindergarteners.

Now granted, the term "homeless" in this instance is fairly broad.  It counts people as homeless if they do not have a permanent address.  So they may not necessarily be sleeping under a bridge - but they do not have a permanent and stable home; and now they have to worry about having pencils and paper?

We've all received those lists from our schools and grumbled, "Why do I have to buy all this stuff?  My child certainly won't use all this during this school year.  What are we paying taxes for any way?"  And you are right.  We are paying taxes, we approved a lottery that was supposed to fund schools (which in our state has been used, at times, to balance the state budget instead of being allocated to the schools - don't get me started) - and JUST where is all that money going?  Well, that is another subject entirely - and definitely needs to be addressed at some point in the near future.

As I said, I have volunteered for this project for many years for three reasons.  First, and foremost, was to help out needy children.  School is hard enough and to not have the supplies you need makes it harder and causes embarrassment.  Two, for the teachers.  And three, for the parents; so that maybe we wouldn't have to receive such extensive supply lists every year.

But after discovering just how needy some of these children are; well, now I'll continue to volunteer for one reason and one reason alone.  Those children.

And next year?  You can bet I'll be pushing every person I see in the hallways at work to give - even if it's just a pack of pencils.

August 17, 2010

Change is good, people.

Every one at work has been on pins and needles for the past week or so.  Why?  Well, I'm glad you asked.

Last week our esteemed CEO and President (aka Top Dog Good Ole' Boy) announced his retirement.

There was shock.  There was amazement.  There was (a little) thrill.

Top Dog Good Ole' Boy (henceforth known as Old Top Dog or OTD) has been around FOREVER.  It was presumed that his plan was to work up until the hour of his funeral and then arrive fashionably late.

OTD can be a charmer.  When he wants to be.  But 99% of the time - he doesn't want to be.

There were rumors of his retirement.  But then there has been rumors of his retirement since I started with the company nine years ago.  So they were pretty much blown off most of the time.  Then there were rumors that he'd step down as President and continue to be CEO.  This sounded very much like something he would do.  So when I heard the news that he was calling it quits for good, I did a little happy dance.

Not because he's a tyrant.  (Well, at least he's never been a tyrant to ME, personally, but then I am of the opinion that "Hey, buddy? You put your pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us".  With that being said, I do get down on my knees daily and thank God that I don't work for him directly [because I've seen the way he treats people, especially his assistant, and I don't like it and could never stand for it personally-which could either mean that I was fired quickly or that he'd love me.  You never know with people like this]).  But because I think it is time for a transfusion.  This place needs some new blood.  Some new energy.  STAT.

Since I've been here this entire company has been stuck in the "we've ALWAYS done it this way" mode; no matter the situation.  This is a company (down to a person) that does not like change in any shape or form.  But, in my opinion, change can be good.  Particularly in our industry - which is currently being regulated by the government (which really? In this climate is NOT a good thing for us - so we need fresh eyes.  A new perspective).

Today, the new President and CEO (New Top Dog; otherwise known as NTD) visited the office for a quick "meet and greet" with his direct reports.  He doesn't officially start until the middle of September and OTD doesn't actually leave his post until the end of the year.

But NTD?  I have a good feeling about him.  So long as Old Top Dog doesn't teach him any of his tricks, I think this guy may actually breathe a difference into this place; if not in the way we actually do business then at least in the attitude.

Because really?  If you can change the attitude then the rest is sure to follow.

August 16, 2010

Back in the good old days we didn't even HAVE three-point turns (or did we and I missed it?)

I just checked into FaceBook (which according to Man-Child usually signals that I'm about to get off the computer - since I'm done with all the "fun" stuff for me).

As usual, I just glanced through quickly to see what is going on with those friends who simply cannot communicate in any other medium other than FaceBook (what is up with that?!  I have at least three email addresses and three phone numbers!  I've told them repeatedly, use one of these avenues to find me and I'll respond a lot faster); took a peek at what Man-Child's been up to and did a quick scroll through the Most Recent News.

Lo and behold, MC's best friend (who happens to be a prolific FaceBooker) had posted this morning that he was going to take the test for his "real" driver's license.  I took a quick scroll through all the comments to see the result.  I should have realized - had he passed it would have merited a Status Update.  After all the well wishes, at the very end, he commented "I didn't pass - failed the three point turn."

My heart broke into a million pieces for this extra wonderful kid.

Back in the day (uh, note to self.  Find a different phrase, that one makes me feel old!) when you were going to take "The" test you were only able to tell whomever you happened to reach on the phone (pre-cell phone days, etc.  AND most of us didn't have phones in our rooms, call waiting, caller id, etc. either).  You simply did not have the ability to announce to the world where you were going and what you were doing at every single moment during the day.

So when you failed the test (as I did.  A couple of times, if you must know.  And why, yes I AM a good driver - it was circumstance that caused me to fail.  Really! Quit listening to Hubby - he doesn't know what he's talking about) the admission only had to be made to a handful of friends (who even remembered that you went in the first place).

I sent along a comment of comfort (I know he will appreciate it; although MC will surely have something to say about me actually making a comment to one of his friends.  But he's a deleter - so I'll ignore what he has to say.  And speaking of deleting - he actually did it to me again!!  He posted something HILARIOUS.  I restrained myself and only commented with . . . . . "Ha!"  And for that?  I was deleted again.  I'm currently plotting several VERY embarrassing posts/pictures as revenge.....oops, I got off track again, sorry.)

Ahem.  Any way.....

This is what the world wide web has brought to us.  In all your excitement you put it all out there for the world to see (and comment on) and then when you mess up that too is all out there for the world to see and comment upon.  Which could lead into another conversation about blogging, etc.  But, I won't go there.  I blog fairly anonymously and am pretty particular about what actually gets published (oh the posts I've composed and hindsight, I probably should have saved them just so I could chew over them later...and possibly published since it appears that those that have been typed when I'm in the grips of something seems to resonate with you guys far more than my more pedestrian ones - oops, there I go again down a completely different path.  Now you know what it is like to have a conversation with me in real life-bonus for you!).

At any rate, I wonder if the teens today have figured this out yet?  This particular kid is great and I've yet to see any teasing or ugliness regarding his failure to procure his license.  So far, I've seen nothing but support (which cheers me because I realize this kid has surrounded himself with people who are true friends).  But I know that there are kids (and adults too) who aren't supported whenever they bare themselves to the world.  And that - makes me sad.

I try like hell to live by the motto my mother used to repeat to me often, "If you can't say anything nice, keep it to yourself." (which truth be told - she had a hard time living up to.....)

It's hard.  Especially when you are doing it online where you have the "invisibility cloak" somewhat.

 But you know what?  It's still the right thing to do.

And just so you know - when I started out this post was going in a whole different direction.  But then I got started and this is what you get to read. Because, I apparently, I also have the ability to distract myself.  And?  I think I may have out-done myself with the parentheses and side trips this time.  It's gotta be a record, even for me.

August 15, 2010

Marital Conversations

"How'd you sleep?" Hubby asked me this morning (umm, yeah, we have deep conversation around here all the time).

"Great!" I perkily replied, "How'd you sleep?"

"Not so well." (I'm paraphrasing here, because Hubby's language wasn't quite this bland).

I immediately retort with, "Well, if you'd quit napping on the couch in the evening, you'd probably sleep better."

He responded with, "I didn't fall asleep in the couch last night!" (Oh please! Like his sleeping on the couch and this particular conversation this isn't a daily occurrence)

"Yes, you did.  In fact, I was *this* close to taking pictures of you - splayed out on the couch, head thrown back and your mouth wide open ready to catch flies and post it on the internet," said I.

"Well, I don't remember it," said he hotly.

I sighed and walked away.

Guess where and what Hubby is doing right this very minute?  The devil in me is telling me to pull out the camera.....

August 13, 2010

Just what every (football) mom wants to hear.....

As I crawled into my bed last night (far later than usual, as I had to wait up for MC to come home-it's just beginning y'all....I anticipate many future blogs will be written as I wait for him to come home *sob*) I flipped on the television to listen to the news as I drifted off (what? It's the way I get most of my news - by osmosis).

And what do I hear?  A local high school boy had his neck broken while at football practice.

This, in and of itself, is horrific enough.  But add to that the realization that today was Man-Child's first game of the season; a scrimmage (technically not a "real" game, but close enough).  This is NOT what a football mom needs/wants to hear right before the beginning of the season.

Football moms are a strange breed as it is; they are the first ones on the sidelines screaming, "Take that kid DOWN!" all while cringing inside for every kid that is tackled on the field.  Football moms are the ones who say a prayer before every practice, scrimmage or game that no one gets seriously injured, particularly their child.

And now, THE season is here.  Tonight is the first scrimmage (we aren't there as it's 2 1/2 hours away - thanks Coach. Like any working parent could make that! Where is my sarcastic font? And yeah, football moms are also extremely superstitious, if "we" are "there" then nothing bad can happen, right?) and next Friday is THE official start of the season (make a note - you won't be seeing me online on Friday evenings for the next few months...).

Generally, I'm not into football AT all.  Unless my son is on the team - then you can bet I'm the rowdiest fan in the stands - even if I'm not really sure about what is going on (yup, that would be me - the one constantly pestering her husband, "so, what happens next?" Eventually, he gets up and walks away for the remainder of the game, which may explain why no one realizes that we are actually married).  So you probably won't see a lot of posts regarding football (I know, you are all breathing a great sigh of relief) but you may see a few random tweets of the "GO TEAM!" nature.

But hearing this story and then reading about it this morning, well... it made me re-visit all the reservations I ever had about my son playing football.

Because although it was a "freak" accident and it is "rare" that these events ever occur, the thing is - these things DO happen on the field and you know what?  That is MY kid on that field.  Every day.  And has been since the beginning of June!

I swore my son would never play football.  It was too dangerous.  But you know what?  This kid lives and breathes football (and seriously? How could he not, since his father put a Lawrence Taylor poster above his crib before he was even born).  Before he even learned the capitals to all the states (a requirement in the 5th grade here) he could spout off stats that would amaze you.  Granted, I had no idea what he was talking about (and still don't) but was seriously impressive.  We'd have to go over his spelling words time and time and time again.  But he'd read the sports section and *poof* had it memorized - even his father (the serious football-fanatic that he is) was impressed.

At one point in time, as a little guy, he idolized Ricky Williams (please don't ask me, I don't know).  One day,  I informed him he was going for a haircut and he asked me if he could get his hair cut like Ricky Williams.  When I asked what Ricky's hair looked like he showed me a picture.  Biting my lip, trying not to laugh, I told him that I didn't think his hair would ever look like Ricky Williams'.  At the time, my sweet little guy had the extremely baby fine, stick straight, blonde hair of a five year old Italian-American/Irish-mix kid.  Ricky Williams had dredlocks....I really didn't see it happening for my little guy.

(as an aside - he no longer idolizes Ricky Williams.  Am not sure why - I think it may have something to with drugs - again, don't ask me, I'm still not really sure who Ricky Williams is/was and why MC even liked him in the first place.)

Anyway, back to what started this post off.....

The rising junior will, according to all reports, be okay.  He will walk again and he will most likely be able to go on and play baseball (another sport that he apparently loves) and live a normal life - but he will never be able to play football again - and if he's anything like my son, he had to have been crushed by this news, while at the same time thankful.

But his mom? I can bet his mom is offering up prayers of thanksgiving tonight because it could have been so, so, so much worse.

And you know what?  As I sit here waiting (again) for my son to come home - I'm sending up a few prayers of my own.

August 12, 2010

You'd think I'd have learned my lesson and bought a single story house....

Despite what you may have heard (or assumed) - I am not graceful.  In truth (hanging head in shame) I am somewhat of a klutz.

This disability does not go well with someone who loves her shoes (especially the ones of the high-heeled variety).

In my short lifetime (quit snickering), I have been known to fall down stairs and even, miraculously, UP stairs many times.

Three particular incidents immediately spring to mind (well, maybe four - if you want to count that one time....but it was only three little maybe we'll let that one slide....).

The first time that I can actually recall flying down stairs sans feet was in high school (and wearing sneakers, for god's sake).  Oh the horror !  It immediately got fifty times worse when I actually landed since someone dared to run for the school nurse.  Who came flying around the corner with a wheelchair!!  I was totally humiliated (remember how easily humiliated you can become as a teen-it sticks with you forever-never mind the fact you were lucky enough to walk away.  And completely fine - no bruises to even speak of.....ah, youth).  But henceforth, I was known as "that girl who fell down the stairs."  It may even be noted somewhere in a yearbook.  Thank goodness this was before cellphones with cameras......otherwise, I'm sure I'd be the most recent YouTube sensation....

The second time that is etched into my memory (and brought up as often as Man-Child dares) was in, what I like to call "our first" house (see, hubby already owned a house when we first got married - so technically....).  This house had stairs that went straight up from the front hall.  This was also the first house I'd ever lived in that actually had stairs.  So, for the first seven or so years that we lived there I was fairly careful on those carpeted stairs, particularly since for the first couple of years I had a toddler clinging to my leg - which really isn't conducive to running up and down stairs.  By the time Man-Child was in 5th grade though I'd pretty much become free and easy on those stairs.  Until one morning, dressed to the nines for work with very cute mules on my feet, carrying my purse, a glass of water and who knows what else, I hurried downstairs.  Only to miss the third one down (of the fifteen).  I landed, HARD, at the bottom.  Man-Child came running after hearing the horrific THUD that I made.  As he arrived upon the scene, there I lay, gasping for breath, when all of a sudden one of my very cute mules came crashing down upon my head; which just added insult to injury. And that glass of water - hit the ground next to my head, splattering my carefully coiffed hair.  I groaned.  I heard him inhale deeply before shouting, "Are you okay?!"  After a couple seconds, in which I took inventory of every part of my body, I grunted that I was okay.  Once those words left my mouth, he began to laugh hysterically.  Apparently, he gets this from me; as I've been known to giggle a time or two at inopportune moments.  Surprisingly, I was able to get up, slip my shoes back on, and continue on with my day, in quiet humiliation, without any pain, although the hair was a bit frizzy that day, if I recall.

The third memorable time that my gracelessness came into play was probably about four or five years ago as I was racing UP the concrete stairs in the stairwell at work (of course in a cute pair of heels) when I misjudged, slipped off the lip of the step and fell; striking that point right under my patella (and bonus! how often do you get to work THAT word into a post? Which is the intellectual way of saying right between the kneecap and the shin bone).  Unfortunately, this time I was in excruciating pain and wasn't alone.  Several women from a different floor were coming up at the same.  After many applications of ice, I was fine.  But the humiliation was (and is) still there every time I came across these women, who had been so very kind and concerned.  From then on, I've been known to take the elevator at all times possible.

So why am I sharing all my gracelessness with you?  Because of these.....

(sorry for the poor quality - the lighting just refused to cooperate with me...
and no, my walls are not day-glo yellow contrary to what you are seeing here)

These stairs aren't carpeted, nor are they straight.  Notice how there is a landing?  That just means there is a possibility for me to fall down these - thump straight into that wall and then fall down these .  . .

(Which if the truth be told, I've already missed the last couple of steps at least once... but who's counting at this point)

So every morning, I approach these stairs with trepidation.  In fact, I have recently begun the practice of descending them in bare feet - carrying my shoes.  Because I have a feeling that next time I go flying, I won't get off so easily....

YouTube stardom - here I come!

And yeah, next house (if I make it till then)?  Totally one story.....

August 11, 2010

Well, I wasn't going to say anything but . . . .

I had truly planned to keep my trap shut and not get my hopes up - you know, so I wouldn't jinx anything.  But it turns out I am physically incapable of accomplishing either.

Plus, I need all your fingers crossed, good vibes, prayers, thoughts, etc. to be winging their way to North Carolina tomorrow around 1:00 pm (EST).

Hubby has a job interview tomorrow with a very good company. The HR person told him that he could expect the interview to take about two hours (!).  We are figuring that is good news.  We hope it means that Hubby is on the short list of interviewees.  This company is known for how well they treat their employees.  In fact, in a recent employee survey it was noted that 90% of the workers liked their co-workers (wow-how many of us can say that?) and that 94% of them felt that their job was (and by extension themselves as people) was important to the company.  So we are thinking that this two hour process is more about getting to know Hubby and seeing if he's a good fit for the team as well as checking out his skill set.

I've got to tell you, this interview couldn't have come at a better time as I was getting really down about the job market, finances and the future, especially after just shelling out an obscene about of money for Man-Child's textbooks for the upcoming school year and the first month's tuition.  And if I was getting down, I can only imagine what Hubby must be feeling.

I realize it's not in the bag - but I soooooo want it to be.  I'm also hoping it doesn't them as long to make a decision as it did for them to schedule this interview.  We submitted the resume at the end of July and just received the call on Monday!

Although, I'm trying not too - my hopes are raised.  See? I told you I was physically incapable.  But you see, there just hasn't been anything out there for Hubby in our area.  At all.  If I looked in Raleigh or Charlotte, I'd probably find more openings - but they are just too far away to commute, and it depresses me.  So I just don't look.

And with any luck, soon I won't have to look at all anymore.

So the hell with jinxes - now you know - so start sending the good vibrations, please.

August 10, 2010

Since I *sorta* promised....

Here is my review of "The Weight of Silence" by Heather Gudenkauf.

Let me tell you right now - GO GET THIS BOOK!!

Apparently, this is a debut novel.  In some ways, you will notice this, but in most?  You won't.

This woman knows how to grab you from the beginning.  I read this 373 page book in a day.  One day; practically without stopping (well, I did have to take a couple hours to go shopping - it was the tax-free weekend after all.....a girl must take advantage of the sales where she can!).

Heather Gudenkauf knows how to flesh out her characters and knows how to tell a compelling story.  Period.

Here's the basic premise of the story:

Two families wake to find that their little girls have gone missing overnight from what was thought to be their secure homes; there are no signs of a struggle (how horrifying is that thought for any parent out there?).

One little girl is a selective mute - brought on by a tragedy in her early years.  The other little girl is her best friend.  The kind of friend that can "read" her enough to be her "voice" (and really? Don't we all need friends like that?).

One parent worries that her decision to remain in her marriage has caused this tragedy to happen.  Another parent is confronted with a side of himself that he didn't know was there.  A sibling is drawn into the mix and discovers that he is braver than he ever thought possible.

This debut novel is a knock-it-out-of-the-park success in my book.  Go find it.  Read it.  It's fabulous.  I promise.

August 9, 2010

What kind of blog would this be if I didn't have something to complain about?

Friday it was at least 95 degrees (as near as I can figure - and that's not even counting the "heat index" which surely made it feel like it was 150).

So needless to say, I was not a happy camper when I received a call on my way home from work that informed me the power was out.

But being the ever-chipper, happy camper that I am, I figured it would surely be fixed before I got home.  Because despite the heat and extreme humidity there hadn't been any storms (a miracle in it's own right) so why the hell is the power out?

So you can imagine my total dismay when I rolled up the driveway and hit the "clicker" (you know, the garage door raiser thingy) to realize that the power was still out.  So NOT a problem.  I have a KEY!  I unlocked the side door - thinking that this must be about only the second time I've ever used this particular key in the two and a half years we've lived here - and how isn't it funny that with the advent of "clickers" we don't use all those keys we have nearly as much as we used to?

I stumble into the quiet house and immediately go into "at home" mode.  Rush upstairs to switch into my "play clothes" (ie, pajamas/shorts & t-shirt/anything that isn't work clothes).  Come downstairs to take a look through the mail (all junk.  Not only do we not use our keys anymore - with the advent of email, twitter, etc. now we never get any "good" mail- with the exception of a lovely postcard from a fellow blogger....  Usually, now it's all junk and bills).  Grab a glass of something cold and sweet (no judging - it IS after 5:00 on a Friday), scoop up the computer and head for my "happy" place (the back porch).

While I am busily logging on, I think "knowing Hubby as well as I do - I'm sure he didn't call the power company because he was sure someone else did." He didn't.   I also know that if you call, they will give you an estimated time before you can expect it to be restored.

I attempted to log on to the local power company's website to get the number (what? Use the phone book? You mean that thing that is being used as a doorstop?).  Nothing.  All I receive is that annoying message that says some random thing about this website isn't available, blah, blah, blah.  I tried another one.  Same thing.  Panic set in.  I may have even sent a desperate tweet.

Then I realized, the all mighty router that gives me wireless access is plugged into the wall! But then I had a brilliant thought.  I had my cell phone.  What would we do without our "smart"phones?

I quickly located our local power company's website and the "special" power outage number (which by the way OUTAGE, is one letter away from OUTRAGE....just so ya' know).  I wrote the number down (what? Have you NOT met me?  I can't even remember what I wore to work today-much less the ability to remember a phone number! And it's a good thing I wrote the real number down).

But guess what?  If you have a Blackberry (or any other phone with a QWERTY keyboard) - and if you attempt to dial 1-800-POWERON (which is the way they try to get you to remember the number) you automatically "thumb type" the P on the QWERTY board - which is soooo not the same as P on a landline....FYI.

It doesn't work.  Then you attempt to remember what number is the P on a "real" (i.e. landline) phone (it's 7, by the way-yes, I did "research" for you! You are welcome).  You can't.  So you look at the "real" number that you wrote down.

You type in the number only to receive an automated voice messaging system (they are the spawn of the devil) which asks if you are trying to report an outage at xxx-xxx-xxxx.  Which no, you are not, since this is your "smart"phone and not the landline that is tied to the address.  You pick the option to enter in the special landline number.  You do - but you put in the wrong number since - hello? - how often do you actually call yourself?  You hang up and try again.  And again, getting the landline number wrong.

Now you are more than a little frustrated (and hot).  So you go inside and grab the cordless to try again.  But guess what?  The cordless is also plugged into the wall which also means that the cordless will not connect, particularly since this cordless phone's battery won't hold a charge - which hasn't been a problem until now because we all have our cell phones.

Taking deep and calming breaths you march upstairs to where the lone, old fashioned phone is - only to discover that it has a horrible connection and no matter how viciously you punch the #1 it will NOT REGISTER on the automated voice messaging system.

By this time, you are fit to be tied (which is a nice way of saying, you are in a rage-as in Outrage - again, only one letter away from Outage).  You march back downstairs and grab your "smart"phone and try again.  After furiously cursing all the way - to the endless amusement of your Hubby.  Eventually getting it all keyed in properly and then the automated system asks "Are you reporting an outage at 123 Main Street? Press 1 if this is correct and 2 if this is incorrect."  NO! That is not my address.  Press 2 whereupon you are told to hold for a human since the automated system can't assist you (of course it can't - it's automated and I'm human - we have two totally different issues).  While you are waiting, wonder how come the folks at 123 Main Street don't receive your electric bill.....finally, you are rewarded with a human voice.  Who then informs you that "Why yes, there is an outage (not to be confused with an outrage!) in your area.  It is expected to be repaired by 8:00 pm."

8:00 pm??? Are you kidding me?  In this heat?

You are barely civil as you grunt out the words, "thank you" (because you were raised right.  You say "thank you" instead of yelling - "are you freaking kidding me - where do you live? Because I'm coming to stay with you until this is fixed?!" Which I may, or may have not, been guilty of on occasion (not necessarily this occasion, but an occasion where I may have been expecting a bunch of people in just a few hours after being without power for days....).....again, no judging, because if you were in the same situation...well, you'd do the same!  Admit it.)

In the meantime, Hubby (being the hero that he is) fires up the generator (making sure to connect whatever it is that he needs to connect to make sure the internet and the fans are up and running-he knows me so well)  and restores the internet connection.

All is right with the world.  And that post that you had in your head - the one that was supposed to re-count all the things he does to irritate you (prior to said outage/outrage?)  It's gone.  Because "he" has saved you.  You now have internet (and fans)!

But then?! (What? You  thought this saga was over????)

 Man-Child comes home.  And, being the mother that you are - and the fact that by now you are just exhausted - when Man-Child asks for the computer for "one minute" you cave.

And then?

Well, you end up with a post like this - three days later.

So I've been quiet - it's been known to happen a time or two....

I realize I've been rather quiet lately on the internet.

I've tried to post comments as much as possible.

If I haven't posted any at yours - I'm sorry.  But know that I have been reading (c'mon, it's what I DO! You know how much I love to read - in fact there may be one of my uber-famous reviews coming up shortly).

It's just that lately I've been in "lurker" mode.

Why?  Well, I've been a bit down, if you must know the truth.

But today? Well, today I am feeling much better, thank you for asking.

I've been feeling a bit stressed lately.  Haven't we all?  The thing is, stress never used to bother me.  Yes, that's my Scarlett mentality - I'll worry about it tomorrow.  Believe me, sometimes it's the best mentality to have - particularly when you live with a perpetual worrywart.

But throw a child (although some might argue he's almost an adult, lalalalal I can't HEAR you!), some *ahem* age (or as I like to call it wisdom) into the mix and then you wind up with the ability to fret.  And it turns out, I am AWESOME at fretting.  Who knew?!?

I needed to find my inner Scarlett.  And I think I found her hiding in the closet this morning.  So it's all good.

You can expect normal service to resume almost immediately.

August 5, 2010

Home is where the heart is.....

I was thinking about homes this morning.  Why?  Hell if I know - it's all in the blog title, people.  I ramble.  A lot.  Especially in the confines of my brain, early in the morning, while waiting for the coffee to kick in, or sometimes in the evening when no one is bothering me to look for whatever it is they've misplaced.

My mother absolutely refused to sell her house.  She was of the thought that it was our "home," that we grew up there and how could she ever possibly leave it?  Even though the neighborhood was going to hell in a hand basket, quickly.

What she failed to realize is that, despite her skewed thinking on the subject, the memories of that house was not all grins and giggles, sparkles and glitter - for us or her.  She also failed to realize that neither of her children would ever call that house "home" again once we moved on into our adult lives.

My entire childhood was spent in that house.  My son, on the other hand, is currently on his sixth "home" although I think he only remembers three of them.  And while I miss one particular house sometimes (until I remember how tiny the kitchen and bathrooms were) - where he spent most of his formative years and where there was a record of his growth on one of the walls (which the new owners painted over! How COULD they?! But, to be fair, they didn't know us then.  A different story for a different time) - I know deep in my heart that a house does not make a home.  The people inside those houses make a home.  I also know (as much as I don't want to admit it) that this is not our last move (oh dear God I can't face another move - even if it's 15 years from now!).  I'm sure we will move at least one more time before all is said and done; which is kind of funny in itself as I clearly recall Hubby emphatically stating (two houses back) that "this" will be our last house! Yeah, so much for his emphatic statements.....  I also know that even had we stayed in one spot all these years - that one day my  Man-Child will move on and out and find his own "home" leaving Hubby and I to figure out a new configuration of "our" home.

On my last trip home (funny, how you can consider a whole state "home" though....), I took the time, as I always do when I'm there, to drive through the old neighborhood and past the old house. The neighborhood, which was never fabulous to begin with, had reached the point were I didn't feel safe - even though it was broad daylight and I was in a locked and moving vehicle (my father even recoiled in horror when I'd told him I'd been by there - and told me not to go back again).  And even though I haven't thought of that house as "home" for many, many, many, many years - there is a twinge of sadness seeing what it had become, in what it should have been.

Will I go back, next time I am in Texas?  Most likely.  Because even though they say you can't go home again - you can always drive by slowly-with the doors firmly locked.

August 4, 2010

Just wondering.....

Do you type posts and save them as drafts, then come back to them - and although you think they are "okay" you still don't post them - because they aren't "relevant" anymore, at least not in your mind because you've gotten the thought out and have moved on?

Do you wonder why Hubby is making six (yes, SIX) pork things (steaks? flanks? pieces? Forgive me, I don't know what they are called!) when only two people will be eating them?  And when you ask why, his response is, "That's how many were in the package."  Ummm, couldn't you freeze half of them for another time?  Granted, I'm not a cook by any stretch of the imagination, but it seems to me that would be the responsible way to go - less time spent cooking, less waste, etc.....but you walk away, because you know there is no way to win this one since he is the "cook".  Besides, the dish he is making is yummy, so at least I'll get a lunch out of it.

Do you wonder where the hell I am going with this post?  Because I know I am......

Do you wonder why your neighbor has a POD in his driveway every six months or so; even though he has two two car garages?  I've already surmised that he must be into human trafficking since I saw him dragging a mattress in there about a week or so ago.  Yeah, out of all my weird neighbors, he's the weirdest.  I keep my eye on him at all times.....and he's the first one you should have the authorities look at if I ever go missing.

Have you ever wondered if there is a more "sleek" way of saying, "he has two two car garages?"  How about, "he has dos two car garages?" Yeah, that doesn't work either.  Hmmmm, maybe there should be a comma in there....

Do you ever wonder why Hubby talks (loudly) to the television?  And then realize you do the same thing to the computer?

Ever wonder why there seems to be "politics" in the office - no matter where you go?  Then thank all that is holy that your boss isn't one of "them"?

Do you ever wonder why/how Hubby can fall asleep (before 8:00 pm) sitting in a chair with the television blaring in the background immediately after having said (loud) conversation with the television?

Have you ever wondered how is it that you NEED a haircut, but your hair is still too short?

Yes, this post is a gratuitous brain dump.  Sorry, but sometimes I just have to get this stuff OUT so I can think like a rational human being.

Have you ever hit "Publish" and wonder Why am I doing this?  Am wondering that now......

August 3, 2010

Sometimes you just need a nap. And a lovey.

Thank you all for your kind words of concern after my rant yesterday.  Ummmm, apparently, once I get my dander up I tend to be, errrr, vocal.

(Oh "apparently", my foot!  We all know it's true!)

Today, the computer seems to be perfectly healthy.  The fact that I shelled out the money for Norton....jury's still out - since Norton couldn't find anything wrong with the computer.....but we'll see if it was worth it if we have no further problems. (oh please God! No more problems!!)

If any of you were on Twitter last night, then you were able to witness me rambling on and on to myself in an aimless fashion as I was trying to breathe fresh life into the computer (which really needs name, but I've yet to find one suitable - so if you've suggestions, please feel free to share.  Because between you and me, it's really hard to rant at a piece of machinery that doesn't have a name.  It's exhausting, in fact.).  And you also witnessed the fact that I was up far later than my usual bedtime.

Which meant that I was crankier than usual today.  Because I was tired.

Picture a small child when they are tired.  Okay, now superimpose my face onto that small child (refrain from making comparisons about the very slight height difference between me and small children please).  Yup, that's how I was today - all day.

My clothes didn't sit well.  On several occasions I just wanted to burst into tears.  I wanted a lovey*.  I wanted a hug.  I didn't want anyone to look at me or talk to me (which they did anyway, repeatedly!).

But I made it through the day without a total meltdown, fortunately.

Because really?  A huge, full-on, hissy-fit in the middle of the office isn't "professional".  In fact, I've heard that it is "frowned" upon by upper-management.  And middle-management.  And pretty much everyone else, for that matter.

But, some days?  When you are tired from a late night of battling viruses, and the alarm clock goes off at the ungodly hour of 5:30 am (FYI Kathryn, it's a digital.  And I've done some sleuthing, we don't even own an analog - unless you count my watch) and then the office computer is acting like a cow, and then you throw in a few office politics and to top it off, you have a niggling headache that is either a result of not enough sleep or sinus issues?  A huge, full-on hissy-fit sounds pretty cathartic, doesn't it?

But, you'd be proud.  I abstained.

Now, sitting on the back porch in relative silence, with a glass of wine and some blogs?  Now, I'm feeling much less cranky and am counting the hours until my extra early bedtime tonight.

*A lovey- in Gigi-speak (for those of you that might be unsure) is that extra-special object that small children use to soothe themselves, such as that special blanket or teddy-bear.

August 2, 2010

Can I rant a bit? Sure I can. It's my blog.

I am beyond furious right now.  Beyond, I'm telling you!

Yesterday, I woke up to what turned out to be some kind of virus on my beloved computer.  The word "trojan" was bandied about.  Which is laughable, considering usually that word is used in the context of "protection."  Spent about 2 hours fixing it.  This on top of the damn fire alarms.

Today?  This morning all was fine as I perused the blogs, etc.  I headed off to work.

It was work.  Nothing to write home (or to you) about.

This evening?  Pure freakin' torture.

More virus crap.  I do NOT deserve this people.

I am a good person.  Really!  Despite anything else you may have heard.

I've been dealing with this for over an two and a half hours now.  It sucks.  Just so ya know.

The people that create these things?  Special place in hell.  Definitely.  Without a doubt.

So once, all is said and done (yes, currently have the system up and running enough to try and post - priorities people! priorities!)....will most likely be caving and buying protection (and no, not a gun.  Because if I had one and a known virus-maker was in front of me right now.......suffice it to say, that the generally docile Gigi, wouldn't be so docile.  Quit laughing!  I AM docile!  For the most part.  Until I get riled.).  (Also, yes I know, I can hear all you IT folks out there screaming "NO!!!!" but something must be done - I've tried the free-ware, obviously it isn't working so I have to do something!).

I've heard so many different things.  Don't use Internet Explorer (from now on we won't).  Try this software, try that (I have).  Get a Mac (most likely never, and if I change my mind that is so far in the future I can't see it).  I'm confused, tired and more than a little bit cranky.

I logged on tonight with the expectation of catching up, chatting and having fun.  So far?  None of those things. (Well, I did get to chat a bit with Melly - and mainly via blackberry, not computer.  But other than that?  Nothing)  It has NOT been fun.

And my thoughts have NOT been charitable.  At all.

And, if after I've purchased said protection, I have to go through this hell again?  Someone will pay, my friends.  Someone will pay.  I don't know who or how - but someone WILL suffer (and since my family is in direct line of fire - pray for them).