Tuesday, February 28, 2006

I was just asking for trouble

Hubby is away for another week of training in the quest for his 6 Sigma black belt. The kids and I went to church on Sunday night, and then to the grocery store. I wouldn't have gone at all but we were out of milk and bread. If you've never gone to the grocery store with four boys, you should try it. I'll be happy to lend you mine. Needless to say, we had several knock-down, drag-out fights over the grocery cart shaped like a truck. It wasn't exactly like this one, but pretty close.

Now, whoever invented these things obviously intended for the user to have a maximum of three children along, and all of them should ideally be less than six years old. This in no way stopped my nine year old from claiming one of the seats inside the truck, despite the fact that his knees were by his chin. Once he was inside, it was clear that the six year old would never fit next to him, so the three year old got to ride in the truck, the baby went in the traditional child seat, and the six year old got in the basket. What's wrong with this picture? Yeah, no room for food. I put the milk under the cart, and packed everything else around the boy in the basket.

Now, while I was trying to shop, Joshua (6) decided he would make his own shopping list. He brought paper and a pen with him and wrote down the things he wanted. The problem was that he doesn't write very fast. So rather than stand in the same spot for ten minutes while he copied words off of food packages, I spelled for him as we walked. Meanwhile, Caleb (9) was "driving" the cart/truck and insisted he had the power to start, stop, speed up and slow down. So our trip through the store sounded much like this:

J - Wait, go back, I want that on my list!
C - No going back. I'm driving. Go faster!
Me - I don't want to go faster, I want to buy what I need and go home. What did you see, Joshua?
J- Fruit by the foot. How do you spell fruit?
Me - F...
C - Faster!
J - Then what?
Me - R. Oh, I need cereal.
C - Stop! Reverse!
J- Then what? Mommy? Then what?
Me - Um, U
J - I accidentally wrote an O. Now what?
Me - I
J - But I wrote an O.
Me - That's okay. I.
C - I said reverse!

And then, when we were finally about to leave the store, we had another argument as Joshua realized he hadn't had a turn inside the truck yet. We were at the store less than an hour, but it felt like a lot longer.

Normally when Hubby is gone, even during the day while he's at work, I don't go anywhere. Now I remember why.

Monday, February 27, 2006


Okay, so I am a total geek for getting this much into a stupid television show, but did you see Dancing With the Stars? I loved the first season, and I loved this second one even more. I was rooting for Drew Lachey from the beginning and am so thrilled he won! He totally deserved it, especially after Thursday night's freestyle. I have to say I was disappointed in Stacey's freestyle, and up to that point was really thinking she might win. Which would have been fine, but I was so rooting for Drew!
Congratulations, Drew and Cheryl!!

Friday, February 24, 2006

SPF - Nothing better to do

I am totally not in the mood for SPF this week, but I'm too sick to think of anything original. And by too sick, I mean sore throat, cough, and prevailing fatigue. And now the baby's feeling better, so he's running circles around me. I shudder to think what this house will look like at the end of the day. Add in the fact that hubby didn't get home until 9 last night and had to be at work by 6:30 this morning, and I just want to crawl back into bed. BUT, the show must go on...

Kristine, from her lovely new digs, has asked for the following:

Inside your nightstand drawer:

This was a lot neater a few weeks ago, but then the baby started getting into everything imaginable, and we started hiding said things in this drawer. Now I must dig through it to find anything. Plus we had to take the handle off to keep the baby from opening it. It won't be long before he figures that out, though, and then we're really in trouble. Let's see, we have cologne, a computer game, a jewelry box, band-aids, a comb, a few stray peanuts, and who knows what else.

A good book you've read:

There are so many, so I just grabbed the most recent one. I had trouble putting this one down. I know, I know, Oprah's book club, but my mom recommended it, not Oprah. It really is fantastic.

A favorite lamp:
I've shown this before, but here it is again. My mom painted this lamp to match my bedroom when I was a kid. It doesn't quite work right anymore, and the shade is missing, but I couldn't possibly get rid of it. Isn't it pretty?

So there you go! Let me know if you played and I'll come check out your stuff!

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Patriot Act

Anyone who knows me knows I am a patriot. I love my country, I get chills when I hear the national anthem, and I always stand, hand over heart, for the flag. As I've been watching the Olympics this winter, I'm left wondering, where are the patriots?

What I've seen is not a team of Americans united in their love of country and intent on defending our national pride. I've seen a lot of spoiled, whiny people and hotdogging show-offs who may or may not care what people think about their country, as long as they get attention. In my mind, this is the Olympics of "me, me, me."

So, what has caused this? What happened to patriotism? I mean, four years ago, we were a united front. We were fresh from 9/11, and we had something to prove. We won a record number of medals. Now, this year, we've got a fair amount, in fact more than in many previous years. But no one seems to care.

Well, when so many people spend the years beforehand telling everyone in the world that your country has no business being at war, that your president's a liar, that we should just apologize for being American, what do you expect to happen? It doesn't matter whether you think these things are true or not, it colors your perception, and it colors the perception of the rest of the world. Yes, there are a lot of things wrong in this country right now. I don't get political on my blog because there are so many others who do it better, so I'm not going to go into what I think. But if the prevailing opinion, as seen in the press, is that we are just an awful, awful country, it's no wonder the Olympians don't care.

It's no wonder they've practically distanced themselves from their country. It's no wonder at all that they're much more concerned about their own images than about winning for the US, for national pride, for patriotism. Even after Sasha Cohen's brilliant skate the other night, the chants of "USA!" didn't start for a full minute or more, almost like an afterthought.

Come on, people! A country is like a marriage. We may not always get along. We may have completely opposite opinions about a lot of things. But when people on the outside look in, they should see us united, a team. They should know we love each other. I don't see why that's so hard.

What do you think?

Wednesday, February 22, 2006

I am not sick

That scratchy feeling in my throat is just because I was reading to the boys last night.

The runny nose is clearly my allergies acting up.

The fact that I could barely move this morning just means I was up too late watching ice skating.

I am not sick.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

One step forward, four steps back

I'm feeling a bit discouraged today. Lately I've been noticing that no matter what I do around the house, it never gets any cleaner. If I vacuum, ten minutes later someone drops crackers on the floor and crushes them for fun. If I scrub the tile floor, it's like an invitation to spill something sticky and then walk through it, leaving little sticky footprints. If I pick up a few things off the floor, someone will come along and throw twice as much stuff down. I am surrounded by four little people who seem intent on thwarting my every move.

I read a couple of blogs written by women who constantly mention how important it is to keep a clean house. Ladies, I would love for you to come clean my house. I dare you. One grownup against four boys is never going to win.

And before you tell me I should make them clean up their own messes, I do. It just takes them forever. Unless it's something dangerous to the baby, I don't rush to pick up after them. And I'm even teaching the baby to pick up his messes. The problem is that they mess up at ten times the speed of clean. I spend about six hours a day in the schoolroom (a small room on the first floor of our house), teaching the two older boys one at a time. When I emerge, it often looks as though we've had a small, localized twister. I mean, just imagine what three little boys with no immediate supervision are capable of. At that point, it's usually time for me to start dinner, so the mess sits. Then Hubby comes home and everything is still a wreck because the kids know I can't make sure they're cleaning if I'm trying to make dinner. And of course, while I'm cooking, the baby is running around behind me taking the trash out of the trash can and throwing video tapes off the shelves.

If anyone has some words of wisdom, please share. I am so tired of the house being messier after I clean than it was before I started. I am sick of walking out of a room I've just cleaned and into a room that has been destroyed while I was busy. I'd like just once to be able to invite people over without a sense of dread because I know the futility of having the house look decent for them.

And if you say Flylady, I will hunt you down and punch you in your sink-shining arm.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Are you happy now, Bob Barker?

This morning, I sent my kitten off to be neutered, as evidenced by the scratch marks on my shoulder. Hubby, who really, really didn't want to, agreed to take him in to the vet. I carried him out to the truck. All was well until I tried to shut the truck door. Smoky leapt into my arms, digging his claws into me with a panicked look I have not seen since the kids tied his leash to the front of the baby's stroller to make a cat-drawn carriage.

Now, I understand why pets must be spayed and neutered. I have seen firsthand the results of people's carelessness. In fact, Smoky is one of those results. At least if our neighbors had taken "Gilbert" in to get neutered, they would've found out she was a girl. Anyway, in my brain it makes sense. Unneutered males = unwanted kittens. I even read the other day that fixing your pets will make them happier. Okay, maybe it's just me: I can't help but personify my pets. Would a guy really be happier if you gave him the old snip-snip without his permission? Not buying that.

Still, it will be nice not to have to keep Smoky inside all the time. He's been sitting by the window, listening for passing females. Every now and then he's been looking at me like, "Come on lady, let me out. I gotta get my groove on." When I let the dog out, he's been right there, trying to sneak past. I know what's on his mind. He isn't fooling me. And I know what needs to be done.

But I'm not going to ask him to be happy about it.

Friday, February 17, 2006


Today is Friday, finally! Kristine has asked for a random assortment of things this week, so here they are:

Under my bed:

We don't really have an "under" the bed because of the waterbed frame, but we still manage to fit a lot of stuff down there. Doncha love the purple carpet?

My pots and pans:

The previous owners of our house stored their pots and pans on the wall with big nails. They left behind the nails and the big circles of lighter-colored wood where their pans used to be. So I figured I might as well use them.

My stereo:
Ever since I first left home, I have reaped the spoils of my dad's neverending quest for better technology. He bought a new tv, I got the old one. He got a new digital camera, my son got the old one. And when he got an MP3 player, I got his 400 CD changer. Plus all his CDs. I had to take some out to fit mine in, but now I can listen to every CD I own (in alphabetical order of course), just by pressing 'play' once. How cool is that?

Did you play?

Thursday, February 16, 2006

He said what? Part 2

Noah (14 months) has graciously consented to be my guest blogger today. Welcome, Noah!

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Well, that was extremely enlightening. Thank you for sharing that, Noah!

Wednesday, February 15, 2006

WBW - We were so in loooove

TKW has asked for photos of us with a boyfriend or girlfriend of the past. Now, as I may have mentioned when I was telling you all about my courtship with hubby, nobody ever asked me out in high school. I went to both my Junior Ring Dance and Senior prom with future-hubby, and I was the one who asked him since he was in college at the time. So I give you my Ring Dance picture:

I loved my dress - my mom made it. Hated those gold shoes - they really, really hurt. I think Hubby has told me that the brown suit was the only suit he owned; I'm sure he'll comment and give the whole story on that. Now, as you can see, even though it is 1987, I have not succumbed to 80s hair. And no mullet for future-hubby, either. But I hate to disappoint The Kept Woman, who was so looking forward to past hair faux pas. So I give you this:

This is me and a guy named Dave who I went out with for about two seconds in college. Look at his hair. And what is up with that sweater and turtleneck? I seem to remember I thought it looked goofy at the time, too. And of course, I'm wearing a green shirt and matching green pants, with a brown belt and matching brown shoes (which you can't see, but trust me, they're there). We don't even look like a couple. We look like two people who were told to pose for a picture and pretend we were a couple.

So, there you have it. Did you play?

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

He said what?

Ever since Hubby and I got our first television with closed captioning, we keep the captions on almost all the time. At first it was a novelty. Oh, cool, you can see what they're saying! Then it became a habit. Now, it's a necessity. If I turn it off, Hubby spends a good deal of time asking me what the people on TV just said.

Now, when you're not deaf and you spend a long time watching television with captions, you start to notice the mistakes. Deaf people must think some of these guys on television are nuts, with the things they say. I don't know if they have some sort of voice recognition program that throws words up on the screen regardless of whether or not they make any sense, or if there's some lady at a keyboard typing away and missing the occasional word, but either way, I've gotten a few laughs. Like last night, during couples skating, one of the teams did "double asms." I can't believe they would show that on television!

Sometimes it's a word that sounds just like another word. For example, the word "undoubtedly" might be captioned "under Ali." You see how these things can happen. Sometimes they're not even real words. "Electrical contractor" might become "leck trickle con tacker." It's nuts.

I wonder if it's done subconsciously at times. The other day, on a show about racism and segregation in colleges (not currently - years ago), the word "coon" appeared in the captions. The man on the show said, "I couldn't find any evidence..." but the captions said, "I coon find..." Some captioner somewhere clearly had strong opinions about the topic of that show.

If your television has closed captioning, turn it on for a day. It's an experience.

Well I'm off to my home's cool coe wop. Have ag rate day!

Saturday, February 11, 2006

One year!

Today marks one year since I started blogging! Three hundred and forty-four entries later, here I am!

Friday, February 10, 2006

SPF - Love is in the air

The lovely Kami is in charge of SPF this week, and has chosen a love theme to match the upcoming holiday.

What I love most about my house:

The thing I love most about my house is the part we're not even using yet. When we bought the house, it had this unfinished room over the garage. This picture is taken from the alcove where the front windows are, toward the bathroom. You'll notice there are no walls, no shower, no pipes, no flooring. The previous owners had been planning an in-law apartment, but never finished it. When I saw this, I got really excited about the possibilities. I've never gotten to plan an entire master suite from the bare floors up before. So now you probably want to see the finished product, right? Well, since we're doing all the work ourselves, it's not quite done. But we're getting there! It's going to have a laundry room, kitchenette, two sinks in the bathroom, and a double-headed shower!

What I love least about my house:

My battles with the stove have been documented here and here. This is the only heat we have for the basement, and we spend a lot of time in the basement because we have a nice family room, not to mention our main kitchen (yes, I have two kitchens) is down there. But this thing has been way too much trouble. I just leave it to Hubby most of the time because he will do anything he can to save money on electricity, and the stove generally heats the first floor of the house enough that we don't need to turn on the electric heat. But when he has to go away, like in two weeks when he has another business trip, it's a fight to the death between me and this thing and so far, it's beaten me every time. And when it goes out, it takes hours to relight. I've about had my fill of the stove this winter. Edited to clarify: this is a coal stove, not wood. have you ever tried to burn rocks?

What I love most about myself:

I'm with Kami on this one: my hair. Here, I have just had it cut and braided. Normally, I do nothing but let it dry and brush it. It has a nice natural wave, and it's really thick. It's down to my lower back now, and I plan to let it keep growing for a while. It's also fun to use for tickling the baby and makes a nice handle for my sons to use to get my attention.

So there you have it! Did you play?

Thursday, February 09, 2006


Today is Hubby's follow-up appointment with the heart doctor. They're trying to figure out the root cause of his pericarditis. It could have been something like lupus or rheumatoid arthritis, it could have been an infection, or we may never know. I'm just glad he's okay. And it's nice to know his heart and arteries are healthy, too. We'll see what the doctor says.

Wednesday, February 08, 2006

WBW - Gone but not forgotten

A more serious tone from TKW this week as she asks us to find pictures of family and friends who have gone out of our lives. I chose, as I am sure many of you did, to go with pets.

This is my cat B.P. That stands for Black Pussycat. My parents got him the same year I was born, so we grew up together. He was the best cat in the world. When my brother got a dog the year I was 13, B.P. decided there was no way he was going to share his house with that yappy little thing, and he left. The other cat there is Kringle. We named her that because we got her right before Christmas. Kringle was completely nuts. She, too, went off to find another family when the dog moved in.

This is Angel. I have previously related the story of how we came to get Angel. She was a sweet kitty. And clearly a fish lover. Incidentally, that fish is also among the departed.

Did you play?

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

What's "spam" in Spanish?

First off, thank you all for your thoughts and prayers. Hubby is home and doing much better. He has to stay home from work all week and take it easy, but he's not in pain anymore. I am so thankful.

So, a while back I got an offer for therapy in Spanish. Now, I've received email trying to sell me a guard dog, also in Spanish. Not only are they offering guard dogs for sale ("love and security for the family"), but they will watch the dog for you if you go on vacation! I think that's a good deal. I might check into this.

Again, this generous offer comes from the country of Chile, where apparently there are lots of dangerous people, in need of therapy, running around breaking into houses which are not protected by guard dogs. Be warned!

Monday, February 06, 2006

It's been a long weekend

Saturday morning, I was at a breakfast with some ladies from church. My cell phone rang. It was hubby. He said he didn't feel good and asked how long I'd be. We were about done, so I headed home as soon as I could. He called again when I was on the way. He sounded really bad. I didn't know what was going on, but I assumed he had gotten one of the bugs the kids have had lately.

When I arrived home, he was in bed, complaining of severe chest pains. As he described how he was feeling, I decided we should get him to the hospital. We called the doctor's office and they said the same thing. So I got all the boys dressed and we headed to the ER. I waited for three hours before a doctor finally came out. "All of his tests are normal," he said, "but I'm going to keep him overnight to make sure."

So, I headed home with the boys. The hospital called to tell me which room he would be in. I figured everything was good.

Then the phone rang again. The doctor told me Hubby was having pains again and this time his EKG was not normal. They were rushing him to another hospital in an ambulance for a cardiac catheterization. Basically, the doctor told me he was about to have a heart attack, or there was a slight possibility he had an infection of some sort causing the irregularity.

About an hour and a half later, a different doctor called to tell me everything looked normal. That was a very long hour and a half. So anyway, the doctor said what he has is pericarditis, which is inflamation of the sac around the heart, likely caused by a virus. It causes the same symptoms as a heart attack, and it's extremely painful, but not life-threatening. But he would have to stay in the hospital, probably until Monday.

So, after my mother-in-law and brother-in-law came up, I spent all day yesterday at the hospital. He was feeling much better, and looking fine. In fact, the ICU nurse said all the other nurses were jealous because she got him as a patient. He's getting plenty of rest, and has been told he should stay home from work all week. He's out of the ICU now and is supposed to have another EKG before he is discharged today.
Phillipians 4:6-7
6 Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known unto God.
7And the peace of God, which passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.
I am amazed at how calm I've been through all this. It really is a peace I don't understand. It doesn't make any sense to me. The whole time I was waiting for that phone call, I should have been hysterical. But all I could do was put my trust in God and give the whole situation to Him. Then on the way to the hospital, the radio was playing, "Tis so sweet to trust in Jesus." Coincidence? I think not.

Friday, February 03, 2006

SPF - Games people play

Kristine's assignment this week is to show the games we play. Here we go.

A game I play:
Anytime I get stuck anywhere or have to wait more than two minutes, I pull out my Visor and play Pyramid. It's a card game where you have to match cards that equal 13 to clear the board. Total waste of time. But if I'm already sitting there doing nothing, it's the perfect way to keep from falling asleep. It's old technology, sure, but it still works and it's fun! And before you ask why this is a stock picture, my Visor is upstairs and I am in the basement. Yes, I am that lazy this morning.

A family game: These are some of our favorite games as a family. We actually don't play Win, Lose or Draw, that's just there to balance the video tapes on the other side, though I'm not really sure why those are there either...

My game: Trivial Pursuit is my game. It is so much my game that no one in my immediate family will play it with me because they know I will win. This is one of the original, first-edition Trivial Pursuit games. I also have Trivial Pursuit: Lord of the Rings edition and I just got Trivial Pursuit: Book Lovers' edition for Christmas. No one will play those with me, either. Anyone up for an online challenge? So there you have it. Did you play?

Thursday, February 02, 2006

It's official

Six more weeks of winter. Let's see, so far this winter we've had less than an inch of snow and more 60 degree days than 30 degree days. I'm thinking this news will not upset a lot of people.

By the way, click the above link. Phil may be an ace weather forecaster, but he's a lousy poet.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006

WBW - Bling

The Kept Woman has requested pictures of us showing off our bling or otherwise acting rich. I thought this one fit the bill.

This picture was taken on my dad's fiftieth birthday. My parents came to visit us in Shreveport, Louisiana in the summer of '94 and Dad insisted that we make a big deal out of the big 5-0. We rented a limousine and went out to dinner at the fabulous Kon Tiki. And of course took the obligatory pictures inside the limo. So here I am with hubby, clinking what appear to be empty glasses, living the rich life in the back of a limousine. As an added bonus, you can see my engagement and wedding rings, which don't fit right now due to excess baby weight (yeah, even 14 months after his birth, I still get to claim baby weight, and I dare you to tell me different).

So, did you play?