Thursday, August 28, 2008

PPL Thursday

Mid-month Every Month at PENSIEVE
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It's time once again for Pensieve's Poetic License, brought to us by the always fabulous Robin. We are free to choose a poetic form this month, which leaves those of us who studied literature for four years in order to earn a little piece of paper shaking our heads in bewilderment. Too many choices! Too many!

And so, since last month I was still recovering from my gall bladder surgery and didn't participate, this month I will attempt that oh-so-sublime and newly-created poetic form, the Pensieve. Our theme is Back to School, a subject with which I am all too painfully familiar as around here, home IS school.

Homeschool's In
New textbooks lined up in a row, like students waiting for the bus
The acrid scent of freshly sharpened pencils
The smoothness of clean sheets of paper between my fingers
The taste of coffee while I watch them work
And the whining voices, "Summer's over already?"

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

A landlord is...

Hubby's trip to China got delayed until Wednesday - hooray! He'll be getting home just in time for a trip we had planned to Williamsburg. They have special homeschool days in Colonial Williamsburg for a fraction of what you'd normally pay for admission.

I'm going to take my camera over to the rental house next time we go, so I can show you all the work we've done. You won't believe how nice it looks. I don't believe how much time it took, but then when you do everything yourself, it takes longer.

Hubby was commenting to me yesterday that a landlord really has to wear many hats. A landlord is:
  • a manager
  • a babysitter
  • a painter
  • a handyman
  • a carpet installer
  • a complaints department
  • a detective
  • a collections department
  • an accountant
And those are just the ones I can think of off the top of my head. I'm seriously thinking about writing a book on being a landlord. Even in the short decade we've been doing it, we've learned a LOT. Mostly because we've made a LOT of mistakes. But if our stupidity can help other people, I guess it's worth it.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Dead tired

We have spent three days straight working at the rental house. It is almost done. The carpet needs to be finished, and then all the little nit-picky things needs to be done, and then it will be UP FOR SALE! Anyone want to buy a house?

So while we should have started school yesterday, I am too exhausted to even think straight. I did, however, find a new favorite soda - Diet Pepsi Max with extra caffeine and ginseng. I don't think I would have gotten through Saturday without it.

Friday, August 22, 2008

The tragedy

Last night, our household suffered a truly tragic event. Or at least you would have thought so from the reaction of the six year old. We moved him and the three year old into their own room.

When he and I returned from soccer practice, Daddy and the twelve year old had already moved the bottom bunk into the new room. The six year old broke down. Great big tears, sobbing, the whole show. And this went on until midnight. He just didn't want to be in a room without his big brothers.

Keep in mind that every night prior to this, he complained because those same big brothers were keeping him awake.

Hopefully he will get used to the new arrangements and everything will eventually go back to normal. We tried to be very understanding about the whole thing, while rolling our eyes at each other behind his back. Honestly, if it's not one thing, it's another around here!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Should I or shouldn't I torture myself?

My high school reunion is coming up in October. Twenty years, believe it or not. I've recently found some of my old classmates on Facebook and am starting to get excited about the idea of seeing them in person. Then again, these people were not really my friends in high school. I haven't been in touch with my actual friends in quite a while.

In actuality, I'd rather have a reunion with some of my teachers than with a lot of the people in my class. I remember being really relieved when I graduated because I wouldn't have to see any of those people again if I didn't choose to. And now I'm thinking of paying $50 to do just that.

I don't know. I'm sure I'll be glad when I go, but this is bringing up a lot of feelings about high school I thought were long gone.

And people ask me why I home school??

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Millennial Post!

IT's MY 1000th POST!!!!!

To celebrate, I'm going to send a wonderful prize package to some lucky person who comments here today. A prize package valued at no less than $1, LOL. Seriously, though, it will be something nice.

All you have to do is go back in my archives, anywhere you want, find a post you like, and tell me where you found it and what you liked about it. Bingo, your name goes in the drawing.

You see, I have to take the kids to the dentist today, and after paying the bill I'm going to need some nice cheery comments to come home to. So join in, even if you don't usually comment, and you could very well win!!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

At least I know they have manners

I guess being a mom to boys has taken its toll on me. The other day, I was sitting here at my computer and my two younger sons were playing behind me. I burped, just a tiny little, barely audible burp.

"What?" my six year old said.

"I didn't say anything. I burped." And then, because I live with boys and I know what amuses them, I burped again, just to demonstrate.

My poor son rolled his eyes and huffed, "Say 'Excuse me,' Mommy." He left the room, thoroughly disgusted with his rude mother.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Coming down the home stretch

There are not words to express how tired I am of that rental house. If we didn't have Hubby's brother and sister helping us out the past few weeks, I don't know how we could have gotten so much done. I will be SO glad when I can call the realtor next week and say, "Sell that sucker!" We have only the floor in the kitchen and the carpet in the living room and master bedroom to finish, plus lots of little touch-ups (a bit of paint here, a bunch of cleaning there).

The former tenant finally called me back (after three weeks, or has it been four) to say she was going to paint the house, but when she got there the locks had been changed. Well, sweetie, when you say you're going to do something and it hasn't been done three weeks later, we're under no obligation to keep waiting for you to do it.

We changed the locks because it had been three weeks since she moved out, and every time we came over either the windows were all open, the back door was sitting open, or both. And we brought lots of expensive tools over there so we could fix things, so we weren't going to leave them in an unlocked house that everyone on the block knows is empty. Not to mention that her ex with the bad temper still had the key. I'm sorry she went and bought paint and then couldn't use it, but she certainly could have called the next day and said, "Hey, I've got paint - do you want it?" Or "Even though I can't get in on my own, I'd love to come help you paint."

No, it was only when we threatened legal action that she bothered to call us. Which is just the way it is with some people. But she has at least said she'll pay the back sewer bills, which is something. Let's see if she follows through. She has until the 31st.

The kids are sick of going over there. I'm sick of going over there. I will be dancing in the streets when this is finished.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Non-sticky teeth

All I can figure is that cement doesn't stick to my kids' teeth. My oldest has lost two brackets from his braces. My nine year old just had the left bracket for his head gear come off last night - he's previously had the right one come off. Honestly, I'm glad the orthodontist is only three miles from my house or the gas to run back and forth might cost as much as the braces themselves!!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Almost time for school

It's time to start planning the first month of school for the year. I've already started teaching my first grader so I can give him some extra one-on-one attention. I'll probably start my other boys a week from Monday. We're going to have to be more organized this year, with my oldest in seventh grade. He's got to be more focused; we've got a lot of material to cover.

The big problem is going to be the three year old. He's not willing to leave me alone with the six year old for even ten minutes - I can't imagine he's going to be happy with me taking two hours a day to work with the twelve year old. He's very much like my oldest son was at his age - he wants ALL my attention ALL the time.

I hope I've assembled enough busy work for the three year old that he'll be happy and quiet. Ha! Wishful thinking!

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Working on a deadline

Things are coming along pretty well at the rental house. We're almost done painting, and most of the major projects are finished. But we still have to replace the living room carpet and put new vinyl down in the kitchen. And the big question is whether or not the master bedroom carpet can be cleaned. If not, that's another huge room full of carpet we'll have to replace.

The worst part of all this, besides the fact that we aren't getting rent on this house and haven't since June, is that we have to finish all these things in two weeks. Hubby's supposed to go to China and he'll be gone three weeks. And I certainly can't install carpet by myself.

And to add to all that needs to be done, we can't go during the week because he's teaching a class this week and is gone over 12 hours every day. He isn't up to driving an hour over there to work after that.

I wish I could just fast forward to the whole thing being done with.

Monday, August 11, 2008

I think these cats are better off than I am

Look what showed up on an ad in my gmail account: a cat retirement home! Just when you think you've seen it all!

I actually really like the concept - they take cake of people's cats when those pets outlive their owners or when the owners have to go into a nursing home or similar place that won't allow cats. It just struck me as hilarious when I saw it.

"Well, old Felix has had a long productive life, dear. What do you say we go ahead and let him retire to Florida?"

Thursday, August 07, 2008


If I didn't just pay so much money to the vet for that cat, I'd kill him. A hundred and eighty-five bucks to get four abscesses drained and stay two nights at the vet's office. Plus, he has a monster bottle of amoxicillin he's supposed to take twice a day for the next, oh, five years or so (judging strictly by the bottle size - the instructions just say "until gone").

The swollen cheek turned out to be just one of his battle scars. I think I'm going to count this as his fourth AND fifth lives since it was so nasty.

Honestly, this cat has got to learn to walk away from a fight. Just turn the other cheek, Smokey. You know, the one that doesn't have the oozing abscess on it.

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Your child might be misbehaving if...

How I wish these were just hypothetical examples. But no, these all actually happened yesterday.

Your child(ren) might be misbehaving if...
- they wrestle each other on the grocery store floor, right through the automatic doors and out on to the sidewalk.
- he calls you an idiot loudly, in public, just because
- he turns the sheet he's supposed to use to cover himself in the doctor's office into a cape and starts whooshing around the exam room.
- the doctor, with a rather pitying look in her eyes, starts going on about all the wonderful medicines available for ADHD
- when the nurse says she's going to use "numby" spray before their shots, they start screaming, "Don't turn us into mummies! We don't want to be mummies!" at the tops of their lungs

Oh, it was a fun day at the orthodontist and doctor's offices.

Tuesday, August 05, 2008

Stretched thin

Have you ever felt totally out of sorts? Not at all normal, and not sure how to get back to feeling normal again? With everything that's been happening, I just can't seem to get a grip on my own reality right now.

Life is busy happening around me and I feel like a spectator. There is too much to be done and too little time and energy and I can't get a handle on it, so I just shut down.

Yesterday, for example, my cat had a swollen face and a temperature of 105. He was so hot I could feel the heat radiating off of him from two inches away (Normal for a cat is 100, BTW). While I was dealing with that, I got a call from a tenant that they had no water. So Hubby had to go deal with that after work.

Today we had an orthdontist appt, and this afternoon the three older boys have their yearly doctor's visit. And looming over all of this is that other rental house, which still has so much work left to be done it makes me sick. I feel, as Bilbo says, like butter scraped over too much bread.

And we won't even talk about Hubby possibly going to China for three weeks starting on the 26th. My brain can't allow that information in right now.

Monday, August 04, 2008

Back again

We had a really fun, but exhausting, week at camp. It's a day camp, so we're done by 4 p.m., but the hours from 9-4 are filled with activity. Add to that the fact that we still had to run over to our vacant rental house twice during the week and then all day Saturday and Sunday, and I'm worn out.

On the positive side, we've gotten a good portion of the painting done. We had to primer most of the rooms first because they were painted dark colors. One bedroom was navy blue. Really, who paints a bedroom navy blue? So basically we're painting those rooms twice. Fun, fun, fun.

And now, just for you, a song I learned at camp.

To the tune of the Barney theme song:
I love you, you love me
Let's get together and kill Barney
With a 12-gauge shotgun,
Barney on the floor.
No more purple dinosaur!