Thursday, March 25, 2004

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles...

The Hubster is on his way home for a week. :)

He called this afternoon as he was leaving for the airport - 6 a.m. his time. The entire trip will be just under 28 hours, if all goes well. I don't know how he worked that out - when I used to make the trip with three small kiddos, it was 36 hours no matter which route I took. But that's another story.

For the past week I have been compiling lists of things I really should get done before he comes home (cut the grass, clean the refrigerator, shave my legs, the usual list.)

(As I type this I am watching our 10 week-old baby try to go to sleep. He just starts to nod off, then pulls his hair and wakes himself up. He's done this at least half a dozen times now. Why do they do that??!!??)

Back to the list. I did manage to accomplish two things - I got my hair cut and I scrubbed the patio. Then I started thinking....what's the point?

(Little Guy can't fall asleep, so now I'm holding him as I type this.)

Anyway, will the Hubster even care (or notice, for that matter) if I don't patch the pool screen where I made the huge gash with the weedeater? BTW, I hate that damn weedeater - I've never been able to get it right.

Will he care if I have a two-inch stack of bills that really should be filed away? Maybe I'll just hide the Mastercard statements and leave the rest for another day.

What about the mess in the garage? I think it's kind of cute that the Blonde One and the Wildcard created a scooter track so they can race each other around and around on rainy days.

(The Little Guy is asleep in his bed, on his belly - he sleeps better that way. I'm such a BAD mommy!! Before anyone calls child protective services on me, I am right here next to him and will roll him over onto his back before
I go to bed.)


Our Blonde One was born in the middle of a move. We were visiting my in-laws in South Florida at the time, and were on our way to Rhode Island. He was delivered via C-section just after midnight on a Friday night, the night before we needed to leave to drive up to Rhode Island.

It was obvious that I would not be leaving the next morning, but the Hubster had to be there by Monday morning. We decided he would drive up, check in, and find us a place to live. I would stay with my in-laws until I felt ready to go, then drive up with the kids. He would have a place and be settled by that time. (It was only a 3-month gig - we rented a furnished condo, so there really wasn't a lot of "settling" to do.)

(Hang in here, I promise this is relevant. ;))

So, exactly two weeks after having my C-Section I was ready to go. Against my in-laws' wishes, I packed up our just-turned-two y/o Diva and the Blonde One and headed north. (This has already become a family legend, by the way. Hardheaded, stubborn Barb and her 2-week postpartum roadtrip with the kiddos...)

It was a two-day trip from the Ft. Lauderdale area to Newport, Rhode Island. By the time I got to our new 'home', it was after 3 a.m. I was tired, hungry, and just wanted a hot shower. The hubster met us downstairs and helped carry up the few things we would need immediately (bassinet, diapers, suitcases, etc.) I was ready to collapse at that point.

He opened the front door and the first thing I noticed was a funky smell. (He still swears he couldn't smell anything.) As he showed me around the place, I figured it out - he had been living there ten days and had never washed a single dish. The dishwasher was full and the sink was full. The trash needed to be emptied. Laundry was piled high in the bathroom.

He's not a messy person, he just said he was very busy with school and didn't have time to clean before I got there (but there was a new surfboard in the hall closet...go figure). Besides, if I was feeling well enough to drive cross-country, I could certainly handle a few dishes, right?

On to my point.

I'm tearing up my list. He can get his jet-lagged self out and clean the refrigerator when he can't sleep at 4 a.m. And the yardwork, that's always been his department. I always seem to run over the sprinklers with the lawn mower anyway. And the snakes...I don't do snakes.

Maybe I'll just shave my legs and call it good.

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Tuesday, March 23, 2004

Road Rage

I've come to the conclusion that I live in the center of the universe. It's the only explanation I can come up with for why people here seem to think everything revolves around them!!

I love this place, I really do.

I am just tired of the rude, self-centered, arrogant, oblivious people who live here. Nowhere is it more evident than on the roads, which is why I am compiling a list of "Top Ten Reasons I Really Should Start Carrying A Handgun".

10. People who don't know where they are going. If you see your destination as you are passing it, GO AROUND THE FREAKIN' BLOCK!!! Don't hit your brakes and cross two lanes of traffic without looking!

9. Drivers who KNOW that right-lane traffic will merge into the left-lane and form a single lane, yet stay in the right lane so they can get ahead of as many people as possible before having to merge.

8. Those mentioned in #9 who then attempt a left-hand turn 100 yards past where they merged in, thus stopping all the traffic they were in such a hurry to pass.

7. School parking lots. Period. I hate them.

6. Being behind someone who is driving 10 mph under the speed limit, yet they manage to make the light just before it turns red....leaving you sitting there trying to not teach your 9 y/o new bad words.

5. Drivers who are stopped at a red light and pretend they don't see you trying to get out of a parking lot into traffic. Women are 10 times worse than men. Men will wave you in, while women look the other way and/or pretend to not see you. Or they simply shake their head "No" and ride the bumper of the person in front of them.

4. Drivers in a left-turn lane who don't notice a green arrow until it is ready to turn red. They make it, you don't.

3. People who don't use turn signals. And people who don't turn their signals off. AKA the "Left turn around the world" crowd.

2. Drivers who pull into an intersection because they think they can make a green light even though traffic is backed up and not moving. The light turns red, the intersection is blocked. No one goes anywhere.

1. People who pull into the parking space next to you, open their door and slam it into your vehicle, study the dent they made, quickly run into the store to make their purchase, return to their car, study the dent in your vehicle again, then jump into their car and drive away without ever knowing you were sitting in the backseat of the van feeding the baby and saw it all.

Argh!!!!!!!!!!

!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Picture of the Day:
(I don't know why, it just seemed to fit the mood.)
Photo Courtesy of the Blonde One.


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Saturday, March 20, 2004

Invasion of the Pasty Whites

It's that time of the year again. The Pasty Whites have begun their annual trek to the sun.

(Beore I get to far, I have to admit I was once one of them. And "my people" back home are among them. I love the Pasty Whites - I also find them very amusing.)

The migration usually begins at the end of February and peaks in late March. It seems to run in weekly cycles, with new Pasty Whites arriving each weekend. By Tuesday they have baked and basted until they nearly glow in the dark. Thursday brings on the Blister Phase, and by the end of the week they are literally shedding their pasty-white skin everywhere. So goes the life-cycle of the Pasty Whites.

This morning, as is my Saturday routine lately, I took my Diva and her Diva Friend to the beach. I do the drop-off and the Diva Friend's parents do the pick-up. As I attempted to pull out of our neighborhood onto the main road, I came to a complete stand-still. Traffic was backed up for over a mile and was not moving a bit. The Pasty Whites were out in full force. Annoyed, I quickly did a U-turn and headed in the opposite direction to the alternate route to the beach - the one the Pasty Whites don't know about.

After dropping the pair of divas at the beach, I turned and headed toward home. My short-cut only works in one direction, so I had no choice but to tackle the traffic.

As I sat stopped in traffic, I watched the Pasty Whites walking the 'strip'. Even without the pale skin, they would be easy to spot in their sneakers and socks, even on the beach. Then there are always the 'sandals and socks' crowd - something I never really understood. The Pasty Whites have a tendency to travel in groups, loaded down with shopping bags, beach bags, and more bags. There is usually a token photographer among them, someone whose duty it is to snap photos in front of various points of interest.

As annoyed as I was with the increased traffic, I was happy for the Pasty Whites. I have great memories of my Pasty White days - there's nothing like the feeling of sunshine on your face after weeks of sub-freezing temperatures. And the freedom from sweaters and down jackets. And the fact that your job and the pressures that go with it are hundreds of miles and several days away.

Ah, yes. Good times, good times.

So, as I continued home, I noticed something odd. Usually as I leave the main beach area, the Pasty White population thins out, then disappears completely. That wasn't the case today. As I came around one last corner, I saw them, hundreds of them. They were parked bumper-to-bumper on the side of the road, sitting on their cars and standing in the backs of pickup trucks, cameras poised and pointed north.

A lightbulb finally went off in my head. There was a rocket launch scheduled for just after noon today. The Pasty Whites were lucky enough to be in the area to see it. For some, it will be a high point of their vacation. For me, it meant a traffic headache.

As I turned onto our street, I heard the rocket going off and felt the familiar earth-shaking rumble. I thought of the many things I take for granted and how they are "events" for the Pasty Whites. Going to the beach is an ordinary Saturday routine. The weather is expected to be mild. Rocket launches are common and not really photo-worthy.

I wondered if I have become oblivious to the simple things, and more importantly, if my kids are unable to appreciate their surroundings.

I got my answer as I rounded the last curve to my house. There, in my front yard, was my 9 year-old son (the Wildcard). He was in his underwear, dancing around the yard in wide-eyed wonder as he watched the rocket head into space.

Friday, March 19, 2004

Where, Oh Where Did I Plant That Money Tree?

You can't help but laugh at Teenaged Divas. In this calendar year alone, our Diva has made plans that involve thousands of dollars of our money. (Ours, as in the Hubster's, mine, and hers. In her mind, it's all the same.)

Her first Big Plan was a spring break trip back to the place we lived before moving here. I can't totally blame her for this because her brothers wanted to go too and I seriously considered it. We left a lot of very good friends behind when we moved, and it would be great to see everyone again.

Total cost for plane tickets, hotel, and incidentals: $2,000.00

The next Big Plan was a cruise. She actually went as far as to invite her friend Caitlyn along ("Don't worry, my mom will pay for it all.") She seemed to think a family cruise would be a good idea, but to keep her from becoming bored she would invite a friend.

Total cost: $2,500.00

Her third Big Plan, and her biggest to date, was a trip to Norway to visit her best friend. She would go alone, after all she is fifteen now. The last time she talked to her friend, she came to me and said, "Mom, Lauren's getting her mom on the phone. Is now a good time for you to talk to her about my trip to Norway?" I immediately poked the baby and woke him up - sorry, my little Diva, now's not a good time!

Total cost, including plane tickets and spending money: $1,700.00

Then there's the ongoing Big Plan: The Car. We had talked about buying a third vehicle when we move if it is necessary. The problem is that Teenaged Divas are like dogs - they can look right at you when you speak to them, but what they hear has no connection to what you are actually saying.

"We may buy a used car from the Lemon Lot to get back and forth to work" in Divaspeak sounds exactly like "I'm going to buy you a new vehicle, why don't you start shopping around for the one you want?"

Our Diva has been shopping for months for THE car. Her first choice was a Mustang convertible. From there she went to a yellow Celica. Now she is looking at Land Rovers, but she will settle for a used one. She actually found a used one for "only $8,000" in a nearby state. We could buy it now, pay $1,600 to ship it to our next duty station, then an additional $1,600 to ship it back when she goes to college.....

Total cost for the Land Rover and shipping: $11,200.

And the Biggest Plan is college. A Diva simply cannot attend a state school, unless it is another state (as in: we will pay out-of-state tuition rates). That would be an additional $10,000 per year, but only for four years. She plans on being a Pre-Med major, so there will be additional expenses for Dental School and Orthodontic School.

Total cost: $40,000++

Which brings us to today. It's not a Big Plan, but a little insight into the mind of a Teenaged Diva. She must have a new bathing suit. This weekend. Never mind that she got a new one at the end of last summer and had gotten a new one at the beginning of last summer. No matter how many times we tell her "No", she keeps asking. So, tonight she came up with a compromise:

"I won't beg for a new bathing suit anymore if you let me go shopping with my friends during spring break. And let me bring the credit card."

So......in the mind of a Teenaged Diva, you negotiate away something you don't even have in order to get something you want even more??

Total cost for my laugh of the day: Priceless!

Thursday, March 18, 2004

Dilemma Time!!

Yesterday I was contacted by a realtor who has a client interested in buying our house.

Normally that would be a good thing. However, our house isn't listed for sale. (Things like this only happen when I can't get in touch with the Hubster.) It has made me do some serious thinking, though.

We just bought the house last May. Our plan was (is?) to live here for a year while the Hubster is overseas, then convert it to rental property for six years until he retires from the military. There are a lot of things we like about the area, so we planned to retire here. Now I'm having second thoughts, and the conversation with the real estate agent only made it worse.

Apparently the interested buyer had looked at the house when it was for sale last year, but was indecisive long enough for us to jump in and buy it. He or she has regretted taking too much time and has been looking for a house in this neighborhood since then, but not many go on the market and they sell fast once they are put out there. So....he/she heard through the grapevine that we would be moving this summer and the house would become a rental, thus the offer to buy.

The realtor didn't give us a specific dollar amount yet, but the range he mentioned was very appealing!! He wants to bring the clients by ASAP to look at the house again, if we are interested in selling.

Part of me is saying SELL, SELL, SELL!!! I haven't looked forward to owning rental property, I know too many people who have had major headaches in that department. Although I absolutely love the house, the feeling of being tied down to one area is scary! We could always find another house when he retires, right? And it's a huge seller's market in our area right now. The return on our investment is another huge incentive.

On the other hand, I love the house, I love the area (most aspects, anyway), and I know people who have had good experiences with rental property. Selling so soon would make any gain partially taxable. Then there's all the closing costs we paid - it seems like such a waste to sell so soon after paying those.

So, I'm just thinking aloud here....need to do more research....need to talk to Hubster.....need to crunch some numbers.....need to get some sleep!!

$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

Pic of the day:


Tuesday, March 16, 2004

No Longer On The Fence

The Jessica Simpson issue has been resolved.

For the longest time I've been wondering....is she, or isn't she? It takes a very smart person to pretend to be that dumb and carry it out convincingly. If she is smart, she has mastered the art of playing dumb. On the other hand, it is apparent that she is a spoiled, young girl. Her parents have always done everything for her, so thinking has never been required. We've all heard the quotes and she herself has said, "I think out loud — that's my problem."

I don't know why this matters to me.

Her most recent comment during a White House visit sealed the deal for me. During her visit she met Interior Secretary Gale Norton. She reportedly told Norton, "You've done a nice job decorating the White House."

The jury is in - Dumb, Dumb, Dumb!!!!!!

Monday, March 15, 2004

The Wildcard Turns Nine

Today our Wildcard turned nine, so this will be all about him. It has to be - all day he was dropping reminders, "Today is my birthday. It's all about ME!!"

In all honesty, at one point we never planned to have him. (That would burst his little bubble!) We had our Diva and our Blonde One, our girl-child and our boy-child, so we said we were done. I don't know how it happened, but we somehow decided we needed one more, a tie-breaker. Our older two children have always been very well-behaved, very predictable (in a good way). We foolishly assumed this one would follow lock-step in their footsteps.

He was born on March 15, 1995, in Charlottesville, Virginia. We knew he was destined for greatness when the nurse commented, "This baby has the largest scrotum I've ever seen!" And so it began.

He is a very good boy, but has his off-the-wall moments. Like the time when he was two years old and tried to barter with our priest....

Our Wildcard was always curious about the "snacks" we got at church (communion wafers) and was upset that he never got one. We always took snacks to church for him, so I didn't think anything of it when he insisted on taking Ritz Crackers one week.

He sat quietly through church, then held my hand and walked with me when we lined up to receive communion. That's the way we always did it. When we got to the front of the line, my Wildcard opened his little hand to reveal a smashed Ritz cracker, which he offered to the priest. He then insisted that Father Bill take the Ritz and give him a communion wafer in exchange. We made a scene that day.

One day, when he was three y/o, my friend Lori was watching him for the afternoon. She was in the kitchen making cookies while he played with Lori's children. The Wildcard walked into the kitchen and spotted a cookie sheet with balls of unbaked cookies, so he grabbed one and popped it into his mouth.

Lori panicked - she didn't know if he had any food allergies or if I allowed him to eat dough with raw eggs in it. When she yelled his name it startled him. He took the cookie dough out of his mouth, put it back on the cookie sheet where he had found it, and ran out of the kitchen in tears.

There was also the time a few years ago we were in Vegas and visited the Guiness World Record Museum. Our Wildcard was very impressed with the bizarre things people could do with their bodies, especially the guy who could pop his eyeballs almost completely out of their sockets. The Wildcard decided he wanted to be able to do that. The following days were spent with him walking around wide-eyed, straining and concentrating real hard, asking, "Am I doing it yet?" "How about now?" "Are they out yet?"

He eventually gave up on that dream and moved on to other things. Just this past summer his grandfather asked him what his mission in life was. This is a question that would stump most eight year-old's , but not the Wildcard. Without hesitation, he said, "Well, I've already counted to ten-thousand, so all that's left is to learn to snap my toes."

Aim high, Big Guy!! And Happy Birthday!!!!!!!!!!
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Pic of the day:
(The large scrotum has been airbrushed out....)

Saturday, March 13, 2004

Scatterbrained Saturday

(Sorry, but I'm all over the place here.)

Item #1: It's that time again - soccer season.

We had our first game this weekend. (By 'we' I mean my 13 y/o son, the Blonde One.) I am happy to report that 'we' won by a score of 7-1 and the Blonde One played a great game and scored two goals!!

This is great news for several reasons, besides the obvious.

With all the moving we do, soccer has been a lifesaver - see, the Blonde One is also the shy one. Getting him out on a field, kicking a ball around and being a part of a team is a real icebreaker for him. He has always made his best friends that way.

We are currently living the life of pseudo-civilians. When we moved here last summer we immediately signed him (and his younger brother, the Wildcard) up for soccer. This area has one of the most well-organized soccer clubs we've ever seen, so our hopes were high.

Unfortunately, we soon discovered a downside to that - most of the teams have been together since the kids were five years old. Same kids, same coach, very little movement on or off the team. Even though they had space for new players, it didn't mean they would be a part of the 'team'. Fall season went well, but the Blonde One never felt like he got an opportunity to prove himself.

When fall season ended, the coach announced that he would not be returning for spring season. He was in the midst of a bitter divorce and had moved out of town, and his obnoxious son didn't want to play any more. The team would be dissolved. Any players wishing to continue would be absorbed into the other three local teams - much like the tribes on Survivor Allstars. We were disappointed that he would have to switch to another team, especially since we will be moving from the area this summer.

Anywho, back to my original point. The Blonde One played an outstanding game today. He played 90% of the game, and played his favorite position - Forward. His coach was impressed, his teammates were impressed. (Okay, the other parents were impressed too.) The Blonde One feels like he is a part of a team again, and his team has accepted him as one of them.

Life is good for the Blonde One.

Item #2: Prayers

The Hubby learned today that a friend of his was piloting the plane that went down near Miramar a few days ago. There were four Marines aboard, none survived. Please keep the families in your prayers.

Item #3: How stupid is this?

The lead story on our local news was about a man who tried to grab a little girl from a local elementary school on Friday. The girl got away, but the man was not caught.

Cut to an interview with a random woman who is identified by name:

"Of course I'm concerned!! I live very near the school where this happened! I have an eleven year-old girl, a very beautiful girl with blonde hair and blue-green eyes. I'm very worried about the safety of my little girl!"

Idiot.
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Pic of the day:

Okay, I didn't take this one, but it cracked me up! Hardwood floors and recently remodeled!!
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Friday, March 12, 2004

Need Help?

Ouch.

How did they know?

Tonight I went on-line shopping. My goal was to find a replacement part for my blender before my big Margarita Fest in two weeks. Froogle is great - I found the part I need in a matter of minutes. The problem? The part was $5.97 and the shipping was $6.49.

I have a problem with paying more in shipping charges than I pay for my purchase.

The obvious solution? Browse the site and see if there is anything else I "need".

Keep in mind this is a KITCHEN site and, as most of you know, the only reason I have a kitchen is because it came with the house. I am perfectly happy with take-out and a few fresh veggies. I never understood how anyone could actually enjoy cooking. (I have a theory on that - we'll have to save it for another day.)

So, as I'm browsing the website I notice a salad spinner on sale. I really could use one of those! (I usually just send my husband out on the patio with a covered colander full of lettuce and have him "spin" it all off, but that's another story.) With one simple 'click' it is mine.

I should have quit at this point. Buying a salad spinner almost justifies the $6+ in shipping fees for my blender parts.

As I was clicking back to the main page, I came across a barbecue tool set. We need one of those! Another click, and it's in my shopping cart.

As I recall, that's where I lost control. Mini Loaf Pans! Click!! Alphabet Cookie Cutters! Click!! A Lasagne Turner! Definitely a Click!! Before I knew it I had clicked away to the tune of $173.56!!

(Note: This isn't my first on-line shopping experience. The difference: I usually only purchase items I need, like the skincare products at Beautyhabit.com.)

After thinking it over, I quickly removed the Avocado Slicer from my shopping cart and went through the checkout process. I entered all relevant information and was taken to the final comfirmation page where I was given two buttons to choose from. The first was "Place Order". My other option was "Need Help?"

Why, yes, I do seriously need help. I need someone to come to my house and make space for all my new kitchen gadgets that I will probably never use.

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My picture of the day:





Thursday, March 11, 2004

First, an explanation.

I lost my blog. I really never thought it was possible, but leave it to me!! After taking several months off for holiday festivities and to have a baby, I completely forgot my login name and blog name. (I guess if I had been more consistent in the first place it wouldn't be a problem.) Someday it will come to me in a dream or something.

I thought maybe they were deleted after a certain amount of inactive time. However, when i was searching for a name for this one, I came across many, many that had not been updated in months. So, I guess I'm still out there, somewhere.

It's all good, though. I was planning on going in a different direction anyway, so a fresh start works for me. I plan to incorporate a few pics into my mindless ramblings, so let's see how that all goes.

Testing here....

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Wednesday, March 10, 2004