Oct 26, 2009

Maybe I will sleep with my door locked tonight

Matthew is quite the little smart mouth. Tonight he was being a pain and being naughty, so I sent him to bed 30 minutes early. He stormed up to his room, very angry at me; I could hear his toys being flung and him storming around up there. I planned on letting him blow off some steam, and then go up there to talk to him and then hug and kiss him goodnight and talk to him about his behavior.

While he was cooling down, Austin went upstairs to get some pajamas for Sophie out of Matthew's room, and I hear them arguing and then I hear Matthew say "IF YOU TELL HER, I WILL KICK YOU!!!" Austin came running downstairs with a silly smile on his face and explained that he needed to tell me what Matthew said. I guess in a fit of rage, my darling sweet son turned into some sort of monster when he told Austin angrily "Next time I see Mommy with a knife, I am going to tell her I hope she cuts her head off!"

The problem with this statement, is that it would be nearly impossible for me to keep a straight face when confronting him about it. After having a giggle and updating my Facebook page, I called my parents to take turns telling them one of my near-famous "Matthew Stories". They also had a giggle and then I mustered as much composure as I could and "angrily" marched upstairs.

Matthew was very remorseful and said he let some angry words come out and that he was very sad about what he said. He claimed he tried to say "next time I see mommy with a knife, I am going to tell her I hope she cuts some vegetables", but the other words just slipped out. This is where I had to turn my head and hold my breath to keep from cracking up. He apologized freely and we talked about how it was not okay to be naughty like he had been when I sent him to bed early, and that he needs to try not to have angry words, because once the words are out they cannot go back and can hurt someone's feelings. I gave him a hug and a kiss goodnight, and surprisingly enough he went to bed fairly easily. I have a feeling he was tired in the first place, causing the naughty behavior in the first place that led to angry words. Having a four year old is an adventure.

Oct 23, 2009

Give, and you will receive.

I need to write this to clear away the black rain cloud that drifted in and tried to take over my good mood, especially since what brought me down was well intentioned and nothing worth fussing over.

Tonight at the grocery store, I got a reminder of something that happened to us years back and the funny little "coincidences" that remind you how life is just a series of circles in a great big circle. About eleven years ago, we were at the Post Exchange buying some necessities when the total came up to more than what we had. The cashier told us not to worry about it and she would cover the difference as we were spending the very last of our money. We were 11 cents short and joked for the rest of our lives we would carry 11 cents. Eleven years ago, eleven cents.

Tonight I decided to make breakfast for dinner, but when we pulled out the ingredients we found we only had 3 eggs, so I took off to the grocery store to get some eggs. When I got in line, there was a woman two people in front of me, and she looked upset and the cashier was ignoring her as best as she could by talking to one of the people in front of me. With a sad look she said "I guess I will have to figure out what I can live without", so I leaned over and I said "how much are you short ma'am?" and she said "eleven cents, can you believe I don't have any dimes or pennies?" I always try to keep at least one of every coin in my wallet, so I did not hesitate to pass up my last penny and dime, I knew I would eventually replace it. She was very grateful and I was happy to have finally had a chance to pay forward my 11 cent debt with the world...lol My eggs, which were $1.89 each, somehow rang up to $2.78 and when the change was spit out, I got back TWO dimes and TWO pennies. Even though it was just my own change, it was a neat little reminder that every thing you put into this life will be returned to you in duplicate, good or bad. And sometimes, you get what someday you will give back.

Oct 20, 2009

The Grapes of Wrath

My darling daughter has a dark side. She is absolutely addicted to grapes. There is no other food on this earth that makes me as happy as grapes, and no other food that makes her scream more. She signs "more grapes" all day long. She will let out the loudest, shrillest squawk every time she sees grapes. We can be in the grocery store, at home, in a restaurant, it does not matter. She absolutely flipped her top over fake grapes the other day, even after the discovered they were rubber, she *still* cried for them.

Today I made her a sandwich, and gave her some grapes on the side (I have to restrict them to one time a day now), and she gobbled down the grapes and then screamed for more, completely ignoring her sandwich, her milk, her cheese and even a blueberry muffin. We cannot even say the word without her getting upset if they don't appear on her tray. We have been reduced to spelling the word when she is in earshot.

The other day I was making a grocery list, after my 4 year old hijacked the list and wrote "candy" on it (with spelling help from his brother), and then asked him "Austin, how do you spell fried chicken?", I asked Sophie if there was anything she wished to add to the list and she signed "more grapes". Months earlier I had taken her to Costco and she starts wigging out saying the word more repeatedly and signing more. I finally saw on the other side of the room was a box of grapes.

I do hope this phase comes to an end soon, or she potty trains soon. Grapes are not digested fully and are not fun at diaper changes. I am sure you can get your own mental image without me painting a picture, so I will leave it at that. Luckily, grapes have been on sale, and all the kids enjoy them, but man I wish she would mix it up a bit and find a few different foods to love.

Oct 19, 2009

Questioning my sanity and realizing my mortality.

I am so sore today, I have found all the muscles in my body, especially in my butt. This morning while crawling into my van I actually checked to see if I was sitting on something.... nope, it was just my swollen glutes. My hands felt bruised when holding the steering wheel. I felt beat up. How did I sustain these injuries? Well, for one, it was a direct result of not listening. It was a secondary response to me not realizing when I was out of my league.

Let's start at the beginning. Yesterday I was bored. It was 2pm and I was up the night before until 4am so I was feeling tired and stir crazy and I decided a nice fall walk in the unseasonably warm weather would be just what I need. I posed an invitation to my local friends on Facebook to suggest a great place to visit with the baby on my back, the three kids on foot, and our two large dogs. It was suggested that I take the kids & dogs to Helen Hunt Falls. I stopped by the grocery store on the way and got energy bars and we had water bottles, a backpack and were ready to go. My GPS could not find Helen Hunt falls, so I set it to Seven Falls, a pay-to-visit area nearby the free Helen Hunt Falls. I now know this was my first mistake.

It was a beautiful drive once I got to the Broadmoor area of town. The temperature was near perfect, the air was clean and crisp. The trees were a lush array of yellows and reds and there was a small dusting of leaves below them. The red rocks towered above us, as the road narrowed to a small guard-post where we paid our $20 entrance fee. This is what lead to the second mistake.

We head a couple miles up a very narrow road to the parking area and chaotically unload kids and pets and jackets and packs. I put the baby in a pack on my back and take the Great Dane. Christopher gets the backpack as the Golden Retriever is too much for him to handle. The dogs excitedly yank us up the hill to the falls pulling us to each new person, smell, chipmunk, or dog.

The view from the top of our second trip up the mountain, this time via the elevator across from the falls.  LOL

The visitor center had a small walk-through next to a stream on the left of it. The water was crystal clear and small fish swam around. If you have ever been to Disney and been on splash mountain, you will remember how happy the ride was until moments before you took the death defying plunge to the bottom. I felt much this way as the stairs emerged before us. Remember where I said paying $20 was my second mistake? That is because I figured if we paid for it, we might as well enjoy it, right? So the sign at the bottom of the falls warn you that the climb is 224 steps. Two HUNDRED and twenty four.

Bottom of the falls.

It was probably around step 50 and the dogs freaked out with the height that I realized what a huge mistake I had made. I was cursing the friend who recommended this death trap and feeling overwhelmed by a 95 pound dog who's attitude about the steps is to just run up as fast as she could to get it over with, dragging me and the baby along with her.

That is one wild stair climb.

At the first platform we took a small break to drink a little water and mentally prep for the second climb. There was another woman with a tiny toy poodle and a baby. My dogs were trying to mess with the puppy and felt like they were pulling our arms out of our sockets in order to sniff the puppy. When the stairs cleared I decided we had better press on while we could.

Close up of the falls and the middle landing.  Half way up the dogs and the four year old decided they were afraid of heights!  lol

It was about halfway up the second set of stairs that I felt like my lungs were about to explode. Matthew was scared and clinging to the rails, Isis was trying to drag me up to be with Austin and Chloe, and I feel like I am going to die. There were people waiting at the top to climb down so I pressed on, red faced, out of shape, and winded.

At the top of the stairs, there was another 2 hour round trip to Helen Hunt's burial site, but at 4pm I started freaking out that we had started way too late, that I was exhausted, and most importantly that we had to get the dogs back down those steps, potentially in the dark! Austin and I were deciding how we were going to get the dogs down the stairs and I think we had just decided that when we got back to the stairs, that Austin and Chris would go down with one dog, and Chris would wait at the bottom with the one dog, while Austin would climb back up to get the other dog and head down again. At about this time a gentleman approached us and said that they would be closing the path soon and that he would be happy to take one of the dogs down half way for us so I could use two hands to hold onto the rail with the baby on my back. On the middle landing, a young gentleman offered to take the dog the rest of the way down so our first volunteer could wait for his wife to come down the stairs.

About this time I was feeling pretty bummed that we could not finish our hike, so we decided to take the mountain elevator to the other side of the canyon to see views of the falls.

Kids & dogs.

The falls were gorgeous, although I do wish they had been more swollen with water. I bet in the spring when the snow is melting they are an amazing sight.

They call it 7 falls because there are 7 different waterfalls.

I will really miss the red rocks of Colorado. By this time I was already looking forward to taking another hike through Garden of the Gods one last time before we leave Colorado.

The beautiful red rocks of Colorado.  I will miss this when we leave.

Sophie was pretty bored with the whole trip, she didn't quite understand why I would not let her climb up the stairs that were no more than plastic steps supported by a single beam in the center of the steps and handrails.

Me with my monkey on my back.  Err, Sophie in her Ergo carrier.

The little boys had a good time, even if they did not get to finish the hike.

Posing with the falls.  Matthew, Christopher, and Austin.

We took the scenic drive on the way home and decided I would take the boys out to dinner for the fist time in months after I showered. While in the shower I realized that my friend had NOT recommended Seven Falls, where we had gone. But a lesser waterfall down the road in a free area without any stairs! Next time I will run in and mapquest driving directions to any place that my GPS cannot find, and I won't push the kids and dogs and I up an area that is too much for us. I don't regret the trip at all, I just wish we had left the dogs at home and gone earlier to be able to take the two hour hike.

Oct 17, 2009

Parking 101: How not be be a complete A-hole

I did not want to have to do this, but kids, it is time for a lesson on parking etiquette. I guess I just assumed everyone knew how to park a car except the NFH, but the last 17 days of the house next to me being for rent has taught me that I guess I am wrong.

I guess it is a good thing, and I should be happy people are looking at the house next door, especially since the only ad I can find for this property is one tiny listing buried on Craig's List.

So boys and girls, get out your notebook and be prepared for a test at the end of my lesson.

My city has laws that say that your vehicle cannot be within four feet of the entrance to someone's driveway, otherwise they can be ticketed, or towed; however us living on top of each other in the land of track homes, they have an unwritten rule that in our area they just can't block them, and you know what? I am fine with that. I also take no issue with people parking in front of my house, I don't claim the public street. What I DO take issue with is when people block my driveway, especially when I am trying to leave my house. It gets a bit old tracking down people to get them to move their cars and my deductible is too high to just say "oops! My car must have slipped out of gear, gone down my driveway, and smashed into your car.... too bad you were parked there", although I can't say I have not been tempted.

We keep one car in the driveway, and my minivan and a piece of shi... err, classic car, in the garage. Yet I don't know how many times I have come outside to see someone's car blocking the entire tail end of his car, which I drive about once a week to keep the battery charged and the fluid moving through it. It is a 2003 Honda Civic with perfect paint and a straight body, so it is not like it looks abandon or anything. There is also only about 2-3 feet between my driveway, and the neighbors, so unless you drive a motorcycle, you are going to block someone's driveway... one might think the smart thing to do would to be to block the *empty* house you are coming to look at, and not the car occupied one.

The empty house, also has an equally empty two car driveway, and an empty spot spanning the entire front of the house. On top of that, directly across the street is a house facing east to another street leaving the side of it completely unobstructed by driveways and can easily fit 3 or 4 cars. Common sense would say you could park in one of about 9 different spaces and be close to the rental you are looking at, and not piss off anyone.

So today I realize the storage unit I rented last month for pre-packing is due today, but rather than be able to pay on the phone, or online, I have to go in person to waive the insurance on the storage unit since my homeowners policy covers off-site storage. When I open the garage door, there is a car parked with the bumper of the car right up the edge to the left of my driveway standing next to a truck parked halfway into the middle of my driveway. She is chatting on a cell phone and the driver is sitting in the drivers seat. I buckle up the baby and then walk down to where they are and I say "Excuse me, but do you mind pulling forward so you are not blocking my driveway?" I was nice, and polite and did not have one ounce of attitude and can you believe she SCOWLED and glared at me and mumbled something bitchy to her husband! I wanted to kick her in the neck and tell her that she is too low-rent to be able to afford a house to live in and go back to living in her single-wide, but I was nice and just walked away. When I got back they were both gone, and I can just hope they don't come back. I can understand why my neighbor has a sign in front of his carport telling people not to block his driveway.


Question 1:
It is okay to block a car in their driveway if they have enough room to back out if they pull the wheel all the way to one side, even if they have to pull forward a few times, or drive on their lawn, to get far enough to get around you.
A) True
B) False
C) Heck no, are you effing stupid??

Question 2:
Are you special and think you have privileges to be a jerk to anyone you please, and they can just deal with it?
A) Yes
B) No
C) We all deserve to be treated with respect

Question 3:
If you are visiting someone or looking at a home to occupy, or you do occupy it, where should you park?
A) Anywhere I feel like, I am allergic to exercise and should not have to cross a street.
B) In front of their home.
C) Anywhere that is free, legal, and not inconveniencing others.

Scoring:
Please use the point system below to add up your answers.
A) -2
B) 0
C) 2

If you scored a 0-6:
Congratulations, you have common sense! You may now officially co-exist with other humans, and know basic parking etiquette. Pat yourself on the back, your IQ is greater than your shoe size.

If you scored -2 or below:
Time to go back to kindergarten so you can learn basic principals like sharing this big giant planet with others. Until you learn some manners, feel free to stick a plastic bag over your head so you are not wasting oxygen that could be used by others. If you don't like sharing this planet with others, you are free to leave it at any time.

I hope you had a good lesson and that you learned something boys and girls. If any part of this class did not make sense to you, I will be available for private tutoring after class. If you failed this lesson, and refuse to repeat this lesson, there will be plastic bags at the end of the hall and a shuttle bus in the parking lot to take you to Mars where you will be much happier.

Oct 16, 2009

Book Review: Kevin Shamel's "Rotten Little Animals"

RLA_cover2Kevin Shamel is a brilliant writer who makes you feel like you are right there with him on this fantastic voyage into the twisted lives of animals. This book is dark, and sometimes quite fantastic, but at the same time pulls you in. Shamel's descriptions really painted a picture of the story you were taking in, without being over-descriptive. I never was able to truly pick sides, sometimes I was rooting for the boy, and the next chapter I would cheer on the animals. I really felt like I was taking a journey into an underworld secret society of rotten animals. Don't expect to trust your pets after this book, I am starting to wonder if my cats are plotting against mankind, they always seem like they are up to no good anyways. I look forward to more from his Author, I have read a few of his short stories and each one is different from the last and all are very enjoyable.

Oct 10, 2009

I love being a girl

Last night, I was so wound up from a long busy week of trying to get work around the house done that I just needed some me time. After the kids went to bed I climbed in a scorching hot bubble bath and just read. I read page after page until my toes were prunes and my water cooled down. It was bliss. When I was done with my bath, I climbed into my bed and read some more. I got so into my book, The Secret Lives of Bees, that it was 2 am before I finally saved off my page on my Kindle and turned the light off.

This morning I am paying for it. I have a bad case of the lazies and I just can't seem to get myself out of this funk I keep hoping for a burst of inspiration to get back to work on the office that needs to be turned into a nursery, or finish hanging lights, painting, or installing the CO2 detectors, or even knitting would be a step up from what I am doing now.

On a positive note, I have been better about carving out time to make sure to get 30-60 minutes a day of exercise. Last night I was able to pull out a box of clothes I wore 6 years ago, before I got pregnant with Matthew and after I had lost 50 lbs, and the larger of the two sizes fit. I was so happy to have some new clothes that fit since all my others are too small. Unfortunately, these were all summery clothes, and we have snow on the ground here, so they will be around the house clothes or workout clothes until I can drop one more jean size.

Oct 5, 2009

Not enough hours in the day

I need more hours in the day between 11 and 2; at least 4 more. I feel like I have accomplished nothing lately... I have not had enough time to heal my mind, body, or my soul, and because of that I feel out of sync. Today was one of those odd days where synchronicity was completely necessary. I had just started trying to pick up my house when the house painters came by and I was settling them in when my new cabinet door was delivered and installed. As soon as the painters sealed up my house (trapping me inside) the school called to tell me Christopher was sick and needed to come home. I get him home, I get lunch for Sophie and myself and before I have time to relax, it is time to go get the older boys.

My neighbor down the street is a Vietnam vet, so once I had the kids home I walked over to apologize for all the traffic since he is the unofficial neighborhood watch. He's a pretty cool guy who is retired and sort of looks out for everyone, especially those who are single moms or young. He adores my kids and is always praising how smart and well mannered they are. His wife is super sweet too and they are on my short list of neighbors I love (which is a pretty long list actually). I must have been putting off some strange vibe today because he seemed to think I was dressed up for something. I laughed a little because I think the "fanciest" thing I did was brush my hair and put on my necklace. It is a diamond and white gold journey pendant that Bobby got me and did not know it until I told him. How that equates to looking fancy is beyond me... but I wonder if he would have thought I had a hot date or something had I bothered to actually put makeup on or something.

PS. Today was day 5 sans the NFH (neighbors from hell) and I have to say, it has been the quietest 5 days in a year; even with all the construction I have had going on here lately.

PPS. I got tired of Bobby complaining how out of date my 'Cast of Characters' section is and updated the photos and bios a bit.

PSPS. Isis had her Great Dane reunion on Sunday. I hope to get pictures up soon, possibly when I have 4 extra hours in the day.