Wednesday, May 29

Lightning Strikes and other wake-up calls

Sometimes you have to be really careful what you pray for. If you don't pray, then the same rule applies to wishing for things you think you want or need.

Have you ever taken the time to consider "What if all of these things suddenly come to me at once?"

Four weeks ago I was at my wit's end with my job. I was working into the evening, leaving that place and dreading to ever return, yet afraid to quit due to the fear of losing the security I'd built.
I felt cheated out of an advancement, and my attitude really reflected it - thanks to some honest friends and family members who told me what a jerk I was being.
I wished I had the nerve to quit.

Then I did.

I went through the stages of fear of being broke, depression that I wouldn't find anything else to do, and panic when I saw that soon, our checkbook would be filled with only red ink.

I wanted to totally change direction in my life and do something that brought me pleasure for once.

Then I did.

I volunteered to coach my daughter's softball team. It's not a huge return on the investment of time, brain drain and stress, but it gets me interacting with my kids in a positive way.

I somehow thought that the stories and ideas I share here would make a good stepping stone into some type of formal writing career, so I pursued the thought of calling the paper to see if I might be able to work there and get my foot in the door.

Then I did.

Now my time is occupied with my children, and a love of writing, but come on folks, something has got to pay the bills around here. I dreamt of a job that would allow me to get paid a very good salary, but still have enough time to be with the kids and their sporting events,4-H and every other after school thing you can think of. I wanted to shrug off the responsibility of a job that haunts me, and find a job that let me leave when my day was over and not drag the bad feelings home with me.

Then, I did.

I start my full time job tomorrow morning. I'm really looking forward to it, though there will be bobbles and catches in my schedule for the next few weeks with other commitments I have already made.
I don't know if praying helped, or it's merely my turn on the good karma wheel. Whatever it is, I am going to enjoy it because you never know how long it will last.

If anyone needs a wake-up call, let me know.
I'll be leaving the house at 03:30 tomorrow am.

Tuesday, May 28

Building a better mousetrap

There aren't many things that I have a love/hate relationship with. It just so happens that one of the best examples in my life is laundry. I hate to collect it, I hate to wash it, I hate to dry and fold get the picture. However, I LOVE it when it's all clean, folded and put away. It is a big accomplishment for me to have all the laundry in the house finished. I can get so anal compulsive about it, that I even consider stripping naked to wash what I have on to REALLY consider myself finished. (I will try to quickly change the subject now that you are all imagining me parading in my birthday suit)

Since I have been home, laundry is one of the things I have had a tendency to put off. When I worked, I knew that I only had so much time to get it done, so it was a priority, now that I am home, I seem to imagine that I have ample time to tackle the behemoth chore, since most of my time is spent watching the romance channel and eating chocolate marshmallow ice cream.

Today was one of those laundry-by-guilt days. I knew that my hampers were full, and more than likely the girl's rooms looked like K-mart on the day after Christmas. I drug myself out to the laundry room, which is much like a dungeon itself, seeing as how it's not actually in the house at all, but more in it's own room on the way to our basement through our back door.
(Why so much detail about the location of my laundry room? Hang on, I'll get there)

I had visually surveyed the pending chore and nearly decided to take a break, wax my dog, or even inspect the neighborhood for hemorrhoids to avoid the commitment that 5 hampers of laundry provides.

I began, as I usually do, with the dark clothes. We go through a huge volume of denim, and most of the time if we run short of something it's jeans.

I started the washer, added my soap and picked up the hamper to "pour" the clothes into the basket.
Once the bin was empty, I reached for the laundry softner. Right as I was readying myself to pour it into the receptacle, I noticed a little scurrying movement along the waistband of my Wranglers (that were IN the washer, thank goodness)

It was a good sized mouse who evidently had been lurking in the hamper somewhere, and I had unwittingly added him, like a secret ingredient to my load of laundry.
(Want your whites whiter? Add-a-mouse!!!)

I'm not usually squeamish about something of that size, my personal fear rule is to take a moment to stop and consider how long it would take it to eat me alive, and that quells any panic I might have.
Now this little bugger just plain snuck up and scared me. We glared at each other for a few seconds while I decided what my plan was going to be.

Now I wouldn't just reach in and grab him, even though he is small, there is still the heebie jeebie factor to consider. Capturing him alive was not an option. Luckily I was thinking fast enough to shut off the washer, no sense in giving him a free last bath.

In the space of a millisecond, I had devised the perfect plan. As he was trapped in an empty washer with a few clothes I looked for the nearest source of natural rodenticide, and fortunately for me, there was a fabulous selection right outside the back door, as the girls had not taken out the daily dose of cat food to our barn cats.

I chose my predator with care, selecting the one I had seen just a few days before catch and consume a large barn swallow presenting me with the head as a gift.

Retreating back to the laundry room, I spied in on my captive entree and then, placed the cat in the partially filled washer shutting the lid on the both of them.
(Which resumed the washer filling up, but I caught that before we had critter soup...)

After the many bangs and clomps heard coming from the inside of the washer fell silent, I opened the lid and removed the mouse and the cat in one fell swoop and deposited them both on the lawn.

Of course, THAT load of laundry was washed on HOTTT with just enough bleach to be disinfective but not corrosive. When I went to remove it from the washer, what should I find?

Mr. Mouse's friend (Maybe Minnie) that had been washed, bleached and spun out at the bottom of the load, dead as a doornail.

Take me to the funny farm, I'm now giving mice Jacuzzi's in my spare time.

Sunday, May 26

Don't Fence me In

I almost got away with having a decent weekend. I realized that my holiday (do stay at home mom's qualify for holidays?) wasn't going to be filled with cookouts and alcoholic bingeing when my husband began talk of fencing and moving entire flower/weedbeds on Thursday evening. God bless him, he isn't one to waste any given time at home, buy golly gee whiz I had been looking forward to some serious loafing.

Seems as though we now have more sheep than our property can adequately and esthetically tolerate. Our current fencing system is structurally sound, but we have yard left to mow and that just doesn't make sense when there are little wooly mouths to feed.
Sooooo This weekend sounded as good as any to him to get some of that grass enclosed for grazing.

Saturday morning, we began plotting out where the fence would go. It is just to the back of our property, and doesn't even cut off any yard areas that we currently use, so from that standpoint, it's not that big of a deal.

I think this all stems from the fact that he isn't happy I won't even consider buying more ground. I am wise enough to see down that road a stretch. More ground, means even MORE sheep, more hay, more chores and more financial responsibility. Looking at my day planner now tells me that my first free day off is somewhere in August... I don't need any more jobs.

Jokingly, I tell friends that the next time they visit, they will have to enter to the front door through paddock gates because we will be fencing every blade of grass on our homestead.

Anyway... on to the fence.

As soon as the golfing Sunday service was over, my husband hit the trail to the local farm store to get the supplies. He came back almost $200.00 poorer and set right to work. As this was his brainchild, I decided to let him toil for awhile just to see how long it would take before it became a family project. I made myself scarce, weeding the flower beds, and rediscovering all the flora and fauna that I didn't remember existed there. It took him merely 30 minutes to make an appearance and request some assistance.

If hindsight is 20/20, I feel fairly confident in suggesting that installing a fence, is best left to professionals.

We began at post 1 of 20, and started unrolling the spool of 300 feet of woven wire fence. (Which coincidentally, really doesn't look that large)

When we had wired up the very first post, we were excited! No problem! This should be easy. Again, we were excited way to early.
The second post required all 4 of us to tackle. My husband wired, and all three of us girls tugged and pulled at the fence to make sure it was snug and secure. We soon realized that our mere muscles weren't any match for steel fence posts and wire fencing. No matter how hard we pulled, it was still loose and wiggly after it was tied.

The girls were whining, as to who's turn it was to cut the wire, and who got to hold the fence next. Neither one of them had the finished project in mind, we were merely torturing them unnecessarily.
I think I would have enjoyed a 36 hour road trip in a Volkswagen bug with no pit-stops, more than I enjoyed listening to the two of them carry on.
It was already taking entirely too long.

Admiring the first post, we noticed that it wasn't as tight as our other (professionally installed) fence, and that just wouldn't do.
Not only does it have to be functional, it must also be attractive?
Scratching his head to avoid hurting anyone, my husband headed off to where all men go to think.
(No, not the bathroom, the garage)

This led to GOOD IDEA #1
I must admit that it was MY idea, which is why we immediately moved on to ;
Which was to insert a long pole through the squares in the fence, and using it's leverage, tighten the fence and reduce the slack.
That idea worked for 2 or 3 more poles until we came upon;
Which was to hook the garden tractor up to idea #2 and pull harder that way. That resulted in some nearly ruined fence, as all the big squares soon turned to little rectangles.
(You must at this point, attempt to understand the level of family bonding we all were enduring.)

We nearly thought all was lost, until I suggested the GOOD IDEA #1 again, which was to spool the fence off the pole as it was attached to the mower, stretching it as we went.

And that's how the fence was finished. (gloat)
There were a few errant wiggles and a wave or two, but it was nearly done, by GOD.

HOWEVER - we ran out of said fence, about 30 feet from the end of the project. Of course, it was nearly 6 pm and the farm store was closed. We were all in GO mode, and each of us knew that if we would put down the tools at this point, the fence would forever stay incomplete. Something about dragging yourself back to a project like that made me nauseated.

By now, we were all grasping for straws. We all set out to find suitable materials to complete our project, at least for the night.
There was a roll of chain-link fence for the soon to be dog kennel, a gate from the ram's pen, some leftover fence from 50 years ago, and lo and behold, within 30 minutes we had created the Frankenstein's Fence. The good Doctor would have been proud.

So far, it's holding sheep, but when we went for the house I think I saw some of them planning an escape route.

I can't feel my legs anymore, and my arms are sunburnt.
At this point, I'm ready to buy more ground.
If it's fenced.

Saturday, May 25

Honor Thy Mother and Father

I really hate familial relations. You would think that after 15 years of marriage, I would have come into my own as far as dealing with my mother-in-law is concerned. I am looking forward to having the kind of power she possesses as my children marry.

Most kindly, she called and wanted the kids to come and spend the night tonight. That's just fabulous, if you ask me - I enjoy them having one on one time with their grandparents, however, it's the 3 hour notice that grinds those fingernails down the chalkboard.
But if I would say word one, I would be considered inconsiderate!

Most mother's would have the bags packed, and the kids out on the doorstep waiting for them to arrive, but I'm not one that likes to be driven. Don't expect me to fall into anyone's line, simply because I am told to do so. So we juggled some plans, made some enemies, and organized the whole affair.

What I didn't count on, was no one getting home/done working in the yard/chores finished in time for them to be ready to go.
So, while the grandparents were sitting and waiting on us, Grandma decides that we are all going out to dinner - versus the semi-quiet evening my husband and I had originally planned. How does one go about telling someone NO when you are ordered?

I know, you just say, "Thank you for the invitation, but we already had plans." But you don't tell your mom that.

So now, dinner is done, kids are gone, I'm on the "damn thing" and my husband is in bed watching girls college softball giving me pointers for my next game.
When it's quiet like this, I wonder what I will do when it's just he and I again.
We won't have any friends left, that's for sure.

Friday, May 24

Pop Quiz

What do you get when you take one unemployed mother of two, and add a scorebook and 14 junior high softball girls?
Talk about being flabbergasted..

For the past few days I had really been wrestling with my lineup. Not only am I a first-time HEAD coach, but I'd never had to do all the things that the REAL coach was supposed to do, like make a lineup, fill the field positions and make sure the girls knew why I was scratching my arm, rubbing my leg, et cetera. I was a true basket case.

See, I'm not one of those people who can fake it well enough to fool anyone. I can't keep cool under the collar about anything and just let it ride. I have to have very specific details, visuals and even notes to make sure I'm not doing anything wrong. I think I had annoyed nearly everyone asking for suggestions, examples and whatnot as far as my coaching debut was concerned.

Here, I thought it was all about me.

All my girls came out ready to play, and play hard. It helped a lot, that the other team couldn't catch or hit to save their lives, but I wasn't going to look a gift-team in the mouth.
I was concerned with being politically correct, and getting everyone up to bat, but as we were scoring and doing so well, the compulsion of the fact that we could lose our lead scared me. We play 7 innings, or up to 1.5 hours. I finally switched our lineup around and had the new girls take the field. At that point, we were ahead 20 -2 and I felt fairly comfortable that we couldn't lose 18 runs in one or two innings.

The new girls took the field and were warming up and I was advising the umpires of my substitutions, (Head coaches have to do that, you know) when the other team's coach walks up and says "There is a 15 run rule, after 4 innings". The umpires reviewed their rules, and surely enough, the game was over. It was really over 3 runs ago, but who knew? I was just beginning to get the hang of things.
I wouldn't have minded finishing THAT game.

I was surely to be exalted for winning, and playing every kid on my team, good bad or indifferent and now I had to send in those subs to line up and shake hands. Whatta bummer. I felt terrible.

So after all the fears, questions, nausea, and days planning my strategic moves, I realized that I am just a sad freak. It was really going to be okay from the beginning.

I came right home tonight and made up my lineup and positions for Tuesday's game.... Piece of cake.

On another note, I am no longer unemployed.

I will be working for the newspaper in our town, writing a weekly column about activities in our small town (should take about 45 seconds) and I will cover the bi-monthly council meetings. It's a major departure from the structured environment I'm used to, and all of my work can be done from home, and I can submit it in E-mail form. Very nearly like not having to work at all :-)
However, the pay I'm sure will also be very much like not having to work at all, so I am still looking for something to pay the bills while I am "fooling around on the computer" as my husband refers to this dear machine.

I'm still pumped up about tonight's win... I bet I won't get a wink's sleep.
Good thing I don't have to WORK tomorrow.
hee hee hee

Wednesday, May 22


To all who care, I am really enjoying my time off. What I find hard to believe, is that now I have ABSOLUTELY no free time at all.

When I had an official job, I could plead weariness as an excuse, or the old standby of "I really can't, I have to work tomorrow"
I now have an endless supply of last minute things popping up with fair just around the corner, and with my NEWEST endeavor, Jr. High Softball coach, I am busier than ever.

I have caught myself in panic mode a couple of times thinking that I couldn't possibly accomplish all of this, as I have to work, and then I wake up and remember I now have 24 hours a day (minus sleeping time) to convert sweat into accomplishments.

The coaching endeavor is one I grasp with excitement, and fear. Being a softball parent, I THINK I know everything, but as we enter the world of rules, maximum substitutions, fielding situations and batting stance I cower in the dugout thinking that I, in NO way, have what it takes to lead these girls into even one victory celebration.

I'm thinking it's all about stepping out of my comfort zones, and I'm rapidly depleting that list too.

Good thing I have a very talented squad...I'm planning on them carrying me until I find another excuse!

And you know all the neat ideas I had about getting all my house stuff caught up? Forgeddaboutit. I was here for 3 hours total on Tuesday and today I only had enough time to shower, start a load of laundry and notice it was still on the line at 9 pm tonight.
Yeah, I know what you are to be me....all jobless......wah wah wah

I think the lambs are still in the barn....gosh, I hope someone remembers to feed them.

Monday, May 20

How to Walk a Lamb, Part 1
With yesterday being the sit-inside-and-do-nothing-kind-of-day-due to the weather, it was really difficult to get motivated around here.
My husband was called out of his sleep to assist his crew at a fire at 12:00 midnight, and did not return until 3:30 am. We were all moving fairly slowly. Everyone except for the girls. For some reason they had the hyper bug. I began the Sunday ritual of cleaning and had them assisting me to some extent, between the giggles and goofing around they really didn't accomplish much either.

After about 4 hours of witnessing horseplay, I had a grand idea. If they had that much energy to expend, today would be a gold-star day for the first lamb walk of the season.

I feel I must explain the ritual to those unaccustomed to raising 4-H lambs. It involves trickery, cunning and wit to corner these little suckers and make them succumb to your will. (Much like changing a diaper on a two year old.) To capture the lambs for walking you must first take a sumo-like approach with your hands outstretched and in a squat. You then shuffle closer to them, waiting for the perfect time to lunge at any available body part, being certain to be prepared for a hasty retreat by land or by air. I've had lambs sail past my head and over the gate for fear of being captured. Once caught, you must slip the halter over the lambs head and nose and hang on! They will jump, kick, roll and flat lie down to avoid the walk This is not a feat for cowards.

Eventually though, after approximately the third day of sumo-capture the lambs will walk nicely, and actually enjoy being out for their walk. They will even return home of their own accord if you turn loose the halter and not run willy-nilly into the woods never to be seen again.

I was filled with anticipation as the girls grumbled their way out to the barn. This was going to be a good show.

The entrance to exit time was roughly 15 minutes and from my vantage point, safe in the house, I could not see any of the struggle that went on in the barn. However, the captors emerged victorious. Their faces were riddled with sweat and strife and I could tell that it was not an easily won battle. Their commands to the lambs were curt and loud and I was sure that more than once they had all wished each other dead.

Each child had two lambs attached properly to halters and were making their way to the road. We live on a nearly deserted gravel road so the likelihood of interruption by vehicle is normally minimal. Which is a good thing, but it does not add too much value to the entertainment aspect of the show. The lambs were doing their job of resisting, and the girls were pulling and tugging away as they should. Also, the sky to the West was darkening rapidly, another wild card I hadn't planned on.

At the same time, our barn cats must have also been bored. I watched one peer at the small caravan of kids and lambs, and with an excited hop, he fell in behind. Watching him, were the other three cat-ladies in his harem, and they didn't want to miss any action either. In the barn yet, playing hide and seek, our house dog and little kitten had no idea that there was a parade forming without them.

Alerted by a holler, or a threat, the dog and last kitten found their way to the train that was slowly dragging down the road.
Child, lamb, lamb, child, lamb, lamb, cat, cat, cat, cat, dog, kitten. Somewhat Orwellian, if you ask me.

After about 100 yards, the cats and dog gave up the ghost that this was an adventure and returned home to the safety of the barn. Maybe it was the darkening sky that tipped them off.

At the halfway point, the lambs and kids made the turn to head home. At that very instant, the skies opened and it just poured.
It poured ice cold rain in big fat drops, that fell on them, on the dirt road, and on the lambs who had never been out in the rain before. The lambs must have likened it to a bath with the hose - because they reacted by losing their collective wooly minds and tried to bolt in every direction at once. The girls, now determined to make it home in a hurry were lunging in the general direction of the house.
Did I say that at that point they were 1/2 mile away?
Now I shouldn't have laughed, but I did. I could look down the road and see my kids firmly attached to the lamb's halters going nowhere.

About 10 minutes later the parade arrived home again in a large puddle of mud, wet sneakers, with the odor of wet wool.
the animals were happy to return to the relative warmth of their pen, and the girls were glad to get into a hot shower.

I was happy for the groggy, quiet peace that ensued.

Friday, May 17

Bossy Women

I really hope that my next boss is a woman.

After being very active in the employment department for the past 15 years of my life, stopping only briefly to deliver two children, I find myself in an odd quandary. Where I once needed to only spout my High School graduation, and summer jobs, I now have to list what I have actually been DOING with myself, and what skills I have collected that make me a prime candidate for my dream job.

Skipping college didn't leave me without talents. I need to find someone who can identify with the expertise I have to offer my future employer. No one asks the correct questions on a job application. At least none that will let my true talents shine through.

I can mow the yard, walk my lambs and update my webpage- all at the same time.
I know how to manage two orthodontist appointments, license plate renewals for two vehicles, and change the oil in my car over lunch.
Cat puke will not come out of a bedspread, no matter what you use.
If you find your three year old in the dishwasher, immediately spank the next eldest child who now has the remote control.
I know how to carry-in snacks for 18 teenage volleyball players in a seconds notice - when my oldest forgets to tell me it's my turn.
I can manage to organize the contents of a 13 year old's backpack while trying to find a 3 month overdue library book.
In a pinch, can feed 4 people with only ketchup, dill pickles and baking soda.
I know that the one who is most loudly complaining, is usually the one who caused the problem to begin with.

Those are things that you just can't put value on. And don't get me started with the questions about hand tool experience, or operating heavy machinery. Anyone who has ever been a wife, or a mother couldn't live without knowing how to operate at least 7 of those.

I will also never understand the available space on a job application. When I fill out my first,middle,last name I always have to wedge it in there, like I have a problem with available space situations. But, when I get to the "Have you ever committed a felony?" They leave me with 14 blank lines. I even considered at one point that I may be too "boring" as an applicant, and considered livening up my application a bit. Felony? Well, there was this one time............... I could really spin some corporate heads with enough time to think about that one.

And nepotism? had to look that one up because I really didn't think what I did in the privacy of my own home was any of their business. Whew - was I relieved.

So until I can find someone who can incorporate my home and familial talents into some tangible experience..... I might be posting pretty regularly.

Can't we all just get along?

I love it when my husband takes charge at home as the disciplinarian, (in reference to our children of course).

I consider myself mean,unreasonable and brutal but my kids, now ages 13 and 14 consider me old hat. They deal with me nearly every day on minor infractions - misdemeanors if you will, and they know just how far they can sway the council with plea bargains and postponements.
With my husband though, he is the death row judge and jury. Sometimes he isn't even invited to our proceedings, and he just shows up anyway, like last night.

We were having a minor discussion over barn chores, like any day of the week. One of the girls said that the other did not complete her chores, so that led to the other not being able to finish theirs correctly. Instead of taking the three extra seconds to do it right, they both left the barn in an argument over who's job it was ...yadda yadda yadda.

I have two very different criminals - I mean kids. One is a stealthy, sly veteran, and the other is easy to frame because she generally doesn't pay close attention to details that may incriminate her. Knowing this, I proceed into the investigation knowing that the second child probably did get railroaded by her sister.

We have to backtrack through the chore list, finding out exactly who did what all week, and who was not carrying their share.

(Insert into this already animated discussion, one dad who just returned home from working 13 hours and who is in NO right mind to listen to useless drivel about who's turn it is to do anything.)

He immediately and very loudly directs both girls outdoors, back to the barn with additional chores for both, without so much as a whisper from either one of them, though clearly they are not happy. I GET A GLARE from both, as somehow they see this as all MY fault. Like I should protect them from the wrath of the ogre.
Little do they know that I appreciate the ogre, and his presence. I envy the way they respond to him. I could turn purple, wave my arms, stomp my feet, roll on the floor and swear in 15 languages to no avail - HE raises his voice and they all scatter respectfully.

Ohh to be an ogre.

As the girls were shuffling and quazi-whining about the additional chores on their way out to the barn, one of them must have shot a look at the ogre too, because what happened next nearly sent me to the hospital.
Here is the conversation as I heard it;

Daughter: "Great, now we will be out there for an hour" (which in teenager time is roughly a month)
{ evil eye shot at dad }
Dad : "Did you just GLARE at me?"
Dad : "Did you?"
Daughter: (wisely) "Uh ... No??"
Dad : "That's good, because if you did, I would gonna have to uh..." (It's never good to stammer when you are trying to make a point)
{lengthy pause}
Dad : "I will come right over there and KNOCK YOUR EYES OUT!"
(Daughter gave a quizzical stare, then headed out the door.)

I, however, nearly blew grape Kool-Aid out my nose from the force of the withheld laugh. Once the kids were outside, I couldn't breathe for 3 minutes as I tried to suppress myself. The ogre didn't appreciate that, either. He had no idea what could be so hilarious. I was imagining just how to go about actually knocking someone's eyes out of their skull. Would a good whack on the back of the head do it? Or would you have to do it one eye at a time? Truthfully, I didn't think it was possible at all, but I couldn't relate that to him because at the time I was working out a fit of laughter, the kind that gets you thrown out of Sunday school, because you are supposed to be quiet but you have just fallen off the ledge of sanity.

Luckily, as neither one of the kids were there to witness my breakdown, the ogre let me live. It's not polite to laugh when your husband is disciplining your children...something about rendering it totally useless...

Tuesday, May 14

Meetings, Meetings, Meetings...

Once upon a time, there was a lady with children who wished to be involved in the administrative aspect of their 4-H club.
She thought,(whoops) that as a part of this organization, she would be able to give new and innovative ideas, change the organization in a positive way, and help make the whole, even better than the sum of it's parts.

Man, was this lady smoking some bad dope.
That lady is me. (but I don't smoke anything)

I just returned from another meeting, amazed at how easily important topics can be swept away by casual conversation and the intent of the gathering can quickly dwindle to useless drivel.
It wasn't really that bad, but I had no prior experience to compare this to before I signed on to change the world.

My mindset was based on TV depictions of board meetings where there was a lot of fist pounding loud talking and decisions being made amidst general chaos, but everyone left the meeting feeling like they had accomplished something. Tonight I accomplished a whole piece of strawberry pie, that didn't really coincide with my newly plotted weight loss program.

Things I have learned on a committee, Part One the tongue in cheek version;

***If you are asked to be on a committee - beware.
They really don't need any new ideas, just some grunts to do the hard work they already have planned.

***If you ASK to be on a committee - beware
No one will trust you because they think, you think they are doing it all wrong.

***In general, women are too wishy washy and detail oriented - in a bad way.
I cringe listening to some of my female counterparts contemplate issues like they were furniture to be moved about. "This might be okay, but on the other hand, it might be better to do it over there, where we could take breaks and eat ice cream."
I'm a "Lets make a decision, and get to it" kind of person.

***Never plan on anyone liking a new idea until they seek the opinion, facial expression or body language of their mentor at the table.
I have seen a lot of good suggestions, revisions, gameplans be overlooked because someone raised the wrong eyebrow at the precise minute it was suggested.

***If you feel you have a grand plan, it will surely be nixed by the "Lets not change things" sector.
Get support outside the meeting if you want to be effective and persuasive.

***Snacks are critical
Don't expect to get too much accomplished if you try to do it over half a can of sprite and some stale cheese curls.

***Never dominate the conversation
Don't inject plans or ideas that begin with "On my OLD committee....."

More on that later.... I'm out of good observations right now.

Back to the Grind

Well..the high heels, panty hose and make up have been shed to return to the life back on the "farm".
Last night, I reintroduced myself to the barn as I caught and wormed several of our last born lambs. Nothing like playing rodeo with 15 40 pound lambs to get you grounded. There are a couple of lambs that aren't filling out right, so now I get to figure out whats wrong with them.

I seriously need to discover an exercise program, now that I'm not working and I have some free-er time. Watching the wedding video and looking at photo's nearly brought me to tears. Nothing like a camera to make one's day. I don't know what I will start out with, but whatever it is, I hope it works soon. Those of you who know my fitness regime know how jazzed about committing myself to losing weight I will be. I'll start right after pizza tonight. heh heh

I am looking forward to getting a few things back in order that I had let go while my landscaping, my garage and my house. The house is the biggest project, and I don't know really where to start for sure. The basement is filled with relics (now damp relics from the 2 inches of floating water from the rain storm) that we saved from the move here 7 years ago. It's one of those places you only go to if you have to, so the items there can easily be overlooked.

Visiting my brother the other night, to open his wedding gifts I did pull a fast one. We were given some 30 year old green chairs from my grandmother when we bought our first house. They were her mother's. Not to be rude, or conceived as such, I placed them in my family room, out of the way and there they have sat for at least 10 years, even making two moves with us.

That night, I seized my opportunity, and loaded them up in the truck and took them to my brother's house. While he was not thrilled, I simply explained to him that they were now HIS property, and he could do with them what he wanted, and I would be exonerated of any guilt. So now THEY have the beautiful, 40 year old, butt ugly green chairs. WAHOO !

Now there is an odd empty place in my family room.
And I'm already feeling guilty.

Monday, May 13

Wedded Bliss

I promise, this will be the last installment of the wedding saga. Not that it's not noteworthy, just that I am so damn relieved that all the loose ends are finally tied up, (wow, that was a bad choice of words, but you know what I mean) and they are married I won't speak of it again for good luck!

It would suffice to say that all went swimmingly, considering we received nearly 4 inches of rain from Friday night to Sunday. I wonder if someone considered an outdoor wedding at the beginning....that would explain the rain.

It is very odd to see a sibling that you once threatened death to, if he touched you again in the back seat of the Malibu station wagon on your last family vacation to Florida, become someone's husband. (how's that for a colossal run on?)
I still reel over the conditions that brought and will keep them together.

Does she know that he will wear socks twice if she doesn't scoop them up off the floor? And, that he thinks pizza is one of the four main food groups? How will they ever make it? He reminds me of my father, in the way that he would consider a 9 iron an appropriate birthday gift. Why do I still feel responsible for this boy? I can no longer impart my wry wisdom to him, as he is now someone's husband.....he should know it all.
But I am sure he will still get gems here and there from the 'ole sis.

The service was beautiful. The church was spectacular. It was built in the 1930 or 40's and it had a beautiful decadence about it. It hasn't been remodeled into one of the newer looking churches which resemble an auditorium. It had a wonderful pipe organ and every window in the sanctuary was leaded glass. However, the most interesting thing relative to the wedding was the woman priest.

Yes, I said woman priest. What a woman. I have never been so captivated by any member of the clergy. She was magnificent.
I had envisioned some type of elderly, habit wearing, stoic woman. I had an opportunity to meet her prior to the wedding, but I declined - fearing somehow her perceived wrath would scoop me up and deposit me at the foot of St. Peter himself. (Or maybe even somewhere warmer)

She introduced herself to us at the rehearsal, requesting that we call her Mother "Ruth" (real name withheld to protect the innocent)
Her Grace, or Exalted One. This look at her dry sense of humor was a good ice breaker. I can't describe how unique she was, my expansive vocabulary still does not include the right words to adequately depict how she can look INTO you, and not over you.
I would attend the Episcopal service if we were within adequate driving distance each week. She was a very positive and very active religious force. And that's not something I generally give people good marks for.

Of course, I couldn't go the whole service without doing something totally "me". The entire congregation was offered Communion, evidently that is traditional at an Episcopalian service. I personally, haven't ever received communion in this fashion, and I am embarrassed to say that it has probably been 20 years since I have done this at all. So, being the freak that I am, I was very nervous about doing it right. I was sitting up on the main floor with the wedding party, so I would be among the first to receive it and that made me quake. What if I screwed it up, or didn't know what to do? It didn't help that we all had to leave our seats to kneel at the altar in front of Mother Ruth and the Deacon.

The time came, and I followed the other sheep to the altar, and when she presented me with the "Body of Christ" I gratefully accepted it, and then the Deacon slipped right in behind her with the wine. As I wiped my lips, to make sure no wine escaped and wound up on my dress, I discovered that I still had the "Body of Christ" in my hand. CRAP! I forgot to put the wafer in my mouth!

I immediately knew that this was an omen, though I couldn't keep from giggling a little. Only me .....Only me....
Then I began to consider my options. Would the "Body of Christ" be an appropriate before dinner snack? Is it like any medication I may be on? "If you realize that you have missed your current dose of the "Body of Christ" please take it, and the next dose at the correct time."
If that is the case, my next scheduled dose will be in approximately 20 years. Good thing they are made of Styrofoam.
I just can't take me anywhere.

Last night, the evidence of wedding weariness was ever-present. We were invited back to my brothers new home to watch them open wedding gifts. I HIGHLY recommend that others DO NOT DO THIS with family present. Do it in the privacy of your own home, with just the bride and groom present. No need to have friends and family witness the carnage and dub it a social event.

The bride had registered at Marshall Fields, Pier One and the Pottery Barn. Groom's suggestions for registration were Target, Wal-Mart and TSC. (I added the last one, just for emphasis) You can already see the division.

We commenced opening gifts, and the first one opened, was a box from Tiffany& Co. Immediately I knew, that this would be some overpriced trinket, surely to be broken in the first few weeks of marriage. Indeed, I was right. It was a Waterford crystal bowl, about the size of a soup bowl that was yet tagged at the blue light price of $199.00
Moving on, we next opened a box from our Aunt, which contained towels from Target, and purple yet to boot. Immediately my brother, the groom felt he must defend these poor towels simple existence - since towels are towels. They agreed finally, to return them for something she might like.
The whole night went like this.
I don't want to give the wrong impression about my sister-in-law, I love her to death, I simply think that she has not yet reached the plane of existence that she will arrive at after a few years of marriage, or even the first child. This is her first foray into being a family unit, and owner of her own space and she wants it just how she wants it. She can't see that soon, her Tiffany bowl will be used as the dog's water bowl, soap dish or even junk container. She now has matching towels to her bathroom, and a trash can that coordinates with her toothbrush holder.
I remember those days. Ahhhh....... so idealistic.....weren't we.

Now I am glad if I can find something larger than a washcloth to dry off with when I step out of the shower. I also feel a small victory if I go to the fridge to get a glass of milk and also discover that there is a clean glass to use in the cupboard. Generally, I have to gauge which might be the cleanest dirty one in the sink. (smile)

My mom isn't really good at handling large volumes of stress, and the post wedding phase found her exhausted in every medium. During the present opening phase, while the other attendee's were joking about having Calvin Klein sheets and Polo towels, and how those would dry the car nicely this summer, it forced her to tears.
She would make a comment, and my brother would jokingly give her a smart-ass rebuttal. Nothing unusual, but she wasn't in a joking mood.

I discovered her in their garage, sobbing. I didn't know what was bothering her, if I had said something, or if she were melancholy, or if she was upset about the gifts.. Asking her what I could do to help, she simply stated that I was one of only two people that made sense in her life.
I nearly had to have her whisked away to the nearest mental facility. If she had broken down far enough to see that I was sane, well, she was a goner. And I didn't much appreciate the close correlation to myself and sensibility, any who know me, know I can be very insensible!
She admitted that my brother's prods had hit home, and she just wanted me to make him stop being a "Prick"
Well, I just had to giggle. (to myself of course) He hadn't really been what I perceived as a Prick, but by-God I'd better fix it, and in a jiffy. You just can't let mom be upset like that after such a nice weekend.

Apologies were given, hugs received and we all parted ways after the longest days, weeks and months of my life.
And I didn't get out of bed until nearly nine this morning.
All is well again in the saga that is my life.

Thursday, May 9

An Act of Whimsy

Well, the wedding is less than 48 hours away, and we are all in the throes of collecting all the tiny bits of trivia together and arranging them all in order. Last night I completed all the seating place cards, and put together all of the programs. I also found out today why I always cut the girls hair. They goaded me into letting them go where the wedding party was being coiffed, and I walked away $65.50 poorer. Granted we all got cuts, but YIKES ! Seventy bucks for hair?

I decided to chop away at my hair again... It's as short as it's been in about 15 years.... it's okay, but starting tomorrow, I'm waiting for it to grow out. heh heh

At the last minute tonight, both girls had major problems erupt. My oldest daughter announced that she no longer thought her dress was appropriate, and thought I should drop everything and take her shopping again. Then my youngest daughter discovered that one of her new shoes, is obviously smaller than the other. Of course we tried on the one that fit, and not the two of them together.

It just doesn't pay for us to dress up. I absolutely hate it, and now I am paying dearly for my poor attitude.

I get to drop by the office tomorrow and pick up my last paycheck. That should be interesting. Hopefully they don't expect me to be jovial and talkative....I might just send in one of the girls to fetch it for me. Would that be cowardly? Probably.
Do I care? well, yes, I guess I do.

Well wish me luck for the weekend...At least I don't have to come home and worry about going back to work on Monday.

Tuesday, May 7

What have I done?

Well, I believe them now.
You know, those retired people who feed you a presumed line of crap saying that they are busier now than they ever were.

I have been officially unemployed 6 days and I am whisking through to do lists like I had a full time job waiting in the wings.
My husband has had me running neverending errands to the parts store and any other odd place that women don't generally go.

I've rearranged my kitchen, my bookcases and my closets, so if any unexpected guests arrive and accidentally go into my closet thinking that it's a room, they will be wow-ed by the sparkling interior. I may actually start serving tea in there.

I think there is a presumed nonchalantness about being without a job. Those who have a job dream, as I did, of a day filled with nothing other than anything you want to do. When you actually don't have a job, you feel "graded" by what you accomplished each day, like some freak somewhere is hiding, keeping tally of every little thing.

All I know, is that I am going to enjoy (haa haa) the almost free time I have, not fret about what's missing for now, and look for a job I like. I can't imagine what that will end up being, but so far every job I have had has been one born out of necessity.
Which meant I get a job now, or the bank comes and collects my kids...... wait, maybe that's a good thing....

Now two weeks from now, when I won't get my check, I might have another instance of a job born from desire for food in the fridge, but for now I will dream of what I would create if I could make my own job.

First of all, it would be outside, unless it was rainy or cold. I wouldn't have a phone to answer, and I wouldn't have to be nice to anyone I didn't want to. No one would come and hover over my desk impatiently waiting to interrupt me. Everyone would look to me for all the answers, because I always have them, and I would get paid just to be me.
Hm...... even I don't know what that sounds like.

Wait a minute, yes I do!
I want to be the Crocodile Hunter!
g' day mate!

Well, while I wait for Animal Planet to call me, and offer me a show based on the above criteria, I might suggest you, my avid readers make more important plans. It's going to be awhile.

Friday, May 3

WELL Well well...
where have I been and what have I been doing.

Truly, I DID post this gigantic novella on Monday night, only to have it disappear into the never never land that is lost blog posts.
It was good, too.

But NOW - I have the mother of all posts to make.


Not only did I select the worst time in my, and the economy's history to do so, I did it with flair, and panache.
There are points for style, you know. It was so subtly dramatic that the bombastic cloud didn't fully hit them until I was already home.

This job has been on a base of pick-up sticks for a while now. There is some new management that I didn't fully agree with, I had taken too much ownership of my job, things that were both our faults, but I knew it was just a matter of time before one of us reached our limit. Thankfully my limit came first.

I went in on Wednesday, was informed that I could no longer do certain parts of my job, I couldn't do this, and that...things which I had been sucessfully completing for 6 years without complication - but now because I wasn't a supervisor I was no longer worthy of such difficult tasks. I also had to bend in other accomodating ways to please my office staff, and I tell ya, it just wasn't in me.

Within 2 hours, I had called in my resignation, requested a replacement, and was home pondering what to do with the rest of my life.

Gladly, my husband was somewhat relieved that I would no longer come home and pummel him with idiot stories from work.
Now, the task is to find something else.

I'm in no hurry, there are multitudes of tasks to be completed here before the wedding and fair time. I will be patient, and see what crops up.
I just don't know what I will do now, since there is no longer any comic relief from the idiot squad.