Tuesday, September 29, 2009

And Why Did We Stop Traveling By Horse and Buggy???

Ok. So most of the people who read here have either heard the car story or actually lived it, but I want to get it down anyway…if only for my own memory.

So, it all started on August 17th. I was at work when I got a call from the kids’ day camp. Bubbles had been stung by a wasp…three times! Both Bear and his brother are allergic to bee and wasp stings, and we have always worried that one of the kids might inherit the allergy. This was the first time Bubbles had ever been stung, so we didn’t know what would happen. We decided it would be best if I went and got her so that if she had a reaction, I could get her help quickly. I decided to pick Animal up at the same time so that I wouldn’t have to make two trips.

As we were pulling out of the parking lot, my car started acting REALLY weird. When I put my foot on the gas, the engine revved, there was a loud KUCHUNK, the entire car shook, and then it started to move. This whole process was repeated every time it attempted to change gears (automatic car).

I called Bear at work and told him what was happening. He said he would look at it when he got home. When he got home, he added some fluids, tinkered around, took it for a drive and then came home and announced we needed to take it to a repair shop. My car hasn’t had many problems through the years (thank goodness!!!) so we don’t have a regular repair shop that we take it to. Bear had heard good things about one near us, so that is where he decided we would go.

We dropped the car off that night, and they promised to look at it in the morning. The next day, they called Bear and told him it was the Torque Converter (apparently part of the transmission??) and it was going to cost us $3600 to have it repaired. Bear called me and I hit the roof. I demanded that he call around and see if there was a better price available. He did…there wasn’t…we agreed to have the work done. They said it would be ready by Friday (this was on a Tuesday).

Friday came and they said it wasn’t ready but it would be by Saturday. Saturday came and they said there was a problem. They had gotten a (refurbished) transmission and installed it, but when they test drove it they discovered a problem. Apparently there was a broken part and the car wouldn’t stay in park. They were going to have to get another new (refurbished) part. It was going to be a few more days.

At this point, the timing gets a little fuzzy for me.

It took forever for the 2nd transmission to arrive…mainly because they didn’t want to play money games with the parts place so they shipped back the damaged one before the new one was sent to them, and then they had it shipped at the cheapest rate for them…cause, you know, they didn’t have a customer that had already waited too long to get their car back!

They put the 2nd transmission in and informed Bear that it too was damaged. This time the car wouldn’t even GO into park.

This is when the lies started. We were told that a 3rd transmission…this one brand new…was going to be used. This turned out to be a LIE! We don’t have any real idea of what they were doing during this time frame. We assume they were trying to fix the 2nd broken one, but who knows.

Bear had been dealing with a guy (we shall call him Asshat!) who claimed to be the manager. Asshat did very little to try to help. His main purpose seemed to be making excuses. Bear was calling multiple times a day to talk to Asshat, and it turns out that 99.9% of the things he told us were so very untrue.

But I am getting ahead of myself. Almost 3 weeks after we left our car with these people, Asshat called and said that it was fixed. We could pick it up that night (a Friday). That evening, the whole family went to pick up the car. Bear paid for it (there was a SLIGHT discount given for our inconvenience…and by slight I mean insulting) and we headed out. Now, you need to understand that I know NOTHING about cars (if that hasn’t been apparent already). You need to know this in order to understand how NOT fixed my car was.

Bear and the kids were riding in his car. I got into my car, adjusted the seat, noticed that all of my preset radio stations were gone, and backed out of the parking space. By the time I was completely backed out, I KNEW my car wasn’t right. I called Bear and told him just that.

Bear: How is it not right?

Me: I don’t know…it’s not right! It doesn’t sound right! It doesn’t feel right!

Bear: How does it not sound and feel right?

Me: I DON’T KNOW!! I just know it’s not RIGHT!

We pulled into the first parking lot we could find. Due to traffic, I had never gotten above 20 MPH. I got out of my car and Bear got in. He left me with the kids and his car and took mine for a drive. About 10 – 15 minutes later, Bear called me and gave me directions back to the repair place. I asked what was wrong. He informed me that once you got above 25 MPH, the car was still doing exactly what we brought it in for!!

We went back and Bear went in to talk to Asshat. I was not “permitted” to come in because Bear seems to think I have a temper and he was worried I would go overboard. I have no idea where he would have gotten such an idea.

It is probably just as well that I didn’t go in. When Bear told them they needed to give us a refund on our credit card for the payment, they tried to tell him that they couldn’t do it that night. It would have to wait until morning! He informed them that he would not be leaving without our money, and Asshat miraculously figured out how to process a refund!

About a week later, Asshat finally had a day off, and when Bear called, he got hold of RM (Real Manager). It was RM who informed us that Asshat was not who he said he was. RM also inadvertently revealed most of Asshat’s other lies. We also found out that my car was dying every night and required a jump start every morning. I about hit the roof at this point! They had actually tried to return a car to me that was not only NOT fixed, but was actually worse off than when we brought it in. I am sure they were thinking that when I went to get in the car the next day and it was dead, I would assume it was a new problem and not think to blame them!

Anyway, Bear “had a discussion” with RM about the “service” that we had received thus far, and he promised to try to make it better. He suggested trying a used transmission as apposed to a refurbished one.

Evidently, the difference is that a refurbished transmission had a problem what was supposedly fixed. A used transmission was salvaged from a car that was no longer working for some other reason unrelated to the transmission.

They were able to get us one that came from a car with 54,000 miles (or something like that) on it. Since my car has 106,000 miles, this seemed pretty good. It also came with a lifetime warranty, so that is nice too.

They also changed the battery, which was evidently what was causing the nightly deaths.

A few days later, my car was finally ready to be picked up. This was exactly one month and one day after the work originally began!!! When we went to pick the car up this time, I informed Bear that I WOULD be going in with him. I had a few things I needed to tell Asshat!

We went in and Bear insisted on test driving the car before we paid. Once he got back, we asked for Asshat and the “discussion” began. I am not known for having a quiet voice, and I was not making any attempt to keep it down when we spoke. I am certain the fairly full waiting room caught at least bits and pieces of the things we were saying.

By the time we were done, Asshat had dropped the price of the repair by $1000.00 dollars. It still doesn’t come close to making things right…and I have every intention of making a few calls about this whole thing (can we say Better Business Bureau, AAA, etc.), but I have to say that it felt good to come out ahead.

We will never be using that particular repair shop again, and we have made a point of telling all of our local friends to avoid them too. I guess that is the most justice I can hope to get.
Oh…and I did get one last parting shot in before we left that day! Bubbles and Animal had been sitting in the waiting room (where we could see them) while we took care of business. When I went to get them, Bubbles asked if the car was finally fixed. My response, “Well, honey, we sure hope so. But did you know that you can bring a car in to be repaired by these people and pay them good money for those repairs and then after you get it back you can have the same problems that you brought it in for, and it isn’t their FAULT?!?!” The looks on the other customers’ faces made me feel MUCH better.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Hangin' with Mr. Cooper

Over the summer, we decided as a family that it was time to get a new dog. The house just wasn’t right without one. Too quiet…too clean…too empty. Winston had shown us what wonderful creatures Labrador Retrievers are, so we decided to stick with that breed.

My mother works with a woman who volunteers for the Lab Rescue in our area, and she was quick to recommend her organization. In early August, Bear and I spent a lunch hour filling out and submitting the application. Then we waited. And waited. And waited.

The application said it could take 3 weeks for someone to get back to you. When we hadn’t heard anything in 4 weeks, I called and left a message. A few hours later I got a call back. She asked how we had submitted our application. When I told her it was done electronically, she said she would talk to the volunteer that handled those and get back to me. A week later…nothing.

That night, my mother talked to her co-worker who gave us her email address and said to email a copy of the application to her and she would see what she could do. The next morning I did, and within 3 hours I received an email from our case coordinator. She told me she would call me the next day (Saturday) to do a phone interview. She also mentioned that they would be having an adoption day at a pet store on Sunday. This particular pet store was about an hour and a half away, and she said the next one would be much closer to us, but after a brief discussion, Bear and I agreed it would be worth the drive. Even if we didn’t find “our dog” that day, we would at least be getting the process started.

I spoke to Wendy on Saturday, and we had a great conversation. She was a bit concerned about the hours that we keep and that we have 2 cats, but she was sure we could find “our dog”…it just might take time.

Sunday morning, we woke up early and headed to the adoption day. Wendy had emailed a list/description of the dogs that would be at the event. While Bear drove, I read the descriptions aloud. Though many of the dogs sounded wonderful, we all thought the most promising would be a yellow female named Jolie. We agreed we would check her out first.

When we arrived, they were just getting set up. We quickly found Jolie and talked to her handler for a bit. She was a very sweet dog, but she had a few problems. We think she had been abused and she was very frightened and submissive. Her handler said that if you moved too quickly or raised your hand, she would run and cower. After talking to Wendy, we agreed that she wouldn’t be a good fit for our family. The kids would probably scare her to death, and after spending time with her, we all felt she was probably beyond help no matter how much love we could give her.

A few dogs over was a gorgeous yellow lab that drew us all in. Unfortunately, there was another family that was very interested in him, so we felt that we didn’t have a chance. We visited with the other dogs, but we weren’t finding “our dog”. I was just about to suggest that we leave and try the next adoption day when Bear noticed that the family that was so interested in that one dog had moved on to other dogs. He said we should at least talk to the handler before we left.

So we walked over and officially introduced ourselves to Cooper and his foster mom. I fell in love INSTANTLY and knew that he HAD TO BE OURS! Bear was asking all these questions, and I just kept thinking “quick…lets adopt him before someone else does!” After talking for a bit and getting to know Cooper, everyone was convinced he was indeed our dog, so Bear went in to tell Wendy we wanted him. She agreed that he was a good fit and sent us to the adoption table.

Ten minutes and $200 later we walked out with our adoption papers ready to take Cooper home. When we got back outside, Cooper was meeting another family and they too had their hearts set on keeping him. I felt bad stealing him away, but the adoption was complete and they were fairly gracious about handing him over.*

We have had Cooper for about 4 days now, and he is WONDERFUL. He, like Winston, fits. He is 7 years old...not a young dog, but also not old, so we should get some good years with him. He is still very active and lives for his backyard time.** He is great with the cats. He mostly just ignores them, though he did have to chase Banana down the hall last night when he caught Banana in his bed. We all adore him, and can’t wait to get home at night to be with him.

Once again, our family is complete! :)

*We did some shopping before we left, and as we were walking out, they were headed to the adoption table themselves…so they had found someone they could love too and we all had our happy ending.

**We take him out back at least twice a day…more if possible…to play catch. He could play for hours and we often have to tell him when he has had enough. Unlike some of the dogs from my past, he is very good about not only getting the ball, but actually willingly returning it to us!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

ANOTHER RANDOM UPDATE!! (Warning...this is a LONG one!)

So you know you have been away from blogging too long when your husband starts complaining that you never update! So much has happened since the beginning of JULY that the only way I can possibly get caught up is to do another random update. So…here goes:

1) We did go to see Kimi and family over the long weekend in July. We, of course, had a wonderful time! Kimi and I watched 4 horror movies (and even got the guys to watch one with us!). I got to see her mom (who is a wonderful lady and treats Bear and I like we are her kids too!), her SIL and her daddy. They took us to see an AMAZING fireworks display. And as usual, Kimi made my favorite “Kim Pasta” & green beans!

2) Also in July, Bubbles went away to Girl Scout sleep-away camp for the first time. While she was extremely excited, I was not ready to have my baby in the hands of strangers in the woods. It was only three days though and we both survived. She had a wonderful time, but she says she doesn’t want to go back next year. Her reason…”I don’t like being away from you so long, Mommy.” Man I love that kid!

3) We were supposed to take a big family vacation this year (we alternate years…family vacation one year, major home improvement the next year), but our back stoop was getting ready to fall off of the side of the house into a void that had developed underneath and was damaging our back door in the process. A friend of mind offered her husband's general contracting services, and he did an amazing job fixing our stoop in one weekend, with no inconvenience to us, and for a spectacular price. I would recommend this man to one and all!

4) In lieu of a big vacation, and with the help of my mother, we decided to take a mini vacation this year. At the end of July, we took a long weekend and went to Great Wolf Lodge in Williamsburg. We had the time of our lives. They have an enormous indoor water park, a spa for adults, a spa for children, an arcade, miniature golf, and this interactive game where you go all over the 4 story hotel collecting jewels and spells, saving fairies and princesses, and fighting goblins and dragons. And that isn’t nearly all that the things you can do there. The last day we were there, the kids were playing in the water fort and Bear and I were relaxing by the pool. We started talking about how much fun we were having and how we hated to leave so soon. We talked to the kids that night, and we all agreed that if money (and the house) cooperate, we would like to go back next year for a full week!

5) August started with my 35th birthday. We spent most of the day taking advantage of the state’s tax-free weekend…getting school supplies and clothes for the kids. That night my parents took us to The Melting Pot for a joint birthday dinner for Bear and I (YUM!). The next day, Bear and the kids did everything in their power to spoil me rotten…ending with dinner at my favorite sushi place.

6) Ten days later, we celebrated Bear’s 36th birthday. He took the day off of work with plans to relax and do guy stuff. This was made harder by an emergency that I will talk about next. That night the kids and I took him to Logan’s for MEAT and did our best to spoil him with love and gifts. I had planned to write a post dedicated to him that day, but obviously it didn't happen...maybe next year?

7) The day before Bear’s birthday, Bubbles got stung, not once, not twice, but THREE times by wasps. I went to pick her up from her day camp and on my way out of the parking lot, my car started acting REALLY weird. Bear looked at it when he got home and determined that it needed to go to a shop. Evidently, the torque converter had gone bad and needs to be replaced. As of Tuesday of this week, it has been THREE WEEKS and the car still isn't fixed! We have had a HORRIBLE experience and will NOT be using this repair shop again. We have made it clear that they need to give us a discount on the work, but that remains to be seen. I will be surprised if we get it back before the one month mark! I am thinking most places could build us a brand new car in that time! I might have to write a whole separate post on this once we reach the end…we shall see.

8) The biggest thing to happen in August was Bear’s decision to leave the fire station! Several things led to this decision…most of them I can’t talk about here because they are not my stories to tell. Bear says that he realized that he was putting the station before his family and that we were all missing out on wonderful experiences because of that. So he turned in his resignation and instituted Family Friday. Every Friday evening, we do something fun…just the four of us. The first night we went out to dinner and saw G-Force in the theaters. Since then we have played various board/card/domino/dice games and had Little House on the Prairie marathons. We are also going to try to do more fun things on the weekends like go to museums and local area events. We have had a lot of fun, and I feel like it is bringing us all closer together. It really gives the kids a calm atmosphere to talk about things going on in their lives. I will forever be grateful to Bear for making this sacrifice for his family!!!

9) September brought Labor Day Weekend which was spent hosting several get togethers with friends and one day to relax and get ready for school to start. The Friday before, we went to meet the kids teachers. Animal loved his teacher on site and was so excited to start school. Bubbles’ teacher didn’t make a very good first impression with any of us, and we all spent the weekend worrying that this was going to be another rough year. Monday night, we pulled Bubbles aside and gave her a pep talk. We asked her to give the teacher a second chance and discussed all the reasons that she might have had for acting the way she did. Bubbles agreed, but was still noticeably nervous.

10) Tuesday morning, I took the day off to focus on the kids. I made them a yummy breakfast of scrambled eggs and muffins. My mother came over and together we dropped them off at daycare right before the bus was scheduled to leave for school. Then we rushed over to the school, found a parking spot, and waited for the daycare bus to arrive. The kids know that we do this every year, so they knew to look for us. They ran off the bus and called my name and posed for pictures. Then they headed down the hill, turning several times to wave. After that, Mom and I went home to prepare an after school treat of German Chocolate cupcakes. We went out to lunch and ran a few errands, and before too long it was time to go get my babies. I was REALLY nervous to hear how Bubbles had done. I walked into the daycare moments after the bus dropped them off and Bubbles came running up to me…all smiles…yelling “Mommy, I LOVE my teacher! She is awesome!” Instantly, I felt a weight lift from my shoulders…a weight I hadn’t really realized was there. Animal had an equally good day, and I am now hopeful that we will have a decent year this year…hope, hope, hope!

Ok…I guess that brings us up to the here and now. I am certain that I have forgotten things, but WOW this is long! I am gonna have to try to update more often!

I shalt try!*

*Name that flick!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Perfect Solution!

So I have come up with the perfect solution to missing Kimi...we have decided to go ahead and take that summer trip to her house over the 4th of July weekend!

Bear and I sat down with a calendar last weekend to figure out when the trip was going to happen. He is taking a fire department class this summer that will eat up a majority of his time, so our travel options were pretty limited. It was looking like we were going to have to wait until the end of August. I called Tim to find out if that time would work for them, and he mentioned that they had canceled a planned trip for the July 4th weekend. I told Bear, and we decided that must be a sign that we needed to go NOW! YAY!

Kimi and I will be spending the weekend watching horror movies and gossiping. We have decided to forego drinking adult beverages this time...which should actually be really good. She will get to see what a chicken I am when I don't have liquid confidence to get me through scary movies and we will prove that we don't need booze to enjoy each others company (something I have been certain of all along)!

Is it the weekend yet?

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Extra! Extra! Update Time...

WOW! A lot of time has passed since my last (tipsy) post. Things have been busy, but that isn’t the reason for my silence. I just haven’t felt much like blogging since my Kimi left… It has been a couple years since she moved away from me, and I have gotten used to only seeing her periodically, but this time I just really miss her. Bear and I are planning to go visit her (and her family of course!) sometime this summer as it is way past our turn to make the drive and we want to see her husband once more before he is deployed in the fall…but I miss her NOW!

Anyway…time for a random update:

1) School is out for the summer, and I couldn’t be happier! The kids are enrolled in a great day camp program for the whole summer. They will swim four days a week, go on some really cool field trips, and spend their days getting as filthy as they possibly can! Who could ask for more?

2) Bubbles made honor roll in the 4th quarter! We are so proud! She has been trying to make honor roll for the last 2 years, and most quarters only missed it by a grade or two. She had pretty much given up hope, but now that she has tasted success, we are hopeful that she will have a renewed drive next year.

3) Animal finished out the year as was expected. He got wonderful grades in all academic areas and not so wonderful grades in all behavior areas. The boy just doesn’t know how to sit still and be quiet (no idea where he gets that…). Animal had an awesome teacher this year! She quiet obviously adored him, but also didn’t let him get away with anything. At the end of the year, she made a point of contacting me to discuss the best placement for him next year. She wanted to make sure that he was put in a class that would help him continue to make progress, but also be understanding of his overactive ways. I am really going to miss her!

4) Right after school ended, I got a call from the county that Bubbles was accepted into the GT (gifted and talented) program for next year! She actually tested for this last summer, but she had a rough start to her 4th grade year and a less than stellar teacher, so they put her case on hold. After she made honor roll and rocked her SOL’s, they decided to put her in the program. She is SO excited!

5) We had already decided that we couldn’t take a big family vacation this year because the house requires some major work (Note to Bear: Please get the number for the neighbor’s landlord so we can get started!), but we had vowed to do some fun close to home (CHEAP!) things like going to the zoo, going to some museums, etc. Well…with my mother’s help and encouragement, we are now scheduled to take a mini vacation (long weekend) in July to one of The Great Wolf Lodge locations. They have an indoor water park, nightly story time, buffet style meals, plus all kinds of other ways to entertain a family of four. We could probably stay there a week and never leave the lodge…but 3 days will be awesome too!

6) Bubbles just completed another year of slow pitch softball. She really improved her skills this year, and the team did great, finishing in 2nd place. She has a new trophy (to go with her bowling ones) and bragging rights for a year. We aren’t sure she will play again next year…she is making noise about trying something else…but we are happy that she got some exercise and a big boost to her self esteem.

7) Animal is participating in a Boy Scout day camp this week, and loving every minute of it! According to Bear, the program is really disorganized this year (they are under new management), but Animal hasn’t noticed. So far he has gotten to do Archery, BB gun shooting, Fishing, Leather work, and all kinds of other male bonding activities. He gives the whole thing an A+.

8) Bear and I celebrated 12 years of marriage last weekend. Our anniversary fell on Father’s Day this year, so it was put on the back burner (by me). I felt that it was far more important to spend that day honoring a great father. Besides…the kids leave Friday on a 4 day trip with their grandparents to visit my sister and her husband. We decided that it would be much more productive to celebrate our anniversary over a kid free weekend. So far, we have decided that we will go out to dinner and to see the new Transformers movie. Those are our only solid plans at this point, but I am sure we can find SOME way to fill all those hours of us time!

I think that is everything of note that has happened over the last few months. Actually, I am certain that I have forgotten something, but it is all I can think of right now. Now…back to work!

Saturday, May 23, 2009

White Merlotz and Horror Movies

So Kimi is here and I am HAPPY!!! And maybe a little tipsy....

Kimi and I have a set game plan when we get together....drink wine (white merlot to be exact) and watch horror movies. We do not sway from this plan...EVER.

So far, we have had more wine than I care to discuss and we have watched Dorthy Mills and The Grudge 3. DM was a disappointment...it could have been good, but they dragged in on far too long. TG3 was AWESOME! We would like to watch another movie tonight, but the boys (Bear and Tim) wouldn't let us. Instead, we will be watching Underworld Evolution...a decent subtitute.

I am so very happy to have my two favorite people here right now!!!

And now I am going to go because:

1) Dinner is ready
2) It is time to watch the movie
3) I am a REALLY crummy typist when I am tipsy...


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

WARNING!!! Hormonal Blogging (Worse than Drunk Dialing)!

My precious Bubbles

Isn’t it weird how the big things can seem so easy to deal with and then something small takes your breath away?

So I am reading a really good book right now…The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold. It is the story of a young girl, Susie, who is murdered. The story is told from the Susie’s point of view as she sits up in heaven and watches as her family tries to solve her murder and move on with their lives.

When I first started reading, I was worried that I wouldn’t be able to handle the story. I have a young daughter, and losing her is a constant fear of mine. I spend way more time than could possibly be healthy thinking of all of the horrible things that could happen to her (and/or my son). So I was afraid that this story would hit too close to home and start the nightmares.

I am 57 pages from the end of the book, and it appears that my worries were unfounded. I find that I am able to read this book (and enjoy it) without relating it to my own personal life.

Maybe this is because the story takes place in a far different, more innocent, time than the one I am raising children in. Or maybe I have just become adept at stepping into another world when I read and then leaving it behind when I put the book down.

Whatever the reason, I was happy to be able to read this amazingly well told story without my mommy brain kicking in and ruining everything. That is until this afternoon…

In the story, Susie’s mother finds herself in an airport. As Susie watches her mother, she notices a group of kids on a school band trip walking past to go to their gate. They were only mentioned in passing…less than a paragraph…probably just as a way of setting the scene…

But just like that, I felt that kick in the gut! Some day (not that far off in the future), Bubbles is going to be old enough to want to take class trips that require leaving our state. Already, she has taken one field trip that took her 3 hours away. But at least she was still in our state, and in an area that I am familiar with. That won’t always be the case. At some point, I have to relax the death grip I have on her and let her start to explore the world outside of my protective grasp. Where she will come in contact with people I will never see. And not all of them will be nice. This thought terrifies me!

I have told my kids for years, “if I can’t see you, I can’t protect you.” This was a warning not to wander off at the playground or the mall. But eventually they have to go where I can’t see them. Where I can’t protect them. And somehow…I have to be ok with that. Where will I find that strength? I don’t think I have it in me yet…

Isn’t it weird that I can read a story about a girl that it murdered and it doesn’t faze me, but one paragraph about kids who are alive and well can send me into a tail spin?

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

The Latest Thing In Dinner and A Show!

Or in this case lunch…

I didn’t feel like eating what Bear packed me for lunch today (yes, I am spoiled…he packs my lunch ever single day…in my defense, I am get both kids ready every morning!) so I told him we should meet somewhere for a lunch date. After much discussion about the options, we agreed to meet at Fuddruckers.

At the designated time, we met up, ordered our food and went to “our table” (we eat a Fudd’s fairly regularly). We had just returned to the table with our food when Bear noticed that there were some police officers in the parking lot and that they had someone in cuffs. I turned around in my seat, and we spent the rest of our meal watching the “show”.

They cuffed two people, brought in a drug dog to search the car, put one of the guys in the back of a cruiser and uncuffed the other one. I got up to get a “to go” box and as I was walking through the main part of the restaurant, I noticed that there were 3 more cops inside. One was talking to the manager and one of the cashiers. The other two were walking from table the table looking at each person and then moving on.

Just as I returned to our table, all three cops came into our area of the restaurant and approached a young man at the next table. They questioned him and admitted that he was with the other two guys (though he seemed completely oblivious to the whole situation unfolding outside…). They questioned him for a bit and we were able to discern that this was indeed about drugs and that the guy they had arrested was a longtime “person of interest” for them.

In the end, they only arrested the one guy. The other two claimed to barely know him and I guess that checked out cause they were sent on their way. They seemed genuinely upset, not just with the situation, but also with the guy that was arrested for dragging them into such a mess.

Shortly after the police team left, we left as well.

It was definitely the most interesting lunch date Bear and I have had in a long time!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Bald As A Ping Pong Ball, Boy Are You Bald!*

Animal was bald when he was born and stayed that way for a long time. When the hair finally started growing, it was blond and curly. It was way too long by the time he got his first haircut because I couldn’t stand to cut those beautiful curls…

When we finally did cut it, we went with a buzz. He hated water with a passion, so this seemed like the best bet. With almost no hair, washing could be done quickly and therefore cut down on the chance that water would dare to touch his face!

The original style left about ½ inch of hair on his head, but that only lasted a few months. One afternoon we were in a hurry to get somewhere but decided to give him a quick cut before we left. Bear grabbed the razor and started cutting. He didn’t notice that the sizing guard had been removed and proceeded to cut a line straight down the center of his head that went all the way to skin!

At first, I was upset…I mean, really upset! But after a couple days I got used to it and decided it was really quite cute. And again…it made washing so much easier. I mean…in a pinch, you could use a baby wipe on his head and be done with it!

We always said that when Animal decided that he wanted to grow his hair out, we would let him. In reality, when he started making noise about wanting to grow it out, I ignored him for a while. I had grown to really love his bald head and didn’t want to see it go. Eventually, though, Bear and my mother guilted me into letting have his way.

For the last 6 months or so, Animal hasn’t had a hair cut at all. His hair is still slow to grow, and he was determined to have enough to spike his hair (something we have only done twice because he still isn’t a fan of washing his hair and I insist that it be washed in the evening when he has that crap in his hair). The length had finally gotten to a point where it needed some professional intervention. It was growing over his ears and a bit too far down his neck.

So…Sunday morning we went to Target to buy a birthday present. There was a Hair Cuttery next door and Bear decided to take him in for a quick trim. Bubbles and I went into Target, got the gift, and proceeded to wander about putting things in the cart we probably didn’t need. After about 15 minutes, the boys came in to join us. I took one look at Animal and said, “THEY BROKE MY BABY!!!”

His hair looked AWEFUL! Bear had told the woman what he wanted done and then stepped back. Once she did her thing, he came back to discover she had not understood him. He told her how to fix it, and she just made the situation worse! There really was no fixing it at that point.

Animal was really upset and worried that kids at school would make fun of him on Monday. We discussed possible solutions…none of them terribly good. Then, out of the blue, Animal announced that he wanted me to shave his head again. He said that he wants to grow it out again, but that I should shave it and we could start from scratch.

So…that is what I did. He is back to being my bald boy, and I am going to enjoy every second of it, cause it won’t be long before he is begging me to spike his hair again!

Also…next time we will go to an actual barber for his trims!

*100 points to the first person who can correctly guess where I got this from!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Goodbye Old Friend

It's been a while. I have needed to write this post, but it has been very difficult to put into words. I needed some time...

So, Bear and I were very lucky to inherit the best dog you could ever imagine. Winston started his life with a different family. One of my friends adopted him when he was a puppy as a divorce gift to herself. He was a beloved pet and also provided a feeling of safety to a woman suddenly living alone. A few years later, she met and married her current husband and they started a family. When their second child was born, they discovered that among many other health issues, he was VERY allergic to dogs. They needed to find a new home for Winston and their other dog. I had always expressed love for Winston and regularly threatened to steal him away from them. One day, they asked me if I seriously wanted him.

We brought him home to meet our very old cat, Clovis, to make sure they could co-exist. Clovis didn't like him, but was willing enough to ignore him, and Winston was just thrilled to be there. So, we agreed to take him.

That was indeed a happy day for our family. He was a perfect fit. He was perfectly content to sleep his days away while we were away at work and school, completely secure in the fact that we would be home to spoil him soon. He loved to play catch with the kids and to wrestle with Bear. When we discovered that Clovis had advanced cancer and had to have him put down, he was a loving distraction for our grief. And when we decided to bring not one, but two young cats into the house, he handled it with class. When Banana decided that he made the perfect bed, his only reaction was a long suffering sigh. On his more energetic days, he loved to chase the cats down the hall, but he never made any real attempt the catch them, and they seemed to know it was just a game.

Winston was nowhere near a young dog when we got him, so we always knew that our time with him would not be terribly long. Right before we brought him to live with us, his previous owners found a fatty tumor right near his groin. The vet said it wasn't hurting anything and it should just be watched. Over the years, it grew to be quite large and started to cause problems for him. Large dogs often have hip problems as they get older, and the tumor was adding an extra weight in that area. By the time it started to cause serious problems, we were told that he was too old to operate on...that he wouldn't wake up from anesthesia.

Over the last few months, we noticed a fast decline. He was having serious trouble on the stairs, often having to stop and rest partway up and down and sometimes stumbling and falling several steps. He would stumble and fall when he was walking around. He would cry out in pain when he went to stand. Nights were the worst. He spent most evenings sitting on the couch whining from the pain.

As sad as it made us, it was time to intervene. We spent a wonderful week spoiling him as much as we could and spending a lot of quality time with him. Then we took him to the vet to be put down....

It has been over a week now, and it still hurts more than I can say. There are little reminders of him all over the house, and I often find myself waiting for him to come around the corner. In my mind, I know that we did the right thing, but in my heart, I just want my dog back now.

Winston: you were one of the best things that ever happened to this family. Thank you for everything you gave us. I hope that wherever you are there are plenty of cats to chase and that you are pain free with the energy to chase them all day. I love you so much!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Time Flies...

I can't believe Kimi has come and gone already. The time just flew by! I just hope we don't go another year before we see each other again!!


Thursday, March 26, 2009

She Really DOES Love Him

I worry sometimes about my kids relationship. They seem to fight SO MUCH! I know it is perfectly normal. My sister and I fought all the time, and we get along fine now. But I still worry. Do they fight more than other siblings? Am I doing anything to make it worse? Should I be doing something to make it better? Will they hate each other when they grow up?

Then one of them does something to show me how much they really do love each other.

Bubbles has a stuffed cow (Cowy...original, right?) that is her very favorite thing. It is her security item...her wooby. She doesn't like anyone to touch it. We have a game where I steal it when she isn't looking and hide it somewhere so she can find it. That is ok, but no one else can touch it...especially Animal!

Animal is sick today. Fever, horrible cough, lethargic. Miserable. When Bubbles heard that he was sick and staying home from school, she muttered something sympathetic and went about getting ready for school. As she was heading down the stairs, she wandered into our room where Animal was resting and placed her beloved cow on the bed next to him. She told him that Cowy would help him feel better today and he could keep it until she got home from school.

I know it seems like a small thing, but that right there? That's LOVE! And it made me so very proud.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

What Are the Odds that This Day Will Get Better?

So, I was going to be late for work anyway because of traffic. There were two accidents on the highway between my house and my office. I sat on the on ramp for 25 minutes before I was able to get to the escape lane to get back off. I decided (or actually Bear did...he was in the car ahead of me on the ramp) that the back roads were a better idea.

As I sat at a red light, I picked up my Wawa coffee cup, took the first sip of that life giving liquid and then went to place it back in the cup holder. As I did so, the disposable cup disintegrated in my hand and spilled 20 ounces of VERY hot coffee onto my lap, my steering wheel and my center console. OUCH!!! I uttered several explicit words and then switched lanes to go back home.

I knew this was probably a sign that I should get back in bed and write the day off, but I am saving up my leave for when Kimi comes to visit (in 9 DAYS!!!) so I was going to have to brave the day. After my second shower of the day and a fresh outfit, I started a load of laundry with my coffee soaked clothes in it, scubbed the inside of my car as clean as possible and got on the road again.

I was an hour and a half late for work and things have continued to go wrong all morning....

Is it Friday yet???

Tuesday, March 24, 2009


I doubt very seriously that I will write much about work here, but I have to get this out.

I am an accountant. Mostly, I do accounts receivable and collections, though I am branching into other areas as the years go by. I don’t like GOING to work and I have issues with some of the people I work with, but I do really enjoy the work that I do.

Anyway, yesterday something happened that REALLY upset me.

I was processing a deposit, when I came across a check with a letter attached. The letter was addressed to a specific person, but it was clear that this person had not seen the letter or check. I needed to know where to put the money...had she seen it, she would have written this information on the letter for me. So, I called her up, told her what I had and asked if she knew anything about it.

OCW (obnoxious co-worker): Yes, I know about that.

ME: Well, can you tell me where to apply the money?


Now, I certainly know how it feels to be overwhelmed by work and how every person has their breaking point. I am taking a mini vacation in a couple weeks when my BFF Kimi comes to see me, and I have LOTS to get done before that happens. I have several deadlines that MUST be met if I want to take time off. But I have NEVER spoken to a co-worker (or to anyone) like that before!!

I told this story to Bear last night, and he was really angry. He said I should have hung up and called her boss right away. He said I should have reported her to HR. He said I should have filed an official complaint. He is probably right.

I didn’t do any of those things. I sat in shocked silence for a few seconds and then I unleashed my temper (which I usually guard closely at work) on her. I didn’t say anything CLOSE to what she said to me, but I made it abundantly clear that it would not be in her best interest to speak to me like that again.

After I talked to Bear last night, I felt better. I vented and was ready to move on.

Then I saw her in the hall this morning…I got really upset and had to walk away quickly. I am undoubtedly overreacting, but this just really got to me. Thank goodness this is not someone I have to interact with on a regular basis!

End Vent.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Crafting - The Next Generation

So I have been working diligently (and happily) on my craft project for Kimi. I am just under 1/2 way done with it.

Yesterday, I was working away when Bubbles came up and asked if she could help me. I suggested that instead of helping me, she might like to learn how to do it and work on a small project of her own. She tried it very briefly last night, but then she got distracted by watching Twilight (she is her momma's little vampire loving girl!).

This afternoon, after we got home from a lovely thrift store expedition, she decided to get back to it. After several fits and starts, most probably due to my less than stellar teaching skills, she has the hang of it, and she is having a blast. She has been hard at work all afternoon and is already 1/2 done! She has altered her design a couple times and I think her final product is going to be gorgeous.

I am very excited to get back to crafting, but I have to say watching my daughter learn and find joy from it as well is AWESOME!!!

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Gettin' Crafty!

Before I had kids, crafts were a BIG part of my life. I always had several projects going and I spent a lot of time on them. I took projects in the car on long trips to keep my hands busy. I worked on them while I watched TV (couldn't stand sitting completely idle). I had friends that I would get together with for the express purpose of gossiping and working on our various projects.

Then I had Bubbles.

First, there wasn't enough time in the day for all the things she needed plus the housework that needed doing, so crafting was OUT. I kept telling myself that as soon as she was a little older and independant, there would be time for it. When she hit the toddler years, there was indeed more time, but there were also little fingers to worry about. It was like she had CRAFT RADAR! As soon as I picked up a project, she was there...grabbing at the little pieces...getting too close to sharp needles and scissors..."helping Mama". What once was a relaxing hobby became extremely stressful. So, ok...I will put it away for a little longer...til she is just a little older. Then Animal came along and the whole cycle started again!

By the time he was old enough that crafting could be enjoyable again, I had gotten completely out of the habit. I have tons of supplies and plans, but it had sunk so low on the priority list, that I didn't even think about it when I was considering my options on a quiet Sunday afternoon.

Then, Kimi started talking about crocheting on her blog. And she posted pictures of the beautiful work she has done. Then, she promised to make me a blanket with my favorite colors! Then, she sent me a picture of the work in progress. WOW is she talented!!

I told her that I would make her something and she seemed excited. So I started thinking about what I could make. And just like that, I caught the bug again.

I spent the rest of the afternoon at work devising plans in my head. Before I left the office for the day, I did a little internet research. As soon as I walked in the door I started designing (I often create my own designs/patterns).

Bear came home to find Bubbles working on homework, Animal running wild through the house, and me sitting in my recliner sketching. Dinner wasn't started, the dishes weren't done, the laundry wasn't going (in my defense, Bear had to stop on his way home to get detergent, so I couldn't do laundry!).

Now, Bear has been with me for a LONG time, and he knows how obsessed I can get with my crafts, so he didn't say a word. He ordered dinner from a little Italian place down the street and even helped me dig through my supplies to find the things I needed. When dinner came, he served mine up and brought it and a glass of wine to me.

I spent the entire evening working on Kimi's surprise, and it was AWESOME! I don't know how great the finished product will be, but it just felt right. My crafts are once again relaxing. The kids were around, but really, they just wanted to see what I made. They had to go to bed before it really started looking like anything, but Bubbles saw my progress this morning and said it was pretty.

I hope to finish this project in the next week or so (I am trying to be responsible and not let the house and kids fall completely by the wayside). I already have another project in mind (for Kimi again!) and I am hoping to make this a regular part of my life again.

Thanks Kimi, for reminding me to make time for things that make ME happy!

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Boys Will Be Boys...

Or Boys Will Be GROSS!!! You decide...

Our dog, Winston, is getting very elderly. With age has come the inability to hold his bowels as well as he used to. We are gone from the house for about 11 hours a day during the week. So there have been accidents.

Animal has always had an overactive gag reflex and a relatively weak stomach. Combine these two things, and he doesn't handle other people's (or creature's) bodily functions very well. Bubbles and I learned a long time ago that if we didn't want a bigger mess to clean up, it was wise to remove Animal from the scene as quickly as possible.

So, last night when we get home, the kids discover that Winston had an accident in the living room. By the time it was discovered, I was elbows deep in laundry in the basement, so I asked Bubbles to please clean it up.

Her first order of business was getting rid of Animal before the smell got to him. She came up with the perfect solution! Winston needed to go out anyway, so she told Animal to take the dog out and stay out there with him.

The next thing I know, Bubbles is downstairs in the laundry room with a look of utter disgust on her face.

Me: What's up?
Bubbles: Animal justed peed in the backyard!!!
Me: ???

When asked later (by his father...I wasn't touching this one!) why in the world he did this, his response was so sensible and yet still so disturbing: "Sissy wasn't done cleaning up the dog poop, and I hadta pee..."

How does one respond to that????

Tuesday, March 17, 2009


Most days, I would tell you that I am a pretty decent mom. Not supermom or anything, but I think I do an ok job.

Tonight, though...I completely SUCK!!!

Tonight...I completely lost my cool...

Bubbles struggles with school. Not the learning part...she is actually quite smart and just kind of absorbs information from her surroundings. She struggles with staying on task, getting her work done in a timely manner, and focusing on her work. These problems also bleed over into her homework.

Tonight she was supposed to be doing read and responds. For this assignment, you read a short book or a chapter of a longer book and then write 3-5 sentences about what you read. We had already done the reading and a draft of the writing. All she had to do was copy the writing onto her homework form. She had 5 of these to do (so a maximum of 25 sentences). This took her 2 1/2 hours to accomplish. Then, when I was checking her work I found it riddled with errors. In one respond she had combined 3 sentences into one nonsensical mess. She had misspelled words that she has known how to spell since 1st grade. It was just ridiculous!

And I. Lost. It.

I yelled (something I do more often than I should). I berated. I made her cry...a lot. Then I sent her to bed (it was 10 PM after all). Then I sat here feeling awful.

Bear got home from a meeting at the fire station and I sent him up to talk to her. I told him that we had a fight and I was awful and mean, but I was still too angry to talk to her. He went up and did his best to fix the damage I had done.

After they talked, she came down to give me a kiss and hug, and I told her that I love her so very much. I will apologize for my behavior tomorrow, and being Bubbles, all will be forgiven. And I will do my best to be a better mom. And most days I will succeed.

But for now...I will just sit here feeling horrible....

Monday, March 16, 2009

My Kids Think I am Magical...And Mean!

Bubbles has a cold. A bad cold. One I hope she will not feel the need to share with the rest of the family. She coughs almost constantly, and the snot...OMG...the snot!

Now, one of the advantages of having an older child is that she doesn't fall under the "kids can't have cold medicine" rule. So, last night before bed, we gave her Tylenol Cold. About 10 minutes later, she was back down in the livingroom.

This is not all that stange for Bubbles. Most nights, she sits up in bed trying to come up with some good excuse that will grant her a later bed time. This has become such the norm that as she walks into the livingroom most nights, Bear and I start a chorus of excuses for her..."My tummy hurts"..."I'm not tired"..."My head hurts"..."I'm thristy"..."I can't sleep". She doesn't appreciate our mocking, but so far it has not stopped her from making her regular attempts.

Anyway, into the living she comes last night. We throw out the usual excuses, and knowing that she has a cold, I even throw out "my nose is stuffed up". She gives us her usual grumbling response, and then proceeds to tell us that she can't breathe out of her nose and it is keeping her awake. I ask her what she wants me to do about it. Her response..."fix it".

I explain to her that we have already given her cold medicine, and that is really all we can do. I suggest that she use pillows to prop her head up if she is having trouble breathing. Then we send her off to bed...crying...because we didn't fix it...

Now, please, someone! Tell me that I am not the only mother with children who feel that she has the magical powers to fix all their ailments, but is too cruel to use them!!! I mean, I know it is normal for children to look to their parents for comfort and solutions. But at 10 years old, shouldn't she also know that I would never let her suffer...that if I COULD fix it, I WOULD!?!?!?!

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Roll Call!

Ok...So I guess before I go too much further, I should introduce the main players in my life and blog. I have decided to go the pseudonym route, at least until I slip up and start using their real names...cause I am slick like that. So here goes:

BEAR - This is my name for DH. If you know me IRL, you know why. Bear and I met in 7th grade chorus class. It wasn't a terribly friendly meeting, but we got over that quickly enough. We dated for 1 1/2 years in high school, suffered a very nasty break up and didn't speak again for the remainder of our school days. We spoke very briefly at our all night grad party, started really talking again a few months later and wound up back together about 6 months after graduation. We have been married for 11 years 9 months, and we are a perfect match. Bear is an accountant by trade, but his alter ego is a fire fighter. He volunteers for our county fire department and spends way too much time at the station. I complain a lot about this, but in all honesty, I couldn't be prouder of him.

BUBBLES - This is my 10 year old daughter. If she had her way, this would be her REAL name. Luckily, we do not give her that much say. She is your typical 10 year old girl (which is kind of a foreign land for me as I was the stereotypical tomboy growing up). She loves pink, lace and all other things girlie! She will be starting her 2nd season of slow-pitch softball soon and we are all very excited.

ANIMAL - This is my 7 year old son. I am not entirely taken with this name, but it is the best I could come up with. I may have to change it later. The name is actually quite fitting for him though. Bear came up with it because he is in cub scouts and all of the early dens are named after animals (or something...I am clueless when it comes to boy scouts). I think it fits him because he reminds me of Animal from The Muppets. Constant motion, very loud, often nonsensical...that is my boy!

KIMI - This is my very, very best friend in the entire world. She is also the person who got me started doing this. I am sure her name will pop up regularly here.

I also have 3 pets...one very old dog and 2 much younger cats. I am not feeling creative enough to give them new names, so we will just use the real ones. Winston (the dog), Banana, and Oreo.

A few other characters would be my parents, sister, and ILs. For them, we will go with the traditional Mom, Dad, Sis, MIL, DIL, BIL.

Ok...now that this is out of the way...stay tuned for things to actually get started around here.

Friday, March 13, 2009

Who Am I Anyway? Am I My Resume?*

So, um, hi.

I have been thinking about starting a blog for some time now. I read enough of them after all. But it took my best friend, Kimi, insisting and nagging and finally calling me up and walking me through the process.

And here I am.

So...who am I?

I am 34 years old. I am overweight. I am a wife who loves her husband with all that she is. I am a fire-fighter's wife and suffer accordingly. I am a mother of two beautiful, drama filled children. I am a best friend to one of the sweetest people you will ever meet. I am an accountant who specializes in receivables. I am an animal lover and pet owner. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am me.

I am not terribly exciting. I have always wanted to be much cooler than I actually am. I quote movies and song lyrics endlessly. DH will tell you that everything he says reminds me of a song, and I am not one to leave a song unsung.

Becoming a mother has been a dream come true for me, but also tends to suck the life out of me. My mother often says that I was a fairly dramatic child, but I do believe that my children have reached all new heights in the drama department (hence the blog title). I don't always handle the drama with class and style, but I am truly doing the very best I can. I love my children unconditionally, and I make sure to tell them that at least 20 times a day.

So...that is me in a very small nutshell. I can't promise you excitement and laughs if you stop by here, but I will try to give you honesty and I will try to update regularly.

One last thing...I wonder if there is any significance to starting a blog on Friday the 13th?!?

*10 points for anyone who can tell me what song this is from.