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Entries from July 2009

Sometimes I Could Kick Myself

Damn you, Camnesia!!

So I found out today, after 2½ weeks of waiting, that I'm now a Gold-certified mystery shopper! In fact, I got the highest score (99/100) on the test that the person who told me has ever seen. Not bad, eh?

Rob came home at noon, on the heels of the afore-mentioned yarn mishap. I was definitely in a foul mood after that, full of piss and vinegar. I was bitchin' left and right, not just at The Kid Who Destroys, but him, other drivers on the road, and...

Well, we went to do a quickie fast-food mystery shop on our way out of town to pick up Chloë, now also known as "Curls," her camp nickname.

This shop did not go well. In fact, it just did not go. I waited 15 minutes to place our order, and when it was finally our turn, the order taker was as rude as rude can be.  I tried to speak to him, and he just was a complete dick. So without thinking, I said to him, "You're an asshole."

Ha. It makes me laugh now. Hahahaha. We had words. He kept insisting that he wasn't an asshole, and I kept telling him that he was. Rob was next to me, full-out laughing. Finally I did something I have never, ever, ever done in my mystery shopping "career," and that is OUT myself. Which is a big no-no-no. I said, "Well, I'm the mystery shopper, and you just FAILED, buddy." Then I peeled out of there and drove off with him still yammering at the drive-in speaker.

Not that I can report that shop. I may even get fired from that company. But I felt a lot better after that. Less ready to cut someone's head off. Well, maybe just a little.

We got stuck in 1-64 traffic on our way up to Williamsburg. The signs said the back-up was 5½ miles long, and we were still only in Norfolk. Miles and miles away from the 'burg. I was stressin', big-time. I did not want Curls to think we had forgotten about her or that we weren't coming for her little performance. So, I called the camp and let them know the situation and could they please let her know her mommy and daddy still loved her??? They promised they would.

But, thankfully, we made it just in time!  I saw another cabin's girls go into the main building, and I looked frantically for Curls. No sign. I blurted out, "Hey, where's MY baby?" and a couple ladies nearby laughed out loud at me. I was desperate to see her. It had been a long week without my sweet, sweet girl.

Finally, after we were in our seats, in marched Glen (her unit), and there she was, the wee-est of the bunch! She spotted us right away and got a HUMONGO smile on her face. She was way at the front of the room, and we were way at the back, but she and I were flashing the "I love you" sign to each other and blowing kisses frantically! It was definitely a sweet mom-and-daughter moment.  I didn't care who else was in the room to see; at the time, it was just her and me.

{I forgot my own camera, but we happened to have her sucky one in the car. It's not really that bad, it's good enough for her, but not for the distances I was using today. I'd show you the pictures, but the base and charger are still packed up somewhere upstairs.}

After Beaverwoods Unit stood up and sang their song, and everyone cheered, it was Glen's turn. There were a LOT more girls in this unit. I guess they all wanted to "Be A Star" (her camp program this year)! They sang, and, well, in typically mommy mode, I puddled up and blubbered a little to myself. I missed her so. I missed her, I missed her.

Finally, they released us to get in line, show our IDs, and retrieve our young campers.  I tried to shove my way toward the front, but no one was having it. And then there she was, suddenly, in my arms, full of hugs and kisses and squeezes. JOY! Did I mention I missed her?!

Daddy had already put Curls' luggage into the van, so off we went in search of the site for my next mystery shop. Curls was talking and singing 10 miles an hour all the way there. She had a fantastic time, people. A lovely time. She did so much fun stuff, I can't even remember. I'll have to get her to post a blog about it on her site. She was full of new songs; I plan to record a couple of them tomorrow and post them here. And of course, there were S'mores. Mommy and Daddy and Soapy and Jacky fired innumerable questions at her, and she held court happily answering them all with her characteristically amusing style.

The first shop, for the same company as the "asshole" shop, went much more smoothly than that first one in Norfolk. Phew.

Then, we found the next shop, at a certain place I'll strongly hint to you as a store that sells scented be-wicked items and is nicknamed after Northerners. You know? It's a flagship store, so really huge, and sells much more than its signature merchandise. I had heard it was a great place to take kids, but... not so much mine. Maybe a different set of kids, maybe older ones, I dunno. Finally, I had Rob take them outside while I did what I needed to do. I ended up buying a couple votives and a dozen tarts. Do you like tarts? Have a tart burner? I adore them. After literally an hour of deliberation, here are the scents I picked:

  • Kiwi Berries
  • Blue Hydrangea (I burned that one tonight and liked it, but Rob hated it)
  • Mango Peach Salsa
  • Almond Cookie
  • Buttercream
  • Black Cherry
  • Beach Vacation
  • Island Guava
  • Clean Cotton
  • Island Spa
  • Candied Apple
  • Beach Walk

They make up a colorful little baggie on my desk, and I'm looking forward to burning each and every one of them. Don't they sound delish?

Afterward, we had about 1½-2 hours to kill before our dinner shop at a well known wings place, so we took the kids to Go-Karts Plus. Curls' camera battery had died by then, so I don't even have any pictures of that. Sure wish I did, there would have been some cute ones. You can click on over there if you want to see all that it offers and just imagine my babies in the pictures. Hehe.

The first thing everyone wanted to do was right the bumper boats. We plunked down our  money for a batch of 50 tickets and loaded everyone but Curls into the boats. They kind of sucked. They didn't go fast at ALL and just kind of bipped around in the water. But on the upside, you could squirt water at each other, and we all got totally drenched. Curls took her turn at the end of the fun.

In the middle, we went to the kiddie section and let the kids ride a bunch of rides there. Jack desperately wanted to drive, or at least ride in, one of the go-karts, but alas, he was much too small. Poor thing. He cried pitifully and broke my little heart. I would never have taken them there if I'd thought he wouldn't be able to ride!

Then we found a kiddie roller coaster. Jack wanted no part of that, and amazingly enough, Curls was game to try it. Of course, Sophie wanted to go, the little thrill seeker.  Daddy rode with Soap, and I rode with Curls, while Jack waited at the gate. After one round on the 'coaster, with Curls curled up into me, shrieking and screaming, the Operator stopped the ride and let us off. At least we got our tickets back!  Sophie and Rob continued on, round after round, with Sophie grinning like a Cheshire cat the whole way.

After the last ride on the bumper boats, we headed off to dinner. It went well, and we had an excellent meal. Nothing much to report there.

I remarked that I was too tired to drive home, but then Rob reminded me he'd been drinking at dinner and couldn't take over. Dang. I had my knitting with me but was too tired for that, too, so... I drove home. My dad called me somewhere along the way and woke me up, since he talks SOOOO LOUD into the phone. (And in person.) We had a good, long talk, and he was very pleased to hear the good news about my grandpa: IT'S NOT CANCER! Don't know what it IS yet, but it's not that! So yay!
Once home, the kidoodles took a good bath and washed all their stinky bits while I got right to work on reports. Rob was supposed to be doing laundry and getting ready for our outing tomorrow, but instead he fell asleep. And there he lies. So, I think I might join him. I'm exhaustible.

Remind me tomorrow to bring the darn camera. What's the point of having fun without it? (Although it was kind of nice to just enjoy myself at the go-karts place without having it in front of my face all the time...)


Sometimes It Takes All My Self-Control

Remember that super-fine alpaca yarn I showed you for my project for Steph's baby? In the natural/off-white and the ruddy red colors?

I may be in over my head.  Steph, if there's any way you can push back the date of your shower, um, yeah. That would be good. Hehe. (When was it, again?)

To make matters worse, my youngest child is trying to sabotage all my efforts.

First, last week, she found my snips and this yarn (everything is and was upstairs in our bedroom because of the floor installation, so no clue when she could have done it) and snipped up one skein of the off-white. And no, she didn't pull an end out and snip off a few pieces. No, no, no. She snipped right through the MIDDLE of the skein. Refer to this post's title.

She attacked other yarns with those little snips, too.

This post is red for the color I was seeing when I found that sad little scene on my bedroom floor.

Anyway, last night I finally cast on for the first piece during the send-off episode of So You Think You Can Dance, and knitted through that show and the next. I'm using teeny-tiny circular needles, which are my least favorite, so my two hours of work didn't represent more than a centimeter or so of knitting, hence the request for a change of deadline!

Just now, I was checking my email real quick before I shower, while the kids were "watching TV." They were getting awfully giggly, so I looked over to check on them.

If you're a mom, you don't need me to tell you that laughter often = naughtiness. No fun shall be had when I'm not watching!

I found said knitting on the floor. Not only was my hard work yanked off the needles, but that skein of yarn has been ripped out and strung all over the place. Sophie admitted that again, it was her.

I sent her to her room lickety-split, before I did the same thing to her innards.

My heart is still racing. I'd show you a picture, but I can't bear to save it for posterity and run the risk of seeing that sight again.

So here I sit, taking deep breaths... reminding myself that at least the Bandaid Blanket is finished (minus a simple crocheted edging), and I won't be completely empty-handed come Luke's September shower.

But, damn, though!! Damn!


Aloha Friday


Make sure to link up here if you're playing along today!

So as you may know, my oldest kiddo has been at camp all week, and I've been missing her like crazy. Therefore my question for you today is:

Did you go to camp when you were a kid? Tell me about it in the comments!


Friday Fragments


I have but one fragment again this week, and it's another quote from Jack. We've been super-busy this July, and I just haven't had a chance to take notes - but hopefully next week I'll have more!

Anyway, Jack and Sophie were getting into things as usual, while I was sitting around today feeling yucky. Next thing I know, Jack shouts, "LOOK, SOPH, A GIANT DVD!! Mom, what is this thing?"

It was one of his father's records.

Make sure to link up with Mrs.4444 if you're fragmenting today!


Sometimes I Don't Have The Best Ideas

Today is no fun for me or the kids.

I just don't feel well. Not at ALL.

I'm coughing, I'm devoid of any energy whatsoever, and I'm crapping my brains out.

And then the kids were hungry.

I sent them into the kitchen to get some plums.

Those were some really good-looking plums. I wanted. I craved.

I'm not supposed to have fruit yet, says my nutritionist. But what could one little plum hurt, this one time?

I'll tell you what. When you're already - well I'll just use the phrase I already used so as not to disgust you further - crapping your brains out, a plum is not the way to go.

Trust me on that one.


Hangin' In

So I thought I was going to catch up on the posts, but I haven't because I've been too tired to deal with all the pictures!

Here's a quick recap:

Saturday - We went to Kings Dominion, just north of Richmond. It's an amusement park with a waterpark inside. I had 5 - no, six? - mystery shops to do there, so my ticket and parking were paid for. 'Course I couldn't go alone, so the family joined.  We had lots of fun, took tons of pictures - and if you're my friend on Facebook, you can see them there! If you're not, why not??

Sunday - We drove Chloë up to camp in Williamsburg. She's there until Friday. This is her second year at camp. I miss her like crazy; last night I cried about it. I worry if she's having fun, if she's okay with the thunderstorm we got that night, if she's eating enough and if she's showering okay. She seemed fine though, and we've been sending her emails this year instead of regular mail (it costs, though, which is stupid).  Last year and this year were so different; she's being treated like a queen now! She's in an air-conditioned cabin, for Pete's sake. Maybe it's because she's in the "Be a Star" program and they get the star treatment??

Monday - Sucked for both Rob and me. He was supposed to do his Navy motorcycle class so that he can drive the bike on base - and off. Not supposed to drive off base without their seal of approval! He drove an hour north of here to take the class and, lo and behold, didn't have the motorcycle registration with him. Has no idea where it is. So they wouldn't let him on base, and of course he couldn't take the effing class. A major setback on the motorcycle front. I tried to be supportive, but you know.... ARGHHHHHH! Why did you not lay EYES on the thing before you went up there??? At least his Toyota parts came in for the Land Cruiser, so if he fixes that he can drive it again. One way or another, I needs mah Vanna back to drive up to NY later this month!

Later that night I had a mystery shopping gig at a local college that paid really well. It was boring, but worth it. When asked why now was the right time for me to go back to school, I replied that my youngest was going to be in school full time, so it was time for me to get back into the working world. The admissions guy asked me what school "he" was looking at, if he would be going somewhere locally. I said, "She'll be in preschool - how old do you think I am?!!" Geez. Now I'm paranoid!

Tuesday - A fun day. We dropped Rob off at work and then went to pick up "Miss Linda" for an all-day shop at a local water park. Sophia and Jack had tons and tons of fun; Jack even got a little adventurous and rocked and rolled in the lazy river in his tube. That was big stuff for him. Linda and I both got sunburns, but we made sure to slather the kids a few times, and they were fine. We both went down this big slide after being warned it would give us an 'atomic wedgie,' and they were right. Front and back! Owie. Good times, though.

Wednesday - Not a lot of fun for the kiddos. I saw my shrink for more meds, and he commented on my weight loss. 106 lbs, dudes! My dosages don't change after all that weight, which surprises me. After that, I did a quickie wine shop and a fast food shop (for Rob) before returning with the van so he could work for another hour or two. After work, we went out to dinner for another shop and then I worked on all my reports while Rob put my desk back together in the office. So I'm finally 'home' after being set up at a makeshift spot in the living room, which sucked. Now I can get back into the blogging groove!

{ I watched So You Think You Can Dance while typing reports, and I have finally decided on my two favorites. Jeannette (I think that's her name? Dark hair, not the one from Miami, although she's good too) for the girls and Cutie Jason for the guys. Do you watch? Who's your fave? I think this is the first season I've watched from the beginning, all the way through, thanks to DVR. }

Well, blah blah blah. Don't know if I'll be in tomorrow since I've got nothing but shops planned but you never know.

I shall return.


Weekend Jaunts

[I may not finish this post tonight. Lotsa pictures, and that takes forevah!]


So this past Friday, the kids and I busied ourselves with packing for our trip out of town. I had a hotel shop in Chester, Virginia, about 2 hours away. While we packed, some mail came in: Another (a fourth!) mysterious check from Asis Pharmacy for CARE Package, along with goodies from Grandma. My camera was downstairs, so I didn't get pictures, but she sent fun toys (pinwheels and slinkies and necklaces, oh my!) for the kids, beautious crocheted layettes for CARE Package, and books! Chloë dove right into the book for her (Mrs. Piggle Wiggle?), and I took my Stephanie Pearl-McPhee (aka the Yarn Harlot) book along for the trip. I haven't had a lot of time to read, so I'm only 3/4 into it, but it's a fast and interesting book. Oh, it's called, Things I Learned From Knitting (Whether I Wanted to or Not), and it's so true.

100_1432 The kids whined all the way to Chester, until I finally had to threaten that we wouldn't go to Kings Dominion the following day if they didn't settle down. That worked. Little did they know, I had five shops to perform at KD and couldn't cancel the trip if I wanted to. And I'd already bought our tickets...

100_1435 After I did all the work I could do in the hotel for the night, and we did another mystery shop around the corner for dinner (hey, I stack 'em whenever and wherever I can!), we spent the rest of the evening at the hotel pool. Thankfully, it was warm, or else Rob and the kids never would have lasted. No meat on their bones. I have my own insulation and rarely get cold in the water! It was a fun time; we stayed for hours.

100_1440 The kids got ready for bed when we returned to the room, but Sophia couldn't sleep. Even I was tired and wanted to rest, but she was bouncing off the walls. I feel bad for her.  She used to be such an excellent sleeper, but now it seems she just can't sleep at night. I feel responsible for that; it must be genetic. :( I had brought along a package of doughnuts for the kids for breakfast, forgetting that there was a continental one served in the morning. I let her have one. I love this look on her face!

100_1441 But every time I turned around...

100_1443 ...she would be eating another one!

100_1444 Everyone else managed to zonk right out. Why yes, I did make those froggy jammies!

100_1445 Can you believe this? Instead of Doggy, Jack brought along Wolfie from the Great Wolf Lodge trip! Doggy stayed home. This is major. He's been giving both lovies equal time lately. I'm glad he had such a good time and has such good memories of our trip to GWL!

100_1446 Both of us are prone to falling asleep with our glasses on...!

Finally, at maybe 0200, Sophia settled into the bed beside me and I was able to put down my knitting book and turn out the light. And that's all she wrote about Friday night.

I'm going to bed. I'll return tomorrow with more about this past weekend's adventures.


Paying Attention

So I guess I'm way behind on the blahg. I'll catch you up on our doin's since Independence Day.

Warning: This won't be short.

But I bet you knew that already.

Sunday the 5th: Was Tinkerbell's birthday. Honestly, I can't remember if she turned 4 or 5. We didn't do anything. She doesn't like a fuss.

I had a mystery shop at a certain carousel in a certain local mall. I've done it a few times before, and the kids always enjoy it. We never went up to the upper level before, so this time we did.

The girls are always happy to pose for a picture.

100_1386 Not so much the boy. He refused to let me take his picture on the merry-go-round. Can you tell it was a rainy day?

100_1389 It really is a beautiful ride, and quite conspicuous being located inside a mall!

The rest of the day was spent packing up most of the office, in anticipation of the arrival of our floor materials the next day.

Monday the 6th: The kids and I spent most of the day farting around and finishing packing up the office. There was a surprising lot of stuff squished into such a small room.

Fun things arrived in the mail:

100_1392 100_1395 My yarnie prize from Claudia's MS ride arrived! Ooh, it is luscious. Top:
2 skeins Oceanwind Knits' Fingering Superwash Merino (185 yds ea) in Berrijus; Bottom: 2 skeins Radiant Twist's Superwash Merino Sock (375 yds total) in Ancient. What am I going to make with it? I don't know yet, but it's calling my name!

Susan even sent along a bonus gift: These size 0 DPNs (double-point needles, for socks and other such things knit in-the-round) in bamboo. I didn't already have size 0s, and I don't know when I'll need them, but now I have them!
100_1397 100_1398
Even more of the yarnie stuff arrived in the mail. Oh, people, this Drops Alpaca is some gooood stuff. This is the first time I've bought exactly the yarn called for in the pattern (except the colors), which I'm not going to reveal. I'll be doing some covert knitting from now until November in preparation for Steph's baby. Rats, I've spoilt the color surprise. Oh well, there will be more.

Rob brought a young kid home from work to help him move the desk out of the office. They worked while the kids and I ran around doing about 7 mystery shops (there was lots of free food and gas that night - one not necessarily related to the other...). I told Rob if I'd known he'd be bringing home such a cutie pie, I wouldn't have looked so dumpy! He threatened to tell him I said that; I don't know if he ever did.

So that night, Rob stayed up all night ripping up the rug and tack strips in the office and hallway.

100_1409 The floor guys were supposed to be here on Tuesday. Rob got maybe a half-hour of sleep in preparation?

Tuesday the 7th: Linda from Bunco picked the kids and me up for two lunch shops. There was one way out in Chesapeake that I'd never done before, and it turned out to be a really fun assignment for both of us. She's still talking about it. Then we came all the way back to do a certain well-known 24-hour restaurant that I do all the time. It was pretty uneventful. She came in and observed our naked floor. The floor guys never came, because they never received the materials. We had originally been promised the work would be all done for Bunco on Wednesday night. Things weren't looking good for that!

The foreman called and promised that it would be done on Wednesday by 1300. I believed him. Silly, foolish me.

We ran out to Oceana (Navy base here in town) to do another dinner shop at the Exchange and go him and sit, looking at the cement floor in the office and jam-packed living room.

Wednesday the 8th: Bunco night. The floor guys never came. They still didn't receive the materials. It wasn't their fault; there was some problem with the delivery truck. I couldn't really blame them, because they kept communicating with both the truck and me about the problem, and it wasn't on their end, but still. I wanted a new floor to show off at Bunco, and I didn't have it.

We managed. Bunco was still fun, and we had everyone there and no 'ghosts.' There was some bitchiness happening, but what do you expect when 12 women get together?  There was fussing over someone not bringing the food they signed up for, grouchiness over being fussed at for that and for doing our first annual birthday exchange differently than she wanted to, and bitchiness (on my part) for C (the one I don't like) wearing the $55 silk scarf I donated into the prize pot after being tired of looking at it on the virtual Etsy sales floor. At least I apologized...

Thursday the 9th: I woke up sick. I had planned on taking the kiddos to the pool while the floor guys were finally here doing the floor, but I was completely wiped out from The Sick. Summer colds suck. It's the worst time of year to get one. I hate them with a passion. This one wasn't actually so bad, but it was bad enough that we just hung out in the living room, watching TV and chillaxing, while they did the floor. I occasionally fell asleep for a minute or two here and there and woke up to find the kids in the floor guys' faces, asking them a billion and one questions. They laughed it off and took it in stride.

100_1410Et voila!

100_1411 The kids LOVE it. Well, they love the smoothness and slipperiness, but they also love the fact that the room is completely empty! Chloë asked if we could make it their playroom. Um, dear, the whole damn house is your playroom, so no. This room is MINE!

We like it, too. The pets, not so much. They're doing that cartoonish running place while their paws struggled to get a purchase and let them move in a forward motion - so Rob keeps taunting the dog and getting her to run around. It's good for a giggle.

We went out to Chesapeake that night for another pizza shop. As soon as I got there, I realized I'd forgotten a very critical piece of information all the way back at home and couldn't do my assignment without it. Suck!! Palm T|X to the rescue! I managed to get a signal right there in the parking lot of the restaurant, get into my Yahoo! mail account, and find the tidbit I needed. Sweeeet. It was such a relief not to have to go all the way home.

Wal-mart was right there, and we desperately needed milk, cereal, and cat food. And Rob wanted white thread for the uniform he had to prepare that night. So I went in to get those few things and, $240 later, I came out with a humongo cart full of groceries - and no thread. They no longer carry it. Thread! Can you believe it? They have sewing machines, a whole aisle of sewing notions, but no thread. Utterly ridiculous. So he was disappointed, but the kids were overjoyed, since I'd purchased all manner of yumminess for their personal enjoyment.  Sans coupons and canvas bags. It kind of killed me a little to do that.

So I'm going to kill this post right here and make the weekend a post in and of itself. Be right back!


Saturday 9: Wedding Bell Blues


 If you're playing along, be sure to link up here.

1. If you are married, tell us about your wedding.

Our wedding was perfect. We eloped two months after we met online. We had planned an intimate beach wedding at sunset with family and close friends, but outside events conspired to marry us sooner. We couldn't stand to be apart any longer, so on 1-2-01, we ran to the courthouse, hands clasped, laughing, and said our vows. A month and a half later, I was newly pregnant - and hey, barefoot - and we did have that beach wedding. Very simple and informal, and I loved everything about it. There was zero stress. No bridezilla here!

2. What age would you encourage your children to get married?

There's no right age. When they have found The One - and IMO, when you know, you know - then they should do what feels right.

3. Who got married at the last wedding that you attended?

Gosh. We have had to turn down a lot of wedding invitations in our marriage, so the last one must have been my best friend Lisa and (and my ex-HS boyfriend) Faris' in June, 2002. I was a bridesmaid and nursing 9-month-old Chloë then. 'Twas interesting...

4. Do you enjoy weddings and receptions?

I do. I love them. I wish we hadn't missed so many of our friends' and loved ones'. :(

5. Have you cried at a wedding?

Oh, absolutely. And not always for joy!

6. Would you prefer a lavish event or a intimate ceremony?

Personally, I think lavish weddings are overrated, and I'm really not into conspicuous consumption, so for me it would be an intimate ceremony.

7. Have you ever been in some one’s wedding party? If yes, do tell.

Yes, three that I can remember. My dad's wedding to my horrible (and that's quite an understatement) stepmother in July, 1985, when I was 8. My sister's in July, ummm... 1999?? Eek. And Lisa's in June, 2002. Bridesmaids, all.

8. Does a wedding make you happy and sentimental or grouchy and skeptical?

Definitely the former. I'm generally not the grouchy/skeptical type. (Not that they necessarily go together.)

9. Why do you think our divorce rate is so high?

I don't believe it's for me to comment on others' marriages.


Friday Fragments


I'm coming out of this week's hibernation for just a minute to share this one little quote with you. If you're fragmenting along, be sure to link up with Mrs.4444!

This cracks me up so much, I didn't even have to write it down:

I was doing an audit of a certain 'mart that, if you can believe it, is even the bastard child of Wal-mart, and I took Jack with me. I let him pick out what to buy for my $1 required purchase, and of course he chose a car. We went to that aisle, and there was a wall of Hot Wheels cars. Nearby were a few Matchbox cars, but he prefers Hot Wheels. Well, he ended up selecting a Matchbox car without really paying attention.

Later in the audit, we were in the ladies' clothing section when he plucked that car out of the cart, started examining it from top to bottom, front and back, and it dawned on him.

He exclaimed, for all to hear:

"Oh, shit, this isn't a Hot Wheels car!"

Inwardly, I died laughing, but outwardly, I said, "Jack, did you just say what I thought you said?"

J: "What?!"

M: "Did you just say the bad 's' word?"

J: "No..."

M: "Then what did you say?"

J, pausing, then giving me a wicked grin, "I said, 'shit'!"

Now I really wonder what he thinks the bad 's' word is...


We're Alive!

Just a quick note to say I probably won't be posting much this week because we are soooo busy with the floor stuff. Right now, at 0254, Rob is still ripping up the tack strips from the carpet, and I have just completed my sixth of six mystery shop reports. Oy. The office is all packed up and emptied out, and the living room is a huge mess of furniture and... stuff. It won't be done in time for Bunco, but at least we can leave the office empty and fit two sets of tables and chairs in there! Oh well, such is life.

I'll return soon!


Celebrating Independence

What a beautiful day. I do believe the Fourth of July is my favorite holiday. It's taken me 33 years to figure that out but yes, I love it.

To start out, we were supposed to take Jack to this parade this morning, wherein he was going to march with his new-fellow Cub Scouts, but you know us. Guess what we did instead?

If you said "slept in," ten points for you! We were supposed to be there at 10, but none of us woke up until 30-60 minutes after that. Oops. What a great way to start out his time with the Scouts, eh? Fortunately, he has neither mentioned nor remembered the parade, so there weren't tears about it all day. Thank Heaven for small favors!

When noon hit, I roused myself enough to get ready for my 1300 appointment at the Red Cross to donate blood. It's the first time I've done it in a while, and never post-surgery. My iron has been to low the past 3-4 times I've attempted, so I was really hoping things would go well today.

They did. But not at first! The girl assigned to me was dumber than shit. She screwed up the poke in my left arm and had to call another woman over, but it was too late. The vein was blown. So dumbshit girl came back and thanked me for trying. Um, what? That's it? I don't think so, I have this whole 'nother arm here! She was surprised I still wanted to try.

Listen, I didn't come down here on a holiday, wait an hour, go through all the questions, have you stick a needle in my arm and wiggle it all around inside me to just leave without giving you people some blood! And furthermore, I feel like it's my duty. As I've said before, I'm O-neg, and that makes me feel reponsible for donating whenever I can. I like to give of myself, whether it's my time or my hair or my blood, and since this little thing doesn't cost me a penny and means so much to those who need it, I'm there. Take my blood.

I had to switch chairs with another soon-to-be donor, and then dumbshit tried again in the right arm. She still couldn't get it and had to call the competent woman over. Fortunately, she wiggled it into position, and the life-juice started a-gushin'. After all that time, suffering through The Phantom Menace (sorry, not a fan, and they even ruined Ewan MacGregor's lovely countenance with that ridiculous hair-do), the blood came out in about five minutes flat. Dumbshit stopped what she was doing with the other donor to tell me I was finished, and I was amazed.

I've never had a problem with giving blood and feeling dizzy, but let me tell you, I do now. Maybe it's because I'm skinny. (Hee, that's my new line for anything, like when I'm cold? I'm usually never cold, but I'm freezing all the time lately, "because I'm skinny." And I realize I'm not skinny... that's why it's a joke. Before I get any hate mail!) And I will never again give blood on July 4th - dumb idea, now matter how cute the flip-flops they're giving out!

I stood up to walk out and about passed out. And I couldn't eat the cookies, donuts and soda they provide afterward, so I just had to leave. After a few seconds of holding up the wall, I was fine, so I thought nothing more of it. Got home, we showered and dressed in our red-white-and-blues, and headed to Mt. Trashmore Park for the festivities.


I adore this picture!! It's now my screensaver. We parked at our church, blissfully close to the park and FREE (the park was charging five bucks), and headed over to the mountain. We spotted this boat, with its great colors and character, and I had to have a picture. I have a beautiful family, if I do say so myself!


People were already starting to stake their claims on the hill, more than five hours before showtime. (It's much steeper than it looks in these pictures, too...)


There was a great DJ at the park, and I have a video of Chloë doing a great job at the Macarena. It will be uploaded to Dropshots soon. While she was dancing, Sophia and Jack were rolling down the hill. Here's my boy mid-roll. All I could think about (besides the grass stains) was what a chore it must be to mow that thing!


Whoops! I didn't realize until I uploaded the photos that Rob was actually caught up in the leash! Let go, Jack!


After a quick snack, we headed over to the playground area, where the kids ran and romped and had a joyous time. And that's where the trouble started for me. Things started going black, and I froze. I knew I was going to pass out; I've done it before. Once in junior high while standing on the risers in chorus (and wearing a dress - how embarrasssing!) and several times during the twin pregnancy in hot, hot Guam. I managed to say something to Rob, but I don't know what. He basically pushed me down to sitting, because I couldn't move and was not really thinking. I felt better then, but every time I tried to stand up, it happened again. So, I sat.


Meanwhile, Chloë climbed on the metal spider thingy. She was too scared to climb it the other night, so that was cool.


Sophie and Jack made the first of several new friends for the day, and they built a ... well, a pile of dirt. I can't call those two the Non-Twins anymore, now that Sophie towers over him and no one asks anymore. It kind of makes me sad.

Then Jack got something in his eye, and we couldn't get it out. I'd already looked around for the EMT tent to ask about the pre-fainting spells, so I knew they were just a little ways away. Whew, though, it was hard to get there! I made it, though. First, they took Jack back somewhere (Rob went along) to irrigate his eye. They handled that well and gave us a bottle of water in case it still irritated him.

At the same time, I asked a female EMT about what I should do. Her advice? "Go home. You shouldn't be here." I about cried (okay, that's a lie, I burst into tears), because I really did not want to leave. This was the funnest day ever, and I didn't want to miss it! She sat me under a tent, got me some Vitamin Water (blech) and admonished me about not eating enough, not drinking enough, being out in the scorching direct sunlight, and giving blood too soon after gastric bypass surgery. She kept saying if it was up to her, she'd send me home, but if I wouldn't do that, I had to sit down, in the shade, period. So that's what I did, while everyone else had fun.

It kind of sucked for me, now that I'm able to be more active with my family, but I really enjoyed watching everyone else. I adore watching the kids running around, having the time of their lives. Nothing makes me happier than seeing them happy. You know?


After the EMT tent, when I'd recovered well enough to walk to the next shady spot by the kids' fun stuff, we passed by the police tent. The officer laughed when he saw the stickers the EMTs had given the kids, telling them, "Ours are bigger! Take these." They got all kinds of loot today - pencils, coloring books, stickers, magnets. All stuff we really needed in our over-cluttered little abode.



Tiger Lily and I sat on a Neat Sheet under a shady tree, while Rob took pictures of the girls in the first of four bounce houses. Jack kept running back and forth between his mom and dad, upset because he wanted to go in the dog and not the lion bounce house. Ugh, he is so particular! But we got in a few good cuddles, and he loved on the dog some, too.


I lay down on my back, with Lily beside me, and this was my view - for a long, long time while the kids and Rob enjoyed bouncing around. A million and one kids - and some adults - came up and asked to pet our dog. She got lots of compliments on her beauty and good behavior. At least a half-dozen people asked me if she was a police dog.  Some nitwits came running up to her, petted her all over without asking, and then asked me if she bites. (The stock answer Rob likes to use is, "Only if we tell her to," but really, she wouldn't hurt a fly unless maybe you were attacking one of the Odettelettes. Those are her babies, too.) That part made the time go faster, but not as fast as if I'd brought some knitting with me. I finished the Bandaid Blanket (pictures upcoming), though, so I'm between projects. I lamented that fact all day.


Can I just brag on this dog for a minute? She did awesome today. You may have noticed that we rarely take her out with us. I don't particularly know why this is, other than we just haven't. But she was so well behaved today, and I was extremely proud of her. She minded, she sat prettily and let the whole world pet her and give her attention she's not used to, and she visited nicely with some other poochies at the park. She's definitely earned the right to be taken out more. What a great dog she's turned out to be!

Even if she does crap on the rug at least once a week.


When the kids tired of jumping, they were hungry. What better to fill their bellies than pure spun sugar? This picture is amusing because Jack and Chloë took their characteristically tiny little pieces of the cotton candy, while Sophia reached in and, to their horror, grabbed this mondo hunk of it. Afterward, they started frantically grabbing pieces themselves, lest she get it all.




The kids love it, but I've never really cared for cotton candy. It's too sweet; I don't like jellybeans, either. Do you like it?


Rob and his pup taking a breather and a drink.


I like this picture, too... Rob took the dog and the kids for a run up and down the hill. They ran over and over, breathlessly, between their two parents. Sophie fell every time she got to the bottom, but each time she brushed herself off and said, "I'm okay!" She runs much faster than her sibs.


Isn't this so cute?! Sophie makes friends everywhere she goes. These two boys, Brandon, 9, and Jake, 7, were just smitten with her. They ran up and down the hill, at her whim, visiting me at the bottom and Tiger Lily and Rob at the top. Whenever she said, "let's go!" they let's went. When she said, "Let's go up the hill backwards!" they complied. And the older boy held her hand going down the hill so she wouldn't fall. It was terribly sweet.


...and they all fell down! Finally, it was time to claim our own territory on the big hill, before there weren't any good spots left. The kids helped Rob set out the blanket, and they all plopped on a corner when it was ready. What about me? I got the whole middle.Which is fitting, since I still probably take up more space than the rest of 'em combined!


This picture was Sophia's idea. Love it!


Our view of beautiful Mt. Trashmore, so named because it covers a landfill. Yes, really!


At last, the sun was starting to fade. While I rested, recovered and recuperated, Rob took the kids potty, stood in the long lines for festival food, and was generally doing all the running that needed doing. I had picked up 3 tubes of glow-in-the-dark bracelets for a buck each, so I sat there and snapped them all to get them glowing for the kids. When they weren't eating, going to the bathroom or running around making friends, they sat with me and demanded this color or that color.


Rob and the kids took Tiger Lily down the hill to visit with another German Shepherd I spotted. This dog was submissive to Lily, who is pretty submissve herself. But at 89 pounds, our dog had 20-30 pounds on the other!


She looks so beautimous here... Jack buddied up to this little fellow, who sat with the dog and me even when none of my kids were around. He never spoke a word, he just cuddled with Lily. It was adorable.


At the same time, Sophie was busy getting up close and personal with someone else's puppers. The boy came over and sat with us for a minute, too. He told us he used to have a GSD, but she got hit by a car and died. Sad.


Whoo, another trek up the mountain. So that's where that Sprite went!


Here's Chloë, wearing many of the glowies. All three of the kids did a swell job of going around and giving them away to bunches of other children, since we had so many. I was so proud of them! Except parents kept coming over to ask us if it was all right. They were surprised, since the same things were being sold for much more money at the park!


Sophie insisted Daddy wear one, and then he put one on the dog's collar, too. So we could see her in the dark. I think she liked her bling.


One happy girl. Her arms look good here; I'm jealous. What you can't see behind her is Sophie playing with Liliana, a cute little girl they befriended during our time on the hill. Lily (the girl) kept getting confused everytime we spoke to Lily (the dog). The girls gave her lots of their bracelets. I think Sophia bestowed all of hers upon Liliana!


At last, the show!


It was a really great presentation this year. The patriotic music, the fireworks, the wonderful family togetherness... I just love the whole thing. It makes my heart swell with pride at being an American. It was a day of contentment and of reflection. I'm thankful for this day.

Afterward, what's normally a five-minute drive - if that - took us over an hour to get home. There must have been a billion people there, give or take a few hundred million. Next year, we might just walk over! Jack fell asleep in the car, the girls chattered in the back about their favorite parts of the day, and Rob... well, Rob kept attempting to stick a glowie thing up his nose and have it come down his mouth.  What can I say? He's a guy.

Hope you had a great day, too!


Saturday 9: Yankee Doodle Dandy

Yankee Doodle

If you're playing along today, be sure and link up here!

1. What is your favorite 4th of July memory? (If you aren't in the U.S., then use your own national holiday.)

I don't really have any one memory that stands out for the 4th of July, but I love going to the park with my family and sitting together watching the fireworks.

2. Do you consider yourself patriotic?

Absolutely, I love my country, problems and all.

3. Do you like fireworks?

I've always loved them!

4. What are your plans for this weekend?

Tomorrow, Jack will be in a parade with his new Cub Scouts pack, then I'm giving blood before we head over to the park. It's like a fair there on the 4th, with lots of yummy foods and things to do before the fireworks. Sunday, we'll be packing up the house in preparation for the new floor, ugh.

5. Are you optimistic about the future?

I'm a pretty glass-half-full person, yeah. I worry as much as the next guy, but I generally always believe that things will work out okay. When they don't, I'm always shocked and devastated.

6. Do you think everyone should serve in the military?

No, I don't. It's not for everyone, and everyone's not for it. I'm terribly proud of my husband, who has been in the U.S. Navy for the past 16 years - but I could never do it!

7. Would you support a constitutional ban on flag burning?

No. As Voltaire (I think?) once said, "I may not agree with a thing you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it," and that includes burning the flag as a form of expression.

8. What end of the political spectrum are you?

I'm pretty liberal, a fact that my very conservative father can't stand - or understand. Oh, well, to each her own.

9. Where do you get your news?

Mostly from the local news, but I admit sometimes I find things out from the Tonight Show or some such! Or online, or from word of mouth, or the paper... everywhere, I guess. I stopped watching the news for a while after reading the excellent book, The Gift of Fear, which I think every woman should read.  I've never been a big news watcher, though, so something has to really intrigue me for me to watch.


Aloha Friday


If you're playing along today, be sure to link up here!

My question for you today is:

What one thing would you tell your 16-year-old self if you could?


I would tell myself, "Hey, kiddo, if you don't respect yourself, no one else will, either.

Thanks for stopping by!


Friday Fragments


If you're fragmenting today, please make sure to link up with Mrs.4444!

☼ Did I tell you Sophia was accepted into the pre-K program at the older kids' school? We were very excited... until we kept reading and found out she was waitlisted. I'm hoping against hope she will get picked up; it'll be great for her!

☼ The insurance check came today for the new floor, so I called up The Floor Guy right away and told him to come an' get it. Hopefully, the materials will be in on Monday and he can start putting the floor in on Tuesday! If we work hard and fast Tuesday night, he might be able to finish the job Wednesday before Bunco that night. Hey, Steph, can Tim come over on Tuesday night after work?

☼ Friday is another busy day, with doc appointments, mystery shops and Rob's 3rd or 4th attempt at passing his motorcycle test. He does fine going to and from the DMV but gets really nervous when he gets there. Think a good thought for him, would ya?

And now, some cute kid quotes from the past week:

☼ It drives me nuts when the kids touch things on my desk. They are most definitely not allowed to do so without asking. Sophia doesn't care. Grabbing things off the desk, she declared, "When I see everything, it's MINE!"


☼ Observed Chloë, "Every time the cat bites her tail like that, I can see her butthole!"


☼ Sophia was running around the living room, yelling "RAWR! RAWR! RAWR! RAWR!" at her siblings, the pets, whatever... After a full three minutes of this, she decided, "Okay, that's enough scaring!"


☼ Jack was frustrated at one of his sisters but obviously could not decide who, for he shouted out, "CHLOPHIA!!!"


☼ We went to the park for dinner the other night. Sophie, perched atop a swing and shouting out for the whole park to hear: "HEY, EVERYONE! I'M SOPHIE, AND I'M FOUR! I WANT TO MEET EVERYBODY!" And she really means it, too...


☼ Chloë loves to read these little tidbits she and her siblings say, when I write them down in my notebook. She's always telling me, "Hey, Mom, write this one down: blah blah blah blah blah..." It cracks me up.


☼ Chloë, admiring her own chest and comparing it to mine, "I don't have boobies, I have teeny-tiny pimples on my boob parts."


☼ Sophia likes to share a lot of information with strangers about herself, her brother and sister, her pets, and her life. When the pizza man came to the door last night, she virtually attacked him with tidbits. She told him her name, her age, her brother's name and age, her sister's name and age, her dog's name, her cat's name... and the guy was just trying to give me my pizza and leave. I was dragging her physically from the door when she was in the middle of telling him that our bunny died. When she realized he didn't hear her over my telling her not to share her whole life story, she escaped and ran back to the door, shouting at him, "BUNNY DIED!" to make sure he knew before I slammed the door on her. It was hysterical. I laughed my fool head off!


☼ P.S. I just shifted in my seat and checked to make sure my seatbelt was latched. Um, okay, dodohead...

The Game Of Life

Whew. It has been a busy day, fo' sho'.

I was up 'til 0600, knitting on the Bandaid Blanket. I could finish it in about 10 more minutes, but I haven't had the time. So, I woke up late this morning, which was fine because the kids were gracious enough to sleep really late, too. Thanks, kids.

After I got up and got the kids fed and settled, I got down to work. July is going to be an enormously busy month for me, both with mystery shopping and otherwise. I had a lot of work to do today, prepping for today's shops, travel planning, doing the bills, making calls and appointments, etc. I spent four hours at the computer, working nonstop except to feed and take care of the kids. Hated that. I wanted to finish my blanket.

I was still working when Rob came home at 1600, and I had another hour after that. After a quickie shower (and wearing more clothes I never have before!) it was time to hit the road.

Oh, let me backtrack a minute. Earlier this week, all three kids hit the 1,000-point mark in The Game of Life. They each got to pick a prize out of the bucket! Chloë picked $5, and she was thrilled with that reward. Jack earned a special date with Mommy, and Sophia won the chance to do some baking with Mom.



When it was time to go out and do all my shops, I integrated that with Jack's Mommy-and-me time, and took him with me. I made sure that the kid CD was playing for him in the back seat, and he sang along sweetly to the music. I really need to get more kid CDs; most of ours are worn out and we've been listening to the same one over and over. I really want a Veggie Tales Silly Songs one!100_1232

Anyway, our first stop was at Pembroke Mall down the road, where he spotted this double-decker bus and wanted to take a ride. It was 50¢, which I happened to have on me, so I agreed. It was his date, after all! He had a good ride, and then we continued on to my first shop at the cookie store in the mall. I let him pick the cookie he wanted, another thrill for him, and we went on our way.

I was going to stop at Zales and get my engagement ring examined (it's due in June and December), but we can't find the paperwork anywhere. Eek. I don't know what I'm doing to do now! So we skipped that, and went to Bath and Body Works. I had a coupon for a free anti-bacterial hand sanitizer with any purchase, so I picked up a teensy trial size item and gt my full-size product free! Woot! Cucumber melon, love.


Jack happily skipped out of the mall with me, eating his delectable cookie and chattering away.

After that, we stopped to get an oil change. My oil indicator thingy had been flashing the evil eye at me for a week, so it was past time. Jack visited with an old man in the waiting room while I read my forms for the next shops. Well, more like, the man visited with him, while Jack tried to claw his way through me out of extreme bashfulness. So unlike his sisters in that respect.

We drove to the next two shops, both gas station convenience stores. Remembering my gran'pappy had a doctor appointment on Monday for the growth he's had in his throat for months now, I tried calling. No answer. Same with my sister's line, and then my dad's, and then Rob's. I was getting paranoid until Stacey finally called me back and confirmed my suspicions that it was she tying up Grandpa's line.

The news isn't good. They couldn't do a biopsy yet until he's off his Coumadin for a week, but they are pretty sure it's cancer. I'm trying not to cry thinking about it. He smoked a pipe for years but quit and threw away all his (expensive) pipes the day his dentist told him he was "working on 'the Big C'," as he puts it. That was 25 years ago, and here he is now at 83, staring throat cancer in the face. I'm trying not to worry. I eventually got ahold of him, and he sounded positive and upbeat, so that was a relief. We'll just take it one step at a time, I guess...

Jack and I did those two shops, during which he whined incessantly about wanting this or that junk food, driving me nuts. He'd just had a huge cookie and didn't need anything else to upset his little tum, and besides, I wasn't allowed to buy anything else but my required purchase.


Finally, we made it to Toys 'R Us, where Jack has been wanting to go since we began playing The Game. I want to make playing it worth his while, so I relented on stopping there. Can you see the shit-eating grin on his face?? We walked in planning on getting a couple Hot Wheels cars,. but right inside the door were these huge "Battle Rigs" on clearance. Deep clearance. What the heck, why not?


Jack could scarcely wait to get out to the car and buckle up before he tore into that box. He was beside himself with glee, which made me happy. I had promised him ice cream, since I had a shop for that tonight, too, but he didn't want it anymore. He just wanted to get home and play with his new prize!


We stopped at home to switch out the kiddos. I told Rob to offer the ice cream shop to Sophie in lieu of her baking-with-Mom prize, and she happily accepted. What kid wouldn't? She waited patiently on this bench while I stood in line to reach the window.


Sophie wanted chocolate AND strawberry AND a gummy worm, please. That thing was bigger than her head!


I had a fantastic time watching her eat this thing. It was a hoot. And I was very grateful to have a pack of Wet Ones in my purse! Oh, the kid was filthy when it was all said and done. And she didn't even get down to the cone before throwing it away!



Soap wanted to stay out and do something else after that, but it was nearly 2100 and we needed to get home. I had yet another shop to do, a pizza delivery for dinner.


Jack was all into his new truck thing when I got home. He kept showing me all the bells and whistles. I had to admit, it was pretty cool.


Chloë was delighted when I finally forked over her five smackers, even though it wasn't in the $1 denominations she requested. Best I could do, kiddo!


At last the pizza came, and I did all the nitpicky steps required of me. The chillens were starving by that point, and they really dug in, thanking Mama for the pizza.

After Sophie ate, I ran her to the store with me to get some milk and a few things that I had coupons for, making them almost-free. She was hilarious in the store, yelling "Hi! I'm Sophie and I'm FOUR!" to everyone who passed us by. They were all charmed by her.

And I had a WOW moment at the register. I was wearing one of the new magical bras (of course; I haven't worn any others since I got them) and a tight t-shirt, my hair up in a ponytail for once. On of my Farm Fresh peeps, Nicole who always works there at night, came bounding over to the register, demanding, "Okay, girly, what's your secret?" I was confused at first, thinking she was talking about that weird girl who fondled my groceries that one time, but no. Nicole said, "You have lost a TON of weight, and you look amazing!" I was so happy!! That's the first time someone not "in the know" said something to me! I told her I'd lost 100 lbs, and she was stunned. I admitted to the surgery, and she said she had 3 family members who'd had it, and she knew what a lot of work it was. I was so excited, grinning from ear to ear for at least an hour after that conversation. She told me my face and body look completely different - and I have to agree!

We went home, and the kids took a bath while I've spent the last, oh, three or four hours working on my reports. I still need to get on the Wii tonight, since I've vowed to do the WiiFit every single night in July. If there's anything left in me after that, I guess I'll watch my DVR'd So You Think You Can Dance from earlier tonight while I finish that blanket...