Friday, July 31, 2009

The Speed Limit is a Suggestion Part 3

Did you miss the first two installments of this story? Please, please go back and read about them before continuing....Here is Part One and here is Part 2.....Thank you.

Fast forward another year. I was going to college at Southwestern Oklahoma State University. Studmuffin was going to Northwestern Oklahoma State University. He had came to visit me, and watch me in a musical I was in. On Saturday we had decided to go into "The City" to run around. I volunteered to take my car. It was a 1993 bright red Ford Tempo stick shift. I loved that car. It ran like a rocket and got amazing gas mileage. I kept immaculate oil change and gas records. (This is generally a good idea when you drive like I did.) When we traded it in, I was looking back through my log book and realized I got 45 miles to the gallon with that little car. No joke.

Anyway, we were driving down I-40 to The City. Oklahoma doesn't have a lot of money for highway patrolmen, so they use airplanes. The plane will fly overhead and time your speed over a certain distance, then notify a unit on the ground of any offenders. Of course, i was pulled over. I have to say, I was more than a little concerned. I was no longer in my daddy's stomping grounds. I wasn't sure he had even been to The City in a few years, so the odds were not good that I could play the daddy card..."Young lady, do you know why I pulled you over?"

"Well, when I saw you pull in behind me, I looked at my speedometer and I was going 83." Stick to honesty and smiles....It was all I had left without my daddy's influence to hide under.

"We're using the plane today, and he averaged your speed at 86mph." Average. Okay. This means that over a several mile period I averaged 86mph. Sometimes faster, sometimes slower. Call me crazy, but this did not bode well for me. Studmuffin was overjoyed. Finally, I was going to get my just desserts for all of the rocketing around the great state of Oklahoma I'd been doing....

"Keep your speed down." That was all he said, then he literally ran to his car, jumped in, and took off like a bullet after a car that had just zoomed past us.

"I can't believe it!" Studmuffin was annoyed. "That is so unfair. 'Oh, look at the girl in the cute little red car with the big smile. I'm not going to give her a ticket.' This is ridiculous."

Well, Dear Reader, I was flabbergasted too. I could not believe Studmuffin was upset that I DIDN'T get a ticket. What the heck was wrong with him?

Fast forward another year. I have continued on my speeding spree, and continued to be successful in avoiding anything but warnings. By this time I had transferred to NWOSU to be with Studmuffin. We could no longer handle the extended separation, so I transferred to be with him. After all, he was a senior in college and had a lot more to lose than I did with a transfer at this point. To top it off, my best friend was willing to transfer with me, so I had a roommate and partner in shenanigans at my side!

The speed limit had just received a drastic bump. 70mph on the interstate, and 60 or 65 on other roads, depending on the terrain. I was absolutely ecstatic. This meant I could drive fast and not be breaking the law nearly as badly! However, word on the street was, you had better not exceed that limit by 5mph, or they were going to issue tickets.

I was on my way back to college after spending the weekend at my sister's house. I worked weekends in her home town as a nurses aide at the regional hospital. Of course I was in a hurry. Before I knew it I saw the pretty lights flashing in my rear view mirror. Darn it. Oh well, I better get my game face on.

"Young lady, do you know how fast you were going?"

I turned to offer my biggest, most sparkling smile....And came face to chest with a.....

WOMAN HIGHWAY PATROLMAN!!! (hear Psycho scream and music in the background)

I tried to be charming. I stuck to friendliness and honesty.....

The cranky witch gave me a ticket. For a measly 73 mph when the speed limit was clearly 65 on that stretch of road.

It took an effort, but I maintained my friendly disposition....

When I got to school one of my friends from down the street dropped in. Brian was a great guy. He had beautiful eyes that always seemed to be laughing and a huge smile that made you want to smile back. I shared my tale of woe to him. He began to laugh. I did not appreciate this response.

It turns out Brian had arrived in town about 45 minutes before me. He too had been pulled over on the same stretch of road by the same female officer....

Only she gave him a smile and a warning with the admonition, "Keep it down...This time I'm only giving you a warning." The injustice. And he was going faster than I was! The nerve! The very idea of it all! That was totally not fair! The only reason he didn't get a ticket was because he was a guy, and he had a great smile! I was sure of it!

When Studmuffin dropped by, Brian shared our adventures with him. I know you are surprised to find that he found the whole thing hilarious, and said I got what I deserved. I'm sure you can understand, Gentle Reader, my feelings of betrayal.

So, there you have it. The speed limit is truly only a suggestion. If you are a girl with a daddy who is well liked, the speed limit is a little higher for you. If you are a girl who is willing to be honest, friendly, and okay maybe a teeny tiny tad flirty, the speed limit may be higher for you. However, if you are a girl who is getting pulled over by a female officer, the speed limit is the speed limit, end of story.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The Speed Limit is a Suggestion, Part 2

If you happened to miss the first installment in this series, please go back and read it before you begin today's post....

I loved our local law enforcement. I was soon on a first name basis with all of the highway patrolmen in my little part of the world. I always had a moment of alarm, but when asked if I knew how fast I was going and why was I in a hurry, I always smiled and answered honestly, "Well, when I saw you I realized I was going 76, and I'm on my way to work." I don't know if it was the honesty, no excuses offered, the smile or what, but I'm pretty sure it was the fact that I was "Wayne's daughter" that I never got a ticket.

Fast forward a few years. Studmuffin and I had been dating a few months. It was the summer of 1994. Studmuffin would set his cruise control on 57mph. this would drive me positively bananas. The speed limit was 55. In my world this meant you should drive at the very least 63 or 64! Everyone knew they wouldn't issue a ticket for less than 10mph over the speed limit!

One evening I was finally successful in convincing him to drive over 60mph. We were on our way to Woodward to the movie. Many of you don't understand the level of dedication any boy had to have to date my sisters or me. I lived 26 miles from the nearest town. I lived 44 miles from Studmuffin's parents. He would drive to pick me up, then drive us to the nearest town with a theater, which was 55 miles away. The poor guy drove 200 miles for every date with me! Anyway, I had convinced him to up his speed a little.

Of course he got pulled over. I was sitting right next to him on his bench seat. I recognized the officer when he approached. (Please excuse me for not mentioning him by name. I'm not sure that he isn't still a patrolman, and I'd hate to burn any convenient bridges!) I leaned forward so he could see me and gave him a big smile and said, "hello." He gave Studmuffin a stern look and asked for his license and insurance verification. As he studied Studmuffin's credentials very intently, he said to me, "Young lady, I hope you have a license with you. I may have to take this young man in!" I smiled great big, gave him a wink, and said, "Nope! I left my wallet at home! You'll have to take me with you" Or something along those lines...

Studmuffin about started hyperventilating. He just knew we were both going to jail for soliciting an officer. The patrolman continued to glare and I continued to smile...until he broke down and started laughing. He gave Studmuffin his ID and insurance card back, then proceeded to ask me how I was doing, and was I corrupting this young man to drive as fast as me, was his power steering broke seeing as I had to sit so close, I must be helping him steer and whatnot. You could feel every muscle in Studmuffin's body relax when he realized we not only knew each other, but knew each other fairly well.

He asked us where we were going, how was my family, how did Paula like California, yada, yad, yada...When the patrolman let us leave, Studmuffin was blown away by how well we knew each other, and "how did I know him?" I explained that he had pulled me over several times for speeding, and we just got to know each other through chit chat. He could not believe it. He knew my sister Paula the same way. In fact one time he caught Paula speeding because she was trying to get to a certain gas station before it closed. He followed her, and filled her car up for her since the station was indeed closed and the next opportunity for gas was too far for her to make it on fumes.....

Well, once again, I have many more fascinating things to say, but again, will continue this post tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

The Speed Limit is a Suggestion

Don't you agree?

No?

Well, let me tell you why I think so....

To begin with, please pray for my dad. He needs surgery for a birth defect. It seems he was born with a lead foot. It has not hindered him as one might expect. He can leap a 6 foot corral panel, no problem. He can outrun a mad mama cow who's about to show some revenge for the injustice done to her precious baby bull....

However, it has lead him into trouble. Trouble with the law y'all.

I remember we were driving through New Mexico when I was 15. I had just gotten my learner's permit. Dad decided it was a good time to have me drive. There is one problem with this. My dad and I are alike in many ways. We are both in a hurry. He felt I needed to pass a car I was following. "You can go faster than this," he said. Well, the problem was, that even though I've been driving since before my feet could touch the pedals, I had never passed anyone in my life. I took a big gulp of courage and began to pass the car. As soon as my nose was around the car, I turned back into the right hand lane. I nearly ran the poor people off of the road. I didn't realize I needed to have the entire car in front before I pulled in front of them. Poor people. I wonder if they still have flashbacks today of a Ford Taurus nearly running them off the side of a mountain the summer of 1991?

So, as you can see, "you can go faster than this," was ingrained in me by my father since the beginning of time.

I had my license for an entire 2 weeks before I got stopped the first time. I was so nervous when I got pulled over. The police officer took one look at my license and said, "Are you any relation to...." Okay, at that moment I nearly blacked out in terror. My brother was not exactly an angel in his growing up years (still isn't) and I had a cousin who was a bit of a terror and had made himself known to the local law enforcement also. I was bracing myself to be stripped searched and hauled off to jail for guilt by genetic association....

"Wayne?" he finished.

I almost collapsed with relief. Of course he knew my dad! "Yes!" I replied with enthusiasm.

"Well, you didn't stand a chance did you? I have to pull your dad over all of the time to remind him to slow down. Try to slow down, honey. I'm letting you off with a warning this time."

And I gave him my most winning, sparkling smile, thanked him profusely and continued on my way.

Thus began a long career of speeding, getting pulled over, and answering questions about how my dad was doing, and what about hunting on our prairie dog town, and "please slow down, I'm letting you off with a warning this time."

And that, Dear Reader, is all for today. I just realized this post is going to be entirely too long for one day, even for steadfast readers who are used to my endless ramblings...Please tune in tomorrow for another installment!

Monday, July 27, 2009

Doppelgangers

On my way home from dropping my girls off at my parents today, I stopped in to chat with my sister Dawn. Of course, we discussed blogging, and that led us to discussing our blog friends. AKA, people we have never met, but are obviously just like us in every single way.

Actually, I have to say this revelation is completely my own. You see, I was reading April's blog, and had opened some links to listen to her and her sister Rechelle's laugh. Studmuffin was in the room. He said, "That's you." when he heard Rechelle's gasping laugh....

And that's when it dawned on me...No, no, not my sister's blog...I had my very own epiphany...

April & Rechelle are obviously our doppelgangers. They are sisters who both blog. They are very different, yet obviously share the same sense of humor. They have a family laugh. We too have a family laugh. Alas, I have no laugh recording to play for you, so I will do my best to describe it in words.

There are actually 2 forms of the laugh. The first laugh is loud. And kind of cackling. The kind of laugh that a mom lets rip and you can hear her over every other person in the auditorium, theater, school hallway, ballgame...You get the picture. It's loud. It's cackling. It's horribly embarrassing for children, but it's very liberating to let rip as an adult....It's one of those, "Oh crap, I turned into my mother, but oh well, I might as well embrace it" sort of things. Do you follow? Good.

Then there's the 2nd family laugh. This particular laugh was inherited from our father. It's a special laugh and is reserved for moments of extreme hilarity. It is best experienced with the entire family in attendance, because kind of like an audience clapping, the entire laugh sequence from beginning to end will become synchronized. Aren't you just dying of curiosity?

Well, here's a run down of how it goes...

Silence. Tears begin to run down our faces....Our bodies begin to convulse and we develop a strange back and forth rocking movement that involves clutching our stomachs...

My brother-in-law Les begins to narrate the laughter (I guess the silence gets to him). "Here it comes! It's coming! Get ready! It's the wind up...Wait for it. Wait for it..."

And then we all simultaneously inhale in a long high pitched dolphin call that sucks nearly every molecule of oxygen out of the air, and just when innocent bystanders think they will die of oxygen deprivation we all simultaneously let out a blissful sigh.....

We all get tickled that we all laughed in the same bizarre way and that starts the whole cycle over again until we feel like our heads will explode and our stomachs ache as if we've done 100 crunches and we are simply too weak to laugh anymore.

It's great. I promise.

So, it hit me today, that April and Rechelle are just like Dawn and I.

They blog.

We blog.

They are sisters.

We are sisters.

They are both extremely hilarious.

We are both...Okay, I hate to brag, but let's face it, we are hilarious.

Seriously, we are practically the same people.

Only they live in Kansas and we live in Oklahoma! But, that is practically the same thing! Bible Belt and all that you know. Plains, grasslands, wind...

Oh! And of course, they could never be mistaken for Linda Carter or Wonder Woman....

But, nonetheless, other than these two finite details we are practically identical.

So. There you have it. Dawn & I are not only best friends with people we have never even met, these people are obviously our doppelgangers.

Stolen Kisses

We had a wonderful evening with family this past weekend. Studmuffin's brother and his family came out. My sister-in-law Anita's mother, sister and her sister's family came too. Do you follow all of that? Unfortunately, I did not get any pictures. I was too busy saying "hello" to everyone, then, swimming with the kids (hey, somebody's gotta lifeguard!)

Then, I had to scramble to throw some food in front of them. I'm afraid it was a very ill-prepared discombobulated sort of meal. Studmuffin started grilling while I was in the pool. Then, when the burgers were nearly ready, I flew into the house to grill some poblano peppers and onions for toppings, and make a cole slaw salad. The recipe is fabulous. I always thought I hated cole slaw, but this is unlike any I'd ever tasted.

Anyway, we ended up celebrating my nephew's 7th birthday. Anita's sister is a good aunt. Instead of just playing around with the kids, she actually made sure he had a real made from scratch cake with candles and everything! It ws wonderful! Wouldn't you love to see a picture of it? Well, too bad. By this point I had actually thought to grab my camera. Alas, my memory card was full. The girls had been using it to make movies. Of course, I couldn't just start deleting them, because I simply must watch them to see what they recorded for all posterity!

Here's a picture of the birthday boy from Bookworm's birthday last year.

My nephew was walking by me, and I dropped a quick peck on his head. Anita said, "Aunt Andi stole a kiss!" He looked at me kind of funny. She then said, "You should give her a kiss. She got you those walkie talkies, and you should kiss her to thank her." He quickly moved out of kissing range.

"I'm not one of those medical!" he said as he began to flee to the front door.

What? We all expressed bafflement at this statement. He came back and said, "You know, I'm not a...a....a...doctor!"

We all burst out laughing. However, I must admit I'm rather disturbed by the revelations that followed. It turns out that he never realized I was a nurse until that day when I was asked to inspect a burn on his arm and see if it was healed enough to swim. His mom watches soaps. Apparently the nurses on General Hospital go around kissing a lot of doctors.

Is that what my nephew thinks of me?

Well, here is a recipe for you today, Dear Reader

NOT Cole Slaw Salad

16 oz pkg cole slaw mix
1 c sunflower seeds
1/2 c almonds
1 pkg ramen noodles (chicken flavor)

Toast nuts and noodles to enhance the flavors. Toss with slaw mix.

Dressing
1/2-3/4 c sugar (I always use 2/3 to split the difference!)
1/2 c oil
1/3 c vinegar
packet of seasoning from ramen noodles.

Pour dressing over salad just before serving to prevent soggy noodles and slaw.

You will love this, I promise. You will no longer be able to imagine eating a burger without it!

Oh! And guess what? I pawned my kids off AGAIN!!! They are at my parents until Thursday. Then, they will come home in time for Bookworm's 9th birthday party. I can't believe the summer has flown by, and before I know it the girls will be starting school again. Bleck. There goes my excuse to swim every day!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Family Time is Fun Time

Have I told you how frustrated I was that Bookworm was not required to learn her multiplication tables in 3rd grade here in Oklahoma? I'm especially concerned now that we are considering a move back to Texas where she was learning multiplication in 2nd grade. What if we get there and she is expected to have memorized the fact families for multiplication and division by now? Well, never fear we made multiplication flash cards. We've been very sketchy on working with them.

Yesterday as we were swimming I had inspiration. Since we are in the pool every day, we should make a point to review multiplication at the beginning of each swim session! And, to mix things up a bit, every time she gets one wrong, she gets flipped off of her floaty! She loved it! And, turns out my infrequent quizzing is doing more than I thought. She really only struggled with the 9s. What's up with that? I always thought 9s were easy because all answers add up to 9.

Then, continuing with the fun time is learning time, we created a game where I asked them Bible trivia. If they missed it, they had to try to get away from me on their floats, while I swam after them, and attempted to dunk them. Popcorn did not like this game as much as her sister. Turns out she's never heard of David, Ruth and Naomi, Sampson, or many other fairly common Bible stories. I can tell you one thing, if that girl is gonna "read scripture to her kids in the morning, in the afternoon, and at night," she better be paying better attention at church herself!

We continued our day-o'-fun after dinner. Friday is supposed to be family game night. I gotta confess we haven't had one in a few months. Hopefully we will be more consistent on the routine now. We played Pictureka and Disney Scene It. I made fresh squeezed limeade. We had raspberry sherbet with chocolate sauce for a snack. It was great to hang out as a family and pretend I didn't have dishes to wash or laundry to do. Okay, in reality I pretend that every day when I choose to spend 2 hours swimming with the kids. Then, I come in and I'm tired, so I have to rest. Then, it's time to cook dinner. Then, I go walk with my neighbor, and I'm no good for housework after that. So, in all honesty I have no problem pretending there's no work to be done.

Hey, speaking of avoiding work...I just finished a fantabulous book. It's The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom. It is her autobiography about living in Holland during occupation by Nazi Germany and her work in "God's Underground." It is truly amazing how God worked miracles in her life to enable her and her family to continue His work. Even after being placed in a concentration camp after being betrayed, she and her family continued to trust God and seek His purpose in their imprisonment. Read it. You will love it, I promise.

Well, I gotta go. We're continuing family fun today. We're having my in-laws Brett and Anita and their kids over. Also, Anita's sister Linda and her family are coming for swimming and hot dogs and hamburgers tonight. The kids are pretty excited, and I've decided that I at least need to scrub the bathroom before they come. No point in cleaning floors, everyone will just track in grass and dirt when they all descend. But, I should at least fold our laundry...

Friday, July 24, 2009

Family Traits

When you think of your family members, is there one feature that really stands out? Maybe it's their smile. I think it's amazing to look at pictures of my family and see how our smiles are so alike.

Maybe you think about their eyes. When I was growing up, I was always so jealous of my mom and sister Paula's eyes. They both have beautiful blue eyes. My eyes aren't blue. They aren't green either. They are somewhere in between. There really seemed to be nothing special about them. However, now that I'm older, I notice they are similar in color to my Grandma Irene. Her eyes have small flecks of brown in them, just like mine.

Or, perhaps you think about their hair. My mom has curly hair. I have curly hair. My brother David, niece Molly, and nephew Aiden all have curly hair. But, somehow the curly hair gene missed everyone else. My own children included. They both have straight as straw hair.

I would say I have the build of my Grandmama Dolly. She has really arms and legs for a person of her height. I'm 5'7 and I have a 34 inch inseam. I have a really hard time finding shirts with sleeves long enough that isn't too big everywhere else.

I have my mom's nose. Of course, mine hasn't been broken, but you can still see the similarity in our noses.

Apparently, I have my Grandma Irene's in facial features. Honestly, I don't see this one at all. The only reason I think I must look like her is when I was a senior in high school my grandma was having a class reunion. A little old lady came up to me and said "Are you any relation to Irene such and such?"

I said, "No." I didn't know anyone by that name.

She said, "Well, that's amazing, because I would have sworn you had to be her granddaughter. I'm here for my class reunion. You look just like she did when we were in school together."

Well, obviously I had another duh moment. Of course my grandma was married, and her maiden name was such and such! This little old lady that I had never seen before in my life pegged me as my Grandma Irene's grandchild! So, I guess I favor her somewhat.

My sister Dawn and I are like twins separated in utero for 12 years. We look very much alike. We got glasses at the same age, braces at the same age....I wonder if we both met Aunt Flo at the same age? Paula actually looks just like us too...Only in a blond model....And of course she never wore braces. She has perfectly straight beautiful white teeth. We all share certain traits, but we are all very different. Just look at our professions: librarian, college professor/student advisor, and nurse. Dawn enjoys garage sales and crafting. Paula loves good wine and entertaining friends. I like.....Heck, I can't think of 2 likes that characterize myself....Talking and reading I guess!

When I think about my Dad, I always imagine his hands. Is that strange? Whenever I have a farmer at the hospital, I can always spot them. Actually, it always gives me a little wave of homesickness, and I often tear up. They always seem surprised when I guess they're farmers while looking for a sight for an IV. You see, they all have farmer hands. Farmer hands are rough and calloused. They are dry. They are often banged up on the backs from using a wrench on something and getting their hand banged when whatever stubborn piece of equipment finally broke loose. They have short cropped nails. And, they frequently have black nails from smashing them with a hammer, or just getting caught in something working.

My niece Sarah recently had a post on her blog that shows photos of my dad's hands. Since I respect her right to her pictures, please click here and scroll through the shots. It will be worth your time, I promise.

Are you done?

Good.

Well, of all the family traits I think I have, my dad's hands are not one I ever imagined having. But, I guess that just goes to show what I know....


What this picture doesn't show so well is my dry skin. And callouses from gardening. Oh, and I sliced open my ring finger just below the cuticle cleaning out my girls tub. I was scrubbing (in a hurry, of course) and accidentally rammed my finger along the drain. It hurt, but I just kept scrubbing. Until I realized blood was coming from somewhere. It was my hand! Well, I finished what I was doing, then cleaned and bandaged it. I smashed my thumb in a drawer at work. I was admitting a patient, so I just had to go on like nothing happened. Even though I wanted to either: A) wet my pants, or B) start swearing. I refrained from either one, you will be happy to know!

Have you ever tried to take a picture with your left hand when you are so right dominant you can barely scratch your bottom with your left? I tried several pictures, and this was the only half focused one!

Oh! A little topic change here. We were eating at Chik-Fil-A the other day. I said a prayer, and when I was done, Popcorn said in a very earnest voice, "Mommy, I wish you would pray for your thumb. It's just not getting any better." I laughed and explained that I will probably have a black thumb nail for a few months at least because the bruise has to grow out. She is very bothered by this. It's good to know my black thumb is being bathed in prayer by my little one.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Hard Way

Studmuffin and I were finishing the cover for the gazebo, and I was trying to do it one way, and he was trying to do it the WRONG way. We were both laughing and picking on each other about how the other one was making it much harder than necessary. I had a sudden flashback.....

But, first here is a picture of our mostly finished gazebo. Studmuffin has some extra boards that he is planning to router and stain and put as a trim around the outside edge. I know that will give it a more finished look. Also, we learned a lot doing this particular shade. Next time we will do it better, but for $40 it looks pretty good! Oh, and please disregard the clothes line. It's summer, so I'm hanging clothes as often as I can. Oklahoma wind makes a great dryer!


I know this will come as a gargantuan surprise for all of you, but I'm a wee tad impatient. I've developed a philosophy. Since I want it done and I want it done yesterday, a good way to get "it" done, is to start it on my own. Then, if I'm not done when Studmuffin gets home, or if I'm not doing it to his satisfaction, he'll finish it for me! Great system, right?

When we lived in South Texas, Studmuffin worked insane hours. If anything was going to get done, I had to do it, or call someone to do it. We had a float ring pool that we had moved with us from Arlington. Kelsey was a new addition to our family, so I had to keep her out of the pool. She didn't actually want to get in the water, but I was afraid she would put her paws on it to peak in, and pop the ring. We had a stack of steel T posts that had been left by our previous owners. I went and bought some pig wire, and decided to build a small fence around the pool. The T posts were varying heights. I didn't have a steel post driver, but I decided I could just use a sledge and drive the posts in. We had sandy soil, so this was totally do-able.

By the time I got back from buying the pig wire and wire to tie it off, it was already hot outside. Remember, I'm impatient. I decided to go ahead and start the fence. A job begun is half done and all that jazz....Well, I used all of the short 6 foot posts first. I was down to my lasts few posts. They were 7 foot posts. I tried to hold the post up, reach over my head and drive them in with my hammer. I was hot. I was tired. I decided I was resentful that I had to do all the dad gum work around the house, and Studmuffin never had to do anything but leave for work at 6am every morning and get home at 6 or 7 every night. He had it so easy. I tried and tried to drive that stupid post into the ground. I muttered and cursed about my husband who was at work all of the time instead of doing work for me at home. I worked and griped and worked and moaned....But I could not get that darn post in....I finally gave up after I had sweat running off of every square inch of my body and my arms were limp noodles.

Studmuffin came home and I poured out my woes to him. He said, "Don't worry, babe, I'll finish the posts for you." I was so grateful for the offer of help, but I really didn't see how he was going to drive the post without a fence post driver.

A fence post driver is a pipe with a weight on one end. You slip the open end over your post, and drive it down over your post. The weighted end helps you drive the post. My dad had a fence post driver with a spring in it. The spring popped the driver back up so you didn't have to lift it up, and then you had better momentum to drive it in. We did not have either one of these, so really, how on earth was he going to drive a post that tall into the ground?

He calmly went outside, into his shop, got the ladder, climbed on it, and drove the dumb post in with maybe 4 whacks of the hammer. Okay, talk about a duh moment. Why the heck didn't I think of that? I would have had an easier time with ALL of the posts if I had thought to use the ladder! And why the heck didn't he suggest it to me when I called him at work complaining how hard it was to drive posts without a post driver? I have the feeling he was secretly laughing at me all day long.

And, really. Who could blame him?

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Organization, filing, and psychosis...

So, the other day, just before a certain aunt by the name of "Flo" came to visit, I had a little fit. I was cleaning, cleaning, cleaning. Putting away, putting away, putting away. Filing, filing filing......Because this is what I do every month just before she shows up.

Studmuffin had the misfortune of being home on this certain day. "I swear I am the only human being that feels any need to put stuff away in this house. Everyone just walks in, drops everything, and parks their butts on the couch. I hate that stupid TV. Every time I turn around it's on again."

Okay, so I wish I could lie and pretend I wasn't being the utter shrew that I was totally being. As far as the TV thing goes, I grew up in a home with very limited TV. If someone came to the door, the TV was turned off immediately. It had to be turned off unless someone was sitting in front of it, actively watching. It was turned off for every single meal. My dad called it the "idiot box," and in fact one time the TV was broken, and not replaced for a very long time. I cannot tell you how long, because that was when my sister Dawn was still in junior high, so that would have put me at a preschooler. But, I do know the entire school voted my parents the meanest parents in school over the debacle.

Studmuffin grew up in a home where the TV was on all of the time. Meals were eaten in front of the TV. As a matter of fact, my in-laws NEVER TURN OFF THEIR TV!! Never. They claim it won't turn back on. Whatever. I feel like I'm in sensory overload half the time when I'm at their house....

We have limited TV in this house. 1 hour per day for the girls. No TV while we eat unless it's Survivor night, and that means Survivor and pizza, baby! It's a beautiful thing, I'm tellin' ya.

So. The TV annoys me. I consider it a bad influence and a good excuse to sit and stare into space. And it makes me snackish. I swear, 10 minutes in front of the TV, and I'm wanting chips and salsa.....It annoys me to see people sitting around watching it, doing nothing. Never mind that I may have spent 3 hours that day reading. Reading is something, not nothing. That's my story....



But, back to my original fit, and the impending visit....Studmuffin was sitting at the bar as I was having this rant. He made a gesture and said, "Well, I've tried to organize that many times, and I've given up."

Huh? I looked at the area he gestured to, pictured above, and said, "What do you mean? The microwave? The laundry room?"

"The craft cabinet!"

Okay, at this point I think I became incoherent, but I fear that what I said is something along the lines of, "FOR THE LOVE OF PETE! I'M NOT TALKING ABOUT THE CRAP CABINET! THE CRAP CABINET IS A CRAP CABINET BECAUSE IT'S FULL OF THE GIRLS CRAFT STUFF AND IT WILL NEVER BE ORGANIZED!!!! I'M TALKING ABOUT THE REST OF THE BLOODY HOUSE. THE HOUSE WHERE EVERYONE DROPS EVERYTHING AND NOBODY PUTS ANYTHING AWAY UNTIL I TELL THEM TO! THAT IS WHAT I'M TALKING ABOUT!"

And, yes, I call my girls craft cabinet the "crap" cabinet. Forgive me. I'm just letting all of my imperfections hang out here....

Studmuffin responded the same way he usually responds to any time he thinks I'm overreacting. Okay, one of two ways. One way is to roll his eyes at me and walk away. This is the preferable method, because it usually leaves me feeling shallow and petty and sick at my stomach, so I will chase after him and apologize for being a witch....

But he did not respond in this manner. NOooooo.... He chose the worse response. He instead responds like this: He patronizes me. He begins to rub my arms, or hug all over me, or say stupid stuff like, "Oh, honey, don't get yourself all worked up. You're getting all excited over nothing. Just calm down....." And it goes on and on and on. And he keeps trying to hug and kiss on me, or tickle me, or anything he can think of to torment me because he likes to see me mad. And he thinks I'm being ridiculous (and obviously, I'm never ridiculous.) He thinks it's cute to see me get so worked up. I don't get it. I am usually so angry that I'm sweating and my heart's racing and my face is purple, and I swear to you that if I had something in my hand I'd throw it at him, no matter what it was. But he has my arms pinned to the side because he just wants to "hug me to show me how much he loves me," and I'm trying to head butt him, or spit on him, or kick him (okay not really), but anything I can think of to get him to leave me the heck alone, and then the girls hear the ruckus, so they join in, and I have to relent or look like a complete imbecile, when all I really want to do is throw a good heavy cast iron skillet at him.......

How absurd is that?

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Requirements for fighting with your sister


Her existence.

That is all that is required to fight with your sister.

But on the bright side, they both are equally inept at matching clothing!

Cooking Lessons

Mom reminded me that I needed to do a post about learning to cook. I had forgotten I promised an explanation in a previous post regarding decisions.

I was the youngest of four. By the time I was old enough to really be a help to Mom in the kitchen, I was also able to help Dad. I preferred that anyway. So, I would show up for lunch, enjoy the bounty set before me, and head back out into the field, or whatever else was on the agenda for the day.

Now, I did know how to bake. I loved to bake. Still do, but alas, my thighs love baking also, so I limit it to special occasions. I think my ability to bake mislead Studmuffin going into our marriage. You see, I had a roommate who could cook. I mean, seriously cook. She had grown up in a single parent home, and she was often responsible for having dinner ready when her mom got home. Unless she herself was at work too, then I guess it was a collaborated effort. I always admired Sabra and her ability to do anything and everything.

But, we are talking about my lack of cooking skills.

One of the first things I cooked for my new husband was my mom's famous Mexican Casserole. Virtually impossible to screw up. Unless you use a can of chopped jalapeno peppers instead of green chiles. I mean, seriously, how different could it be?

Different enough to make it darn near inedible. Unless you're my brother David, of the cast iron stomach. He ate the whole 9x12 pan in one setting. I think Studmuffin was relieved, because even though I kept saying "Don't eat it, it's not worth it," he was sure this was some sort of secret new husband test that he was doomed to fail if he did not eat one of the first meals I prepared for him. I don't know, maybe he was right.

Oh, and I recently learned that no matter what you do, if you use a can of Bush's Grillin' Beans in your chili, it's ruined. I wish I could pretend this was a mistake of years gone by, but it's more like last winter gone by. It was awful. Truly awful. I had to pitch the whole batch. I'm shuddering just remembering.

So, basically, we lived off of hamburger helper, spaghetti, and CiCi's Pizza. They sold a large one topping pizza for $4.99. We would call in the carry out order, and if we arrived before it was ready, we got free drinks. Obviously, we frequently arrived early.

Studmuffin also had to learn to subsist on very little meat in the early years of our marriage. I did not like meat at that time. Especially not red meat. I lived on pasta, bread and produce. And of course chocolate and chips and salsa.

However, as many of you know, when I became pregnant with Bookworm, I had hyperemises gravidum. Simply put, I threw up around the clock for 40 weeks straight, through delivery, and really doubted it would ever stop. I seriously vomited nonstop through the entire labor until she popped out, and it stopped. It was almost like magic. So, during that pregnancy I learned to love meat. Meat of all kinds. Gimme meat and more meat. I learned that one bite of uncooked fruit or vegetable could set me into a vomiting fit that did not stop for days. It was awful.

So, after Bookworm was born my mom got me a subscription to Quick Cooking magazine. This literally transformed our lives. I started planning menus, where I tried at least one new recipe every week. That truly has to be the best gift I've ever received, because I've used those recipes and the skills I learned through trying new mixtures of ingredients nearly every day since.

So, I will now share a little bit of my skills with you today. It's simple, quick and nutritious, which is the 3 main qualifications for most things I cook. And, I have no idea why the photos are sideways, but I'm too lazy to go back and re-upload them.

The first thing you do is bum some fresh squash off of the lovely couple down the street. Apparently, you did not get around to planting your squash early, and you still don't have any fresh for yourself. But, as Grandma Irene once told me, "Never leave your windows down in the summer. Someone is likely to leave squash in it." So, really, I'm doing my neighbors a service by taking some squash off of their hands.

Ingredients:

Squash, sliced
Onion, halved and sliced (I used maybe 1/4 of a large onion)
Fresh Parsley, chopped
Diced tomato
Garlic salt to taste
Pepper to taste
Drizzle about 2 tbsp of oil over the whole thing.

Place ingredients in a microwave safe casserole dish with lid over it. Cook in microwave until tender. Time varies based on quantity of each ingredient used.


Another variation is to slice 3/4 tablespoons of butter over the whole shebang and sprinkle with grated cheddar cheese. However, we're going low cholesterol in this house, so we aren't enjoying that variation around here! Now, go bum some squash and enjoy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

Sleeping Beauty

I overslept.

I usually try to wake up around 6am so I can get things watered before it's too hot on my days off.

I slept until nearly 9am.

I was up until 3:30 am because I took a 2 hour nap yesterday, and after all of that napping Saturday, it kicked me into disrupted sleep cycles.

I need to go to the store.

Before I go to the store I need to plan a menu so I don't buy junk I don't need.

I think everything on my standard list sounds boring, or it's too hot to cook it.

I'm out of milk, so I had to make the girls mac & cheese with an entire stick of butter.

Popcorn does not like her mac & cheese.

This is the same daughter who asked her Aunt Dawn to "Please buy some healthy snacks" when they were helping us move in. Poor child.

I don't know why Studmuffin's cholesterol is high.

I need to do 5 loads of laundry today.

I haven't even started.

I need to do lots of housework today.

But I slept late, so I feel I wasted half the day.

I might as well just go buy a book and waste the rest of the day.

The end.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Simple things


We had a great time over the 4th, as I've mentioned before. We were driving home from church today, and I commented on how beautiful the sky was. Studmuffin reminded me how beautiful it was when we were at my parents last. That reminded me that I took pictures! And I had failed to share them with you!



My dad went with us down to "the trees" north of my parents house. There aren't many trees in the Oklahoma Panhandle. If you see trees, you know there was once a homestead there, someone currently lives there, or a creek is near by. The trees north of my folks house are near Sand Creek. Most of the time the creek is dry, but occasionally it is running. This is usually a bad sign, because that means there is flooding, which means down fences and hay bales floating away, and all sorts of extra work.

But, when the creek is dry, the trees are a great place for kids to play. This is a mysterious place of adventure and imagination. My cousins and I went down there frequently to build forts and play all sorts of imaginary games. Now, my kids go down there with their cousins every time they get a chance. They, of course, go escorted by adults. They have a threat that we never had as kids. Mountain lions are much more prevalent than when I was growing up. So, my parents do not let them wander off without adult supervision. We only had to worry about snakes, rats and spiders. As a matter of fact, Kelsey scared up a pack rat while we were down there. The rat ran into a pile of tumble weeds on the fence (you can see them in the picture of the fort above) and eluded Kelsey. However, Kelsey did sniff out 2 baby rats and killed them. She was in heaven. Popcorn thought it was sad that the babies got killed. Dad seemed pretty happy about the whole situation.

My cousins and I also went to the cliffs near my parents. They were the ideal place to find adventure. There was a special slide that we always used to get to the bottom of the cliffs. We would sit on our bottoms and slide down the sandy slope to the bottom. Then we would climb all over. We feasted on sand hill plums. We discovered baby owls. There was a ledge with a rock outcropping that the owls built a nest in every year. We could never resist the temptation to go see if the new babies had hatched yet. I look back on that and think how brave that seems now. I guess it never occurred to us to worry about the mama coming back to run us off. She always just flew off to a nearby tree and waited until we'd peeked, then moved on. We also loved to do cliff drawings. The cliffs were mostly sandstone, so it was easy to take a stick and carve our names.
Here is a picture of the cliffs in the distance. The look pretty small here, but there is a hill leading up to them, and I just didn't think to hike over there and take a close up so you could get a better feel for their actual size. I'm guessing they are about 50 feet high. Just right for adventure and fear of death in a reckless moment!


Another favorite haunt for us was the windmill. The windmill is a sad testament to days gone by now. The windmill head is no longer on the tower. Dad has switched to mostly solar water tanks. With no windmill, we no longer have a pond that is kept full by the overflow from the stock tank. This pond provided year round entertainment. I can remember swimming in it with my cousins Matt and Ben. The water wasn't very deep, and you would sink up to your knees in "mud." I prefer to think of it as mud instead of cow poop. In the winter when it was frozen solid I could go ice skating on it. We had real ice skates to enjoy.

See the dip in the ground? That's where the pond used to be.

However, one time my cousin Jason and I decided to go skating without permission. Actually, we had been expressly forbidden to go skating. My silly parents felt that the ice was not thick enough to hold us yet. Jason decided that the ice was not thick enough for adults, but it would be fine for kids. We had been sledding, so we had snow shoes on, coveralls, and sleds, but alas, no skates. Never fear, Jason zipped across the ice on his snow boots several times. He ventured to the side opposite of me, and sure enough, the ice began to crack. Of course, he fell in. He was near the edge, so I was able to go around to him and wade out and help him get unstuck from the ice, mud and muck. We were both okay, but it was a very cold, wet half mile walk back home!

You can see the foundation of an old homestead here.




The other exciting thing we liked to do was visit the old cellar down by the windmill. There was also the foundation of an old homestead and the skeleton of an old shed. The adventure was practically limitless! We were told over and over to stay out of the cellar. The door was gone, and there might be snakes down there. Well, one day in early spring my cousins and I went down to the windmill...and straight into the cellar. There was all sorts of fascinating stuff to look at in there. Unfortunately, when we turned to leave, our exit was obstructed. By a rattle snake stretched out dozing along the edge of the bottom step. That scared the daylights out of us. Then, we started to actually look around and realized that we were literally in a den of snakes! There were snakes laying all over the ground, curled up, piled on top of each other, everywhere. It may have grown in my memory. In all honesty it my have only been 4 or 5 rattle snakes, but in our minds it was suddenly hundreds of snakes, and they were everywhere. We took the leap past the first step, flew up the stairs and collapsed in a heap of quivering bodies on the ground outside. I don't think we even ran home to get my dad. I think we figured we'd just leave those snakes be, and not risk the punishment that was sure to come.


Well, that's all the memories I have for you today. A time of simple pleasures, and simple times. No video games. No TV. No concerns about bills or jobs or responsibilities. Just our imaginations and the great out doors. I sure do miss those times now!

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Productivity

Studmuffin wanted to go to the lake. For that matter, I did too. We had a cool front come through, so it would have been wonderful. However, the cool front meant it was cool enough to get some work done around this castle.

First on the list: The lily pond. It was so icky, that I dare not show any pictures. My Aunt Christina told me it was probably green because I don't have enough lilies. Whatever the reason, then thing was green and murky. So, we scooped the sucker out, put the 2 goldfish in a bucket, the lily in a bucket and scrubbed it out. Oh, and emptied the rocks out too. I understand that the rocks look cool in the bottom, but they seem to be a harbor for algae and moss to grow, so we left them out. We refilled the lily pond, put the lily back in, and placed the fish in their bucket in the water to gradually balance out in temperature. Now, my college room mate and I had gold fish. Every blessed time we cleaned the bowl the dumb things died. Guess what? The gold fish died this time too. Woops. Big surprise there. I gotta say, I'm not that broken up. Bookworm was sad I hadn't taken pictures of them so she could remember them forever. "They're fish! Get over it!" And that was that. Isn't my compassion amazing?

Oh, and yes, I knew before we began that I wasn't supposed to clean a lily pond. But, I got an urge and it couldn't be stopped....And even though we now have two dead goldfish buried in the garden, I still feel a sense of accomplishment...

Second on the list: clean out behind the pool. The previous owners built a small fence around our back yard when they put in the pool. Like the size of an average city lot back yard. Of course, building a fence for the entire back yard is on our grand list. However, the city is supposed to fix the drainage problem for our castle in the fall, so we can't build it yet. The problem is, we can't fit the push mower behind the pool. And it's a big area to weed eat. So, Studmuffin sprayed it with Roundup a few weeks ago, so now we have dead plants that need raked out, and tons of mulch put down so it looks like something other than a wasteland. Of course, Holly will just move that mulch all over the yard....Anyway, this did not get done at all.

Number three on the list: Finish the cover for the gazebo. For anyone who hasn't kept up with every minute detail of my life, the gazebo had a cloth cover on it. Cloth covers and Oklahoma wind do not work. I planted morning glories in containers at the base in hopes they would grow up and create a shade. They are only 1/4 the way up. Next plan: Place boards on top, and create a shade that way. We discovered that not one angle is square on the darn thing. So, scratch that plan. Third plan: Buy a new canvas for it. Guess what? A canvas, with a 5 year warranty can be ours for only $750! You do realize we could build an entire pergola for about the same amount, so of course we scrapped that plan, too.

Do not fear, Gentle Reader. I did not give up. I tapped into my inner cheap and headed to Lowe's to see what I could find. Jackpot! They had solar screen fabric on clearance for $1.20 a foot! The fabric is 6 ft wide. However, I had failed to figure the area of my pyramid (the gazebo makes a triangle at the top), so I was unsure how much fabric I needed. I knew the gazebo was 10x10, but that was all I knew. So, I bought all that they had in the color I wanted, and hoped it was enough. I hope this works better than the original fabric because it is a loose weave, and I think wind will go through it better instead of just shredding it.

We started out Thursday evening, and got about half of it done. Of course, we didn't start until it was almost dark, so we didn't get too much done. We worked on the little decorative top last night, and got it covered. However, we did not manage to get to it today....

So, what did we accomplish today? Well, you see, the girls had a sleepover last night. Not one person in this house got up before 8:45. That is like sleeping until noon in this house. It put our entire day off schedule. I cooked breakfast, and didn't finish clean up until 10:30. Then, we did the lily pond.

After that, Studmuffin and I wandered around the yard discussing all of our grand plans, that we never seem to get around to....

Then we ate lunch. Which of course I had to clean up after.

Then, we all sat down in the living room to watch Phineas and Ferb with the girls. The adults promptly fell asleep and didn't wake up until 4pm. Yikes! The day was gone! It took another 30 minutes for me to get Studmuffin to wake up.

Then, we sat around thinking about what to do about dinner for a long time. My menu is not effective at the end of the 2 weeks, when I do not feel like cooking what's left on the menu. In this case it was pork chops or fish. And we're out of lunch meat, and pretty much everything else that is quick and simple since, once again it is the end of the 2 weeks before I'm allowed to go back to the store. We finally decided on hamburgers, and of course squash, because it is summer. Of course, that involved cleaning the kitchen again. Oh, and for anyone who is curious, or even cares, I go to Braum's for fresh milk, bread and produce in between official shopping days. I've discovered this really saves money on unnecessary purchases that you feel you must have when you walk into the store.

Returning to original subject matter:

Then, the kids begged, pleaded, and crawled on their knees begging us to go swimming....So after at least 5 seconds of the relentless pressure, we crumbled, put on our suits and headed out. We came in about 9pm, and everyone showered.

Finally, after a long, productive day, we got the girls into bed.

Now, after so much hard work, Studmuffin and I are just completely pooped out. So, here we sit, me blogging, and him confirming that sure enough, there is nothing on tv!

So, all in all, I would say we had a pretty productive day. Of course, it all depends on what we were supposed to be producing.....

Friday, July 17, 2009

Decisions, Decisions

Raise your hand if you like decisions!

My hand is not up.

Did you know that Studmuffin & I are both the youngest in our families? AND we are both younger than our nearest sibling by 6 years. Isn't it strange for 2 babies of the family to get married and get so much accomplished and be so incredibly perfect for each other? Well, let me tell you, it didn't start out that way.

You know, when you are the youngest in your family, you very seldom get to, or have to make decisions. Now, our situation was slightly different in that our siblings were so much older. I think that only further debilitated our decision making abilities. Everyone is willing to tell you what you should do when you are the baby of the family. From parents, to grandparents, to siblings. You are the youngest, therefore you need lots of guidance. And lots of pampering. I gotta say, Studmuffin did not receive any excess pampering. But I'm pretty sure I did.

My sisters were always very supportive of me. My parents always let me believe I could do anything I darn well wanted to, if I decided it was what I should do. I had a cardiologist say, "Andi, you are the youngest in your family? That explains so much about you." We actually had a great working friendship, and he was absolutely right. I answered, "If you are told you are cute often enough as a child, eventually, you just buy into it!" In all honesty I was kidding. I don't think I was told that over and over. But I always knew that my sisters would make an effort to see all of my little programs and games and whatever. Because they were my big sisters and that is what they were supposed to do.

But this post is not about my family and how wonderful they are. This is about decisions. When Studmuffin and I first got married we had a terrible time with decisions. I was all of 20 and he was 22. We had never had to really make decisions. Certainly not life decisions. Not even decisions about what or where to eat. Our moms took care of that (I did not really learn to cook until after we were married, but that's a post for another day.) Then, my roommates took care of cooking. When it came time to make a decision we pretty much sat around saying, "I don't care."
"Whatever you want to do."
"What do you think?"
"It doesn't matter to me."
"Seriously, you decide."

Until, eventually I would be starving and I would get cranky, and then we'd go to CiCi's pizza. True story.

Decisions have gotten easier for us. As far as eating goes it helps that I plan a 2 week menu, so we don't have to starve or go broke or die of heart disease at a premature age from eating out all of the time. Thank goodness for small favors.

I'm really good at decisions at my job. I can usually decide almost instantly what I need to do. Of course, that's after 10 years as an RN, and life experience has taught me a lot there.

I'm good at deciding not to do house work, but instead play in the garden or pool all day.

I'm good at deciding to be cheap.

I'm good at deciding what book I want to read next.

I'm good at lots of decisions now.

Go ahead. Applaud. You know you are proud of me and my accomplishments. It's always best to let these emotions out, otherwise you may be walking through the grocery store, remember how proud you are of me, and feel compelled to burst into an aria about "The Wonders of Andi's Decision Making Abilities." Seriously, you shouldn't risk that. Just spend a little moment enjoying all I've accomplished......

Still enjoying.....


Enjoying....


Wondering if she has a point.....


Surely she will get to it some day....



Aaaaannnnnnd.....




Okay.


We have a big decision. I am requesting prayer. Remember previous mentions of jobs and another move (stomach is knotting, fighting waves of nausea at the prospect of going through that again so soon.)

Studmuffin has a job interview August 7 in New Braunfels, TX. We would be able to live in the community we left exactly 1 year ago on July 3rd. The company is paying for all of us to stay in a hotel in New Braunfels and is getting us 2 day passes to Schlitterbahn. For those of you who don't know, it's like the Disney World of water parks. I'm kind of embarrassed to say we lived like 25 miles from it for 3 years and never once went. But, now we can go as a little mini family vacation since we had to cancel our trip to South Dakota.

We really have no desire to move back. We have been praying each time they call and offer Studmuffin a job (which is at least once a month.) We pray that God will close the door and have them stop calling if it's not His will. They still call. We still have no desire to move. The money sounds good. But money isn't everything. And it costs a lot to move, so we would take a big financial hit to do that. Decisions, decisions.

So, I told Studmuffin (yikes, that sounds bossy. Strongly enouraged....that sounds better) to agree to a face to face interview. We need peace and closure with this decision. We always feel good about the "no" until they call again, and then the anxiousness begins. "What if God is telling us we are supposed to move back to South Texas?" I think that if we go, do the interview, and Studmuffin still feels "on the fence about it," we will feel better about our answer of no. He just doesn't have this burning excitement to go, but he also thinks it sounds interesting, and like something he would like. So, he is feeling like the answer is "no" at the moment. But, if he goes there, decides it's the best opportunity in the world and he can't wait to start, then we can start moving on with our lives and the decision to move.

Again.

Yuck.

We've told the girls about the upcoming decision and now we are all praying about it as a family. I hope you will all be in prayer for us too. I pray that when we get there the right decision will be crystal clear to us, and we can have peace in the decision. I pray that daily. Will pray it daily for us too? Thanks.

Holly

Have I mentioned it's hot outside? Never fear, I hear a cool front's coming through, so the highs will be near 90 this weekend instead of 105! Woohoo!!


Holly has actually calmed down since it's so hot. I've been finding Bookworm out petting her in the middle of the afternoon. "It's best to pet Holly when it's hot outside, because she's actually calm. I guess it's too hot to run all over."



Well, heaven forbid I have a calm Brittney puppy at this house! She is about 9 months old now. She is actually drastically improving. I've noticed she really loves water. She runs through every scrap of it she can find, and with the temperature and lack of rain, she hasn't been finding much except in the water dish. Of course, when she climbs in it, she accidentally splashes out all of the water. I've been having to fill the dog bowl several times a day to keep up with her, and when I leave for work we leave several pails of water around in hopes that she leaves at least on upright.


This weekend I decided enough was enough. I went and bought that puppy a pool. I figured she'd chew it up in a matter of minutes, but she hasn't. I originally had it under a tree between the pool and a tree in our back yard. The dogs love to chase each other through the back yard, and dashing around the pool as fast as possible is there very favorite game. The first day I put it out, she would run around the pool, dive into her wading pool, jump out and run around again. It was hilarious. Of course, as soon as I decided to get the camera to take pictures she stopped. Today, however, she was very agreeable to posing for pictures. As you can see, Studmuffin moved the pool under the deck of our pool. This way the water stays cooler longer.


So there you have it. A happy dog, happy in her pool. Notice Kelsey is not in the pool in any of these photos. She hates water. She won't even walk through puddles! Also, you may notice landscape fabric shredded everywhere. Holly dug underneath the landscape fabric, and straight to the electrical that goes to our pool lights. I don't know how she is still alive. Our temporary fix is a big board and a wagon on top. She'll never get through that, right?

Right?

Why do I feel as if I'm being laughed at?

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Oliver the Magnificent

Some people have barn cats.

Some people have farm cats.

There are alley cats.

And house cats.

Stray cats.

And many, many more if I was willing to tax my feeble brain a bit....

But I'm not....

So without further ado, I present to you MY CAT.


He's a very special cat. He refuses to conform to society. He has his own set of rules. I would like to list them for you for your reading enjoyment, Gentle Reader.

Oliver's Rules for a Happy Pet Owner (because if Oliver ain't happy, ain't nobody happy.)

1. Do not feed me in the back yard. I do not like it. And, I have to fight off the dogs. Do not feed me in the back yard or I will follow you around and meow very loudly at you.
2. Feed me the second you come outside in the morning. If you do not I will be forced to follow you all over the yard meowing, rubbing on you and if necessary I will lie down on the ground exactly where you are weeding your garden. On top of the plants if necessary. Please do not make me resort to these drastic measures.
3. Do not feed me in the front yard either. I know I'm a cat. I know I should not fear birds. But when 20 of them descend on me flapping their wings and chirping at me, I flee in terror. I'd like to see you tough it out. Remember Hitchcock's The Birds? I would like to see you withstand that kind of terror.
4. I will require a fresh smattering of food every time you see me. Think of it as potato chips. Yes, I know there is still food in my bowl, but a fresh dab is always welcome. No comments about my weight, please. I'm just big boned. And fluffy.
5. I will live in your garage. Quit fighting it. You can carry me out. I will dash back in before the door closes. You can carry me through the house and out the front door. I will simply wait for the children to play with scooters or bikes, and then I will dash back in and hide where you will never find me. I am amazingly good at camo for a black and white ball of fluff. So, give up, keep a small bowl of food up on a shelf out of the dogs reach, and keep a fresh bowl of water available, please. Oh, and if you fail to provide me a litter box, I will simply hold it as long as possible, run in your house when you open the door to my caterwauling at 5 am, dash to your bedroom and pee on your bed. Kapeesh?
6. I do not like hair cuts. However, I understand they are a necessary evil if I plan to run through fields in pursuit of bigger things. So when I come home with my lovely fur matted in a giant wad, I will tolerate a hair cut. But only if you keep a steady supply of 3-4 pieces of cat food in front of me during the process. And I will only bite you if you try to cut the hair on my belly. That is no man's land. I can tolerate the mangy appearance, but please inform anyone who visits that this is the result of your handiwork, and not some dreaded skin/fur disease. Thank you.



So, there you have it, Gentle Reader. The rules of Oliver, the garage cat. Just to give you an idea of why he lives in the garage, here is a photo of him attempting to nap in the flower bed under our living room window. I keep it moist there for the dogs to sleep in. I gave up growing flowers there. Oliver thought it looked like a good nap spot, but Holly wanted to play. So, she was hunkered down, yipping at him relentlessly. It was annoying me, and I was in the house!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Me, Midol, and Other Stuff

How great is Midol? Don't you just love it? Don't you think that you could probably take it, like daily, and be a better person? Seriously. Let's review the active ingredients, shall we?

Acetaminophen: Gotta love it. Brand name Tylenol is what you will hear it called primarily. Of course there's been a lot of hoopla lately about overdose and over usage, and decreasing the strength it's sold in. Here's my take on that (you knew I had one.) Take only the recommended dosage. Read all labeling on all of your medications so you will know if you take 2 different meds with the same ingredient in it. Don't be a bonehead.

Pyrilamine maleate: Not so common to most of us. But what woman wouldn't love to decrease bloating daily? I think I just heard an amen out there. Even if I'm not technically bloated, I think I could do with decreased bloating daily. It makes me happier to be able to blame any unsightly bulges on bloating. And if I can take a pill to daily decrease it, even better. (I feel compelled to warn you to not take diuretics on a daily basis. It's not safe if you don't need it, and it can lead to electrolyte imbalance and kidney failure. This is all in fun people. Please do not follow foolish advice. Thank you.)

And finally, the biggy.....Dumdadadummm!!!

CAFFEINE!!!!!

And the crowd goes wild.

I love caffeine. Seriously, I'm a better person on caffeine. It's my psychotropic drug of choice. (insert singsong voice here) Love it! Just ask Studmuffin. I'm more productive. I'm wittier. I'm nicer. I'm just a better all around gal. And that's a good thing!

I love caffeine. I specifically love coffee. I love it, love it, love it. Unfortunately I've not been enjoying it as often since it's so blasted hot so dad gum early. I go out and work in the yard, and who wants to go out on an already muggy morning with a hot cup of coffee? Not me. And believe me I never thought I'd type or say those words. That just tells you how hot it is here.

So, in conclusion, I think Midol is WONDERFUL! I think maybe I would benefit from it's use on more than a few days a month....

Moving on....

I clean our bathrooms every week. I promise I do. Now, judging by the following pictures that I'm shocked I'm allowing anyone to see, you may not believe it, but I truly do. The problem is it's summer. In the summer we use tons of sunscreen. This leads to a greasy residue on the bottom of our tubs. Ick.

I've tried several different cleaners. I think commercial cleaners are way overpriced. I tend to avoid them. I prefer vinegar, bleach and baking soda (not mixed together.) So, here's my super secret method of cleaning a greasy, grimy, disgusting tub.

1. Wet down entire tub.



2. Sprinkle generously with baking soda.


3. Use a wash cloth, or if your tub is as gross as mine, a scrub brush (nylon to avoid scratching the tub) to work loose the disgusting grossness of your tub.


4. Rinse.


Wasn't that easy?

Now, please don't think less of me after seeing that embarrassingly dirty tub. Thank you.

Now, I must go. I still have more to share but I have to leave to meet my sister Paula to get my girls. She has had them since Sunday. Is it just me, or are my kids never home? I know they had a great time with their cousins, but I missed them and it's time for them to be home for a few days.

Until maybe next week, and I was thinking maybe they should go see my mom for a week or so......

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Watermelon Cannon

Remember my fantabulous, albeit sweaty July 4th in my home town? I was unable to figure out how to edit all of my video bits of the watermelon cannon. That's why I keep Studmuffin around. He figured it out in no time flat. So, here you have it. I think it's originally called a Punkin' Chunkin', but pumpkins are out of season right now, so I took the liberty of calling it a watermelon cannon. I like changing things to suit my whims....



Have a great day!
Hello! I'm finally back! A wire had rusted loose on our satellite, so alas, no internet for almost a full week. It feels great to be back...

Anyway, here's an inspiration for a blog I had while I had no internet. I had multiple inspirations, and jotted them down, but I'm afraid they will be stale by the time I can actually do them....*sigh*

Do you have problems with your snooze button? I do. Every dad gum morning my alarm goes off. Every morning I immediately hit snooze, and this is what follows:

"Dear God, yes, I know I need to get up. I hate getting up. I hate mornings. Help me change my attitu...plemppfjlsple..."

BEEP! BEEP!

Wham! I hit the snooze button. Again.

"Okay, God, I know I really need to get up so I can get my Bible study in before I start the business of the day. Help me have a good....zzzz"

BEEP! BEEP!

Wham!
"Seriously, I know I've got to get up. Help me be your hands as I care for my patients today. Help me serve them with...aaah"

BEEP! BEEP!

Wham! (do you see a pattern here?)

"Oh my goodness! I'm late! Dear God, help me to get around in time for work (I dash to the bathroom.) Help me manage the rest of the morning wisely (getting dressed and dashing to the kitchen to throw bread in the toaster.) Yes, I know I had plenty of time when my alarm beeped the first time (throwing whatever I can find into my lunch box.) Forgive me for my laziness (slapping on eye shadow and mascara, while trying to brush teeth.) I will do better tomorrow (kissing Studmuffin goodbye, waking the girls and kissing them goodbye, grabbing purse and dashing out the door.)

And so it goes. Every. Single. Morning. Whether I'm going to work, or need to get my rear in the yard to weed and mow and water and whatever else....I hit that blasted snooze button 3 times too many....

Okay, so maybe moving the alarm across the room sounds like it would help. Wrong. I actually tried this. I simply would get up, hit snooze and fall right back into bed...At least when it's on my bedside table I only let it beep twice before hitting snooze. And if Studmuffin's alarm is going off, I elbow him at the first beep to hit his snooze. Poor guy.

Well, there you have it. My conversations with God around my snooze button. Isn't your day better for knowing that totally pointless info about me?



Thursday, July 9, 2009

NO INTERNET SERVICE!!!

Dear Gentle Reader,

I regret to inform you that my internet is down. I am typing a quick post at work to notify you of my temporary absence from the blogosphere. I know you are all going to be in mourning until I am able to post regularly again. Please, do not let this affect your daily activities. Be strong. I know together we can get through this time of tremendous pain and suffering. My prayers are with you. Amen.

Oh! And keep an eye out for my return. I hope to be up and running by Saturday evening. I have a great idea for some posts, but alas, no way to share my wonderful ramblings with all of you! *sob*

Monday, July 6, 2009

July 4th in a Small Town


We went to my parents for the 4th. Have I ever told you the 4th of July is my favorite holiday. There are 2 factors that play into this decision. First, when you live 700 miles from any family, it is the only holiday that you can be guaranteed you will have off with your spouse, and family will seldom expect you to make the drive to see them. Second, as the King and Queen of Cheap, this holiday is perfect. Did you know you can always find a free parade? And frequently a free barbecue (or at least a cheap one) and usually you can top the day off with a free fireworks display. Free, free, free, free, free. It makes me giddy just thinking about it.


Well, we had planned to drive to my hometown for the parade and the picnic in the park. However, my sister Paula and her family were there, and they all wanted to go fishing. I was quickly deserted by my family in favor of smelly fish. However, SOMEONE had to go to town to buy more fireworks for the display we planned at my parents that evening. Mom & I were the elected party.

We made sure we got there in time for the parade. It was amazing to see people I had not seen in 15 years. It was great catching up with people my age and seeing their kids. Unfortunately, they all had to take my word that I had beautiful, amazing, well behaved children that far outshone all of theirs. You will be impressed to know that I refrained from telling anyone about my blog, or handing out business cards with my blog address and Wonder Woman on it.



After the parade, we headed to the fireworks stand, only to discover it was not yet open. However, we noticed a van parked in a field and cars lined up facing said van on the street. "Oh! They must be getting ready for the Punkin' Chunkin'!" What? This was certainly a new festivity to me. When I was growing up we had the standard parade, volley ball tournament, softball tournament, golf tournament, gunny sack races, foot races, turtle races, swimming races, picnic in the park, and free will offering barbecue in the evening with live entertainment followed by a fireworks display put on by the local volunteer fire department. I'm sure I forgot something there, but needless to say the day was always jammed with fun stuff to do. But again, a Punkin' Chunkin'? This was a mystery to me. Of course, we had to see what the big hoopla was all about.


First, let me say that it takes a special group of men to build THIS thing.



But, in all seriousness, it was absolutely fascinating to watch. There was a smaller cannon that could aim a little better, but not shoot as far. You can see it below the big orange one in the photo above.

After they were through wowing us with their ability to demolish a van with watermelons (pumpkins are out of season), they aimed the big one up in the air and showed off how far ti could shoot: Nearly a mile. I'm serious, that sucker could shoot that cannon an amazing distance. I tried to video it, but unfortunately my little point and shoot wasn't as effective as I might have liked. Plus, my camera battery died. Darn. I have several short clips that I'm trying to figure out how to edit into one video. I'll enlist Studmuffin's help tonight, so maybe I'll have more for you soon!

Anyway, after the Punkin' Chunkin' we went to the fireworks stand, hit the quick stop for a cold drink, and dropped in to the grocery store for a few last minute items. At this point, we were pretty hungry, so we headed to the park for the Chamber of Commerce Picnic. We did have to actually pay for our burgers, but it was free to me, since Mom picked up the tab, so I was game! I saw lots of people that I had not thought about in years, and that was even better than the free burger!

Well, I have lots more to tell you about my fabulous fourth, but since I've been a tad dry on blog ideas, I'm planning on milking this holiday for at least 2 more posts!