Tuesday, May 31, 2011


We had our annual family camping trip to a lovely little municipal park outside of my husband's hometown this past weekend.  It is a weekend of fun for all with golfing, fishing from the spring fed pond, nature hikes....

And food.  Lots and lots of food.

On Sunday we had a little shindig for my Grandma Irene for her 91st birthday which will actually be June 8th.  However we will be unable to all see her on that day, so I bullied the siblings into all coming and nagged my Grandma into traveling to see us for a little celebration.  We had hot dogs and hamburgers, and I had made a delicious sheet cake that appeared perfectly normal when we left my house, but apparently it had a mishap somewhere after it left my house, whether it was the trip in an ice chest or the day in a cabinet of my mom's camper.  The temperature was over 105 degrees on Sunday.  I'm thinking the combination of moist refrigeration followed by heat in my mom's cabinet somehow melted it...Of course she had her A/C running, but with temperatures that high, it is nearly impossible to keep a camper cool!

Anyhoo, I chatted with my Grandma while I helped with lunch, but as soon as lunch was over, my cousin Ben informed me that he was taking all of the kids fishing and swimming at a local farm pond that was about fifteen feet deep.  My dad informed my husband and I that we were both going to help chaperon/life guard.  I know he didn't want to go, and Paula was going to be gone for the summer, and he didn't want her kids to miss out on the fun, so that left Studmuffin & I to help Ben lifeguard.  I may be 35, but if my Dad points his finger and tells me I'm going to do something, I do it...Even when he phrases it as a request.  I know it's really NOT a suggestion.

Logan in a paddle boat.  We later realized the paddle boats were missing their rudders.  That made steering interesting to say the least.

That farm pond was the coolest!  My brother David had tagged along, and we made a dash for the paddle boats...As we lifted it to drag into the water I screamed because a water snake slithered out from under it and into the water.  I informed him I was NOT getting into that boat until they lifted the boat completely off of the ground and I was assured no more snakes were under it or getting IN IT with me...

After that was ascertained I happily hopped in with my brother and merrily paddled away...We had a few issues with steering, and we later learned the darn thing didn't have a rudder.  After a few minutes my brother's bottom became wet.  And a big puddle formed under his feet...He jumped up on the back of the seat, because he obviously could NOT get wet.  In a farm pond.  In 105 degree heat.  Never fear, Gentle Reader.  I peddled his sorry carcass to shore.  I needed to burn a few calories anyway after eating nearly nonstop all weekend.

Ben wished he had a camera to take pictures of their faces.  He said Bookworm's face said "I MADE IT!" every single time.

We drug the boat up on shore as far as we could (which was much harder since it was full of water now.)  The little ones ended up taking over the other paddle boat, and I headed for the raft that my cousin had drug from the shore to the middle of the pond.

See the moss?  Well, right where it stops, the ledge drops off and it gets deep.  Obviously they had to jump BEYOND the moss.

Did I mention that the pond was cold?  It is spring fed, and about 15 feet deep, which is down at least 6 feet from it's normal level due to the drought, and believe me, it was COLD!

So, my maniac 6'4 (guessing here, I just know I have to tip my head to talk to most of my cousins and I'm 5'8) cousin did a swan dive off of the lovely high dive built of high line poles and bridge beams.  I made him jump off of it two more times before I would let my kids and Paula's boys jump off of it.  Feet first.  With Ben in the water right beside where they were jumping in.  It was a good thing, as Aiden's water shoes were making it hard for him to swim.  But of course, he couldn't take them off!

My cousin Diane's husband showing how crazy he is.

My Uncle JimBob and I talked about how stressful it was if the kids failed to swim immediately to the top and instead felt the need to swim under water to the raft...Like Popcorn.  That kid was the first to jump in, and she jumped the farthest, and she was upset that I wouldn't let her do back flips like Phil.  Thanks Phil.  Thanks a lot...She got over it and had fun anyway.

I'm not entirely sure this is the face of a stressed out man...

After watching the kids, my cousin Diane's husband decided the kids were having too much fun.  He climbed up there and did 1 1/2 flip...three times.  The picture indicates the safety of that decision...Yes, that's black mud all over his shirt.

The pond was down, and the wind had been up.  That is why there is so much junk on the shoreline.  60mph winds will blow stuff into the pond that is meant to be enjoyed on the shore.  Like that once lovely folding chair.

Monday we had to pack up and come home after three fun filled days.  Thankfully the weather was great until yesterday, as the other two days we actually needed jackets off and on to stay warm...Until Sunday into the night, when we suffered in heat until about 1:30 am, then suddenly I needed a blanket to be warm.

If that ain't class, darlin' I don't know what is.

Anyway, we had a great time.  I hope any family on the Richard side that's reading this will feel jealous and join us next year!  We were up to 8 campers parked in our circle this year.  Be sure and mark your calendars for next Memorial Day!  It was great fun!  Sure the cotton is flying!  I say take a Claritin, 1200mg Mucinex and 30mg of Pseudoephedrine!  It will cure what ails ya when the pollen is high...Of course, you may not be able to keep up with your thoughts, but you will feel great!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Plan..And No It Wasn't Mine

We went to help our friends clean their house yesterday.  How overwhelming.  When we arrived Tamara was in her car on the phone with the insurance company and Richard was on the roof working...And staring into space.

Where to begin?

Strangely, the first time I nearly broke into tears was when I met her sister.  My first thought was, "How awful if I was doing this for my sister."  Isn't it weird to have little moments like that?  One of my best friends has a sister who is suffering from cancer.  Every time we talk, I just can't imagine what I would do if my sister were suffering that way.  So I always end up crying right along with her.

It makes me remember that Romans 12:15 tells us to "weep with those who weep."  This verse flits through my  mind often at work, but I seldom truly weep with patients.  My walls are up and I'm in full nurse mode.   I think I would fall apart mentally if I wept every time I saw tragedy at work.  But when I see this tragedy happen to those I love, those walls aren't nearly as strong.

I asked what they wanted us to do, and as so often is the case in the face of such destruction, they didn't really know what to tell me...I just ended up doing what I knew to do.  I spent most of the day packing the kitchen and Studmuffin helped clear the roof of debris so that more of it would not fall in on those trying to clean the house.  The kids bedrooms each had walls falling in along with the roof, and one of the bathrooms had the roof cave in while they were trying to salvage things inside.  He also helped load the undamaged or slightly damaged belongings into a trailer to move to a neighbor's garage.  It seems the storage containers were in such high demand that our friends would not get one delivered until Friday.

Tamara had said she needed all of her important papers packed away before the rain began.  Of course their was only a twenty percent chance of rain, but that only means that twenty percent of the people have a hundred percent chance, and who wants to be that person with no roof over their belongings?

I left Tamara and her sister to pack up the office while a friend and I tackled the kitchen.  Tamara was amazed at all we got packed, but really packing a kitchen is easy.  Simply assemble boxes and wrap, wrap, wrap in paper...

I was stressed that some of the people dropping in and out to  pack were being conservative with paper.  Obviously these people had not moved many times, or had not had their things stored for a length of time.  Paper is your friend!  Use it generously!

Richard's great grandmother's china was untouched.  The dishes in the cabinets were unmoved, yet the master bed was stripped bare and the linens were on the rafters above the kitchen.  A Halloween jack-o-lantern had the cord severed off it, but looked otherwise undamaged.  The kitchen drawers were inexplicably full of water, yet the cabinets above and below were dry as a bone with nothing broken...

The windows were shattered, and occasionally a strong wind would come through and bits of glass would fall out and fly through the air...to join the insulation flying around like snow.  I kept my sunglasses on and wore a dust mask a good chunk of the day as I quickly realized being in the house made me cough.  An older gentleman told us to be sure and shower in cold water so that we didn't open our pores for the glass in the insulation to get in our skin.  That really seemed to help as I was very itchy, particularly in the bend of my elbows before showering, and I felt good as new after.

Tornadoes are so fickle.  Several church members live in that particular neighborhood and three families in our church had their houses demolished while four had minimal damage (minimal in the sense that it is cosmetic and can be fixed later on, or just need a small patch job on the roof.)  One lady voiced her guilt that her house was virtually untouched and yet this house is destroyed.  I could sympathize.  I felt guilty and we lived three miles away...

I know at least two other families in our church live just up the street from the school and their houses have lots of damage too.  I did not see it with my eyes, as the police have those streets blocked off with only residents allowed in.  If we want to go help, we have to call the friend/family member who drives to the end of the street to let you in.  I know that is to help slow down tourists and looters.

Studmuffin stayed at the church from 12:30 to 2:30 am last night.  The back half of our church gym was completely ripped away, and the structure had not been deemed safe for people to enter so they could board up the entrances so nobody could get into the church.  How sad that we have to guard the church against looters.

School is officially out for summer due to the damage.  How strange to think we were in a shelter right next door with no idea what was going past us other than the lights went out and the a/c quit working.  My car was covered in leaves and shredded paper when I went outside.  At first this baffled me, but Studmuffin pointed out that the recycle bins were all right there.  Mystery solved! 

I fear I was my usual bossy self yesterday.  Studmuffin told me this morning that if that had been my house, I would have been like a drill sergeant issuing orders to everyone around me.  As if he' not just as bossy as me.  Believe me, he is.

When we got the phone call (several months ago) that they were flying my mother in love to my hospital due to an aneurysm, but we had two hours before she'd get there, I immediately gave every family member a chore to do, and kept them all moving until it was time to leave.  I have no idea why I do that.  I do it every time a storm is rolling in also.  I guess if I keep busy, my mind can't dwell on the stress that is encroaching, so I just think everyone else should stay busy too!

All I know is that when a crisis kicks in and my bossy nurse mode just takes over!  And maybe sometimes (very seldom, mind you) when a crisis isn't impending if I'm totally honest.

The Schwann's man showed up and passed out treats.  People dropped in with boxes of pizza and cases of water.  The generosity of others was overwhelming to me, and it wasn't even my house!  I think that sometimes we are allowed to have a crisis in our lives so that we can realize how God really blesses us.  Not with things, but with people.

Richard and Tamara lost their house and many of their belongings.  But the entire family was safe.  And I heard Tamara say over and over, "I'm not worried about this stuff.  It's just a house and stuff.  We still have each other."

I'm tearing up thinking about it.  Me, who never cries.  I was so blessed to get to help them in their time of need and see their faith that it was all going to be all right.  God was taking care of them.

Studmuffin and I talked about what our original plans had been for our week off to celebrate our anniversary.  In typical weird fashion for us, we had planned to be home just the two of us, eat a light take out lunch and work on our fence.  But God planned for something entirely different from our selfish little plans.  I'm glad He made me part of this plan.  I'm glad He gave us the time and ability to help out.  I only helped with a tiny fraction of what needed to be done, but I was blessed to be able to help in that small way.  I'm glad my God is the God who provides for our every need, in ways we never expect. 

What a humbling experience.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Lessons from a Tornado

We had several tornadoes roll through our part of Oklahoma yesterday evening.  The damage was sobering and humbling.  We were fortunate in that we were all safe.  Our little  family of four sought refuge in the community storm shelter that my husband's company built several years ago.  It was designed to withstand winds up 250 mph.  We discovered that over 1000 others decided to take shelter too.  I think in the aftermath of the Joplin tornado everyone was on high alert. 

We were packed in there like sardines, standing room only, shoulder to shoulder.  It was hot and miserable as the storm knocked power out and we had no a/c.  There was a poor pregnant woman unable to squeeze through to the bathroom who was sick all over herself.  The babies were hot, scared and wailing at the top of their lungs. 

The emergency manager only announced that they were working on the a/c and for everyone to remain calm...No update on what was happening outside.  We would ask what was going on (they were in an office with radios and would just walk by without making eye contact with any of the miserable crowd) and the answer was "we're working on it."  I felt kind of sorry for them, knowing that they were stressed and this was the first time a huge storm ahd come through since the town built the shelter so they were probably overwhelmed and burdened with over a thousand lives under their care.

Okay, that being said, and acknowledging that our church lost  the gym and school is probably out for the rest of the year (three whole days) due to damage, and knowing that my dear friend lost her entire home, it is time for me to kick into nurse mode.

You know how nurses are.  We find dark humor in terrible situations.  It's how we survive...

We were finally allowed to leave (again, no announcements or explanations, the doors were just suddenly opened and people were flooding out.)  I was parked in a crowded area (I had met the family there on my way home from work.  I got there a few minutes ahead of the storm, but it felt like I was stuck in there for hours not, 45 minutes) and people were walking behind my car.  A punk with a flat billed cap, low slung pants complete with underwear hanging out and no shirt was standing in the back of a pickup ntext to me looking around.  As I was getting in my car I noticed there were three barrier poles behind me, but I couldn't see them once I was in my car as my SUV is too tall, and they were only about three foot tall.  "Could you watch those posts and make sure no little kids are running behind me as I back out?"  He said, "sure."  I crept back.  No word.  I crept some more.  I saw a family approaching from my right rear side and was watching their little ones making sure they weren't going to run behind me.  Suddenly the dad yelled "Look out!"  Dang if I ddin't graze the stupid post.  The paint rubbed off with my fingers, so it was not lasting damage, but really kid?  What were you ging to do?  Tell me before I backed completely over them? 

For any of you who need a refresher, here's my trials in driving in reverse...

Now for a list of lessons I have learned from a tornado.

1.  Apparently strong winds and rain wipe the scent of Oliver the cat off of the neighbors houses.  I let him out when we got home and he immediately set to running around and peeing all over ever upright object he could find.

Oliver is shaved for the summer.  I had a friend surprised that he could run last night:  Are you saying my cat is fat, Megan?

2.  Nobody took a cry for financial assistance regarding our damage seriously.  I sent the following text to the most generous family members I knew and have yet to recieve any serious offers of assistance.

Title:  Our damage.
Text: We are considering filing with FEMA.  Any financial assistance is greatly appreciated.  Cash or check is welcome, payable to Andi not Brent.

I had a friend from work reply in earnestness:  I don't think FEMA replaces yard swings.

Ya think?

Yes, the reply was from a nurse.  He has just never learned to embrace the dark humor side of our profession.  Sadness.

Gentle Reader should you be feel led to aid us in our hour of need, email me and I will get my address out to you right away.

3.  Kids will not sleep in their beds in the pitch black after a storm.  They will sleep on the couch where the sun comes up directly in their faces and be up by 6am.

4.  Do not go outside with your cup of coffee in your nightie if you live in an area struck by disaster.  News helicopters are flying around like bees.  I quickly dashed in and grabbed a robe and THEN went back out to drink my coffee.  I would hate for them to mistake my cellulite for hail damage.

5.  Do not whine to your child that school is canceled and now your 15th wedding anniversary is ruined since the kids are home.  Bookworm's response:  Well Mom, your friend lost her entire house so there ya go.

Excuse me?  I am the voice of brutal honesty in this house.  Since that role is being fulfilled quite effectively, she may fill the role of sympathetic enabler...Everyone knows that each family member has a role to fulfill and she better step up and act right or her role will be neglected!  Good grief.

That's all I've got for now.  I'm sure more lessons will come as the day progresses, but my husband has finally drug his carcass out of bed at 9:26 am, so I'm off to spend quality time with him!

Quality time that he assures me does NOT involve tearing out carpet.  He is so the rain on my parade.

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Tom Sawyer's Got Nothing On Me.

I'm typing this on Saturday morning.  I just made the near fatal error of going into the garage to ask Studmuffin a question while he was cleaning.

He tried to put me to work.

I ran in the house lickety split and made a fresh cup of coffee and called my Grandma Irene on the phone.

I rattled off my reason for calling and she said, "Well, honey, there's nothing in the world I'd rather do than talk to you on the phone, but right now June is here and we are going to decorate."

Grandma always decorates graves the weekend BEFORE Memorial Day so that everyone can see how pretty her family's graves look when they are out on the day...I say she misses lots of socializing by being such an early bird...

Anyhoo, there went that excuse for not helping...

But if I went to help I would have had to put on shoes.

And a bra.

Neither of which I had any desire to do...

Now I'm going to call one of my sisters...Or my mom.  Maybe some friends from Texas.

All I can say is somebody better pick up the darn phone so I can be occupied when he comes back in.

Question:  Do you think he'll help me clean house later today?

Monday, May 23, 2011

Pea gravel, Mowing, and Salsa.

My husband and I were discussing my dream flower garden Saturday morning.  He informed me that nobody needs to "get rid" of pea gravel, so I will be unable to find it cheap/free.  He feels I must resign myself to paying for it.


I say we wait and see, because two years after first discussing and then ditching the extremely pricey aerobic septic we are doing it for 2K cheaper than if we'd done it the first time we couldn't flush our toilets!!  "God always blesses me in very unexpected ways." 

Studmuffin had no comment.  God knows my tightwad heart and that finding things super cheap makes me super happy...God will bless me in this. I just have to wait and see.

Is being cheap a spiritual gift?

I just hope He doesn't make me wait too long.  I hate waiting.

I fear my old garden area will be quite unsightly if I wait two years for the bottom to fall out on the price of pea gravel.  See it's not just impatience!  It's practicality!

I'm guessing I will be mowing with a push mower for the rest of the summer considering we are dropping a hefty sum literally down the toilet in a few weeks.

My thighs will thank me for it.

Speaking of thighs:  I made salsa at 9pm on Wednesday night from the last of my tomatoes from last summer's garden.  I had a craving and no salsa, but the ingredients to make some fresh.

I ate an entire jar Thursday.


Saturday, May 21, 2011

Down the Toilet.

So my husband is cleaning out the garage.

I'm in the house "cleaning." 

Out my email that is.  I'm proud to say that I went from 183 messages to 40.  Soooo no.  I may have not read all of the new ones. 

I did read in PW that I'm supposed to blog nearly daily to have a successful blog.


And I should blog like I talk.

Let's see:  Rambling.  Flight of ideas.  Dramatizing.  Incessant thought process sharing.  Over sharing....

Check that off my list...

I posted about an end to our drought...And I posted that it had been a LOOOOONG time since we had to monitor water due to our septic.

We had seven inches of rain Thursday night into Friday morning.  At least that's what the weatherman said.  I know our pool rose 5 inches, then overflowed the skimmer, so that's my most concrete estimate....

Studmuffin said I cursed us with that silly post.

For all of you who are keeping up with/care about our septic issues, here's the latest.

The city said call the Department of Environmental Quality.

Taken a year ago during a heavy downpour.
The DEQ said it's agricultural and there's nothing they can do. 

The NRCS said it's agricultural and we can't do anything unless the farmer behind us wants a pond.

The farmer behind us refuses to have water drain through his field to his pond that already exists on his property.

Andi thinks the farmer needs Jesus in his heart...

The DEQ said that they "never recommend anyone in this part of Oklahoma to have a traditional septic as our soil is just too poor."  

Yet another sign that the developer of our subdivision did not care about what was "best" but rather what was cheapest for him.

The good news is that with the economy the way it is, we can now install an aerobic septic system for $2000 less than we could last year...

Hopefully that will happen in about 3 weeks.

Anyone know how two tight wads can get an aerobic system as a hand me down?

Me neither.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

About This Picture

See the flower pot in the corner to the right of the grill?  I fear I have never successfully grown a single flower in it.  No, not one.  You see, when we moved in, it was sitting there full of trash.  Somehow, we continued to use it for trash.  And that has been it's purpose ever since.  The flower pot trash can.

See that round thing to the right of the air conditioner?  That is our old pool filter.  The very same filter that a certain dog who is now gone chewed a hole in.  It has been moved from point A to B all over our yard.  We can't seem to part with it as it must have a purpose.  We were just unsure what purpose it had...But now that my husband is all set to make our back yard an outdoor living space he has decided to use it for a water feature. He has attempted to explain the details to me numerous times, but I fear my eyes glaze over and I begin to fantasize about what to cook for dinner, and I lose track of where he's going.  I just know it will someday be a fountain.  And it will be made well, because Studmuffin does nothing halfway.  That is enough for me to know for now.

See that table and chairs with the lovely turquoise bench?  I got that table at a junk store for $25.  I painted it with a can of outdoor paint I had to buy because I was utterly in love with the color.  I had no concrete plan for the paint when I bought it.  Studmuffin rolled his eyes and lived in secret fear that I was going to paint the house that color.  Or the door.  Or the shutters that we have plans to build...Imagine his relief when I came home with that table and announced I had found a purpose for the paint!  The bench was from Aunt Aleta's basement.  It was brown, and you could see flecks of blue, green, and even white paint under it.  I sanded it down and slapped some paint on it, and called it good.  I love that bench.

See the flagstone under our grill?  Originally that was a flower bed filled with white rocks.  It was full of weeds.  It was unsightly.  Last summer Studmuffin tore out the rock and went to a local store to buy pave stone.  The guy practically gave it to him along with the crushed granite we used to grout it in place.  It looks so much better now, and the grill is in the perfect location to cut through the garage to the kitchen with our burgers!  I love that flagstone.

See the awning on our gazebo?  It originally had a canvas awning that did not last through one summer of Oklahoma winds.  I went to a home improvement store to find a cheap remedy to the problem.  I found this sunshade fabric on clearance for about twenty bucks and bought some electrical ties to anchor it down.  One day we ripped off the old, tattered canvas and guesstimated a pattern for our clearance sunshade fabric.  We strapped it down and have been enjoying it ever since.  Oliver the cat loves to get up on it and sun.  It is his personal hammock.  I love this gazebo.

See the flower pots?  I planted zinnia and wildflower seeds in one of them.  I'm not sure how well they will do, but right now it's exciting to watch the little sprouts grow bigger each day.  In another I put in the salvia that I got for Mother's Day from my girls.  In the other I dug up the marigolds from around my yard and planted them.  They are doing wonderfully.  Why buy flowers when you can just pull the dead heads off of your existing flowers?  They will come back year after year from seed.  The challenge is when spring comes to know what's flowers and what's weeds in your beds!  I love flowers.

See the freshly painted siding and trim?  Studmuffin and his brother painted the house one weekend.  It was fun to have his brother and two of his children spend a few days with us.  I love how the tan and dark brown make our house look fresh and new.

See that man sitting on the newly built flower beds?  The one with the hideous burnt orange Browning hat that he swears he makes look good?  I despise that hat and he knows it.  That man works very hard to make things for me that I will love.  He is meticulous and a perfectionist when I would build everything out of duct tape and bailing wire.  He takes his time and works hard to make things look beautiful.  He is methodical and organized where I am impulsive and carefree.  He balances me.

I will have been married to this man for fifteen years in one week.  He has put up with  my remodeling ideas and endless paint schemes and even responded gracefully to coming home to find things ripped apart in a moment of inspiration.  His patience will surely be greatly rewarded in heaven!  He gets more handsome every year and I grow to love him more with each day.  I am so glad God gave him to me.

I love that man.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Poor Is As Poor Does

When our yard looks like this, is it any wonder I worry about flushing the toilet?

 It has been officially a year since we have had to go on water rationing due to septic issues.  Of course, we've been in a drought, so that's a no brainer.

Anyway, the last time we had our septic pumped (before we realized the futility in pumping a septic when the ground is saturated, as the water sitting on the laterals would literally be pouring into it like a fire hose AS THEY PUMPED IT OUT) the guy commented that we had been backed up for a while.  I responded that we had issues with our ground becoming saturated and filling the septic.  I also made the mistake of bragging about my husband's revolutionary solution to bathing when one's septic is full.

Simply attach a sump pump to a car battery, and run the water out of the tub to the yard with a garden hose!  Genius!

I was horrified to hear his response:  Poor is as poor does.

What?  How rude!  While the stupid federal government classifies us as below poverty level, we are not poor.  That just proves how clueless the men in Washington are about real people!  And we certainly don't do as poor people do...

I have a pool (that was here when we moved.)

 Poor is as poor does.

 I own a camper!  Granted it's from the 1960s.  Yes, we salvaged it from my the barn on my husband's family farm...But we own it!  Free and clear....Poor is as poor does.

Someday I will have to remember to post pictures of the inside, because it really is snazzy.  I promise you!

We own a boat!  A boat that we bought with our very own money and paid real cash for!  Poor people don't own boats, right?

But then, if one were to stop and look around, or perhaps contemplate the repairs and decorations and such we do around here, one may be suspicious....

These "decorations" were salvaged from various family members.  I love those old thermoses and the brightly colored mixing bowls!

My daughter asked for a doll house a few years ago, and before I knew it my mother in love gave me a kit that had been collecting dust at her house...This is the picture before I got the shingles on it.  So, yes I got my daughter's Christmas present for free, if one does not count the hours spent assembling the darn thing on my bathroom floor at night while she was in bed!

I got a new camera recently.  Studmuffin "put away" the battery charger to my old one, and it hasn't been seen since.  I ran into Walmart on a Friday to buy a new one, as Popcorn had her first ever track meet the next day.  The friendly service lady said, "Are you just looking, or do you plan to buy today?"

"Oh, I'm buying.  I need a camera by 8am tomorrow morning.  I really like  the CoolPix.  Ashton Kutcher has totally convinced me that all the cool people have one..."  You see, Gentle Reader, I feel compelled to share meaningless details to everyone I encounter.

"I think I may have one in the back left over from Mother's Day."  And she walked off.  I was confused.  There was a whole case of them right in front of me.

Glory be!  That wonderful lady brought me out a special Mother's Day version for only $147 that included a 4G memory card and carrying case...The regular camera without case or card was over $170!  I left Walmart in a money saving euphoria!

Granted, it's a plum color, a color I  normally wouldn't have chosen.   

Poor is as poor does. 

I seem to encounter plum or eggplant color everywhere I go.  I now have four purple shirts, (Purple looks good with my fair skin and freckles if I do say so myself.)  I drive a purple (yes, purple) car, and now a purple camera!  Purple used to be my favorite color, until I was a cheerleader in high school and had to wear it several times a week.  My fondness seems to be returning...

Or my cheapness.  My car is eggplant color, and I bought it because it was way cheaper than anything we had looked at simply because of the color.  Knowing we drive every car until it is on the verge of death, I figured resale value is a non issue.

Wait, did I just say I bought a car because it was cheap?  

Poor is as poor does.

We are in the process of building a new, bigger fence on our property.  We are using some of the old fence on the back part to help save money, and really that fence would just be thrown away if we didnt' use it!  We are digging up posts and breaking off the concrete to use those also.  I consider that smart and thrifty...And green!  We are not wasting the resources we have!

Poor is as poor does.

I am planning to rip out our carpet in the living room and dining room, and the tile in the front and back entry and the kitchen.  I am hoping to convince my husband to learn how to stain floors in our house.  We can do that at a fraction of the cost of wood, laminate, tile, or anything else!  And he will have a new skill that is totally marketable! Why pay someone to do something in a day when we can complete the job in a mere six months?

Poor is as poor does.

Please disregard the mess in this picture.  I could not be bothered to clean up before I snapped a picture.

Studmuffin took a break from building fence and built me some raised flower beds.  They look really nice.  I planted tomatoes in one and will put peppers (as soon as we get the dirt) in the other. We were able to build the beds for relatively free using railroad ties that the previous owners of our house had around the old fence line.
Poor is as poor does.

We had a moment of relaxation Saturday evening.  I tried to focus only on the fire and not look at the dozen incomplete projects we've started.
Oh, and just in case you're wondering the bricks for the fire pit were free too.  We dug them up from around the pool and repurposed them to a fire pit!

Just in case you didn't notice the green grass and fire, the burn ban is lifted!  We had rain last week!  And just in time for perfect marshmallow roasting weather!

I have visions of planting a bunch of irises in the old garden with gravel paths in it...As soon as I figure out how to get a ton of pea gravel cheap/free.  I can get irises from my neighbor who needs to thin hers out.  They are an older retired couple with a gorgeous yard.  I am stealing the iris garden/gravel path from her.  She is always bringing me a little flower or plant that started growing where it wasn't supposed to and telling me to use it.  It makes me happy every time she knocks on my door...

Poor is as poor does.

So, upon reflection maybe that septic sewer pump dude was wiser than I realized.  Dang. Who knew a guy who spends his life dealing with other people's poo had so much insight?

Now, I'm off to mow my entire yard with a push mower as our riding mower's belt broke.  Again.  Some say it's time for a new mower.  Some say I can burn many calories using a push mower, especially when the self propelled function is off.  Some say that we are saving money to finish building the fence...

Poor is as poor does.


Saturday, May 7, 2011

What I Have Learned

Apparently I can write a post involving the injustice of my not receiving valedictorian and have no less then three spelling errors in it.  Good grief.

My cell phone provider informed me it's my anniversary.  And to thank me they are happy to add 25 free minutes to my unlimited plan...

Why thank you, Sprint.  Your generosity is underwhelming to say the least.

Arby's really is good mood food when you work a 12 hour shift without lunch...A shift in which you are working with only one other nurse that is trained in your department and you need five nurses...A shift in which a patient dies on the table...

Patients dying sucks.  Every.  Single.  Time.

You will be really glad you didn't find a babysitter after working a 12 hour shift with no lunch.

Parents will be suspicious if you take time to meticulously yet surreptitiously position a pillow in the middle of the floor after eating pizza on the living room floor while watching TV...But your father will not actually rub your face and hair in it when he discovers you did in fact spill it on the floor like he threatened when he agreed to let you eat said pizza in front of the television.

Was that last lesson confusing?

I have a new surefire method for frizzy hair!  Simply use your daughter's Garnier Fructis body building conditioner  (which you have never dared to use with your wild locks.)  Fail to put your anti-frizz serum on your soaking wet hair.  Put your curling cream on instead.  Follow this with your Dream Curls spray that you normally use on dry hair to freshen your curls after sleeping on them!  Stop and stare at yourself in the mirror and think about what you have just done...Shrug indifferently and ask yourself "What's the worst that could happen?"  Sure enough!  Your hair will even frizz out of it's pony tail and curl all over your head like you stuck your finger in a light socket!  Hooray!

According to my husband other husband's don't have to ask their wives to NOT rip out the carpet while they are at work.  He acts as if I tore out the back splash one day in a moment of boredom or something...Sheesh!
This was the result of my ripping out the backsplash.  How can the floor not be even better?

You can't trust your nine and ten year old daughters to apply sunscreen adequately to each other before swimming for over two hours while you do yard work.

Nine year old daughters cry and throw fits when you apply aloe vera to their lobster red skin because it feels "yucky."

If your husband is digging up grass to build raised flower beds in the 90 degree heat, he might get cranky.

However, if each time you drive by him on the riding "mowing machine" (as my beloved Grandma Irene says) you  strike a pose, thrust out your chest and give him your best pin up smile he will be less cranky.

But he may have "expectations" if you overdo it.

Just sayin'!

What have you learned this week?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

One of These Kids is Not Like the Others...

Check out those bangs!!!  Does this look like the face of a girl who just doesn't get it?

I am so glad I will never have to relive high school again...Although at the time I thought it was the best thing ever, I look back and sigh in relief I will never have to do that again...

I was such a dork.  Although I didn't always realize the level of my dorkiness, there were times when it was just too blatant to ignore.

I remember so clearly that I was sitting in Mrs. Meier's Algebra II class, and for some reason or other we were arguing over what the date was.  

Side note:  Mrs. Meier was responsible for my not getting Valedictorian.  In the second semester of Algebra I she refused to round up my 92.45 to a 92.5 which is clearly a 93 and therefore an A...No, she kept me at a "B."  The only B I ever made in school (before college that is.)  Of course, I'm totally over it.  Being Valedictorian would not have changed my life in any way shape or form.  But every time I think of math, I remember that I was robbed...And, yes our school's grading system was different than most in that you had to have a 93 average to make an A.  So clearly, if I'd been in any other school system I would have had straight A's....

But again, I'm over it...

Thankfully I had moved up from this 7th grade hair by that point...How scary is that 'do?
Moving on.

We were in math, and discussing what the date was.  I pronounced very firmly, "Today is the 14th, because today is Tuesday, and this month every Tuesday is divisible by the number seven!"

Silence decended and all eyes turned to me.  

Apparently not everyone kept trakc of the date by deciding which day of the month was oging to be divisible by seven and going from there.


I was a bit, umm different from the other kids!

P.S.  I think I've already shared this story in the past...But as I saw these pictures it made me think...And I had to share all over again!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Perfect Sunday

Before you read this post, you really need to go visit my mother and wonder why she has any hair left...And understand why what she has is all gray!  Click here to find out why.

Are you back?  Good!

Do you remember Darma and Greg?  He was  down to earth attorney, and she was a yoga instructor raised by hippies?  There was an episode where she has their super market checker move in with them because she's pregnant with no place to go, and Greg keeps wondering how they know this lady.  Darma says, "GREG!  She's our super market checker!  If we don't step up and help her, then who will?!"

I think of that every time my husband goes to the store with me and he's flabbergasted to realize I ask about their children, their spouses, how they are feeling, etc.

This statement seems random right now, but you will understand later on.

Sunday it rained all day long.  It was wonderful, except we had a track meet scheduled that afternoon for my youngest daughter.  We went to church as usual, and then headed home straight after to change in to rain gear for the meet.  We headed on into town to make sure that we wouldn't be rushed and enjoyed a light lunch at Subway.  While we were there we got the news that the meet was delayed until further notice due to the rain...

Well, since we were in town anyway, and I happened to have my coupons with me, I made my family go with me to get groceries...Because I had resisted going on Wednesday, but now that we were right next door, there was no reason to not go!

Yes, they drove me crazy.  No, I didn't get everything I could have if I hadn't had distractions...But I did walk away with 4lbs of chicken at 29 cents a pound!  What a steal!!!

Of course, if they hadn't been with  me, i would have never bought that dad gum Axe deodorant that was on clearance because I would have realized my coupon expired the day before.  The bagger had already buried it in other items, so I just coughed up the wasted two extra bucks.  Grudgingly.

Dang it.

Anyhoo, my girls said, "Mommy, if you let us stop by the house and grab our purses we will go with you to Walmart."

What a blessing!  NOT!  However, their garage sale earnings were burning a hole in their pockets, so I let them tag along for cat food and other items I had to buy.

We came home and I saw Studmuffin watching FX.  IT WAS SUPER HERO SUNDAY!  We love super hero movies.  Because I'm nerdy like that.  I watched the end of Hulk, then watched the first Iron Man, which I have on disc but still endured commercials to watch on tv.  We cracked ourselves up talking about all of the symbolism and the little Easter eggs you miss until you've watched it 12 times.  The commercials ended up being handy to change out loads of laundry and empty the dishwasher and talk about all of the deep symbolism in Marvel comic heroes...

As soon as Obadiah was killed, we flipped it over to the news...to find out Bin Laden was dead!

What a day!  Couponing, super hero movies and Osama dead!  I could scarce get to to sleep there was so much excitement around here...

So, do you want to hear about my nerdy couponing adventure the last two days?  We are out of razors.  I noticed in the Walgreen's sale bill that I could get Studmuffin a razor with a four dollar off coupon and get five dollars in register rewards.  I also needed razors, and could get two dollars in register rewards.  I happened to already have five dollars in rewards from getting my kids allergy medicine there Sunday...

Wait!  They had forgotten to give me my rewards, but I had my receipt, so I was planning on getting them given to me.

So, last night on my way home I grabbed Studmuffin's five blade razor, and headed to the check out.  I let a man with one item in front of me.  I insisted he go, "Because I'm hungry, but not that cranky...Yet."  (And I didn't want him to realize that I'm going to beg for my forgotten five dollar coupon) Which lead to me discussing our dinner plans with this random stranger and the checker.

After I explained my situation, she happily corrected the problem, but there was a hitch.  I was going to have two manufacturer coupons for one item, so I HAD to purchase a second item.  She recommended I grab an Ooey Gooey Butter Cake at their check out for 99 cents.  I walked away spending $2.89 on a Ten dollar razor and a 99 cent snack cake...

But it gets better!!  They gave me my five dollar register reward...

I know lots of people do several transactions in one trip, but I was too embarrassed to do that.  I had learned that my checker was closing the store last night in our little chat, so I figured it would be safe to go back this morning to grab razors for me and some Qtips, as we were out anyway.  And she would be none the wiser and forget all about me and my plans for chicken tacos...

I headed straight there after dropping the kids at school.

I made the small error of wandering into their lawn and garden area.  I am now hoping my husband and children go there and get me some Mother's Day gifts.  They had the cutest things, and I got my mother a gift that there was only one left of, so she better dang well appreciate it, because I REALLY wanted it....

Moving on...

So, I headed to the check out and THE SAME LADY WAS WORKING!!  "Maybe she won't recognize me,"  I told myself.

"Are you the lady who bought one of those cakes last night?"

Caught!  "Yes.  I shared it with my daughter.  You are right, they really do melt in your mouth."  And I sheepishly handed her my razors, the Qtips and my mom's gift....Along with my coupons.

Guess what?!  I got another two dollar register reward!  And their Garnier hair products are on sale, and I have a coupon, and if I use my two dollar off coupon, I will get them for free!

Only I am waiting at least two days before I go back.  Because then maybe I won't appear as if I have nothing but coupons in my life...

So, in closing I wll say that apparently friendliness and chattiness doesn't always pay off!  Because if you share your life story with everyone you meet, they remember you!