Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Just Checking in. . .

Hey there !

I just thought I'd let you know that I haven't run off to another part of the country and gotten stuck there. (unlike some people I know.)

I'm still here, doing my usual thing. You know, the mom thing. Things are rolling along smoothly, nothing especially exciting to report, but still, it's sort of a comforting state to be in. I'm still wishing for a really good snow storm that will shut things down for a while, but with February coming to an end soon, I don't think it's going to happen.

Heather and I have just started a new book for reading. It's the first book in that "vampire - romance" series that everyone is talking about: Twilight by Stephanie Meyer. They're listed as "teen fiction" books, but I know alot of adults who are reading them, and loving them. I know that Heather and I are hooked. Kind of like a teen version of Anne Rice's Vampire chronicles, but not so dark, at least not so far.

I got a letter from Nick this weekend. He's going through a pity party stage right now. Apologizing for being such a failure, blah, blah, blah. (insert violin music) I wrote him back and told him to grow up. I don't tolerate whinging very well from my kids, and seriously, he NEEDS to grow up ! It's time to put away the childish things of his irresponsible youth and get on with his life. He's too old for this crap, and so am I.

One of the many advantages of being mom is that I can get away with saying things to my kids that I would never say to anyone else. That, and that magical thing that happens when you speak your child's full first name, along with their middle name, using just the right "mom" tone. ( Jasmin Lea !, Nicholas Wayne !, Jacob Patrick !, Heather Nicole !) It's like being Dirty Harry with a loaded .357 magnum. No matter what they're doing, they will absolutely freeze in their tracks, and start to sweat. I know, it doesn't seem like much, but some days, it's the only power I have.

Well, Like I said, things are pretty uneventful here, and it's late. I need to get myself off to bed.

Good night all,

Friday, February 22, 2008

Deep, dark, revelations

Hey there !

Well, It's 1:30 AM and I'm just hanging out here. The house is finally quiet and I can think, but who the hell wants to do that at 1:30 AM ? I think I'd rather just ramble.

The past couple of weeks have been kind of . . . .well, kind of sucky. Finances have been tight, and my hubby has been feeling stressed and depressed, which is understandable. It sucks when the lack of money stops you from doing things that you want to do, or things that you need to do. It's just that men take the whole thing so personally. I know that men are wired to see themselves as providers, and that they see their income as some kind of sign of success or failure as a man, blah, blah, blah. Whatever. I don't mean to be insensitive to his feelings, or minimizing the importance of years and years of male evolution, or any of that. I just have an attitude when it comes to money.

I dislike money. I dislike money the way that Christopher dislikes political debates. I dislike it the way Mel dislikes dieting. I realise that it's necessary, just like politics and dieting, I just have resentments about the whole issue.

Wanna peek inside my warped psyche ? If not, better stop reading now. You've been warned. Okay, here's what I think, Of course, It goes back to my dysfunctional childhood. Doesn't everything ? (and I think that we are ALL so dysfunctional, that we should just eliminate the word, so we can all quit boo-hooing about everything.) Anyway, here's the scoop. My mom raised four kids (alone) during the mid '60's , and into the '70's. Back then, a woman being the sole bread winner, and head of the household was even more difficult than it was now; So I am definitely not blaming my mom for anything, I'm just explaining the situation. My mom started working for a car dealership doing office work to support us kids. She didn't make very much money, but she worked her way up to office manager, because she either had a knack for dealing with money and numbers, or having four kids to support was an incentive to learn it pretty damn quickly. My mom is a (very conservative) financial whiz. She is probably the only person in America who could work a minimum wage job, support a family, and actually SAVE money !

Anyway, my mom has never been a terribly emotional person -not her fault, that's just the way she is. However, the one thing that could (and still can) always bring out an emotional response, was money. The lack of money could bring out horrible fear and anxiety, or a sudden wind fall could make her to be uncharacteristically happy. For example, no one, with half a brain, goes near my mother on pay day. That's when she pays bills, and she is NEVER happy about that. (even though she has more money tucked away than she will ever admit to.) Conversely, the first time that I remember my mother getting excited enough to actually hug me, was when we found out that the hospital was going to settle for only what the insurance company would cover for Nick's birth and delivery. Which meant that they were going to "forgive" a couple thousand in hospital bills. She was so happy, she almost cried.

I guess that being the only girl, with three brothers, I think that I was a little resentful that she couldn't spare any of those emotional responses for me. Of course, my brothers always thought that I was just some kind of ungrateful, emotionally needy "GIRL." I guess that from a "BOY'S" perspective, she was perfect. To this day, whenever my family gets together for a meal, ALL meal time conversation revolves around cars, work, and money. Hence, if you put food in front of me, I don't talk - I eat.

No, that's not entirely true, the actual topic of "money" was never really discussed in our house. In spite of all my mother's financial knowledge, "money" is a very private thing. I have no doubt that my mother would endure endless torture before she EVER revealed how much money she makes, or how much she actually has. As a result, she never really taught any of us how to manage money. Not only would such a discussion be considered "impolite", but I think since it was second nature to her, she assumed that it should be instinctual for her children. WRONG !! Besides, she was always too busy making it, to actually talk about it.

I don't want to sound like I'm blaming my mother. I love my mother very much, I always have. Here's the screwed up part - It's not my mom's fault - it's money's fault. I've always viewed money the same way that I view drugs, or alcohol. I refuse to allow ANYTHING to have that much control over my life and happiness. I can't blame my mom for not being everything that I wanted, but I can try to learn from her mistakes. She wasn't a very nurturing person, so I do my best to be that for my kids. (and anyone else's kids that happen to wander into my life . . . . or stray dogs, occasionally a cat . . . .) Maybe, I take the whole money thing too far, that's probably why I don't ever have very much of it. I know that my attitude is childish and immature. In this world, hating money is like cutting off your nose to spite your face - unless your a monk or something. Hell, let's face it, I'm a mess.

Okay, enough rambling. My mother brain washed me well enough that this whole post, and all this talk about money, is making me feel creepy, and dirty, and ookie. I don't think that ookie is an actual word, I'm pretty sure that it wouldn't fly on a scrabble board. Anyway, it's late, and I'm tired, so I'm going to bed.

Good night all.
Love ya,

Monday, February 18, 2008

Getting Unstuck

Remember the movie Ground Hog Day ? Where Bill Murray is stuck reliving the same day over and over, and does all kinds of crazy things to get unstuck, but keeps waking up to find that once again, it's groundhog day. I've completely forgotten the reason for the disruption, or what he finally does to escape the insanity, but that's the kind of redundancy I've been dealing with lately.

The kids have been out of school since Thursday and won't be going back until Tuesday. (tomorrow - Thank God !) One, or the other of them has had an over night guest every night since Wednesday. Roy has been working alot of odd hours, taking service calls whenever they are available, so he has been in and out alot. I really haven't been anywhere, or done much of anything, other than trying to keep my house in some kind of order. The weather has been too yucky to get out and do much of anything. Since every one's regular routine is out of whack, they seem to wander around aimlessly, drifting from one thing to another, trying to find something to entertain themselves, and leaving a trail of chaos and clutter behind them. And eating - lots, and lots, of eating. My cupboards are looking kind of bare - or at least all the good stuff is gone.

While everyone else in this house is feeling bored and restless, I feel like I'm just treading water, doing my best to keep from sinking. Of course, I realise that Roy and the kids don't feel as responsible for keeping the house intact as I do; they focus their energies in other areas of their lives. Once they come home, they don't want to think about what they need to be doing, or what needs to be done. Still, it would just be nice if they would just learn to pick up after themselves, that would cut down on 50% of my frustration. But, I'm not going to make this one of my famous "bitch blogs."

Instead, I think I'll just touch on the highlights of these past 5 days in limbo. Uh . . . hope your expectations aren't too high. . . .
Let's see, okay, Thursday was the only nice day out of the five, I think we almost reached 60 degrees. (that's 10 C) So I took all the dogs for nice LONG walks. By the time I was done with all of them, I think that I had walked a total of five miles that afternoon. It felt so good that it took me almost three days to figure out why my legs were so sore and achy. Duh, it's been so long since we've had weather like that, I had forgotten how long I'd been cooped up inside.

As I mentioned, Friday morning I discovered that Nick had been transferred to Ottawa. When I called Saturday morning to get all the particulars of how they work things there, I found out that Ottawa jail ISN'T in Ottawa, Kansas as I had been led to believe, but in Ottawa COUNTY, Kansas - about 200 miles away ! So it sounds like weekly visits probably won't be happening after all. The good news is that Nick is fairly content there. It's a little, 60 bed facility, and they only have 37 guys there. So right now, they aren't over crowded and the noise and privacy levels are tolerable. Nick says that even the food is good. As a general rule, the bigger the jail, the worse the food. I doubt that their library selection is up to my son's standards, he can do some serious reading when he's in jail. I had wanted to get some money on his books so that he could at least get a pen and paper to write letters, but with the holiday today, I doubt the postal service will get the money to him in time for commissary on Wednesday. He'll have to wait until next week.

Sunday morning, we had about 2 inches of snow. Not really a big deal, but it made me happy because it meant that the dogs would quit tracking mud through my house. At least until it melts, and the temperatures get warm enough to thaw the mud pit in my back yard. YAY !! For three days, every time the dogs came inside, they were three inches taller than when they went out. But you know, I have to try to see these obstacles as opportunities to teach. The pups are finally starting to tolerate the whole paw cleaning ritual. I think that Phoenix, my ADHD pup, is actually starting to enjoy the extra attention. After he gets his paws cleaned, he goes to the back of the line so he can get a second helping of attention. That dog is just TOO happy.

Since I was given a break from paw wiping, mopping, and carpet cleaning, I spent most of Sunday afternoon cleaning out the garage that my husband trashed. (again) He keeps using the garage as a dump site for all the disorganized clutter in his work van. When he needs more space, he just backs up to the garage, and starts shoveling it out. Last time, he promised that he would clean it up. I patiently waited - 6 weeks, and it just got worse, so I had to deal with it while I could still find the floor.

Oh Lord, it's pretty sad when the "highlights" are pitifully dull. Well, I need to get things together for school tomorrow and it's getting late. It will be nice for life to get back to some kind of normalcy. I don't think I could handle another "day off" - it's too much work !

Hope y'all have a great week !

Saturday, February 16, 2008

A LONG day

Oh my Gosh, this has been such a long day ! I had to get up early to get to Jake's school conferences today. This is the day that both Jake and I had been dreading. The last thing that Jake wanted was five other grown ups (his teachers) siding with me. My biggest fear, was that I was going to walk in there and hear that my son is the class clown and disrupting the entire class room with his attitude. Fortunately, I didn't hear that. (Now that I think about it, if that were the case, I probably would have heard about it before conference time.) All his teachers love him. Apparently, my son is just completely disorganised and unmotivated. Huh ! Sounds like someone else that I know. At least he is being respectful and well behaved. He just doesn't have a clue what to do unless someone puts it right in front of him and says, "Here, do this Jake." And you know, he certainly wouldn't dream of asking someone what he should be doing. (that would just be nuts !)

So, now I've got the school website, and each of his teacher's web page addresses, so I can know what he is assigned on a daily basis, when it's due, and what his homework should be everyday. I really didn't want to play that game with him, (God knows, I have plenty of other stuff to keep track of) but I may have to for a while. Otherwise, the poor kid is never going to get ungrounded! And if he doesn't get ungrounded soon, he's going to drive me totally insane !

The plan this morning was to do the conference thing, be done with that by 10 AM, and run out to visit Nick. However, I called the jail before I left, and found out that Nick was being transferred to Ottawa, Kansas this morning. My Oldest brother lives out by Ottawa and he drives in past Olathe 4 or 5 times a week to work. It's about a 45 minute drive. I have no idea what their jails are like, but I know that Ottawa is a cute little country town. (alot like Mayberry on the old Andy Griffith Show.) I'm going to call tomorrow and get the address and phone number, find out when he has visitation. If his visiting hours are at a reasonable time, I could probably make the drive out once a week.

Other than that, I'm just absolutely exhausted today. I only got about four hours sleep last night, and even that wasn't very restful. (I think I woke up twice during the night) I was hoping to sneak a nap today, but Heather has had friends over all day, and with no school, Jake won't give me five minutes peace , so no nap for me.

Right now, I feel like I could sleep for a week, but I can't - I've got a ton of stuff to do tomorrow. I wish the world would slow down just a little bit. I'm too old for this crap.

Good night all.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Valentine's Wishes

Ah. . . . . Valentines Day !! A day set aside for the exclusive honoring of LOVE. A day that everyone can, and should, celebrate.

Children all over the country will the expressing the joyous innocence of the love that naturally flows from their hearts. Teddy bears, hearts, flowers, candy, and red and pink crayons drawings will be the order of the day for children.

The sweetness and purity of this day could only be eclipsed by celebration that begins after the little angels are tucked into bed, or safely deposited at Grandma's house, exhausted and weary from excess sugar intake, and the adrenaline rush that comes from love expressed in it's mushiest form.

When the sun goes down, the grown ups begin the celebration of ROMANCE. And the passion, frustration, and stickiness, that always accompanies such grand adventures, begins in earnest. For many, February 14th symbolises a never ending quest to either express, or discover
love (or lust) in the ultimate gesture of romance.

For others, like myself, who daily live out their commitment to love, honor and cherish their mate, flamboyant displays of attention are often replaced with more subtle, and refined maneuvers that, hopefully, result in the same level of sweaty passion, without the expense, labor, and frustration experienced by other couples. Unfortunately, I have discovered that marriage, or even long term commitment, are no guarantee that you're gonna get laid on Valentines day. After 18 years of marriage, I've discovered that even the best Valentine's Day plans can go awry.

For example, on Valentine's day 2002, after Roy had returned form an especially long absence, I determined that this Valentine's day would be incredibly romantic. I started brainstorming in advance how I could arouse my husbands desire. Several weeks before the 14th, I went shopping for a little something special. Something very little, very lacy, and very sexy. The night before Valentines day, I created a special, personal, Valentine's card for him. Inside I included some very suggestive, yet very specific, and of course, very creative Valentine's wishes for our evening together. I attached the Valentine to the recently purchased (extremely) hot lingerie item, and laid it carefully inside his lunch box, which was also filled with his favorite foods and snacks. At that time, we only had one car. I drove him to work the next morning, told him that I had prepared a special Valentine's lunch for him, and went home to excitedly prepare for our evening. I intentionally didn't call him all day. I was absolutely giddy all day long, imagining the thoughts that must be running through his head when he opened his lunch box to find a little preview of our evening. I arranged for the kids to stay the night at a friends house and took extra care and preparation in dressing before I went to pick him up from work.

I was thrown a little off balance when Roy got in the car, lunch box in hand, and behaved like it was just another day, like any other. As I started to drive home, I asked him,
"How was your day ?"
"It was okay - pretty good." he responded, nodding.
"Soooo... how was your lunch ?" I said.
"Good." he said.
Still no response. He HAD to be playing with me!
Finally, I said "Did anything special happen today ?"
He started to chuckle and said,
"Oh, God, you wouldn't believe it. We had to do some work in the attic of this house, and while we were up there, Jim discovered a huge stack of Penthouse and Playboy magazines covered in dust. Probably some teenage boy's private library!"

By this time, my eyes had narrowed, and my brows were creased, and I was giving him the pissed off wife look. He wasn't responding to that either. So I said,
"oh . . . . really? You know what ? You're an asshole !"
You know what he said ? He said,
"what? Honey, what'd I do ?!"
I pulled the car over into a parking lot, put the car in park, reached in the back seat and unzipped his lunch box. There, at the bottom, all wadded up and wrinkled was the black lacy lingerie and the valentine still attached. I pulled it out and waved it in front of him.
"THIS ! Did you not SEE this? Do you just not GET it ?!! DUH ! It's Valentines day !"
Roy got a look of surprise on his face, and then he blushed.
"Uh . . . well . . . see, Jim asked me if I had a coke. I said 'sure it's in my lunch box' , so Jim sort of found it before me . . . and he said, 'Hey Roy ! what's this ?!!' and I just stuffed it back in the lunch box so. . . . I didn't really look at it."

I didn't know whether to laugh or cry. All those weeks of planning and preparation, thinking that I was being so clever and sexy, and imagining how it was all going to pay off resulting in the hottest, most erotically memorable Valentines day of my life. It was all for nothing . Instead of fantasizing about me, and my voluptuous breasts spilling out of some sexy little number from Victoria's Secret; He spent his afternoon sitting in an attic, flipping through the pages of a bunch of dusty, 15 year old, Playboy magazines!

Needless to say, I've since decided that it's better not to make grand and elaborate plans for romance on Valentines day. Maybe, it's better to see the whole thing the way kids do. Teddy bears, crayon drawings, and sugar induced comas can be nice too.

I hope that you all have a lovely, romantic, and memorable Valentines day, and all your Valentines wishes come true.


Gutenberg part 3

As time passed, Gutenberg became part of our family. Jake and Heather's fear of her quickly disappeared, as she became their playmate and protector. However, it was Nick that she loved most. Probably because he was the only one who could even come close to matching her energy level. They would tromp through the woods, wrestle, and sleep together. She waited for the bus to drop him off from school, and didn't leave his side until he got back on the bus the next morning.

We quickly discovered that Gute had a few . . . quirks ? She would bark and growl at anyone carrying any kind of stick. I don't know if she had been beaten, or if she instinctively recognised it as a potential weapon. It took her a while to understand that the broom and mop were just cleaning tools.

Likewise, she seemed to comprehend that guns, even squirt guns, were bad. The only time that she refused to accompany Nick, was when he took his B.B. gun to the woods.

She was also terrified of fire. Unlike Honey bear, who loved to curl up in front of the fireplace for warmth, Gutenberg would leave the room. If she couldn't find another family member in another room of the house to be with, she would sit outside the room and shake in fear. When she first came to our family, even the flame from a cigarette lighter would frighten her. Eventually, she learned to overcome most of her fears, based on the level of trust that she had for the person holding it.

Unfortunately, she was never able to trust anyone outside our family, and my mother. No matter how hard we tried, Gutenberg refused to see anyone outside our family as anything other than a threat. No matter where we lived, there always had to be a "safe place" for Gutenberg to go when guests arrived. Gute didn't really need a reason to bite a stranger in the butt. I always felt a little sad that she missed out on meeting new people and alot of family time; But when a guest arrived, and I took her to her safe place, (usually Nick's bed room) you could actually see the relief and tension go out of her body. It was obvious that her aggression was based on pure fear.

In alot of ways, living with Gutenberg was like living with an animal that could never really become completely tame. She always had an instinctual wildness about her. Her sense of smell and hearing, her protective instincts, even her prey drive, was alot stronger than most domestic dogs. I know that alot of people thought that we were crazy to have a dog like her in our home, but we didn't choose her, she chose us. I suspect that she had been surviving on her own for a long time. She needed the safety of being part of a family - or a pack. I think that everyone needs that.

She wasn't always easy to live with. While Honey bear had "special needs" as a three legged dog, she was always the typical happy, friendly, kind of goofy, Golden Retriever. However, Gutenberg was almost the complete opposite - very driven and intense ; but still , playful and affectionate with her family. The contrast between the two became alot more apparent when we moved out of our house in the woods, to the suburbs with my mom. Our entire family composition changed, both human and canine.

But that's another story.
It's late, I'm tired, and I'm going to bed.
Good night.


Tuesday, February 12, 2008

I'm Done

I'm done. It's been a long day. Heather and I have been working hard trying to get caught up on school work. Last week, the public schools called a snow day on Tuesday, and a teacher work day on Friday. We tried to work through, but there are just too many distractions with Jake and the neighborhood kids at home. We got quite a bit accomplished today and were almost caught up. The frustrating part is, that Thursday and Friday of this week are conference days for Jake, so I have to figure out how to work around that so we don't get behind again.

In addition to school work, Heather wants me to help her clean and rearrange her room tomorrow. Plus, I have a bunch of phone calls to make, and a mountain of laundry to deal with. So it's looking like tomorrow is going to be another busy day.

I don't know what's up with me lately. For the past couple of days, I've had a hard time focusing and concentrating, and I'm hungry all the time. ( Well, that last part might not be a new development.) Between the cold weather, and my screwed up sleep schedule, I can't seem to completely shake this cold/sinus thing. So, I think I'm going to put myself to bed.

Good night all.

Monday, February 11, 2008


Hey there,

Oh my gosh, I didn't think that I was ever going to be able to drag myself out of bed this morning ! I stuck one toe out from under the covers, and yanked it right back in - it was freezing ! But then, I realised that I HAD to get up and moving, to go visit Nick.

They have Nick at the Gardner, KS facility. It's about a 15 minute drive through town, instead of 5 minutes to the Olathe jail. It's a new jail that was just built about . . . 10 years ago? I think that Nick likes it better there because it's generally cleaner than the old jail. Of course, it's still jail, and it sucks.

Hell, just going to visit him isn't alot of fun either. Once I get to the jail and park my car in the lot, I have to take a few minutes just to remove all metal objects. Stuff like belts with metal buckles, earrings, and any change in my pockets, because I know that I will have to go through a metal detector. Of courses I go through the same routine every time that I take Nick to the courthouse, or to visit his probation officer. I have nightmares about metal detectors and that horrible buzzer sound they make. Last Wednesday, I wasn't thinking, and I wore my overalls to visit Nick. BIG mistake - all those brass buttons and hasps - it's just a good thing that I don't look very dangerous, I was starting to think that they weren't ever going to let me through!

Anyway, after I do that, I have to locate my driver's license and lock my purse, my cigarettes, and anything of any value in the glove box of my car. There are usually guys who have just been released waiting to be picked up standing around outside. Since they don't allow smoking in jail anymore, most of them are so nicotine deprived that they would probably risk a felony charge by reaching into a car to get a smoke.

Once I am certain that I'm contraband free, and I have my driver's license in hand, I can begin the half mile hike to the front door. Almost all of that half mile is over a metal and wood slat bridge that spans a pond that's usually frozen over in the winter, and smells like sewage in the summer. I'm not sure if the pond is some one's warped idea of Kansas landscaping, or if it's supposed to resemble a moat. (all they are missing is a troll.) All I know, is that it sucks. There are no trees any where to provide any kind of protection from wind, rain, or heat. As I have walked over that bridge in all kinds of weather, I have concluded that this was probably an intentional decision when the jail was built and there's probably a reason for it, but it still pisses me off. This morning, it was freezing cold, and windy. Last Sunday, it poured down rain and sleet. (there's no point in using an umbrella, they won't allow them in the jail!)

After I get inside, I have to surrender my driver's license to the desk Sargent in exchange for a laminated tag that tells me where to go for visitation. While I am visiting, they run my driver's license to check for warrants. (I've seen people who show up for visits, who become guests) I go through the metal detector (hopefully buzzer free) through a metal turnstile, and onto an elevator that is covered with quilted padding from floor to ceiling. Once I exit, there is nothing but concrete floors, and grey painted cinder block walls. At the end of the hall there is a room that has 8 plastic lawn chairs facing double paned, bullet proof, plexi glass windows. To the left of each chair, is a phone receiver that I use to talk to Nick on the other side of the window, who sits in a matching plastic lawn chair. Usually, if I'm lucky, we are the only ones there. If there is more than two other people visiting other inmates, then it's impossible to hear each other over the chatter.

Today, I found out that Nick went to court on Wednesday and surrendered his probation. He now has 93 days left to serve. He wants me to try to contact the cities where he has his two DUI's, and see if he can serve his time for them concurrently. That way, he won't have to serve any other time. His biggest concern right now is getting court dates for those those charges scheduled before they can farm him out to another jail. Since he has already been to court, and he doesn't have any other court dates pending, they could send him to ANY jail in the state of Kansas to serve his time. Most of those jails are pretty awful, and visitation would be difficult, if not impossible, for me. Phone calls can only be made through correctional billing, who charges an arm and a leg for each phone call. I really can't afford that right now.

So today, I guess he is feeling anxious and powerless. That sort of makes any kind of "normal" conversation difficult. It was one of those days that I felt relieved when they flashed the lights to signal the end of visitation. Visits like that kind of make me feel like a crappy mom, but it's true - I didn't want to be there.

When I got home, I made a huge breakfast for everyone, got the chili started, cleaned up the kitchen, and took a long nap. I probably should have skipped the nap, because everyone is in bed and now, I can't sleep.

Otherwise, it's been a pretty uneventful day. Roy and I watched "The Brave one" with Jodie Foster today. It's a pretty good movie. I base that on the fact that the dog doesn't die. What can I say ? I'm not a movie critic. I don't ask for much.

Well, I should probably make use of my quiet time and prepare for school tomorrow. Hope you all have a wonderful week.

Love ya,

Sunday, February 10, 2008

Eeeek !! a mouse ?

Hi there,

I've been feeling very domestic today. I made up a huge batch of cheesy chicken enchiladas. One of those dishes that the kids love, and there's always plenty of left overs. We have a cold front moving into our area tonight, so I think that tomorrow I'm going to make a big pot of Chili and twice baked potatoes - another one of our favorites. I'm not sure that it's normal to think about food as much as I do. Oh well.

I FINALLY got Heather off to bed, or at least to her room. That girl is going to make me crazy ! She has so many fears and anxieties - and she's such a drama queen about them all. I had noticed a month or so ago, that we had a few new house guests. With several large playing fields right outside our back door, it's inevitable that a few mice are going to start seeking warmer accomodations when it turns cold. I don't really mind mice as long as they stay out of the pantry and behave themselves. Most evenings, after the kids go to bed, and the house is quiet, I see one that scurries back and forth behind the T.V., between the closet and the front door. I also hear a few scratching around under the oven, in the empty storage bin that is never used, a nice warm spot I would imagine. They stay out of my cabinets and cupboards, and come summer, they go back to the feilds.

Roy and I were the only ones aware of them, and I begged him not to say anything to Heather. I had a feeling that she might not take it well because, about 4 years ago, when we were living in another house, she woke up one night, standing up in her bed, pointing at a spot on the floor, and screaming hysterically that a mouse was in her room. When I turned on the lights, it was clear that the object of her terror was nothing more than a spoon she had left lying on the floor! The rounded part looking like the body, and the handle, like a tail. The moonlight shining through the window and reflecting off the tip, gave the illusion of glowing eyes. However, the realisation that it was only her imagination did nothing to calm her. She was freaked out about sleeping in her room for weeks afterwards.

Without her favorite Anime shows and the internet to keep her distracted, Heather decided to invite Alyssa, from next door, to spend the night on Thursday. She gathered all kinds of munchies and caffeinated drinks, and planned to stay up all night watching some of their favorite DVDs in the living room. Around 2PM, our living room mouse began his regular routine of scurrying back and forth. I had watched him make several passes and prayed that Heather wouldn't notice, but she did. At the moment that she caught sight of him, four years of growth and maturity went right out the window. Her response was almost exactly the same as it was when she was 7 years old. (I'm sure that all the caffeine and lack of sleep didn't help much either.) It took most of the night ( or early morning hours) to calm her down. Alyssa's confession that they had seen a mouse or two on their side of the duplex, did nothing to calm her nerves.

Since then, every sound or movement is not just a tiny mouse, but a whole heard of them coming to attack her, and rip out her jugular vein with their tiny little teeth ! This evening, she caught a glimpse of one of the kitchen mice. (If she had actually SEEN it, she would realise how teeny-tiny, and completely harmless it really is.) So Now, she won't go into the kitchen without a canine escort. Which really isn't a problem, because anyone in the kitchen is usually mobbed by the whole pack of them. However, sooner or later, she's going to realise that the dogs are alot more interested in hot dogs, than tiny little mice. If they had any interest at all, we wouldn't have any mice to begin with. I have sat here and watched one of our little mice scamper right over Phoenix's tail (as he slept) and he never even twitched; Of course, Phoenix sleeps like the dead. Oh Lord, I'm afraid that this girl is going to make me crazy before spring finally comes.

Hmmm . . . for some reason, my dogs are completely off their schedule tonight. Instead of holding down the couches, they are up and playing at 3 AM. I'm going to make Roy install a doggie door. Phoenix loves the great out doors, but he gets lonely. He keeps coming in and out, trying to convince one of the other dogs to come play with him. It feels like I spend 75% of my life opening and closing the back door for these guys !

To answer Christopher's question, I haven't done alot of house hunting. The weather has just been sucky lately. I'm trying to stay optimistic, but I'm starting to think that it could be hard to find a place that will work with my dogs. I've gotten pretty spoiled, with having a park and a walking trail right outside my back yard. It would be great if we could find a more rural setting, with space for them to run, but the kids are so "city-fied", they think it sounds boring. I think, that's just too bad. They're "bored" all the time anyway. ( I think I'm going to start charging them 50 cents every time they complain about not having anything to do. Then I could BUY a house, and pay for it in quarters !)

Okay, I've got to get myself to bed. I have to go visit Nick at 9:15 AM. He went to court on Thursday, and I want to see how things went. Although, it was a first appearance, and I suspect that they just set a date, and (hopefully) assigned him a lawyer. Good night all.


Saturday, February 9, 2008

I'm Baaaack !

Hi Y'all !

Okay, I've finally managed to throw my kids off the computer, and into bed, so now, it's my turn ! It's been four days without our Internet connection, and during that time, we were also without cable T.V. or phone service - GASP ! You would think that my kids had been deprived of food, water, and air ! Hard to believe that little more than a year ago, those things, at least the cable and Internet, weren't even part of their lives and somehow, they managed to survive. And to be honest, most days, I could care less about the phone. All it does is ring incessantly, and cause me to drop everything to go on a scavenger hunt for the handset, (God forbid, anyone else should stop what they're doing) and when I finally find it, it's either a solicitor, or one of the kids' friends - it's never for me. But since we have phone, cable, and Internet all in one package - when one goes, they all go.

Even when Jake isn't grounded, the phone is his life line. He spends most of his evenings talking with his friends, and checking his My Space messages every hour, on the hour. And Heather is even worse about the Internet. She has several friends on an anime site, and she could easily spend every waking hour chatting, writing stories, and role playing. Without her computer, she's lost. I tried to explain that many years ago, the wise and ancient ones, used to use things like pencils and paper to do those kinds of things, but the idea seems to disgust her. However, by Wednesday, she did haul her electric typewriter up from the basement, and pound on it for a while. ( I wouldn't be surprised if she drafted a threatening letter, complete with terroristic threats, to the cable company on it.)

Anyway, thank God technology has finally been restored to our home. I wish I could say that the last four days has resulted in all sorts of wonderful adventures to share with you; but alas, my biggest accomplishment has been refraining from strangling my children as they whinged about being "bored." My children can now be "one" with the cyber-world, or whatever.

I have to admit, it was kind of odd to go through the day without hearing the soundtrack of some T.V. show as background noise. After a few days, I actually started to have . . . thoughts! Or maybe, my mind was just playing tricks on me? Probably, just a temporary hallucination - resulting from the lack of constant, and meaningless, auditory stimuli.

Well, I've pretty much spent most of my evening just catching up on everyone else's blogs and I should probably get myself off to bed. I can sleep well knowing that the world is still spinning on it's axis, just as it should, and that all of my Internet friends are still safe and well. I really missed you all. Catch ya tomorrow.

Good night, and have a great weekend.

Friday, February 8, 2008

All is well

Hey y'all !

I'm still around, and everything is fine. We have just had some internet interuptions this week, so I haven't been on line. I will try to post later this evening, as soon as my kids get their chance to re-connect with their friends.

Love y'all,

Monday, February 4, 2008

Sunday Visit

Hey there,

Well, I went to visit Nick today. I'm not sure what to think of his present frame of mind. He's not being hostile or aggitated, just . . .I don't know, depressed? Of course, that's understandable. There's more to it than just depression though. He has kind of resigned himself to the fact that he can't keep playing the same games with God and the people in his life.

Usually, when he is in jail - it's so pathetic that he has been there so many times that he has developed "normal Jail behavior"- but normally, to get through the time, he draws close to God and it gives him strength in difficult times. But now - this time - he just feels so much like a hypocrit that he said he's having a hard time opening his Bible or praying. Part of me thinks, 'Oh no ! He's lost hope !! If he losses hope, he'll quit trying, and the addiction will win out !!' But there is this calmer voice inside me that says, 'No, he's right. He can't expect God to do this for him, God gives us freedom to choose, and Nick has to choose.' I don't think that he has lost hope. It's more like he is finally owning up to his actions, and that there are consequences for them. Maybe, this could be a turning point?

I know that Nick has a strong spiritual foundation, and I don't think that he is rejecting it; I think he might just be growing up a little bit. Sometimes, in a relationship, even a good one, there's a point where in order reach the next level, you have to put in some work on yourself - otherwise, you're stuck. God isn't some kind of cosmic janitor that walks around behind him with a big push broom, cleaning up his messes. I think, maybe, Nick is on the verge of realising that he has to look inside himself and hold himself accountable. for his choices and actions. When he's ready to make the committment, God will be waiting for him.

Does that make sense ? Maybe, I'm just tired of the whole situation and I'm open to anything new? Especially something that won't suck me dry. I really am tired . . . weary of the whole thing. Takes alot of energy to keep encouraging, and hoping in someone that keeps doing the same things over and over. Still, every ounce of my being refuses to give up fighting for the people that I love. That probably doesn't make alot of sense either, huh ?

Well, it's late, I need to get myself to bed, enough introspection.
Good night

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Gutenberg part 2

As I had originally suspected, She cleaned up nicely. She was a truly beautiful dog. While still a little thin, Nick was on top of that issue. That very first night, Nick herded her downstairs to sleep with him. Within a few hours, Nick came back upstairs with a face that was white as a sheet. When I asked what was wrong, he told me that 'Gute had an "accident" in his room.' I chuckled and told him that she was his dog, so it was his job to handle the situation. Nick shook his head and said that picking up poop was no problem. He was horrified because he had never seen poop made of sticks, and rocks, and undigested bugs. Nick was so overwhelmed with sadness, he couldn't discipline her for her error. Thankfully, once she began eating healthier, more digestible foods, it wasn't a problem.

As I watched Nick and Gutenberg together, I began to notice that she was bringing out a side of Nick that I hadn't seen for a while. Even though Honey Bear had been part of our family for almost a year, Honey Bear was my baby. Every one referred to her as "mom's dog." But Gute, was obviously Nick's dog. With Gutenberg by his side, Nick took on a new confidence and compassion. For the first time Nick had someone besides himself to worry about. Still, Nick was Nick, and Gutenberg loved his wild and adventurous spirit, so she was willing to go anywhere, and try anything with him. I was amazed by her beauty and intelligence, but I wasn't ready to be friends with her yet. She had alot of strange behaviors, like growling to communicate. Nick showed no fear and ignored her, saying that she was just "talking." In less than a week, I had counted no less than three major phobias (which I'll get into later) and her responses to these fears were at best, unpredictable.

As Monday morning rolled around, I asked Nick what he planned on doing with his dog while he was at school ? He said, "she's going to hang out here at home, and watch over you and the kids." The thought of this wild animal "watching over" me and my babies (Jake was 5 and Heather was 3) was not at all comforting to me. I was used to dealing with Golden retrievers, not Ferrel German Shepherds! In addition, it was obvious that Gute was merely tolerating Honey Bear. As a three legged dog, Honey Bear was usually treated with contempt by other dogs, and her lack of early socialization made it hard for her to fit in. I didn't want to break up any dog fights alone. I was really hoping that he would set up a daytime den for her in the barn, but before I could suggest it, he was out the door, and on the bus.

I clearly remember standing at the door, looking down at these three dogs thinking: what the hell am I going to do now? I turned and walked into the kitchen, stopped, and turned around again. There they were, right behind me, looking up at me, waiting for me to do something. I suddenly had no idea what to do, but I knew that staring at them blankly, probably wasn't a good idea. Finally, I said, "Okay ladies, go lay down." Honey Bear and Minnie went to their usual spots at the kitchen doorway. Gutenberg stood there looking at me. I didn't know if she was going to bark, growl, or lunge for my throat. So I did what always works for me. I started talking to her like a two year old in my best high pitched mommy voice, and I offered her food.
"Aw, does Guten -toot want some hot dogs ? As I babbled, I could see her eyes soften and her head start to tilt to the side as she listened. When I finally felt safe enough to turn my back on her, I went to the fridge and got a hot dog. I tore off a piece and fed it to her. She cautiously, and gently gobbled it down and wagged her tail. After three or four hot dogs, she was my best friend ! Poor baby just wanted a mommy to love her !!!

From then on, I realised that dealing with large groups of dogs is alot like running a preschool with 10 or 12 toddlers. I had done that lots of times before. A lot of people are freaked out by the idea of corralling that many little people, but the key is never show any fear, and expect them to follow along, and they usually do.

Okay, there's lots more to tell, but it's late, and I have to get up early to visit Nick. Sleep well everyone, and enjoy the rest of your weekend.

Love ya,

Saturday, February 2, 2008

Just another Friday night

Hey there,

Not much is new around here. I'm still struggling with this cold, sinus infection, or whatever. I think it's getting better, I'm not feeling so congested. I spent most of yesterday napping and resting, but I've been up and about today.

I've managed to accomplish a few things, in spite of the fact that my husband is mopping around the house way too much. Things are still slow at work. Even the independent contractors and real estate owners, that are usually standing in line to get him to work for them, are holding off on spending money until after mid February. They have all told him that they will have plenty of work for him - after next month, ( which I guess is now, this month)but by then, he'll be busy at work ! I wouldn't mind having him at home, except his frame of mind is just so depressing ! I think I'm going to put him to work around here. My method of payment might not be legal tender, but maybe it will cheer him up a bit. (hehehe)

OH ! Jake is in so much troubllllllle ! Remember I told you that Jake was denying all knowledge of his report card's whereabouts ? In fact, he acted as if the whole idea of giving out report cards on a regular basis, was an entirely new concept ! Well, I called the school, and report cards were sent home with the kids on January 9th !! I asked them to please mail me a copy - and I received it today. I can see why he didn't want to show it to me. It was NOT good ! (At least he's getting an A in P.E.)

Needless to say, my boy is grounded. Tonight was an all school party, and he didn't get to go. Jake has always been a consistent "B" student, a little shy, but very well liked by the other kids. All of a sudden, just this past year, he's no longer shy, and he is Mr. Popularity; unfortunately, he's no longer a "B" student - not even close. School is just an eight hour social event for him. I understand how important it is for him to feel liked and accepted at school, but it's still school. What am I gonna do with this kid ? Another challenge - hell, they are all challenges.

I got my dogs some new toys today. Actually, they aren't really dog toys, but they own them now. I bought these three rubber balls that light up and make a boing! boing ! Boing! sound as they ricochet around the room. They're having a blast. We should all be made happy by such simple pleasures.

Ana is spending the night with Heather tonight and I need to run them off to bed; so I better get off this keyboard. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend !!!

Love ya,