Wednesday, May 28, 2008


Well, it's a much quieter kind of evening tonight. Instead of two goofy teenage boys entertaining me, tonight, I have three lovely little girls, curled up on the couch, watching dreamy Ben Afleck kick some King Pin booty in Daredevil.

In fact, my whole day has been very different. The sweltering heat and humidity of yesterday finally exploded in a cloud burst late last night, and today has been a cool and sunny "after the storm" kind of day. I love days like that. I was finally able to get caught up on some much needed sleep, and spent my afternoon walking the dogs and enjoying the fact that I was able to get most of my house work done yesterday. Then, I cooked a huge dinner for my family. BBQ Ribs, twice baked potatoes, corn, green beans with onions and mushrooms, salad, and rolls. It's funny, some days, cooking is such a chore; and other days, it's an absolute joy. Today, it was the latter.

Roy and Nick have spent the last three days being very industrious. They have been to Jasmin's new house several times helping to clear out junk, paint, and do repairs, so that she's ready to move in next weekend. I think that they finished up most of the work, so she can get new carpet laid later this week. She's got a new stove and she gave me her old one - which is electric ! Roy brought it home last night. My current stove is gas, and I just can't use it during the summer months, because it heats up my kitchen so badly, that the smoke detectors go off while I'm pre-heating it !! Nick moved it into the garage this evening and cleaned it up for me. Hopefully, Roy can get them switched out tomorrow. It would be so nice to do some baking.

I think the best part of my day was after dinner. I was able to go downstairs and do some drawing. It's just been one of those days where I'm feeling very content, in the midst of a stressful situation. Either God is teaching me the meaning of "Grace", or I've been in this boat one too many times, and I've finally gone round the bend completely.

I've been having a lot of dreams lately about going back to work. It's kind of reaching the point where I think I need to - for a lot of reasons really. The thing is, I'm not sure what I want to do. I have almost 13 years experience as an Optician/ Optical lab tech/store manager. That's what I did before Roy and I got married. Since then, I have become a certified pre-school teacher and spent almost 6 years doing that on a part time basis. The problem is, neither one of those things really appeal to me anymore. I think that I'd really like to do some thing with my art work, but I'm not exactly sure what, or how to go about it. Unfortunately, I've not had any inspirational dreams about that. I keep dreaming that I go back to either optical, or teaching. But in my dreams, and when I wake up, I don't have a good feeling about it at all. Of course, dreams are just dreams; and making money isn't usually about having fun - if it was, we'd all be millionaires.

Roy is still doing a lot of side work, here and there, for former employers and customers. He still hasn't found "the " new job that will allow us to be able to budget and plan ahead; it would really help if he did. I'd have a better idea what I need to be doing, hours I can work, and pay that I need to make, etc. Bottom line, Roy has the skills and potential to make the bulk of the money for this family, so I have to try to work around him and his schedule, and try to pick up the slack. (except, I just don't know what any of those requirements are yet) It's very frustrating. So, I guess I'll just keep trying to figure out what it is I'm supposed to be doing. Of course, I've spent the last 45 years trying to figure that out, it'd be nice if someone would give me a clue !

Anyway, I'm going to run these girls off to bed and get some sleep myself.
Good night.


Tuesday, May 27, 2008

JACKASS - the LIVE version.

* Before I begin to write this, I should probably include the following disclaimer: To the best of my knowledge, neither my son, Jacob, nor his friend, Patrick, are on drugs - they are just crazy thirteen year olds.

You know, there are some words that should never be paired together in the same sentance. This evening, I discovered a couple of those words. They are, "Saran wrap", and "Jake", my son. Of course, I realise that it's probably my own fault. Who, besides someone like myself, would keep a giant roll of Saran wrap (the kind that they use in warehouses to wrap huge boxes together that are being transported by fork lift) in their arts and crafts area of the basement ? Silly me. I don't even remember where, or how, I came about owning such a dangerous and tempting object, but I always thought that, one day, it might come in handy for some creative project. What was I thinking?

Well, this evening, Jacob and his friend Patrick found a creative purpose for it. When Jake asked me if he could borrow it, the sane, rational, maternal voice in my head screamed "NO! Nothing good can come of this !" But, instead, I calmly replied, "Honey, I just don't think that sounds like a good idea." But you know, the creative drive of a thirteen year old can neither be reasoned with, nor thwarted. He tucked the roll under his arm and scampered up the stairs giggling maniacally.

Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be Bam Margera's mother, April? By the time that I got upstairs, the guys had convinced Heather to wrap them up, from shoulders to ankles, like a couple of deranged teenage burritos. They began on opposite sides of the living room, hopping madly towards each other, bashing into each other, just so that they could laugh their asses off when they fell over! They looked like Veggie Tales' Bob and Larry on crack! Jake has a t-shirt aptly says: "It's only funny until somebody gets hurt . . . then, it's freakin' hilarious!!" That seems to be the missions statement of all skaters. I have to admit, I laughed until my sides hurt.

Of course, the silliness didn't end there. After Patrick convinced Heather to release him from his wrappings, He pushed Jake out side, and we watched him hop down the sidewalk, raving and laughing like a lunatic in a stay fresh pouch. Before a neighbor called 911, or police cruiser happened by, he came up with a new idea and turned around and came back inside. They unwrapped Jake. and wrapped them selves together at the legs and arms, like three legged racers. Then, they went into the back yard and tried to climb over the fence. I know that it's wrong for a mom to say this, but watching them almost fall on their heads was just about the funniest shit I have EVER seen! I have GOT to get a video camera!! My son could easily be the next Steve O. Of course the maternal voice in my head finally won out, and I convinced them to give up before I had to take one, or both of them, to the emergency room. I have no doubt that I'd never be able to explain how they received their injuries - let alone do it with out laughing my ass off. That just wouldn't look right.

Just when I thought that I hurt too much to laugh any more, the two of them decided to count to three, and run in opposite directions! Oh God, it was so funny that Heather and I , literally, could not breathe! For every one's safety, I had to cut them lose. It was like watching a live episode of Jackass. I kept waiting for them to wrap themselves together, flip on the lights, and bounce through our bedroom while Roy was sleeping; just to see the startled look on his face, and hear him scream at them to "get the hell out, you crazy delinquents!"

When they finally wore themselves out, they came inside and Saran wrapped kitchen tools to their hands - stuff like potato mashers, wooden spoons, and ice cream scoopers - and tried to toss a tennis ball around the room. If I'm lucky, they'll be too sore to try anything crazy with their skateboards tomorrow.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Mid-week update.

Hi Y'all,

Well, surprisingly, I'm still here and connected, although that's apt to change without notice. Since I've got a few minutes, and the system is still up and running, I'll leave an up date.

Okay, Monday, I spent all day re-organizing various rooms of my house. Moving furniture, throwing crap out, cleaning, so on, and so forth. Don't ask me why, I just felt an urgent need to stay busy and remain focused. My household faithfully supplies me with endless options to distract myself with whenever I feel on the verge of panic. It's not really my idea of a "blessing", but I have no problem taking advantage of a situation when I feel my sky is falling. If it can get me through the day, or even the moment, then, I can still cling to the hope that tomorrow may be brighter.

Tuesday, I spent a large part of my day at Jasmin's new house. It looks as if she and her husband will be separating - when it rains, it pours around here - and she needs to get her new place ready to move in to, by the first of June. She is doing a lot of the work of clearing the place out, and getting it ready herself, to save on rent. I hate the fact that my present situation hasn't allowed me to be there for her as much as I would like; but between Roy looking for a new job, Nick's antics, and the kids finishing up the school year, my life is chaos! Anyway, she has a huge yard sale scheduled for this weekend and Roy and I are scheduled to run it, while she works Saturday morning.

Today, I have done nothing but run around with Roy, making arrangements for basic survival of this family. (which becomes just a wee bit complicated when there is currently Zero income, but all the utilities, landlords, and grocers still want $$ in exchange for services !) I think that we are okay, in terms of necessities, for a couple of weeks, but if Roy doesn't find work soon, we are going to be really screwed. Roy and I have been married for 18 years, and we have been through a lot of difficult times together; But right now . . . It seems like so MANY other people are struggling as well. In a way, it makes me grateful to just be hanging in there, with (comparatively) minimal inconveniences. Being without Internet for a while seems so mild in comparison to people who are losing their homes to foreclosure. Still, it's just frightening, not knowing how long our "blessings" can hold out, or if we will end up like so many others.

Maybe, I'm feeling pessimistic because of our personal situation, but, I have an ominous foreboding that even a new president (ANY new president) can't turn things around as quickly as is necessary. I suspect, that this is just the beginning of a downward spiral for a lot of Americans. Politics is NOT my thing, and I'm the LAST person who would be qualified to make political predictions, but that's just my general sense of things - for what it's worth.

Against my better judgement, Nick is still at home. He's been cranky from alcohol with drawls, but he's stayed sober. He goes to court on his Kansas DUI tomorrow evening. It's possible that the judge will make my choice for me, by revoking his diversion. However, if he gives him a second chance, Nick will have to prove to ME (by his actions and choices) that he is deserving of second chance, at home. So . . . we will see if he is given mercy by the courts, and what he chooses to do with it. This afternoon, he brought up the subject of me helping him to find some personal, outside counseling. I think he needs it, but I won't waste my time and effort, if he isn't serious. I have too many other things to deal with, without his games. All I can do right now - really, all that I could EVER do was, and is . . . pray.

Tomorrow is Jake's last day of school for the year. With everything that has been going on, Heather has gotten a tad behind on her studies. I am hoping to bring her to a stopping point this week, and do a "summer-school -mini -session" during vacation to wrap things up before fall. I need a break for a while, myself. It will probably only be a matter of weeks before she starts to get bored with the lack of structure, and hot temperatures of Summer.

This weekend is Memorial Day Weekend. Other than Jasmin's yard sale on Saturday, I'm going to try to get out to my dad, and my grand parents grave sites some time. My younger brother is coming into town, and my mom mentioned a family pic-nic, but she's been a little vague about the details, so I'm not sure if it's still on. I'm sure I'll survive either way.

I should get myself off to bed now. Hopefully, I'll be back in touch soon.


Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Warning: VERY busy week ahead

Hey there,

I have worked my little ass off today, and I'm exhausted. I took on a couple of huge projects, as well as the whole dog walking thing. I've got several more huge projects in the works for the next couple ofdays, as well as a bunch of things that have to be dealt with ASAP! On top of everything else, I may be off line for the rest of this week. Hopefully, it won't be any longer than that. Everyone behave yourselves - or not, what ever works best for you. Hope to see ya next week.


Sunday, May 18, 2008

Simple Pleasures

When we first moved into this house, three years ago, my sister in law gave me several Iris bulbs that she had pulled from her garden. (Irises are one of my favorite flowers. Gorgeous colors, wild and exotic looking, blooms in both the spring and fall.) I planted them at the bottom of the front steps outside the front door, and waited. It didn't take long for the long slender leaves to pop up and reach for the sun. The problem was, for the first two years, that's all I ever got; long slender green foliage, but not one bud or bloom. Now, I have to admit that the first year, I wasn't surprised considering the guys kept mowing them down. By the second spring, they had been bitched at enough to know better; still, all I ever got were long slender leaves, no buds or blooms, neither spring nor fall. So, I wasn't expecting much this year.

But this morning, this glorious morning, I woke to the sun shinning warm and bright. As I opened the front door to let some fresh air in, a flash of color caught my eye. At first I thought it was the glare of the golden sun. But after a second look, I realised that they were two of the most beautiful yellow Irises, in full bloom at the bottom of my front steps! It's amazing how something so small can make a whole day wonderful and new.

After I took my shower, I decided to start work on cleaning the garage. . . . again. With a husband who has zero organization skills, all the various parts, pieces, and assorted tools from his work truck eventually find their way into the garage. Usually in dirty, ragged boxes that are dumped in the middle of the garage floor and forgotten for months at at time, making it impossible for me to find, or even get to, anything that I might have been foolish enough to store in there. As a result, cleaning out the garage is usually an all day event for me that entails much cursing and my requiring another shower, sometimes two or three. Even when I schedule it for a weekend, I rarely get any assistance because, even though 75% of the stuff is his, Roy hasn't a clue where to start, or what to do with any of it. However, this morning I was shocked when my husband followed me downstairs and set about the task of sorting through the boxes ! He didn't complain, or leave the majority of it for me to finish. Instead, he put his tools into the tool cabinet, had our neighbor, who collects and disposes of scrap metal, haul away the miscellaneous debris, and carried the empty boxes and trash to the curb for pick up on Monday !!

As we worked through the sorting of junk from treasures, my daughter, who normally spends her days in front of the computer, decided that she would walk the dogs for me. She took them one at a time around the mile track behind the house. She even took care of the specific needs of the higher energy dogs like Angel and Phoenix ! Angel is a very focused girl, and loves to play sled dog. (when she isn't trying to herd her pups) So, Heather attached the harness and leash to her scooter and let Angel take her for a pull. Phoenix, loves to run, but we both noticed last night, that he is very good about keeping pace and not pulling or running ahead. So, Heather rode her bike, while Phoenix kept pace !

By 5PM, I looked around to realise that I was alone. Roy had disappeared, and Jake and Christian had gone to a friends house to spend the night. I decided to take a break before I started sweeping the floors, and I went inside for a fresh Diet Coke. I expected to find Roy playing poker on the computer, and Heather running amok with her friends. Instead, I discovered my husband starting dinner on the bar-be-que, and Nick helping Heather and her friends to set up the 8-man tent (that she had found in the garage while I was re-organizing) in the back yard. The dogs were all contentedly sleeping under the tree.

After dinner, I was informed that Roy had given Heather permission to have Ana, and her friend Alexis, camp out in the back yard. (Since Jake had a couple of his friends spend the night, last night.) As I loaded the dishwasher, Roy got the fire in the grill blazing, and Heather and her guests, as well as a few kids from the neighborhood, started roasting marshmallows over the flames. Roy and I sat on the deck enjoying the evening, and watching the kids laugh, play, and stuff themselves with sugar. It was nice, really, really nice. As we sat there, Roy and I got to talking about what a great day it's been for everyone. Then, Roy got kind of sad as he mentioned that we are absolutely penniless right now. I suddenly realised that we couldn't have had a better day, if we were millionaires. Somehow, gathering up a bunch of old junk from storage, and making do with whatever we could find in the fridge, and just being together, as a family, provided a better day than if we had been out spending a ton of money, or off to ourselves playing with a bunch of electronic gadgets. It really is the simple things that bring the most happiness.

When the fire died down, and the kids from down the street were called home, the girls moved into the tent; which was equipt with a small T.V., an old VHS player, and a small lamp from the laundry room. They watched Homeward Bound all bundled up in their sleeping bags and pillows, then fell asleep. Roy and Nick have both gone to bed, and I'm sitting here listening to the girls snore, and talk in their sleep, on Heathers' old baby monitor as I type. The only thing I can find to complain about is this stupid June bug, that has slipped in through the back door, that's determined to make me crazy! I'm going to go kill it right now, and that will make my day perfect.

Good night all.

Saturday, May 17, 2008

The Job that never ends

Oh my, I am so tired. After I did schoolwork with Heather, I decided that I absolutely had to do some house work. The weather has been so nice lately, that I have sort of let my chores slide a bit. I decided that with Roy being at home more, the living room probably needed the most attention, so I figured I'd spend an hour or so straightening, dusting, and vacuuming, before I went outside to play. HA ! Have you ever had one of those days when a quick, little job turns into a monster ? Not only did that happen, but once I got started, I couldn't seem to quit! I went from the living room, to the kitchen, to the basement laundry room. I didn't make it outside to play until after dinner.

As I mentioned, this past week has been a little chaotic and house work hasn't been my biggest priority, but I have made a few half-hearted attempts. Earlier this week, I started to do some laundry, but when I tried to turn on the dryer, it made a loud pop, tripped the breakers, and quit working as an electrical odor filled the room. The poor thing has been behaving erratically, and on it's last leg for the past several months. In anticipation of it biting the dust, Roy brought home a used dryer and did some work to it. So yesterday, when Roy declared the dryer dead, the guys hauled the old one away, and replaced it with the one that has been sitting in the garage. I hadn't been downstairs since then. Mostly, because I know what to expect when the guys do work in the basement. They tend to move everything around to make space, drag all the tools out, and when they're done, they just turn out the lights and walk away, leaving the clean up and reorganization for me. So, just folding a load of laundry turned into a messy, two hour adventure.

Thankfully, since I was exhausted, Roy volunteered to grill the burgers on the bar-be-que outside. So I got to lay down for a few minutes before dinner- yay ! Unfortunately, while I was resting, and Roy was outside bar-be-queing; Jake, Heather, and two or three of their friends, commandeered my newly cleaned living room. - Not good. When I got home from walking the dogs, I learned that Jake asked if a couple of his friends could spend the night.
So now they are all finally in bed and I'm sitting here looking at my days work, and I'm feeling just a bit discouraged. *Sigh* Oh well, motherhood is the job that never ends, apparently.

My oldest son is currently unaccounted for. He disappeared after dinner and came home about three hours ago. It seems that he still isn't taking the house rules seriously, so he was reminded what the consequences are. He collected his alarm clock, because he is supposed to work tomorrow, and he left. I suspect that he is spending the night with his new found drinking buddy down the street. I doubt that he has any long term plans, but it's looking like he'll have to make some very soon. I don't know what else to do.

Well, it's late, I need to get myself off to bed. I've got a long list of other chores that need to be dealt with tomorrow.

Good night,

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Shit Happens . . . .

Hey there,

I'm still here, and I seem to be treading water for the moment. I've been wrapped up in writing horribly depressing posts on my private blog, taking long walks with my dogs, (who are just SO incredibly wise and insightful) and mostly waiting for something a bit more positive to post. It's been a tough week, but things have to get better, right? Well, I know that there isn't much in this life that's permanent. (motherhood seems to be the exception to that rule.)

Well, here's the scoop so far. Nick is still here, at home. In the end, Roy made the decision that Nick should be allowed one more chance, and I was just feeling too conflicted to argue. Nick found a job (unloading trucks for a local wholesale grocer) working from 5:30 AM to 1:30PM, and so far, he's been getting some overtime too. Over the past week, I've observed him struggling with a lot of issues, depression and frustration being top of the list. As a mom, it's not easy to watch, but I am keeping my distance; partly because I am still pissed, but also because I really think that he has to work through this himself, on his own.

As a result of last week's choices, Roy is also looking for a new job. *big sigh* To be honest, things weren't really working out where he was, and Roy and I had already been discussing the inevitability of him looking for new work anyway. Still, it's made a financially tense situation, even worse. The last three months of mild weather has made the heating and air conditioning field very slow, which is why finances have been rough, finding a new job in that field, is going to be even rougher. However, the last couple of days have brought some possibilities, so I'm hopeful.

Although it's been a while since I've had to deal with this kind of chaos and turmoil, I've been working on a better way to deal with the situation - or at least, better than I've handled it in the past. I'd like to think that they aren't the only ones who have been in the process of growth and recovery. To be truthful, I've had my hands full just dealing with my own emotions. In the past, I had lashing out and hysterics, down to an art. At this point, I'm kind of finding that biting my tongue, and letting them clean up their own messes, might be the best choice. Although, It's definitely not the easiest option. As much as I would like to scream and yell, point out all their faults and short comings, It has never proved to be very effective, and ultimately, I end up questioning my own sanity. So, as I said, I've been taking a lot of quiet time alone, trying to put things in perspective. I think it's a little easier to do that when you aren't being "machine gunned" by calamities on a regular basis. It also helps to have a point of reference - a commitment, and a basis of faith and hope. Even so, it's hard not to feel like a victim of a random air strike. I guess, shit happens, can't let it destroy you.

Okay, I've had enough of this crap. Things will work out - one way or another. I need to get my self off to bed. Hope everyone has a wonderful weekend.


Thursday, May 8, 2008

A series of unexpected events

Hey y'all,

Well, it's a good thing that I got my pills today, and that I'm feeling better, things have just gone completely haywire, and if I had been having a repeat of yesterday, well, I think that a lot of people would have ended up hurt. I woke up with a fair amount of peace in my spirit this morning, and thankfully, I'm still feeling it deep down.

I slept in , catching up on my sleep a bit, then got Heather started with her school work, while I took a shower. Afterwards, I made a half-hearted attempt to catch up with house work, but the sun was shinning and the day was calm and warm, so the dogs and I couldn't resist. We spent a couple of hours just walking, enjoying the day, and each other's company.

When I got home, Jake told me that Tracy, Roy's boss, had called, and wanted me to call him back. That has never happened before, but deep down, I guess I knew what the problem would be. Remember how I mentioned that Roy and Nick working together wasn't a good idea? God, I hate being right.

Roy has been sober now for almost 7 years - with the exception of maybe 5 (?) relapses. The first one, was all on Roy. He was struggling through a very difficult, stressful time and he just screwed up. We talked about it, and Roy was willing and able to try again, and he did. In fact, he did well. However, since then, every relapse has had one common factor. Roy and Nick were working together. Roy is a recovering alcoholic, Nick is an alcoholic/drug addict who is still dealing with some issues of denial. Nick seems to believe that his biggest issue is drugs, but he refuses to admit that alcohol plays a part. I know better.

Roy is my husband of 18 years, Nick is our 22 year old son. It's a sucky situation, but it's pretty clear that I have to make some hard choices, and set some boundaries, at least, to the extent that I am able. Roy knows this, but I know, that I am going to have to be the one to actually make the decision, and speak the words. That's actually the easy part. The hard part will be sticking to it. Roy and Nick simply can NOT work together, nor be alone together. Either Nick stays clean and sober, or he will have to find somewhere else to live. Even though Nick is a huge factor in Roy choosing to stay sober, it's still a choice for Roy, and he is responsible for for his choices. The problem is, I know them both well enough to know, that on his own, Roy will stay sober, But Nick, hasn't reached that point yet.

So . . . I'm already hearing the voices in my head, and all the accusations, that say I am choosing my husband over my son. I know better than to believe those voices, but I'm hearing them all the same. And no doubt, it won't be long before I'm hearing those words from Nick. As much as Roy and I want to help Nick get back on his feet, and find that path to sobriety (that I know he really does want) Nick is not ready to play by the rules, and Roy isn't strong enough to help guide him yet. It's just not a good situation for either of them, for me, or for our two children living at home (Nick's brother and sister). They both know this in their hearts, but that's not what is going to come out of their mouths, and I really don't want to hear it.

Of course, even as I calmly type all this, there are a lot of variables still in motion that may render all of this moot. The two of them left this afternoon for work with every intention of going to the bar. Yep, I have no doubt that this was premeditated, but what set it off is probably beyond any one's understanding. To his credit, Roy parked the work truck 10 blocks away from the bar, knowing that by the time he was done, he'd be in no condition to get to it, or most likely, even remember where he'd left it. By the time that Tracy tracked them down, he was needing a torch that was in Roy's van. They were both so stupid at that point, that not telling Tracy where the van was parked, seemed like a hilariously funny joke. That's when Tracy called me. (he was not laughing) An hour and a half later, Tracy called me again to tell me that he found the van and that part was dealt with.

When Jasmin (my oldest daughter) got off work at 8:30 PM, I asked her to run a couple packs of cigarettes out to me, and she offered to stop by the bar and check on the guys. By the time she arrived at the bar, Roy was done and ready to come home, and Nick had disappeared with some friends. When Jas brought him home, I fed him and put him to bed. (He is now snoring away with Pete guarding him.) Nick is still out there somewhere. I doubt that he'll come home tonight, but there is a very good possibility that I'll get a phone call before then - most likely from a police officer. I hope not, but it's been known to happen, too many times to count.

In the meantime, Jasmin has called to tell me that Jake posted a message to his friends on his My Space, saying that the whole evening has got him concerned and feeling confused. Poor kids. I made sure that I had them both in bed before their dad got home, but they just aren't used to this kind of thing. Unlike Jasmin and Nick, this kind of event has not been a regular part of their lives. They don't have any memory of the really awful years of Roy's drinking, so they see their father in a different light. Also, I've learned to handle things VERY differently than I did when Jasmin and Nick were young. Jake and Heather know that Nick has a serious addiction problem, and that worries them a lot. The fact that that their dad has had a relapse - while he is with Nick - is very disturbing to them. So I need to handle that situation tomorrow as well. In fact, it's looking like tomorrow could be a very eventful day. Not really lookin' forward to it.

I should probably get to bed, but I don't see sleeping being very likely. I think I'll do some reading for a while, and give bed a shot later.

Good night all.

Depression and Dogs

Hey there y'all.

Oh my, it's 12:30 AM, and I'm just now getting my time on the computer. I know that my last post started off a little bitchy, and I'm sorry about that, but if I'm honest, I have to admit that this has just been a rough week so far. In fact, today has been the worst. No horrible crisis, just me - struggling. You know, sort of like those old television announcement/apology notices: "Due to technical difficulties beyond my control, my day, week, whatever, is temporarily screwed." Not only do I feel like crap physically, but I had a head on collision with the PMS demon. As if that weren't enough, I ran out of my anti depressants two days ago, and I only got 5 hours sleep Tuesday night. I know, I sound like one of those pitiful losers that are unable to accept responsibility for their mental issues. I don't give a shit, at least, not today. I spent the whole day, until I finally caved in to my desperate need for a nap, on the verge of an ugly, tearful, major, breakdown. In fact, when Jake came home from school, before he and Heather could start their usual after school, rowdy, silly, teenage siege of my house, I warned them.

"You guys have to be very nice to me today, or I will cry - and you DON'T want that !"

As far as my kids are concerned, seeing mom cry is about as scary as watching Roy and I make out. So they were good.

Anyway, enough of that crap. I don't want to think about it anymore. Besides, my hubby has promised to pick up my meds from the Drs. office first thing tomorrow, so I will have them when I wake up. While I was cooking dinner for my family, I decided that I would do a blog about my dogs. (it seemed like a safe subject.) I know that you hear about them all the time, but I thought I'd formally introduce them to everyone. So here goes.

This is Angel. She is the oldest, and the mama of the "pups". Which explains why she is so exhausted! Angel was originally Heather's dog. We promised her that when we moved back to Olathe she could get a puppy. So about four years ago, Heather's 2nd grade Teacher found a trio of puppies that had been abandoned in a ditch on her farm. They were only 6 weeks old ! Heather was determined to hold us to our promise, and she picked the only female. At the time, we had an 8 year old female Golden Retriever and a 6 year old female German shepherd. (Angel is part Retriever, and part German Shepard, mixed with "something" smaller- maybe a Border Collie?) Our Golden Retriever had been diagnosed with cancer, and we knew that her days were growing short, but I think that Angel's youth and nurturing spirit gave (my) Honey Bear a few extra months of happiness and joy. Heather took Angel with her everywhere when she went out to play with her friends, so Angel developed a love of children. However, when Angel was only four months old, we had a house fire. We were able to get the older dogs out, but being young and fearful, Angel hid. It only took the firemen a short while to put out the fire, but they spent another 45 minutes searching for, and chasing Angel around the house. As a result, Angel was traumatised by the whole episode and since then, she has always been very suspicious of Adults. (especially large men.)

This is Peter. This photo doesn't show it, but he has the most beautiful amber colored eyes I have ever seen. About 2 years ago, only a week before our German Shepherd passed away, Roy and Nick brought Pete home. They found him eating out of a trash can in a dangerous part of Kansas City, Kansas in the pouring rain. At the time, they had no idea that he was pure white because, he was covered in mud. When they got him home, the kids gave him a bath, and as I bushed him out, I discovered that he had a huge open cut that circled half of his neck ! We healed him up and he has been a very happy friendly dog. Before we could have him neutered, he fell in love with Angel and she became pregnant. (hence the two photos that follow) Pete is a great dad and a wonderful friend to everyone. He is obsessed with his walks and loves to meet new people. He has tons of energy, but he cries like a baby anytime he doesn't get his way. His only issue is that he is terrified of thunder. During thunderstorms Pete will climb up into the nearest lap and shiver and whimper for the duration. Pete and Nick are best buds because they are both insanely hyperactive.

This is Phoenix. Phoenix is easily the biggest, and rowdiest of Pete an Angel's pups. (there were 9 pups, however, with Angel's small size, she required an emergency C-section and the other 7 pups did not survive :( My husband, the sentimental mush brain, couldn't bear to part with the pups, nor to break up the family. Which is why we have 5 , instead of 3 dogs.- I'll explain the other one soon.) Anyway, in spite of Phoenix's size and weight-which is easily 10 pounds more than his father, he is the the insecure, unsure one. He wants to be friendly with strangers, but it takes him a moment or two to decide that they are safe before he warms up to them, and licks them all over. When he plays with his brother and dad, (Angel wants no part of that silliness) Phoenix is always the first to feel uncertain and become the odd man out. Still, he's sort of become me and Roy's my little buddy. He feels very comfortable with either Roy or I, and he seeks us out when things get crazy.

This is Midnight. He is only a pound or two shy of being as big as his brother. Midnight is our snuggler. He loves to cuddle up and be close. In fact, I'm certain that he would be completely lost without his family. He is also Mr. happy tail. He loves to play, and he is a sweet, loving pup. However, Midnight seems just a tad bit "slow". I'm not sure if he didn't get enough oxygen at birth, or I've often thought that he might have some kind of vision problem. He loves his walk time, but he tends to be kind of dreamy, and he is easily startled by new people. I think he would prefer that strangers just ignored him. When strangers approach, he will (literally) jump, and start to growl and bark, as he hides behind me. But at home, if I let someone into the house, and he sees that I accept them, then he's fine with them. He is just a gentle soul. When the neighborhood dogs start to make a fuss over a stray dog outside the fence, he comes running inside to hide. He's a lover, not a fighter. In fact, he adores Princess, our 5th dog.

This is dog #5. Our Miniature Pincher, Princess. (she's got a pedigree, you know?) Princess was originally my daughter, Jasmin's dog. But she pawned her off on us because, she is an evil little bitch. No, really, we love her. (sort of) The other dogs TRY to be friends with her, but in a houseful of big dogs, she's got "a little dog complex". In our house, Princess is "the instigator." If there is trouble; a trash can dumped over and trash strewn every where, missing food, a riot of barking dogs, furniture knocked over, chewed up underwear or socks, then I can guarantee that Princess is the source of it.
Pete thinks that she is a toy, and if you read my blog, well, then you know about the vicious things she has done to poor Pete.
Phoenix is either smart enough, or terrified enough, to not mess with her.
Like I said, poor Midnight adores her, and she literally screams at him to go away.
Angel is the only one with the patience to tolerate her attitude; still, Princess does her best to make Angel's life miserable. Princess will growl and chew on Angel's fluffy long fur, and Angel will just stand there and look at her like she is an idiot. Eventually, Princess will wear herself out and snuggle up next to her and sleep.
Princess is double the weight of a normal Min-Pin. Not because she's spoiled, but because she is a selfish, thieving pig. She steals all the other dog's food. She used to growl and guard all the dog food bowls, but she knows better than to mess with me, and I won't tolerate that crap. However, She is very clever and manipulative. In order to keep her tiny body warm, she snuggles, under the covers with Roy or Heather at night. Roy has taught her to say "I'm hungry!" And she knows who has the long fingernails, and knows the best places to scratch, so she even manages to con me out of some love from time to time. In spite of her rotten-ness, everyone knows what it's like to be the "little guy", and she has a special, (tiny) corner of every one's heart. As mean as she is to Peter, she is part of the pack, and I have seen Pete stand up to other dogs to defend her. (She may be a bitch, but she is HIS bitch.)
Well, that's about it - Thank God. It's late, and I really need to sleep and try to turn this week around.
Good night all.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

I need a nap !


My allergies are kicking my butt today. I have no idea what it is about springtime that actually sets them off. (ragweed, pollen, mold - who knows?) Whatever it is, I never had any allergy problems until I was pregnant with Heather, so I've never really had it all checked out. But for the past nine years, my spring time has been faithfully disrupted by coughing, congestion, sniffles, and itchy eyes. Ugh! It sucks!

Anyway, enough whinging. Things around here have been puttering along fairly smoothly. Christian was over for the weekend and the kids have been outside, enjoying the lovely weather.
I've been staying busy with keeping everyone fed, and walking with the dogs.

Nick is still struggling with finding steady work, but Roy has had enough work that he has been able to ride along and help Roy. Although, I'm not crazy about that arrangement, and neither is Nick, really. Nick needs his own thing. Nick desperately wants to be independent, there are just so many roadblocks for him right now, it's always been a source of frustration for him. (and frustration often leads to bad choices.) Nick is such an all or nothing kind of person. He doesn't want to depend on anyone for transportation to and from work, (although he has no car and no driver's license) he wants his own place, he wants a relationship, he wants a new life, and he wants it all NOW. He's only 22 years old, and he thinks his that his life is irreparably stunted. The concept of life being an ongoing learning process, a journey, is not part of his thinking. Of course, I guess that's normal at his age, he just feels that added stress of not feeling "normal".

I felt the same way as a teenage mother. I always felt that I was never where I "should be" in life. I always felt like there were huge obstacles for me, never felt like I would ever "catch up" to the rest of the world, or feel accepted and "normal". I didn't even know who, or what, I was trying to fit in with! I always felt like I was swimming upstream, and fighting to accomplish certain, preset milestones. It never occurred to me that the whole world wasn't grading me, or keeping score of my failures. Why does it take SO many years before you just say, "Who gives a shit what the world thinks!? This is MY life, and I'm going to live it my way, at my speed, and do the best I can !" I guess, more than anything, life is just about moving forward, one step at a time, and trying to enjoy it along the way. Sounds easy enough, but somehow, I always seem to get distracted with some silly thing, that won't mean anything, in the long run.

Well, I know for sure, that I'm not accomplishing much of anything today. I'm just not up for setting a lot of goals right now. I'll do well to make the pile of dishes in the sink disappear. I wonder if anyone would notice if I just pitched them in the trash ? At least I wouldn't have to look at them anymore. And you know? These people probably expect me to make another meal for them sometime today. I don't know, I think I'm gonna need a nap before I undertake that job. I'm feeling kind of cranky about doing my job today. I just discovered that we are out of Tylenol - again ! People in this house eat Tylenol like it was made by the Hostess Snack company! I buy Tylenol three or four times a month, I only want one or two doses a month, and the damn bottle is ALWAYS EMPTY !

Oh sheesh ! Jake is home from school with one of his friends, and He just asked me if his birth was an accident?
I told them, "No, Roy and I tried for five years to get pregnant with Jake." ( which isn't bad for a guy that's supposed to be sterile.)
So Heather asked how long it took us to get her? I said, "Uh . . . two years, do the math!"
Quentin, Jake's friend, said, "Wow ! it only took my mom and dad about 8 beers and 5 minutes to get me !"
Do you see what my life is like? Is there any wonder that my brain is fried ?
Well, it seems that I have to go make pancakes for this bunch. I have no idea why they MUST have pancakes at 4 PM in the afternoon, but apparently, that's their bizarre food request for the day. Jake wants to know if I can make pancakes in the shape of Sponge Bob Square pants, because "Sponge Bob is pimp." Ugh ! I really need some Tylenol and a nap !
Later . . .

Love, Susan

Friday, May 2, 2008

Never trust the weather man.

No sooner than I posted last night's blog, at 1:30 AM, than the phone rang. Jasmin said "Hey, are you watching T.V. ?"
"I was about to check the news before I went to bed." I explained.
"Well, turn it on now. There is a major storm headed right towards you.
It had already started to thunder and lightening as we spoke. As I turned on the T.V., The rains began. Within seconds, the winds were blowing the heavy rains sideways. As I watched the news broadcast, they reported wind speeds of 60- 80 miles per hour in my area. That's hurricane force winds - in KANSAS! (we get strong winds across the prairie, but not usually THAT strong.) As I flipped through the local stations, all of our trusted meteorologists assured everyone that there were no tornadoes associated with this storm, that it was merely a strong thunderstorm. We could expect some serious wind damage, power outages, and possible hail damage, but not a lot else. Our electricity flickered several times, but not long enough that any of the clocks needed to be reset.
Since the storm was moving so quickly, it had arrived and sped through Olathe in a matter of 15-20 minutes. I had tried to wake Roy when it began, but he never budged. In fact, everyone, except Heather and I, slept through the whole thing. I stayed up another hour and a half, watching as it pushed through the greater Kansas City area, and into more rural areas, away from dense populations and anyone that I might know.
Around 3AM, they were continuing to track the storm, but they were also reading reports of minor damages. There were a few windows blown out at a shopping mall near my mother, trees blown over in various places, and widespread power outages. So feeling assured by the media that it was another typical, yet powerful, spring thunderstorm, and that all was calm behind it, I toddled off to bed around 4AM as the lightening and thunder lingered.
At 7:30 AM, Nick came rushing into our bedroom as we slept. "Hey guys ! you gotta come see the tornado damage in Gladstone !" Roy's boss, Tracy, lives in Gladstone, a small city about 25 minutes from here. This time, after 9 hours of sleep, Roy jumped out of bed and was downstairs in seconds. I followed them both trying to make sense of it all. They said: 'no tornadoes, no serious damage, just rain and strong winds.'. Nick had to be mistaken. However, in the light of day, it was obvious that this was more than a strong thunderstorm. On every station, the weathermen were looking sheepish and embarrassed. Apparently, after all the false alarms and sirens at 8PM the night before, real tornadoes, hidden in a thunderstorm had blown through, right under their noses, and they didn't even recognise them in the dark. No sirens were sounded, and a lot of people slept right through it.
They showed photo after photo like the one above. And as I mentioned before, there were houses that were completely demolished, while the houses on either side were completely untouched. Today, the weather service is sending all kinds of "experts" out to determine what happened. Was it horizontal wind damage? Were there really tornadoes hidden in the storm? Was it a micro bust? They have no clue.
Thankfully, no one was killed or even seriously hurt. Just a lot of property damage, lives turned upside down, and irreversible trauma.
Maybe the reason that I pay so little attention to the sirens and weather bulletins is because I have seen the "experts" be wrong so many times. I realise that being in the center of the country, Kansas weather can be hard to predict; But it just seems to me, that with all their high tech gadgets and million dollar equipment, they could get a little closer to being able to tell when people are in danger. After years of seeing so many photos and situations like the ones I've seen this morning, it's hard not to believe that God doesn't get a good chuckle at people trying to predict His will and ways. I've kind of learned to listen to my instincts, and have faith in God, rather than the weather bureau.
Well, I've got lots of stuff to do today. I need to get out of this chair and get busy.

Sirens in the night

Hmm, hmm, hmmm,

It's been a pretty good week. Except for the fact that I should be about 15 pounds lighter, and I'm NOT ! I've been a very, very good girl, walking miles upon miles, eating practically nothing, and thinking very skinny thoughts, but it's just not working !!! (insert very pouty face and a two year old -type foot stomp of frustration) But I refuse to allow such stupid things to control my life or my attitude. In fact, I'm thinking of throwing out the stupid bathroom scales - I don't like them anymore anyway.

We have actually had four, count 'em FOUR, straight days of sunshine and warm weather ! But, that's all over now. This evening, just as I was finishing the last dog walk of the day, the skies clouded over, and the winds took a change in direction, and the skies got that eerie green glow. No sooner had I thrown the steaks onto the George Foreman grill, and tossed the potatoes in the microwave, than the tornado sirens started blowing. Roy still hadn't gotten home yet, so I had Nick switch over to a local channel to see what was going on in our area. (the only time that I am allowed to hold the remote is between 2:00 and 4:30 AM) Every local channel was covered with Severe weather alerts, maps, Doppler radar, and all kinds of pretty colors. We all sat in silence and watched for about five minutes. My youngest, and most hysterical daughter, walked into the room with her eyes wide.
"Mom, the sirens are going off, shouldn't we all go to the basement?!"
Nick and I both looked at her and said,"Nah!"
Nick flipped back to the History Channel, and I went back to my steaks in the kitchen.
"But, guys, the sirens. . . . tornadoes . . . Wosh !!!" She said throwing her arms up in the air to indicate total destruction.
I said, "Honey, we live in Kansas, and Your Dad brought home these lovely, fresh T-bone steaks last night, when he fixed the cooler at the butcher's shop; So, no, we are not going to go hide in the basement - we are going to have steak for dinner. If a fresher cow goes flying past the window, then, we will go downstairs!" (yes, my husband does, occasionally do work for barter - but, if he ever brings home a bunch of live chickens instead of $50.00, I'm going to kick his ass.)
"Yeah, the guy in charge of the siren button is just all excited about using it, that's all." added Nick. She looked at us both like we were crazy, shrugged, and went downstairs mumbling about 'that's not what they said to do in school . . .' (which is why she doesn't go to public school anymore.)

So, as the sirens wailed away, I cooked dinner. Half an hour later, they gave up on the whole exercise because, in spite of the fact that "conditions were favorable" enough to issue a tornado warning, not a single tornado ever touched down, or was even spotted. So goes life in Kansas. After a while, you just get bored with the whole thing. After 45 years of living here, I guess I've come to see things like that a little differently. During dinner, Heather asked me if I had ever actually seen a tornado? And yes, I have -from a distance. They have never really gotten close enough to make me feel threatened. In fact, I think that I've only sought shelter in the basement twice in my whole life.

About seven years ago, we had a very serious tornado come through a neighborhood that we had just moved out of, only a couple of weeks before. The next day, we drove out to see our old house. Every house on our old street was completely destroyed - except for, the house that we had lived in - it was totally untouched. Fortunately, we were safe in another county, 30 minutes away from it all. I doubt that I would have been standing on the front porch watching all that. I'm sure that had we still lived there, I would have been cowering in the basement with my family, and all my dogs, gathered around. But that's the thing about tornadoes, either you are in it's path, or you're not.

Thankfully, tonight, those storm cells never produced any tornadoes over us, and no one was hurt. I'm going to go check the news reports now, and hopefully, everyone else in this storm's path was as lucky as we were.

Good night all, hope that everyone has a safe and happy weekend.