Monday, March 30, 2009

Guess what happened?

The Hubs swiveled around on his chair around 8:30pm tonight to look at me.
Hubs: "Oh yeah..."
Me: "What?"
Hubs: "My Mom called today."
Me: "Okay. So?"
Hubs: "She got laid off."
I almost started laughing out loud. You all know how I feel about her.

Karma's a bitch. Enough said.

Sunday, March 29, 2009

It made me turn away in surprise

The Bear's game yesterday was fun to watch. Of course, it was a BIG mess because not all the kids understand the rules yet. How they should cover their position. A shortstop doesn't need to run into right field to help the other kids get the ball. You know? I'm sure the kids will soon learn what each position is and how to handle themselves when they're placed in a particular spot. But for now? It'll be a mess.

For the Bear's game, the team sat in the dugout that is behind first base. All of us parents and grandparents sat in the bleachers that were to the left of the dugout. I was able to chat with the other parents and find out which child was theirs.

I didn't speak to one particular Mom directly. But I do know who her child is. Let's this child Bobby.

During the game, most of the kids sat in the dugout and listened to the coach. They cheered and waited their turn. Instead of paying attention to the game? Bobby would try to talk to his Mom, who sat on the far left of the bleachers with her younger child.
The first time he called for her, she heard his call almost immediately. She walked over to him as he clung to the chainlink fence. It was a short conversation. The team had to take the field. But the next time in the dugout Bobby almost immediately wanted his Mom.
Oh. My. Good. Golly. Yes. That is exactly. what. he. said. I had to turn and look to see where Bobby's Mom was. She was not sitting in her previous spot. I think she was behind the bleachers talking to someone she knew. She finally did hear him and walked over to him. The conversation was not as quiet as their first one.
Bobby: "No. I want to get something else."
Bobby's Mom: "Bobby, you've already had a hot dog and cotton candy."
Bobby: "You gave little sister (I didn't catch the name as I was cringing inside) some pizza and chips. I don't like you. You're being mean."
Y'all? I can't believe this child was speaking to his mother like that. Demanding. Disrespectful. AND Bobby will be someone that the Bear will be interacting with for the next 8 weeks or so. Oh joy! While the Bear is getting some fun and exercise out of baseball, Bobby is turning it into a competition of love with his siblings. I guess I'm going to meet all kinds of "interesting" parents as the kids get older and get into more activities. [sigh]

Friday, March 27, 2009

Knowing how to have fun with other kids

Today I was tasked at watching over other people's kids.

It wasn't to babysit per se. It was to supervise the kids to and from a field trip. Not all the kids at the school were abale to attend. Only the kids who earned enough credits for in the 3rd Quarter Reading program were able to go on the field trip.

And where did the kids go?


It's an in-door jumping castle party place. Both my kidlings had their most recent birthday parties at this location. It's a fun place.

I was under the impression that I'd just drive my two kidlings to Pump It Up. But I had a nagging suspicion that I'd end up with a couple more kids. So when I drove around to get cash (for the weekend) and get a VENTI Caramel Macchiato with soy, I also dropped by to get some snacks. Snacks?

I know from past experience that the kids would NEED snacks. The school was scheduled to have the two LARGE party rooms from 9:30am - 11:30am. The kids normally have a morning snack around 10am. I did NOT want any of the kids in my car to be complaining at 11am that "I'm starving!" So I picked up some snacks. Nothing too sweet. Graham crackers. Goldfish. Pretzels. Easy stuff that they all could eat in my car on the way over to the place. This way they'd have something in their stomachs and be able to play until we got back to the school around noon.

The kids had a BLAST (like we figured) at the place. About 75% of the kids who went had already been to a party or two at the place. The other 25% had no idea HOW much fun they'd have. And they all ran around like maniacs. There were a number of kids who had to lay down on the benches because they were tired and hungry. My four charges did not run out of steam. I had fueld them up sufficiently so they could play the entire team. Yeah!

When the time was up? The mom of the little girl I had in my car picked her daughter up from the party place. We drove the little boy that rode in our car. Then the kids and I went home. We had lunch. And the Bear actually napped. Not only was he tired but he ended up catching something. He had a fever. But? At least he had a FUN morning.

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Batter up!

The Bear has his first baseball practice tonight at 5pm.

Yes. Dinnertime.

But luckily today is his short day at school (pick-up at 2:45pm versus 4:15pm), so he'll have time to relax and finish him homework. Then we'll be off to the park to meet his coach and have his first practice.

I have to say that I'm totally EXCITED for him. I always wanted to get into a sport when I was young. But my folks didn't let me join anything. We were immigrants and we didn't have much money. My folks did relent a couple times. My two older sisters took tennnis lessons one summer. My two older sisters took piano lessons for a few years. My two older sisters were in Girl Scouts a couple years. My two older sisters were in judo for a year. Me? I got to take violin lessons at school once a week. For some reason, they put a label on me. That I was the youngest. Therefore, in their mind, I couldn't do anything. I wasn't strong enough.

No. I'm not imagining this. BigSis#2, LilSis, me and my Mom had a conversation this year. We were talking about when we were little. And my Mom actually said "Grace was just not strong enough to do any of that stuff." She admitted it. That she and my father had already placed a limitation on me. On my ability. Without letting me even TRY.

That's why I let the kids try things. I'm not one of those gung-ho parents who gets their kids in every single sport throughout the year. The Hubs and I just aren't focused on that. But I'm letting the kids try things that I was never able to do when I was young. The Princess is a Brownie. The Bear is starting baseball. The two have taken swim lessons for the past year. The Princess has been rock-climbing and riden horses. I'm hoping to get them started into martial arts (Chun Kuk Do) over the summer. I want them to EXPERIENCE more things than I did and see what they enjoy.

So tonight? It'll be the Bear's turn to have some fun. He's got athletic skill, he just has to be shown how to direct his energy. It's going to be fun!


Here are a few photos from the practice.

Look how intense his face is on this one!

The coachwanted to get them into the right position to hit the ball, so he used the T at first.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Didn't watch it but...

I heard that there was a televised press conference last night. I didn't watch it but I heard that Obama got a little testy at one point.

You know the moment. When someone from CNN asked Obama something along the lines of when he was informed about the bonuses being handed out at AIG why did he wait a few days before responding.

And then Obama pauses and then says that he "likes to know what he's talking about" before he speaks.

I'm sorry. I just about BUSTED. A. GUT. when I read that this morning.

Obama made a major slip-up on The Tonight Show during casual conversation. Like he didn't know that it's not right to compare yourself to individuals who are physically or mentally impaired. Like he had no clue that was wrong. I mean, it's not like Jay Leno was pressuring Obama with hard-hitting questions. The two men were just chatting. And that slip-up happened.

Can you IMAGINE what Obama might say when he's in casual conversation with a foreign dignitary? Will he KNOW what to say to a person of that stature in a one-on-one? Will he "unknowingly" insult someone of high regard? I wouldn't be surprised when it does happen. Seriously. If you don't know how to "check" yourself during a casual public interview than you certainly won't know your to handle yourself during a private diplomatic conversation.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Break out and dance

Someone forwarded this to me over the weekend. It's a fun one to watch.

Who KNEW that dancing could be this much fun on a work day? I definitely wouldn't have known the specific dance moves myself. I'm not one of those people who took the time to memorize the moves in Thriller or any of those 80's music videos. Nope. Not me.

But THIS? This little bit of dancing looks fun. Looks like those who were in it and those who watched had smiles on their faces. I'm sure they all ended up having a great day.

For those of you who are curious about how this was actually done check out the following.

Monday, March 23, 2009

Help me select a printer

Our printer is peetering out on us. It's barely printing even though I've changed out the cartridges. On the "normal" print setting the words are barely legible. Like the cartridge is running out. But I've changed the cartridges. And yes. It still looks faded even when I choose the "beset" print setting.


We don't print a whole lot. Maybe 5 pages a week? So we don't need a heavy-duty machine. Just something that'll print nice crisp pages when we need a hard copy. Since we don't need a bunch of pages at a time, I don't want to spent a whole lot on it.

So WHO is ready to recommend a printer that's less than $150?

* The Lexmark X2650 Color All-In-One would allow me to scan photos (which is a feature I don't have) for about $50.
* The HP Deskjet F4280 Color Flatbed All-In-One would also give me a scanner/printer combo for about $70.
* I might not get a scanner as part of the Epson Workforce 30 Color Inkjet Printer, but it sounds like it's sturdy for $70
* Then there's the Canon Pixma MP480 All-In-One Photo Printer that has the scanner and also can do print quality photos for $80.

What to do? What to do? So if you all are tremendously happy with your home office printer, please please PLEASE let me know what you've got.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Weeks in Review Mar8 - 21

Here's where I try to catch up with my photos.

March 8 - Here are the troops getting some items for our yard. Time to plant some replacement flowers!

March 9 - The Princess likes to go up and down our street with her jump rope. She runs and jumps. A lot of the time she asks me to "time" her.

March 10 - Here's my girl reading. Look how deep in concentration she is.

March 11 - The Bear is busy kicking up some water while the instructor took the other student in the class out into the middle of the pool. He's got goggles on and he's still squinting. Too funny.

March 12 - 13 - I skipped a couple days. ARGH!

March 14 - But here are my two next to each other. And actually smiling nicely. See how my girl has a book tucked into her arm?

March 15 - The water was freezing but the kids didn't care.

March 16 - 20 - I missed a whole bunch of additional days. Too busy catching up on work and keeping the kids busy while on Spring Break.

March 21 - Here's the Bear getting his first pair of baseball shoes. Of course, we HAD to have him test out the shoes in the store.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Getting ready for a game

Next Saturday morning we'll be attending the opening ceremonies for the Bear's baseball league. It's a community league. I have NO IDEA if it's totally competitive or not. But needless to say it'll be our first experience as a family into competitive sports. The Bear will easily adjust to the situation if it's competitive or just fun. He's pretty flexible that way.

Today? We went out and got the Bear some "gear". We got him a couple baseballs, a baseball bat, and some shoes. We already got him some baseball pants a couple weeks ago. What I do need to buy is black socks. This Thursday will be the Bear's first practice. AND he'll meet his coach and his teammates.

It's going to be interesting to see.

What's easy & yummy to bring for Easter brunch?

The Hubs told me today that we are going up to have brunch with his family on Easter. You ALL know much I can't stand tolerate my SIL and MIL. But those are the people I'll be hanging out with on Easter. [sigh]

I don't want to show up at my MIL's empty handed. So what's easy to make, yet YUMMY enough to bring for Easter brunch? Also, something that'll keep for the 1 1/2 hour drive.

I have no idea what my MIL will be making. So any help from you cooks out there would be SO great. I'm totally at a loss.

Oh yeah! I also have to tell that my SIL has NOT found a new job yet. She's been out of work since December. Remember when she said she'd voluntarily be on a RIF list if her company ever was going to let people go? [clearing throat] It's been 3 months now and she's got NO offers on the table. Not an inkling. The question I keep asking the Hubs is "when is your sister going to move in with your parents?" She may be out of work, but she still took the time to hitch a ride with my ILs to visit my BIL, his wife, and their baby boy last week. My SIL also somehow has the money to fly to Chicago for a two-day trip in May.

THANKS in advance for anyone who has any ideas for me!

Friday, March 20, 2009

The fun and pain of the day

Yesterday, the kids and I went to the movies. I wanted to break up the week a bit, so I surprised them at 10am.

Let's go kids! We're going to the movies!

I heard giggles as they ran down the stairs like a herd of cattle -- even though there are only TWO of them. Those two can be loud. I. mean. LOUD.

I had them wear flip-flops since they were wearing shorts -- it was 84 degrees yesterday. Of course, since we were off to the movie theater I had their sweatshirts in my hand as I stood next to the garage door waiting for them to appear. It gets COLD in the movie theater, don't you think?

The kids enjoyed the movie, Race to Witch Mountain. They didn't know what it was about but I knew they'd like it. It had action and fantasy mixed with reality. Just their kind of thing.I actually brought some bottled water and granola bars in my bag. Yes. I brought stuff in. But I did BUY some buttered popcorn. YUM!

When we got home? The kids weren't hungry. So we put off lunch for a little bit. I hung out front with them to let them burn some energy. They ran up and down our street. They rode their scooters. I noticed a neighbor boy outside riding his bike. The boy lives next door to the Guy Across The Street. I saw the look on the Bear's face and I told him that he could go across the street and play. He happily rode across the street and was all laughs when he went up to the other boy who was riding a bike. The Bear just followed the boy up and down the other side of the street. I was chatting with the Princess when I overheard ...
Bear, I don't want you following me anymore.
Then the boy? He rode fast up the street and into the cul-de-sac.

The Bear? He looked across the street at me. I waved him over. And then he rode his scooter into the garage and sat in a fluster on a step-stool. He looked so sad. That neighbor boy hurt my little guy's feelings. And you know what? I did nothing.

I gave the Bear his space. I let the Bear feel those hurt feelings in privacy. That was the hardest thing I've had to do this week. Let him feel hurt. Not intervene. Let him feel the pain of someone who you think is your friend hurt your feelings. [sigh]

Now? He's probably already forgiven the neighbor boy. But me? I'm going to remember the kid's words.'s not like there are a ton of boys aged 4 - 6 to play with in our neighborhood. Let me tell you....the only other little boy in this age range? That 3rd boy, who lives in the cul-de-sac around the corner, actually whacked the boy across the street across the head the last time THEY were together. [snort] Boys and their aggression.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Back into the daily groove

The kids and I had a fabulous time in San Diego.

The drive out on Friday was uneventful. We left just before 10am. We arrived at my folks a little after 4pm. We did stop and fuel up (gas & food) at our normal break area (Exit 30).

LilSis and Shorty came over around 6pm. My Mom made some shrimp pasta for dinner. YUM!

Saturday morning we went to a track invitational. Shorty helps coach some kids at his old high school. We then went to Sis#2 house. We talked and talked and played Scrabble as well.

Sunday morning the kids and I went to the beach. I'd promised them that we'd visit the beach. They've never been able to go stick their toes in the water all the different times we've been to visit my folks. ARGH! Since I promised that we'd see the ocean, then we did. The water was SO cold. I let them know that this summer we'd go to the beach and hang out longer.

It was Jello's older sister's husband's birthday, so we helped him celebrate. Sis#2 made a fabulous red velvet cake. We had spaghetti with homemade meatballs, pancit, corn, fruit salad, garlic bread and a fruit tart as well. It was a fun afternoon.

I've given you a short synopsis. I didn't get into many of the details. But we had a BLAST.

Thursday, March 12, 2009

T-minus 11 hours

It's 10:45pm.

In less than 11 hours I'll be on the road with the kiddos.

I actually decided after dinner that they will NOT be going to school tomorrow.

I was going to get them up at the regular time and get them to school at 8am.

Then I was going to go home and finish packing.

Then I was going to pick them up at 9:30am and head out.

That 1 1/2 hours in between? It's not really 90 minutes. Because I have to drive to the school and all that jazz.

So it's NOT worth it to get them up and ready that early.

So they'll wake up when they're ready.

But thankfully 95% of the kids stuff is packed. I just have to throw their toothbrushes, hairbrush, and shampoo/body wash into their bag along with a pair of tennies each.

I'm also going to bring a football, our baseball mitts and a few balls so we can play at the park.
I'm the only one that doesn't have one IOTA in a bag yet. Nothing. I put my toiletries next to my sink. But I don't have any clothes prepped. I'm kind of still deciding(?) what to bring. But once I get going it'll only take me 15 minutes to throw everything into a duffle. Since we're not doing anything that requires us getting dressy, then I don't have to be super careful about preventing wrinkles. You know?


We'll have a leisurely morning until....

we get in my car and drive for 6+ hours.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Sucky neighbors

Back toward the beginning of February, a few of us that live around here noticed some trash. Being stored in bags in the backyard of a rental property.

Quite a pile, eh?

After I took this photo, I email'd the photo to one of our home owners association representatives and to the police department public relations department.

On Feb 9, 2009, at 10:47 AM, Grace wrote:

I did want to bring something to your attention. There is a family renting at xxxxx street, which is a corner home. They're a quiet family and keep to themselves. A few of us neighbors have noticed something over the last several weeks. The home has trash along the side of the house that can easily be seen if you peer over the fence as you're walking along the street. I've attached photos that I took after dropping the kids off at school this morning.

Isn't this piling of trash a health issue? Is there anything the HOA can do -- possibly notify the owner of the home? I heard from one of the neighbors that the renters tried to put their trash can in front of another neighbors house. Turns out the renter don't have trash service anymore because they didn't their bills. [sigh] I'm hoping that there's some way we can get this eyesore fixed.
I only received one response:
Hi Grace,

I've passed this along to our manager at our HOA management company. I'll let you know as soon as I hear something from her. Thanks for letting us know about it.

A week later? The trash was gone.

Unfortunately, last week I noticed trash in the backyard again. I didn't do anything in the hopes that the trash would be gone in a day or two. But alas, as of yesterday the trash was still there. The renters did not pile the bags on the side of the house closest to the sidewalk this time though. They placed the bags right outside their back door.

Not only is this a nuisance that brings the property values down, it's also a health issue. These people have a couple pre-school aged kids. We rarely see the kids, but they are there. And for those of you who know Arizona, there are animals everywhere. Chipmunks. Snakes. Coyotes!

Yesterday, I emailed the photo to the same people that I emailed in February. I actually received a few responses this time around.

Here's what I wrote:
After getting rid of the initial pile of trashbags, the renters at xxxx street have begun to pile trash outside their back door. Can anything be done about this?

Best Regards,
Response #1
I will again forward your concerns -

I forwarded your previous request to our Code Enforcement department who contacted the homeowners. They can best be reached online through . - Our Citizen Request Tracker System which ensures concerns such as these are addressed by the appropriate department.

Thanks for you persistence in keeping our neighborhood looking good!
Police Department Rep
Community Resources
Response #2
Hi Grace,

It was passed along to our management company last month and they notified the owner by letter and sent a letter to the renter also. Sorry I didn't follow up on what they heard from the owner. According to the CCR's xx.xx.xx the owner is responsible for employing a trash company. Everything seems to take so long! Have you called the Health Department? As a neighbor you should and encourage any other neighbors to contact them as well.

Thanks for bringing this to our attention again. I emailed our manager for an update on this issue. I'll let you know what I find out.

Response #3
This has been addressed with the appropriate people. They will be having the occupants remove the bags by there back door. This should be done in the next 7 to 10 days. If you have any questions regarding this matter please feel free to contact me at any time.

Zoning Code Compliance Officer

Here is what I have to say to these emails I received.

Responder #1 - I forwarded your previous request to our Code Enforcement department who contacted the homeowners.

Really? Did you actually contact the homeowner? It's a rental property. Did you contact the management company to get the actual homeowners name and mailing address? Hmm...I highly doubt that.

Responder #2 - It was passed along to our management company last month and they notified the owner by letter and sent a letter to the renter also. Sorry I didn't follow up on what they heard from the owner. According to the CCR's xx.xx.xx the owner is responsible for employing a trash company. Everything seems to take so long! Have you called the Health Department? As a neighbor you should and encourage any other neighbors to contact them as well.

So as an HOA that constantly fines people for parking on the street overnight, you are not taking fast action on getting this trash issue resolved? The management company sent a letter to the renter and the homeowner. Okay. That's fine, but your lack of follow-through is just typical. I KNOW that the renter violated a CCR and I also know the actual town zoning code they violated. You don't need to tell me about it. You need to tell the homeowner! And you want ME to call the department of health? Why aren't you as a home owner association representative doing it?

Responder #3 - They will be having the occupants remove the bags by there back door. This should be done in the next 7 to 10 days.

Sure. They'll remove the trash within the next week or so. But what happens when they decide to continue to pile the trash where we can't see it? Like IN THEIR GARAGE?

Insufficient! You all have got two complaints and two photos of evidence regarding the violations to both town and community codes. DO SOMETHING!!!!

Can you tell?

I'm sure my not so stellar mood has been coming out in my recent posts.

Everything seems to have a negative tone to it.

I really hope to lift my spirits soon.

I'm down. But I'm not out.

I have take a quick trip with the kiddos to see my family.


I am going to take that SIX+ hour drive out alone with the kiddos.

I did it once . So I can indeed do it again.

THIS time it won't be in the midst of the sweltering summer heat.

I mean, the kids have Spring Break this coming week. I didn't have any other plans for them. All they'd end up doing is playing together here at the house while I worked for a bit each day. THAT ends up being VERY boring for them after a couple days. So a trip out for a few days is just what they and I need to make it through the week.

But as before, I will only drive during the daytime. No night driving for me. My eyes get too tired. My contacts end up feeling gritty and dry. NOT the best combination for driving at night.

I called my Mom and my two sisters to make sure they didn't have any pressing plans. Nobody does. So we'll all be able to hang out together. YEAH!

I'll try to get some good shots of LilSis's belly -- remember that she's pregnant? Did I mention that? And she's due in June. So she's well into her 2nd trimester.

I took a look at the Weather Channel online and it looks like it'll get down into the upper 40's at night and hover in the mid-60's during the day. Looks like shorts and sweatshirt weather to me! Or maybe jeans and a tshirt. Huh. Doesn't matter. I'll be in San Diego! Woohoo!

I'm very excited to be going out there.

My family.

They'll hopefully be able to get me back to an even keel.

Monday, March 9, 2009

Stark Realization

That we're on the verge of mid-March.

You know what next week is?

Spring Break!

[tapping my hand on forehead]

Can you believe it? Already. The kids will be home ALL week next week.

What the heck-a-doodle am I going to do with them for a whole ding-darn week?

[yelling and waving my arms in the air like Macaulay in Home Alone]

I'm sure we'll do something or another. Do I DARE try to take a drive without the Hubs out to San Diego and visit my family?


Water? Why is there water?

You'd think that I wouldn't have a problem with water. I DO live in the desert. And I DO love sitting with an ice-cold glass of water.

But water IS NOT supposed to be on my laundry room floor.


I found water in my laundry room floor as I moved my first load of wash into the dryer. WATER! on the floor! ARGH!

I immediately called the service tech. You know. The guy who first came to analyze the problem with my washer. The guy who ordered a part that he felt the washer needed. The guy who came back for a 2nd time and then realized that the part he ordered was NOT the offending piece. The guy who came again last week and changed out two parts (the first one got changed out again in case they'd damaged it) and ended up leaving his keys in the ignition in the ON position and draining his van battery. [sigh]

Yes. I called him to let him know that after my first load of laundry there was water on my floor.


Thankfully? He was in the area and he swung by within 20 minutes of my call.

No charge for this FOURTH visit. But I did give him the dolly he left here on Thursday. Fair trade, don't you think?

Sunday, March 8, 2009

Only 17 more days!

17 more days until we close on our house!

I'm so jazzed. We've got SO much to do before that day though.

We've got our windows measured for some plantation shutters. Hubs just loves the look of the wood shutters. They also keep the light out during the HOT summers here. They'll be painted white but we'll still see the grain of the wood through it. We're getting the master bedroom, family room, breakfast nook, den, dining, and living room windows done. Isn't that a lot? But that's the look my hubs likes and well...he's paying for it. The only thing is that the shutters won't be done until about 3 to 4 weeks AFTER we move in. Thankfully, the place that's making our shutters puts up temporary shades up. We've got them coming in to do that the afternoon we move in.

I've measure the other bedroom windows and will put in an order for cellular black-out shades soon. I'm thinking of putting some panels up. This way we can put the shades up and let some light in while still having privacy. My BIL will be coming in the day after we move in, so I'll have him put up the kids' cellular shades and the rods (my hubs HATES putting holes in the walls!).

My hubs has called to get the water, gas, electric, and cable set up to start the day we close. We're getting a water softener and RO system put in a few days after we move in. Our breakfast nook table and chairs will be delivered the day after we move in.

Oh yeah! And we already had the moving rep come into the townhouse to check out how much stuff we've got. We've got the estimate for the move and have set up a time frame for them to come and get our stuff. Woohoo!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Week in Review Mar1-7

Here's the weekly wrap-up in pictures!

March 1 - On the way to dinner, we went the nice scenic route. We drive below some buttes that do end up with a small bit of snow when the weather conditions are just right. The photos don't capture how blue the sky was in contrast to the etched rock -- it was beautiful watching the details on the buttes get more pronounced as we drove closer.

March 2 - The little guy is all squeaky clean. We had a busy Monday. The kids had their LONG day at school. Then I took them to swim lessons. BUSY!!!!

March 3 - I saw this large pot and had to take a few shots of it. The color on the pots against the drapey plants was so nice. This pot is located outside my favorite non-chain coffee shop. The one that the kids and I like to walk to when they are off from school.

March 4 - The kids are again getting along on this particular evening. The Princess had a Girl Scout meeting, so we were late. The Bear took a bath before we got home.

March 5 - Here is my laundry. ARGH! All piled up once again. This is what it looked right before I left for the laundromat. PILES of laundry.

March 6 - Hmmm...what's this? What's on the wall outside the garage door? A little moth.Itmust have been sleeping. I was able to take a bunch of shots of it. You can see how fuzzy its head and wings are.

March 7 - The Princess woke up with a tummy bug. Since the Bear couldn't play with his sister, he was given permission to dig out a bunch of Play-doh. Doesn't he look so totally serious? He kept himself busy for about an hour.

Friday, March 6, 2009

You'd think I'd be fixed up all the time

Do you like in one of those places where you never-ever see your neighbors outside of your street?

Well that would NOT be us.

We constantly see how immediate neighbors everywhere.

Last Friday when I was helping supervise the Princess' Girl Scout cookie booth, a neighbor who lives 3 houses up my street was running in to get something at the grocery store. I hadn't seen here in WEEKS. Apparently, she'd been sick for a few weeks. And there she was running into the grocery store. Look FABULOUS I must say.

Then there was the Sunday when all four of us (the Hubs, Princess, Bear, and I) made the weekly shopping trip an outing. The kids took turns pushing the cart while the Hubs and I darted from aisle to aisle getting things. In the meat section, I ran into the couple that lives right next door to us. They're a retired couple and are VERY nice. They'd been out to IHOP for breakfast and were now doing their own weekly grocery shopping. In the bread section, we ran into a neighbor who lives in the cul-de-sac that's basically across the street from us.

One day I picked the kids up from school and we swung by the grocery store (the same one where we had the cookie booth last week) and bumped into a neighbor whose house we see from our backyard. She owns a salon and her husband, who is a retired firefighter, now stays home with the kids. In the produce section, I then ran into my neighbor-across-the-street. The loud guy? Yeah. He was there talking on his Bluetooth. I tried to slip away but he waved me down.

And just at lunchtime today? I was at the post office shipping off my sister's and my Mom's cookies off to them. I was chatting it up with the gal who was helping me. When she finished our transaction and took the box to the back, I heard a "Hi Grace!" I turned to my left and there was the gal who lives across the street and 4 houses to the left. I hadn't even noticed her (maybe because I was being such a chatty-Cathy with the post office clerk).

Now do YOU constantly run into your immediate neighbors when you're out and about doing errands. Going out to dinner? Going out to breakfast? Playing at the park? Well, in our neighborhood we do. It's just that we're all busy and we enjoy what's around us. With all the folks I end up running into, you'd think I'd always take the time to fix myself up. Put on some powder and lipstick? At least make sure my hair is brushed, eh?

Thursday, March 5, 2009

Drill baby! Drill! [updated]

Yesterday morning when I was drinking my coffee, I noticed that I was having some shooting pain in my mouth. Not a constant pain. Just a shooting pain as I drank my hot coffee.

Then when I was eating dinner, I had some ice cold water. I again felt some shooting pain.

NOT a good sign.

This morning as I drank my hot coffee, I again felt some pain.

I called my dentist.

They were able to get me in at 11am.

Diagnosis? I had a hairline fracture in the structure of my tooth. When I was drinking the hot and the cold beverages, the liquid was seeping through the crack and making my nerve sensitive.

Solution? Get a crown.

Putting a crown in takes two appointments. At the first appointment, they get an impression of the tooth. They then clean up the tooth area (aka drill around). They make a temporary tooth. Then they send you on your way for about 2 weeks. During those two weeks, a porcelain crown is made out of the impression they took of the tooth. At the second appointment, they put the permanent porcelain crown in.

So when is my first appointment to get my tooth cleaned up and get a temporary tooth?


I already had it.

That's right folks. The dentist had a gap between appointments and was able to get my first appointment all done. Slam. Bam. Thank you kind sir!

I'm sitting here at home and it's now 12:21pm.

Yes. I'm already home. With my temporary crown. My appointment to get checked out was at 11am. HA!

My dentist is freaking AWESOME!

And now? I wait for my repair guys to arrive. Yes. The repair guys did NOT make the 8am-noon timeframe that I got a message for last night. The initial repair guy called me at 7:40 this morning to let me know that the local dispatch office already had him and the 2nd guy scheduled for morning appointments. That they would be out sometime this afternoon. [sigh]

Can you see now why I was crossing my fingers and toes?


It's 3:50pm.



My washer is now fixed and in my laundry room!

[dancing happily]

The service guys showed up at 1:30pm.

I had to leave at 2:30pm to pick up the kidlings from school. It's their "short" day.

By the time I got back a little after 3? My machine was all put back together.


On a sidenote...I took the time to help the service guys today.

The first guy who came to fix the machine 2 weeks ago? Well, he locked his keys in the ignition of his service van. It was one of those regular sized vans but it had a separator that kept the equipment in back contained and divided from the front. So the 2nd service guy was trying to open the passenger door by fitting his arm along the right of the passenger seat. He was trying to use a flat-head screwdriver to flick the handle open.
Me: What're you using to jimmy the door open?
Service Guy 2: Just this.
He held up a flathead screwdriver. I had to think to myself, what would I use? I walked back into my garage and spotted JUST the thing. Our fireplace utensils. I grabbed the one that had a straight poker along with a hook on it. I walked up to the van.
Me: Do you think this'll work better? You can pull or push the handle with this, right?
Service Guy 2: Ahhh! THIS is what I need!
Service Guy 2 opens the door within seconds. Yeah!

I walked over to the laundry room as they were getting the washer back into place. I could tell that there was some issue. Service Guy 2 was on his cell phone, while I glanced over at Service Guy 1.
Service Guy 1: Today isn't my day.
Me: Why? What happened?
Service Guy 2: When I locked the keys in the ignition, it was turned on. My battery is dead. We're trying to get battery cables.
Me: Cables? I've got some in the garage.
I find the cables and give them to the guys. They got the van started in no time flat.

After they left my house, both were headed home. End of day call. I'm sure they were both glad they could go directly home instead of trying to figure out what to do with a van that had a dead battery with the keys locked in it.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Observations at the Mall

Dude in the car:

Do you not see that it's a 45 mph street? WHY are you driving at only 30 mph? If you can't SEE ahead that far than maybe you just shouldn't be driving. Hand your keys over man!

Lady and her boyfriend:

Girl? I know it's hot outside. But just because you can get those shorts zipped and buttoned, DOES NOT mean you should wear them. You need to check what's going on in the back. Because those shorts? Are super short. And I don't think a gal who is over 40 needs to have her butt cheeks peeking out.

1st kiosk worker:

When I'm walking through the mall and you say "hi" in that perky way, I'm pretty much obligated to say "hi" back to you. But if I'm walking fast and I don't break my stride AND I shake my head as I'm saying "hi"? That means I DO NOT want to stop and chat with you about your cellular service. I mean it when I shake my head. NO. But you continue to try to get me to stop by your kiosk. again. When I put up my hand like a stop sign? Why do you get a hurt look on your face? I didn't break my stride. I shook my head. Persistence is one thing, but if you're in sales you definitely need to learn the signs that folks ARE NOT interested. Seriously. And because of you? I don't believe I'll EVER buy a cellular phone with your company. Yes. It's true.

2nd kiosk worker:

Did you seriously not notice how I whizzed by the first guy? How I gave him the hand? And you STILL have to try to interrupt my mission? You think I'm going to stop when you say,"Oh....let me look at your nails and we'll talk." Is that your pitch to get me to stop? Oh my goodness! You'll see my un-manicured nails and dog me on them. No. Thank. You.

Group of 4 people:

Do you all seriously need to walk shoulder to shoulder and take up the entire walkway? And then walk at 1 mph? You might be meandering in the mall but there are other people at the mall who need to get in and out. When the Hubs and I do go to the mall, we walk two-by-two. Each of us walks with one of the kids. This way we're considerate of others and not blocking anyone's ability to get around. So you four people? You four ADULTS? How about you walk two-by-two. Like Noah and the Ark? This way you don't take up the entire walkway and allow others to pass.

AHHH!!!!! This is the reason why I don't like going to the mall.

Crossing my fingers & hoping it gets done

This morning?

I went to the laundromat.

I went to a different laundromat than I went to last week.

Today's laundromat? NOT so cramped.

When I went in there? There was one gal and her 3 year old daughter.

I was able to overtake an aisle of top-loading machines. 5 machines on my left. 5 machines on my right. I ended up using seven machines. SEVEN. MACHINES. How much laundry did I have, eh?

It was SO much CLEANER! What's interesting is that when I was there waiting for my wash, a guy came in and was checking the machines. He looked into each washer that wasn't being used to make sure they were empty. He looked into each dryer to make sure they were empty. Then he checked the bathroom and cleaned it. Then he started to sanitize the washers that weren't in use. YES! He was starting the machines and putting in what I believe was bleach into them. Once the cycles were done? He wiped the inside -- each cylinder drum.

But I must say...even though I had a whole SLEW of laundry to get done? It was SO nice to get so machines started all about the same time. And transferring to the driers was easy-peasy. There were at least 6 of those rolling laundry things in the place.


The laundry got washed.

The laundry got dry.

The laundry got folded.

The laundry got put away.

All in all? It took me 2 1/2 hours round-trip to get it all done.



Did you know that I got an automated call at 7:40pm? Right when I was putting the kids to bed?

Was I pissed that I got a call at that time?

Not really. Why?

BECAUSE it was a call from GE saying that I was schedule for a repair tomorrow between 8am and noon. YES!

Around 11:45am today, I heard a truck stop in front of my house. I peeked out (as our office is at the front of the house next to the front door). FED-EX!

I ran around to the garage and opened it. I ran outside and met the delivery guy on the driveway.
Me: Could you please place that box right here in the garage?
Delivery Guy: Oh. No problem.
Me: Great!
Delivery Guy: I've got another box for you.
Me: Another one?
Delivery Guy: Yes. It's about the same size as the other one.
So the parts that the service guys need arrived. They just ordered the parts on Monday around 11am. And the parts arrived TWO days later? Amazing! So I called GE and let them know that the parts arrived.

And now? The service guys are coming back here tomorrow.

I wonder if they'll remember that I won't be home until 8:15am?

I'm just hoping that by lunchtime tomorrow that my washer will be back in my laundry room and working properly. Oh....I'm crossing my fingers and toes on this one.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Trying to stay clear and smooth

I'm one of those people who has struggled with acne since I was a teenager. I don't get the teeny tiny little pimples. I'd get the large eruptions under my skin that would hurt to touch. Yes.

When I was a teenager I'd use the regular drug store items. Neutrogena. Remember Sea Breeze? It worked fine.

Then when I was in my mid-20s, I started to get some serious break-outs. It was embarrassing. [sigh] Thankfully, I found a system that worked for me. I happened to catch Jennifer Flavin on HSN. The Serious Skin Care line became my best buddy for the next decade.

Last year? I started to break out. AGAIN! How frustrated was I? But my sister mentioned that she used Proactiv and it worked to keep her skin in check. What did I have to lose? I bought a sample kit from the website . And it started to get things under control. So I've been using it ever since.

I ran out of the toner over the weekend. I was also pretty close to running out of the repairing lotion. So since I hadn't ordered from the website already and didn't want to wait? I drove down to the mall and got the 3-piece kit. I paid and then left. But as I was driving home I thought about the cost. It seemed a little high. When I got home I took a closer look at the receipt. it cost $49.95 for the kit and then they charged me tax. WTF?

I am NEVER going to buy the kits at the mall. Those kiosks really bump up theprice. I mean, on the Proactiv website, the 3-piece kit is $39.95!!!! So I was charged TEN dollars more for the kit. TEN. DOLLARS. Granted...I'll have to pay shiping and handling, but it couldn't be more than $10.

Wait! I just looked at the website...they've got FREE shipping for 5-7 day deliveries. So y'all in this economy take a look at EVERYTHING you buy. You'll be surprised where you can find some cost savings. Next time around I'm going to save a few bucks on my facial care. Where is the most unusual place where you've been able to find some cost savings?

Monday, March 2, 2009

Get the screwdriver and drill out! [updated]

Remember when I mentioned that my washer went kaputz?

And then the repair guy came out last Monday?

How he analyzed the issue and we had to get a new part?

What I failed to mention to you was that the guy was scheduled for the repair between 8am - noon. I'm not complaining about the time. It was fine. The guy came around 10:45am. Definitely not 8am, right?

Today's 2nd visit was scheduled for the same timeframe, 8am - noon. I got a call at 8:07am.
Repair Guy: Hi. This is Stan with GE?
Me: Yes?
Repair Guy: You've got a scheduled repair this morning. I'm here ringing your doorbell and nobody is answering.
Me: I just finished dropping my kids off. I'm 2 minutes away.
Repair Guy: Okay.
Y'all? When I scheduled the appointment with him last Monday, I told him I drop the kids off in the morning. That I normally get home by 8:15am. I guess he didn't make a note of it. He just was there at my front door ringing and ringing. But I should be happy that he didn't just leave after ringing the doorbell a couple of times. Which (sadly) has happened with other service repair professionals (can you hear the sarcasm off of that title?).

Who would have guessed that the guy who came almost 3 hours after the start of our scheduled repair last week would come right on the dot for this one? Would you have guessed that? Not me. I figured that I was safe with my 15 minute window of "lateness". [shaking head]

But they're "fixing" it. Actually when I went into the garage, they were still in the midst of dismantling it.

down and out

Hopefully they'll be able to get it all fixed up. I seriously need to do some laundry!

------------ UPDATE @ 9:45 a.m. --------------------------------

You see the guy in the beige shoes? He's holding the back drum of my washing machine. They removed that piece and put in a new piece.

Right now? They put in the new piece and are test running the washer outside (without water).

And it STILL sounds AWFUL.

Still sounds rough and too loud.


------------ UPDATE @ 10:10 a.m. --------------------------------

The repair guys are gone.

My washer is still in the garage (not inside my laundry room).

They've ordered another part for the washer.

Apparently, we need a new inner stainless steel drum.

And the new part? Generally takes a week to arrive.

The repair guys said IF the part comes in by Friday to give them a call and they'll try to fit me in before the weekend. One of the guys lives about 4 miles away.

So I'm without a washer for another 5 days at a minimum.


I knew I didn't like this washer when we bought it 4 years ago!

I wanted this one. It's a larger washer - 4.0cu ft instead of 3.1cu ft.

This is how I wanted my laundry room to look.

But alas. We've got the smaller washer. With the smaller doors. The washer where I can't wash our king-sized comforter in.

Looks like I'll be at the laundromat again this week. Oh fun!