Saturday, February 28, 2009
Thursday, February 26, 2009
I bravely signed up for a watercolor swap and this was one of my submissions. With the exception of the barn leaning a bit [okay, a lot] I thought it was a decent representation of a farm. Right? What do I know? I live in the suburbs.
Anyway - I am on pins and needles today because the Cricut is coming! THE CRICUT is COMING! It is on the FedEx truck as I type and it is guaranteed to be here by 3 pm, but I know from our lovely neighbors who receive shipments everyday [he is in the import/export business] that FedEx comes to our street everyday at 11 am!
Y'all may never see me again.
[PS - I have to add for all you crockpot owners out there - You MUST, MUST, MUST make this recipe over at Mare's blog. It is a vegetarian chili which even the most carnivorous of men [Pooldad] LOVE! It is the easiest recipe I have ever made and it is so goooooooooood and it freezes great! Please, if you can open a can and stir a pot you will be thanking Mare for years to come.]
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I have been following the infomercials late at night - but the large one [it cuts up to 12"x 12"] is $399.00. Way out of our budget. Then I discovered they sold a smaller version [it cuts up to 5 1/2" x 11 1/2 "] for $199.00. I don't need anything that is 1 foot by 1 foot, so the smaller one is great, but at $199.00 it is still too much for a woman that owns a pair of scissors [or six, but who's counting?]
I waited. Actually, I forgot all about it. Then Pooldad - who I didn't even realize knew that I wanted one of these - called me last week and said he had found one for $149.00 on sale. Hmmmm...we were getting warmer, but I told him I didn't need it, I would just like to have it. I put the thought aside. Again. No biggie.
Today I went to the Joann's website because they are having a fabulous sale on all the craft supplies I like to keep stocked - and if you sign up for an account [not a credit card, just a web account] you can receive shipping for $2.95 on your full order [today only] Bonus!
Imagine my surprise when the first sale addy I saw was for the Cricut I want and their sale price is $99.99! Wooohooooo!!!
I cannot wait! We are going to have so much fun. :)
And now I can stop watching the infomercials.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
Monday, February 23, 2009
We were all awake at 5 am, so sleep came around mile 200, at least for the youngest.
I can imagine how lovely this drive will be in the spring and fall.
Saturday, February 21, 2009
Friday, February 20, 2009
As I said - I am over it. Because! I found a hotel for $70.03 for the night, for four of us, that accepts Spootie the Dootie and serves continental breakfast with hot waffles! And it has a 4.5 out of 5 customer rating...2.5 star hotels.com rating. Weehaw! And it is one mile from the first college we are visiting. Double weehaw! [Sorry...I just love a bargain.]
Another bonus? I mapped the route and it is only 3 hours 25 minutes from us! Pooldad thought is was a lil' over 4 hours and I thought it was over 5. We were going by estimates from the last time we had driven this route - oh, so many years ago, when we lived farther from I-81. Guess what? YEP! We live a heck of a lot closer now.
At least I will have good trip stories to blog about, instead of the "Life from my chair" I have been posting about.
Thursday, February 19, 2009
We are taking a lil' roadtrip this weekend. While researching hotels to stay at on Saturday I discovered a link to a restaurant in the area we are visiting named "Corned Beef & Co." To say my heart skipped a beat ...well, my "Yippppeee!" woke up the dog.
I am a HUGE fan of corned beef, especially corned beef and cabbage, with boiled potatoes and carrots. It is my go-to birthday menu [if we can even find corned beef in September-how can corned beef be "out of season" like, ever?] but can you imagine? A restaurant devoted to CORNED BEEF? I figured the Skippyfamily could just drop me off - go on their appointments [College shopping for our daughter] and I would just sit and savor [several] servings of my most favorite meal in existence. Oh! And perhaps we could go back for breakfast on Sunday - and Pooldad could have corned beef hash. Yeah baby!
With my hotel search forgotten - I concentrated on locating a menu to read [& drool] over their scrumptious descriptions of the most wonderful of meals.
Humph. Found the menu. Lunch & Dinner - okay, no breakfast, but I can still hang for lunch & dinner, right? No. no. and. no.
Imagine my surprise and disappointment when I discovered:
They have a FOUR page menu - and on this FOUR page menu there is ONE listing for corned beef...and it is a sandwich. Did I mention it is a FOUR page menu? They named themselves "Corned Beef & Company" and they offer one lousy sandwich - which I can get anywhere [or make myself, better] and I could find nary a hint of a slice of roast, a potato or a carrot. [They serve wood oven pizzas...woooooo [snark] pasta and steaks with lame-o sandwiches I can get anywhere.
What a tease. And a stupid name.
Wednesday, February 18, 2009
But that is all I am going to say about that. Well, except Pooldad is already putting in for a day [or two] off....WEEEEEEHAAAAAA!
Best news I have received since...yep! since the child support was suspended. THAT is how neat this news is. :)
I am not posting the recipe and the following conversation with Pooldad will illustrate why it isn't necessary.
First this: Since walking is sometimes painful for me Pooldad has done all of the grocery shopping for the last 12 months. That is not an over statement and he deserves credit. He is exceptional at it and I love/appreciate his effort everytime he brings home food for the family. But every once in a while he hits a snag.
Pooldad returns home from the grocery store stocked with bags full of the ingredients for our Valentine's Day dinner. I meet him in the foyer and he immediately pulls a box out of one of the bags:
Pooldad: "Honey, these are the shells for dinner. I don't know ... are they big enough?"
Skippy: [Taking the box and looking it over] "Well, I don't know Pooldad, did the picture on the front of the box [points to delicious representation of a stuffed shell prominently displayed, in color, on the box] give you a hint?"
Skippy: [Turning box over and handing it back to him] "Or maybe the recipe on the back should clue you in?"
Pooldad: "I will give you a running start." Laughing, he snatches the box back and makes to bean his loving and adoring wife.
So, no recipe. Just use the one on the box and I can guarantee you will not be disappointed. My picture is gnarly, but trust me, they are so good. We had plenty of leftovers for dinner the next night, so I guess they aren't all that expensive, but it does total about $15-$18 for just the cheese.
Today the youngest is making "Apple Pan Dowdy" for extra credit in her history class. It is recipe she found in "The President's Cookbook" and was evidently quite popular way back in the day. The only problem I am having with the recipe is at one point it says to "dowdy" the crust.
Anyone know how to dowdy something?
Monday, February 16, 2009
It has always been Pooldad and mine's dream, when we retire, to purchase an RV and travel the country, seeing the sites, meeting new people and just spending 24/7 together. Linda and Denny are [were] living that dream and their blog is a great read with fabulous pics.
Now, for the meaning of my title. It began over at their blog because they had to interrupt their retirement to return home to their native Ohio to care for Linda's ailing mother. It is a story I can completely relate to, not because our dreams have been interrupted, but because the story of Linda's mom is a carbon copy of my mom and all the trials, frustrations and well, just time expended to take care of her. It has interrupted our lives, but the situation for Linda and Denny has been a complete interruption of their dreams. Don't misunderstand me - We take care of my mom - gladly [as Linda and Denny do], but it can be trying to care for someone who refuses to help themself and with the knowledge that I have siblings [without minor children considerations as we have] that refuse to lift a finger to assist and live within 10 miles of my mom, while we live 400 miles from her.
Okay, enough of that. Please tho' - read RV Vagabonds I am sure you will thoroughly enjoy it.
Onto a second example of life interrupting.....and this is just sad. The links to this are courtesy of Linda and when I read the story I was in tears. Since I so enjoy the farm blogs I read I thought this may be of interest.
You can read the full story of Bob at Wagonteamster.com, but the nutshell version is Bob, wagon teamster, decided to take an adventure. He wanted to see the United States his way. So, with his children in college and nothing holding him back he sold all his possessions and embarked on a tour of the U.S. - via horse drawn RV. Yep! With the assistance of 4 beautiful Percheron horses and a homemade trailer Bob set off from his home in New Hampshire and has spent the past 5 1/2 months meandering [at 3 mph!] through several states.
Sadly tragedy struck in Mississippi on February 10th. The article is here.
I don't know what Bob will be doing now, but I pray for his full recovery and that of his remaining horses.
I think it is a worthy life where people can put aside what they know and leave their comfort zone to find a life that makes their dreams come true.
I hope in a few years we have that kind of courage.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Saturday, February 14, 2009
Oh, and remember I said we don't buy gifts or cards for eachother?
Well I was blessed with a
"Lucky Friday the 13th bouquet"
He's a goof, but I love him.
[prize to whomever can guess what I used as a vase]
And a balloon for our foyer so the girls can see when they arrive home.
Thursday, February 12, 2009
I do love our home - it is a nice place to live, with great neighbors and conveniences just a short drive away.
The downfalls? It is a huge home. More than we need. It is expensive to heat/cool. I hate dealing with the gas company [jerks]. But the biggest suck, besides not owning it? The rent payment. It is $1,800 a month. Now I know a lot of you will find this a bargain [Hi! Yvo! for those of you who don't know Yvo lives in NY - my cousin lives next to the UN building in NY and pays $2900 for a 400 sq. ft. efficiency] for 2,400 sq. feet, and for our area it is a steal [the house is assessed at 500K] and our landlords are fabulous, but the rent is killing us savings wise. I want to save more money, but with that payment and the high utility costs every month it isn't possible.
Here is the decision part - we found a townhome in another neighborhood that we can purchase - and our monthly payments will be $1,000 per month [P.I.T.I.] It is two stories, instead of three, no garage and would be so much cheaper to heat and cool [and easier to clean!]. There are pools, playgrounds, walking trails and a lake. Although it is a bank foreclosure the floors, windows, doors and siding are new. The best part? Same school district for the SkippyKids - something we insist on. So, a lot of their friends live in and around this neighborhood and they are in their same schools -big bonus!
Where is the decision? Why haven't we jumped at this you ask? Well, the neighborhood is sketchy. It is an older neighborhood [established in 1984], but in recent years it has become a mecca for a huge rental market and now it has a large number of foreclosures listed because of the ARMs made to people that couldn't afford them. They were selling for $350,000 two years ago and people are fleeing left and right due to the banks foreclosing. Additionally [and much more important] it is not considered as "safe" as our current neighborhood. That is what scares me the most.
I don't forsake people that rent [heck, we are!] but it is a different neighborhood, where the renters aren't keeping up their properties and the homes that are being foreclosed upon are falling into disrepair. The homes that are occupied sometimes house two and three families at a time [this is a violation in our county, but not enforced] and there really isn't the space for that many people in these small homes.
It is as tho' I need a crystal ball to see into the future. We could have this home paid off by the time Pooldad retires [in 10 years] and we would have instant equity upon purchase. We would save about $1,100 a month in rent/utilities and have more money towards retirement and the kids college tuitions.
Why is the neighborhood holding me back so much? I would like to think I am not overly protective/scaredy cat/snob and I honestly don't think I am, but it just feels at this point in our lives we should, at least, be making a lateral move [to a similar neighborhood, not a comprable house size] or moving up [to our farm dream - not until the girls are in college - 6 years :(], but instead we are considering a leap down. I don't need, nor want a larger home - I just want something to call our own and save money, but I want my family safe and secure while doing it.
I also realize that a house is just that. A house. What matters is the home that we make and I like to think we are pretty good at that...but if we are unhappy with the world outside the door in this neighborhood will it be worth the home we have made on the inside?
What say Ye' tadpoles?
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Monday, February 9, 2009
She remarked that she can't believe how light her head is now that it is all gone.
It is an adorable haircut and the first time she has had bangs since third grade!
And finally: I posted this because when I opened our mailbox today I had to laugh out loud [see the postage? $1.51 from Maine!] I was sent a plastic banana in the mail, naked. No box, nothing. I know some of the other swappers sent things like a jar of peanut butter and a pair of socks.
Spot doesn't seem real thrilled with it tho'.
Sunday, February 8, 2009
Sue and our youngest became fast friends. The youngest loved to help her, hang out with her, run errands with her, walk her dog, etc. By extension we all came to love and care about Sue. She is like an extra grandma to all of us.
Fast forward to the present. We have been in our home for about two years now - Sue has been back at her refurbished home almost as long. In the process of moving I had misplaced her house address and cellphone number. One day a few weeks ago the youngest stumbled upon it! YAY! We quickly called Sue. I was saddened by what she had to say.
I rang her up and it was pretty bad. The economy has hit Sue hard. Since she is retired and living on a fixed income she has to be very frugal [and she is!] In addition she has medical issues that require medication and doctors' visits. While speaking with her I could tell she didn't want to bother me with the details or tales of woe. I am, by nature, not nosey and would really like to have happy conversations as a rule, but I could really sense that things were tough. It was hard to get her to tell me exactly what was going on, but she finally told me the whole situation.
[At this point I need to add that Sue has three grown children. None of them live at home and all are in their late 20's and early 30's with gainful employment. The married, eldest has one child.]
It seems that although her Social Security/pension stays the same, the cost of food, medication and gas prices [this past year $4.50/gal~] have combined to seriously effect Sue's quality of life, as in, I discovered she didn't have any food in the house and was trying to figure which medications to "afford" until her next retirement check came. It was the 21st of the month and that check was 10 days away.
I asked where were the kids, why weren't they helping? Well, typical Sue, she is a protective Momma and it was the usual "Oh, they are so busy and with the holidays they really don't have anything to spare." Blah, blah, blah. Please don't misunderstand me, I do respect her love for her kids but I know this gang and they constantly take advantage of Sue and I could not believe they were blind to the fact that their mother didn't have anything to eat and couldn't afford her meds. I am sure if I was Sue I wouldn't want to bother my kids either, but they all live local - so, -what? They couldn't check in once and a while and get an update on their own Mother? Believe me, she is a good Mom - there aren't issues with family dynamics where they have a valid reason not to be in contact or help care for her. I find it strangely sad that after years of caring and nuturing her children they don't have the decency [maturity? common sense?] that maybe Sue needs help and shouldn't have to ask for it. [I was going to throw in the word "unselfishness" but I didn't think it was a word and I couldn't think of another to use.]
I guess I shouldn't be so hard on the kids, Sue isn't and they are her kids, but when her son brags about his new marble floors and his Mom can't afford blood pressure meds or a can of soup, I get cranky. Is that okay? Or maybe I am just mad at the economy and I am sad for people like Sue, who has worked her whole life and cannot afford basic needs on her pension and Social Security. It is wrong.
But I guess this is happening everywhere, right?
We did bring Sue groceries to last a few weeks [I have never seen anyone cry over a sweet potato] and I hooked her up with a service in our county that will help her better afford her meds [YAY! Loudoun County], but I still wonder.
How many other Sues are out there?
Saturday, February 7, 2009
There is no analyzing the following dream that woke me up instantly the other morning.
In my dream I am sitting in my OB/GYN's office, perusing a magazine. I suppose I was waiting on my appointment?
The door to the office opens and I look up to see a lovely woman with impeccable make- up, stunning hair, beautifully dressed walking in.
In my dream I found myself thinking:
Wednesday, February 4, 2009
Yeah. About that.
Champagne is so yummy. It is especially yummy after a very sweet, long anticipated victory.
All I know today is that I am a very thankful stay at home Mom.
[heavy emphasis on the stay at home!]
Pooldad had to go to work. giggle
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
- Pooldad has two children from his first marriage. We have not seen them in 11 years. Still, Pooldad is diligent in paying his child support. [Automatic payments every two weeks for 15 years]
- Pooldad's eldest child, his daughter, turned 18 in July 2007. <--note the year!
- Child support should have ceased to have been paid to the mother, for the daughter, in July 2007. [She graduated high school in June 2007]
- We have been paying child support for an adult since July 2007. 18 extra months.
- The overage has amounted to $14,516.00 we have overpaid since 2007.
- The Commonwealth of VA would not fix this, no matter how hard we tried, until today.
- Today a Loudon County judge handed Pooldad's ex-wife her head in a hand basket for lying and accepting $14,516.00 in overage payments. And LYING. [I know, I know I said lying twice. I would have to say it a bazillion times to make you understand how much she lies.]
- The judge also reduced Pooldad's child support obligation by $420.00 per month [he has a son that will turn 18 in September 2009.] We are obligated for his support until then.
- The ex wife was at the court hearing via phone conference. The best part? She almost was arrested VIA phone conference for CONTEMPT OF COURT. The judge informed her that if she "told one more egregious lie a NC deputy would be on her doorstep to arrest within minutes." heehee
I can't say I am enthralled with Department of Child Support Enforcement of VA, nor of the way this was all handled - we will not be receiving any of the overage back, nor will we be credited [in essence we basically paid for a 2 year Associate's Degree at a Community College for the child, but whatever!]
The ex was called on the carpet. We are able to recoup almost an extra $500 per month [in Pooldad's paycheck] and come September 2009? We never, ever have to deal with her again.
15 years is a long time for an ex to hold a grudge against a man that she walked out on [she is on her 5th husband [prospective] btw....her second husband since leaving Pooldad] She was SERVED royal in court today. And she deserved it.
I am ready for this all to be over. We love those kids, we have supported them in every way we know how- we miss them, but if not for the interference of the ex - well...divorce should never be this stupid.
Be happy today. It took almost two years and a boatload of frustration, but we won. Finally.
Monday, February 2, 2009
This is what happens when Mom is laid up for a period of time and the family graciously does the shopping and house cleaning. hee