Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Raise Your Hand....

.....if you would smack me upside the head if I did this.

The following is an example of something I could do [but I haven't and I won't...so put your hands back down please. :)]

We're all friends, right?  And as friends we are tasked with telling each other if we screw up, correct?  That's what good friends do.  If you care enough about someone you should be able to tell them, right?

So, suppose I was to go about my day and decide "oh the hell with it"  I am going to eat whatever I want - sodium be damned.  And I ate all the stuff I knew was bad for me, the high sodium crap that would make me retain water and my lungs fill with fluid.  Then - BAM!- I end up in the hospital because I would be struggling to breath.

Wouldn't y' all be a wee bit miffed at me?  Wouldn't you?  I know for a fact that you would be disappointed in me, but the thing is -your judgement of me isn't the reason I don't freebase the salt shaker.  I don't do it because, frankly?  I like living and being able to breath.  Oddly enough, [and I have said it before I do find the internet odd sometimes], your opinions do matter to me and not once have any of you stepped over the line.  You're all pretty nice that way - but you guys do have a way of telling me "Well THAT was stupid Skippy"  when I mess up.  I appreciate that. I do.

Here is the reason I posted this - What do you do when you see your friend making the same mistakes over and over again - poor choices that will eventually kill her - but you've run out of nice ways to say "Stop doing that or you are going to die."  She knows it is going to kill her, but she continues to lament about her habits.  I don't want to stop being her friend but I am having a hard time being supportive everyday while she just keeps repeating the behaviors.

I am not trying to be all sanctimonious - goodness knows I have had my share of repeatedly bad behavior [Ask me about my track record with men before I met Pooldad.  I'll give you a hint: My ex. :)  It wasn't pretty, believe me.]  Still, how do I make my friend realize that she has got to stop?  I do know that you can't make someone change what they don't want to -I have just run out of nice things to say, but if I stop talking to her and hanging out with her she is going to know that something is up.

I think I just answered my own question, didn't I?

Sunday, August 29, 2010

The Numbers Work - At Least for Me

Tuna casserole.
I didn't get to it to photograph before Wallene got a scoop.  oops!
We love tuna casserole.  It is one of the things I can eat - and although it doesn't look too enticing in that pic' it does have a couple of things going for it:
  • It is simple to make
  • It is so inexpensive
  • It is low in calories
  • It is low in sodium
  • It screams "comfort food" YAY
Here is the recipe the way we make it:

3 3/4 cups egg noodles [half a bag]
1 can cream of mushroom soup [low fat/50% less sodium]
1 can [5 oz] chunk light tuna in water
1/2 can of milk
2/3 cup of frozen peas
1/2 cup mild shredded cheddar
pepper to taste [1/4 tsp? about]

Boil the noodles.  Drain.  Drain tuna.  Mix the noodles with the rest of the ingredients, except the cheese.  Pour into a casserole dish.  Sprinkle cheese over the top.  Cover.  Bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes until heated through and cheese melts.  Notice I left the cheese off a part of it because I don't like the cheese on mine - besides it just adds to my sodium levels.

Here is the coolest thing tho' - 
For six servings - Each serving contains only 250 calories [that is with the cheese] and 300 mg of sodium [210 for me since I don't eat the cheese].  How awesome is that?

I was reading a tadpole's blog and was amazed at the low calories in the meals she was eating [they were frozen type healthy meals- Hi Tessa!] - but I can't eat pre packaged food [too much of what I can't have] - so tonight I deconstructed one of our family favorites to see exactly what the calories were [I already knew the sodium] - and was shocked that this was low in calories too. Woohoo!

And the pic' of the serving does not represent 1/6 th of a serving.  You would have to double that scoop.  And that folks is a very healthy serving of dinner. :)

I know some people like breadcrumbs on top [yes] or cornflakes [double yes] so plan accordingly - I think they would equal or be less than the cheese - but my family loves the cheese - so I am happy with my little part of the dish - cheese free. :)

Hope this is helpful. :)  Have a great week.

Let's Revisit the Past, Shall We?

Things unearthed while packing a home full of memories. 

The hand on the hip has me rethinking my decision on marrying him.
Then again, I think he is hawt!
I told him he looked like one of the Bee Gees.
 Don't you agree?
  
I love this picture.
 It is [from left] my BIL, my beloved FIL and Pooldad.
 How lucky am I that I married into a family where one member is better looking than the next? heehee
I  put this up because Pooldad and his brother are such babies in this pic'.
They are on the right.  Pooldad is the tallest one.
I  have two words:  Porn mustaches.
And if the guy on the left ever finds my blog he will kill me.
 He should just be glad I didn't post them on Facebook.
Look at the price of a concert in 1977.
I looked up the difference.
Same venue.  Same seat.
1997 minimum wage was $2.20 - the ticket was $8.50.
2010 minimum wage is $7.25 - and a ticket to a performance by Godsmack and the ticket price is $197.00.
Seems pay isn't keeping up with the cost of living.  Sigh.
[and don't ask me who Godsmack is - and no, I don't care to know]
I didn't know this magazine ever existed.
Think this would fly in today's oh so correct world?
Hope you enjoyed our little walk down memory lane. [I have more. Wooboy do I!]  We are having a great time.  Although it is a little bittersweet for my family - it will be nice for them to move into their new condo come September.  Hope everyone has a great Sunday.  We are off later today to pack more.

Saturday, August 28, 2010

You Know Your Local Burger King is a Redneck When....

...there is a Civil War era cannon in the front yard.
Don't ask why I think this is funny.  I just do.
Wallene has been trying for months to get a shot of this sign in the side of the mountain [from a moving car].  Today she succeeded.
The new roomies are getting along just great.  It may have something to do with their similar styles of bed making.

We drove down to Squirrel's college on Friday to take her the money for her books.  It was $150.00 more than originally planned so it was good that we went, but it makes for a long day to go down and back within 8 hours - twice in a week - and we were stuck in road construction for an hour today.  Thank goodness we all enjoy eachother's company.

We were able to pop into Squirrel's dorm for a bit and she showed us her band uniform [snazzy] and that her roommate had moved in.  Very sweet girl - and funnily enough her family lives about 20 minutes from us - she attended a rival high school of Squirrel's.  Small world category, eh?

In other news - my beloved ILs have sold their home and have barely 10 days left until they have to move out - eek.  Today we are going over there to help them pack of the little stuff - the movers are doing most of the big things like the china, etc - and from talking to my MIL this past week I suspect we are going to end up with a van full of stuff, which is great by me - I love my MILs style and kitchyness [word?] - so that will be fun.

I am so not looking forward to getting back in the car to drive over there tho'.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Well It Ain't ALL Daisies and Lollipops Here in The Pond Y'know....

We have been sitting on pins and needles all week waiting on the results of Squirrel's audition for the Royal Dukes Marching Band.

The way it works is everyone is welcome to join the band as long as they have the ability to play the music required of them.  Upon arrival at school they are all auditioned for their marching skills.  The best ones are picked to march on the field and the remainder sit in the stands and play back up.  The back ups still have to practice with the marchers and at anytime during the season any back up can challenge a marcher to a "duel" [for lack of a better word] and try to take their spot on the field.**

Now here is where it got weird this week:

Squirrel has been in concert band for 7 years and in marching band for 4 years.  She was a first chair flute in c/band and the section leader her senior year in the m/band.  So, I would like to assume my daughter can play the flute pretty darn well.  I would also like to think that she can march - well I know she can - her high school marching band won the Virginia State Band competition this past year.  Also, when all 60 flutes were asked this week if anyone would like to take a practice run at leading the flutes no one stepped up, until Squirrel asked if it was okay for a freshman to do it.  They said great and she did.  She also received added bonus points for enthusiasm.  If there is one thing [besides science] my kid is enthusiastic about it is marching band.

Imagine my surprise and crushing disappointment [and here I go again tearing up] when my daughter texted and said simply "I didn't make it."***

It just about broke my heart so I cannot even imagine how sad she is.  I swear Wallene and I just sat here and cried because we just know how much this means to her.  I understand that there are several hundred kids trying out for the coveted spots, but this is something that she is so passionate about that she is actually using part of her course credit to be in the marching band [2 credits per semester - meaning this is her elective].  And I know this isn't going to be the only disappointment in her life, but honestly?  I laughed every time she would say "Mom, I don't think I am going to make it."  I did.  I really laughed because it just seemed so impossible that she wouldn't make it.

I want a bumper sticker that says "My marching band student is better than your marching band student" or "My flutist can kick your Tuba playing ass" - At least it would make us all giggle.



**If you have seen the movie "Drumline" then you know what I am talking about.  If you haven't seen the movie "Drumline" you must go and rent it. Now.  And not for the story [sort of lame] but for the marching and the wicked scenes with the drumline.
***Before anyone thinks it is odd that she texted me - it is because she had a scant few seconds to let me know before practice began.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Easiest, Cheapest, Quickest Craft Project EVER

This is Bob.
Bob is an important component to the craft.
Remember Bob. Because? Bob knows what's coming.


Start with one fat quarter of red fabric.
Have a scrap of green fabric on hand to cut out a leaf.
One roll of toilet paper

Now here is Bob.
Cut Bob's head off.  Go ahead. Do it.
Then crush up Bob's body.  Unravel.
Twist it  - Using your teeth is optional.
Lay your toilet paper roll in the center of the red fabric.
Tuck in each edge as shown until you have ....
This!
Now stick your leaf down into the hole and secure with...
Your stem, aka Bob's body.  WaLA an apple.
Enjoy.

We Are Pantry Diving Again

I love the concept of pantry diving.  It is the art of going through your refrigerator, freezer and pantry to make meals for the week without buying anything new.

Since moving Squirrel into college last week, combined with her 18th birthday, the food budget got a little tight in our pond this week and ......

This is what I have discovered:

Sunday:  When we arrived home from our trip to JMU we ate the leftovers from Squirrel's birthday meal - Hot dogs, hamburgers, macaroni salad, beans, etc.

Monday:  I had an extra meatloaf [frozen] and added leftover macaroni salad and a can of [low salt - what else?] peas.  [Anyone notice that is what my daughter ate last night?  I mean the meatloaf and macaroni salad at college? hee]

Tuesday:  The macaroni salad was still hanging around - so I added tuna salad and egg salad sandwiches [on leftover hamburger buns] to the mix with green and red pepper slices, celery [ all leftover from making the macaroni salad] and tomatoes from my MIL's garden.  And pickles.  Who doesn't have tuna and eggs in their stash, right?

Wednesday:  I found a can of tomato soup [not old, mind you, just I forgot I had it].  Yum - and the only thing better than tomato soup is the soup with grilled cheese.  Thank goodness the macaroni salad is gone.  We ate that for five days - it is good, but c'mon - it was a bit much.  Since it is relatively cool here [for DC, in August] Soup and grilled cheese is gonna be good.  I am using our sandwich maker. I love this thing.  Does anyone else have one of these?  So cool.

Thursday:  For some reason my lovely MIL gifted us with a honker can of turkey [I think she was cleaning out  HER pantry] and since I always have a bag of frozen mixed veggies hanging around [what? you don't?] that is going into turkey pot pie for Thursday. I don't want to buy anything so I am going to cheat and use a chicken boullion cube [per directions] to make the chicken broth - and I will [once again, grrr] attempt to make the pie crust.  This is Wallene's favorite meal.   Here's hoping I don't disappoint.

Friday:  Amazingly enough I unearthed an already cooked bag of ground beef [frozen]. YAY - so many options, but the pantry is starting to thin out - so I am going to cheat a bit and buy a .99 cent can of whole, peeled tomatoes and make ghoulash since I already have the noodles, meat and garlic - so I can spare the .99 cents.  This is also a family fav'.  [I am raiding the change jar for the .99 cents.]

For snacks we have cereal, popcorn, grapes, homemade oatmeal cookies and peanut butter cookies, celery, chunk cheese, crackers, icy pops, a whole gallon of milk [last longer now that Squirrel is gone YAY - the milk, not Squirrel], orange juice, [the dreaded] kool-aid and ramen noodles.  So I think we are good to go.

Then I have to restock on Saturday.

I don't exactly know how we are going to do that since Squirrel's books need to be bought and her scholarship money [the overage] will not be refunded to her for three weeks. [We thought she could buy her books with the extra - but no-they just return it to her after all her tuition, lab fees, internet, etc. is paid. Stupid.]  So we have to pay out for those on Friday.  We are approaching the $1,000 mark for her books at this point - and many of them are used.  College is a racket, I swear. :) [I know you all are laughing at me.  Shut up.]  In addition Wallene goes to school in a week and she needs everything that goes along with that.  Sigh.

I do love the idea of pantry diving and the satisfaction that I don't have to do any shopping for a week, but it starts to scare me when I deplete our supplies like this.  I try and keep it stocked up but this has been a long [and expensive] summer and I haven't been paying attention to all the stuff I should, I guess.

Oh well - at least I have an entire menu planned of simple and cheap meals, right?  There is always a bright side tadpoles.  Always.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Give The Kid Some Props

Squirrel's dinner this evening at College

At least there is MILK in the picture.


Monday, August 23, 2010

A Cheap .44/.28 Cent Favor?

This is an unabashed request for my daughter, Wallene.  Except Wallene doesn't know this.

Wallene's birthday is on September 4th.  I have been trying to come up with a surprise for her.  I was ticking off all the things she loves including sharks [too toothy] whales [like where would I put that?] all things anime [gives me a wicked headache] and having the added bonus of sucking up her beloved collection of those stupid silly bandz with the vacuum cleaner* I started to panic.  Then I realized my girl LOVES to get mail.  Any kind of mail.

Obviously she will receive the requisite cards from family but since her birthday falls mere days [two to be exact] before the start of school she will be sorely lacking in simple birthday wishes from friends at school.  So.....

I thought of you guys.  My tadpoles. [See?  I really have no shame when it comes to my kids.  Ever.  hee]

Would any of you consider sending a note in the mail to her?  It doesn't even have to be a birthday card - just a piece of paper thrown in an envie with a stamp.  .44 cents and a few minutes of your time. Or even a .28 cent stamped postcard [you can just cut out a piece of a cereal box and write on it, stamp and mail - I do it all the time -! Thanks Jeannie for the suggestion on postcards!]  Wallene will be so thrilled.

I won't allow her to read my blog this week so she won't know and it will be a total surprise.  Think that will be fun?

Oh and she is turning the big 1-3!  Yes, like having a newly minted 21 year old, 18 year old and now a 13 year old didn't throw me into spasms. All within two months of one another no less. GAH! [Did I mention all of them were our girls?  Yeah - the boys are just the boring 19 and 20 this year. YAWN] ha!

If you could, I would greatly appreciate it.  If you email me at skippyaveo AT gmail.com I will happily send along her real name and address, but if you want to address them to Wallene - the postman will get it. :)

Thanks guys.

*Contrary to popular belief I did not do this on purpose. And yes [Linda B.] I did open up the vacuum cleaner and get them out.  And wash them. So there.

You SO Want to Win This

Mrs. Yum Yucky is having an awesome give away over at her blog.  Please head on over if you love to grill, love butter and love to win contests.  Besides the great contest her blog is a fun, educational and snazzy kind of read. Honestly - where else do you get to see a picture of the blogger with a watermelon on her head? True.  Go look.  Guaranteed to make you smile every time you drop by. :)  Good luck.

This is the link:   http://tinyurl.com/2cak4xm



Sunday, August 22, 2010

The Fastest Eight Hours of Our Lives

We started our day at 7:00 am and were out the door at 8:30 am - Dunkin Donuts in hand, since Squirrel TOOK our coffee pot.
Had to start the day with the requisite school color manicure.
This is Wallene.
We arrived at JMU at 10:30 am and before Dad could find a parking spot at the bookstore Squirrel was already registered for the Royal Dukes Marching Band! Go Duuuuuuukes!  So we went and took the "first day of school" pics before heading off to lunch.
Our college freshman


The gang at the entrance to JMU

Then we checked into her dorm - look at this! YAY!


The view out Squirrel's dorm window
It's the football field!

To the right out her window

Another view out her window.






Then on our drive home we saw this - and we all agreed - What the ---- to do now?  Heehee.
Is someone at VA's DMV asleep or have they just never been on the internet?
We arrived home at 4:30 knowing she is busy with her new surroundings and band practice.  Amazingly enough since she was allowed to check in early [because of band] we had absolutely no problem getting a great parking space and empty elevators to make three [ONLY three!] trips to her room.  By the time we left Squirrel and Wallene had already been unpacking for two hours - so now all she has to do is set it up the way she wants. :)

The only two who cried?  Wallene and Squirrel - Pooldad and I did great, but poor Wallene is going to miss her big sister so much and that got Squirrel going and well - it was one big snot fest at the van.

It's all good and Pooldad, Wallene and I are looking forward to being the Three Amigos - and the quiet - and the full pantry....and....

It won't be the same I admit - but I am not sad - I am happy and excited for her.

Think she'll want to do lunch next week? ;)


So That's How I Get Your Attention

Who knew?

In our home Pooldad and Wallene have similar sounding names.  Additionally Wallene and Squirrel's names start with the same letter [yes, yes...okay - one day I will out my entire family and tell you our real names.  I figure most of you know anyway - but until then please try and follow me. Thanks!]  When I call to one I invariably end up with one of the others and not the person I initially wanted.

This morning I learned a new trick that may alleviate the confusion - at least with my husband. :)

I woke up super early [4 am] and came downstairs to play on the computer.  Everyone was [obviously] still asleep.

While tap typing away I suddenly sneezed. Loud.

I hear:  "Okay honey.  I'll be there in a sec'."

I responded:  "No sweetheart.  That's  okay.  It's early.  Go back to sleep."

Then I sneezed again.

Pooldad yelled down:  "I said I was coming.  Whaaaa....t?"

I respond again:  "Pooldad I am not calling for you.  Go back to sleep."

Pooldad:  "Give me an hour."

I sneezed yet again. [I always sneeze three times.  I don't know why.]

Pooldad:  "Jeesh Skippy - if you want me to get up just say so."

Me:  "Dude I don't want you to get up.  I am SNEEZING, not calling your name."

Pooldad:  "Why?"

Me:  "Go back to sleep."

So evidently sneezing will get my husband's attention.  It should be interesting to see what it takes to get Wallene to answer me. ::cough, cough::

Saturday, August 21, 2010

When You Know Your Child Has Awesome Friends Part Deux

Today was Squirrel's 18th Birthday
Her friend Anna brought her this cake today.
Then the "Flutes" from HS showed up with flowers......
...and a poster made just for Squirrel.
Her Dad and I are trying hard not to tear up.  Wallene is holding fast but being moody because I don't think even she knows what to do without Squirrel.

I am pretty confident that "We done good" - But then again we ARE sitting here singing:

"Tah Rah, rah rah boom dee A, I'll take your pants away.  I don't care what you say.  You're naked anyway"

or

"Tah Rah, rah, rah boom dee A, I don't care what you say, tomorrow is Sun-day, JMU is that-a-way."

Yeah, we're loopy.  Welcome to our world.


There Are Better Ways to Approach Things

Said to Skippy [laughingly]:  You are a screaming bitch sometimes, you know that?

Skippy[deadpan]:  Yeah.  It is pretty much what gets me through my day.

~
While in Target today:

A casual acquaintance:  Hello there.

Skippy:  Hey.  How are you? How are the kids?

A casual acquaintance:  Oh fine, fine. [Pointing]  Look at you!  You have really lost a lot of weight.  Why are you so thin?

Skippy: [gaping fish mouth] Uh. um.

Pooldad: [throwing his arm around me]  It's all the great sex we're having.  Come on Skip, lotsa' shopping to finish.  You'll excuse us?

~
And people wonder why ......

Squirrel

Squirrel
My Pearl
My ever loving
Baby girl
We love you sweetheart

Happy 18th birthday



Mom and Dad





Thursday, August 19, 2010

Follow The Money

When we were growing up a familiar phrase in our house was "No. We can't afford it."  I remember that response more than any I heard growing up with perhaps the exception of "Jesus Christ" which my Dad used to say whenever he was mad about something.

But "No. We can't afford it."  was my parents mantra whenever we wanted something or to go somewhere.  In all my years growing up we only had one vacation, when I was 12, and we were reminded for years afterwards how my folks sacrificed to take us to Disneyland.

It is not to say I didn't have a nice childhood.  We lived in a great neighborhood, I always had new clothes for school and we were well fed.  If we wanted spending money or extras we earned it.  In fact my parents chose my college for me based on the one that would pay the most in scholarship for me to attend.  It was my third choice and although I was miserable I knew I was helping the greater good by saving my parents the entire cost of my education.  Okay - honestly I was mad because I had no choice, but I sucked it up for the reason mentioned.

Imagine my surprise when my parents retired at 53 years of age.  I couldn't figure out how they had managed to not only retire 10 years early but they had also purchased a second home, a condo, in sunny Myrtle Beach, SC. At the time I was incredibly happy for them and reasoned that they deserved it having worked so hard while we were growing up.  Good for them.

My parents were able to enjoy retirement for 10 glorious years, splitting their time between SC and VA and sharing their condo with my family so we could vacation for free during the hot summer months when they stayed in VA.  It was nice while it lasted.

My father became ill in the spring of 2005 and died that fall.  I remember the first words my mother said to me the morning after his death.  She said "Skippy your father has left me a poor woman."  Not wanting to argue with my newly widowed mother I gently reminded mom that she did, in fact, own two homes free and clear and plus she was entitled to my father's social security and military pensions.  She tried to argue that it wasn't enough, that his pensions combined with hers only amounted to $2900 a month.  I tried to explain that since she didn't have any mortgages, only property taxes and her own living expenses that was more than enough to live a very comfortable life.  Little did I know.

My father died and left my mother a very wealthy woman.  In fact they were pretty well off when they retired in 1995.  All because they worked hard and we sacrificed when I was growing up.  Which in my book was great - they deserved it.

My mother sold the VA home for $500,000.  Then she sold the SC condo for an additional $90,000.  In turn she built a handicapped accessible home in the same SC neighborhood for roughly $250,000 - cash.  It is her dream home and what they had always hoped to have.  It really is a sweet lil' house.

So figuring my mother had over $340,000 in the bank [plus additional savings that had amassed] plus her pension money of $2,900 a month with all her medical paid, Pooldad and I thought - Great - we don't have to worry about her.  She is set for the rest of her life.

After my father's death and my mother's move into the new home my sister arrived to live with her.  This should have sent alarm bells off but I was grateful that someone was there to care for my mother since Pooldad and I had to remain in VA.  After about a year I was receiving phone calls from both my mother and sister, each mad at the other, my mom claiming my sister owed her $20,000 and my sister screaming she didn't.  I tried to find out what exactly this money  had been given over for and eventually I did.  Seems my mother liked to gamble and since my sister didn't have a job [her job was taking care of my mom in exchange for room and board] she would take her gambling and my mom would give her cash to gamble too.  I guess it is no fun to gamble alone?  I don't know - I don't gamble.

So while this fight is going on my brother decides it is a great time to leave his third wife and three of his four kids and move in with my mother too.  This promised to be ugly and it was.  My brother is a leech.  A master manipulator of epic proportions and my mother's favorite.  It wasn't long until he became so abusive to my sister that she moved out and swore never to talk to my mother again since she allowed my brother to be cruel towards her - and my mother had allowed it - I witnessed it - but it was also an attempt by my sister to distance herself from the debt my mother claimed she owed.

Now Pooldad and I started to worry.  We knew my brother and his way with my mother.  We also knew the thousands upon thousands of dollars that my parents had spent bailing my brother out through the years - three divorces and a bunch of kids are expensive as is all the legal trouble he had been in.  So we braced for the worst but my mother assured us that he had changed and he was going to take care of her since my sister had "abandoned" her.

It didn't last long.  The money that is.  And as soon as the money ran out so did my brother.

I talked to my mother yesterday.  Just checking in to see how she is feeling - she has COPD and is on 24 hour oxygen but is amazing in her battle with this disease - and she began to lament about my brother and sister. She says my sister only comes once a week, on Fridays, to spend the night, grocery shop but that she leaves on Saturday afternoon and that she thought that my sister should come more often.  I had to remind my mother that my sister has a full time job and she did take her to all her doctor's appointments, didn't she?  My mother agreed but still seemed put out. that my sister wasn't doing more because she said "Your sister owes me."  Okay.  I let that slide and asked the dreaded question "So what about Jay [my brother] I thought he was living with you and taking care of you?"  She told me that he had moved out sometime last year - she had never told me - and that he was contacting her once a month but when she started to ask for the money she had given him he stopped all communication with her.

Nice.  Not surprising though.

Then I asked the second dreaded question "Mom how much does Jay owe you?"  I received silence in response.  So I tried a different tactic.  "Mom," I asked "how much money do you have left?"  Heavy sigh, but still no response.  Third try and I inquired "Mom - you haven't taken a mortgage on your home have you?"  This time she acknowledged that she had taken a mortgage and her payments were $1,000 per month.  Oh crud.  This is my siblings' doings I knew it.  They had managed to not only help my mother spend all of her savings but had now saddled her with payments of $1,000 per month.  With the savings of $340,000 plus the mortgage money - the three of them had spent over a half of a million dollars in less than 5 years.

She started to get upset and crying, said "Skippy I am sorry.  Out of all you kids you are the only one that doesn't owe me anything and now I have nothing to leave you."  Truthfully tadpoles - and this is the honest truth - I never wanted my parents money - they earned it and they saved it - it isn't mine to covet and my parents have always known this.  I have a hard time taking money from them.  I admit I am still a little bitter about being forced to go to a college I didn't want to but in the scheme of things it worked out fine.

She asked me if I thought she could get a reverse mortgage on the house and it broke my heart to tell her I thought probably not since she had a pretty big mortgage on it already but that I would look into it for her.

I told her I loved her and hung up the phone.  I sat for a good while wondering how two people I am related to, who I grew up with could do this to our mother.  I fiddled around with the numbers last night and although she is fine with the payments for now the reverse mortgage isn't going to happen as the equity just isn't there.

Her doctor once told  me that I should make sure my mother did whatever she liked as her quality of life would determine how long she would live.  Since there is no cure for her disease she continued to do the things she liked and seemed to be getting along just fine.  She has actually outlived all expectations but, now, with the burden of the money and the actions of Jay and La I can see her quality of life diminishing.

What can I do?

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

That Just Blew All My Excuses for Being Screechingly Hormonal These Past Few Months

This is probably a totally inappropriate thing to discuss on my blog.  But we all know my motto:  "My blog. My rules."  Let's just say if you are a tadpole of the male persuasion or one of my lady readers that dislikes any sort of girlie talk you may just want to walk on by today.  I'll be back with food, kids, college - the mundane - tomorrow.  Thanks.

Today's topic:  Menopause or the lack thereof

In my family the women tend to go through menopause early - sometime during their late thirties, early forties.  Being the youngest of all the grown women in our clan I wasn't too concerned when my cycle started to dwindle and finally stopped about seven months ago.  [Aren't you glad you are reading this?  I'm just a sharer. :)  What can I say?]

I thought I was experiencing the requisite hot and cold flashes and my family can attest to the fact that I wasn't exactly the easiest person to be around some days - my moods swung quicker than a pendulum on a clock.  I was up, I was down.  I was moody, giddy, depressed, weepy, happy and all this would take place before I even got the kids out the door to school.  Seriously.  Y'know, come to think of it - it probably explains the girls' profound interest in after school activities. Hmm.

To say the least - I was a mess, but we chalked it up to the 'ol menopause.  It would eventually end and I would be better balanced, right?

You would've thought.

Seems it wasn't menopause - it was a by product of how ill I had become and my body just decided that it would be a better idea to skip the whole 28 day cycle kind of thing and spare me the trouble.  At that point I needed all the iron rich cells I could get - I just didn't know it.

As an aside I should mention that even if we wanted to [and we don't] I am not allowed to have anymore children.  I was pretty darn sick with Wallene and it was pounded home that another pregnancy would have dire consequences on my health.  It helps that Pooldad is so freaking old that he didn't really relish the idea of being 70 at another child's high school graduation.  I should also add that if I was in the same room with either of my husbands a mere look could get me pregnant.  No kidding.  I was that fertile.

All that noted - What do you think is the best thing about having menopause?  Think about it.  Yes, that's right.  You don't have to worry about birth control.  YAY!  Spur of the moment takes on a whole new meaning when you don't have to fumble around in the dark, eh?  [still sharing here - bear with me.]

Now that my health has been somewhat renewed it was nice to go back to the thing we like to do the best, for free, - nudge, nudge, wink - with no fear of getting pregnant. Menopause was rocking my world up to that point.

Until I discovered that I actually didn't go through menopause or even perio menopause [whatever the heck that is] but that my body had simply shut down any and all female type activity for about seven months.

Imagine my shock when I realized that we have actually been tempting the fates oh'lo' these past few weeks.  When I finally overcame my surprise I called Pooldad at work to let him in on the good[?] news.

He said:  "You have got to be [expletive] kidding me."

She said:   "Those were the first words out of my mouth."

He said:  "So we totally missed the bullet on this one, eh Skip?"

She said:  "Totally."

He said:  "Does this mean we have to go through this again?"

She said:  "Probably. Wait. What?  Was I that bad?"

He said:  "Can you hold out until Wallene graduates?  Otherwise I think she may run away from home."

She said:  "Shut up."

He said:  "I'll be leaving with her."

She said:  "You're not funny."

He said:  "I am kidding honey.  I love you."

She said:  "You can sleep on the couch."

He said: "Has it started up again already? Wow.  That was quick."

She said:  "Now I am putting the couch in the backyard."

He said:  "Be nice."

She said:  "I am.  I am putting it under the overhang.  You won't get too wet."

He said:  "Well it was good while it lasted."

She said:  "I know, right?"



Monday, August 16, 2010

I Am Starting to Rethink My Position on This

My family takes good care of me.  They do just about everything for me and for that I am grateful.  Very, very grateful. Still - the better I feel the more I want to do.  For me, for them, for the pups.

I want to go up and down the stairs.  I want to walk the dogs.  I want to clean the kitchen and cook dinner, pack lunches, make snacks.  I want to do our laundry [okay, not really - but it sounds good] I even want to vacuum and dust [I love vacuuming!].

In essence I want to go back to the Mom in my moniker.  I want to be SkippyMom and not just the sick lady in the corner.

And? I have been doing a bang up job this past week.  Bang up being the operable word in that sentence.  Yes - I fell off the bike but I did manage to leave my cane at home to walk to the store - Yet?  I still keep wounding myself - Grace is definitely not my middle name.  y'know?

Case in point:

Pooldad came home from work about the time that Scooby needed to be let out for a pee break.  Not a walk mind you - just a quickie - and when he galloped back inside he started doing his happy dance for "da' waters" - He is a water dog, yes - but this dog LOVES water.  Put a steak and gallon bowl of water in front of him and he would completely ignore the steak.

We give Scooby his water on the back porch because he is a big, fat, messy drinker.  Today I popped up and went to grab his bowl to fill it and took it outside, set it down and let him slurp his way through it.

The whole time Pooldad is protesting, saying to me, "I'll get that honey.  Honey! I'll DO IT. Sit down please."

But I want to do it myself.  My dog too.  And it is a simple task, short walk, light lifting.  I can do this.

One would think.

When I turned to come back inside I clipped the threshhold of the porch door with my right foot.  Hard.  My middle three toes instantly started to swell and I limped over to my chair, tears in my eyes - trying not to scream.  Jammed toes hurt.  I know they go a long way to keeping us upright, but I am forever running them into something.  Was there not a better model design for feet than this? [God? I am talking to you.]

Pooldad's response? "I told you I would get it for him."  And I slapped him. heehee - because he made me laugh.  But....

It happened again 10 minutes later.  On my chair when I got up to get a drink.  Slammed the same 3 toes right into the leg of the chair.

Wallene's response?  "Mama I would've gotten that for you."

Yes.  I know.  I know they would do whatever it is for me and not be bothered by it - but I want to do it.

Now I am back using my cane [Yay for the cane!] but really?  I think it is better if I just stay seated and let them do what they do and want to do.

I think I am a danger to myself. hee

You Leave Them Alone For ONE Second.....

And they go and grow up on you
How did this happen?  

We sent Squirrel off today to shop for school clothes and she did great - including the lil' number pictured above. [This is not to be confused with something she is going to wear to class.  She is going to wear this to a....uh....that thing....out on a date perhaps?.....oh, hell if I know.  She liked it.]

So? Um. Wow.  Her Father is still trying to recover.  I am sure at one point smelling salts were utilized.  I don't know.  I haven't opened my eyes for three hours.

But?  We have to let her move on and grow up and she is tickled with this dress.  That is good enough for me - and it does cover all her bits and pieces, so I didn't complain.

Well, not out loud, mind you.  I just smiled and said "Lovely darling." ::choke::

Then I went to my room, laid on my bed, curled myself into the fetal position and I prayed.

I prayed for God.
I prayed for our Country.

Most of all I prayed for a small, self contained fire that burned that dress to ashes.

::crickets::

That isn't going to happen is it?

Shit.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Walking With The Best of Them

A walk you say?  Why certainly

Our backyard
The playground 


More playground
Yesterday we sent the girls up to the store so Squirrel could purchase some necessary items for school.  While they were gone Pooldad and I decided to take the doggies on a walk.  Actually, let me rephrase that - Scooby decided he needed to "OMG Right now, Right now!" go out.  You don't argue with our little pony. :) So we leashed them up and started off through the neighborhood.

It was a spectacular evening.  80 degrees [in August! in VA!] a cool breeze. Perfect walking weather.  Now usually our walks are about 20 minutes long and about a half of a mile around our street. Last night I guess I was feeling frisky because I asked Pooldad if he wanted to walk to the store and meet up with the girls.  He agreed and off we went.

Maybe the bike riding [all 30 seconds of it] inspired me.  Or it was the beautiful weather.  Perhaps I am just feeling better.  Whatever it was it worked because the walk up to and back from the store is a little over 2 miles.  TWO MILES.  Yes I did.  I walked two miles without my cane. :) heehee

Some of the highlights of our trek:

  • Surprising the heck out of the kids while they were hanging out in Subway with their friends.  Mom?  What's Mom doing here? First question:  Where's the car?  Second question: You walked? YOU?
  • Finding out our local restaurant does let doggies on their patio.  YAY!  Funnily enough they made us take the dogs through the restaurant out to the patio.  I carried Spot, but you should have seen the people scramble out of the way for Scooby to come through with Pooldad.  Thankfully they unlocked the gate and we didn't have to leave back through the restaurant.
  • A cocktail tastes that much better when you are sitting with you favorite people, pups at your feet enjoying the cool evening breeze and watching the people go by.
  • You meet an AMAZING amount of people when you take your dogs into a restaurant
  •  Out of 10 people only two asked if Scooby was a Labrador Retriever.  The others asked or simply knew that he was a Chesapeake Bay.  [Sorry, but this dog does not look like a Lab.  Labs don't even come in his color. Or coat.]
  • Our waitress is one of the best we have ever had.  ::Hi Ashley!:: She was so sweet to bring the doggies water.
  • Spot seriously likes traffic.  She kept trying to get into the street while we were waiting to cross.  What is it with dachshunds and cars?
  • Pooldad remembered the muzzle for Spottie.  She doesn't bite, but she likes to bark.  A lot.  So we had to slip it on while we were on the patio because, y'know, frat boys? Need to be barked at.  What.ever dog.
  • Squirrel had gone off with her friends so we got stuck carrying all her purchases home.  Nothing too heavy, but I have to say: Nice trick Squirrel!  Thanks.
Yep.  That was our evening last night.  We took so long over cocktails that by the time we got home and put dinner on we ate at 10:30.

I love the summertime.

[Pictures courtesy of Wallene]

Saturday, August 14, 2010

It's How I Roll [and then go THUD]

Everything went according to plan yesterday.  We went over to pick up the TV and DVD player from my old high school friend, who graciously gave us the "small world" discount of $50 for both [woot!] and then Pooldad and Wallene picked up Squirrel's bike - which is going to be her birthday present.  I also got a discount on this as the woman wanted $65 but sold it to me for $40!

Squirrel had left to go babysitting so when Pooldad and Wallene arrived home I went outside to get a good look at her present.  Nice.  Very nice. A little soap and water, some armor all and it will look brand new. YAY!

I asked Wallene to ride it to see how it felt.  She hopped on but the seat was a bit high and she only rode it for a minute.  After she dismounted I said to Pooldad that I was going to try it out.  He just stared at me.

Me?  Cane lady?  Takes each step one at a time woman?  The crip'? [I get to say it - it's my disease :)]

Yes, ME.

Big mistake. Big. HUGE. [Why Yes, yes I do channel Julia Roberts on an almost daily basis. Thank you.]

Getting on the bike wasn't much of a problem - the seat was a bit high for me too, but I am long legged - so I hopped aboard and slowly took off out of our driveway.  I peddled up the hill about a half of a block, turned, coasted back towards the house turned again and pulled back into the driveway to my adoring family and a neighbor.  Pooldad looked so happy that I could actually ride the bike [and not pass out, I think].  He started towards me as I stopped the bike.  Before I could swing my leg around and dismount I lost my balance and fell smack dab onto the concrete driveway with the bike on top of me.

Graceful?  Who said anything about graceful?

My glasses flew off, as did my hat and I had somehow managed to land on my left hip and scratch my left elbow, but had a huge scrape on my right knee.  When I go down I cover ALL the bases - let me tell ya'.  I laid there contemplating how best to get up while Pooldad tried to extract me from the bike.  Poor Wallene and her lil' friend we just standing there, mouths open, not knowing quite what to do.

When I finally stood up [ouch] I turned to Wallene's lil' friend and said "Sorry about that Katie - but they seemed to have removed Mrs. Skippy's coordination while she was in the hospital."  Pooldad just looked at me and shook his head as if to say "Coordination?  What coordination?  You never had any to begin with."  [it's true]

I am fine - just a little banged up and with a baby bruise to the ol' ego, but for one minute, just one, I got to forget I am sick.

And THAT tadpoles?  Was AWESOME!

Friday, August 13, 2010

I Forgot to Show You the Back of The Cow Glass


Heehee

Blogs Of Substance

The nice Olde Bagg has kindly given me a shout out as a "Blog of Substance".  I was surprised, but happy all the same, that my friend thinks my lil' ol' blog amounts to something more than just my rambling stream of consciousness in an otherwise mundane world.

In turn I shall have to follow the rules:
  1. Thank the person who gave me the award - Thank you again Linda!  Love and Hugs!
  2. Write the reason why I blog in 5 words:  Family.Friendship.Laughter.Knowledge.Belonging.
  3. Name 5 other Blogs of Substance and the reasons why you chose them
  • Just Humor Me - Diane makes me laugh.  Hard. Everyday.  She has a keen eye on life and finds humor in everything - even babysitting! I want to be Diane when I grow up.
  • Raising Redheads - Amy and her husband Tom are raising two of the sweetest kidlets you could ever hope to meet.  Amy's skill as a photographer is spectacular - I could look at her artwork all day long.  I keep telling her she needs to publish a book, but does she listen? No. :) I want my book Amy.  I need the book. heehee
  • The Middle Side of Life - Teresa is my long lost sister and Ron [her husband] is the best "brother in law" anyone could hope to have.  Their life is a testament to faith, perseverance and strength.  I have no idea how they do it - but they do - with aplomb.  They are inspiring in so many ways.
  • The Knitting Nurse - Rudee is my rock.  I can always count on a kind word or a sage piece of advice. In addition to being a great friend, she is an amazing artist with her knitting and her Leo?  Well  you just have to visit once to fall in love with Leo.
  • Dance Like There is No Tomorrow and My Day - I cheated a little here but Tessa and Tina know why - I feel like we are the three Musketeers.  The are an inspiring pair and in turn they support me while I try to support them.  I couldn't have one without the other - and I admire them both.
Now I think it is entirely unfair that I could only pick six five - because my blogroll is filled with my friends and blogs of substance - and there are so many more I would like to have on this list - My favorite Christian Dad, Jeannie [who ALWAYS tells it like it is :)], Michaela who brings the Aussie sunshine into my home everyday, and mi who I have known forever [seems like] and quite the talented writer.  Oh and Terese! [Farm antics at it's best!] and how about the gang at Grub Grade or Yum?  The most talented Ellen Abbott? Quandle and kathy? And who can forget Phelan. My God!  Do you see?  You ALL bring something to my world and I want to include you all - you are the greatest [and probably most diverse!] group of friends a woman can hope to have.

And Marni - my longest and bestest friend - you deserve this award just as much anyone my lil' southern belle - but you need to blog more woman! :) I miss you.

Consider yourself picked as a blog of substance.  I love you all.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Why Else Would You Own A Cow Glass?

But to make milkshakes, of course.

I bought this beauty at the dollar store along with a sheep glass.  
It's the little things tadpoles.  I am telling ya'. 
The little things.

Keep smiling.

It's A Small World

We have been trying to square away everything Squirrel needs before she leaves for college next week.  Arduous task as you all probably know.  Thanks for all the ideas on things I know I am forgetting - I have added them to the list.

Squirrel turns 18 the day before she leaves for school and we wanted to get her something nice for her birthday and we decided on either a bicycle or a TV/DVD player.  She really needs the bicycle but since her roommate is bringing the refrigerator we agreed to provide the TV.  We were going to share a microwave but the girls can't have one in their room. With all the other expenses we have we didn't think we could afford both the bike and TV.

Enter Craigslist.  

I found two bikes for sale in our neighborhood that would be perfect for her and one is even her school colors which is no small feat considering what her school colors are. YAY Score one for Skippy.

Better yet I found a TV and DVD player for sale a few blocks from our home.  When I emailed the person [on Craigslist the first email is anonymous] I inquired if they were still available.  The owner promptly responded and said they were but what caught my eye was the man's name.  Not too common of a name and that is when I realized the guy was my locker buddy for 6 years in middle school and high school.  I was so excited - I hadn't realized we lived so close.

We are going over to look at it this evening.  

I am definitely asking for an alumni discount. :)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

When You Know Your Child Has Awesome Friends

Remember when our 17 year old, Squirrel, met the cute, soon to be in the Air Force, guy at Dunkin Donuts?

Seems he gave her his phone number and since then they have been texting back and forth, but haven't met up to hang out or go on a date as Squirrel has been too busy and was in Rhode Island for a week.

This is the second year that Squirrel has gone to Rhode Island with Andi - her best friend from high school.  She has the best time and we love Andi - she is a sweetie and her parents are truly nice folks.

While in Rhode Island Squirrel received a text from Mr. DD at 3 am which woke her up, but she ignored.  It was a "HEY! How's it going?" type of text - but no one bothers Princess Squirrel when she is sleeping and he didn't get a response.  She simply fell back asleep.

The next morning she received another text from Mr. DD and it said:

"I am SO HUNGOVER.  When are we going to get together and hang out?"

Squirrel freaked out a little and asked Andi what, if anything, she should respond.  Andi, as best friends do, snatched Squirrel's phone out  of her hands and typed back:

"Have fun in the Air Force.  Try and stay sober."

I love that girl.

I'm Flipping You Off....

...inadvertently of course. heehee

All the swelling of ye' olde joints has subsided with the exception of the middle finger on each hand.  Nice, eh?  While chatting with Wallene this afternoon I was holding a pen correctly except my middle finger was sticking straight out [can't bend it] and she asked about it.  Being the dutiful Mother I raised both my hands, palms inward, and illustrated the stiffness by bending my eight other digits while the two in the middle stood proud. HA!  Wallene started laughing and said "Mom you do realize you just double, um....gave me the birdie?"  Why yes.  Yes I did. Ooops.  I don't think I have ever done that intentionally to any soul so I wasn't quite aware of what I was doing - but she thought it was hysterical.

And in other news:

Big THANKS - first for all the advice on the poison ivy.  You guys are amazing - it is getting much better.  YAY.  I have not itched once since that post.

And the suggestions for the luncheon tomorrow were awesome!  They voted in sloppy joes.  We made a garden fresh salad [Noni's tomatoes and RI cucumbers] with onion, herb and vinagrette, plus chips, pickles and cupcakes ala' Wallene.  Good?  I figure - free? Free is good. :)  They like free food.

Still awake at 3:30 - Netflix is entertaining me with some really good movies - I am trying to stay awake for "Life as a House" - so will see you in the afternoon!

Have the best Wednesday you can.