Wednesday, March 31, 2010

I Can Hardly Believe It

I know I have been talking a lot about Squirrel's college pursuit lately and I hope you will bear with me, but I am giddy.

We received an initial letter of tuition awards today and seems she qualifies for her entire year [room, board and books] to be covered!!!

With all that is going on here at the Skippy Central I cannot tell you how happy [relieved] I am that I know that she can at least attend one of her choices. We should learn about her award to VA Tech next week. Since they are comprable in size and cost I am hoping that VA Tech comes close or covers too.

I don't know what the future holds and to be honest? I am scared but I can now rest a little easier knowing that a huge hurdle is out of the way.

Our Roadtrip

Virginia Tech -Blacksburg VA
Burris Hall
The white stones are the Memorial with each person's name engraved on them
The only picture they took of Squirrel on campus
In a classrooom, contemplating college
I don't know what this building is but I thought it was a neat walkway

Click to read

These are a few of the pictures from the Squirrel's VA Tech tour on Saturday. It is such a beautiful campus - all the buildings are built from the same quarry stone and the entire campus is surrounded by mountains - it is especially spectacular in the fall.
Since I couldn't go on the tour with them they took a bunch of pictures plus a video. If I had felt up to it the wheelchair wouldn't have been a problem as their tour guide, Michael, was also in one. He was really cute when he said "Just so you know I give the longest tours on campus." He was incredibly informative and answered every question.
I had asked Pooldad to take them to lunch in the dining hall after the tour but when they arrived they discovered it was "Steak and Lobster" Day and the place was packed! They didn't want to brave it so they came back and ate DQ instead. From what I can tell VA Tech has awesome dining options - the only thing that worries me is we pay a set price for a food plan but instead of being charged per meal [buffet style] - as I was in college - they are charged for exactly what they eat. Squirrel may run out of money in the first month eating bacon! I guess we are going to have a chat about exactly how much she can spend each day, eh?
They were able to see a model dorm room - which was neat - and from the video I can tell they haven't gotten any bigger!
It was incredibly successful for her and I really think she is leaning towards accepting. She is going to visit James Madison this weekend [it is 2.5 hours away] but I won't be going because it is going to be a day trip. [Just for comparison VA Tech is 4.5 hours away]. After that we only have one more Saturday to visit a campus before she has to decide. So, we shall see.
I should tell you about our hotel stay!
  • When I made the reservations on Thursday [soooo last minute] I spoke to the nicest front desk clerk named Samantha. We were on the phone for about 20 minutes - she could not have been sweeter. She put us on the first floor - bonus - and the original rate was $89 per night [which I thought was good for all the amentities they offered] but she gave us a 10 % discount because Pooldad is over 50. Bonus again!
  • Speaking of amentities - they are pet friendly with no size limitation [thank goodness] and pets are FREE. Absolutely FREE. I have never seen this. They also had FREE wi-fi, awesome cable with HBO and a FREE hot breakfast and we had a fridge and microwave in our room. I couldn't believe the deal.
  • Everyone was so nice and helpful. It was refreshing.
  • For a pet friendly hotel, and there were a LOT of dogs in house as they were sold out, it was incredibly quiet. We only heard one dog bark for about an hour but they promptly took care of it when someone complained [not me!]
  • The room was very clean if a little cramped with 4 people, 2 dogs and my chair - but we made do. Next time, if I still need it, we will definitely request a accessible room and leave Spot at home.

Speaking of Spot - and this is what we call Skippyfamily luck - we discovered right before we left that she was in heat. Grrr! How thrilled do you think she was to ride in a crate [which we had to buy before we left] for 4.5 hours? Whine, whine, whine. Agrhhhh.

Remember when I said DQ was a block away? Nope! It was right across the street, as in walking distance. YAY! An added perk was the Mexican restaurant adjacent to the hotel [The Mariachi] - WOW! The food was incredible and worth every penny. The people that owned it and worked there were so friendly and really gave you huge portions. I only ate a couple of bites each night [yes, we ate there twice that is how good it was!] because I wasn't quite sure of the salt content, but I was happy, happy and the family was thrilled.

Funny story about Wallene - the first night she had some yummy looking tacos and asked if I would like a bite. I told her when she had one bite left of the third one I would eat that. She happily munched away and a few minutes later I looked over at her. She was wrapping up her garbage, obviously forgetting the last bite was for me and suddenly she realized "Oops" - the look on her face was priceless. She peeked over at me hoping I hadn't noticed [or forgotten too?] and I just laughed. She felt so bad for eating them all - but it was fine - at least I knew they were good tacos, as were the enchiladas, burritos and fajitas. Even the french fries were delicious [I know! French fries at a Mexican place? One guess who ordered them - weirdo Wallene :D Nothing like tacos and FF]

I want to thank you for the nice comments on Wallene's picture. She is tickled. I think it is a neat pic' because she took it from the moving car and you can't tell. It was incredibly foggy when we left Blacksburg - so thick you could not see. It was a bit precarious for the first few miles but once we were on 81 it thinned out.

The kids were really good on the road trip part - they didn't ask to stop for lunch and only once for the bathroom so we made it in 4.5 hours which is just a bit much for me right now - but I really appreciated their thoughtfulness.

I am really happy we went but it will be a while before I attempt that again. I am thinking...August perhaps? :D

Monday, March 29, 2010

Teaching A Lesson or Just Mean?

I am a wee bit frustrated. With the Squirrel. Yeah - color everyone surprised.

I feel as though I have pulled my hair out, smoke has come out of my years and I am losing teeth enamel from grinding just to get this kid to do things that NEED to be done.

Whenever I give her a task and she forgets to do it I get upset. These are important tasks - graduation related tasks, college related tasks - things SHE has to do I can't and usually involve emails or a phone call. I am not looking for calligraphy on fancy stationary - fire up that computer and get going. Better yet? Spend as much time on the phone completing the important stuff as you do saying "LIKE" [Like Stacy said he was like so hot, like you don't even know] to your friends on the phone.

When I get upset she says to me "But Mom I get straight A's. Do you know how much work that takes?" Actually yes you little brat I do. Georgetown University didn't accept me with a 1.5 GPA. Her reasoning is since she does so well in school she is exempt from life outside of it. I am going batpoop insane over this.

So here is the latest - and not a major one if you take into consideration some of the Financial Aid deadlines she missed and oh! Please don't ask me about the Stanford deadline.

When we were driving home from HER weekend yesterday I asked her to please go online when we arrived home and using my credit card to PLEASE order her yearbook. I told her I simply wasn't up to it and needed to lay down for a while but it was the deadline and she needed to do it if she wanted a yearbook.

She has used my credit card plenty of times to order stuff on line - no big deal. But she forgot.

Big surprise. When she came downstairs to kiss us goodnight I told her that I had asked her to do something and she hadn't done it. She looked confused and asked me what it was. I told her I was not going to repeat myself [I swear sometimes I feel like a myhna bird with these guys] but she would be sorry come graduation.

Do you know she still has not figured out what it was?

Now here is the quandry - Because y'all know I ordered the stupid yearbook but do I tell her I did or do I tell her what exactly she forgot and let her think until yearbook distribution day she isn't getting one?

I know I sound harsh, but I am seriously leaning towards telling her what she forgot and let her think she isn't getting her senior yearbook.

Is that teaching her a lesson or is it just me being spiteful?

Sunday, March 28, 2010

There's No Place Like Home...

Fog in the VA mountains

Although Squirrel learned a lot and had a fabulous time on campus [whole point of the trip, right?] this picture [taken by Wallene on the way home] pretty much sums up how dank and dark this weekend turned out to be. I usually like the clouds in the mountains, but was so bone chilling cold and just yuck.

I learned that long car rides are a no-no, that you really do need a wheelchair accesible room when checking into a hotel [I didn't request one - the hotel was wonderful] and rest stop bathrooms for the walking-ly challenged really aren't suitable for a wheelchair. Sounds sobby doesn't it?

Really tho', it isn't why this weekend was so sad. I took my laptop for the kids to goof on and use for school - but I didn't want to be bothered by the 'net this weekend [no offense tadpoles] it is just I was miserable from the car ride and uncomfortable. Basically I was feeling sorry for myself. When the family went out to dinner on Saturday night I stayed back and clicked on the 'net.

Then I saw the simple title "Eva" in my email and I knew. Feeling sorry for myself is one thing - I do think I got a raw deal with the Lupus, but I ain't changing the world - Eva did. For anyone who as ever met Eva, read her blog or have seen her award winning documentary really understands what a raw deal is. Such a beautiful soul, life, person to be robbed of this world so soon and so painfully. What a fighter Eva is. And I know she is at peace and no longer in pain and for her to live would mean someone else would've have to die - but really? This world is a poorer place because Eva isn't here anymore and there simply aren't more people like her.

I want to write so much more - I want the diseases that are killing special people like her cured - hell I want to stop crying [about life in general]. But you can't always get what you want - right?

Thanks for listening. And thank you for the kind words on the last post.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Lovely Eva

Passed away this morning at 9:30.

Please keep her parents, family and friends in your thoughts and prayers.

We will miss you Eva. We love you.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

I Am Going to Dairy Queen....

And you're not!
We are going to College hop this weekend. Since we will be staying in a hotel with no kitchen it will eating out and eating free hot breakfast. We don't eat out often [in fact I can't remember the last time] but my two favorite, all time fast foods are Roy Roger's for lunch and dinner and DQ for dessert. YUM.

So what do you suppose the first thing Skippy did? Yep! Checked for locations of both. Unfortunately the closest Roy's is 30 minutes from... wait for it ... our HOME ... lol the irony! -but, but I was so excited to find that the closest DQ to our hotel is less than one block away. Wee Haa!

I am going to eat my weight in vanilla cones [as soon as I check the sodium content. Didn't think about that ... oops] ETA: 100 mg with the cone for a small - 90 mg without the cone - not too bad since a small is all I can eat - but still 10 % of my daily intake :D

I do have to say that I am a bit scared that I will be away from home, in my wheelchair, for the first time, but I will have Pooldad and the girls - plus the added bonus of the pups too [the hotel takes them for free! woot!!] If I become too tired I can always lay down, have furry company and the gang can go explore.

Another added bonus? The hotel is right across the street from a hospital. :D - I didn't plan that tho' - DQ proximity was so much more important don'tcha' know?

Monday, March 22, 2010

What A Nice Way to End the Weekend!

I won!

One of my daily reads is GrubGrade. It is a Foodie blog and they review Fast Food restaurants - I especially love anytime Roy Rogers is mentioned. It is my favorite fast food, but we don't have one too close [30 minutes away] and most of them have been shut down. :( But I will happily drive to use their fixin's bar and they have the absolute best french fries.

I digress.

Anyway - about winning - I am the lucky recipient of a $10 SONIC gift card. If you aren't familiar with SONIC it is a neat chain that you drive into and are fed in your car. The food is pretty good and the drinks are awesome, as are the desserts.

I can't wait to take Pooldad on a date night when I feel better. Thanks GG for gifting me. It really was a nice thing and made my whole week.

Friday, March 19, 2010

You're Kidding, Right?

Health Insurance review time at Pooldad's work.

They offered us the deal of 37% of Pooldad's take home pay per month for 4 people.


Allow me to let you in on a little secret - I didn't post Pooldad's salary or the cost of the insurance for a reason - but the tidbit? He makes a nice salary - he has been doing this job for over 30 years - so imagine what 37% is.

To cover just us [Pooldad and I] is half of that - so they want almost 20 percent?

WHAT is going on? This is ridiculous.

Oh, and his bosses told him they were covering part of the cost! Yah, right.

Thursday, March 18, 2010

I Understand the Point, But....

....I hate the Census.

Does everyone have their lovely little copy of who lives where?
Need funding for the infrastructure now, don't we?

I barely write this in the interest of being a good American....

I let my 12 year old fill ours out.

Hey! It worked.

The only thing she had to confirm was our race.

Child? There is a mirror 20 feet from you. I am pretty sure you can make an educated guess.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Da' P[l]ain....Da' P[l]ain....

Here is your pic'. See why I don't post pics of myself now?
-It is the pain tadpoles.
-No energy left here.
-I can manage a few comments [on my tadpoles' blogs] a day - but mostly I sleep and try not move. It simply hurts too much and there is nothing I want them [the doctors] to do. I don't want to go into the hospital.
-I have a stack of notecards sitting here I have no energy to write, address or stamp.
-I have several blog posts I want to write but I can't. I am too tired and sucked out.
-Oh, hell....I would be happy to sweep the floor or peel potatoes for dinner.
-I would be thrilled to EAT dinner.

Sorry - I don't do feeling sorry for myself very well and I don't want to hear it. Okay?

I love you guys more than you know and I think of you often. I see the pretty weather outside and I can't get there. I lay in my bed and know....I want to thank you all for the pretty pics and the nice posts about Spring. It is nice. Thank you.

I am so tired and so in pain. I never thought life could be like this. And it hurts more that no one understands how awful this is. Everyone that lives here thinks "Mom will come back, no worries" even Pooldad. I understand the kids but not him.

The Lupus has crossed the threshhold and it ain't going back. And he knows it. The girls don't.

Hugs to y'all.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Doing Donuts in the Wheelchair Tonight

The Squirrel was accepted to Virginia Tech today in Biological Sciences. HA!

I am SO excited and she doesn't even know yet. She is at her final band concert at the school tonight. [She is going to be a weeeeeee bit upset when she finds out I opened her letter, but I couldn't wait. Right? That is okay....right? heehee.]

I know a lot of you recognize VA Tech for a very sad occurrence in their history [the shootings] but to us in VA this is a very big deal. It is one of our best schools for sciences and students that want to go on to the medical/veternarian field - not to mention the best Technical college we have.

Woohoo my girlie - I am so proud of you.

Okay - off to spin a little more. This is fun! WOOHOO!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Internet Shopping. What's Not to Love?

Look at these adorable angel ornaments!
I bought them for the kids for Christmas. They are little works of crochet art and so much prettier in person. The picture just does not do them justice.

Each is unique. I will write the year and kids' names on the clothspin.
I found them at Santa's Stitchery.

Now THIS is a hat Tadpoles.
I stumbled upon Annie's site while reading her husband's blog.
I am so thrilled!
The hat is mine IF I can get it off of her head. It is so soft, comfortable and did I say SOFT?
She will custom make any color you want. We already picked out the girl's colors and I am going for a yellow hat with a flower and a brim.
I love it. I wear hats all the time because of my hair and I am cold, but now I get to feel pretty doing it. Thank you Annie!!
So what have you bought recently?

Monday, March 8, 2010

Do You Listen?

We have had Comcast cable/phone/internet for two years. Let me repeat that TWO YEARS.

In two years we have been unable to access our voicemail which is provided with our phone service and we are charged for. Let me repeat that WE COULD NOT ACCESS OUR VOICEMAIL.

I finally straightened everything out with Comcast last week and I can now access my voicemail. [Oh, so lucky me as you are to find out. Sigh]
The box holds a total of 200 messages at a time [why?] and if it exceeds that number it will drop the overload.

I wasn't incredibly surprised that I had 200 messages to go through and delete - but I was unprepared for the people I heard on my voice mailbox.

Realize that I told friends and close family members the following [repeatedly]: "If we do not answer the phone please DO NOT leave a message as I cannot access our voicemail and I won't be able to know you called. It is a waste of time."

Everyone understood and answered in the affirmative, as in "Oh, okay. I won't leave a message. I understand."

Unfortunately, for me, they didn't. Or they are so programmed to leave a message I seriously thought I would lose my mind last night trying to erase 200 messages. One of the biggest problems tho'? Comcast makes you listen to the ENTIRE MESSAGE before you can hit delete. Oh Joy.
Let me repeat that Comcast makes you listen to the ENTIRE MESSAGE. A small amount of math will give you an idea of how long I had the phone pressed to my ear last night.

But, much to my chagrin I found The Greatest Offender to leaving a message when I have told her umpteen times not to is my beloved MIL. I swear I cleared off at least 80 messages from her. L-O-N-G detailed messages. My own mother was the second greatest offender but she fell off from doing it sometime back in November [I credit the oxygen deprivation] so she isn't as bad. But c'mon - I love my MIL but I was ready to hop in the car at 11 pm last night and drive overnight to FL to strangle her for NOT LISTENING.

The voicemail is now empty, I can finally access it and you are all welcome to call me and if I don't answer, please, feel free to leave me a message.

Just don't get chatty. My ears are still bleeding from last night.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Happy Birthday My Baby

Our offspring situation is, at best, confusing. To try to explain one more time I will use me as the parent and name them off - hopefully it will make sense. I brought two children to my marriage to Pooldad - Jr and Squirrel. I inherited [happily] two lovely step children - Dee and Tee. Together Pooldad and I had a child - Wallene. So that is five children who are now in their 21st, 20th, 19th, 18th and 13th year.

The little beauty in the pic' above is my sixth child. She is actually the first child I ever gave birth to and it was 22 years ago on March 4th. Her name is Natalie Elizabeth and I was blessed with her life and presence for a mere 3 days. I call her my sixth because she always seems to be counted [by others] last, instead of first.

I think about her often and I can still picture her little baby face in my mind. Every year my family is gracious enough to make a cake or cupcakes and blow out a candle for her eventhough she isn't here with me anymore.

I hope this better explains when I speak of having six kids or raising five kids - it can get confusing, I suppose - but in my heart I am the Mom of six and I always will be.

I love you Natalie. Please know that Mommy is thinking of you today and wishing she could hold you just one more time. Happy Birthday Baby.

VROOOM! My New Wheels!

So what do you think? Spiffy, ain't it?

It really isn't so bad, but I am feeling pretty sorry for myself right now and I just can't kick this funk. I hate to not be skippy, but honestly the pain is completely wearing me down and to be reduced to transportation [other than my own motor power] to navigate my home? Not an incredibly happy day here in the pond.

On some positive notes: Who knew a wheelchair could be so comfortable? And this is only a rental. It is nice to have my feet somewhat elevated - helps with the pain and swelling, but the best part? This contraption wigs the dogs out. LOL. Everytime I wheel through the living room the big guy scatters and the nazi chases me and tries to chew my toes. It is like a fun obstacle course to the bathroom. I haven't mastered running over Spot yet, but I am trying. hee.

I let the girls goof around on it last night and they were timing themselves on a track through the living room/dining room/kitchen. I think Wallene wins the dexeterity award for handling a wheelchair.

On the low sodium diet front the meals are getting better as I find out more of what I can/cannot eat. Last night Pooldad made the most amazing chicken tenders just for me. There were 9 total and I swear I could've eaten every one, but I left seven for lunch and dinner today. They were so quick and easy!

I did actually have a nice night's sleep - I can't do the stairs anymore so I am sleeping in the living room [how fun] but it was very warm and comfortable and I managed to sleep 5.5 hours without waking up. The bags are still there, but I am feeling a bit more refreshed today. Bonus is I don't have to be away from the family and dogs by staying in my room all the time.

I wish you all a happy day full of love. Take care and talk to you soon.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Not a Happy Catholic

There are very few things in life that annoy me the way that hypocrisy does. Seriously - how many sides to your mouth do you have?

Today my problem is with our church. We are Catholic. Now we don't agree with everything the church throws down to us, but it is what it is and we try to be good members of our parrish. To be honest? I haven't met anyone of any religion who agrees with or follows every tenent of their faith - we aren't perfect, but we try.

Here is the backstory to my slow burn with the Pope, the Archdiocese of DC and just the hypocrites in general:

Today DC is allowing same sex marriage. Yes, I realize many of the tadpoles disagree with this and I respect that. Let's just agree to disagree and stay friends, 'kay? 'Kay. But [and it is a biggie] DC passed this law and therefore the couples who are married are now entitled to the same benefits as heterosexual couples who have always been allowed to legally married. These benefits include health insurance, life insurance, the rights to be with your ill loved one while they are in the hospital. Fair, right? Everyone should be able to pick who they want to be there and make those decisions and if you are in a long term relationship why shouldn't you be able to offer benefits from work for them?

Here is the Catholic Church's take on the whole thing: Starting today the Archdiocese of DC [boo!] has decided that NO ONE in their employ is able to add a spouse to their work sponsored Health and Life Insurance plan. This is an obvious move to keep the same sexers from getting what they should be entitled to under the new law.

I am really angry - to be this punitive because of a belief that isn't even IN the Bible? Everyone is punished because the Cardinal of DC has his vestements in a knot? This is ridiculous and wrong.

Sorry - as I said - many of you won't agree with this and I usually don't post about religion or politics but this just really heats me up. It isn't fair. To anyone. And it is especially hard as this is the Lenten season. I have to say I am not feeling very pious right now and I certainly am not in a Mass going mood.

Thanks for letting me vent - and THANK YOU for all the lovely comments on Wallene's hair - she is just tickled that y'all like it and everyone at school love it too.