Sunday, January 29, 2012

Just When You Think It is Safe to Sigh in Relief. . .

My Mom's house. South Carolina
One of my stupid-ass siblings goes and does something else illegal.  And I am left to clean it up.

I am sure some of you wonder why I don't talk about the family that I was born into.  Y'know - my Dad, Mom, sister and brother?  It's easy enough to explain - my parents are dead and my sister and brother have cornered the markets on bad parenting, illegal dealings and drug addictions.  I do not say any of that lightly or with exaggeration - they just are not people I have ever wanted in my life or that of the family I was lucky enough to marry into and am raising.  Believe me, I have given them the chance - over and over again - but eventually their "lifestyle choices" prove to be too much [even for me] and *poof* they're gone.

The "fun" in the dysfunction this time concerns my sister.  Our mother died in September, 2010.  Not unexpectedly because she had been quite ill for a long time so the funerals [yes plural - she had to have two] went smoothly.  My sister was named executor of our mother's estate and it should've been settled and dispersed by May, 2011.  As my sister went over the paperwork she discovered some shady dealings on our brother's part, plus a large sum of money missing.  No worries - our mother had disinherited dear old Jeffrey - and the rest was left to Laura and me.  Included in the bequeaths were specific pieces of jewelry for me, my sister and all of our mother's granddaughters.

No problem, right?  Not in this family.  For reasons unbeknownst to me my sister stopped dealing with the estate.  Then she stopped speaking to us.  All of us.  In fact, I haven't spoken/talked by email with her since early last year.

I would never had known there was no one taking care of the final paperwork had I not called the probate office in South Carolina [FAIL S.C.] only to be told that the person taking care of the paperwork had been fired in January, 2010 and my sister had made no effort to move forward with settling the estate.  They gave me the run around for approximately 2 months until they finally removed my sister as executor and informed me that "we" now had to petition for a new one. [Who is this "we" you speak of?]

Three guesses who was left on the will who was of legal age [not a grandchild] and capable of assuming the responsibilities?

Ah. . .Tadpoles - you got it.  Me.  Now I don't know so much about the capable part [I kid] but I'm it.  It took me FOUR months mailing the same piece of paperwork back and forth to South Carolina [BIG FAIL S.C.] to finally be named the executor of the estate. I had to do it though, otherwise it would've been given over to the crook Jeffrey as he is older than  me.

Now the fun begins ::hack, hack, cough *hairball*:: I get to find out exactly how much my sister has stolen from the estate - including, but not limited to, our mother's savings, the furniture in the home and all of the jewelry that was given to me, Squirrel and Wallene in the will.

I already know I have to sue brother dear for the $70,000 he owes the estate [thank god for notarized promissary notes drawn up by lawyers] but now I have to track down and sue Laura too?  He can't be put in jail, but she most certainly can if she can't produce a record of where the monies are, the contents of the house and the pieces given to my family.

In the meantime we have to travel to South Carolina and change the locks on the house, go through the storage unit, the bank accounts and do an inventory of what [if any] is left.  Pooldad has a four day weekend coming up, so we will be road tripping here shortly.

Did I happen to mention I am on complete bedrest for the foreseeable future?

I don't know why I have to write this, but I will - I want to make this perfectly clear:  This is not about money.  This is all about years of abuse at the hands of these two losers and the fact that they mistreated my mother while she was alive and have dishonored her wishes in death.  If it wasn't for the sanity and enormous amounts of love and understanding my husband [his parents] and our kids provide me with I have no idea where I would be now. I thank my lucky stars everyday that I have them.

Wish me luck Tadpoles.  If nothing else - it promises to make for interesting blog fodder.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Truth is Thursday. . .

Truth is. . .this is a picture of Pooldad and his younger brother.  Very handsome, I say.

Truth is. . .Pooldad and his brother have the best relationship.  They have been close since birth and they are  the best of friends, even half a century later.  It's nice.

Truth is . . .the mock turtleneck and sweater Pooldad is wearing are two of the gifts I bought him from Land's End for Christmas.  The picture doesn't do them just, but they are so, so nice [and soft]. I still marvel at how little I paid for both with free shipping.  Love a bargain. :D

~ ~ ~

Truth is. . .being on 100% bedrest is boring. B-O-R-I-N-G.  I suppose it could be worse [hey! I am still alive, bonus!] but my days consist of TV, the internet, books, the phone and sleep.

Truth is. . .in an effort to combat the boredom I have registered for 4 college classes. Hopefully this will keep me entertained. :)

Truth is. . .since my first college major was a BSLA in Languages and Linguistics, this go round I am taking math and sciences.  This should prove to be interesting.

Truth is. . .I have a whole lot more I want to write, but I am fading.  Time to lay down.

Have a great one Tadpoles.  It's almost the weekend. Woohoo!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I Believe It. . .Doesn't Make It Any Less Stupid

picture credit
A new study out today shows that Americans, on average, spend more on coffee and lunch during the year than they do on commuting to/from work.
Over half of the respondents spent over $1,000 per year on coffee and two thirds spent over $2,000 on lunch while working.
I have always known Starbucks and other coffee shops to be very expensive for what they sell.  I think $5 for a coffee is just ridiculous when you can  make better coffee at home for a fifth of the price [takes less time too]. But  I was shocked, having not eaten fast food in so long, just how expensive that has become.  We took Squirrel back to school last week and stopped at Wendy's to grab lunch. WOW.  We ordered 4 #1s - which is 4 hamburgers [no cheese], 4 sodas and 4 french fries.  The total was $24! And that is the smallest "meal" they have on the menu.  So, combining the coffee and the lunch [for one] that is $55 per week.  Don't these people realize how well one person can eat on that amount, per week?  Multiply $55 by a family of 4 and you have a $220 per week to budget for groceries and home brewed coffee.

That is a pretty nice budget folks.

I hope that the people that are complaining that they are broke or that all their money problems are due to the current administration see themselves in this survey and realize that they are throwing their money away.  Buy a thermal coffee mug, some fancy creamer and pack the leftovers from last night's dinner.  

Then you can fairly gripe that you have no money.

Friday, January 20, 2012

Goodbye Scoobers.
We'll miss you buddy.
I am so sorry.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Truth is Thursday. . .

Truth is. . .I have been craving a BLT and tater tots.  Let's just say. . .they were delicious.

For Tony - so he knows what a tater tot is. :)

Truth is. . .I have been trying to find things to keep myself occupied from bed, so I took over the household finances.  Pooldad is thrilled and we have managed to put $450 in savings since January 1st. Nice way to start the new year.

Truth is. . .I have a heart specialist appointment tomorrow.  I am not looking forward to that, especially when they do my blood counts. BAH!

Truth is. . .at least we have "Movie Night" to look forward to. . .any suggestions for a DVD we can rent? And what would be good for dinner? Thanks!

Truth is. . .we signed Wallene up for Marching Band Camp this summer.  The funniest part?  It is a week long, sleepover camp that is being held at ::drumroll:: her sister's university!  AND her lodging is in her sister's current dorm. Coincidence?  I don't know. . .[Squirrel won't be there, but still. . .]

Truth is. . .if you no longer have the suffix "-teen" [i.e. sixteen, seventeen. . .] attached to your age you shouldn't be referring to your parents as "the 'rents".  Just saying.

Truth is. . .I have sat upright long enough. Time to lay back down Tadpoles.  Hope y'all have a good weekend.

See ya' on the flipside!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012


Although Squirrel had just returned to college on Sunday, January 8th, she insisted that she come back home for her Great Grandmother's birthday party on Saturday, January 14th.  Even with a new semester underway and all the stuff that goes along with that her Daddy picked her up Friday night.

You would think she hadn't been home for a month just a mere week ago because her and Wallene were thick as thieves all weekend.  They are 5 years apart in age, but they get along so well.  We were a little concerned when I was pregnant with Wallene that Squirrel might be a bit jealous being replaced as the "baby" of the family, but it simply never happened. [Score!]

Besides the party on Saturday, these two spent the entire 3 day weekend studying.  They spread out over the family room [next to the kitchen] and studied, studied, studied - and ate - and then studied some more.

Imagine the smile on my face when I found the note Squirrel left for Wallene before she left yesterday:
The "You is kind..." quote is from the movie "The Help" that we watched last week. Sniff, sniff...

I can honestly say I have no idea how much Pooldad and I influenced how these two treat eachother and how close they are, but I will say it really warms my heart.  I am so happy that, no matter what, they have eachother.

Now I can't wait for Spring Break. Woohoo!
Have a good one Tadpoles.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Nice Weekend

On the way to the party!
 The 100 year old birthday girl with her great granddaughters!
 G'night~we're tired!
[Scooby misses his Momma.
 This is as far as he is willing to sneak in the bed tho' b/c Pooldad is in the room. heehee]
Have a great week Tadpoles. See ya on the flipside!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Overheard at Our Local Mechanic's Shop

Pooldad:  "Hey Jim!  I brought the van in for you to take a look at that belt I told you was squeaking."

Jim:  "No problem.  Pull it into bay # 1 and I'll have a look."

Pooldad pulls the van in and Jim pops the hood.  He pokes around for a few seconds.

Jim:  "I can tell you right now what's wrong.  That's the wrong belt on there. No wonder it was squeaking."

Pooldad:  "That's good Jim.  You're the one that installed it."


Friday, January 13, 2012

My Kind of Friday Night

Squirrel is on her way home with her Dad. [Bonus! She has only been gone 5 days. heehee]  She normally wouldn't come home so soon after school begins a new term, but she had a very important reason:

All preparations are in place for Pooldad's Grandmother's 100th birthday party tomorrow. [Thanks to my wonderful MIL] And yes, that does say 100! Woot!

Before falling asleep [High School is hard work dontcha' know?] Wallene made me a delicious smoothie for dinner. Frozen mixed berries, banana, Greek strawberry yogurt and a splash of o.j. Cheap, almost no sodium, low in calories and so filling - not to mention tasty. YUM.

The family will eat a late dinner of beef stroganoff [I wish] and we will get in bed early for the festivities tomorrow.

Happy Friday the 13th Tadpoles.  Enjoy your weekend. :)

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

This Actually Works!

My beloved MIL forwarded this to me today and I tho' I am always skeptical of email forwards, this actually works.

It is a video showing how to sharpen your knives.  I hate dull knives, don't you?  But I am too cheap and lazy to have them professionally sharpened. I was thrilled that I can do this anytime in the comfort of my own home.

I even own the knife they show in the video.  It isn't an expensive knife - just one I received in a give away at my local grocery store. It is my favorite knife.

Enjoy! [The video is incredibly short and you don't need the volume if you are at work.]

Monday, January 9, 2012

The Cupboards are Bare

But never fear!  It is free grocery week. ::skippyhappydance::

We have $100 gift card to our local grocery store [courtesy of Pooldad being on call this weekend] and we need to restock our pantry and freezer.  We are pretty low on everything due to the fact that I haven't been up to a big grocery shopping trip in a few months.  Supplies do tend to dwindle. heehee

I do not like this "running on nearly empty" so tomorrow is the day.  Any suggestions on what you would stock to have the basics on hand for weekly meals?  I usually plan one to two weeks ahead and your ideas would be greatly appreciated. :)

Also any money saving tips would be wonderful.  I know that groceries have gone sky high in the past year but with the inability to grow our own vegetables [to can] or raise livestock we are at the mercy of our local grocers.  That is why the gift card is so sweet. :)

I am kind of excited to go and find some deals. I am off to check the weekly flyer, on line specials and my coupon stash.  Hope y'all have a good one!  See ya' on the flipside.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Previously. . .

In my previous post I could not figure out an abbreviation I had written on my calendar.  After staring at it all day I figured out I can't read my own handwriting. ::headdesk::


Instead of "organize ppnk" as I originally thought, it actually says "organize ppwk" which stands for PAPERWORK".  Which makes total sense.

Thanks for all your suggestions. I promise to have another game where someone can win $5 CAN. :)

And before I get asked about the weird entries on my calendar let me just say that I plan my days this way to give me something to look forward to do each day, otherwise I would spend all day in bed with nothing to occupy my time. I need a daily goal beyond "make breakfast & lunch.  It's the simple things Tadpoles. heehee - Oh and I just noticed there is no date night on the 21st because my "date" has his annual business trip.

Here is what we did for "movie night" last night:

The girls rearranged the family room to make it movie theater style seating.  It was almost like the "Three Bears" -
 The girls sat on the loveseat.
 Momma's chair on the left/Dad's on the right.
And everyone had a great view of the screen.

We ate [carryout] fried chicken with the fixins' for dinner [in our chairs! woohoo! <----that's us living dangerously.  The dogs were happy.] 

We watched "Grease" [family favorite] and "The Help" [$1.25 rental].  If you have not seen "The Help" please do - and bring along a lot of tissues. We were all crying.  Even happy go lucky Wallene was tearing up.  She said "This movie is so great, it's terrible!"  It really is an amazing movie.  It is worth movie ticket prices it is that good.  

Of course we had buckets of popcorn with our favorite candy during the movies.  It really was just like going out, but for a fraction of the cost. YAY!  Tho' I was ready for bed at midnight. :)

We are having Squirrel's pick for dinner tonight - smoked chicken and turkey with beans, coleslaw and butt rolls. heehee - It is the shape of the rolls that gave them their "unique" name. And we are having cupcakes for dessert.  I know I will be ready for bed a whole lot earlier tonight. Tomorrow is big trip day.

Hope y'all have a nice rest of the weekend.  See ya' on the flipside.

I Just Don't KNOW

I have a calendar that I write down one thing a day, for the month, that I would like to accomplish. Fun stuff, chores, reminders. .  .

Simple stuff, but it helps me to have an ongoing list.

It does help except, it seems, when I abbreviate the task.  [Those calendar blocks are small, let me tell you! You have to abbreviate.]

For example:

On January 1st I dutifully filled in all thirty one days and have been checking off each day as I complete it.

This morning I looked at the calendar and imagine how perplexed I was to see I had written "Organize ppnk" for today.

Huh?  What in the world is "ppnk" and why does it need organizing?  This would make a whole heck of a lot more sense had I been on pain meds the day I wrote the list - but, I swear, I wasn't.

I just [obviously] have a very poor memory.

I will send 5 dollars CAN [yes, Canadian*] to the first person who can help me decipher what "ppnk" is.

'Cause hell if I know.

*You need not be Canadian to play.  I will still send you Canadian currency if you figure it out. :) Thanks!

Friday, January 6, 2012

Indulge Me

Although I don't know that I would be up to moving our home now, we are still searching for that ever elusive one story, ranch style home to better accommodate my mobility.  We have been on the hunt for over a year and so far?  Nothing.

Mostly the problems have been that the homes are located in areas that would become inaccessible once bad weather came - snow, rain, etc.  We like the mountains, but weren't too keen to live on the side of one, off of a "road" that had seen better days.  Call me spoiled, but I like blacktop to drive on. :)

We had narrowed our search to two towns south of where we currently live and our sales agent has been diligent, sending us a few listings every week.  But we weren't finding anything.

Yesterday afternoon I was bored so I went searching myself.  And I found one.  Actually I found THE one.

It is everything we want in a home.  3 br, 2 bath - one level living with a finished basement for extra space - equidistant between Pooldad's job and Squirrel's college - 6 acres, partially fenced with out buildings for horses, goats and chickens - new kitchen [that's a bonus] - on a paved road.  And the view?
The "backyard"

 Kind of seals the deal, doesn't it?

Even better is the mortgage would be $800 less than we are paying now. That would be such a relief and allow us a bigger cushion just "in case".

I would jump on the phone to my realtor right this second but [and it is a big but] I researched the public schools [specifically the high school] and they suck. Big. Low test scores, over crowding, higher drop out rate, teacher turnover. . .just to name  few of the differences between here and there.

I really don't think I have it in me to uproot Wallene from her beloved high school and all her friends to move an hour away from all she knows.

But a girl can dream, can't she? :D

Have a good one Tadpoles.  Glad it is the weekend, aren't you?

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Truth is Thursday. . .

Truth is. . .better late than never.

Truth is. .  .I really haven't had a whole lot to post about and have just been reading and leaving comments.

Truth is. . .I finally had to relent and take pain killers.  Those that know me know that I don't do this lightly because I really don't like them, but it has gotten to the point I have to - everything hurts and Alleve just wasn't cutting it anymore.

Truth is. . .wow!  One pill and I am loop-de-doo.  I feel like rubber, but bonus! Nothing hurts.  Then again, I am not too steady on my feet and my speech is a bit funny, but. . .nothing hurts.  I'll take it.

Truth is. . .I screwed up the day we were taking Squirrel back to school.  I thought it was in a week but it is actually Sunday. :(

Truth is. . .I laid in bed and cried for a half an hour.  I know she has to go back, but it doesn't mean I have to like it.

Truth is. . .it does help that Pooldad has tomorrow & Monday off. I love his winter work hours.

Truth is. . .Today would've been my Dad's 75th birthday.  I am sure he & my Mom are having a grand time of it.

Truth is. . .tomorrow is my FIL's 80th birthday.  He is one of the sharpest, most active 80 year olds I have ever met [next to my MIL]. You would think they are much younger than they are. They're awesome and I am lucky to have them in my life.

Truth is. . .we have even more birthdays this month. Busy, busy!

Truth is. . .I found a recipe for Tuscan Bean Soup made with smoked turkey legs. I gave it to the girls to make and they did, exactly as it was written.  Truth is?  It was awful.  The turkey legs/bean/veggie parts were good, but the recipe writer typo-ed and it called for 2 tablespoons of Italian seasoning.  I should've caught it because even I know that is too much, but I didn't and it sucked.  We will try it again with less seasoning.  At least the biscuits were good.

Truth is. . .Egg, ham and cheese biscuits for breakfast. Woot!

Truth is. . .I think it is time to put my loopy self to bed.  I am surprised I got this far.  Excuse the grammar & spelling. TYVM.

Wallene says "See ya' on the flipside."

Monday, January 2, 2012

Scalloped Potato Recipe

I received a few requests for the recipe to the scalloped potatoes I made yesterday.  Here it is. I hope you like it.
The picture makes them look cheesy.

[Please note these are scalloped potatoes, not au gratin, so they are made without cheese.*] 

5 large white potatoes, peeled and thinly sliced
3/4 cup chopped onion
3 tablespoons butter
1/4 cup flour
1 3/4 cups chicken broth [low sodium if you like]
2 tablespoons mayo
1/8 teaspoon pepper
3/4 teaspoon salt [I omit]

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

1.  In 2 1/2 quart casserole dish layer half of the potatoes.
2.  In skillet melt butter.  Saute onion in butter until soft and translucent.
3.  Add flour and stir until well mixed.
4.  Add chicken broth. Stir until thick and bubbly.  Stir in mayo and s & p.
5.  Pour half of mixture over potatoes.
6.  Layer remaining potatoes in dish.  Pour remaining mixture evenly over potatoes.
7.  Sprinkle top liberally with paprika.
8.  Cover.  Bake for 2 hours or until tender.

These will be very tender after 2 hours.

*If you would like cheesy "au gratin" potatoes you may melt shredded cheddar or velveta in with the mixture after it has thickened.  A cup to 1 1/2 cups should make it cheesy.


Is It Over?

Only 357 days until Christmas. . .


While cooking our New Year's dinner I turned to Pooldad and asked "Are we done cooking YET?"
He laughed because honestly it feels like we have been churning out big, home cooked, traditional meals, snacks, gifts and desserts since October.

Don't get me wrong - y'all know me. Next to eating, I love to cook.  The family loves to cook.  And yesterday's meal was no exception.  We went pantry diving and were able to have a scrumptious meal of smoked pork chops, scalloped potatoes, collards [had to buy these fresh - 99 cents/lb - bargain], yeast rolls and a chocolate bundt cake.

The scalloped potatoes and collards were new [to me] recipes, but wowser - they were both so delicious.
Pooldad smoked me a turkey leg to make the collards, which was wonderful because it has no sodium like a ham hock would.  There are no leftovers of these. :D
 My first attempt at homemade scalloped potatoes and I will never buy the boxed kind again. These were so easy to make and cheap!   I looked through a lot of recipes and this was the only one I found that didn't have any type of "Cream of . . . " soup in it.  Completely from scratch and oh, so good.  They do take two hours to bake, but they are definitely worth it.
 My plate.
I didn't even come close to finishing the chop, but I do know what I am having for lunch. :wink:
I didn't quite make it to the chocolate bundt cake.  I went to bed at 8 o'clock and slept through the night. Go me!

We have one more holiday visit today and then we can officially say goodbye to the 2011 season.  I am not sad to see it go as much as I am so happy I was here to enjoy it.  That's a big YIPPEEE!

Now, bring on 2012! I am ready.

I think.

Have a great week Tadpoles.  See ya' on the flipside.