Saturday, August 23, 2008

All Without Modern Conveniences, Don'tcha Know

So tomorrow, if all goes as planned, we're loading five of our six kids, and three friends, into two vehicles and going camping for eight days. On Wednesday, we'll be coming home to check on the bathroom remodeling progress, spend some time with Gabe(he has school), clean our churches (this is the part of being self-employed that sucks!), exchange dirty clothes for clean, and deposit friends with their respective families. The remainder of the week will be spent friend-free, technology-free, and hopefully, sunburn-free.

Yeah, the circus is leaving town.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Your Beer Goggles Are Broken

It isn't often that I consume alcoholic beverages, but on occasion, I partake of a certain refreshment that shall remain nameless but who's initials are ...

Tom prefers a tribute to Jimmy Buffett, and I will acquiesce if there isn't any Corona available.

We make NO apologies - we DO fruit the beer!

We live just 6 or 7 miles from a winery, but we don't think we're snooty enough to visit. We are, however, considering a recipe of our own, and if the smells wafting from our backyard are any indication, pear wine might not be a bad idea.

But no matter how you slice it, this is one beer you won't find either one of us slurping down on a hot summer day. This is simply a remnant - evidence, if you will - that we can indeed co-exist on this planet with our neighbor. We have a long and sullied history with the guy. He took a disliking to us upon realizing that we had no intentions of spending countless hours grooming our lawn to his specifications. We're hopeful that his offer to purchase a broken down riding lawn mower is a gesture toward an eventual peace treaty. He must not have had a pipe, but he did leave this can behind when he finished making repairs to the confounded contraption.

I say all this as a segue to a comical, and mostly one-sided, conversation that took place between me and a different neighbor one day last week. This little smidgen of a man is apparently a confirmed alcoholic. He's probably mid-40's, 150 pounds or less, and just slightly resembles a bird wearing thick spectacles. Clearly, he's as familiar with his way down the liquor aisle as he is unfamiliar with good pickup lines and/or compliments.

I was holding baby T. in my arms, strolling down the sidewalk for a short break from the house, attempting to calm her down. (She's a bit colic-y in the evenings, and while I might be able to wind down with a bit of imbibing, that's generally frowned upon in these parts for 5 week old babies.)

I didn't even see this gentleman sitting on his front steps until I heard him say "How old is the baby?". I told him she's a month old.

"Well, I hope it's a grandchild, 'cause you don't look old enough to have kids of your own."

Tuesday, August 12, 2008


I love a good bargain. I'm cheap that way. If you're in the market for home school paraphernalia, here's a good place to find lots of group buy discounted resources.

Until the end of August, Discovery Education has a huge discount on their streaming subscription. Alas, due to the condition of my computer, I won't be purchasing this particular item at this point, but I'd like to. My kids would love it! I need a new computer, first. It's on my list of Seriously Need to Think About Getting items. Right below Bigger Van, Dishwasher, Garbage Disposal, and Fourth Trash Can.

Who knew that adding 2 babies to your house would double the amount of trash a household can produce in a week!!

The computer alone is about to take up the space in one trash can! And you can just forget me being Environmentally Friendly and recycling this stupid thing! Going green is exactly what this heap-o-junk has done - every picture I see on this screen looks like the best man in my sister's wedding, which took place in a (non) air-conditioned church on a hot July afternoon.

It has me seeing red. Red and green combined produce brown. Brown is the color of...well, this is supposed to be a family-friendly joint, so we'll leave that word up to your imagination. But it's equivalent to how I endearingly speak of my computer.

Friday, August 8, 2008

There Once Was a Little Boy

6 years ago, he was 9.

Now he's 15.

Most days he can hardly wait till he's 18.

But for a few more very short years, I still get to make him Chicken Alfredo and No-Bake cookies. I still get to raise my eyebrows at his latest idea for a hair style. I still get to scowl when he whines about hanging out the laundry. I still get to enjoy clothes shopping with him. I still get to ground him for talking back. I still get to laugh at his jokes. I still get to help him tune his guitar. I still get to tell him goodnight each evening.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Monday, August 4, 2008

Short on Tolerance Today

This man has 2 months to lose some weight.

I like Brett Favre. His wife's name is Deanna. Maybe he should just stay home with her instead of screwing around with early retirement. I'd retire without squawking about my millions. But that's just me.

Our economy is not bad enough for many people to sit up and take notice. This proves it.

Did Obama really say this??? "There are some genuine ways in which we can provide some genuine relief to the high price in gas prices,'' Obama said today. "I believe we should give every working family in America a $1,000 energy rebate, and we should pay for it with part of the record profit that oil companies are making right now.'' I don't generally get my news from here, and I'm too lazy to search for this in other places, but I guess it does sound like his ideas. Now if only I can get my next-door neighbor convinced that he should share his retirement money with us, no matter how ill-gotten his gains!

Oh, good grief!

Sunday, August 3, 2008

"Whaaat's Goin' On, Haeeere???!!??!?"

This is evidence that we do indeed have a garden this year. Despite the fact that we have neglected to pull weeds, (thanks to the mosquito infestation in our town,) we've still been able to pull a few vegetables off the plants and scurry back in the house before we get Draculated and infected with West Nile Virus.

As you can see, the zucchini, yellow squash, and acorn squash have provided a meal or two for us. We're just starting to get tomatoes. (Tom put nearly 60 plants in the ground - if any of you are lycopene deficient, please stop by - we can help.) Our green beans fared miserably. At last count, we had picked a whopping 3 beans from the stems. Our apple tree is going to yield lots of apples - we'll have to dodge the bad spots, but they should make decent applesauce. The pear tree is about to fall over from all the fruit we're just about to start picking.

But here's where it starts gettin' weird. We have a compost pile near the garden. We toss all of our peelings, rinds, eggshells, coffee grounds, etc on the heap. We have some type of squash plant growing in the middle of the pile. It has a multitude of blooms on it, but absolutely nothing edible. We have another type of plant, resembling a zucchini plant, growing in the compost.

Savannah just picked this ...thing... today, from the zucchini-imposter plant.

We didn't know what it might be, but it was about the size and color of some small seedless watermelons we saw at Walmart yesterday. We bought some watermelon earlier this year, and of course threw the leftovers on the compost pile. It's not watermelon. It has the taste of eggplant - very bland and basically tasteless, actually. It has the texture of waited-too-long-to-pick zucchini - kinda spongy. It has the shape of watermelon. It has seeds in the pattern of cantaloupe. It's too weird to eat. I think I'll name him...Bambi.

Then there's these guys.

They are actually IN the garden on plants that are SUPPOSED to be cucumbers!! The inside looks, tastes, smells and feels like cucumbers. Obviously, the outside is yellow-orange. They are planted near, but not overly close to, carrots, watermelon, peppers, cantaloupe and yellow squash.

My green thumb is actually blue, and needs resuscitation. Leave it to me to have mutant vegetables!!!

SuperTom and the Case of the Pulled Plug

Let me begin by saying that the person who invented the karaoke machine should be drawn, quartered, hung by his toes, flogged, paper-cut, tarred-and-feathered, and forced to join the French Foreign Legion and be forever doomed to wearing those silly towels flapping from under his hat!!

We took the kids to see the fireworks at a nearby lake. It isn't easy loading lawn chairs, strollers, diaper bags, car seats, snack sacks, drinks, camera and of course, the kids, into our van, but we managed. The 20 minute drive went smoothly enough, but I should have known the minute I stepped out of the van that all was not well. One of the boys muttered to me "Mom, I don't know what kind of music these people are playing, but they need help!" - or something equally as frightening.

Apparently, there was a family reunion, or some such event taking place at the very public state park. This group of people had the bright idea to haul along The Singing Machine from Hell to "entertain" the unlucky attendees. We showed up as some poor sap was wailing "Crazy".

These people butchered everything from Patsy Cline to Elvis, Sara Evans to Gretchen Wilson. How can you butcher Gretchen Wilson??!!?? Most of her songs are already slaughtered and hung to dry!

Savannah's eyes couldn't have rolled much further back in her head. Preston and Bucky split with friends, without even pretending to sit with us for five seconds. The mosquitoes were pretty heavy, so I bundled the baby into her baby sling and Savannah and I set off to look for HER friends, leaving Tom to sit with Gabe and D. while darkness finished closing in.

Upon returning to our chosen location, I was surprised to hear the weeping, wailing and gnashing of teeth still happening. (I'm thinking that if the rich man asked God to send Abraham with ear plugs, instead of a drop of water, God might have had more mercy on him!) The mosquitoes were driving me insane, and the ...ahem...MUSIC...was pushing me right over the edge. I told Tom I would wait in the van.

The fireworks started a short time later, after the National Anthem was broadcast throughout the park. These people continued to sing during the explosions!! I could hear them with the windows shut! People were moving away; they weren't silently leaving - they were picking up chairs and stating their displeasure while they were going! Nothing deterred the crooners. They were giving it their all. I didn't see any alcohol sitting around, so they couldn't even attribute their indiscretions to the over consumption of libation!

I had managed to block out some of the concert, until I overheard someone screeching "I Miss Back Then" or something like that - This under-achieving, not-so-meaningful ballad had something to do with garden tools actually plucking out weeds, construction accessories actually being used to hold up dry wall, and how saying 'down with that' meant you'd been puking your guts out. Somewhere in the middle of this song, the noise stopped, but other than brilliantly stating 'thank you' to the back of the leather seat, I thought nothing of it. Until the fireworks were over, and Tom brought the kids and paraphernalia to the van to reload.

T - "Well, they know how I feel about their karaoke!"

D - "Oh? Why's that?"

T - "Because I jerked their orange extension cord out of the outlet!"

D - "Oh?"

T - "Yes! I'd had it!"

D - "What did you do?"

T - "They were singing some stupid song about a hoe; I walked over to the orange cord, followed it to the outlet, jerked it out and flung it across the yard. I heard one of them say, 'Well, that's it'."

D - falls off her chair, noting that Tom was wearing his Superman shirt when this went down...cackle...guffaw...choke...tells kids...they cackle...they ask Dad to re-enact the scene...

...the moral of the story? Obviously, Superman approves of Family Friendly activities.