Friday, August 31, 2007

Handy Woman

I have been painting some areas around the house. This is not a big deal to most people, but I have never really painted before and the couple of times I have, I had help. Motorcycle Guy is out of town and I am doing some touch up work - we have some areas we were not sure what to do with, so I made a decision and am now doing it. I have actually worked up a sweat. I don't think, however, that it is from over working. I am 99% sure it's from being on the top of a ladder and I have a fear of heights. I realize 8 to 9 feet is not that high, but it is for me. Add to it that some of the work is right at the top of the stairs to the basement and the height doubles. Adding to the fear of height issue is that after two brain surgeries (I feel great!) my balance is not that great and I realize my chances of falling are a little higher than the average person. I hope to finish up today!

Kids sure don't hold back when they have something to say. I really hate my flabby arms. Last night when I was getting the kids ready for bed and helping Sous Chef brush his teeth, he jiggled the back of my arm and laughed, which of course made me laugh. He then said, "maybe you can turn that into muscle!" Thankfully, while I hate my flabby arms, I am not overly sensitive and we had a good laugh. I did tell him not to say that to other people. CJ on the other hand, seems to love the flabbiness. I think he will have a thing for pudgy girls. Whenever we take our naps, which we do in my bed, he has to be touching my arm. He seems to prefer to hold on to the fleshiest part! Again, I chuckle. My dad gave me his weight machine, maybe I should do more than "consider" using it!

Thursday, August 30, 2007

Front Page News

I typically do not watch the local news, except to catch the weather. I do generally watch the top stories on the Today Show and also their short story segments. I do read the paper, mainly because I can put it away when I have had enough. The news is just not something that makes me feel good after watching and reading.

The front page news here for the past week has been the woman who left her sleeping two year old daughter in her car for eight hours when the temperature averaged 98 degrees during those hours. Needless to say, the little girl did not survive. It appears the mom did not do this on purpose and this is a tragic accident. From what I have read, she was not the one who usually took the little one to daycare and since the little girl was sleeping, there were no verbal reminders of her presence. The daycare was not open yet, so the mother made a stop along the way for doughnuts for her 7:15 meeting at the school where she is an asst. principal. Then she headed to work and forgot about her daughter being in the back seat of her Mercedes SUV. A co-worker noticed the little girl in the car at about 3:30 in the afternoon. The temperature in the car was estimated at about 140 degrees.The public outrage in this event has been very disturbing to me. Their have been nasty letters to the editor and calls to her school that have bordered on threats. The funeral and burial for the little girl was in an undisclosed location to prevent the public and the media from attending. As a parent, and as any parent who may be reading this blog, I believe all parents have at one time or another been absent minded and done something that could have resulted in a horrific tragedy like this. Who hasn't forgotten to secure an infant carrier to a base, forgotten to put your child's seatbelt on in their carseat, forgotten to put away a poisonous cleaner, forgotten to lock a door so a little one can't escape, forgotten to latch the gate at the top of the stairs and the list goes on. Every one of us has forgotten to do something that could have prevented a tragedy with our children. Thankfully, in most cases, the tragedy does not occur and we feel sick to our stomachs when we realize what could have happened because of our mistake. The mother of this little girl will have to live with the results of her absent mindedness. I think we can all say "I would never forget my child is in the back seat of the car." I bet this mother would be saying the same thing if this tragedy had happened to someone else. I pointed out earlier that she was an asst. principal and that she drove a Mercedes SUV. I do so because these two facts have really added fuel to the anger and outrage of our community. Letters to the editor have included comments along the lines of "it was more important for her to get to her meeting so she could pay for her Mercedes than it was to insure the proper care of her daughter," and "how could a woman who cannot take proper care of her child be entrusted to care for an entire school of children?" She has been called a murderer and a terrible mother. She has been criticized for "not thinking of her daughter once during the day" because if she had "surely she would have remembered that she forgot to drop her off at daycare." I will even admit to having these thoughts myself, not in a bitter, angry way, but more so in the hopes of reassuring myself that "I would never leave my child in a car to die." Again, though, I remind myself of parenting errors I have made that may have resulted in tragedy.

The judicial system is having a hard time with how to handle this. Do they charge her with a felony charge of reckless endangering, which would require a "culpable mental state of recklessness" meaning she had "heedless indifference to the consequences" and "perverse disregard of a known risk." This would imply that she knew she was doing it and didn't care what would happen. I honestly don't believe that is the case. The prosecutor has stated repeatedly that he is certain it was an accident. However, it's up to the courts to decide if and how she should be charged. As stated in the "Opinions" section of the paper today, "she already has a life sentence in a private hell called 'If only...' " Those "if onlys" include "if only the daughter had awakened while she was parking the car," "if only she had left something behind that would have required her to return to the vehicle," "if only she could reverse time and start over..." I feel for this woman and what the remainder of her life will be like, along with the lives of her husband and remaining children. I can only assume a horrific event like this would wreak havoc on even the strongest of families.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

A fun and busy day

We were on the move today! I was up early to squeeze in a shower prior to Big E getting up for school. His bowels seemed to be cooperating and he felt pretty good this morning and off to school he went. When he got home, he said he was feeling good. Hopefully that is the end of that for him and Sous Chef. CJ also has not had any more explosive episodes!

After Big E & Sous Chef were off to school, CJ and I ran a couple of errands and then went to M&M playgroup. It was at the home of someone I had not met yet and probably would have really liked if I had the chance to get to know her. She is moving to Seattle towards the end of September! From there we ran a couple more errands, came home for lunch and took naps. At about 3:30, my friend Mairi showed up with her son Cole and they were here until after 8:00. We had dinner, went to the neighborhood pool and hung out and chatted. It was nice having someone to babble with. She likes to talk, too, so we get along great.

Update on my eyebrows - they are filling in nicely. My right eyebrow still has a couple of bare spots, but I think I see some hairs trying to grow in (or maybe it's just wishful thinking!). I am keeping my fingers crossed. I also realized today, my hair is longer than it has been since college. I let it grow out about three years ago, but it is even longer than that now. "Longer than that" means it is actually hanging below my chin! My bangs are driving me crazy, but I will deal with it for now. I am so paranoid to have someone new cut my hair because this length is practically a record for me and if someone messed it up I don't know what I would do! I am seriously considering not getting it cut until I go to Kansas City for the Ladies Lounge trip and see if I can squeeze in a hair appt. to my stylist there!

Speaking of the Ladies Lounge, the Ladies Lounge (LL) is a lake house in MO that I started going to with some women shortly after I moved to Kansas. I went on the "maiden voyage" to the LL with a group of women who really didn't know each other very well. We had so much fun, that by the end of the weekend we had already planned the next trip for six months later. It wasn't very long before we started doing the trip three times a year, with the summer trip being extended to four days this summer and renting a pontoon boat. What a blast! Who could ask for much more than a relaxing, warm, sunny day, on a boat with good friends and alcohol? It was wonderful. Anyway, the next trip is early November and I intend to make the trip. I will not let a little thing like 600 miles keep me away from the LL! It will be so good to see my KS friends!

The Ladies Lounge got it's name after several of us bought pj's at the Dollar Store in the dinky town we stay in. Not the typical place for my shopping needs, but when I say dinky town, I mean DINKY. The pj's have two 1960's dancing women holding drinks on the shirt with Ladies Lounge embroidered on it. The pants have beatnik looking men playing the drums and the girls dancing again. It is the perfect name for the getaway house. Motorcycle Guy just calls it the "Ladies Binge Drinking Weekend." I can't imagine why... In addition to the fun we have around the house, we have been known to venture out and steal rather unique signs for future parties!

Monday, August 27, 2007

Groceries

Today, I went grocery shopping at Bigg's. This store is similar to Super Target or Super Walmart - groceries plus clothes, household goods, gardening and more. I am still learning my way around this store, so it seemed to take me forever! They have a lot of organic stuff and it fits in with my new found "healthful" (I use that term loosely, we still love junk and fast food!) eating. At Bigg's you bag your own groceries, which is a way they keep their costs down, supposedly. Anyway, I kind of like it, because I can bag things so it is easier to unload at home. For example, I put all of my freezer items in one bag. I then only have to unload the bag from the van directly to our deep freezer, which is in the garage. Much quicker than carrying it all in and then unbagging it all to one bag or making several trips to the freezer. I try to do the same with my other items, but sometimes the belt carrying the groceries is a little faster than my grocery organization skills. I did good today, but other days I have felt like the episode of I LOVE LUCY when Lucy and Ethel went to work in the candy factory and started eating the chocolates because they couldn't package them fast enough.

I did some other grocery shopping, too. Around here, schools do fundraising through a food co-op type place called Market Day. I loved this when we lived in the area before and it was one of the fundraisers I actually liked to volunteer for. Well, they do it here in our new school district, too. I got the flyer/catalog today and have already gone online to place my order. Their chicken tenders are excellent and they have good shrimp, too. I could not pass up the apple blossoms, whcih are thinly sliced apples wrapped in a fluffly pastry. I already feel an extra five pounds landing on my gut from these, especially after I add vanilla ice cream! Of course, none of their items fit into the "organic food" definition, but that's ok.

Big E and Sous Chef went back to school yesterday and today, but tomorrow is looking a little iffy for Big E. He has had several episodes of more diarrhea this evening and is complaining of a stomach ache. I sure hope he is better by tomorrow. I would hate for him to miss another school day so early in the year. Add to it that my husband is out of town again and I have some errands to do during the day tomorrow plus M&M playgroup for CJ. We are also having my friend, Mairi and her son, Cole, from M&M, over for dinner. It's just an all around bad time for sick kids in this house. CJ had an episode of diarrhea himself this evening. What he thought was going to be gas was not and off to the toilet he ran. Unfortunately, his underwear fell victim to the loaded fart. Since it was mostly liquid, it was easily cleaned. He had on his brand new Thomas the Tank Engine underwear which he discovered at the store yesterday. He was walking along with me and all of a sudden I hear a little "gasp" and I turned around and he had stopped dead in his tracks, mouth open, eyes twinkling at the underwear stand! He was very excited this morning when they had been washed and he could wear them.

That's all I have today. Motorcycle Guy left this afternoon until Sunday. He'll be home Sunday evening until Monday and then gone again Tuesday through Friday. He leaves again later this month for a trip to Canada with the guys.

Friday, August 24, 2007

Yuck!

Well, it's the third day of school and BOTH of my kids are home sick! They both started complaining of stomach aches on Wednesday night. Thursday, I made sure they drank a lot of water before school because I thought maybe they were getting cramps from being dehydrated and I also thought some of it may be nerves/anxiety from the start of a new school. When Big E got home from school yesterday he said he spent the end of the day in the nurse's office because his stomach hurt. She gave him water because she also thought he was dehydrated and a mint to help settle his stomach. Then Sous Chef came home and said his stomach hurt off and on all day. I went out last night (more on that later) and had a sitter for the kids. Big E went to baseball practice but all the way there said his stomach hurt and Sous Chef called while I was out and told me his stomach hurt. In the middle of the night, Big E woke me up twice to tell me his stomach hurt and he had diarrhea. Sous Chef woke me up once for the same thing. Of course, my husband is out of town! So, they are home today and hopefully will be better soon.

I went out for Mom's Night Out with M&M. We went to a restaurant named Honey. It was SO good. I had homemade ravioli with shrimp and crab with a crème fraîche topping. The dessert was just as good, which was a creme brulee type dish. It was fun going there because it was a part of town that I don't usually go to. It was a fun evening with a fun group. It was a variety of moms - some FT employed moms, some SAHMs. My group in KS was a much younger group and almost 100% SAHM, with a few exceptions. I like having a more varied group.

Big E had his first baseball practice last night. It should be an interesting season. He is on a team with kids and coaches from a different area. Since we had to sign up as an individual player and not with a team, we were assigned a team that needed players. Kind of a bummer for us since we were hoping to be on a more local team with kids from school to try to meet people. The coach is not anything like the parents we are used to. Big E said he yelled a lot. I noticed his abundance of tattoos. Considering I sport one myself, they don't bother me, but the "shirt like, Miami Ink" (I love that show!) tattoos are not typical of the parents we know. If you are from here, you will understand when I say the coach and team are from "the west side." We are "east siders." For those who are not from here, I am guessing your city has the same issues - as described in one article "Basically, the West Siders are characterized as a bunch of beer-swilling, backyard barbecuing, rabid sports fans, and the East Siders portrayed as discerning, fine-living sophisticates. West Siders shout "The West Side is the Best Side!" East Siders just roll their eyes and check the stock listings. That sort of thing. None of it is wholly true, and it's basically nothing more than a long-running joke."

Sous Chef's 2nd baseball practice is tonight. Unfortunately, he will miss it since he is home sick. He also missed his first practice since we were in Pittsburgh when it was scheduled.

This morning, CJ got in bed with me. I was sleeping in a pair of pj's that has a camisole type shirt. All of a sudden he said, "Mommy, something is sticking out." I thought he was trying to show me a hang nail that he wanted me to clip. I finally realized he was pointing at me and not showing me his finger. As it turns out "the something sticking out" was my boob that had freed itself from the criss-cross of my camisole! Too funny! We did sleep in some since we didn't have to get up to go to school.

Have you noticed my tag list? I obviously talk the most about family, friends and food. I don't think it's a big surprise those are three of the most important things to me!

Have a good weekend. We have our first baseball games on Sunday.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The heat is on!

Once again we are under a heat emergency/excessive heat warning. Several of the schools in the older districts are closed due to no air conditioning and the heat yesterday was in the high 90's in the classrooms - and we weren't under a heat emergency yesterday. Today is supposed to be 102 with a heat index of 105-112. E and A have air conditioned schools, but I am guessing the bus ride home will be rather warm. Big E is supposed to have baseball practice tonight. I don't know if they will cancel or not.

Day 2 morning of school went off without a hitch and no last minute trips to school as of yet. There have been no tears, theirs or mine. I have only cried once on the first day of school and that was Big E's first day of 2nd grade when we moved to KS. I will never forget the look on his face the day I took him to his classroom. He was smiling but you could tell he was very nervous and unsure. I walked out of that building having left my child with 400 people I had never met before! It was a strange feeling. At least here we are familiar with the area, have met neighbors with kids at the same schools and on our bus and I have a longtime family friend working at Big E's school. When Big E got home he was all smiles. He said it was "one of the best days ever." Sous Chef also had a blast and they both made a few friends. I'll keep my fingers crossed that the entire school year goes this well.

On Tuesday, a friend that I worked with came over with her two children. Her daughter and Sous Chef are just a few classrooms away from one another at their building. We had fun. It was good to see and talk to her. Being that we both worked and then started to stay home with our children, something neither of us thought we would ever do, we have quite a bit in common.

Our city area seems to be in the national news a few times a year, usually for something negative. Recently, however, the area made the news again. A local store, Jungle Jim's (a super mega, international store) won first place for the "best restroom in America." See it at: http://www.bestrestrooms.com/ . It beat out a restaurant in VA, a lounge in the Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas, a museum in VT and restaurant in Flushing, MI. Who even knew there was a contest for top bathrooms in the country?

I have been doing fairly well with our organic/natural food shopping. I decided I would try to buy organic products for the things we use the most: produce, milk, eggs and meat. For chicken, I am happy using Tyson or Perdu. While it's not certified organic, the poultry is free of antibiotics, hormones and steroids. I have not found organic pork, but I will keep looking. I am also trying some different organic pastas since we do seem to eat a lot of that, too. I still have not made it to Wild Oats as the grocery stores do a great job of having large selections of organic items.

That's about all I have for today. We have been officially added to our old neighborhood's playgroup roster and we will go to playgroup tomorrow.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

First day of school

I was up bright and early to shower and be ready for school along with Big E and Sous Chef. I don't always do this on a regular school day, but as I was getting ready I thought, "You never know when you are going to have to be at school on short notice, so it's probably best to be ready and not have to show up in my pj's and bed head." Do you see the foreshadowing...

Big E was up and ready to go. He was excited, but his usual cranky self when we fuss over him too much. Motorcycle Guy made breakfast for him while I was getting ready (you never know when you have to go to school on short notice!). The three of us were ready to head outside and Big E has made it clear he does NOT want us at the bus stop with him, which is on the corner of our culdesac about one house away, and NO PICTURES! Of course, we took the pictures, some of which he is walking away from the camera and/or covering his face. Our neighbor came out to walk her dog and let Big E know that she even took pictures of her freshman in HS son this morning and her son who just left for college and soon to leave for college daughter. Basically, the school photos never end and that made Big E chuckle. We did let him go to the bus stop with the two neighbor boys from our culdesac and we sat on the porch until the bus came. Shortly after walking into the house, I realized Big E forgot his lunch. Trip #1 to school (more foreshadowing...).

Sous Chef got up and was excited for his first day. I made his favorite breakfast - french toast. We went out to take pictures, no arguments from him, and walked him to the same bus stop and waited. And waited. And waited. This was not a concern at first since when we lived in Ohio previously it was not uncommon for the buses to be 45 minutes late on the first day. However, a jogger went by and said "still waiting for a bus?" and the fact that Big E's bus was right on time started to concern us, mainly me. Motorcycle Guy came in to get his watch and it was 9:08. School starts for Sous Chef at 9:10. We waited. Then I came in to check the bus schedule to make sure I had the time right and I did. So I called the school. They could not reach the transportation office but they did know of at least one bus that was late. After talking to them for a minute, they thought I should just bring him up to school. Trip #2 and hopefully the final trip for today. Once we got there, the building manager and I were talking and a volunteer mom overheard us. Her children ride the same bus and she said they barely made it and their neighbors missed it because it was running 8-10 minutes EARLY! What kind of school system has buses that run early on the first day? : ) Tomorrow we will be out there about 10 minutes early so I don't have to make another trip.

I went to Bunko last night in my "old" neighborhood. It was at Beth's house, Mary-Kate's mom, and they live about two doors down and across the street from our previous house in that neighborhood. When I got there, two of my friends were sitting on the front porch - no one was home. Another neighbor came and then another. One other neighbor, who plays bunko, too, came driving by. She then told us bunko was canceled due to the untimely and tragic death of a pet bird. Normally, this wouldn't bring a bunko game to a cancelation, but being that the bird is a baby bird of Mary-Kate's two pet birds had some serious impact on Beth and her son, Matt. They had let Swifty and the parents out of the cage for some flying time while they rearranged the cages. The adult birds have laid six more eggs and they were moving Swifty, the recently hatched bird, to a cage of his own. Apparently, he tried to land on a wooden window blind and couldn't get his balance, fell to the floor and broke his neck. With the birds being a living connection to MK, it hit them a little harder than the typical bird death would.

On a more fun note, three of us went out for drinks and snacks. It was a good time. We went to a local bar/restaurant that we used to go to we used to live there.

After getting home from my evening out, I was headed to the basement and, of course, saw a big spider at the bottom of the steps. Motorcycle Guy killed it. This one was moving fast, too, so I was glad I didn't have to try to do it. I won't count it on my spider killing count since I didn't actually kill it. Motorcycle Guy wants me to call an exterminator. It may or may not help since spiders are not exterminated in the same manner as other bugs. We'll see.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

YIKES!

Spider #8 - and this one was ON me! Maybe those of you in Johnson County heard me screaming!!!!

The other YIKES is that I have been letting my eyebrows grow. Go ahead, laugh. They were getting a little over-plucked and I was afraid I would turn into one of those older women that has no eyebrows and has to color them on. So, they have been growing in over the last several weeks, with the exception of the ones that are clearly out of the "natural eyebrow" area. I have found this almost as challenging as growing my hair. Not only that, but there seem to be patches of areas that don't grow any eyebrow hairs. I hope I have not permanently plucked some roots from ever growing again! I'm going to give it another week or two and then have them professionally waxed. I will then be back in the appropriate eyebrow shape and will be able to maintain that myself for several months. Hopefully, I can control myself from over-plucking and won't make the same mistake twice, otherwise, I will have to start this process all over again.

We met Sous Chef's teacher last night. She is very sweet and young (Motorcycle Guy is still adjusting to the fact that he is old enough to be her father!) and had a fun scavenger hunt to help them get familiar with the classroom. He is so excited for school to start tomorrow. After the open house he said, "Wow, my teacher IS really nice, just like I heard she was!"

Thanks to friends telling us about it, Motorcycle Guy and I have found another show we seem to like, at least while all of our other favorites are in reruns. It's ICE ROAD WARRIORS on the History Channel. If you haven't seen it, it's a reality show about a group of truck drivers who drive the ice roads in northern Canada to get to the DeBeers diamond mines (did you know they have diamond mines at the "top of the world?") to deliver equipment, fuel and more. They can only do this for two months out of the year when the lakes are frozen over and the semis can drive on the ice roads. They are driving loads as heavy as 100,000 lbs. across these frozen lakes in temperatures as low as -50 degrees. It's as dangerous as it sounds. Personally, I feel more for the people doing the videotaping than the drivers. Neither is a job I would want. The truckers are paid very well and I would assume the camera men/women are, too!

Today a friend I used to work with is coming over with her two kids - a 4th grader and a 2nd grader. They live just a couple of miles away and her kids are in the same schools as my kids. We worked at the same company for several years. I was the HR Manager and she was the Credit Manager. She left shortly after I did to stay home with, at the time, her only child. I got back in touch with her a few weeks ago and ran into her at school last night. It will be good to chat with her for a while.

Tonight is my first night of playing bunko with my pals in my old neighborhood! I am so excited to see everyone! Thursday, I am planning to head out with M&M for MNO - dinner at a restaurant named Honey.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Pittsburgh

We are home from Pittsburgh. CJ stayed with my parents while we were gone and on our way home from Pittsburgh, we dropped off Big E and Sous Chef to stay all night for a "before school starts" sleepover.

The visitation, funeral and overall trip to Pitt went well. Big E and Sous Chef handled everything beautifully. Big E and Sous Chef spent quite a bit of time observing the casket. They did not do this all at once, but made several small trips to the casket. Big E thought she looked better than when he saw her last week. I did not go into all of the details of why this was, but my aunt in-law told me that she had been very bloated from all of the medicine she was on and very pale. The bloating was gone and with her makeup and hair done, that she did indeed, look much healthier. I was talking with Motorcycle Guy's sister that I know it was a good experience for Big E and Sous Chef to be a part of this with a family member that they loved and cared for, but was not as intimate of a relationship as a grandparent. It allowed them to see how things go, see that people still laugh and enjoy one another even when they are sad. It also let them participate in a ceremony that will indeed be repeated in the (hopefully distant) years to come.

It is hard for all of us to see people you care for be sad. My mother-in-law is one tough cookie and to see her crying at the pre-mass service at the funeral home when family members were asked to pay their last respects before going to the church was very difficult. I am not a big crier, but that was more than I could handle. Watching Motorcycle Guy's uncle and cousins go through this was also difficult. It was hard to watch a father mourn the loss of his daughter. But what was particularly hard for me was watching my husband be a pallbearer. I don't know why this struck me the way it did, but it definitely choked me up. I have seen him in this role before, at his grandfather's funeral, but I was very "distant" during that time as I had met his grandfather only once and Motorcycle Guy and I were newly engaged. I had not met many family members or friends and I felt more like an "observer" during that time. It's now 15 years later...I was also overwhelmed at the number of people I was introduced to because of being the person who set up the Caring Bridge website for our aunt and maintaining it. Sometimes the simplest things mean the most and it was a privilege to help during these difficult months.

The aunt's body is being placed in a mausoleum where many of her family members are buried along with many other family members and 100's of other Polish families. Many of the headstones had names I would never be able to pronounce. The mausoleum is in the St. Stanislas portion of the cemetary up on a big hill. While we were there, we visited the gravesites of Big E's and Sous Chef's great-great grandparents, great-grandparents, several great-aunts and great-uncles and my father-in-law's baby brother. He passed away unexpectedly at the age of one year old.

It was fun to be in Pittsburgh again. Motorcycle Guy and I both agree we would not want to live there, but we LOVE to visit. My in-laws live in the city and Motorcycle Guy lived in what he considers a suburb, but I would consider the city. It had it's own school district and it's own mailing address, zip code, etc., but it was literally five miles from downtown. It would be similar to Hyde Park in Cinti or Brookside in KC, but still more citieish (if that's a word). Now his parents live less than five minutes from downtown - definitely IN the city. Pittsburgh is OLD. His parent's side street, and many around them, is stone and brick instead of asphalt or cement. Their house was built in the 1920's and the church where the funeral was is 98 yrs. old. Several family members are within walking distance. The terrain is totally different - very hilly, almost mountainous. Big E and Sous Chef learned one of Motorcycle Guy's favorite childhood games which was to see if you could hold your breath going through the "tubes," which are roads that are tunneled through the mountains. These particular tunnels, the Liberty Tunnels, are over a mile long and they love to go through any of the tubes in Pitt. I also chuckle that the highways are so hilly and steep that there are "runaway truck ramps" and signs letting you know when there is one near. They have these in case a semi truck's brakes overheat and stop working on these long, steep hills on the highways. If that happens, and it has, they need to get off on one of these ramps that are made of soft gravel for their wheels to sink into to help slow them down and at the end is a huge, "cushioned" barrier for the truck to crash into. If you see a truck coming up behind you with lights flashing, horn honking, etc. you better get out of it's way!

We ate at my favorite restaurant in Pitt. They have been on the Food Network before. It is a sandwich/bar restaurant, and they put coleslaw and home made french fries ON the sandwich. It sounds strange and the first time I went I was not sure I would like it, but it is DELICIOUS and I was hooked. I don't think I've ever gone to Pitt since without going there for a bite to eat.That's all I have for now. It's a quiet morning since my kiddos are at my parent's house. They will be home in time tonight for us to attend Sous Chef's open house at school. We will get to see his room, meet his teacher and some other students and drop off his school supplies.

Thursday, August 16, 2007

School Orientation

Yesterday, we went on a tour of the schools. Sous Chef's school is quite a bit larger than his older school with two multi purpose rooms, about 1/2 the size of a full sized gym, and one gymnasium. The multipurpose rooms are attached to the kitchen and they double as the cafeteria. His school seems fairly easy to get around and the staff we met were very friendly. During orientation, he was excited to hear they have a fully functional science laboratory with animals and all kinds of science equipment for experiments. We will be meeting his teacher Monday evening at Meet the Teacher night. We have heard from several people that she is very nice, which is great! At orientation last night, they asked where the new students were from. There were several from within the US, but some students came from as far as Japan, Kenya and Cost Rica. He is also really looking forward to being a bus rider!

Damn, Big E's school is HUGE, physically and in student body size! It is quite a bit bigger than the high school I went to. There are 800 fifth graders in his building, plus the same number for 4th and 6th grade. This is probably not much different than other intermediate schools, but it is new to us! I like the fact that they have "pods" or "wings" which is very similar to Big E's school in OP. I think this school could take a while for me to get familiar with. I am not good with directions or maps, so I see a few lost moments before I learn my way around. On the other hand, Big E could immediately get me from one place to the other, so I am not too worried about him wandering the halls trying to find his way. He is happy to learn each student has their own locker and he won't have to share with anyone. He was very excited when the new students broke into small groups with their grade counselor and he met a girl who also moved here from Overland Park this summer! It turns out, her mom is best friends with the mom of a friend of Big E's in our OP neighborhood.

We met Big E's teaching team tonight. It's two very young women and they both seem nice. I have heard they are very strict, which will be really good for Big E. His school has "Friday Night School" from 3-5pm for those kids who need a little "encouragement" to behave, follow the rules, do their work, etc. When I was a kid, we called this detention and it took place before school started. I think the principal of his school is very much cut out for her job. She is a "no bullshit" kind of woman but also has a great sense of humor and you can tell she loves her job.
Everyone is excited now about school, including me. Some of my anxiety has passed, at least until the actual day gets here! Big E and Sous Chef seem to be doing fine and just want to meet more kids.

We are heading to Pittsburgh tomorrow for Aunt B'svisitation on Friday night and funeral on Saturday morning. New questions have not cropped up, but some of the same ones have reappeared. I hope I am consistent with my answers - or maybe not if I answered it poorly the first time. Big E was worried that Jimmy had "a lot of work to do" to be at all four visitations and then a funeral. I hope I eased his mind by reminding him Jimmy's children and their spouses are there, along with all of his brothers and sisters and their families, to help him.

Have a safe weekend.

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

???

I don't know what to title today, so I am not going to.

We will be leaving for Pittsburgh early on Friday for the last of Motorcycle Guy's aunt's visitations Friday evening and her Mass of Christian Burial will be on Saturday morning. Everyone here is doing well. Big E has had a lot of questions as I tell him about the events that will take place. I have found some of them difficult to answer. Some of them have been, "What is a funeral home?" Once I started to explain that's where they prepare the body and have the visitation, his eyes got huge and he said "What do you mean 'body?'" and "What is a casket?" Then I went into the explanation of how her body will be there but she won't be talking, laughing, etc. I also explained a casket is a very pretty box that the earthly body will be buried in and explained burial sites. Ok, I admit, I may not be doing so well here, these are HARD questions! I also had to explain what the visitation was and that her funeral will be very similar to our Sunday church services and that it is a time to celebrate that a soul is welcomed into heaven by God and the angels. This has also spurred a lot of questions about Big E's friend, Mary-Kate's death and her funeral. We were living in KS at the time of her death last summer and I flew to Ohio alone to attend her services so he only had my experiences I shared with him regarding this. I am sure since he wasn't there with me it was hard for him to take it all in.

Sous Chef is asking more basic questions, "How do you get sick?" "How did she die?" "Why did she die so young?" type stuff. I can handle those pretty well! Motorcycle Guy is doing well and is thankful that his aunt passed peacefully and did not live out the rest of her life with the pain, anguish and deterioration of what brain cancer would do to her mind and body.

Motorcycle Guy's uncle, to quote my father-in-law, is running on fumes and hadn't slept since she passed. Hopefully last night he got some rest. I am just trying to keep everyone moving forward and answer questions to the best of my ability in addition to planning for a short trip. CJ will be staying with my parents. We feel he is too young and would not sit through a funeral mass quietly and I would like to be able to focus on helping Big E and Sous Chef with any questions or care they need. Since it is out of town, we have no care options for him in Pitt. I would have liked for him to be at the visitation and the reception after the funeral, but we decided it was more than we want to take on at this time.

On a lighter note, Motorcycle Guy put a water purifier on our refrigerator water and ice maker. Oh my, the difference it makes. The water here is awful. It tasted like we were drinking from pool chemicals. And even worse, my tea tasted bad. I am somewhat "famous" for my tea. I had a few friends in OP ask me to show them how to make tea, and before we moved to OP, my local friends frequently requested that I bring tea to any social events! Since we have been back, one of those friends asked me again last week what my secret is. She said ever since I moved, whenever she goes to the neighborhood events, she would stop at a drive thru to get tea because my tea would not be there. She still does this! My only "secrets" are to use Luzianne tea bags and yummy, purified water! There, the secret is out and now everyone can do it.

The other night I made Chicken Vindaloo. I was so hungry for Indian food after our recent visit to Hi Bombay! that I was going nuts. I had printed a recipe for Shrimp Vindaloo and amazingly enough, I had all 15 or so spices. I did not have any shrimp, so I used chicken. Vindaloo is a Southern Indian (Goa) inspired dish and usually means "the hottest curry one can imagine." It was scrumptious and may have been even better than my Chicken Curry and it is a little less time intensive. It's also not as fattening since it does not use coconut milk like my chicken curry recipe. I can't wait to make it again, with shrimp the next time! It may become a once a week dish for us.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Aunt Bernadette

Bernadette passed away at 1:30 this morning.

Please keep her loved ones in your prayers.

Monday, August 13, 2007

Old Navy

Have you heard Old Navy has come out with three new styles of jeans? The Diva (lowest rise), The Flirt (mid rise), The Sweetheart (classic rise) and the one I don't see mentioned on the TV ad, The Goddess (natural rise). I am wondering why they didn't come out with The Front Butt (full tummy control). For those who are not aware of what a front butt is, it is a term I first heard from my friend, Shelley S. It refers to when the profile of your tummy has the same 3-D, rounded appearance as your butt. I could definitely use a pair of those!

Aunt B, Motorcycle Guy's aunt, is not doing so well. She is in ICU and they are having to aspirate her lungs today of the fluid that is building up. They know for sure she has pneumonia, and her scans show a lesion that, in theory, looks like TB, but they are 99.9% sure she does NOT have it. However, because there is a slight chance she does, she is in isolation and everyone has to wear masks when they are with her. By aspirating the fluid from her lungs, they will be able to test for the exact viruses and/or bacterias she may have and to rule out the slight chance of TB, and use more specific drugs to treat the infection. They have made it clear that the success rate for treating a serious bout of pneumonia like this is not good with the compromised immune system Aunt B has and that the pneumonia they are seeing is common in advanced cancer patients. We continue to pray for comfort for Aunt B, her husband and their children and grandchildren.

Things are back to the usual loud house we are accustomed to. In between the fighting, the playing and the laughing, there are short moments of quiet. That's usually when they have food in their mouths! Big E has already called my parents and the three boys will be going to stay all night with them on Friday. There's a good chance my niece will be going, too. They wanted one more sleepover at Nana's and Gramps's before school starts next Wednesday. We go this week for orientations and tours of the buildings and two days before school starts we will go to Open Houses to meet their teachers. I still have a few more supplies to buy before the first day. Big E already decided what he is wearing.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

S-A-T-U-R-D-A-Y Night

Well, it's not really night yet and if you are under the age of 38, you may not even recognize my heading as a Bay City Rollers' song. Or maybe you are over the age of 38 and still don't recognize it. Please don't ask me to sing it for you, but maybe you can Google the song title and hear it online.

We are heading out tonight to a local church festival. We have enjoyed going to this since we moved to the suburbs in 1996! We missed having church festivals in Kansas. That was just not something the Catholic churches did there. Here, most Catholic churches have awesome festivals to raise money. Lots of food, beer, rides and games, along with bands/music, dancing and in general, a big party. The kids have always enjoyed going and since the heat has given us a 1-2 day reprieve before it's supposed to heat up again, we are planning to go.

My father-in-law, Big E and Sous Chef and nephews arrived last night. My nephews are ages 13 and 10 - Max, 13, is SIX feet tall and Leo, 10, is larger in height and weight than I am. I won't reveal my weight, but I am 5'3". Big E and Sous Chef look so small compared to them, actually, I look so small compared to them! It was good to see them. Their parents are not overly interested in maintaining contact beyond a few phone calls a year, so we only see them about once a year, and sometimes not even then. It's kind of sad, because the kids get along so well and really enjoy each other.

Aunt B has pneumonia now on top of her cancer. It is not unexpected due to all of her medications compromising her immune system and she is not always mobile, which allows that fluid in her lungs to build up. They are keeping her in the hospital. The good news is they did an MRI and the cancer has not grown or spread. She is on some chemo drugs, via pill, not so much to get rid of the cancer because that is not possible, but mostly to slow the growth and also to help keep the swelling down and keep her comfortable. They did need to reduce that medication until she gets through this. I have not had any updates today, but this is as much information as we got late last night.

Spider #7.

Have a good weekend!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Tests

It has been a long time since I have had to take a test. In fact, the last test I remember taking was for the Ohio Medical Board exam in December, 1999. It was a daunting, overwhelming feeling and add to it I was so pregnant the doctors kept stopping by to see if I was ok, bringing me water, etc. I had Sous Chef 13 days later.

Well, today I had to take another test. Not nearly as extensive, time consuming, life altering or mentally challenging, but daunting none the less. It was a written drivers license exam! I missed the first question, I was not off to a good start! I can't remember the exact question, but I think it had something to do with semi-trucks. I also missed a DUI question about what happens if you refuse to take the test and I missed how far the sound of your car horn should go - it's 200 feet in case you are interested. Out of 40 questions, you can only miss 11. In the end, I got 30 out of 35 questions and then it stopped since I could not fail at that point. Thank God they opted out of conducting a driving test! Can anyone really properly parallel park a minivan?

Killed another spider today. Actually, Motorcycle Guy was home this morning so he did it. It was hairy and I saw it as I was coming up the basement steps. I did not have any shoes on and I stood at the bottom of the steps yelling for him to come to get it. He also continues to be shocked at how many and how big the spiders are. I had to laugh that something that is about 1/1000th of my size had me cornered at the bottom of the stairs!

Last night we tried a new Indian restaurant. We have a few favorites in town, but decided to try this one since we had heard good things about it. It was absolute heaven! I tried a dish I had not had before - Shrimp Tandoor Masala. I usually get Shrimp Bhuna or Shrimp Vindaloo. It was mouthwatering and I will be going online to try to find the recipe. I love Chicken Curry but many years ago, a friend of mine who is married to an Indian man, gave me her MIL's recipe for Chicken Curry. I have now mastered it so that it is as good, if not sometimes better, than any restaurant version, so I don't get that when I go out.

We then headed to Graeter's for ice cream. This is truly the best ice cream in the world and is the only place anywhere that still makes ice cream by the French pot process. I had a Hot Fudge Sundae!

Motorcycle Guy stayed home this morning to give me a foot massage! He had a conference call that he took care of from here. He was supposed to give me a foot massage last night but didn't stay awake long enough to watch MAD MEN with me or do the massage. So this morning when I woke up (9:30!) he was still here waiting to give me my much needed foot massage!

My kiddos are due back today. Under normal circumstances they would have left by now to drive home. I talked to my in-laws earlier however, and Motorcycle Guy's aunt, who has inoperable/incurable brain cancer, was being rushed to the hospital. She is the wife of my father-in-law's youngest brother and just lives a couple of blocks from them in Pitt. Jimmy called to say she "was comatose" and he had called 911, so my FIL went to see if there was any help he could provide. Her blood counts have been quite low and she had a blood transfusion yesterday. I do not have any more details than that. We pray that when the time comes for her that she has a peaceful passing and her husband, children, grandchildren and other loved ones find comfort in that. Their faith is strong and while they have had some time to accept this diagnosis, we all know it does not take away the pain of losing someone you love. This is Motorcycle Guy's favorite aunt and one of my children's favorite in-law relatives (besides the grandparents, of course) so it will be a sad day when the time arrives. She is only in her late 50's. I am happy my children got to spend some time with her while they were visiting the last week and a half.

Thursday, August 9, 2007

It's getting hotter in here.

Yesterday the temperature on my van thermometer read 103, today at about 1:00, it read 102. I wasn't even sure the thermometer went to three digits, but now I know. We are still under a heat emergency and it has been extended to Sunday. I am still amazed and disgusted that there is a segment of our international society that believes global warming does not exist! One of the local news stations did a survey yesterday regarding which is worse: extreme hot or extreme cold. I would definitely choose extreme cold. For me, when it's extremely cold, it is immedate from the time you walk out the door. I get cold to the bone with that first breath of ice cold air. When it's this hot, it takes a good five or more minutes for me to be uncomfortable. If I have gotten into the car, by the time that five minutes would hit me, the car is cool enough, even if not as cool as I like it. With cold weather, it just takes longer to warm up. I was in the minority, however, and the majority of the callers voted that extreme heat is worse.

My dryer is working again (see post from two days ago). Later on the day it broke, I went in to give it another try and it started right up. I guess I have the "Fonzie" touch. Let's hope it keeps working. My laundry load has been significantly less with two less people in the house.

CJ realized today is Aug. 9 and then quickly did the "math" to know that tomorrow is the 10th and Sous Chef and Big E will be coming home. He is happy, especially since I just dropped him off to spend the night with Nana and Gramps. He will be fully entertained until he comes home and then Big E and Sous Chef will arrive shortly thereafter.

I had dinner with a childhood friend last night. We've known each other since elementary school and have remained friends over the years. We went all the way through high school together. We were friends during high school, but she was much better behaved than me so we didn't hang out much during those years. We lost touch during college and several years later we reconnected and have stayed in touch ever since. I really enjoy spending time with those long term relationships. There's so much history there and so many things from the past to talk about while also sharing the present and the future.

Shortly after I got home, I received an e-mail from another childhood friend. I've known her since I was about 4 or 5 years old and we grew up in the same schools until college. Actually, there's not a time in my life that I can remember when I didn't know her. She had sad news that the brother of a friend had passed away in his sleep. He was 39 years old and was a year ahead of us in school. He went to bed and just didn't wake up the next day. They believe it was heart failure, but she did not have any details. How scary and sad. He leaves behind three children and his parents and siblings, along with his friends.

Also after I got home, we got a phone call. I started waiting for this call on Sunday night after I put some change of address letters in the mail. When Motorcycle Guy and I got married, he owned a two family house in the city. We lived upstairs and this darling elderly woman lived downstairs and she was raising her grandson, Adam. She lived in that house when Motorcycle Guy bought it years before he and I met and she stayed there until we sold it. We have always kept in touch with her and she calls us every time we send her information about our family. We have gotten a phone call with the birth of each child and also when we move. She is doing good, she's in her mid 80's now. She moved several years ago to Kentucky to be nearer to a daughter who helps take care of her. She still lives on her own, but has the comfort of being closer to a family member who helps her out on a regular basis. I love to hear from her and whenever I put something in the mail I look forward to her call. I will be sad the day those calls stop.

Motorcycle Guy got to hang one of his own decorations last night. We saved a specific wall just for this and he was so excited to pick it up yesterday. It is an 1850 Seth Thomas railway clock. He loves clocks and he loves this clock. It is obviously old and needed some general repair work so it has been to the clock shop for about two weeks. The special part about this clock is that we know Seth Thomas IV, who passed away several years ago and is the father of a dear friend of mine. He loved clocks and collected and restored all types of Seth Thomas clocks, watches, etc.
Well, those are my thoughts for today. Motorcycle Guy and I are on our own tonight with no kids, so that can only mean one thing ... we are going out to dinner! Yummy, we are off to an Indian restaurant.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

DVR

When we moved recently, we chose satellite TV and decided to finally get a DVR. Since doing this, we have taped TAXI DRIVER, ONE FLEW OVER THE CUCKOO'S NEST, EASY RIDER, kids shows/movies and are currently taping a series, MAD MEN, on the AMC channel. Motorcycle Guy got me into this show and it is quite good. It is based in early 1960's New York and revolves around a Madison Avenue advertising business and the men, women and their families. The story line is good, but what we seem to enjoy most is how it really depicts the difference of the times. Women had not made an "equal" place in society or in the home, smoking and drinking were commonplace , even for pregnant women, no seatbelts in cars but they do have open alcoholic beverages, divorce was uncommon and left the ex-wife and the children with a bad reputation, etc. etc. I can't think of any current show I have seen in the last decade where all the characters are smoking - at work and at home - and have a drink in their hand the majority of the time. If you get the chance, you should watch it!

The weather continues to cause misery across the midwest. They are calling for record high temperatures for us and I believe many other parts of the country, too. There appears to be no end in site as they are saying this will continue through next week! Stay cool and hydrated.

I had my first playgroup today with my "new" M&M chapter. The kids got along well and the moms seem very nice. They are not very active in M&M besides playgroup, so that stinks for me a little bit since I enjoy the evening, mom's only activities more so than playgroups and was hoping to meet moms in my playgroup who also participate beyond playgroup. However, I think I will enjoy hanging out with them once a week while our kids play. One little boy is going to the same preschool as CJ but in the morning and CJ goes afternoons. Just before the playgroup started, of course I had another outbreak of ants. I was afraid the women would leave the house thinking "gross, we're never going back there again." This time, I killed the ants in wet papertowels and sprayed another area where I think they were making their entrance. Thank goodness the Raid really does smell "outdoor fresh" and not like the bug killer that it is! We spent the majority of our time in the basement away from the ants, so either way, it ended up not being a problem. I don't think one ant was spotted by any visitors. I had visions of a three year old child screaming out "look, mommy, there's a line of ants coming into the kitchen!"Have a good day and stay cool.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Living in the jungle

On top of spiders, today I had a line of ants going in and out my back door. I swear, I feel like I am living in the Amazon between the spiders and the ants! As soon as I saw them, I did what any reasonable person would do - vacuumed them up. Of course, after I did that, I was thinking I may have just given them a great home in my sweeper bag. What a great place for them to build there tunnels and reproduce. Can ants do that in a dust filled sweeper bag or is that only in the dirt and mud? I'll let you know if I find out. I also sprayed some Raid Ant Killer around the door and along the floor. It's "outdoor fresh scent" and it actually smells pretty good!

It's another sweltering day with heat indexes to reach 105-110 degrees! We are staying inside trying not to run our air conditioning constantly. I heard on the news last night that some of the A/C businesses were working 24 hours and their calls were up 40-60% for repairs. In the meantime, I am wrestling with a clothes dryer that stopped working today. It's only three years old and we paid an arm and a leg for it, so it better not cost another limb to repair it. Motorcycle Guy is going to look at it first to see if he can fix it. I need to find the paperwork - I think it is under warranty for five years, but I don't know that for sure. It might just be wishful thinking!

Monday, August 6, 2007

Heat Emergency

It is hot! We are under a heat emergency until Wednesday morning. I have not seen much news beyond the local weather, but I would guess this may be happening all over the midwest. YIKES! It's even too hot for the pool, if it weren't cloudy and on the verge of raining.

We had a good weekend. We went to a party on Saturday for a friend's 40th b-day. I got to see, and hold, another new baby who was born a few weeks before we moved back. We have two friends expecting babies during the winter.

We hung curtains in our family room. It's amazing that something as minor as curtains can add a whole new look to a room. We also hung a couple more pictures. That room now looks like a home and not a college apartment. I have one rather large wall that I am a little overwhelmed with. I am just not sure what to put on it, so right now it is blank. I have a feeling it will be that way until one of my highly qualified decorating friends makes a visit. I have ideas about what to do, I'm just not sure and don't really have enough detailed ideas to start looking to buy something. I would prefer it just magically appear at my house and skip the shopping. I hate that part!

Have I mentioned this house has a lot of spiders? For those who know me, even just a little, you know how much I hate spiders! I have been keeping track of how many spiders I have killed since we have lived here - SIX. There was a seventh one on Saturday, literally as I was getting rid of the sixth one, but it was hairy and I had to assign Motorcycle Guy that task. He has already killed several, too. Most of them are garden spiders and they are not small, but they are not hairy; they are fast, but don't jump, so I am ok going after them, so far, anyway. At our previous house in Ohio, we had those big, hairy wolf spiders and I hated it when I found those and Motorcycle Guy was not home. That only happened twice, but me and my kids remember it well. They still say, "Mom hates spiders" because of the two times they witnessed me going after those suckers! I can tell you the number of spiders I killed in Kansas - NONE! Motorcycle Guy only killed two that I know of. The reason I remember these is because I found one of them and had Motorcycle Guy "take care of it" and the other one was so big that Motorcycle Guy had to give me the details because even he was a little freaked by it. We had just moved there and I think he was concerned all of the spiders were going to be like that. Thankfully they weren't. I am hoping that for now, spiders like heat and that they stay outside and that they don't want in the air conditioning with us!

CJ is still missing Sous Chef and Big E. He has stopped asking so much about them coming home, but he does talk to each of them on the phone everyday. Sous Chef and Big E are excited because my father-in-law got a pet snake. It is an Albino King snake and eats frozen mice. He used to have a BIG boa constrictor, but this snake is much smaller than that. Big E and Sous Chef will be home on Friday and my FIL and two nephews will be staying all night before they go on to Michigan for the nephews to go home.

That's all for today. Try to stay cool and stay hydrated (beer, margaritas, mojitos and Captain/Coke don't count for hydration!).

Saturday, August 4, 2007

Saturday

It's a relaxing Saturday in our household this morning. Though CJ tends to get up around 7:30 every day, he is able to entertain himself on the computer or watching TV until the rest of us decide to get up - unless he gets hungry! With Big E and Sous Chef in Pitt, it's pretty quiet.

The three of us went to dinner last night to the Black Forest restaurant. If you can't tell by the name, it's a German restaurant. This area has a predominant German history. The Oktoberfest here is crazy and the city, in it's very early years, was known as the Porkopolis since this was the area of the country that had the most pig slaughtering/pork producing factories (lovely thought, huh?) It is still referred to as the Porkopolis due to that history. I was not in the mood for pork, veal or rabbit with sauerkraut or spaetzle, so I had fried shrimp - the all American dish. Motorcycle Guy did have a German meal and it looked yummy, but just not for me that day. We did get a piece of their Black Forest mousse cake and we all loved it, especially CJ.

We are off to a 40th birthday party tonight for a friend. CJ is excited - he loves parties and he knows there will be people his age to run around with. He had a blast yesterday in our old neighborhood, which he has no recollection of, playing in the pool and sprinkler and having popsicles. I had fun seeing some people I had not seen since before we moved from Ohio and met a few new people that moved in after we left. The playgroup host is a friend and is also our real estate agent. Her husband and another husband were also there and we had a nice relaxing lunch while the kids played.

Take care and have a great weekend!

Thursday, August 2, 2007

Peace

Last night and today, the country, and probably the world, watched with much shock, horror and sadness at the devastation caused by the collapsing of a highly traveled bridge in the Twin Cities during rush hour. I have varied connections to this city - a friend who was raised there and still considers it "home" and has many family and friends there, and a couple of friends from high school who live there. My friend's family and friends are accounted for. My friends from high school I no longer keep in touch with on a regular basis but I hope they and their loved ones are safe. I expect if that changes, I will be getting a phone call or e-mail. I pray I don't.

Tomorrow I am going to a playgroup in my old neighborhood. This is a playgroup that I took a turn at heading up for a year or two when we lived in Ohio previoulsy. It will be fun to get back to old friends and not have to go through all of the introductory questions and conversations I am becoming accustomed to. I know these conversations will pass as we live here longer and make solid friendships, but some days it just wears me out! Making friends is hard and I struggle to not be too judgemental. Many years ago I made the decision to not make such quick conclusions about people when I first meet them. I have not forced myself to be friends with people that I am clearly not compatible with, but I have definitely made friends with people I would probably not have if I had made a decision based on my first reaction to them. Again, sometimes this wears me out, but it has been worth the work on my part and I am thankful for those I have met along the way. I hope they feel the same about their friendships with me.

CJ will love getting out and being with some kids his age. He is really missing Big E and Sous Chef and asked me at least 100 times today when they would be home and if we could go pick them up today. He is not used to being an only child and even with the one on one attention he is getting from me, I guess it's not the same as wrestling and playing video games with his brothers.

Wednesday, August 1, 2007

My usual ramblings...

I drove to Columbus again today! That's three times in nine days. I think that's more than I drove to Columbus in the three years prior to us moving from Ohio. I met my father-in-law in Columbus to hand off Big E and Sous Chef for their trip to Pitt. They will be back in ten days. They have never been gone this long before. The longest we have all been separated is eight days and during that time they were in the comfort of their own home, not at someone else's house. They'll have fun but CJ is already asking when we can go to get them - he's lonely! Motorcycle Guy is out of town tonight, so CJ and I went to a local Mexican restaurant. It was delicious! I am always excited when I find a good locally owned restaurant that I like. You know how I LOVE food and eating out.

Today we received a check! Yippee! We totally forgot that our escrow money needed to be paid out and the check unexpectedly came today. What a nice surprise - we will be going out for a nice dinner! The rest will be saved to use toward future projects we have in store for our new house in the next few years.

I received Big E's and Sous Chef's student IDs today and was able to look up information on the school website with them. IDs were compliments of my family friend I mentioned in yesterday's post. Big E will be catching the bus about an hour earlier than he went to school last year in OP. Yikes - we are not morning people! Sous Chef's bus comes about 1/2 hour later than he went to school last year. This is great for him, as he is the worst of us when it comes to not being morning people! We will be attending orientations and school tours for each of the schools in about two weeks. I hope that will take some of the overwhelmed feeling out of the beginning of school year. Sous Chef is kind of oblivious to it all, but I know Big E understands the large size of his school and not knowing anyone. I certainly am aware of it and feel anxious for him. I was never the new kid since my parents still live in the house I moved to when I was three! I don't know what it feels like, but it must be scary.