Tuesday, June 30, 2009

A Survey

I found this at TeacherMom and thought it might be sort of fun to do. I rarely do these kinds of things, but since I lead such a boring life during the summer, I'll give it a shot. Consider doing it yourself. If you do, let me know in the comments section so I can go check out your answers!

1. summer television: waste of time or guilty pleasure?
mostly a waste of time, in my opinion

2. baked potatoes: butter, sour cream, bacon bits, chives, cheese? any or all?
butter, most definitely; NO sour cream or chives; bacon bits and cheese, all depending on my mood at the time

3. Facebook: must-do or proud resister?
I'm a facebook member and have enjoyed getting back in touch with old friends; I don't get it with Alex's facebook account though...he has people on his "friends" list that he doesn't even really know. I told him to just delete them. There's no prize for the most facebook friends.

4. coupon clipping: yes or no?
occasionally, when the mood hits me just right OR when the checkbook balance is l o w

5. babyback ribs or key lime pie?
definitely babyback ribs, as I don't care for key lime pie

6. Jeopardy or Wheel of Fortune?
Now this is a tough one...I like Wheel because I'm pretty good at figuring out the answers before anyone else in my family; I like Jeopardy because there are more individual "things" to answer (or ask, if you're playing by the rules).

I actually called Wheel of Fortune back in 1983, hoping to be a contestant. We were going to California on vacation and I thought it was a perfect opportunity. Unfortunately they were not taking applications for contestants at that time.

7. ocean waves or lazy river?
It would have to be a lazy river, even though I've never been on one. I'm not crazy about being in the ocean past knees, with all the different "things" floating around. But I do just LOVE being right by the ocean....feeling the waves wash up against my feet, the sand squishing between my toes, and seeing the vastness of it all.

8. pickles: dill or sweet?
definitely bread and butter

9. the economy: still ick or rebounding?
I'm thinking that it's still "ick" but starting to bottom out

10. eBay or Craigslist?
neither one...I've never bought or sold anything with either one

11. Mexican food or sushi?
neither one, yuck

12. Edward, Jacob, or who cares?
Who are Edward and Jacob?

13. pregnancy dreams: annoying or humorous?
I didn't have any weird dreams while pregnant, but when I've taken a vicodin in the past, definitely ANNOYING! I try to avoid vicodin as long as possible, because those are really goofy dreams.

14. summer thunderstorms: music to your ears or pain in the rear?
I like thunderstorms.

15. online games: good way to pass the time at work on a Friday or who has the time?
I don't play them at work, but at home, I love to play.

16. So You Think You Can Dance: addicting entertainment or yawn?
a big yawn

17. beach or mountains?
definitely the BEACH!

18. hardback or paperback?
Either one is fine with me, but if I'm pushed to come up with an answer, I guess it would be hardback.

19. Pepsi or Coke?
Definitely PEPSI! There's something in Coke that makes me sick to my stomach, but I'll drink Sprite. That doesn't bother me in the least.

20. Ellie or Josh? any bets?

And that, my dear friends, is my life in a nutshell.

Remember, if you do it, let me know!

No Trip

The Cedar Point trip didn't work out. There were too many schedules to coordinate so it has been postponed indefinitely.

Okay, so secretly, I'm glad. Even though Alex agreed to all of the things we mentioned, I would still have worried like crazy.

When you have 10 people involved, it gets difficult to find a common day for everyone.


(But you didn't hear that from me!)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Opinions Needed

First of all, let me start off with addressing my older son Joe. He does not like to have his "life" splattered on your monitor, and has made that very clear to me. Therefore, I rarely speak of him on my blog. That doesn't mean that I love him any less; I simply try to honor his wishes. However, he knows that once in a while, his name will come up here.

Now for the current "issue" of the house, and the reason I am requesting opinions.

Alex and eight of his friends (ages 16-19) want to go to Cedar Point Amusement Park on Monday. The park is three hours away and they would need to take two vehicles.

They're just not thinking ahead and that is driving me nuts. Admission price at the gate is $43.99, but you can get discounted tickets at various places, like AAA. But there are NO discounts available at the gate. Have they thought about getting their tickets here first?? Have they thought about looking at a map of the place and sort of planning their day? I told Alex that when we went to Cedar Point back in the early 1990s, we followed someone's advice of going straight to the back of the park first because the lines for the "big" rides were very short, if there was any line at all. Then work your way forward. This helped us out tremendously. These kids really just sort of want to fly by the seat of their pants on this trip, sigh.

After much discussion, Ted and I have decided to let him go, but with some guidelines. This is where I need some unbiased thoughts.

  • First of all, I'm a little concerned because none of these kids have ever driven three hours straight. I know the time will fly by because they'll all be talking and having fun, but I'm worried about distractions for the driver.
  • I told Alex that I want all of their cell phone numbers and a list with their parents' names and home phone numbers, just in case something were to happen.
  • When I asked him who would be driving which cars, he said that they probably wouldn't decide until they were ready to walk out the door. That's a BIG NO, in my opinion. Whichever vehicles are going to be taken need to be reliable and filled with gas. This should be done ahead of time.
  • I think it's important that one person be designated to ride up front and be in charge of communication with the other vehicle. The drivers should NOT be messing around with cell phones AT ALL.
  • To be fair, everyone in each vehicle (except the driver) should financially contribute about $8 to "the kitty." This money will be used for turnpike charges, parking fee ($10 to park!), and gas.
  • The park opens at 10:00 am, so if they want to be there then, they will need to leave here around 7. The park closes at 10:00 pm, and if they stay until closing, everyone will be a little tired. The person riding up front will need to promise to stay awake, to basically make sure the driver stays awake, on the way home. They should also stop for a few minutes about halfway home, just to stretch and get some fresh air.
  • I want a phone call when they get to the park, and another phone call when they leave to come home.
  • We want Alex to be one of the drivers and take my car (a Chevy Trailblazer) because it has OnStar and it's newer and pretty safe.
  • The vehicles should stay fairly close together on the trip up and the trip back, just in case something were to go wrong somewhere along the line.
Now...am I being unreasonable? I admit that most of this is my doing and Ted just agreed to it.

Alex thinks I am and put a rather nasty bulletin on his MySpace page last night. This morning, however, it was gone, so he obviously deleted it after some thought.

We haven't spent 18 and a half years raising this young man for him to be hurt or killed on a trip to an amusement park. Yet, he'll be away at college starting this fall and I won't know most of what is going on with him.

So there it is...please give me your opinions.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Button, Button, Who Has the Button? (ME)

The other night I was all comfy in the recliner and an episode of Seinfeld came on. I enjoy the show, but I'm not a HUGE fan or anything like that. I'll watch it if there's nothing else on. (My sons, however, have each and every episode practically memorized.) I was just winding down, getting ready to go to bed and it happened to come on after the news. I was going to turn the TV off in a few minutes anyway.

At the beginning of this particular episode, Jerry was doing his stand-up routine, as usual, and he began to talk about buttons. He mentioned the extra buttons you get with shirts, jackets, etc. Then he asked if it was really that difficult to find a brown button in a store, or something to that effect. He even commented about people who have all those buttons stashed in a drawer somewhere.

I almost raised my hand.

My nightstand drawer is my "junk" drawer. But, believe it or not, I know what's in there and where it is.

If you look carefully in this picture, you can see the laser pointer that we use to play with the cats, my ever present Lip Dew, a pair of toenail clippers, tweezers, a clothespin, eyedrops, Vicks inhaler, one of many hospital bracelets I've accumulated over the past few years, a pair of scissors, an orange shoestring (again, a toy for the cats), a random Q-tip, and of course....BUTTONS.

It's always nice to know that I fit into a category that Jerry Seinfeld addresses.

And for the record, this is only ONE corner of ONE drawer in my nightstand, and this is no way indicative of how I run my life. At least not in every way. But don't ask my family about that.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Go Ahead...Tell Me I Over-react

Yesterday afternoon I was starting dinner. The weather had been a little goofy all day, rain on and off, mostly sprinkling. It seemed a little humid, but never hot.

Shortly after 3:30, I thought I heard a siren outside. I opened up the door and listened, and it was the tornado siren. Joe and Alex were both back in their bedrooms, so I went back there and told them that we were going to the basement. I told them to gather up the cats and get downstairs. I needed to go turn off the burners on the stove and put a few things back in the refrigerator.

Suddenly, I felt my "teacher-mode" kick in. I stood at the door to the basement, telling them to get moving, making sure that I would be the last one down there.

(Our basement is not an "ordinary" basement. We have 10 rooms of varying size down there and all the amenities of the main floor, except for a computer, so it's not like we were heading to a dungeon or anything.)

Joe couldn't find Marina. Oliver and Pepina were down there with Alex. We tried to get her out of hiding by opening up the refrigerator and pulling out the drawer where we keep lunch meat. She begs for turkey on an hourly basis, and whenever she hears that drawer open, she comes running. However, this time, she stayed hidden. I just told Joe that it was doubtful that anything would happen, so we were going down without her.

After we get down there, I turned on the TV on to watch the Weather Channel. They said that we were under a tornado warning until 4:00. So we stayed there until 4:00, even though we could see out the windows and there was no rain or wind.

When Ted got home from work, shortly after we came upstairs, I asked him where he was during the sirens. "Heading back to the shop."

So was I the only one taking this seriously?

A little after 6:00, the weather was getting nasty, and the sirens started again. Alex was over at Aunt Patty and Uncle Tim's house with some other people. I texted him and asked if they were inside. He said that they were all in the garage with the garage door closed. I strongly suggested that they at least go inside. He texted back, "I'm fine."

I mentioned to Ted that maybe we should go downstairs...he said we were okay on the main floor. They kept breaking in for emergency messages on TV. The Weather Channel even mentioned us by name (I just love Jim Cantore.)

So again, was I the only one taking this seriously?

Or was I over-reacting?

My mom called later on and asked me, in a teasing way, if we had come up from the basement yet.

Our local newspaper does a poll every day. I wish they would poll their readers, asking how many went to their basements during yesterday's tornado warnings.

And for the record, when we came back upstairs earlier, Marina came out of hiding and was sitting on the kitchen floor.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Happy Anniversary

This past Sunday was our anniversary. For the most part, the time has just flown by. We were young when we got married...we were both 21. We had to do a lot of growing up during those first few years, but I wouldn't change it for anything. At the time, we thought we knew what life was all about.

We did a lot of planning for the wedding and reception, but realized very soon after, that a wedding does not a marriage make.

Like almost every couple out there, we were faced with a variety of issues, but we always got through them. We dealt with the minor things (like a car breaking down, trying to pick out furniture together) and the major things (Ted's dad's illness and death, my cancer), but each of those events made us, as a couple, stronger. They have contributed to who and where we are today.

Although this picture was taken last summer at Bravo, it's one of the most current of just the two of us together.

Saturday night we went to Bravo again and had a very nice time and a great meal. Ted had redskin potatoes that came with his crab cakes and he wanted me to taste one. They were fantastic! I always order the same thing when I go there. I look at the menu, but end up getting pasta bolognese, and it's always very good. We even decided to order dessert to go. We ordered tre dolce, which is a smaller portion of three different desserts. We were too stuffed to eat it there. In fact, I ended up bringing home about 2/3 of my pasta bolognese because I was stuffed with wedding soup, salad, and bread.

Anyway, I asked the waitress about the potatoes and she really couldn't answer my questions, but a moment later, the sous chef came out to talk to us. He was very personable and told me how they make the potatoes. It doesn't sound too difficult...I may give it a try sometime. He asked what I usually order and I told him, so he told me how they made the bolognese sauce. He said that it takes all day to make it right, and I wasn't surprised in the least. Ted mentioned that we visit the restaurant every few months and we were there for our anniversary. The chef asked if we ordered dessert and I told him that we ordered the tre dolce to go because we were so full.

Then he said that in honor of our anniversary, he was taking the dessert off our bill! What a pleasant surprise!

We had a nice evening, celebrating our marriage. And considering that the national divorce rate is close to 50%, a marriage that's lasted as long as ours should be celebrated.

Thursday, June 11, 2009


Sorry folks, but I have very little for you these days.

Once school is out, my life becomes mundane. However, it's a good mundane, if there is such a thing.

Take yesterday, for instance.

I woke up around 7:30 or so...put the TV on in the bedroom. Heck, I don't even remember if I had on the Today Show or Good Morning America. It really doesn't make a difference because by then I was in the recliner in the bedroom, dozing on and off. Around 9:00 I turned on the laptop to check email and entertainment news, and then watched a little bit of Regis and Kelly. I eventually got dressed, made the bed, etc. and left the suite just before The View came on at 11:00. I watched that in the den, while I perused various blogs I like to check in on.

Eventually I made my way to the laundry room and did a couple loads. I also got out the cards that I am SOOOOOOOOO behind in sending. I began getting them organized. Yes, when you're as behind as I am, you need to get organized first. I realized that I needed to get a couple of addresses, so back to the den I went to get them from the computer.

(How did we survive without the world at our fingertips??)

And for the record, I did NOT get the cards finished.

Of course it was time to check email again and see if anyone else had any additional announcements on people.com, then I looked at the college website where Alex will be going this fall. Then I checked the college website where Joe attends.

By this time I needed to start dinner, so I worked on that for a little while, waited for the menfolk to come home, then we ate dinner and did the normal after dinner stuff. Last night I watched three episodes of The Deadliest Catch I had DVRed. Eventually I took a shower, played some computer games, then went to sleep.


I'm the most boring person ever in the summer.

And I love it.

(for now, hahaha...in about 6 weeks I'll be ready to pull my hair out!)

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

It Could Always Be Worse

The end of last week, we had some air conditioning issues. The fan would run, but the air conditioning itself would not. I called the heating/cooling people. The technician discovered that the breaker was off. He turned it back on, checked everything out, and couldn't find any other issues.

On Saturday we again noticed that it was NOT cool in the house. Ted went down to the basement to investigate and discovered, once again, that the breaker had tripped. He turned it back on. Throughout the day, he had to turn it back on at least 5 times.

Sunday, it was worse. First thing yesterday morning he called the heating/cooling people. The tech was here at 10:00. He discovered that the compressor with the air conditioning unit was not working properly...something about the coils.

The compressor needs to be replaced.

We got the rest of the information later on in the day.

(When it comes to good news/bad news, I like to hear the bad news first, so we have nowhere to go but UP.)

So....the bad news is that none of the suppliers around here have the compressor we need and it will arrive from the factory in THREE to FIVE DAYS! That's up to FIVE days without air conditioning. And let me tell you, last night was absolutely miserable. Even with the ceiling fans running full tilt and the windows open, it was HOT in here. Right now, at 11:25 am, it's already up to 80 degrees in the house. I can't even imagine how challenging it will be to sleep tonight since today is going to be hotter than yesterday.

Now, for the good news...the original compressor is still covered by warranty, so we will only have to pay for labor! Apparently a new compressor for our unit costs around $800 or so, and we will NOT need to pay that.

Let me just say, that when I get hot, I become cranky and mean. I think I'm going to go run some errands, then come back and get in the pool. Unfortunately, I'll have to use the oven and cooktop to fix dinner, so that will heat up the kitchen.

Now we're at the point that turning the breaker back on only lasts for a couple of minutes before it trips again.

But....it could always be worse. And that's what I'm keeping in mind right now.

On a totally different subject, I'm tracking the behavior of our felines. I'll have an interesting report very soon.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Let Vacation Time Begin!

Our air conditioning was working quite right Tuesday night. Although we had it set at 73 degrees, it was up to 80 degrees in the house. Of course, outside it was about 55, so we opened the windows and turned on the ceiling fans. The house didn't cool down overnight as much as we'd hoped, so when Ted left for work on Wednesday, he said, "since you're off now, I'll let you take care of calling someone to take care of the A/C. Just make sure you call ********* Heating and Cooling."

Why is it that people assume that teachers have absolutely NOTHING to do all summer??

But, I did call the place around 8:00 am, shortly after they opened. We know the family that owns the business, so the man that answered the phone and I had a little chat after I told him what the problem was. He said that he'd try to get someone here yesterday, but he couldn't make any promises because they only had one service man in for the day.

Around 3:oo, the gentleman called back and said that they wouldn't be able to make it, but would have someone here first thing today. I asked him what time he thought that might be.

That's when he started having fun with me. Knowing that I had just begun summer break, he quickly responded with 6:30 am. I said, "mmmmm....NO."

He laughed. Then he suggested 6:45. I told him then that I would still be sound asleep at that time. Then I said that 9:00 would work out just fine and he told me that they had half a day in by then. I told him that I usually do too, but now that school's out, my hours have changed!

We had a good laugh and he said that he could make it 10:00 if that would be better. I told him that 9:00 would be fine. What I didn't tell him was that knowing I would have to get up to be available by 9 would be good for me, so that I didn't lounge the day away.

Fast forward to this morning...I woke up at 6:05 am.

And then I was wide awake. I knew that if I went back to sleep, it would be trouble. So, I got dressed and ready for the day, and was in the laundry room sorting dirty clothes by 6:15. I did about 6 loads of laundry, folded them, and put them in the appropriate baskets, AND cleaned the kitchen all up before they called around 10 to tell me that the service man was on his way.

It was actually sort of nice getting up and getting all that stuff done early, but that will be our secret, because I certainly do NOT intend to make a habit of it!

As a little side note, when Ted got home from work, I was sound asleep in the recliner in our bedroom. (I'd only been asleep about half an hour.) He accused me of sleeping the day away, hahaha! Of course when he saw all his clean clothes, he knew that I'd been busy!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Whew! (Part 2)

The graduation ceremony was at our high school stadium Saturday night. It was a gorgeous night.

However, I should have told Alex that he needed to be somewhat cooperative with the pictures, like his brother was four years ago. It really just slipped my mind. I guess I thought he would do okay with the whole picture taking issue.

This is Joe. He graduated in 2005, and his ceremony was in the afternoon. Notice how he paused and looked at the camera. Good job Joe!

This is Alex...totally uncool.

After his ceremony, Joe took a few minutes to find us, then made it extremely clear that he would be posing for very few pictures. Period.

Alex, who finally came to his senses, decided to pose. Multiple times. Willingly. Wow. Here he is with Joe. Joe looks like he's been on a binge of some kind, but I just happened to click when he was part way into a blink. Just my luck. I didn't check the photo before continuing to take other shots. Totally my fault.

Here we have the "Epic" seniors. The rest of the "Epic Friends" are underclassmen. These three look so happy. I hope they remember this day for the rest of their lives.

This is Alex with A.P. and U.T. They are his godparents. Years ago the boys abbreviated Aunt Patty to A.P. and Uncle Tim to U.T. That's pretty much what they call them now. They have been a HUGE part of the boys' lives and played a big part in making them the men they are today.

This is Alex with Uncle Mac and Aunt Peg. They've also been a big influence on both of the boys. They've been so fortunate to have such loving aunts and uncles playing a big role in their lives. We are thankful for that each and every day.

A little over a month ago, Alex played bass guitar in a talent show at school. These guys with him in this picture played drums and lead guitar. There was another guy who sang. They did "Sharp Dressed Man" by ZZ Top. They got second place...not too bad for their first showing. Alex occasionally goes golfing with the guy on the left. (Alex is NOT a golfer, but he's learning!)

My parents were also at the graduation ceremony, but opted to leave as soon as they could so they wouldn't have to fight traffic. That's why they are not in any photos. And yes, there is a shot of Ted and me with Alex, but I don't have it "ready" yet. When I do, I'll post that one too.

After the ceremony, the four of us, along with the aunts and uncles, decided to go out to eat. We were all starved, as no one had eaten dinner and it was almost 10 pm. We ended up at Red Lobster and Alex sat next to A.P. I told him to take off his sunglasses and he told me he wanted to look like Roy Orbison.

And that's how I've been spending my time lately. Things will calm down now, especially since the school year is about to end for me. Then I'll have more time to read and comment on blogs, as well as write in my own.