I Didn’t Fall Off The Face Of the Earth

12 Jun

Yeah, I know. I haven’t posted anything in forever. Sorry.

So – quick catching up here.

  • We finished school back in May and my oldest is now a middle schooler. He’s also an official member of our church’s youth group, which also means that he’s in the Sunday school class Hubs and I have been teaching for, oh, about a hundred years. That makes me feel weird – to have my own kid in a teenager-y setting.
  • We put down sod in our backyard last month, so it no longer looks like we’re dirt farmers back there. On a related note, I have a feeling our water bill is going to be as high as our orthodontic bills (we now have 3 kids in orthodontia).
  • My phone broke. Sad days. I dropped it and shattered the screen. I’ve been scraping every spare dollar I can find (and selling crap on eBay) to pay for the repair, because I don’t want to take it out of our budget. $300 to replace screen and LCD. I’ve been without my phone for almost 2 weeks and I haven’t exploded yet, but I’m getting close.
  • I’m now Coordinator for our Community Bible Study class. This doesn’t mean anything extra right now, but in a few weeks, I’m going to have to shift into administrative mode and get everyone who has registered for the class entered into The System. Yes, there is a nationwide system that we all use. This is a big organization!
  • I’m now paying my children almost 4x the amount of weekly commission (allowance) to do their summer chores. I’m also not loading/unloading the dishwasher, vacuuming, sweeping, mopping, or dusting. I think this is a fair trade, and I’m willing to keep shelling out the George Washingtons to maintain the arrangement.
  • Kid #2 and I have started watching “Downton Abbey” together. I’ll probably blog more about this at a later time, but for now, we’re enjoying it. She’s almost 10, by the way.

I think that’s all the old business. On to new business. We’re going to a family wedding at the end of June, and we decided to make it into a big family vacation. This means that I’m going to obsess over finding the best deals for hotels and attraction tickets for the next few days until we have everything purchased. I’ve been working on it tonight already for three hours and I’ve given myself a Google overload headache.

We switched meds for Kid #1’s ADHD issues. Today was the first day with the adderall – the new stuff. So far, so good. He tried Vyvanse (adderall) back in December of 2011 and broke out into hives.  We’re hoping the allergic reaction was just to a filler and not the meds, because the meds he has been taking are only ok at controlling his symptoms.

By the way, if you have a kid with ADHD, I recommend “Taking Charge of ADHD” by Barkley. I finished reading it yesterday and feel much more competent to deal with this.

So, do any of my fabulous readers have interesting (or not-so-interesting) summer plans? I want to know – share!


The Great Dialect Quiz

7 Jun

Earlier this week, I followed a link to some dialect maps that NCSU grad student Joshua Katz published. Apparently, here in America, we speak differently from one another. Of course, everybody knows that Southerners say “y’all” and Bostonians often drop the Rs off their cahs, but there’s more than that.

Kelley, of the internet’s famous Kelley’s Breakroom, issued a challenge to those of us hanging out in there yesterday: make a video and show the world how you talk. So I did.

Then Tardie Sue wanted to get in on the fun. She has a couple of little fans in her video, though.


A Swan Dive Off My High Horse

21 Feb

I’ve been procrastinating writing this post because, well, it doesn’t exactly paint me in the best light. As you can probably deduce from the title, I recently experienced a relocation. Something that took me down a notch or two.

Remember my glasses saga? How I feel that, as a blind-as-a-bat person, I’m overcharged for necessary eyewear? And then how my optical shop called and added insult to injury? The story doesn’t end when my glasses arrived.

So my fab specs finally arrived from FrameLot.com on a Saturday right before I was making my weekly trip to the grocery store with Hubs. As we pulled out of the driveway, I excitedly ripped open the package and slapped my stylish new glasses on my face. I expected people at the grocery store to notice and gush over my newest accessory, but alas, we didn’t see anyone we knew (which is rare in this tiny burg).

As all new glasses do, this pair fit poorly, so I decided to do some amateur adjusting. How hard could it be? They’re plastic. I Googled “how to adjust glasses” and found some good information – specifically a page talking about how you can use a hair dryer to warm up the earpieces in order to bend them.

Woo hoo! I wouldn’t have to go in and see the scary lady at the optical shop to get my glasses adjusted! (Remember from before that I think she’s snarky?) So I whipped off my lovely frames and aimed my new, powerful hairdryer at the side pieces. I warmed and bended, warmed and bended, warmed and bended until I thought they looked about right, then I slipped them back on my face. Yes, they fit! But I noticed that I needed to clean them because there were some smeary areas on the lenses.

I cleaned them, but when I put them back on, the smeary areas were still there. I whipped them off my face and examined the lenses.

This is what I saw:

If you click on this to get a bigger picture, you can see the craze-i-ness. Yes, I went there.

If you click on this to get a bigger picture, you can see the craze-i-ness. Yes, I went there.

Those lines are called crazing. After much self-flagellation and pouting, I Googled this and discovered that I’d melted one or more of the lens treatments (photogray or anti-scratch or some other pixie dust thing). My glasses that I’d owned for 2 hours were ruined. And after all of the heartburn I’d gone through.

But wait…

…a glimmer of hope began to flicker in my brain. I’d never gotten back to the optical shop about the lenses they’d accidentally ordered for me. Beyonce (the scary/snarky lady there) had called me on Wednesday and I told her I’d have to talk to Hubs about it, but I never called her back. This was Saturday night. Maybe they still had my lenses…

I decided to pop in on the following Monday to see if I could offer them $100 for the lenses. After all, they were going to have to toss them if I didn’t take them. $100 was better than nothing, right? And I’d swap out my bad crazed lenses for the new ones.

When I walked in and told Beyonce I’d like the lenses, she showed them to me. You know those big round samples they have for tint colors or additional coatings? Yeah – my lenses were big round things, not nicely shaped polygons ready to pop into my frames. Bummer. And Beyonce tole me the $350 was from the lab, not from them. It was for shaping the lenses. Argh. I told her no thanks and asked if she could adjust my glasses.

She took them and did her magic on them. They fit even better than when I did my Google brand of weirdness on them. As she was taking them a second time to clean them before I left, she noticed the crazing. She assumed that the warmth from the adjustment she had just performed had done that and she said they would replace the lens.

What? Replace the damaged lens? For free? These thoughts chased each other around my brain. I pointed out that the right lens had some, too, but she said that it wasn’t crazing, just normal wear and tear. I asked how much to replace that lens when they replaced the left lens.

She said, “How about $100?”

Wow. Two lenses, $100. I made the arrangements and left my new frames there, feeling a bit uneasy as I left.

I had let her believe she had damaged my lenses.

I walked around the corner to Starbuck’s for a cuppa and some quiet time to work on my Bible study. Know what I was thinking as I went over there? “How can you be a leader in your Bible study when you basically just lied to Beyonce? How can you teach your children right from wrong if you can’t even do the right thing?” And even scripture was rattling around in my head, “The love of money is the root of all evil.” Ack!

Yes, the Holy Spirit was not just gently pricking my conscience, He was full-on in my face. I had lied and I knew it. The question now was how to fix it? I really didn’t want to pay the $250 difference. That would bring the grand total of my glasses up to roughly $775. I was having a hard time swallowing that pill. But I had lied. My pants might as well have been on fire for as awful as I was feeling. I did absolutely none of my Bible study sitting there in Starbucks, instead texting my bestie about what an awful person I was.

I knew what I had to do, though.

I took a last swig of my blonde roast latte and went back around the corner. This time I had to wait for Beyonce, and as I sat in the chair, I got more and more nervous. Finally it was my turn.

“I need to apologize to you. I let you believe you damaged my lenses, but I did it.” I wasn’t planning on telling her the whole story about the hair dryer, but before I knew it, I was spilling everything. Even tears. “I need to pay the difference for the lenses,” I ended.

You know what she did? She stood up, held her arms out and said, “It’s ok,” and gave me a hug.

I knew I had done the right thing, but I wanted to hide under a rock. Geez, I’m almost 40. You’d think that honesty wouldn’t be an issue for me. I haven’t done something like this since I was in college, and even then I can’t think of a specific instance. I just assume that I was a heathen back then because I was still a teenager and not in my right mind.

So this is the sorry end to my saga. I have my glasses, I have come to the realization that Beyonce is actually a very nice lady, and I even told my kids what happened so they would hopefully learn from my mistake.

The lesson here? Nothing is more important than integrity. Not even a deal on a pair of over-priced glasses.

Subtracting $233, Adding Insult to Injury

19 Jan

Remember my bellyaching about how much my glasses cost? The plot thickens. I got a call on Wednesday from my eye doctor’s office.

“This is Beyonce from your eye doctor’s office.” (Her name’s not really Beyonce, in case you were wondering.) “I saw that you were in last week when I was out.” (I wondered why she wasn’t there. She’s the snarky one that I don’t like very much. I was glad to not see her that morning when I was picking out my glasses.) “I also saw that you canceled your order in a timely manner and the staff member returned your check. However, he did not cancel the order with the lab.”

My heart thought about stopping for a moment. It wasn’t a true freak-out moment, but I could imagine her next words would be “and you owe us $583.”

Instead, not-so-snarky-but-still-a-little-snarky Beyonce said, “They came in today and I can offer them to you today only for $350. Otherwise I have to throw them away.”

Too bad I already shelled out $425 for the identical pair from FrameLot.com last week, otherwise I’d be all over that. But my big question is why they can’t offer the glasses to me for that price in the beginning?


A Little Spice In My Life

15 Jan

All my life I’ve been a cat person. I lived on a dairy farm until I was in kindergarten and we had scads of cats. I remember eating cat food back then because I wanted to grow up to be a cat. I used to dress the farm cats in doll clothes. I loved all things cat. Still do.

You remember our feline child, Gray Cat, right? She’s a great cat. Getting up there in years – she’s 11 – but still going strong.

Kid #3 has been begging/bugging us about getting a dog ever since she had the ability to construct a coherent sentence. She checks out books about dogs, buys dog books at the school’s Scholastic book fair, stops people walking their dogs past our house to chat. The girl is dog crazy.

I’ve been hesitant, because if we got a dog, it would mean more work for me. We tried dogs before kids. We had a collie and a sheltie. Those two were lots of work. I didn’t want 4 kids plus a fur baby.

One day back in September, a friend posted a local animal shelter’s pictures of adoptable dogs. I looked. Yes, you know what happened next. I fell in love.

I was looking at the pictures of the golden retriever/yellow lab mix puppies. They were fluffy and little and cute and I wanted one. I was clicking through the pictures when this made me stop and blink:



Wow. Not fluffy or cute and I certainly didn’t want it. I don’t know if you can see it, but the eyes are glowing green. I quickly clicked past and kept looking at the canine equivalent of the in-crowd.

And then the photos cycled back around.



I read the description: just over 1 year old, 7 lbs., Yorkie/Shih Tzu mix. I looked a little closer. I liked how his ear cocked up and his tongue hung out. He reminded me of that third hyena from “The Lion King”…Ed. Remember Ed? The crazy one? Yeah – this looked like the local canine version of him. Immediately in my mind I dubbed him “Senor Crazypants,” and at that moment, the world of dog ownership became a reality. This might be the dog for us.

I talked to Hubs about getting Senor Crazypants, but he was playing video games, so he didn’t participate much in the conversation. The next morning (a Saturday), I brought it up again. Know what he said? “It’s obvious you want this dog more than I don’t want a dog, so go ahead.” Wow. What an endorsement.

I didn’t say anything to the kids, but went to the shelter by myself. As soon as they brought him out of the back, he ran to me. You know the story: girl meets dog, girl falls in love with dog, girl takes dog home to surprised children.

So he’s ours now. His shelter name was Trevor, but we renamed him Pepper. We’ve had him 3 1/2 months now, and he fits in well.

  • He makes messes on the floor like #4
  • He tears stuff up like #1
  • He harasses the cat like #3
  • He’s sweet like child #2
  • He brings in gross stuff from outside to eat like the cat. To clarify, he doesn’t eat the cat. He, like the cat, brings crap in. Literally. He’s started bringing in frozen poo to eat. I think it’s the cat’s and/or my mom’s poodle’s from their Christmas visit.

He won’t go to the bathroom in the morning unless I go out there with him. Not a problem in the beginning, but now that it’s -2 degrees with snow on the ground, I’m not so keen to participate in this. But I have to, otherwise he leaves little presents on the floor under the piano.

He’s managed to eat his way through several pairs of the kids’ undies, socks, and shoes, he chewed the bow off one of my bras, he destroyed a (very, very ugly) doll that #3 brought home from an after-school club, and he’ll eat anything he finds on the floor. Especially paper. I should have named him Shredder. Poor Spa Barbie now only has one hand, and any stuffed animal within his reach is fair game.

But other than that, it’s all good. I took him to the groomer again this week and he’s looking mighty stylish.


Ripping Off the Blind

7 Jan

I’ve had glasses for a bajillion years. I got my first pair in kindergarten, and because my eyesight was so poor, I couldn’t get contacts until my sophomore year in high school. In second grade, they prescribed bifocals for me because my eyes weren’t focusing properly. I used those until my mid-twenties, when my doctor decided I would be fine without them. I can’t see a thing without my glasses.

I have gas-permeable contact lenses, but those are a pain. Literally. It feels like there’s something hard in my eye (because there is). I can’t wear soft contacts because I’m so stinking blind. Even though I wore contacts through most of high school, all of college, and into my young adult life, I reverted to glasses after child #1 was born. I did this mainly because I am lazy. I had a kid; I didn’t need any other hassles like poking hard things into my eyes. Plus, I had gained a lot of weight during my pregnancy and I felt like I could hide behind my glasses (I know – doesn’t make much sense, but there you have it).

I hate those ads on TV – “get two pairs of glasses for only $99!” That never works for me because I’m Blind Girl. They always tell me that, because my prescription is so strong, they have to break out the Coke bottle bottoms for my lenses. My vision insurance pays for much of the lens cost and $130-ish of the frames, but we’re still left with a chunk of change to pay.

Because of that, I started ordering glasses online from Zenni Optical. Granted, I’m taking a chance when I order because I can’t try on the frames in person until I get the completed pair. Plus, the frames are not high-quality, but I’m not doing anything that requires heavy-duty frames. I managed to get my last pair from Zenni for $90.90. Not bad, even for a prescription in the “hardly blind” range.

This year, I decided to go with a mortar-and-bricks glasses shop. I wanted to try on my frames, get a professionally measured pupillary distance, and all the customer service that comes with it. So this morning, I went to my local optical shop and perused the not-so-impressive array of frames. I finally settled on a pair I like and that look good on my large head.

When I walked out, I had a pair of glasses on order and a receipt for $584.31. FIVE HUNDRED EIGHTY-FOUR dollars. And that was with a 10% discount because my local shop is out of network for my vision insurance. Without the discount, it would have been $650. Are you freaking kidding me? Granted, I got transition lenses (because it’s cheaper than getting a set of prescription sunglasses), the super-thin lens option, and the anti-scratch/reflection coating, but still. That much?


The frames were $185. I guess that’s not too bad, right? Well, as I was searching online just now for a photo to show you nice people, I saw that my frames were on sale from framelot.com for $140.14.

My new glasses

My new glasses

Hmmm. If the frames are $45 less,  I wonder how much cheaper everything else is?

I punched in my old prescription for testing purposes. Guess how much cheaper this place is than my local place?

$499 vs. $650

Guess who I just called to cancel my glasses order?

A Double Bed Made Me Sad

4 Dec

Yes, a double bed has made me oh, so very sad.

It unexpectedly tore at my heartstrings this weekend and put me in a contemplative mood. A reflective mood. A sad mood.

Why? Because, for the first time in 11 1/2 years, there is no baby crib in our house.

I remember shopping for this crib back in early 2001. I was in my third trimester with #1 and I was over the moon. We had been trying to get pregnant for several years, and I had suffered a miscarriage a couple of years earlier. I wanted nothing more than to be a mother.

I planned a trip to Albuquerque (90 minutes away) for some serious baby shopping. I found this crib in the third store I visited that day. It was a simple, honey-colored convertible crib. I had visions of transitioning baby(ies) from crib to little kid bed to double bed. But I didn’t dwell too long on those thoughts, because I still had to squeeze this little fella out and get on with the new adventure of parenthood.

We had to pick the crib up later. I don’t remember why – either I didn’t have a big enough vehicle or they had to get one for me. Anyway, in early 2001 Hubs and I were our church’s youth group leaders. We planned a trip to Albuquerque for a day of fun at a local go-kart/arcade/bumper boat/laser tag place, and I made sure to build in enough time to swing by the baby store to pick up the crib because we had the church’s van. I remember Hubs and a couple of the teenage boys sliding the box along the side of the van by the door. I don’t know for sure, but I think the kids were as excited for this baby as we were.

Anyway, the bed sat in the box for a few weeks before Hubs and his father assembled it. I didn’t get to help because they did it while I was napping. I was a little irked because I wanted to help, but when I saw the crib in the room, my irritation disappeared. This was real. This was happening. We were going to have a baby.

It held my little man for two years until his sister came along, then she occupied it for a couple of years until another sister arrived. Kid #3 actually got to use it as a toddler bed for quite a while – until she was 4 – but then Baby K needed the crib. She finished out her time in the bed also using it as a toddler bed, but then we decided it was time for her to move out of her single room and into a shared room with #3, thereby allowing #2 to move into the single room.

Baby K and Gray Cat, who wins the award for "Most Years Sleeping in a Crib."

Baby K and Gray Cat, who wins the award for “Most Years Sleeping in a Crib.”

Saturday evening, as we were disassembling the crib and carrying pieces unnecessary to the double bed out to the garage, I had a moment of true sadness. I’ve known since I was 3 months preggers with Baby K that she was going to be our last. I’m ok with that. I mean, I’m almost 40 – I don’t have any desire to be pregnant again. But occasionally I’ll get that little pang of nostalgia when I’m around much-younger friends and their teeny tiny ones. Thankfully, though, the nostalgia is short-lived and I’m able to get on with my day.

But Saturday was different. This was something I hadn’t expected. Why was taking down this crib so hard for me? I guess it’s one thing to say, “We’re done having babies,” while my youngest is still a baby, but quite another thing to remove from my home a fixture that represents infancy. We’re done. For real.

I’ll still call #4 “Baby K” because she’s the youngest, but she’s in a big-girl bed now. She’s on the bottom bunk in the big-girl room she shares with one of her sisters. The nursery is about to undergo a transformation into the room of a tween. Things might not be easier from here on out, but I know they’ll at least be different. Lord, help me!