Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Bella's Ride Home

Oh my gosh!  What the heck were we thinking? We hadn't bought anything major for the house in a really long time. This past weekend, and the previous, we more than made up for it.  It actually felt kind of good.  I'm a saver.  Almost to the point of frugality.  I'm not yet into saving butter wrappers but,...So between purchasing a bed, 4 bookcases, a  media cabinet for our bedroom, a mattress and boxsprings  for my daughter and a sitting room  chair we decided to visit the Atlanta Humane Society.  Well really, if truth be told,  HE wanted to visit the animal shelter.

My husband and I are animal lovers. The kids fell right in line.  When my husband and I first got married I couldn't stand not having a pet around. Instead of opting for a fish I decided on a cat.  We went down to the Atlanta Humane Society and came home with a cute cuddly kitten.  My husband didn't know much about cats.  I really didn't know much either but knew enough.  I thought a cat would be a perfect choice for the  apt dwellers that we were.   My husband thought it was a good choice because of a cat's lifespan. Somewhere along the way my husband was of the understanding that a cat's lifespan  was like that of a hamster, one or two years tops.   Once our first cat made it past the 5 year mark he started asking questions, questions he should have asked before the adoption.  Our first cat lived to be 17 and our second cat lived to be 21.

Day one, we brought her home to kids who had no idea we had fallen head-over-heels in love with this puppy. My husband held the puppy on the ride home.  She just snuggled right into the crook of his arm.  My husband melted. The puppy slept and made those sweet puppy noises. He said she was just so soft. She would occasionally reach up to give him kisses. The puppy didn't whine, bark or throw-up. Hmmm...  The perfect puppy.

 We decided to pull into the garage and waltz in with her as if she were just another package. Right before we pulled into the driveway I was running through that "mom list" in my head.  What all needs to happen to pull this off successfully.  The puppy should go to the bathroom before we take her in. Okay, not the bathroom but you get what I mean.  I remember this from others who told me of their puppy escapades.  Not too long ago, my son described it perfectly. "Mom, when Bella gets excited it's like shaking up a can of Sprite and then opening it". My husband was on puppy duty while I made sure the kids didn't come running outside unsolicited. Most of the time, my daughter in particular, will come out to the garage whenever she hears the garage door go up.  I would like to think its because she misses me but maybe she's afraid she'll miss out on something.  I don't know for certain.

So my husband is outside with our precious pup and I'm inside.  Sure enough both kids are downstairs ready to burst into the garage.  They begin asking their usual barrage of questions when all of a sudden we  hear shrieking. More precisely a puppy that sounds as if it were being bludgeoned to death. My first thought was the puppy had gotten loose and with in a matter of seconds got hit by a car.  The kids, standing right next to me, are also trying to figure it out.  I stood in shock for a second or two then flew out the door in hopes of finding something other than the conclusion my mind has drawn.  I left the kids inside, and told them to stay put, so that I could  witness this incredible and unexplainable sight.  My husband is standing in the garage with our sweet little puppy on a leash at his feet. In a calm almost trance like voice he utters,"Watch this."   As his hands reach down for Bella she turns on him sounding as if she wants to rip him apart. She has turned into this vicious attack dog.  I couldn't help myself. I laughed until I came close to peeing my pants. This little 5 pound puppy was trying to bite the crap out of my husband. She was reaching for whatever she could sink her teeth into.  My husband didn't think it was funny.  As a matter of fact he was terrified.  Not sacred of the little beast but scared about the decision we made to bring her home.  I was confident it was a fluke and she was just scared.  After all, my husband isn't the most patient.  I could see him trying to get her to go to the bathroom on his time instead of hers.  Maybe he tried to motivate her a little too much or maybe the darkness of night and the cool wet grass frightened her.  Either we haven't heard her scream anymore hank goodness.  She has settled in quite nicely with her family.  Now she is a part of our family.

Day 2 with our new addition.  At least having this puppy around is making my husband a little more cognizant of time.  He wants the puppy to sleep with him because the puppy is so cute and cuddly. Immediately I  agree. I know what he's in for. I go to bed earlier than he does. While I paddle off to bed I remind him that every 20 mins the puppy needs to potty. An hour later no bathroom break for Bella and what do you know?  She pees on the floor. Really?  This is shocking. The puppy has a bladder the size of a head of a pin.  My husband exclaims,"Well I just let her out!". Yeah, you did.  An hour ago.

This afternoon I'm talking with my parents on the phone.  Bella is in my bedroom with me.  The other two dogs were in need of a much deserved  Bella break. As I'm talking Bella is winding up.  She loves to do these quick grab and go episodes where anything in reach of puppy teeth gets chewed on.  My daughter used to say "Look how cute Bella is!" when Bella would take off with things.  Now Bella isn't so cute. So far she's grabbed my daughter's hair bows, lip gloss, tassels on shoes, pens and pencils and yes, even her homework. Now that I thought was kind of funny.  I told her I could write her a note that said, "Bella, our puppy, really did eat Shelby's homework." My daughter didn't see the humor. It's now been a month and a half since Bella's first night here. I think she's home. :0)

Remote Controls

Christmas vacation and I am forced into cohabitation with those I do not see very often. It is bittersweet.  I do love my family but once I get there I realize they have a different way of living. It affects me, more so than it normally would.   Secondly, it seems there is never enough space.  Everytime I turn around I bump into someone I don't want to bump into.  Lastly, the kids are bored unless they are with their cousins and even that, after a while, becomes old.  There is an overload of not just people and problems but also food, sleepless nights and trying to make heads or tails of it all.  

We really don't know how to behave around one another.  We aren't ourselves which is just plain uncomfortable.  Things that, on a regular basis,  don't make me nervous make me nervous now.  For example, at home I am the "go to" member of the family when we're talking electronics.  From phones to computers I can figure it all out with ease.  On the other hand,  I am afraid of the electronics at my parent's house. More specifically the remotes.  Deathly afraid.  I know, your asking why would I be afraid of a remote?  

First of all,  there are about 350 of them.  No really.  Secondly, the remotes are all different.  Just when you think you've found the remote to control the channels and volume you don't.  The cable remote only controls the channels.  There is another remote for the sound because it's surround sound.  At my parent's house there are 5 remotes per TV, 3 per DVD player, ... You get the picture. The remotes really need to be labeled.  I know, if I were a good daughter I would do it.  

I decided a long time ago to just avoid the remotes.  It's scary to think that the TV has the potential to explode if I press the wrong button. No really, stranger things have happened.  If it were just one TV that would be one thing.  There is a TV and 2 DVD players per room.  Let me rephrase that, a TV and 2 DVD players per room that isn't... Nevermind.   One time I accidentally touched the wrong button and zap, the screen went not just blank but went completely black.  I quickly escaped from the room.  My dad yells out,"Who was just in here?" I holler back, "I think I saw Susie in there Dad. You know kids."  

If something can go wrong when my parents are watching me it will.  

By the end of the week everyone is ready to hop back in the car for the 6 hour trip home to normal.  

Friday, December 23, 2011

A Family Christmas

Family dynamics are funny.  They are funny when you sit back and look at them but not too funny when you are living it.  Right now I am  living it.  

Every Christmas for the last 23 years my husband and I make the 6 hour drive to Kentucky to visit our parents.  During our stay we also see my brother's family and my husband's family.  We can't really leave behind our kids so they have joined us since they were infants.  My brother lives  5 minutes away.   He has two kids. One of my husband's brothers also lives in Kentucky.  He has an older brother that lives in St. Louis.  Their children are older and scattered.  They try to make it in for Christmas also.  As they get older,  and more of them marry and have kids,  the Christmas visits are less predictable.

My parents and my husband's mom live across the street from one another in the same subdivision.  They have for as long as we have been together.  Kind of crazy but tremendously convenient all the way around.  When the kids were little it was so nice to walk from one grandparent's house to the other.  It's convenient now because the kids can walk themselves and we don't have to worry.

Initially when my husband and I moved to GA we would could visit our folks Thanksgiving and Christmas along with other visits sprinkled in.  Now, as the kids have got older, we come up 3 times a year which includes Christmas.  

We stay at my parents house because it would just work out better that way.  We tried staying at his mom's before but there were just too many people in that house at one time for me.  To begin with, I am forced into cohabitation with those I have never lived with nor do I see them very often.  They have not only a different way of living, what's acceptable and what isn't.   Secondly, it seems there is never enough space.  Everytime you turn around you bump into someone you really don't want to bump into.  Lastly, the kids are bored unless they are with their cousins and even that after a while becomes old.  

By the end of the week everyone is ready to hop back in the car for the 6 hour trip.  Also on the way back the kids plug in and all is well.  It's a little on the sad side but everyone is happier with this type of closeness.  

RoadTrip: It's Christmastime!

It's Christmastime!  Time for the family dynamics to really kick into full force.  All bets are off for usual behavior.

This trip up north, to visit the family during Christmas, was a little longer than usual.   As soon as we pull out of the driveway the sky opens up.  It doesn't stop raining until we pull up into my parent's driveway 7 hours later.  To aide in the headache, it now gets dark around 5:15.  I do love winter solstice but I don't enjoy driving in it.  I'm  driving solo this year.  My husband had back survey almost two weeks ago and isn't supposed to be lifting anything nor is he allowed to drive.  I do not mind that part.  Since I'm in control we can make as many stops as we need to and I can pick the place we stop at.  If he were driving we would do a drive by restroom break but only after trying to get as far as we can before someone pops. Due to the rain, my husband wasn't taking his much needed breaks. He thought he was going to melt so didn't bother to get out of the car.  By the time we arrived at our destination,  he was a pretzel and we were all having issues.

At the beginning of the trip,  kids are in the back seats getting along.  Wow they are getting along so well and it helps for everyone to be plugged into some device.   As I'm driving I realize that my parents really did have a rough go of it on trips.  There wasn't an iPod or portable DVD player to plug into.  They had to listen to a lot more of  "I'm not touching you."  "Stop it!  Mom, tell him to stop it."  Mom would say,"Just ignore it!"   Little did she know how hard that was.  Dad would sound off the usual, "Don't make me turn this car around!"Little of that goes on in our car.

I do remember a time when dad bought a black and white tv that was meant for travel. It came with an adaptor of sorts that plugged into the cigarette lighter.  It had the rabbit ears too.  Yes, we would bend the ears around until we could get a glimmer of something through the snow on the screen. Eventually we just gave up and reverted back to the "I'm not touching you" game.

The station wagon we traveled in, back in the day, had the fake wood paneling on the sides.  We had a "way back" which was a metal box with a seat.  No seat belts in the way back.  If the vehicle had to stop really fast I would imagine that we would have easily been sliced in half. The bench seat right behind the front seats could be laid down flat so the entire back was a bed.  We would lay blankets down and sleep and slide around as Dad rounded corners.

These days everyone has to be strapped in tight. No roaming kids or kids in the front seats.  The only thing I remember not liking is the fact that bathrooms were few and far between and so was food.  We would get a couple hours from home and I would start the pee pee dance while sitting.  You know the dance.  You try to cross your legs as tight as you can to hold everything in until the next stop.  No sudden moves please!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Help Me! I'm Drowning!

I just need a little air.  I'm not asking for much.  Just enough.  I know how to get air, I just need to breathe.  Right now even the act of taking in air seems insurmountable.  This is where my faith in God, my faith in something greater than I am, should be found.  If I don't have faith that everything is happening to better my life then I will be consumed.  Consumed by my own created mountain. I'm sure you all have felt this way.  Feeling so overwhelmed by the perceived bad and that which is unknown.  I wish I could consistently let go but it's hard.  I get caught.  Stuck in the same hole.  Reacting the same way and hoping that will change things.  I know it won't. I know I need another way.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Zoie: A Love Story

Oh, it's been such a difficult summer.  I didn't think things could get more difficult but they have.  Always interesting how that works.  I've spent the past couple of days in a tear-streaked stupor.  Not really sure what to do.  I know what I need to do.  I just need to carefully think things through.  As a parent of a 14 year-old and an 11 year-old it's not just about me.  I have to be ready.

Our 21 year-old cat, yes I said cat, has come to the end of her journey on the earth.  It's time to let her go.  It just makes me so sad I can hardly stand it.  She's been a part of my life for 21 years but I just can't stand to see her in the condition she is in.  It's hard for her to get up and down.  She virtually stopped eating yesterday.  Yesterday I realized I needed to do something.  Call the vet and explain the situation they are already aware of.  The situation they deal with on a regular basis.  I don't though. My husband does.  They say it's time.

My husband has already been feeding the kids the truth slowly.  Bit by bit.  Little conversations about how Zoie isn't doing very well.  Telling them, "You know, Zoie is 21.  She's pretty old."  The past couple of days we've all just been hanging out in our bedroom with Zoie.  Giving her plenty of love.  Gently giving that love because at this point she is so very fragile.

It's time to let her go.  I went ahead and talked to her.  Spoke in a soft voice telling her she can go.  Letting her know everything would be okay and at the same time reassuring myself, but I can hardly breath.

Monday, May 30, 2011

Is It Worth Going After

Just sitting here contemplating what friendship means to me. I think it's something you either have with someone or you don't. I'm not talking about the casual friendships or the friendships you might have with someone just because you belong to a particular group of people. I don't think true friendships can be created intentionally, it just happens. 

If I think back through my life,  there is a period of time when I consciously said to myself, "That person seems like they would be a lot of fun. I think I will try to get to know them a little better."For me those times never worked out as I had expected. As a matter of fact, "What have I gotten myself into?" was a constant feeling.   Those times that did work out  I didn't do anything to "find a friend", we just found one another. Looking back on those relationships the key was that nothing was forced.  I want to be around that person and if I can't it's okay because I can remember the feeling I had the last time I was with this person. 

This type of friendship didn't have anything to do with what they could give to me, at least at first glance. Now I realize they gave me a lot. They allowed me to feel good about myself, comfortable in my own skin.  These friends are the ones you don't want to leave out of any part of your life whether that part is good or bad. These are the good ones you don't want to see go.  Good friends are the ones who share in all of our journey, not just when life is running smoothly.

 When you find a friend like that you are lucky. It has nothing to do with popularity or if they have money, but everything to do with how they make you feel. Do they support you or do you feel worse after you have been with them? If the later is true, it's okay to only leave yourself open for the kinds of friendships that do make you feel good.  Open yourself up for opportunity. Every situation presents something to you. The most unexpected outcomes can come to us if we allow. 

 The friendships you don't seek out are the ones that last a lifetime.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Hardest Thing

What do you do when your mother calls up and tells you she has cancer?  I tried to take in as much as I could without getting caught up in the word.  That's where my breath stopped.  I heard bits and pieces of things she said, like consultation and surgery,  but that's about it.  Thank goodness I was able to focus on trying to remember what she said instead of my own selfishness,my potential loss.  Now the tears come.  It's the hardest thing I've ever had to digest.  No one wants to hear that their mother has cancer.  No one.  Especially not my mother.  

She is our rock.  She's the one I could turn to knowing that I wouldn't be judged.  Her lessons for me are not spoken, for the most part.  I knew what the right thing to do was. I saw, and continue to see,  her do the right thing.  She leads by example.  

Now it is my turn to be strong for her.  God, give me the strength to be strong for her, for my dad, my brother and the rest of the family.  It is my turn to show her that she taught me well.  Take up the fight and do not give up.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Disney Part 7: Let Me Off This Disney Train

At what point do you say to yourself, "I've had enough!" At what point do you surrender to what is in hopes of anything other that the situation you are in now? 

I could be talking about love. Actually that would make an excellent topic. What do you do when you have had enough.  You cannot take it anymore!   I am not talking about relationships but I am talking about my feet. We have been walking around for days in search of people, places and things. 

Can we not find the off button? We cannot help ourselves. It is kind of like watching AFV, (America's Funniest Videos), the Travel channel and some other reality show all rolled into one. You are mesmerized by all of the stimuli.   Unbelievable :0) I want to get off this Disney train but I cannot.  I keep thinking just another hour and then we will go.  I feel trapped because everyone is so nice, the parks are so clean and we might miss something!

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Disney Part 6: The Magic of Disney

I need to back up a bit to Magic Kingdom.  It seemed like at this point the kids were either taking it all in or they could really care less where they were as long as there was stuff to do.  Correction, fun stuff to do.  We tried to hit all of the major rides/attractions.  I'm checking my phone periodically to make certain we are headed in the right direction and to the shortest line.  Yes, there are apps for that.  Those Disney World apps make life a lot easier.  I know which days are good/bad days for which parks, wait times on rides and a map of each park.  Awesome!!

So, we are walking around to our next destination which is Pirates of the Caribbean.  I check my phone and what do you know, the ride is down.  Down!  Seriously?  I didn't think any ride would be down at Disney.  As we are walking I decide to find a park employee and ask what was going on.   Finally, someone to ask but he's helping someone else.  I wait ever so patiently only to find out he doesn't know the answer to my question.  I thank him and start to catch up with my family who was on a search for something else to do.

All of us in our mouse ears!
I turn to look behind me. I felt someone on my heels.  You always know when someone is closing in on you,  and there he was.  There was the park employee I was just talking with.  He was an older man.  He seemed nice enough.  He was asking questions as he tried to keep up.

      Park Employee:  "Where are you from?"  "Since you live so close I bet you've been here before?"          Me:  "No, we haven't been as a family.  This is the first time for our kids."
      Park Employee:   "Oh!"

  He was a very nice man but I started to think this guy was taking his job a little too seriously.  He followed us all the way to the Pirates of the Caribbean attraction and then said, "I have something special for you to do this afternoon if you are interested."

My husband's and son's expressions must have led him to believe they thought he was a timeshare salesman.  He came back with," No, I'm not selling timeshares or anything else.  I'm extending an invitation for your family to be in the Magic Kingdom parade.  Would you be interested?"  WHAT!  Jon and I look at one another and then the kids.  The most surprising answer came from my 14 year-old son.  He smiled and said, "Sure!"  My 10 year-old daughter's face lit up too. That alone was worth it.  The Disney employee said, "Okay, meet me at the front of the park at 2:40."   The magic of Disney!

Every hour my son inquired about the time, how long it would take to get to the front of the park from where we were and reminded me that we should probably get there a little early.  It was only 10:30.  This was coming from a kid that is so laid back it is painful.  He's late everywhere he goes, which incidentally drives me insane but I've had to learn to live with it.  Live with it until now :0)  I almost wanted to hug him.  Some of me was rubbing off on him. I'm so proud!

We get to our meeting spot, where the parade starts, and look around for the man that we spoke to earlier.  2:30 turns to 2:35.  No park employee.  My husband and I are starting to sweat it.  Later my husband told me he was thinking, "What if this guy was just fooling around or he forgot?"  I was just thinking we might be in the wrong spot.  A little prayer was said that there would be follow-thru and that we WERE in the right spot.

2:40 on the nose and up walks our man.  In his hands are mouse ears that have been embroidered on the back with our first names.  We were told we need to wear these in the parade.  Along with that was a certificate showing that we were the Grand Marshals of the parade for that day!  Everyone put their ears on with pride.

Before the parade started
It seemed as if the parade went on for miles.  That evening our arms were tired from waving and our jaws were sore from smiling so much.  It was an experience of a lifetime!

Hey Woody!  Watcha doing?

Monday, May 2, 2011

Disney Part 5: Disney in a Week

As far as the rest of the week went, it was good!  We made it to Epcot only because we had a couple of extra tickets.  Of course we hit Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios.  We planned those two.

As the song goes, "She's got the whole world..."
Epcot was fun but I'm glad we didn't spend an entire day there. I think the first attraction we went to was Mission Space.  Mission Space is still with my husband and I.  This is not a good thing.  If I could compare it to anything it would be a flight simulator.  I haven't been in one but my son knows enough to know so  I'm taking his word for it.  It was almost disastrous.  The kids were fine.  "It was okay but I'm not going on that again."  In light of what just happened, we decided to skip Mission Earth. We headed on over to Test Track.

Test Track was a lot of fun.  One thing that I did like about all of these rides was the wait.  I know, that sounds a bit nuts but really I did.  They had plenty of things to look at or to do in all of the lines.  Attention to detail made everything so real.  You felt like you were there.  That's all that we had time for.  On to Magic Kingdom.

 Magic Kingdom was everything I remembered and then some.  There were at least two rides we wanted the kids to experience,  Space Mountain and It's a Small World.  Surprisingly enough they liked both.  Space Mountain still gave me the rush it did so many years ago.  It's A Small World not so much.  At least we were off of our feet and in air-conditioning.  It was blistering hot outside.  Yeah for "off of our feet."  We rode Astro Orbiter, Big Thunder Mountain Railroad, Splash Mountain, Haunted Mansion and Pirates of the Caribbean. I will let you know what happened on our way over to Pirates in another blog.  So Cool though!!
THE Castle

I kind of liked the Rock 'n' Coaster in Hollywood Studios but it did give me a bit of a headache.  The music was awesome though.  Who doesn't like Aerosmith?  Twlight Zone Tower of Terror was my favorite in Hollywood.  Finally there was something my husband and son were dying to see, Studio Backlot.  Studio Backlot attraction let us see how a lot of stunts were developed.  YAWN!  That's what my daughter and I had to say about that.

Splash Mountain.  One of our favorites!

Shelby with possibly the NEXT AMERICAN IDOL!!
Next was something the boys knew we wanted to do.  Can you ever get enough Idol?  My answer is I think not.  So we headed off to what had my daughter's attention, The American Idol Experience.  The place was packed! I must say I even got into it.  It was just like Idol.  No really, just like Idol as if you were actually there.  You could even electronically vote!  They had 3 contestants who performed for us.   The girl who won was amazing.  Who knows, maybe someday we will see her on American Idol.  Just in case, we snapped a picture.

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Disney Part 4: Lions and Tigers and Bears

We woke Tuesday morning ready to go!  Our first park on the agenda was Animal Kingdom.  We laced up our tennis shoes and off we went. Several people tried to discourage me from going to this park in particular.  They told me that this park is just for little kids.   I'm so glad I decided to include it because we all loved this park.  It was breathtakingly beautiful.

We went on a "safari" and saw so many lovely creatures just roaming around.  I was in awe at the Tree of Life.  It was an extraordinary example of how we are all interconnected.  It was also a good reminder that if we don't start taking care of everything someday it will all be gone.

It's Hard to Be a Bug attraction was well worth the wait.  The kids loved the 3D bug breeze, bug juice and the ever popular Stink bug. We also saw Festival of the Lion King.  If you are Lion King fan, I highly recommend it. The costumes were gorgeous, the singing incredible and the dancing magical.

Tree of Life carvings

Tree of Life
It's almost 13 hours later and we are headed back to our smoke filled, soon to be air freshener filled, condo, but not before one last bite and one last picture.  Just a beautiful place with friendly people.  I wish everyone could put on a Disney face.  I think the world would be so much better for it!

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Disney Part 3: We Are Officially Smoking

They weren't very excited about where we were until they really thought about why we in Florida.  We were going to Orlando-  Disney World!!  We thought we were awesome parents.  After hearing them moan and grown about not being able to go we were here.  No longer did my husband and I have to listen to " Well (so and so) is getting to go to Disney World and SeaWorld.  They have been there a bunch of times."  I think they were in shock that we were here.  We were here!

We find the management office where we check in.  No problem.   They were very nice and polite.  Pleased that everything was working out splendidly,  we hopped back into the van to make the trip to the condo. That's when the fun stopped. We are, at this point, so tired from the trip and helplessly dependent on HER.  You know HER.  Most of us have one that we use.  Yours might be a man but ours is female.  I'm talking about the GPS.   We begin our journey, our seemingly endless journey.  Our destination is right around the corner.

Along the way I keep thinking, "I've seen that building before.  Where have I seen that building?" The reason I thought I had seen that building before is because I HAD.  We were going in circles.  At first they were large circles and then they became smaller and smaller. It got to the point, after seeing "The Big Orange" for the 4th, yes 4th, time it became a joke.  We dubbed this convenience store "The Big Orange" because there was a big orange on top of the building.  I sure wish I would have snapped a picture of that place. It was quite the landmark, in more ways than one.

After several circles I couldn't stop the tears.  It became quite comical.   My belly and mouth were hurting from laughing so much.  Amazingly, after 323 circles, we pulled into the complex.  No need to ask for directions!  Who needs directions when you have such a fine piece of ____ electronic that would feed directions to you, any way you wanted.   I'm thinking that if we would have asked for directions from a human being, we wouldn't have had to make so many circles.  Well at least we now have the lay of the land.

We park the van and start to unload.  We are tired but eager to see where we would be staying for the next week.  From the outside it looked nice.  It was very beachy looking.  I do like the word so don't fault me for my adjectives.  As we opened the van doors the fun started.  My husband grabbed a couple of bags as well as  the key to our home for a week.  He unlocked the door as we are hit in the face with a stench that could only be one thing, smoke.  then it hit us.  It wasn't just a little smoke it was a wall of smoke.  Had we stood back from the door far enough we probably would have seen rolling out of the unit.

It wasn't just in the foyer, it was all through the unit.  All 5 rooms and 2 bathrooms!  No amount of fresh air and ceiling fan was going to take care of this.  If we were smokers we wouldn't have needed to light up.  We aren't smokers.  We are nonsmokers who requested a nonsmoking room.  UGH!!!!

We had to get out of that place!  We were tired and hungry.  Since we had to take ventilation of the condo into our own hands,  before we rested our weary bodies, we decided we needed to refuel.  Off to get some dinner.

It's nice that we got a lay of the land EARLIER but that didn't help in our quest for food.  The reason it didn't help is because we wanted Mexican.  Did we pass a Mexican restaurant in our hunt for smoke, no we didn't.  We had to ask HER for help again.  I said a little prayer.  Eventually we did find an awesome Mexican restaurant that we went back to later that week.

After dinner it was time to find a Target.  Nothing else will do especially when needing to purchase household items.  We had to invest in something to take care of the smokers paradise. Back in the day, finding any kind of store other than a convenience store, would be a challenge.  Lucky for me, Targets are everywhere.  Praise God!  We found one.

Now that we are all worked up,  my husband was on a mission.  Look out!  I love my husband to death but sometimes he goes into overkill mode when shopping for something.  Notice I said thing as in one item.  Don't get me wrong, my husband is very helpful.  He has been known to go to the store for me which is awesome.  If I were to say," Could you stop at the store and pickup a package of hotdogs?"  he is all over it.  In fact, he would come home with 10 packages of hotdogs.  Of those 10 packages 5 are different brands and 5 are different types.  "Why?" you say. I don't know.  Either there are too many choices or he wants to find the perfect hotdog.

Anyway,  on to find the perfect stinky air corrector.  2 hours later and we are done.  We come out of Target with solid freshener, spray freshener and deodorizer.  I thought to myself, here we go.  $20 on fresheners.  Apparently I didn't realize that the smell would reappear each day and the $20 was well spent.  Way to go honey!!    Any time we left the condo, we would have to spray again.  It became as automatic as filling up the washing machine with detergent or brushing your teeth before you go to bed or putting clothes on before you go outside.  You wouldn't think of going to your mailbox nude would you?   There was a solid freshener in every room, 6 fresheners in all.  We used the sprays as backups and the deodorizers to spray our clothes. All completely necessary.  Sorry for the doubt in my voice earlier.

When we returned home to Atlanta, and I opened my suitcase, the smoke had followed me home. There wasn't an article of clothing that didn't reek.   I was officially smoking :0) 

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Dinsey Part 2: Best Laid Plans

Okay, I have to say the funniest thing about this trip to Disney was the car ride to Disney.  My husband and I agreed that we would do our best so that this would be a total surprise for the kids.  It's not often you can pull one over on a 10 and 14 year-old.  I did my best to keep my research, notes, ... hidden and the computer's history wiped clean.

The kids already started asking about going to visit their Grandparents in Kentucky over the break.  They really look forward to seeing everyone but especially paying a visit to indiscretion,  the convenience store.  During a fuel stop they are allowed to select some junk food.  They may pick something sweet and something salty along with a soft drink of choice.  This only happens on trips like this.    They were pretty excited.  They were also excited their Dad was coming along too.  Usually Daddy doesn't get to make the spring break trip to Louisville.

It was countdown to Kentucky for the kids and countdown to Disney for me. 2 weeks away!  It's hard being sneaky. I'm not good at it.  This would be highly commendable in most situations but not while you are trying to pull one over on your kids. Every time I stopped using electronic,  I had to make certain I cleared the history on the mac, the iPad and my iPhone, as well as phone calls and texts.   That was hard enough to remember. I took extra caution to burn all of my notes.

It's Saturday the first official morning of Spring Break.  It's  6AM. We told the kids we wanted to get an early start.  Well, getting out the door so early didn't happen. In fact,  I thought it was going to be one of those stressful, "It's 10:25 and Chick-Fil-A stops serving breakfast at 10:30.  We have 5 minutes to get there!"  My husband loves a challenge.  We did arrive just in the nick of time.

Eventhough we are headed south on 75 instead of north the kids are completely oblivious.  Why? The kids are "plugged in."  You probably know what I'm talking about.  When they were little, as soon as the car was packed, the headphones went on and the DVD began playing.  The DVDs didn't stop until we pulled up in the driveway.  Now the earbuds are in everyone's ears.  They have their choice of games, movies, TVshows or music.  Not a peep from the back, although I wouldn't have been able to hear them anyway because my headphones were on.  Those earbuds are so uncomfortable.  None of the usual, "He's touching me."  "Well she's looking at me!"   8 hours of that.

Longing for a little human interaction, I took off my headphones and my husband followed suit.  We looked at each other in disbelief as we traveled farther south with billboard after billboard announcing how beautiful Florida is.  The peanut gallery is still quiet.  The farther we head south,  the more engrossed they are in their choice of electronic drug.  We pass advertising for the sunny Florida beaches, fruit stands, shell stands and still nothing from the back seat.  As we got closer to the Florida line, my husband and I would stifle our laughter but we really didn't have to.

Finally I could take it no longer.  We crossed the state line and exited to fill up the tanks, the car's and ours.  I even had to say,"Do you know where we are?"  My daughter came back with," Hopefully almost to Mama's and Papa's!"  I said no and were there any other guesses.  "Look around!"  I tell them hoping they will spot a sign or a palm tree.  Finally my son says, "Florida." I asked when he knew and as I had thought it was when we entered Valdosta, Ga, not too far from where we were.

They were both excited but not as excited as I would have thought until, ...

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Disney: Spring Breaking With the Mouse

   We finally did it! Our first trip to Disney and boy am I exhausted.  If you've never been to Disney, or if it has been a few years,  it is overwhelming trying to decide what to do. Where do you start? So many parks and so little time.  I think I was more exhausted planning it than walking it. Well, it was almost as exhausting.  

I had no idea where to even begin so I decided to start with some novice friends, then I took a look at Disney's website and finally, after doing a little digging, Undercover Tourist. Friends gave me a heads-up regarding some of the ways to save a little money, Disney gave me ideas on which parks would be of interest to a 10 year old girl and 14 year old boy and Undercover Tourist was a great website for determining which parks to go to on what days. They even have an app for that.  They have a number of apps for that. I downloaded several.  The ones I used the most  let me know wait times for the various rides. That was invaluable!  Now if only my phone could hold a charge for about 15 hours that would be awesome.

Using Undercover Tourist's site I was able to see what parks we should go to on what days.  Depending on the month you are going, this site was able to tell me, via traffic light colors, the best and worst days to visit the various parks, including  non-Disney parks like SeaWorld and Aquatica.   From there I was able to  fill in a calendar and we were almost set. Yes, my husband thought this was hysterical when I whipped out the calendar showing that our every move was planned out.  

 We made arrangements for a condo online as well as purchasing all of our tickets.  It's amazing how much you can accomplish with a few clicks. For the most part that worked out well.  After checking into a few things  I figured out that staying off site was cheaper, even when you take into account the charges for parking.  Parking is usually included when you stay on site.  My husband found a  rental deal that included 2 extra tickets. This was 2 extra tickets for each family member.   I thought, this is awesome!! Two extra tickets means we would be able to visit all of the parks except Universal and the DIsney's water park.  That was okay though because I had planned a trip to SeaWorld, Aquatica and the Kennedy Space Center. On the second day of vacation I was thinking something different. 

"What the heck was I thinking!" was playing in my head when I woke the next morning.  For those of you who have tried to do all of the parks in 8 days you know what I'm talking about. It was crazy!  13 hours of walking around the first day.  We got up the second day and even the kids looked like they were a couple of 80 year olds hobbling around. Fortunately for everyone God decided we needed a break.  The the rains came.

 It poured the next day.  Not only did it pour but the lightning show was incredible.  I think my husband and I both said a little prayer that morning.  Definitely divine intervention! 


Monday, February 7, 2011

Have You Ever

This morning I woke in a daze. That is also how I fell asleep. I still feel as if I'm in a movie, only it's not good and I want it to end. Things change and change for a reason. I know that I can make it out on the other side. Realistically I know that. My heart is having more of a difficult time with it.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Daddy Daughter Night at Chick-Fil-A

Tonight my daughter gets to go to her favorite place for dinner with her favorite boy. Tonight my husband made reservations to go to Daddy Daughter Night at Chick-Fil-A with his favorite daughter. Well, it's his only daughter but,... This is a night that my daughter gets to witness first hand what it should be like when you go out on a date. More importantly she gets a taste for how men should treat her later on. I do have to say that my husband is a true gentleman. He has always opened doors for me whether it's the car door or the door to a restaurant. He has always asked me what I wanted to eat and then ordered for me & he will also pull out a chair for me. I'll make certain to thank him again for making me feel special. Now my daughter gets an opportunity to experience it and not settle for less.

Pictures to follow............

Thursday, February 3, 2011

"The Office," in Remembrance

One of my favorite TV shows is "The Office." I know what you're thinking, "What does she know about what goes on in an office?" but I do. As a matter of fact, they could have filmed "The Office" episodes at my office, the office I worked at about 14 years ago before my STH (Stay-at-home) status.

At my office the cast of "The Office"  characters are all there. Thinking back it would have been ridiculously obvious, but I would presume to say that most offices are like that and that is what makes this show a success.  I really get a kick out of watching and reminiscing.  The interactions and mischief is a little over the top but imaginable.  In my office, I was the silent observer for the most part because I really wouldn't know what to say.  Watching that is like watching a train wreck. You know you really shouldn't watch because it is mindless and/or someone might get hurt, yet on the other hand you can't help yourself. Rubbernecking is also a dangerous enterprise.

My husband works in an office and I thought he would think it was hysterical but I don't think he gets nearly the kick out of it that I do. Maybe that is because he is too close to the fire. Maybe he's trying to forget or he's better about avoiding the train wreck! We still enjoy watching the show.

Just the other night my family and I were out having some pizza when in walked Dwight.  Well, not exactly because he was 20 years older!  I felt like asking if he was related because the similarities were startling.  My husband and I could hardly contain ourselves. A 50 something Dwight Schrute! Now how funny would that be? Later, we get home and my son says,"Hey, did you see that guy who looked exactly like Dwight from "The Office" only he was older?"

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Don't Mess With Your Mom

Okay, remember that letter I mentioned the other day? It was a letter from the high school my son will attend in the fall inviting us to an informational. I began talking to my son like he was going. He almost immediately said, "Oh, that's just for parents! Students aren't supposed to go." A certain amount of stiffness entered my body,  but I ignored it.  I ignored it because the 8th graders would take a "field trip" to the high school. While there they would take a tour,... So I didn't think too much about him not going with us that night.

Finally, it's the night of meeting. My husband and I get there and look around at wall-to-wall kids which of course led me to think,  "What the heck?" We were duped. He didn't want to come for whatever reason and I bought it.  I decided to go the front of the auditorium, before things started, to reintroduce myself and my husband to the principal.  I knew her from last year where she was the principal at the middle school.  It was an awesome year.  She's very "open door policy" kind of principal so I decide to go to her asking if kids were supposed to come.  She said,"Yes." I said, "Oh." I found a seat and texted my son. 

                Me:    "Kids were supposed to come to this."
                Son:   "Oh, GGTB!" 
(**GGTB= got to go bye)

We got back home and I decide to have some fun. He's having fun with me and now it's my turn. 

               Me:     "There was an elective fair there and since you made the decision not to go I went ahead and picked a couple of electives for you."
                                  (His eyes were getting big at this point.) 

               Me:     "I thought you might enjoy Interior Design as your first choice."
              Son:     "No, mom.  You didn't do that.  Say you didn't do that."
              Me:     "Come on! I think you would really like it once you got in there."

I let him marinate in that for a while and then told him the truth.  It was fun while it lasted and a reminder not to mess with the bull or you get the horns. 


Today my intention is to be reverent, to see God in everything.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Intentions Change

My intention for this day was to be nice to everyone.  Ooops!  I already blew it with my daughter this morning as she was getting ready for school.  She was stuck in TV land, not paying attention to me when I asked what she wanted for breakfast.  She responded to a question she thought I had asked but it wasn't the question I asked. I sure moms and wives can relate. When that happened I lost it.  
                          "Shelby, that answer doesn't make any sense.  Please quit watching TV, turn around and talk to me.  It's rude not to pay attention to someone when they are talking to you.  On top of that,  when your mouth is facing the opposite direction of my ears I can't hear what you are saying.  Now what do you want for breakfast?"

Maybe I had better change my intention to breathing more and saying "I'm sorry" more often.  

Friday, January 28, 2011


                             Start the day off right.
                         Set your thoughts on the right path.  
                 Decide what your intention is for this day. 
                My intention for today is not to struggle. 
                What is yours?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

It's Getting Closer!

Yesterday I received a letter from Cherokee High School regarding fall enrollment.  My son is in the 8th grade.  This fall he will be in high school.  High school?  Seriously?  I just don't understand what happened.  Writing this and reading it back to myself it seems impossible, absolutely impossible, that he will be in high school.  It's probably harder on my digestion than it is my son's. 

Now let's break that down.  What we will be dealing with are the 3 Ds;  Dating, driving and declaration of independence.  I would also like to throw another D in  for good measure, damage control.  I can remember doing a little bit of that while in that 8-10 year learning curve.  Of course I'm still in a learning curve only it doesn't seem to be so big, damage control isn't the focus of my life anymore. 

Dating is first on the list because I can almost feel that "dating" will happen any day now.  What's up with "dating" these days?  I thought dating was reserved for those around 16 who can actually drive their date to their destination.  If you can't drive yet, where are you going to go on a date unless someone  takes you there?  "Back in the day," the only dates we had at that age involved going to school dances  once or twice a year. We didn't call it dating.  When we were 14 or 15 there was no going to the movies with your girlfriend or boyfriend, or to the mall or anywhere else for that matter.  

Driving is next on the list.  Who is going to teach him? Even though I'm use to it, others are scared when they are in the car with my husband so if he's teaching our son I don't even want to know about it.  I say I'm all for driver's training.  They don't offer it in school but that's okay with me.  I will pay someone to teach him. Something about being in the same car with someone learning to operate 2 tons of metal is a little scary.  Thank goodness I still have a couple of years to forget about him getting behind the wheel.  Right now he talks incessantly about what type of car would make a cool first car.   Well, he'll be driving a bike to school unless he steps it up in the savings department.  His other options are I drive him or he takes the bus. I'm sure that would go over well.  

Last of all,  at least he's taking it slow on his declaration of independence. Okay, first I had to let go of the school work and now this.  What's next?  Am I going to have to let him make up his own mind about a career, marriage, ...  That is a lot to wrap my brain around. So far I think I'm doing fairly well.  I'm trying to remember I'm just along for the ride.  I'm along for the ride until I find out that he needs steering in a different direction. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Growing Into Her Own

I can't wait to see the woman my daughter will grow into someday. She is passionate about her views.   She is passionate about helping people and  helping animals.  She is also is passionate about doing her best in whatever she does and she isn't afraid to try.

She cracks me up sometimes with her own sense of style and her sense of being okay in her own skin. She's 10. I'm trying not to squash this although sometimes its hard not to when she comes downstairs as if it were mismatched day at school. After letting her know, as gently as I could, what she had on didn't really go together, she decided to start asking me if "this matches."

I say that I can't wait,  and I can't,  but  I'm truly enjoying the time I have with her now.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Who Did You Vote For? An Innocent Question

It's very interesting how teenagers perceive how the world works.  Many times if your opinion is going against the opinion of others in a group you are considered not normal so I could see how this could hamper a teenagers freedom of speech.  This in a sense is true for adults too.  As the cliche goes, what exactly is normal and who should really care.  

My daughter posed a question directed to me. 

                            "Who did you vote for?"

To which I replied, "What do you mean?"  "Are you talking about the presidential election?"
                            She said, "Yes". "Did you vote for Obama?"  

At this point in the conversation my 14 year-old son couldn't hold back a comment so felt compelled to jump into the conversation while my snickering husband was left in the background.


 My son, in his vast life experiences at 14, says 
                           "Oh, well look where that has gotten us."                               

I bet you might be able to guess how the conversation further played out
                           "What do you mean by that?" 
                           "Obama and this health care mess we are in."
                           "Please explain."
                           "Well, you know.  First it's global warming and now it's health care."
                           "Oh really, I'm sorry you feel that it is all President Obama's fault."  I actually wanted to say, "What the heck are you talking about?  Seriously!!"  "What don't we throw in the economy along with anything else you can think of."  "Just who have you been talking to?"  

                     "You know, it's pretty incredible he did all of this by himself and in such a short amount of time."

He understood my point.  It didn't happen overnight and it wasn't just one person. Not only that, a lot of the mess we are in has nothing to do with anything except greed. We need more of it right now and the bigger the better. If we reverse that thought the world might even be able to recover.

 I also let him know that he might be pretty surprised how many of his friends may have voted the way I did if they had a chance.  Some teenagers, as well as some adults, do not feel comfortable voicing their opinion on a subject if it may create controversy and ultimately a good ribbing or worse.  It's hard enough to be true to yourself in given situations as an adult let alone during your teenage years.  

My hope is that we could all just recognize that it's okay if we all don't think alike and don't share the same opinion.  Imagine what the world would be like if we did.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Redefining New Year's Resolutions

Usually I do not make New Years Resolutions.  I don't make them because I always thought why wait until then when I can start now.  The only problem is that now doesn't come around very often.  I do try to plan things out though so I guess my resolutions are more like goals.  Also resolution implies loosing something.  I may not want to lose all of something but only an aspect of something.  Therefore a goal to me is a little more focused.

Martha Beck has an interesting idea regarding getting a clearer picture on what you want.  She tells people to use adjectives instead of nouns and verbs so that you are describing what it feels like to have reached your goal or completed your New Year's Resolution.  This is the place you want to be at.

Think about something that you would like to attain.  A lot of people set goals to lose weight around this time of the year.  The gyms are full of people who are striving to reach their goal, or so I've been told. They are passionate about it for the first month and then, for whatever reason,  their goal changes or completely disappears.  To stop this from happening, Martha Beck suggests that we think about how we would feel once we have reached that goal.  Does it make us feel complete, energetic, fearless, ... Now write down those adjectives that describe how you would feel.   What you do in your daily life that can be described by using those same adjectives.  This can bolster the "I can do it!" attitude to get you through the tough times.  If you can find these adjectives in your daily life now then you already have successes in your life? Count those blessings too!