Sunday, February 28, 2010

For just a brief moment...........

Allyson had to dress up as a movie acress for the wax museum they had at school this week.

The morning of her debut, I asked her if she would like me to find a pair of 'bling bling' clip on earrings to make her more glamorous.

I knew I had a pair, buried deep in my jewelry box, that belonged to her great grandma pearl.

But it wasn't until I clipped them onto her ears that I remembered a photo- that I swear I just took last weekend- that is in my dining room..... A picture of the exact same little girl, wearing the exact same earrings.

And it made me cry.

Because she is growing, changing and maturing- right before my very eyes- and I simply can not wrap my brain around that. How fast she is changing. How every single day things seem so different, yet so much the same.

And in just an instant, like that (said while snapping my fingers), she will be a woman. So fast. So quickly.

And then I looked down and saw this sweet little bruised up child, the one I gave birth to just a breath ago, asking if she could wear those earrings.

I clipped them onto her sweet little head and ran to get my camera so that I could snap a glimpse of her as the sweet child she still is. But I knew I had to hurry, because she too is changing so very fast.

There is not a saying, book, bit of advise or story that could possibly prepare you for what it is like to raise children. There just isn't. You have to learn it as it engrains itself onto your heart.

That, my friends, is why older women just smile when they see a first time mother cradling her pregnant belly. Because they know.

They know.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Gud Niws!

Cleerly their ar nut enuf opshuns four mecksican eaterys in ourr fin cete- luckele a nu one is on thee wuy!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

NOT what I had planned................

The refrigerator is in the dining room.

The vacume is in the kitchen.

I am am hiding here on the computer.

Yesterday- for whatever reason there could possibly be- I pressed the button on the water filter inside of the fridge. No reason, I just did. It popped out the filter. Cool. I pushed it back in. Done.

This morning- the dag gone filter is leaking water. I woke up and stumbled down the hall, following my small blonde child who was demanding justice in the form of television and a chocolate milk, and discovered a puddle of water on the kitchen floor.


I stepped over it to make my coffee. Priorities you know.

And then I did the unthinkable.

I pulled the fridge out of it's nice warm little cubby (with Sam helping me, all the while announcing how strong he is). I have not pulled out said fridge in years. YEARS. There were papers, magnets, fuzz, furr, cobwebs and dried hard stickiness back there. In fact, there still are- because I'm here typing instead of there cleaning. I just don't want to.

Anyway, since we actually eat the food that is in the fridge in the dining room- doesn't it make more sense to just leave it in there? Who knew I would help to solve the worlds problems this morning, not me.

Moving on- check out this beautiful new lover of mine.

Sweet mother of pearl- my entire house smelled like a chocolatey heaven while this bad boy was in the oven. And the icing. Oh the icing. You cook it in a pan on the stove- like fudge- and pour it over the hot cake. Be still my heart.

It was sooooo good. It's the chocolate sheet cake recipe from the pioneer womans website. And it is the new love of my life.

And to wrap things up today, I will share a various conversations with Allyson from the last couple of days:
Tuesday night:
Ally: remember mom- for the wax museum I need to have blonde hair.

Me: Try to put baby powder in your hair and see how that looks.

A few minutes and a gigantic mess in my bathroom later- she emerges........

Ally: What do you think?

Me: Eh, it looks more grey than blonde.

Ally: Well mom, my person is like 44. (said with compelte emphasis on the 44 part)

Me: ugh.

Yesterday morning:
Ally: singing a song they are learning in choir. Mom- have you ever heard this?

Me: Yes- it was popular when I was in school. Whitney Houston sang it.

Ally: Whitney who?

Me: uhg.

Later yesterday morning:
Me: Hey Ally, would you like to wear a pair of clip on earrings in the wax museum today- I think I have a pair of your great grandmothers in my jewelry box.
Ally: Clip on what? What is a clip on earring?

Me: uhg.

So basically- in three very short conversations Allyson confirmed that I am in fact old. Very very old.

So- to sum up this wayyyyyy too long entry- my kitchen is a disaster, my diet is not going well, and I am an antique.

Have a nice day- you bunch of sincerely old people! Now, go clean under your fridges and bake a cake!

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Holy Pancake Day- I've got it!

I finally figured it out. What that little scribble of junk at the bottom of my calendar day yesterday says.............

Ihop Pancake Day. See- I told you it had to be something important.

Yesterday was free pancake day at Ihop- yesterday. As in not today. As in no free pancakes for dinner today.

And no- I did not finally come to my right mind- I saw a comment on facebook about it and went to look at my calendar because I could have sworn I wrote it down so I wouldn't miss it.

Note to self- write better.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Houston- we have a problem.........

My mind is like a steel trap. That is already closed. Nothing goes in- nothing comes out. Like mush really. Like an unsharpened tack. Like a dull knife in frozen butter. Like scotch tape that has been dropped on the carpet and has fuzz stuck all over it. Not really good for much.

I think at one point in my life, I was kind of smart. Quick. Witty. Logical. I think, truth be known I don't really remember and I can not cite any specific occasion, so probably that is not true. But I'm still going with it. And actually- I think my brilliance peaked around the 5th grade and it has gone down hill from there. However, I know Dan was attracted to me for my geniousness- among other things- so I must have been pretty dag gone smart.

But then I birthed three children, and gave them each, apparently, half of my brain. You do the math- it means Sam got robbed in a really bad way. Regardless- it has left me with basically nothing to work with. Actually a deficit.

Which means I rely FULLY on a paper brain. Paper- because I am a creature of habit and electronic doogies seem too difficult to learn.

I am not capable of remembering when the kids teeth were last cleaned, what shift Dan is working next week, when our vacation is, or who goes where when. At all. I'm not joking. I HAVE to write it down if there is any remote chance of it actually getting done.

Last night, after spending 12 hours at work (don't ask) I stumbled into the kitchen for a peanut butter and jelly sandwich dinner and stopped to look at what was on the old schedule for today. And I saw we are having people for dinner (which means I must clean and cook- all in one day- it won't be pretty). And then I noticed that I have to remember to actually pick ally up at school at 4:30 from choir (should have written 'send snack' because I just realized I forgot to do that- shucks).

And then there is that last thing. That last thing right there that I obviously will NEED to do today or I wouldn't have written it on the calendar. Yup- that thing right there...........mop dressed day?

Or is it mip deceased day?

Could it be map demeased day?

It is making me insane. I wrote it- apparently really quickly. And it is important, very very important. And I am not going to ever know what it is, until I forget to show up, do or send whatever it is that I was supposed to. And then it will be too late.

Sorry to whoever it is for whatever this means. I'll keep you posted.......surely someone somewhere is going to call when I neglect to map declassed day?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

C is for................

cookie- that's good enough for me

C is for cookie.........that's good enough for me

C is for cookie..........that's good enough for me

Oh- cookie cookie cookie starts with C!

I had been mentally stirring around a few blog post ideas about these little gems- but then one of my "friends" (aka- people who I blog stalk who don't actually know me but I pretend I know them and get all up in their bidness) posted something on her blog and there is simply no topping it. If you want to- you can read it here- I am still wiping the tears away from my eyes. But again- don't think I actually know this person- because I don't. Other than what I read on her blog, that is. I'm not normally one to share links to other blogs- because you will read them and determine #1 theirs is better than mine and #2 any idiot can create a blog and apparently I am one of them. But this is just too good not to share.

Oh- and if my kids hit you up for cookies- C stands for Cash- as in get it ready because my kiddies are coming!

Friday, February 19, 2010

What we're up to over here......................

Sam is big into puzzles right now. Yesterday- we did the same two puzzles no less than 6 times each. Last night we went to the dollar store and got two new ones, just to shake things up a bit.

Someone thought that dragging in big chunks of snow and ice was a good idea. They have filled the sink and the bathtub. There are pine needles everywhere. Thanks small children.

Allyson is still dressing girly. And she is cranky. This is as close as I can apparently get to her with the camera these days.

Emily has a huge shiner. Another sledding incident. Actually, it was a merry go round incident while sledding- not actually while sledding- but rather playing in between sledding. Either way- it looks huge and purple and horrible.

When not doing puzzles, Sam is apparently taking up cross country skiing.

I'm not sure what is up with all the icicles. These in particular go from the gutter almost down to the deck, kind of like prison bars. I can't be feeling like there are prison bars on our house- believe me I knocked them down.

So- there you have it. A whole lot of nothing. But our nothing, so it is all good.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

How I nourish my brain..................

So- considering how my blog is so intellectually deep and divinely insightful- I'm sure everyone reading it (both of you) is wondering what I use to inspire my brain to keep learning and growing.

The television.

You may find this surprising- what with how I am so current with worldly matters and knowledgeable with philosophical discussions. But yes- the TV is how I keep my brain sharp.

Excuse me- I must go remove an entire sheet of lightning mcqueen tattoos from my sofa................ okay- I'm back.

So here's my line up-

Sunday: Desperate Housewives. Oh how I love these woman. We laugh together, cry together, I can not wait for them to arrive in my living room every Sunday evening. And by every Sunday evening, I really mean one Sunday a month because there are all these stupid award shows and football games that are getting in the way constantly.

Monday: The Bachelor. I can't help it- I'm in deep. I think it is as petty and superficial as you all do to think that one man can meet 20 women and narrow it down to one- propose marriage- and live happily ever after in just 6 weeks while living in a mansion with cameras recording your every move. But dang it is like a train wreck and I just.can't.turn.away. The only thing that I would find more fascinating is if the cameras kept following them for like the next year so that we could see their 'real' reactions- like when they discover the 'love of their lives' doesn't always flush after using the restroom, or that they are allergic to milk, soy and wheat, or that they have to sleep with a fan on, you know- when the *magic* wears off. And- if you haven't been watching this season- you have missed some SERIOUS drama! It's been hysterical- girls sleeping with film crew, eliminations prior to rose ceremonies, girls calling and begging to come back- doesn't speak well for my declaration that I'm a Christian, but I still will watch it again next week- can't help it.

Tuesday: Biggest Looser. At 2 hours- this is a fairly long show to watch- but I keep thinking maybe I will get skinner while watching it. It's a commitment.

Thursday: Survivor. Oh yeah- it's back on. Again, can't help it. I just LOVE it. My idea for a future survivor- take a bunch of political officials and insanely rich folks, throw them out in the 'real' world with a minimum wage job, poorly running car, maxed out credit cards, a negative balance in their checkbook and a tooth ache (with no dental insurance). Like a real game of 'life'. Possible scenarios: 'Congratulations- you got a 2% cost of living raise- that's almost $.11 per hour- bad news is it threw you into a new tax bracket and now you make LESS than you did before' or 'Go find appropriate housing for $440 per month- $495 if you choose to forgo heating said housing' or 'Bad choice letting your car insurance lapse due to lack of funds- car accident and ticket set you back $693' or better yet 'Bummer- only $30 left this week for gas and groceries- helpful hint, ask the cashier to point you to the Ramen Noodle aisle'. I could go on for days- NBC Executives, just drop me a line and I'll plan out the entire season for you- it will be HYSTERICAL! Granted, I have never really tried to live on minimum wage- and although Dan and I are not rolling in it- we are a fairly comfortable family. Still- we use a lot of coupons, have to stick to a strict budget and car repairs generally give me knots in my stomach. Heck- it would even be funny to just give them our life for a while and see how it all pans out.
Grey's Anatomy. These people are amazing and I am knee deep in all their torrid affairs and constant messes. Much like Desperate Housewives- it goes completely against my moral fibers- but I can't give it up, not now. I just wish it wasn't so 'gross'- they could tone that down and I would be fine- not so much blood and guts.
ER. This show is long gone, I still miss it and I still wish it was one right after Grey's Anatomy. I wonder how Abby is doing?

Friday: Super Nanny. I don't catch it every week, not a show stopper for me. But I occasionally make the kids watch and and hope they pick up some behavioral tips. Because I'm a good parent.

Other shows I enjoy- but don't specifically plan my day around:
Pawn Stars- not porn stars you perverts. It's about a pawn store and all the crazy weird stuff people drag in to sell. Apparently you can either get a loan for an item, flat out sell the item, or leave with your item. I've always wondered how pawn stores work- I guess if you get a loan on your item and don't come back for it they sell it???? Still amusing to watch.

Lock Up. Totally wrong to watch a show about folks in prison- real live people- but for some odd reason I enjoy it. I have this strange curiosity about people in prison- how they think, feel and change- I can't help it.

American Pickers. These crazy guys travel around looking for old barns and yards full of crap and then talk folks into selling them their stuff for their antique store. Mom- you would love this show. History channel, I think.

Jon & Kate Plus 8. Granted, this show is no longer on the air, but I am still in mourning. I hated to see them let their marriage fall apart, and now I don't get to watch them anymore. The earlier shows- like before they got all rich and living in a mansion- gave me inspiration. If she could survive with 8 little ones, then I could certainly manage 3.

Now- perhaps you have noticed that every show I like to watch is (morally wrong)on at night. Also, know that if it doesn't start after 9:30 or so- I am required to record it for watching later. Because if my children are awake- the TV is nourishing their brains with some children thing. And when they are not being nourished, they don't let me sit down long enough to even pretend to watch a show. And, I'm embarrassed to admit, most of the shows I watch I wouldn't want the kids to see anyway. Which means I shouldn't watch them either. It is what it is.

So there you have it. THIS is why I am soooooo smart.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010


So the phone rang at 10pm last night. I knew. I just knew. I knew so much that I didn't even want to answer it.

It was the horrible computer calling to wreck my life.

She in fact confirmed that there was no school- again- today. I could be wrong here, but aren't the public schools REQUIRED to teach our children? And now they are all 'wha wha wha- snow snow snow'.

I do, in fact, LOVE the snow. I love it. My heart goes pitter pat when I see that mass of blue moving over our fine city on the weather channel. But it, apparently, comes with strings. Three of them.

See- by 8:30 this morning, there was already some pretty big arguing in my home. Operation Blowhole versus Some Teenage Crappy Show. Sammy rules this roost from 8am until 10am when Emily finally gets up. And even then- they like the same (almost) TV shows so there is not a ton of arguing (over the TV anyway- beads, puzzle pieces, chairs- that's all another story).

My life was simpler without cable TV. For many many years we just had public TV. The options are, well, there are no options. You either watch it- or you don't.

But with cable- we have 100 channels PLUS on demand PLUS whatever is on the DVR. So there is constant bickering over what to watch.

And that is just the tip of my iceburg today folks.

We are having guests for dinner. Not friends (although they are friends). I refer to them as 'guests' because they don't ever come over, yet. So I have to be on my game. Which means this house I have been neglecting for wayyyyy too long has to be transformed today. And now I have 3 strings in the way. It is not going to be pretty.

And the kids will complain when I make them go outside to pee. But I am not about to take the chance of letting them destroy the bathroom before our 'guests' arrive. No way.

And as soon as I sweep and mop our entire dag gone house (you know- the one that we thought we'd put laminate floors throughout so that they would be pretty?) Sam will- without a doubt- want to get out playdough. Or they will want to go outside and play in the snow- then drag half of it back in with them to melt all over my clean floors. Or Allyson will get out a bucket of beads- and they will drop them everywhere.

And now Sam is standing here begging me to do a puzzle. And after the puzzle, he'll want to play trains. And after trains, cars. And after cars, more puzzles.

There will be no winning for me today.

The only one who holds any promise is Emily. She cut open a box of samoas and has planted herself in front of Chef Franc. She is good for at least an hour.

So- I am off to knock down cobwebs, scrub toilets, hide laundry and select which doors will remain closed tonight to protect the innocent.

But before I go- I must share. There is this saying that my mother in law has always said. She doesn't say it so much anymore, but it is forever embedded in my mind. I pull it out only at really severe situations. I save it for when things are really bad. (mom-cover your eyes- it involves a curse word- which you have informed me I shouldn't use on my blog because it makes me look 'cheap')

As I listened to the computer declare that my Tuesday was going to in fact SUCK BIG FAT EGGS- the saying came screaming through my mouth.


Tuck that into your arsenal of words- and whip it out when things get really bad. It just feels good to scream out- try it sometime.

Monday, February 15, 2010

Gentlemen- start your engines

Nothing gives my family the same excitement as a good old fashioned grocery store race. Nothing.

Tonight- after a whole day home (trapped) with the kids- Dan was begging to get out of the house. He inquired about a trip to Ponderosa.


If you know me- then you know my severe dislike of buffets. I think I have blogged about this before. The 3000 trips to the bar with each kid- the 22 trips to the bathroom- the salad that I never get to eat because I am running the buffet marathon- and that is all in addition to the questionable picked over food.

Yeah, buffets and me don't go well together.

Instead, I presented my grocery list and suggested a grocery race instead.

They were all on board.

I tore said list into individual items, put them in a bucket, we divided into teams and drew out the items each team would be responsible for.

We entered the grocery, reviewed 'the rules' (no running, no splitting up, no pushing) and on the word GO, off we went.

This time my team was me and Emily- and we rocked it. So much so that I had time to read an article in a rag magazine at the checkout while we waited for Dan and his team to finish their lists.

In prior races, we have been literally running to beat each other to the check out.

It kind of sucked the fun right out of it that we smoked them so bad. But it did give us time to take back some of the incorrect stuff in his cart for the correct items (technically the lasagna noodles didn't say oven ready- they said no boiling required- he says I was trying to trick him).

Grocery races fill four basic purposes in my life:
1. I must plan the trip well and make a complete list
2. We are in and out of the grocery in like 12 minutes
3. There is no time for impulse shopping- so we save a ton of money
4. My children don't have time to fuss, complain and break things because we are moving at the speed of light

If your husband is grocery store challenged- the only tip I have for you is that you make a very very specific list for him (2 14.5 oz-ounce cans of whole tomatoes- something cheap but not questionable, 1 large container of sugar free hazelnut coffee mate coffee creamer, etc.) Otherwise- you will not get what you want.

Oh- one more tip- make your team members pee before leaving the house. Nothing can screw up your chances of a victory like a bathroom pit stop mid race.

And if you want to win- put the difficult stuff on his list. Throw in a can of sweetened condensed milk, parmesean cheese and velveeta and he'll be hunting till kingdom come (what is with the crazy organizing of a grocery store anyway?)

Not that I would do that or anything.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentines day- a tribute.............

Our days around here are simple. Although nothing to brag about- it is what it is. That's why 'special' days- like valentines day- are so much fun. It's a reason to step outside the box, do something fun, enjoy each other (for a change).

After our lunch of heart shaped pizza (that no body wanted to eat I might add) we decided to head to the park for my new found love- sledding.

Nothing says I Love You like hurling your children down an ice covered hill toward a fence and parking lot on a plastic disc.

We ran into a friend and her kids at the park. She is a nurse. Just a heads up- don't go sledding with a nurse. They will point out every potential horrible thing that could happen- and then describe all the horrible things they know have happened while sledding.

And then you'll get all nervous and scared.

And then your child will smash their face into the icey snow and blood will be running everywhere and their lip will swell up like a watermelon. I'm just sayin.

This is my favorite part of valentines day. Always has been. I remember waiting all day long on valentines for my dad to get home with 'the bag'. The bag was from the drug store and it always always always contained three candy hearts. Two little ones for me and my sister- and a great big giant one for my mom. Now I am the mom, and I get the big box- yeah me! I had considered telling Dan not to waste the money on a box for me this year- since I was actually with him when he bought them (we are such romantics)- but today when he gave them to me and I saw how excited the girls were to see my big box- I was glad I didn't. And I must say how cool it is that he always always always buys the kids a heart shaped box of chocolates on valentines.
Just had to include this. Emily sat for like two hours filling out her valentines last week. Two hours- never once complained, quit or fretted. She just kept filling them out until every last name was crossed out.
While at the park today- I couldn't help but notice these grown men all dressed up in knighty kind of garb fighting with foam swords and shields. What the heck? This was as good of picture as I could get- Dan wouldn't drive any closer. You'll just have to believe me- they were grown men fighting with foam swords. On valentines day. In the snow.

Then tonight for dinner, we made White Castle. It's kind of a tradition for us. It's fun, and different, and involves no hour long waits at the nice restaurants or me pretending to cook some extravagant meal. They deck out the restaurant in valentiney stuff, make the cashiers wear fancy clothes and wait on you at the table, and give you free ice cream. And yes- we in fact did have to make a reservation. White Castle, White Trash........whatever. We'll still do it again next year on this very day.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Here I go again...........

Much like my days- my thoughts are generally scattered and confused. And on days- like today- it makes me feel better to go grab a handful of pictures and share with you my thoughts on them. With as busy as I normally feel- it is funny to me that I actually take the time to photograph things I want to blog about. What a waste of time- mine and yours.

No need to thank me.

Somehow this is my therapy- now I will begin my session.

This is the reason I drag myself out of bed in the morning. I can barely function before grabbing a hot cup of coffee and adding this creamer- this hazelnut coffee mate creamer. It is the true love of my life. Found out last week that Sam is also allergic to hazelnuts. Of course. Nothing can be as tough as shoveling snow. I mean it's freezing outside- so you layer up- then you work your hind end off and get all sweaty. So you're sweating, but your face is frozen and you can't feel your feet. I mean- shoveling that first big dumping of snow was really really hard. I was almost afraid to open the door to snap this picture for fear my pajamas would freeze to my skin. Oh man- if I had a fancy lens or even the general skills to know how to use my camera you would be crackin' up. I don't really take joy in making fun of others- but this guy had the WORST comb over I have ever seen and it stuck up all over his head. Why oh why didn't one of his family members smooth it down? Plus- you should have seen me trying to pretend I was photographing Emily's cheer leading skilz while secretly snapping pictures behind me of a stranger.

I had to throw in this picture of Emily's funeral shoes. She didn't even need dress shoes- we had just bought her a pair at Christmas time. But she fell in love with them, and once I saw them I just knew she had to have them. I'm a sucker.

So there you go- Emily has hooker shoes, I am the original mean girl herself for making fun of strangers, my mornings suck without my love and I hate shoveling snow.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Dear School Superintendent,

Let me start this letter off by saying that your job title kills me. Everytime I think about it, I can't help but to chuckle. Not at you, but at your job title. The Superintendent. The Bestintentionator. The Superchooser. Ah- I digress.

I have a legitimate concern today. See- today is day number two for snow days. I am worried that the knowledge my children posess is beginning to slip. All that hard work of your teachers, and they will return as just a puddle of jello. Something must be done.

This has NOTHING to do with the fact that we are pent up in our home like caged animals. Or that they are fighting non stop. Or that they were already asking at like 9am this morning what we were going to do today. No- this has nothing to do with that. I am just concerned about their education. Seriously.

I mean, what about those ISTEP thingy's you guys are always preparing them for. Missing two whole days in a row are bound to throw some kinks in that mess.

And the food that I'm sure the cafeteria ladies had ready to cook for their meals, all wasted.

Who really makes these snow day decisions, and do you not even take into consideration us parents, uh- I mean the education of our children?

Because I am a good steward, I have decided that should you decide to again cancel school tomorrow- I will PERSONALLY pick up every dang child in the county and hand deliver them to you. You just let me know if that will be at your home or at the school. Either way.

We can not take any more additional risks with our children's developing minds.


Your biggest fan

Allow me to amaze you..........

Monday morning, after a weekend full of frenzy in trying to prepare our family for Papaw's funeral, I woke up and looked at myself in the mirror.

What I saw did not impress me.

My hair- my poor neglected pulled back into a barrette every dag gone day hair was showing the woes of it's days.

How could I possibly attend this mans funeral looking like a middle aged woman clawing to her youth with hair that is wayyyyy too long for someone as, well, old as I am.

So I did what I had to do.

With our departure out of town just a few hours away and work and errands to do in the meantime- a trip to the salon was out of the question.

So I pulled my hair into a pony tail and with our trusty kitchen scissors whacked it off.

Now- I would NOT recommend this to anyone. Turns out- that if you pull the sides back to trim with the rest- the results are far from even. This then involved me carelessly clipping here and there trying to make it all the same length.

This story ends with me at work forcing my co-worker to trim me up around the bottoms to get it at least close to the same length.
I neglected to take a good picture- like after I had it all done for the funeral. You will just have to see it for yourself. But here is me forcing Allyson to help me iron my hairball out. I'm a slave driver, I tell ya.

I personally feel proud that I had the guts to actually do it. Ha! And- unlike the fate of my poor husbands head last summer- it didn't turn out too bad!

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Regardless of who you are, where you live, or what food you enjoy- one thing we all share in common is that somewhere in your kitchen is a salt and pepper shaker.

These are mine. For a long time, we had a set of mason jar looking things with plastic screw on lids. A few years back I got tired enough of them that I actually shopped for a new pair. And these are what I dug up. From Target, of course. They were like $5 for the pair. Nothing fancy. Nothing irreplaceable. Nothing of heirloom quality. But they are ours.

The are used every time I cook. They are on the table every time we eat (thanks to my husband and his unhealthy obsession with salt). They are in my kitchen all the time. And probably will be for the rest of my life. If they can last that long, that is.

They are a simple staple item, one that we all own. We don't think much about them, they just are a necessity thing. Everyone has a set- and if you camp often, well then you probably have two.

A few weeks ago we spent some time helping Dan's parents to clean out his grandfathers home. Although at 93 years old he was still living independently, driving himself to card parties during the week and church on the weekend- a turn in his health this past Fall forced him to move to a nursing home. He was crushed, he loved his home and wanted nothing more than to go back there. But that was not possible, based on the way his body was deteriorating.

As we sorted through items, boxing up some for a yardsale, some for auction, some for Goodwill- I came across a dish or something and asked Dan's mom what pile it should go in. She mentioned that she had just washed up the matching salt and pepper shakers.

And it struck me.

Papaws salt and pepper shakers were emptied and washed. Placed in a pile for strangers to pick through and possibly offer a quarter for. His salt and pepper shakers.

No doubt, his were selected by Dan's grandma- but she's been gone for many years. I'm sure she touched them more times than could be counted as she prepared meal after meal in their home, for her family. And even after she left this earth, Papaw kept them on his dinner table- touching them daily I'd bet.

Christmas dinners, Thanksgivings, Birthday parties, Sunday dinners, Pizza on Friday's, eggs in the morning- whatever. Always the same pair of shakers.

It must have been hard to take the top off and pour out the unused salt and pepper. Almost like signifying that life was leaving that home- making way for a new family and their own set of salt and pepper. For whatever reason- it really struck me.

At some point in all of our lives- our shakers will be emptied and gotten rid of.

Dan's grandpa left this earth on Friday. Although my heart is heavy, I do feel a sense of relief for him. I suppose he was ready. It comforts me to think that he is with Jesus- he's spent many years of his life worshiping him.

Everyone calls him gramps. We call him grapes- that's the way Ally pronounced it as a child.

With his home basically empty and for sale now, the only reminders of his time on this earth soon will be the ones we carry in our hearts. Which is how it should be, I suppose. Nothing physical on this earth matters. But it still feels kind of hard to see it all change.

I'm sure his service will be beautiful. I hope that this snow can hold off until after his funeral.

Friday, February 5, 2010

How to prepare your household for a winter storm 101

Being the good wives that we are, it is our responsibility to make sure our bases are covered in the event of a winter storm. I will now walk you through the necessary measures I personally take when preparing for my family.

Wait until it actually begins snowing to go to the store. If you try and way over stock your pantries ahead of time, you will miss out on the opportunity to see every living soul in the city while at the store after the storm has began to arrive.

Make a list. That way you can focus on the items you actually need for survival. Mine included hershey kisses, m&m's and pepperoni.

While at the store, decide it would be a good time to check your coupons to the sale papers and see what you can score for cheap. After all, you are there with your fidgety children and 2300 other folks- this would be as good of time as any, right?

Put said coupons in your front pants pocket as you pick up the items. Then, when paying, forget to give the coupons to the cashier.

My mom always preaches about having staple items. For my home, this includes flour tortillas, frozen pizzas and cheese.

My mom also always preaches about power outages- so be sure to get lots of chef boyardee canned pastas. And, because we are like the pioneer women, get the pop top kind (duh- if the power is out your can opener won't work)

I would throw in to buy milk, but for us it is a given to always buy milk when at the grocery- storm or no storm. We drink us some milk.

Hit the liquor aisle. If you are going to be trapped in the house for a few days with maniac children, you will need some of the hard stuff.

While in the store- purchase extra stuff that crosses your mind. Syrup- because we will NEED pancakes if we are snowed in and we are almost out. Hot Chocolate- because the kids will want to play in the snow. Coffee Creamer- I will need tons of coffee over the next few days. Chocolate chips- because cookies will be a must with the cocoa.

Get home and discover that you apparently stocked up on syrup and hot cocoa during the last snow storm. And that you are completely out of sugar, so cookies are going to be difficult. And fabric softener- so the thought of catching up on all the laundry while stuck at home is fading quickly.

Organize all of your groceries and plan out menus for the next few days. Then realize that if we actually get the 6 inches we potentially could, that you will not actually be trapped in the house and the roads will be clear in just a few hours.

Throw a frozen pizza in the oven and call it a day.

This will conclude our lesson.

You're welcome.

"The Biggest Storm of the Season"

Yeah- I knew I shouldn't have gotten my hopes up.

2-4 inches by morning they said. I'm writing a letter to the mayor's action line, something must be done about these weather men.

And what's up with the name they keep referring to this 'snow' as? It's like when Kohl's has their "Biggest Sale of the Year"- in January.

I did see that they are predicting blizzard type storms in New York. Lucky ducks. (although I'm sure they feel differently).

No snow. No two hour delay. No use for all this milk and bread.


Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Tip of the week.............

I'm noticing a trend, and it's called the tip jar.

Now, don't get me wrong. I waitressed my way through high school and college- so I know the power of the tip. Restaurants have a real racket, if you ask me. They get off paying those poor waitresses $2.15 per hour (probably more now) and make them beg the customers for tips. I've never really understood why the businesses don't just jack the prices up 20% and pay them straight up at the end of the night based on their sales.

But then you loose the true tip power. Tips are To Insure Proper Service after all. As a waitress, I can honestly tell you the days I gave crappy crappy service, my wallet showed it. Then there were days that you could do cartwheels and those cheap old customers just weren't gonna throw a girl a dollar or two for her efforts- but that's a story for another day.

Point of this long story is- I get tips. I mean, I don't get them, but rather I understand them.

But yesterday, while pushed for time between and appointment and school- I opted to stop and grab lunch with the kids. It was a pizza & grinder place. Nothing fancy. There was a counter to place your order, another counter where they screamed your name so you can go get your food, and a soda fountain so that you can pour your own drinks. And right there- next to the cash register- a tip jar. A tip for what? For actually taking my order? Turn that dag gone cash register around and I'll do it myself. What then? A tip for the gal who made my $7 sandwich? IT WAS $7. And I am sure these folks were being paid to do their job, right? I got no specific service from them. I poured my own drink, picked up my own food and cleaned off my own table. What the heck? Tip for actually having to do your job? What's up with that?

Which brings me to my hairdresser. You know, the one I haven't been to in over a year. Yeah- that one. He owns the salon. He, my hairdresser, owns the entire salon where he charges me $40 to cut my hair. So- here's the question, do I still tip him? I usually do, but do I have to? I mean, I am realllly over paying for his service, which means he is making like $40 off me for 1/2 hours work.

And the Fruilatti people. You know, at the mall. The ones where you pay like $5 for a smoothie- which if I am correct is just yogurt, ice, two strawberries and 1/2 a bananna. Then as you are paying you notice the handwritten note taped to a glass that reads 'tips' and you wonder if they just slap that up there when their boss isn't looking.

What about if you are out at a restaurant, and it's 'goofy magician' night and he stops at your table. You know, the guy wearing the 'tips appreciated' button. I don't want to have to be polite and watch his show- and then have to tip him for something I didn't want in the first place. You know the guy- he always comes just as your food arrives. Perhaps I need a button that says 'we're penniless'- maybe he'd get the point?

What's next- will I tip the gas station attendant for allowing me to pay for my purchase? The McDonalds person for taking my order? The mailman each day when he picks up my mail?

So anyway- all this tip talk got me thinking. Here's my idea..........

What the heck, if you can't beat them- join em, right?

I made one for the office too.