Thursday, December 29, 2005

How Time Does Fly!

Wow, I never meant for this long to lapse between entries. I guess once the holidays hit time flew by. Oh and the bathroom...not done. When I realized I'm going to have to remove the tank I knew it wasn't a job I could get done in a matter of hours. I was actually going to work on it this week while Steven is on winter break, but I'm enjoying just being a mom.
Mid December I added on to my job duties at work. I am now bookkeeping 2 days a week and became the motel manager. So for two weeks straight I was training daily for the bookkeeping, running the lanes and learning the motel ins and outs. At the moment I'm still feeling a little overwhelmed with everything, but once I get into the flow it will be fine. The owner suspects the previous bookkeeper was stealing from him and he has made it my job to find the proof. I can do a lot of the investigating at home, but he is one of these bachelor types who thinks I can run into the office at the drop of hat and find a file for him or some other urgent need. I can't seem to get him to understand that I have kids, young kids who need a babysitter and that isn't easy to do whenever he snaps his fingers. I'm ready to turn over this embezzlement crap over to the accounting firm like now! But Owner thinks I can handle it just fine.
Christmas was great! For the first time in 18 years I didn't make the traditional turkey dinner instead we had steak, shrimp scampi, asparagus and red potatoes. It was just Hubster, the boys and myself so I never even changed out of my comfy pajama pants all day. Perfect day was had by all! I'll post some pics later. Not of me in my pajamas but of the tree and the boys.
Every year we have a New Year's Eve party we attend at some friends house. It is always an awesome time and I am so ready to let loose for an evening. Everyone else has kids close to the boys' age so we moms take turns checking on the brood, plus there are older kids there also.
So hopefully life will settle down after the holidays and I can get back to posting regularly.

Saturday, November 19, 2005

End of Day Update

I am tired. Here is another photo update. This first picture was taken at approximately 8:00 tonight after I took a break to get the family fed and dishes done. Not much progress, huh? This, I hope, will be the slowest part of the project. Unlike the first layer of wall paper where I was getting pieces 2 feet long, now I'm lucky if I scrape off 5 inches. All of the glue and paper is not coming off so I'll have to take a fine grit sandpaper to it tomorrow to get down to just a paint layer. I still have to spackle a few holes and places that the drywall paper started to lift up so there will be plenty of sanding going on tomorrow. My biggest obstacle is that son of a bitchin' toilet. Whomever wall papered this room either was a professional or anal retentive. Now that I think of it I can't picture my flower paper lovin' granny doing this herself. I'm thinking that when they wall papered they must have removed the tank. So when I'm done here I'll be doing a search on how to remove a toilet tank. Because I've gotten as far as I can scrape behind the damn thing. I left a portion of the lower wall for Steven to do when we get up in the morning. He came in and helped me a lot this afternoon before Hubster got home from work. I still have the upper part of the wall to do myself. Hubster hasn't even noticed what I've been doing. He is still feeling a little under the weather from his oral surgery Thursday. He basically walked in the door and headed to the bedroom. He only came out once and that was for dinner. He is going hunting early tomorrow morning so I hope I can get all the paper removed and start painting before he gets home. I just know he is going to roll his eyes when he sees I went ahead and tackled the damn room. One benefit about redoing the bathroom that has the washer/dryer in it is that I'm getting all my laundry done. Of course there is the added benefit of that I can scrape the walls while I'm taking a potty break. Not many jobs you can do that.

While I Take A Break From Stripping

Lets see what g00gle hits I get from that title. I thought I'd give you a photo progress report on the big weekend bathroom makeover while my stripper sets. I started out with this. After half way through scoring the wallpaper with the thingamajig for doing so, I found out it was faster to just try to take off the first layer of paper. Its actually a job that a person can really get into if you make a game of it. How big of a piece paper can you pull off before it tears? I about had an orgasm on this chunk! I'm finding you have to keep the paper at a certain angle and speed in order to achieve the bigger strips of paper. Its all in the technique. I'm also finding my masculine side in this project by changes in my vocabulary. Son of a bitch is now most frequently used word. I think I get this from my Dad. He'll be so proud I'm sure. I also discovered that applying wall paper behind a toilet is much easier than removing wall paper from behind the son of a bitchin' thing. I was at the height of my masculine side during this portion of the project. One of the things I liked about the house when we got it was how well the rooms were decorated. I didn't care so much for the choice of colors and wall paper, but was impressed on the attention to details. During the stripping of the wall paper I've been cursing the son of a bitches for being so detailed oriented. Every strip of molding has wall paper behind it and at some point the odds are a piece of molding is going to crack. I know this will be the one thing that will set me up to miss my deadline. I don't have time to be repairing or replacing molding. So far I haven't broke one, but I have one more long piece of molding to remove and I hope my luck continues. Okay back to work. I'll update my progress regularly over the weekend. Hopefully by Monday at noon I'll be posting pictures of my made over bathroom.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Under Pressure

I have always worked better under pressure, but now that I'm getting older I may have to rethink this philosophy. Last night after I got home from my visit at Steven's school I got a call from my niece. She was calling for her mom to let me know that they would like to come down for Thanksgiving. I had invited them down last weekend, but Deb wasn't sure if they could. When I initially made the invitation I had in my mind that I would have a week and a half to finish removing the wallpaper from the bathroom wall and paint. When I didn't hear back from Deb I assumed they weren't coming and didn't worry about my disgraceful bathroom since it would be just us here. So after talking to my niece minor panic set in, but I figured that hey that leaves me 6 days. Then an hour later my phone rings and its my best friend Diana. She and I have been friends since High School even though she lives 500 miles away where she teaches school. You know where this is going don't you? She is coming up Monday afternoon to stay for a couple of days so she can drop her son off with his father and visit with me. So since she and her son will need the use of the bathroom that leaves me now 3 days to complete the task. When I told Hubster of my dilemma he looked at me with these pleading eyes, "Dear please wait until January. The bathroom is fine. Nobody will care. Please.". Is he trying to tell me something or what? Does he not share in my work under pressure theory? I've been under a lot of stress lately with Steven's problems and my boss is in his yearly uproar. So what to do? I love Deb and my niece dearly but they are the type of people that notice everything. If there is one dog hair on your couch they'll pick it off and with a look of disdain go throw it in the garbage. I always feel like my house can't be clean enough for them. So I always strive for perfection when I know they are coming. I've tried to not give a crap what they think, but its not in my nature so I usually end up killing myself cleaning when I know they are coming. So sorry Hubster, I can't wait. I promise to not get cranky or weep convulsively on your shoulder, but don't count on getting laid this weekend. I'll be too tired.

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Long Day

This morning started with Steven complaining of a tummy ache. Since about the 5th week of school every morning starts with some ailment. At first it was a sore throat and headache. Since strep had been going around school I took him to the doctor with negative results. One other time I kept him home, but upon hearing he wasn't going to school he was miraculously better. About a week ago, one of his classmates got sent home with a tummy ache. The next morning his sore throat and headache turned into a tummy ache. So this morning was nothing new, I got him ready for school and took a teary eyed boy to the bus stop. When the bus came into view he looked up at me and told me "I hate school Mom. Please let me stay home because I really am sick and I feel like I have to throw up.". I was so torn. I told him if he got worse at school he could always call me. With that I sent my little boy off to school. That fact that I have a kindergartener that hates school makes me furious.
I returned home to get ready to take Hubster to the oral surgeon in the next town that is 30 miles away. We still had 3 hours before we had to go and since I had only got 3 hours of sleep last night I decided to go back to bed for another hour. I woke up an hour later to Steven's smiling face at my bedside. Like an idiot I had forgotten to shut off the internet from my early morning surfing and the school ended up calling my sil Julie to go get Steven whom had claimed to have thrown up on the playground. So Julie brought Steven home and almost got flashed by Hubster who was just getting out of the shower. Steven was very happy to be home and didn't appear to be sick at all. Hubster and I loaded the boys in the car and headed down to the oral surgeon. During the surgery I had plenty of time to think about the situation with Steven. I knew I had to nip this school situation in the bud. Steven and I have discussed school daily and I knew his view, but I needed to have another talk with Ms. Kojak and find out exactly what was going on. Upon arriving home I settled Hubster into bed and told the boys to be good for Daddy and I headed for the school. I caught Ms. Kojak just as she was going over to meet her class from P.E. so while we walked across campus I told her I was very upset that Steven, a kindergartner, hated school. Ms. Kojak told me that this week Steven has been doing really well with his behavior since we had had our conference. Basically she was shocked that Steven was upset. She really thought that he was sick this morning since he was very pale when he got to school. At this point I felt I was over reacting. Since Ms Kojak couldn't continue our discussion I decided I wanted to talk with one other of Steven's teachers Mr. Rutty. He has Steven for computers and P.E. Mr. Rutty had only 10 minutes to spare so I got straight to the point and we discussed Steven. He told me he has Steven first thing in the morning for computers and then P.E. at 2:30 and that he is a totally different kid from morning to P.E. In computers he is a well behaved kid and is doing fantastic in class. But come P.E. Mr. Rutty has to get after Steven quite often. Mr. Rutty consulted his book from the computer class and said he rarely has to remind Steven to get on task. In looking at his book, he discovered he only has to get after Steven on Monday mornings and that has been since week 5. With those facts I came to the conclusion that Steven is getting tired during the school day. On Sunday nights I have a real problem getting Steven to bed on time. I know at home that when Steven gets tired he has to be told several times to do something, he is more argumentative, whinier, and fights with his brother more. He is also one of those kids who gets more active when he is tired. Its like if he can spin kick, jump, and play hard enough he can keep sleep from coming. This next week of school he only goes Mon & Tues and then has the rest of the week off for Thanksgiving. So this weekend I'm going to watch and see how long Steven sleeps normally and base his bedtime on the number of hours he needs. Hopefully, this will help him during school and the next parent teacher conference we won't be talking about ADD drugs.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

I Believe!

I believe in many things. I believe in ghosts especially after my Grandfather appeared at the end of my bed 3 days after he died. I believe in God. I believe in kharma. One thing I've always believed in was confirmed, for me at least, this past August.
Mid August Hubster and I were awakened at 1:30 in the morning to the sound of a single gunshot coming from our neighbor's house. Since we had the window above our beds open it sounded like he was standing right outside our house. We laid there for a few minutes and heard nothing else. Assuming he was scaring off either a bear or racoons we fell back asleep. I later awoke to Hubster shaking my shoulder and whispering "Dear do you hear that?". Bleary eyed I looked at the time. 3:31 am. Just as I was just about to backhand Hubster for waking me up from a wonderful slumber my ears registered this horrendous sound. The sound was coming from an animal. A big animal from the way it was echoing off the mountain behind our house. The animal was from the direction of the sound about a half a mile away and heading towards the house. I couldn't tell what kind of animal was making this vocalization and Hubster who is an avid outdoorsman and works in the woods for a living could not identify it either. Hubster said when he awoke from the sound he had gone outside in the yard to listen. Within moments of being outside the hair on the back of his neck stood up and he immediately ran back into the house and woke me up. This is a man who against my better judgement has chased black bears on foot out of our yard. So for him to be freaked out bothered me immensely. We listened to this cry as the pitches went from high to low gutteral sounds. Finally at 3:34 the cry ended. This animal performed these vocal ranges for at least 6 minutes steady and with a lung capacity unimaginable unless you heard it for yourself. We both laid there for sometime after breathing shallowly listening for sounds of the animal approaching the house. No twigs snapped, nothing. Finally sleep overcame us once again. At 4:00 am the familiar sound of the train crossing bells dinged and we listened as a the passing train rumbled and blew his whistle. Hubster and I commented on how the train whistle did not echo off the mountain. Strange.
The next morning I got on the internet and started a search for wildlife recordings. I downloaded various sounds of mountain lions, bull moose, cow moose, bears, elk, deer, anything I could find that lived in our area. Finally I came across a wav. file that was titled sno_howl. I clicked on the link trying to think what this could be as it loaded. Sno? Snow owl? Hmmm? I opened the file in my realplayer and pushed play. It was the sound! I had found our mysterious animal! I went back to the web page where I had found the wav. file and followed the link to a web site for the Oregon Bigfoot Society. I laughed and thought no. No way. Throughout the rest of the day I searched several bigfoot sights and listened to two different recordings of supposed bigfoot vocalizations. The one I had originally recorded was from Snoqualmish Washington...hence the sno_. in the wav. file.
Hubster arrived home from work and I had him come to the computer and I played all the different animal calls I had downloaded from the cougar to moose. He agreed none of them were the call we had heard. Then I pushed the sno_howl file and told him I hadn't figured out which animal this was for sure. Immediately upon playing the file he started rubbing the back of his neck, "Shit! F^ck! Thats it!" I brought up the web site for the Oregon Bigfoot Society and said this is where the recording came from. Now throughout our relationship I have on several occasions told Hubster that I believe Bigfoot exists. When I was 11 yrs. old and camping with my family and another family, a boy and myself came across a foot print that was almost triple of mine in a muddy patch by a creek. Scared witless we ran back to camp and got our Dads. Unfortunately we couldn't find the exact location of the print and since we were leaving that day our search was cut short. I know my Dad thought we were imagining it, but I swear what I saw was not human or any other known animal's print. My husband had always scoffed at my theory saying that as often as he has hunted, hiked and worked in the woods that he has never seen any sign of such a thing as Bigfoot. Standing in front of my computer this past August, my husband began to believe. In discussing this with a few of our closest friends we found out that a local man claims he saw a creature on the edge of a construction job he was on, but had quit discussing it after being teased so bad about it. A friend of mine told me she and her husband knew that they saw Bigfoot earlier in the summer while out on their ATV. She was driving while her husband was sitting behind her. She looked up a hill they were passing and saw this figure silhoutted by the sun. She drove a short distance and stopped whereupon her husband said "Did you see that too?" So they backed up and the figure was still there. They watched and she said she could see it sway every once in awhile, but due to the position of the sun could not see features. They went on up the road and about a half hour later returned to the spot they had seen the figure and nothing was there. I have read several sighting reports in our surrounding area on Bigfoot pages.
For the next several days after our mysterious episode, our dog Griz acted strange. His hackles would go up and he'd bark towards the wooded area by our house. Now we've dealt with bears for several years here and Griz got to the point maybe because of his age that he would just stand a distance away from a bear in our yard and look at Hubster like "Are you going to take care of him?". It was like he got used to bears coming around. Anyway I still don't know for sure what we heard. We talked to the neighbor and he shot at a racoon that night. So the possiblity that he injured a large animal was eliminated. And anyways the shot fired and the animal howl were 2 hours apart. So I don't know. I guess its still a mystery, but I find that I keep my blinds shut at night now where before it didn't bother me to have them open since we have no neighbors close enough to see in. But every once in awhile I get this feeling something is out there watching me.

Monday, November 14, 2005

I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas

well I'm not ready for the white part of Christmas as of yet, but I am in the spirit. Last year at this time our house was sitting on the foundation with no water, electricity or sewer thanks to our ass wipe county sanitarian who kept asking for changes on our septic plan and then had 90 days to approve changes made. The magic date for his decision was December 16th. Luckily we still had a house on the property we could live in while this was all going down. I spent my days at the new house cleaning and unpacking as much as I could do without benefit of water or power. During this time I had the hope that we would be able to move in by Christmas. I would sit in my frigid livingroom on my new plastic wrapped furniture and plan on where I would put the tree and how I would decorate my mantle. December 16th came with yet another denial and further requests of changes. Then once again we had to wait for his decision which he could take up to 90 days to make.

Christmas came and went. I tried to make the best of it, but it was hard to look out of the window of my little house and see my dream house sitting there dark and cold. On Dec 28th, we got power to the house! Whoohoo! I could vacuum and we could at last run the pellet stove for warmth. Hubster and I made a decision the next day that I think shocked everyone around us. We moved into our new house without running water or sewer. For the next 12 weeks we walked to the other house to shower, do laundry, do dishes and of course piss and crap. It was like an upscale camping trip with very comfortable sleeping accomodations. Since we had two houses to keep up we cancelled the satellite TV and got only 2 snowy network channels. We kept the phone service at the old house and by sitting a cordless phone by the window in the new house we could use the phone if we stood at just the right spot. I kept my computer at the old house and while doing laundry or running the dishwasher I'd surf the web and get my fix. Dean who was 2 and half at the time often disappeared from the new house and in a panic we'd find him at the old house dialed up to N1ck Jr playing with his beloved Dor@ whom he greatly missed on TV. For the first few weeks I would faithfully walk with flashlight in hand to go potty before bed or upon rising. Eventually I just went out in the woods and peed with the rest of the forest beasts. Finally with the coming of Spring and many obstacles hurdled we got our septic permit from a new sanitarian after the old one mysteriously disappeared. The new guy said there was absolutely no reason why we had to go through what we did and signed it within 3 days of taking office. The end of March we officially emptied our old house of all possesions and moved everything in to our new home.
All this past year I have looked forward to finally being able to have the Christmas I so wanted to give my boys. To finally have stockings hanging from a mantle and not on a hook on the wall. To have room for our tree without having to relocate furniture to other rooms. In the past I usually waited until the first weekend in December to put the tree up, but this year its going up Thanksgiving weekend if I can wait that long even. I just hope it lives up to visions dancing in my head.

Saturday, November 12, 2005

Burst My Parental Bubble Why Don't Ya!

So Friday I arrive at Stevens classroom expecting a fabulous first parent teacher conference.....POP! Burst goes my bubble! Instead I sat for 35 minutes and listened to Stevens teacher Ms Kojak try to sell me on the wonders of ADD drugs. Apparently Steven can't sit still during circle time and has been spending most of his time sitting in the "refocus chair". Also he swings his arms when he is standing in line. Uh, excuse me, he's six! According to Ms Kojak, she is having problems teaching the other students because of Steven. She described Steven as impulsive and scattered. She didn't just burst my bubble with a needle she burst it with a stake and plunged it straight into my heart. The only good report was that he is a very smart boy and is on a grade 1 level in math and language. So in conclusion if I drug him into sitting still he'll excel even more and I'll have a well behaved genius.
This kind of thing really makes you look at your parenting. For the next few hours after arriving home I watched Stevens every movement, how he talked, did he jump from one topic to another. Then I started calling everyone who has ever spent 4 minutes with Steven and asking them if they thought my son was scattered. Now I do realized most people are too polite to say "Jo, I'm glad you asked! Your son is the most annoying scattered impulsive little shit I've ever encountered! Have a great day!" So I called the one friend I have that will "tell you the straight out, slap you in the face truth and you better not cry because you asked" friend. Best of all she works at the school so she sees Steven when I'm not around. She answered my question by laughing. Oh shit here it comes. But wait...She is saying Steven is the last kid on earth that needs to be medicated. He is one of the most well behaved kids in his class. She then goes on to give me the dirt on some of his fellow classmates and within minutes my parental pride is returning. So now I'm even more confused. Who do I believe? Is Ms. Kojak so stressed out dealing with a bunch of unruly little brats she wants the whole lot medicated? Is Steven acting like a little angel in front of Mommy's friend and then turning into the spawn of Satan in the classroom? I'm definitely seeing that a few observation days in the classroom are in order.
After I got off the phone with Slap You Upside the Head friend I went directly to interrogating Steven. Ms Kojak said Steven won't sit on his "pockets" during circle time that instead he sits on his feet or crouches so I ask him to show me how he sits during circle time. Sure enough he sits on his feet. I asked him if that was how you are supposed to sit and he says no you're suppose to sit on your "pockets and criss cross applesauce". I asked him why he doesn't sit the proper way and he replies, "Because I like to sit in the refocus chair better." Bingo! He likes to sit in the damn refocus chair and he knows how to get the prime seat in the house, sit on your feet. So I explained to Steven that he was being seated in the refocus chair as a punishment not for a more comfortable vantage point. So with this little bit of news, he's not so keen about sitting in the refocus chair. Hopefully with this revelation he'll get a better report next time.
That evening Hubster and I went bowling and one of Steven's classmates mother also bowls on the league. I asked her how her conference went. She sighed heavily and told me almost word for word the exact conversation I had had with Ms. Kojak and that her son Devin spends the majority of the day in the refocus chair because he won't sit still during circle time or stand still in line. Hmmm. So I'm feeling a tad bit better, but that doesn't mean Steven and I won't be practicing sitting on our pockets criss cross applesauce.

Tuesday, November 08, 2005

One Ringy Dingy

I've noticed lately that everyone has a cell phone but me. Hell 10 yr old kids have cell phones! I've been asked on several occassions what my "cell" phone # is instead of simply my phone #. When I respond that I don't have a cell phone I'm often treated to a look as if I had just told the person we don't have indoor plumbing either. I do not have the desire for a cell phone and really can't think of a reason we would need one. Maybe if I traveled alot I would want one, but I rarely leave town. Maybe when the boys are teenagers I'll want one for all of us so I can keep track of their whereabouts. But I hope that I'll still see the boys face to face once in awhile that I could simply ask "Where are you going?". After all wouldn't it be easier for me to tell if they are lying to my face easier than over the phone?
I believe my reluctance to join the cell phone age is people with cell phones simply piss me off. Royally piss me off. I know when a phone rings you should answer it in case there is an emergency. But when you are in close proximity like say in an elevator or sitting at a table with someone and the call is purely social can't you call the person back at a more appropriate time? It is such an akward feeling to be next to someone and try not listen to a private conversation. What are you to do? Put your hands over your ears and sing lalalalalala? And the cell phone user is oblivious to the discomfort you are feeling and to the fact that people are rolling their eyes at them. If you hold a personal conversation over the phone while in the company of somebody you are telling that person you are not important to me. I have been so tempted when someone is on the phone say in line at the grocery store to jump into their conversation and say "What? What did she say?".
In an emergency, yes I'll agree, cell phones are a life line. But I feel this is one technology that can't be used hand in hand with social etiquette. I know some people will disagree with me on this so at the tone leave me a message and I'll get right back to you.

No More Pumpkins!

No more pumpkins thanks to this little spike. Posted by Picasa

Monday, November 07, 2005

Last Ride

I was driving in a light rain Saturday morning and as each approaching car came close I would study the driver's face and wonder what brought them out on to the highway. Where were these people going? What purpose had them out and about? Were they sad or were they happy? This thought has crossed my mind on several occasions. I then wondered if fellow drivers could tell I was crying. I was taking Griz on his last ride in the truck heading to the vets office to put him to sleep. I volunteered for the job for the reason being Griz was Hubster's dog and I didn't want him to watch his dog die. We've never had to have an animal put to sleep so I wasn't quite sure what it would be like. Although it was very sad watching my friend and my protector die, he died peacefully. Griz remained a character by loudly snoring to his last breath. I always hoped that Griz would die in his sleep relieving Hubster and I from making the decision of when his time would come. In a way, he did just that and died in his sleep.
Explaining to the boys what was happening to Griz was the most difficult discussion I've had to date with them. I thought with Steven being 6 yrs old I could get him to understand more so than Dean being 3 yrs old. Steven assumed that when I told him Griz would be put to sleep that we could wake him up and he would come back from heaven anytime we would call for him. I misjudged Dean's understanding. We buried Griz here on our property and when Dean saw the freshly turned earth he simply wanted us to dig Griz back up so he wouldn't die. Broke my heart for them.
Its been 2 days now and I still think I hear Griz bark to get in now and then. This afternoon when I saw it was raining I went to get my shoes on so I could go and get Griz out of the rain as I always have and then I remembered he isn't here to take care of anymore.
Grizzy, I want to thank you for all the joy you brought into our lives for the past 15 years 10 months and 3 days. You were our "first born son" and my baby when I couldn't have any of my own.
Thank you for being my boys' protector and making them feel safe when playing outside.
Thank you for your patience when the boys were babies and crawled on you.
Thank you for keeping the kitties warm and protected,

They miss you so much. Posted by Picasa
Thank you for chasing off that bear when we were camping in the tent with an 8 month old Steven.
Thank you for resting your chin on my leg when I was sad and cheering me up with those brown eyes full of expression.
Thank you for not chasing cars or deer.
Thank you for just being the incredible dog you were.

We miss you.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005


Jules wrote about the loss of a friend yesterday. Her entry made me think about how when we lose someone be it a friend or member of the family that we don't realize how much that someone has touched our lives until they are gone. Her entry also reminded me of a promise I made to myself almost 2 yrs ago. I promised myself that I wouldn't let daily life get in the way of letting people know how much I care and appreciate the people in my life. Its a hard promise to keep. Not because I don't care about the people in my life but that I get so wrapped up in my daily routines and dramas I forget to take the time.
Paul was the person who made me open my eyes and see that I was taking life for granted. I first met Paul 12 years ago when I was bartending at the bowling alley. He and his wife Darla had just moved here from Hawaii. I didn't quite know what to think of Paul when I met him. He had just retired from the Navy and anyone could see he was relishing being his own man once again, but at the same time at a loss of how to do that. He and Darla were avid bowlers and brought to the lanes a passion for bowling like no one else. I was managing the lanes at that time and within a month of meeting Paul I hired him as the head mechanic. Due to personal reasons I quit my job at the lanes 2 months later. I still bowled twice a week however and through the next few years Paul became my unofficial bowling coach. Paul basically lived at the lanes with working there and bowling on several of the leagues. He was an excellent bowler. He had this fluid graceful and powerful shot that he made look effortless. I wanted to be Paul. So under his tutelage I bought my first fingertip ball and learned to throw a hook. I sucked, but Paul was somewhat patient with me. I think the thing I loved most about Paul was he was straight forward and told it like it was, but he knew when and when not to say something. He knew instictivly when to call me out on something be it bowling or the way I thought about subjects. I had several light bulb moments because of Paul. Besides Hubster, Paul was the only man I have ever been able to have meaningful conversations.
Paul had a spot at the bar in the lanes where he would drink from his ever ending coffee cup and smoke his cigarettes. Whenever I would throw a ball I could turn to find his eyes on me. He never had to say a word but I could tell what he was thinking. "Nice ball." "What the hell was that?" "Follow through." "Lucky shot." Just by looking at his face I knew what I needed to do. Paul and Darla eventually divorced and Paul quit at the lanes to get a full time job. He still like me kept bowling a priority. In 2001, I returned to my beloved bowling alley as manager. The previous manager had done alright, but left me a long road ahead. Times were changing at the lanes. Bowlers were getting more serious about the sport and leagues weren't just for going out and getting drunk. I knew what changes needed to be made and some were not popular amoungst the bowlers, but Paul stood by my side and vocally supported me. That first year was a nightmare, all the employees I took over didn't have a passion for their jobs and just came to put in their time for a paycheck. Eventually anger in the bowlers subsided, the employees started to love to come to work and things changed for the better. I cannot tell you how many times Paul had to listen to me rant or cry. But Paul did what he did best he listened and when he could help he did.
On Feb. 26th, 2003, I was busy at work when Paul called me. He told me he had some bad news and forbid me to get upset. Paul told me he had just come from the doctor and he had lung cancer. I of course didn't obey his request and I got extremely upset. For the next few weeks whenever I talked to Paul I would end up crying. On one of those occasions he told me straight out to knock off the crying that by doing so I was believing he was dying and he was not going to die. Paul was determined to live and he needed me to be a support as he had always been for me. Paul had a lung removed in April and spent 6 weeks in the hospital. He and I talked on the phone often during that time. He became stronger and was joyous at the fact that the cancer had been removed from his body. He could breath better with one lung than he had been able to for years. When he returned home, he and I both worked at the golf course for the summer. He talked of his cancer treatments and kept me up to date on his test results. No new signs of cancer were celebrated on the deck of the clubhouse that summer. September came and so did the start of another bowling season. Paul was too weak from his treatments to bowl, but he often came to watch the other bowlers. He once again was sitting at his usual spot at the bar. He was there to smile when I made a good shot and shake his head when I didn't. In October he came in to see me at the bar during my shift. He had news. The cancer was back. In his bones and in his brain. I cried and before he could scold me for crying I told him I wasn't crying because I thought he was dying. I was crying because he was my friend and I cry for people I care for when they hurt and dammit I can cry for you and still be your rock. Slowly Paul got to the point he could no longer stay home by himself. His sister moved in with him. She left her husband and children at home and came to take care of her brother. Right before Thanksgiving the decision was made for Paul to go home with his sister in Arizona so she could return to her family and still take care of Paul. Paul and I talked on the phone often. In December Paul had an appointment with a new doctor. He was ecstatic for this doctor was one of the best cancer doctor's in Arizona and she would help him beat this cancer once and for all. He was going to win. Every Tues Paul had an appointment with his doctor and I would call him after I got home from work to get an update. On Jan. 13th I called Paul. The Paul who was put on the phone was not the Paul I knew. He gasped for every breath. In our short conversation, he told me that the doctor had told Paul that the treatments weren't working and that it was time to give up the fight. Fear spread throughout me because in Paul's voice I could hear defeat. I talked to Paul's sister before I hung up and told her I would call back in a day or so. The next evening while I was bowling on league my bartender came up to me and said. "Jo some lady called and wanted me to tell you that somebody named Paul died an hour ago."
The next day I called his sister and she told me Paul died peacefully. She and the hospice nurse had given Paul a bath and he went to sleep afterwards and died. For the next months I focused my grief through anger at the doctor who took Paul's fight away. I truly felt when she took his hope away she took his life. I now know thats not true. Late spring 2003, Paul's family traveled up here and shared in saying goodbye to Paul with all of us. They scattered Paul's ashes into the river by the #2 tee of the golf course. I live next to the golf course so as when he was living he is still close by when I need him.
It'll be 2 years this January since Paul died. I don't cry as much as I used to when I think of Paul. Now I have more of tendency to smile when I think of him. When I throw a perfect strike I say to myself "How was that Mr. Paul!" And to this day after every ball I throw I still look to the spot at the bar where Paul should be. Physically he may not be there, but he is there.
So Jules, thank you for reminding me of a promise I had forgotten. Today I will smile more warmly at my co workers, I'll hug my family tighter and I'll ask my friends how they are and mean it. Thank you for sharing.

Monday, October 31, 2005

Happy Halloween!

First of several holidays to come! It always seems that from Halloween to New Years just flies by for me. I love the holidays. Even more so now that we have the boys to see it through their eyes. I really got into the pumpkin carving this year as you can see from the picture. The one on the far right was done by Hubster. The rest I found patterns for on the internet. We have to keep them on the deck up on our table so the darling deer will stay away from them. A couple of years ago I decorated our gate at the end of the driveway with hay bales, a scarecrow and many pumpkins. It looked so good....for one day. During the night the damn deer came along for a pumpkin party of their own and ate all but two of the pumpkins. The last 2 they got the next night. I caught a couple of does sneaking up to the pumpkins last night so I felt lucky when I got up this morning and the pumpkins were still in one piece. Tomorrow I'll take the pumpkins out behind the house and they can have at them.

Before Mom & Dad went down south the boys trick or treated them so they could see their costumes. It was Stevens idea to be batman so I naturally felt Dean should be Robin. Steven has basically been living in his costume since I got it for him. I finally got it off him last night so I could wash it for tonight. Dean isn't too fond of his mask so I think I'll be lucky if it stays on for more than one house. I just hope the rain will stop long enough tonight as to not ruin the fun. Snow or cold I can handle Halloween night, rain and trick or treating doesn't make for a fun night. Happy Halloween all! And just think in 3 weeks we'll be discussing Thanksgiving dinner!

Thursday, October 27, 2005

Cozy Day

Today is one of those days that I just want to be in my house and hide away from the world. I don't want the phone to ring. I don't want friends dropping by to just say Hi. These are the days I just want to putter. I have lit every candle in the house. The dryer is gently humming as it dries a load of laundry. The rug is freshly vacuumed and all the furniture is dusted. The beds are made and pillows fluffed. I have a roast ready to put in the oven. The dining room floor is next on my to do list along with several more loads of laundry.
Dean has been my little helper today. He picked up the toys in his and brubber's room so I could vacuum. As I was vacuuming he was keeping me safe by fighting off monsters that were invading the room. While I was doing laundry, Dean cleaned the sliding glass doors for me. He did an excellent job except for the fact he used my resolve carpet cleaner instead of window cleaner. So in between loads of laundry he and I will re-do the windows.

In a few more hours I'll venture out to go get Steven from the bus and shortly after that Hubster will be home from work. My cozy atmosphere will be transformed to activity and noise. The freshly vacuumed rug will have fir needles and little cars strewn once more. Dirty work clothes and school clothes will be thrown into the hamper filling it again.
Dinner will be eaten and dirty dishes will fill my sink. Homework will be done at the kitchen table. Baths will be given and teeth will be brushed. Bedtime will come along with pouts and pleas of one more cartoon. Hubster and I will talk of our day before he must turn in for the night. I'll put another load of laundry in and quietly put clean clothes away. I'll relight some of my candles and settle in front of the pc to catch up on some of the journals I read. With my last surge of energy for the day I'll straighten up the livingroom with just the light from the candles and firelight. I love this time of night. I've always been a night owl since I can remember. I think its because I know that no one will be calling or needing something of me. Its my time. My time to do as I wish. But eventually I'll blow out the candles and quietly check on the boys one more time. I'll crawl into bed beside Hubster and my perfect day will end.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005

Go Hibernate Yourself!

I am sooo ready for the bears to go into hibernation. It was quite obvious this year that their food supply in the mountains was sparse or either that we've got a bunch of bears that prefer dumpster dining. Tuesday morning Hubster fed our dog Griz on the front porch and 5 minutes later he looked out and a bear was eating out of Griz's dish. I think Griz has formed an alliance with the damn bear, while the bear distracts us Griz will go around to the other porch and eat the cat's food. Anyway it wasn't the way I like to start my day with Smokey the bear dining on my deck.
I read in the paper that a sheriff's deputy hit a cub on the highway across the river from our house. Since I haven't seen signs of mama bear and cub lately I figure that it was the cub that ate my marigolds a couple of weeks ago. Oh well another month and they should all be cozied up in their dens.

Monday, October 17, 2005

Tooth Be Told

I am the proud mother of a kindergartener with a missing tooth. He looks so adorable! He has already lost 2 of his bottom teeth this last spring. This kid isn't waiting around about letting his permanent teeth come in. Maybe I'm wrong, but isn't 5 yrs old young to be losing teeth? He just turned 6, but I seem to remember my nephews being closer to 7 when they lost their teeth. I'm a little worried about how he lost this tooth though. Saturday when we were at Mom's for dinner Steven jumped onto the couch and rammed into Hubster's elbow. He split his upper lip and I checked for loose teeth but didn't feel any. He has had a loose tooth on the bottom and that one didn't seem any looser either. Last night about 11:30 he comes bounding into the livingroom and before I could scold him for still being awake he shows me his tooth in his hand. I asked him when did that happen and he said "When I bumped my face on my dresser." I still haven't gotten the whole story about how he happened to bump his face on the dresser as we had to prepare the tooth for the tooth fairy to come for the big trade off. When Hubster went in this morning to kiss him goodbye he said Steven was using his pillow like a blanket. I don't know if he thought he could catch the tooth fairy in action this way or what. When I woke Steven up for school he had his dollar clutched tightly in his hand and I literally had to pry it out of his hand so he could go to the bathroom. We went to a football game after school today and he was sitting on Papa's lap telling him that he saw the tooth fairy come in his room. My heart skipped a beat waiting for him to reveal the true identity of the tooth fairy. Later I asked him what she looked like and he said she was beautiful, sparkly and had wings. Phew! I know at 2:00 in the morning I certainly don't sparkle.
I'm hoping the tooth was really ready to come out and not from the elbow incident. I suppose I'll watch the other tooth for awhile and see from there. Steven thinks it is pretty cool having a hole to hiss through. I on the other hand have had about enough of the hissing demonstrations as I usually get a shower of spit along with the hiss. Who knows though maybe all those droplets give me a dewy sparkle.

Saturday, October 15, 2005

The Snow Birds Are Flying South

Tonight we went to a family dinner at my Dad and Mom's house. We all get together this time of year to have one last get together before my parents head south for the winter. Every year gets a little easier for me knowing I won't get to see Dad and Mom for 6 months but its still hard. I can't even imagine if we always lived far apart. I know they enjoy their time down there and that is what matters. Its hard for Mom because she misses her grandkids and seeing them grow and change. So it is time to burn the phone lines once again. Dean will be able to communicate over the phone better. Last year he would hold the phone out to show Granny toys and TV shows thinking she can see through the phone. Granny goes along with it and eventually figures out what he was talking about. With Steven being in school he'll have lots of stories to share with Granny and Papa. With a little help from me he'll be able to write letters to them. Dean will send his pretty paintings along with the letters from brother. I'll send pictures or else I'll hear about it.
I always have to laugh at Mom when we get talking about the weather. She will comment that it is chilly down there "It only got to 58 degrees today. I had to wear a sweater." Meanwhile I look at my thermometer reading 29 degrees. Trade you! Heehee. But they get days of flash floods and wind so I can deal with the envy. Plus I love that come spring when the tree buds are forming and flowers are peaking through the dirt I get to look forward to my parents arrival home with the new season. They get to see how much the boys have grown which makes me more aware of the changes I otherwise may not have noticed. And this time apart makes us not take each other for granted.
So come Friday I'll hug Mom and Dad goodbye and wish them a safe trip. The snow will come and holidays will pass with lots of time spent on the phone. So when the daffodils show themselves so will two tanned faces.

Wednesday, October 12, 2005

Did I Act Like That?

I just got back from bowling and I witnessed something that got me to wondering. This is an all ladies league and most of us are married ranging from 23 to 65 yrs old. About half way through the night 4 guys walk through the door and have a seat at the bar. Immediately I noticed about half of the teams suddenly had something to laugh about, loud & uproaring. I assumed they were being catty and had made some kind of remark about these guys to make them laugh. But it continued and got louder. As I looked around I noticed some of the woman whom had been sitting normally in their chairs seemed to be now posing as if on a model shoot and they were talking in a more animated fashion. Normally you hear teams cheering each other on, "Good Job!" or "You can get it!" instead I was hearing "Whooo Baby!", "Shake it girl!". I also noted women who usually have a pretty standard bowling position when starting out all of a sudden were sticking their butts out more. So I got to analysing my self. Was I standing different? Was I sitting different? Does the presence of men change how I act? The only thing I felt differently about was my bowling performance. I wanted to show them what a good bowler I was. It didn't work. Before they arrived I bowled a 221. They showed up at the beginning of the second game and I ended up bowling a 130. So before the 3rd game I went in the bathroom and had a conversation with myself. Basically I looked in the mirror and told myself get your shit together girl and focus on the game! I ended up with a 165 my last game. So I proved to myself that even though I wasn't talking louder and laughing more or shaking my goods on the approach, I was indeed acting different. Afterwards I was the last person there besides the bartender and pin chaser and these guys. Sometime during the night these fellows were told I was the boss and they started up a conversation. I asked them how it felt to walk into a bar and see so many women. The one guy said, "I thought I died and went to heaven! When we walked in you all went silent and I felt like a piece of meat walking in. It was great!". They all seemed pretty cocky and I suppose it was a great ego boost for them, but I had to resist the urge to point out to them all the women went on home and they were all alone. Anyway I guess its just human nature to start preening when the opposite sex is in the vicinity. I learned even though at 40, married and a mother I'm not above fluffing my feathers either. Gack! I'm still a girl!

Sunday, October 09, 2005

I'm Desperate and A Housewife

Sunday night TV is helping me get over that empty feeling I had after Rock Star ended. I'm definitely getting drawn in by Housewives. I'm envious of them though. As I'm watching their tales of woe and desires I can't but help looking at whats surrounding them. I'm not envious of their homes and possesions. I'm envious of the cleanliness and order. I know its a set and they have people assigned for how the pillows are plumped and the plants are probably spray painted green, I know. But when I day dream of my day to day life my visions have me surrounded by nary a dirty dish in sight, sparkling toilets, laundry folded & put away and toys in the toy box. When I smack myself in the forehead I awake to a laundry pile 2 feet tall, a carpet scattered with cars & tufts of dog hair, and dishes in the sink creating biological experiments. I was doing fine this summer when I wasn't working but now the work grind has begun once again and I need to fire my ass as housekeeper. I thought I could get caught up this weekend and I did get a start on the vacuuming, then life stepped in. Hubster was putting the tar paper on the roof of our new porch and needed me occasionally to hand up tools or hold the ladder. The boys were boys and needed fed and drinks gotten and boo-boos kissed. The machines at the bowling alley decided they needed my soothing touch both Sat and Sun. The next thing I know its Sunday night bath time and beeeeeeeeeep...weekends over. So here I sit and everyone is in bed. I could do the dishes and throw in some laundry, but its 9:00 and its time for Sunday night TV! It will all be there when I wake up tomorrow and the next day and the day after. Damn.

Saturday, October 08, 2005

Birthday Bash!

Steven had his birthday party today at where else...the bowling alley. This was his first party inviting friends and I was a little nervous nobody would show up. Ten kids from his class showed plus some of the parents so I was very relieved. Everyone seemed to have a great time. Some of us parents bowled which made it a little easier to get to know each other instead of sitting around trying to think up conversation. Steven really has an awesome group of kids in his class. I kept looking at the boys and girls interacting and couldn't help but to wonder what this scene will look like in 10 years. The boys will be past the awkward puberty stage with deeper voices. The girls will be acting all giggly trying to impress the boys. The scary part is that 10 years will pass before I know it.
I went a little overboard on the size of the cake. Steven sent out 18 invitations to his classmates and parents were also invited. The bakery had a smaller cake that would cut into twenty 2" squares so I went with the bigger cake that would feed forty 2" squares. I sent cake home with most of the families so it worked out in the end, but still a lot of cake. Oh well I guess its better to have too much than not have enough for all.

Dean usually loves to bowl but he felt it was more important to guard the cake. I caught him a couple of times lifting the lid and swiping his finger in the frosting. He had a very hard time waiting for the kids to finish bowling. He wanted cake now! Hubster kept him as busy as he could playing video games but Dean didn't leave his post as cake guard for very long. When the cake was served Dean didn't eat very much of his making me wonder how many times he snuck a lick when I wasn't watching.
All in all it was a very fun and successful day. Now I've got to convince Steven that his birthday has come and gone. He asked me tonight when we got home if we could go to the beach for his birthday tomorrow. He was a little bummed when I explained the celebrating was over until next year.
He got some really cool toys so hopefully they'll keep him entertained for the day. I don't know what in the hell these manufacturers are thinking with their packaging though. If you haven't had to get a toy out of a package lately you're lucky. I know they have to protect from shoplifting, but this is ridiculous. One toy Steven got involved using a screw driver for a plastic screw. Another one had 7 twist ties for each truck, there were 4 trucks in the box. Do the math. After struggling with 4 ties I finally wised up and got the wire cutters. What is this world coming to when you have to get tools to open up a $6.00 toy. It wouldn't be so bad except usually you have a very impatient child standing at your side asking "Is it out yet? Mom I want my truck! Mom don't you have it out yet?" about 50 times in a row. Kinda takes the joy out of opening presents. Reminds me I better set the tool box by the couch for Christmas morning, we may need the hack saw.

Thursday, October 06, 2005

Happy Birthday Steven

Why do the years have to pass so quickly? It doesn't seem that long ago that you were just a dream. A year after your Daddy and I got married we decided to have a baby. Well fate dealt us a bad hand, having a baby wasn't going to be as easy as we thought. For 11 years we suffered through 5 miscarriages and years of infertility treatments. December 1998 was the most crushing loss, I lost a 10 week old fetus on Dec 26th. A happy new year it was not. That January I once again went back to my fertility specialist and it was decided that I needed to under go an exploratory surgery to see why I couldn't sustain my pregnancies. My pre-op appointment was set up for Feb 8th and surgery on the 9th. Until the surgery I would go off my fertility pills and hubster & I were to use some sort of birth control. Hubster and I decided on our own that the remaining month of January would be our "lets make love whenever and however we want to" month. Boy howdy did we ever! No temperature taking, no thought to when I was ovulating just lets get it on. So Feb 8th rolls around. The nurse has me pee in the cup and go to a room so I could watch a half hour video of the surgery I would be under going. After that she would draw blood, take my blood pressure, and other pre-op tests. About half way through the video the nurse pops her head in the door and says they have a change of plans and when the video was over I'd be examined by my doctor. So I finish watching the video and follow the nurse to the exam room. She tells me to disrobe from the waist down and the doc will be with me shortly. So I lay there counting the ceiling tiles waiting for the doc. Doc walks in not saying hello just snapping on her gloves and inserts the speculum. At this point I could feel a tension in the air and I began to wonder what was wrong. After a brief exam Doc stands up leans on my knees and says, "We didn't use birth control did we?" um, no. I was pregnant once again. Now you would think that I would be overjoyed but all I could think of was that I had delayed my surgery. The surgery that could be the solution to my pregnancy woes. I bawled and apologized to my doctor while she consoled me and said this may be the one that goes to term. She put me on strict bed rest. I was to only get out of bed to use the bathroom and shower. So from Feb. 8th until August 23rd I laid in my bed while my hubster and family took care of everything else. My focus was making a baby.
When I was probably about 4 months along I was feeling guilty about not doing any housework. So I started a load of laundry, went back to bed and an hour later felt this gush of warm fluid. I pulled back the sheets to see red, all I could see was blood. I frantically called my doc and since I lived 100 miles away and the bleeding had slowed she wanted me to stay in bed and come in the next day. My sil came up and changed my bed with me still in it and held my hand while I prayed. The next day I arrived at the doctors office and burst into tears the minute I saw my nurse. She got me settled in the ultrasound room and on the table. I remember laying there with tears silently flowing down my temples and pooling in my ears and soaking into my hair. Doc came in grabbed my hand and never letting go she put the gel on my tummy and ran the wand over my uterus searching for a sign. As the seconds ticked by it felt like years and there was no sign of a heartbeat. My body began to shake from the silent sobs coming from within. She squeezed my hand harder and the nurse began to stroke my forehead. I knew at that moment I had lost my baby. I had lost my baby over a load of laundry.
As I lay there I could feel the blood rushing through my veins in anger at myself and at God. It was rushing so loud I could hear it. Whoosh, whoosh, whoosh...and then I realized what I was really hearing was not my heart pumping blood, but that of my baby. The cries of joy that erupted from that 4X6 room was probably heard two floors down. My baby had a strong viable heartbeat. For the next two months I only moved from that bed when I bathed, went to the bathroom and went to my doctor appointments. On Aug. 23rd, I was released from strict bed rest to modified bedrest since I was far enough along for the baby to survive if born. Hubster set up my computer next to the couch and for the remainder of my pregnancy I lived on the Babycenter boards.
On October 6th at 11:05 pm and 39 weeks along I brought into this would our miracle, our son.
Today our Steven is 6 years old and he has brought so much to our lives that we may have never known if not for him. I've watched him grow and develop. I've watched him be the best brother to Dean. He's made me laugh, cry and get angry. He has made me Mom. So today we will celebrate his birthday. He'll wish for something he so desperately desires as he blows out his candles and I'll know some wishes do come true, mine did. I love you Steven.

Sunday, October 02, 2005

I Miss Paige

I've watched Trading Spaces from the very beginning. Alot of my decorating ideas have stemmed from what I've seen. I was trying to remember the first gal that hosted the show...Alex? I was bummed when she was replaced by Paige. Alex(?) had grit and a sauciness about her that just seemed right for the show. When Paige first started she was...well..too perky. I figured she would be replaced quickly. But as the show progressed I began to like Paige. Since she has left I've caught the show a few times, but it just isn't hitting home with me. I suppose like the other changes the show has gone through I will get used to it.
One reason the show may be losing its appeal is that I've pretty much decorated every room in our old house and this one. I still haven't finished deflowering the guest bathroom. The wallpaper is all removed except behind the washer and dryer. Not a task I'm looking forward to at all. For one thing I can't seem to get caught up on the laundry. Hell when do you ever get caught up huh? I suppose if I scheduled a weekend to be a nudist and shower free weekend I could get caught up. The boys would love it as they pretty much end up in some form of nakedness at the end of the day anyway. That might be a good way of getting people to stop dropping by without calling first though. Oh well, I suppose I should just scoot the hamper out in the hall and muscle the washer and dryer out and get 'r done. Removing the wallpaper has revealed alot of nail holes in need of patching. There is one section of the wall that I can't quite figured out what the heck was going on. Either someone measured a towel bar wrong 4 times or they kept installing longer bars. It'll take me at least one day to get all the holes patched and sanded. One thing I have learned with all my painting adventures is that you don't slack in the prep work. Several times in the past, I've either gotten tired or anxious to be done with a painting project and skipped the prep work thinking no one will notice a few holes or a crack in the wall. Well maybe no one else notices, but I do. Those are the spots I stare at when I'm laying in bed, taking a bath, or sitting at the table eating. They literally scream "Hey you! Lady, yes you. See this here? Yeah the tear in the drywall you promised wouldn't show once you layered 5 coats of paint on me. Didn't work lady!" So I swear on my do it yourself book I will spackle and sand to a smooth finish so help me Bob Villa.

All Bowled Out

Since Friday night I have spent 22 hours out of 42 hours either bowling or involved in some form of bowling. I had a U.S. bowling coach teach two 9 hour clinics over the weekend. Usually Dave has assistants who help, but this was homecoming for the U of M and his usual help were all going to the game. So I got to play assistant bowling coach. Do I want to talk anymore about bowling? NOT.
I am going to bitch though. What is it with kids today? Eww! That made me feel old to say that! Anyways, where are there manners? I don't know if its because I'm a mother, but I have noticed how rude kids are now. They interrupt, they're demanding and if one more punk ass kid rolls their eyes at me I will poke those eyes out with my pre arthritic finger. What gets me the most is these kids do this in front of their parents and these so called parents do nothing. I don't know if its that parents nowadays are so terrified of disciplining or they're tired or what! I've had to get in my boys face in public and control their behavior. If you don't want to watch me scold my child, look the other way bubba. It only took one time with Steven when he was running around the store like a wild animal. I grabbed him by the hand & took him to the cart grabbed the box of cereal he had been begging me to get and we both took that cereal back to the shelf with the understanding it was going back because of his behavior and for not listening. He wailed and sobbed and people stared, so what, he hasn't done it since. I believe that is what parenting is. Its guidance. My kids aren't perfect. They meltdown at times, so do I for that matter. But waiting until you leave the store or wherever you are to smack down the law is just going to teach the child that as long as they are surrounded by other people, hey I can get away with this behavior here.

Friday, September 30, 2005

Checking out the Blog Neighborhood

Recently when I was viewing my blog after updating I hit the next blog page to see who was my neighbor. She is a 20 yr old Canadian who is going through the woes of dating at least thats what I got from the quick peek of her entries. She started blogging in May of this year and from looking at her comments she is like me only getting spam comments. I don't know what the etiquette is for your neighbor in the blog hood. Do I send her a comment just to say "Hey, How are ya? I'm Jo. I blog next door to you and just wanted to introduce myself." Because whose to say that the minute I hit send that someone with a blog name thats alphabetically between us won't move in her spot and then I won't be her neighbor anymore and she'll look out her blog window to catch sight of me and it could be an 80 year old man. She'd be like "He's Mountain Mama? Yeah right who is he trying to fool!" So I guess I'll just mind my own business for now, but I will tell you this...if I hear Mountain Man moves in I'll be locking my doors and windows because who knows what kind of guy he might be. But on the other hand, the bears keep getting in our garbage at night...he might come in handy. Hhmmm...wheres that recipe for huckleberry pie.

Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Walk, Don't Run to the Bus

Steven has been riding the school bus for 2 weeks now. We've been enjoying our walks to the bus in the morning since it gives us our alone time to talk about things. Today the topic was his loose front tooth. He is worried he will lose it at school and won't be able to bring it home for the tooth fairy. He didn't say that, but instead asked, "Does my teacher have a baggie at school I could bring my tooth home in if it falls out?" No mention of the tooth fairy, but I know that is the major concern of his. I told him his teacher has dealt with many loose teeth and she is an expert on getting them home. He seemed relieved.
The first day I put him on the bus was harder for me than the day I took him to school for his first day. As I was walking back home, this sob just erupted from deep inside me. I walked home in a blur of tears. When I was little I hated riding the bus. I was so scared of the older kids. I don't know why since they never bothered me, I guess because they were just bigger. As I got older I didn't mind it especially since Dennis rode the bus also. Dennis was in my class, very cute and a nice guy. I wasn't brave enough to sit with Dennis, but just knowing Dennis was there was enough to make the ride bearable.
Today as Steven and I were standing waiting for the bus I had this urge to just scoop him up and take him back home with me. I don't know why for sure but it may have to do with the fact that on the days I work I don't get to see him until 2 hours before his bedtime. I miss his funny stories, goofy expressions, snuggles....I just miss him.

Friday, September 23, 2005

Turkeys, Racoons, and Bears Oh MY!

My porch has been a virtual wild kingdom of late. About two weeks ago, I had 10 turkeys pecking on my porch for crumbs of dog and cat food. The boys were able to slowly sneak to the sliding glass doors and sit to watch the turkeys up close for 5 minutes. The consensus was they are a pretty darn ugly bird, but tasty to eat. Steven offered to jump on one and bring it to me so I could it cook for dinner. I politely declined his offer and told him I would get one from the store that was already plucked. He didn't quite understand what the big deal would be about for plucking a few feathers. I on the other hand could only think of chopping the head off...shudder.
On Monday night, I walked into the livingroom to spy a doe looking through the sliding glass door. The lights were all off except the TV so I don't think she saw me standing there. She kept moving her head around as if to get a better view of the inside of the house. After a minute of watching her, I took a step forward and she stepped back a foot and looked at me with her ears down. She very slowly stepped off the porch like she was trying to act nonchalantly about being caught snooping. Made me wonder what she thought of how we live. Thursday night as I was going to turn the TV off I caught movement on the porch out of the corner of my eye. There two very plump racoons stood on hind legs looking at me through the door. It reminded me of the furniture commercial with the racoons checking out the comfy recliner and couch. They looked like they wanted to come in and kick back for awhile. Not.
Then yesterday while I was washing dishes I looked out to the yard and noticed something looked different. It finally dawned on me that it was a lack of color I was noticing. Hubster had planted marigolds around an ugly transformer to hide it somewhat and now all I was seeing were flower stems. When Hubster went out to check the damage, he found a small bear track. About 5 feet away, he found a bigger print. Oh yippee, we have a mama bear and cub around. The bears ate all the fresher blooms off and spit out any blooms that were starting to dry up. Only the best and freshest will do I suppose.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Damn..Rock Star is Over.

I have watched every episode of Rock Star this summer. Every Tues & Wed I made sure the boys were tucked into bed so they wouldn't disturb me. Hubster quickly figured out on his own to not talk to me, ask me where the whatever the hell he can't find is, initiate sex with me, walk in front of the TV or breathe too loud while I was engrossed in Rock Star. I haven't been this fanatical about a tv show since the Bionic Woman. Shut up. Bionic Woman and Six Million Dollar Man had an awesome love story undertone.
When I first started watching Rock Star I so wanted Jordis to win but I honestly couldn't picture a woman fronting INXS. Brandon literally gave me the "ick" shudders and I didn't care for his singing or style. I quietly jumped from my chair when he was sent home whispering YES! YES! that night trying not wake the boys in my ecstasy. Towards the end I went from wanting Suzie to win, then Mig, then Marty, but I knew deep down J.D. would end up winning. I have to admit watching him the last 2 weeks he is the perfect match. He was just a little too smug earlier in the show and that turned me off of him. I'll be watching for releases from Jordis, Suzie, Marty and Mig curious how far their careers will go.

It was nice to have a show for me to look forward to watching though. I scared myself a while back when I was looking for something to watch and my heart quickened when I saw Jimmy Newtron was on. I actually pushed select and started watching it when it dawned on me the boys were in bed and I could watch anything I wanted. I admit I had to force myself to find something else and Jimmy was a damn rerun at that. I made myself go to bed early that night because my second choice was Spongebob. Need more adult contact.

It sounded like they may do another Rock Star next summer. Man thats a long time from now. So I guess I'll have to find some other shows to look forward to watch. But I may have to block Nickelodeon on my remote or I may find myself waiting with baited breath to see if Jimmy and Cindy will finally realize they are meant for each other.

Monday, September 19, 2005

Open House

Tonight Steven and I attended our first open house at the Elementary school. Hubster stayed home with Dean since the poor little fellow is sick with a nasty cold. The school had a scavanger hunt where you went to each classroom and found items listed on a piece of paper. It was an excellent way of meeting all the teachers and see the classrooms. I actually went to school there first through third grade before we moved to Helena. So it was fun seeing how different the class rooms have changed. The kindergarten class rooms are in an old dormitory building with the 6th through 8th graders. Steven and I did pretty well with the scavanger hunt. Since he can't read I did the majority. At one point when we were leaving the dormitory Steven was trying to whisper something to me but I couldn't hear him because of people talking around us so I told him to wait until we went outside. Once down the steps I leaned down and asked him what he needed. Steven looked around to make sure no one too close and whispered, "Mom I had to fart when we were around people and I squeezed my butt cheeks together so hard they started to hurt." Without laughing, I asked him if he still needed to fart and he nodded yes. Still not laughing I told him "Okay we'll just walk over that way quickly and you let it out." When he nodded I could tell he was still trying very hard not to fart, so we quickly walked away from the other people. After about 10 steps I asked "Did you do it?" He nodded with a smile, "My butt feels much better now!" Still not laughing, I said "Good job honey." As we continued to walk to the main school building I had tears in my eyes from trying not to laugh. What a kid!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Life in the Gutter

On September 6th I opened the bowling alley up for a new season. I love my job. I manage a little 6 lane house and have 7 employees. Even though it may seem like a pretty easy job it has its headaches. Anybody that has been in a management position will agree that it is basically a glorified babysitting job. The bowling alley is a big part of my life and I've been trying to think how to include my job in this blog without revealing too much. I am really lucky right now as I have a very good crew who all love their job. But they don't have that love for each other. Red is a bartender who has been with me for a year now. She is a real sweetheart but on the lazy side when it comes to sidework. Navy is, as the name gives away, an ex navy gal. She is a seasoned bartender and very regimented about her work and expects the same from everyone else. Baby is a 20 yr old single mother who is good at all aspects of the job, but speaks before she thinks therefore has the potential to put customers off. The sad thing about all of them is they are desperate for money and more hours so they constantly find things to complain about so as to take shifts away from each other. To be a manager you have to balance the good and bad about people, find there strengths and weakness.
My weakness is I get too involved with my employees. I'm privy to all there problems with lovers, parents, and children. I know what keeps them awake at night and what they go home to. So I struggle to keep a balance between being a friend while being a hard nosed boss. It gets tough and stressful. The only advantage I have is I don't play games and they know I lay it on the line. Navy is my biggest problem which may seem odd because she is the best bartender and worker out of the three. But I know she can see herself in my job and feels she could do better. I'd give her the credit that yes at the bar part she may do better, but when it comes to the bowling portion I'm good. I've bowled for 20 yrs now and I know what bowlers want and I give it to them. I have good people skills which she doesn't. I may sound arrogant but I've had to step back and ask myself would she be better for the job? Should I walk away? No. Because my strenths totally out number hers. So I watch my back and do my best.
Now you know one of the things that keep me awake at night.

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

1st Day of School

We awoke nice and early. Steven ate his breakfast of cinnamon toast and glass of milk with the lights dimmed because the bright light hurt his sleepy eyes. I helped him take a shower and brush his teeth. Dressed him for his big day. His first day as a kindergarten. After he was dressed and shoes double knotted, I realized we still had 45 minutes until we had to leave for the school. I got Dean ready to go to Grandma's and that killed 5 minutes. First lesson learned of the school year we don't need an hour and half to get ready. Yeah, we can sleep in another half an hour tomorrow!
After we dropped Dean off, Steven and I headed to the school. We met the other little ones dressed in their brand new duds and parents with mixed emotions. I think the thing that surprised me the most was how many scared little kids were there without a parent or even somebody. In this small town, I can't imagine one business that couldn't have covered for a parent to take their child to his/her first day of school. Anyways, it broke my heart. Steven is a very social child and even he said he was nervous as we walked onto the playground. But pretty soon he was interacting with the other kids. I was a little worried about one incident that happened. He has a friend, Caleb from preschool that is in his class and they were instantly hanging out together on the playground. When we went into the classroom to get them settled in another boy came in and apparently was also friends with Caleb. The teacher told the kids to find a chair at the tables and be seated. Steven grabbed a chair and called to Caleb to come sit by him. Caleb and the other boy ran to another table and sat next to each other ignoring Steven. As the teacher began to speak, Steven kept staring at Caleb to get his attention. The teacher told us to say our goodbyes. As I leaned down to tell Steven goodbye, he asked me why Caleb didn't want to sit with him. The look in his eyes about killed me. I told him that it was no biggie, that he would see Caleb all day and be able to play with him at recess. As I drove home, I cried. I cried because my boy is growing up. I cried because I'm now having my first taste of not being able to protect my little boy from all the hurts to come his way.
I picked up Dean from Mom's and we went home to face out first day without Steven together. Dean spent many a moment laying on the floor crying for Brubber. Several times I wanted to sprawl out on the floor and join him. Finally the time came to go pick Steven up. We waited on the playground for the bell to ring. As soon as the bell rang the teacher stepped out with the kids in tow. As soon as Steven and Dean spotted each other they ran together and hugged. Major Mommy moment...aahhh! On the way home Steven told us about his day and how much fun he had with Caleb. He also told me he made new friends with 2 boys who sit at his table. I released the breath I had been holding all day. First crisis averted for now. Phew!

Sunday, September 04, 2005


I have literally been glued to Fox News. I am amazed. I am in shock. I am ashamed.
I am amazed at the devastation Katrina has brought to the Gulf Coast states. The homes literally blown away to just a foundation, peoples lives and belongings, just gone. Only roof tops showing in the flood waters in NOLA. I am in shock that in our times, our fellow Americans are suffering to such an extent when on foreign lands the good ole USA rides in on its white horse and saves the day. I am ashamed of our government, our elected officials, mainly our president. Bush you have shown your true self to us all. You have revealed to me that you are just a puppet. Without someone guiding your every word or move, you are useless. As the rest of us Americans were glued to our televisions watching helplessly this catastrophic storm approach land, your sitting on a tailgate vacationing with the good old boys. I'd like to know were you or anyone federally in contact with Mayor Nagin or any local, state official in the Gulf states? Anyone going over plans of evacuation? This whole ordeal has made me think back to when I voted for our mayor, our governor, our sheriff, what were the things that made me vote for them? I believe everyone who has voted for a local or state official votes for them on what they can do to help on an economic level. Do any of us vote truly based on the fact alone "Could this person act responsibly and quickly during a man made or natural disaster?" No we vote for the person we hope will help us keep food on our tables and keep our lifestyles in tact. I bet in the next elections, safety plans for our cities will be an issue. I know elected officials are just people like us, they just chose a career in politics. President Bush can't handle every single issue facing him, that's why he has department administrators and advisors. I understand that, what I don't understand is why he puts the people in charge of these matters in positions they are not qualified. Can we say Brownie? What the hell was Bush thinking? FEMA should have the most qualified staff and plan of attack considering we live in elevated terrorist level daily. But after listening to Barbara Bush say that these poor people of NOLA have it better at a crowded shelter than they did before the hurricane revealed what values she passed onto her son. Shut up Barbara.
The only good that came of this whole disaster? We finally got some honest reactions. Mayor Nagin, we felt the same as you. Quit your damn press conferences, get off your asses and act! Anderson Cooper, I too am disgusted with all the thanking and back patting of politicians. Why thank some fellow elected official paid from our tax dollars for coming to the site of a natural disaster? Its your fucking job and responsibility. Thank them when they get behind the wheel of a bus and drive hundreds of people to safe shelter. Thank them when they carry cases of water in the 90 degree heat for hours on end. Thank them when they place the body of the unidentified woman into a body bag. And if thats unreasonable, see who they would be thanking at that moment if it were their child and grandchildren admidst the others suffering at the convention center. Geraldo, you sometimes make me wonder how genuine your emotions are, but we felt your desperation at the convention center. On the other side of a bridge awaits food, water, and transportation to safety. Let them walk to help if help can't get to them. What the hell? No instead you station military at a blockade to keep people from reaching help.
My hope is that the next time we Americans step into a voting booth is that the emotions, the what ifs, will revisit us before we mark those ballots.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

Fair Time

Once again the carnival rides and cowboys have arrived. Fair time in Montana. I've gone to our county fair for off and on 27 years now. I started going to the fair at the age 13 for the rides and games. My main objective was how many times could I ride the Zipper before I puked. (5 by the way.) As I got older the fair was more for showing off my new school clothes and shaking my Rocky Mountain clad ass in front of the football players. After high school, I would travel from Missoula to party at the fair. I only saw the rides because they were on the way to the beer garden. The demolition derby seen from my bleacher seat in the drinking section topped off the weekend. The Hubster and I got married when I was 22 and we occasionally went to the demo, but the fair was not a major attraction to us. Camping on labor day weekend was much more to our liking. The year 2000 was our first weekend camping trip with our 1 yr old son and our last. Camping with a 1 yr old + rain + sleepless nights = not fun. So the next labor day weekend rolled around and we decided to do the fair. Being Steven was only 2 yrs old, the rides he could go on were pretty limited. I had just gotten a digital camera and was very excited to take pictures of Steven at his first fair. When I got home and downloaded the pictures to my pc, I erased every single one of them. I was so devastated that I had lost those pics that Hubster took us back to the fair so I could take pictures all over again. We basically threw Steven on a ride took his pic and onto the next ride and so on and headed back home.
In 2002, Dean was 5 months old and Steven a month shy of being 3. Steven had a blast on the rides and playing games on the midway. Dean was quite satisfied watching the people and lights from his stroller. Hubster and I were simply exhausted. You know all the cables they run along the ground from ride to ride and across the midway every 5 feet? Not fun when pushing a stroller and trying to dodge running children and drunk cowboys. The next year, we wised up and invited Hubsters brother and wife to come with us. Reinforcements! You gotta love Aunties who love to go on rides with their nephews. Steven was a pro with the rides at this time and showed Dean the best places to sit on the rides. Although the teddy bear ride scared Dean and Steven spent the whole time trying to get Dean to quit crying. I was learning the best routes to take that involved the least cables. 2004, we once again wrangled Uncle and Auntie into coming with us. We had a blast. Hubster, the boys and I got our picture taken and it is the best photo of all of us I think we'll ever take. We still had the stroller with us, but more for hauling stuffed animals and diaper bag. I learned to be an aggressive stroller driver and make the unruly children and drunken cowboys step out of my way. Good memories were made that year.
Which brings us to now. No stroller since the boys are old enough to romp around for hours and not want to be carried. Dean didn't cry on any of the rides. They absolutely loved the dragon coaster. They're the two toe heads in the yellow shirts in the picture. They both won prizes on the midway throwing darts, rolling balls and fishing with magnets. We got another picture taken and it was the most awful picture we've ever taken. Oh well. Uncle and Auntie didn't come with us this time, so it was just our little family. I know our times of going to the fair as a family will only last so long and then the boys will want to go with their friends. I don't know what the future of the fair holds for Hubster and I. Who knows? It may find us attending the rodeo sitting in the bleachers in the non drinking section. Its evolution.

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Cheek Flappers

I've been wondering, at what stage in life do we become embarrassed to fart in front of people. I think for girls it is quite early, 2 to 3 yrs old. I don't know. I don't remember my mom having a "beans and fluff talk" with me. Now boys it is different. Steven takes great joy in sharing his farts. I made the mistake of laughing at one of his more audible farts and said "That was quite the cheek flapper." So around here its cheek flappers. My husband at 42 will fart in front of friends of ours he feels comfortable with while I turn red with embarrassment. Now why is it that a man can fart and everyone laughs "Oh man! You're rotten! Phew!". But if a woman lets one rip? Uncomfortable pause in conversation.
With Steven starting school soon, I've been discussing with him how its not polite to fart in front of other people. I could see the wheels a turnin'. "Where will my farts go if I hold them in forever?" So I helped him plan the great gas attack. Well I said, "When you are on the playground you walk away from people and let a fartie free. And when you go the bathroom, you get as many out as possible." He seemed relieved especially when I told him once he got home he could let em rip.
All of this has made me think about all the mortification gas has brought to me. Let me take you there. I'm 16 yrs old out on a first date with a hottie. Hottie and I meet up with some friends and all hop in a car together. We drove to an isolated place to drink beer and smoke. The owner of the car had an awesome stereo system and loved his music loud. As we are sitting there drinking, laughing and rupturing our ear drums to the music, I started to feel a bubble of gas inching its way down to freedom. Now you would think with the music so loud I would just let her go. But odor cannot be drowned out by Journey no matter how loud its played. So I squeezed the butt cheeks together and forced the bubble back up. Well this happened a couple of times and I was feeling pretty proud of myself....when the bubbles joined forces and retaliated. I farted. Not out of my butt, but internally. I don't know how else to describe it. Over the loud vocalizing of David Lee Roth, this rolling sound erupted, not a quick explosion but a loooonnnnngggg drawn out rumble. I hoped no one else could hear this rebellion over the music and kept on laughing and talking. When Hottie looks at me and says, "What the hell was that?" Now me being quick minded, looked out the closed window and said "I don't know but I'm scared." I don't think he bought it because when they dropped me off at the house Hottie just said bye and never got out of the car.
Shortly after Hubster and I were married, we had just gotten to bed and I felt this pressure building. So I got up and went in the bathroom and let the beast free. The smell was tolerable but not pleasant. I returned to bed thankful I hadn't let it fluff under the sheets and fell to sleep. About an hour later, I wake up to Hubster getting out of bed to go pee and immediately feel the pressure of the beast. So I hurry up and squeezed it out. The smell. Oh the smell. I never knew my body could produce such a rank rotting stench. As I hear the toilet flush, I hurry and fluff the blankets around hoping to lighten the stench and pretend to be asleep. Hubster comes in, lays down and I hear "sniff sniff". He sits up and leans over the side of the bed. Sits up and turns on the light, "Dear I think the cat shit behind the bed!" In a groggy pretense I get up and help him look for the pile of steaming stench. After moving the bed across the room and not discovering the pile, Hubster grabs up the innocent sleeping cat from its bed, "You rotten bastard! You can sleep outside!". I never told my husband that it was me and I to this day I still do a fart odor test in the bathroom before bed because I'm scared to sleep outside.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Old Doggie

Valentines Day 1990 Hubster walked into my hair salon with this tiny bundle of fur and presented me with my new baby. We named him Griz since he sounded like a little bear when he played. About 2 weeks later Hubster broke his leg and while he was laid up Griz became his baby. I still was the one who took him out in the frigid air at 3:00 am, fed him and groomed him, but Hubster was the one who stole Griz's heart. Griz is now 15 1/2 years old.
I remember on several occasions, Hubster and I have discussed that we would never let a dog suffer due to old age. We have often judged other dog owners of how unfair it is to keep a dog alive when they can no longer get around and how selfish it is for them to do so. Well for the past 2 years Griz has been failing. It started with him having trouble getting up the porch steps and for about a year now he has been deaf. This Spring Hubster built a ramp up into the house so Griz wouldn't have to climb steps. I often use the porch light to get Griz's attention when its time to come in at night. We keep finding ways to get around Griz's disabilities. But we are finding it hard to know when to say when. He seems to be doing okay. He has a geriatric checkup yearly and always gets good results.
The thing is we are now the recipients of judgment from friends and family who think its time we put Griz down. Amazing how things come around huh? I hope that when Griz does go that it is painless and quick. I will not let him suffer if his organs start shutting down or he gets cancer. But I still feel he is still just my little old man and how can you put someone down just for being old, deaf and slow.
He is a tough old coot though. A couple of months ago, I was leaving to pickup Steven from Pre-school. I always look behind the car for Griz and did so then. I began to backup and was thinking the tires I had put on the day before sure made the car feel sluggish and then I heard a hoarse bark. I immediately stopped and thinking I had just ran into Griz I was going to go forwards, but my head said no...check where he is before you move. Thank goodness I didn't move for his head was right in front of the back tire. Griz was trying to crawl out from underneath the car. I figured I'd have to jack the car up to get him out, just as I was moving to stop the motor Griz got out on his own. As he walked away he would go a few feet and then his butt would drop to the ground. I thought for sure I had either broke his back or hips. I have never felt as helpless at that moment in my life. Thankfully my sil was within yelling distance and she helped me get him in the truck. While she drove the truck with Griz, I took my car since I had Dean in there in his car seat. All the way to the vet Dean kept asking me if Griz had a booboo. I felt awful. When we arrived at the vets, Griz was still standing in the back of the truck and seemed somewhat alright until I noticed blood dripping from under his tail. I lost it. I just knew he had internal injuries. The vet came to the truck to examine him and she carefully felt his hips, belly and then lifted his tail. I had to look away, because I was sure I would see intestines or something. Beth, our vet, said "Jo he's going to be fine. You just gave him one hell of a road rash on his butt.". To my relief, his xrays showed no breaks or internal bleeding. So we figured he must have tried to get up when I started backing up and his poor little butt was dragged for six feet in gravel. I still don't know how I didn't see him behind the car when I looked, but figure he must have been under the back of the car. He sure doesn't lay under cars now. He's old, but not dumb.
I guess at this point we will continue to love and care for him. When his time comes I hope he knows that as our first child he was very loved.