Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Prayer for C

My heart sunk this morning. I slept in as I worked the night shift last night. I had been lying in bed about an hour reading tweets, and statuses, and emails, and blogs.

JP came running up to "wake" me up and blurted out, "Mommy, they took the Baby away because he didn't listen!"

I sat straight up and threw my feet to the floor, "WHAT?!"  He repeated the same thing, "they took the Baby away because he didn't listen!" And this time he added, "in a ambewance."

I hollered for Hubs in between asking JP more probing questions, who, Buddy? where, Bubba? did you see the baby? what happened?

Hubs and JP had been out in the garage when the Ambulance pulled up in front of our neighbor's house two doors down. The older son, G, (4, I think) had attended the same Soccer Camp ME did this summer.  The younger son, C, is under 2. They play in the driveway sometimes with JP and ME.

Mom, a Nurse herself, was on the front porch holding C to her chest. She was rocking him back and forth. A few minutes later he was taken to the ambulance by the Paramedic and Mom got in too. Dad and G got into the family van and followed the ambulance.

We didn't find out until a couple of hours later that before he left Dad spoke to our neighbor across the street and told him C had had an allergic reaction to something and was swelling up.

I've been squeezing and hugging JP all day since. And saying Prayers for Baby C, too.

“Life is not waiting for the storm to pass, it’s learning to dance in the rain.”

We did a little of both this weekend. Waiting and dancing. I was scared on Saturday. More scared than I have been a while. 
My Employer closed. That is unheard of. I closed up shop and went home in the rain. It had started a couple of hours earlier. I got home to my kiddos and my neighbors watching them and was thrilled to see they could care less about the weather that day. They had gone out to breakfast, played with legos, made a Birthday dessert for the Mr. and even had watched a movie. Boy, the things they con the newbies in to! :)
I made us some lunch when Hubs came home for break and we all sat and chatted. When it was time for Hubs to return to work instead of the kiddos crying, Mommy did. I was overwhelmed at being alone with my kiddos in the house while we did nothing but wait. And wait. Hubs wasn’t due back home until almost 8pm. 
The kiddos and I prepared some Ziploc baggies of water, took some water bottles to the deep freezer in the basement and checked the basement walls for leaks. All clear.
After an hour or so it seemed as if we were only getting bouts of rain here and there. Not too much wind. So, what better than to get a little wet in it. Out we went. I stood in the garage snapping pictures while ME, JP and puppy Daisy headed out into the rain. They got soaked. They laughed and smiled the entire time. And why shouldn’t they? It’s just another rain storm. 
When the kiddos seemed to have had enough we all returned to the comfort of our home and changed into dry clothes. We watched a little TV and I even decided I may make dinner since we still had power. That’s a Holiday in our house, Mommy making dinner. I prepared everything I had for my spaghetti with meat sauce until I realized we had no sauce. My APB on FaceBook and Twitter proved useful though when my neighbor showed up at my door with a jar of Ragu. (I love my neighbors!)
While scanning FaceBook, the neighbor around the corner had posted a picture that caught my eye. Her Hubs and her kiddos were in their back yard slip sliding in the mud. Surely this was no serious storm if they were out in it like we were earlier. And even deeper in it. I invited us over.
We jumped in the car and made our way in the pouring rain one street over. ME went straight to the backyard. JP tried and decided he was more comfortable inside with Mommy. That was fine with Mommy, too. We watched and laughed as the Daddies in the backyard pulled the kiddos on boogie boards through the mud. Once again, when we returned home we had to change into dry clothes. Well worth it, though.
Once the sun went down, Mommy got scared. I began reading of several Tornado Warnings in the area, our area, my Mom’s area, my Dad’s area, my friends’ area. Everywhere. I was, eh, okay, until all of that. I had let the kiddos play outside twice for goodness sake. The Tornado Warnings changed all of that. One had touched down at the Beach near where Hubs’ Dad and Grandmother live. This was too close for comfort. 
We started out upstairs camping together in our bedroom. Until the Warnings became closer and closer. Once we lost power, off we went to the basement. I had told ME before she fell asleep that if Mommy woke her up and told her it was time to go to the basement, we go, FAST. She was my little trooper. She feel asleep on the floor of my bedroom and not 20 minutes later we were headed down. She held my hand as we made our way in the dark to our hideout. Hubs carried JP down and when we got to the bottom of the stairs he sat up and said excitedly “we’re camping in the basement?!” And then like a switch, went right back to sleep. 
Hubs and I did not sleep. We dozed here and there, but we did not sleep. I remember wondering how safe we actually were. Would we be found if something did happen? Would our dogs be ok? Would we all be together? I remember regretting that I didn’t evacuate. I had thought about it. I had thought about taking the kids, the dogs, and some clothes-- west. I didn’t know where west. I just knew West. The only reason I didn’t was that Hubs was still expected to report to work and there was no way I was leaving him behind. 
Our power came back on some time between 1 and 2am. I was relieved and exhausted. But the power did not restore my safe feeling. It almost made it worse as I heard the sump pump come on over and over again and quickly, too. I kept wondering whether I would wake up swimming. 
I said goodbye to Hubs around 4:30am as he waded off to work. I was not happy at all that he was leaving us. But I know he had little choice in the matter. At least the worst was supposedly behind us. When I finally watched some news around 9am, it was in fact, behind us. 
And the kiddos and I returned to our normally scheduled Sunday routine. That afternoon we even ventured out to one of our favorite spots on the bay, Woodland Beach.   
Ahh, a sigh of relief as I watched the kiddos do their thing, without a care in the world as to how lucky we just were. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011


I would want you. I would hold you in my arms and squeeze you so full of love that you would have never known other wise.

I could care for you more than you could handle. I could keep you and care for you and make you mine.

I’d take away the hate that may have brought you here, the fear that you may have felt, the horror of what the alternative is. I’d take it all away.

And you would never know. No one would know what your fate could have been. No one would know you should have, could have been in the news. No one would know because I’d take all that away. And give you a life, if only…

Friday, August 26, 2011

Heads Will Roll

We hit up the Lego Store in Christiana Mall on Monday between school clothes shopping destinations.

Holy Lego Man, why hadn’t we gotten JP hooked on these yet!? Yes, of course we’re going to be finding them everywhere and stepping on them and all. But, whoa! How much he loves these things! What a builder he is.

JP went directly to the play bin located between the three kid friendly computers and began building dirt with as many brown pieces he could get his hands on. “More bwown, Mommy, more bwown!” I walked around browsing and came back to him, “I not done yet.” I walked around again, nope still not done. I sat down next to him and watch. He was mesmerized. He loved them. He still loves them. 

I found a starter kit that looked simple (as simple as Legos can be, right?). I also found him (TA-DAHHHH) a small tractor kit from which you can make three different styles. But, neither kit had any Bwown. So I had to do some piece meal purchasing. When all was said and done we were met by Tim at the register.  

Awesome Customer Service from Tim! What a great, fun, interactive guy to be selling Legos! Tim rang us up and gave us a free gift for the day. As he scanned it to account for it I saw $3.99 ring up on the register. When he gave me my total I assumed the $3.99 had been discounted already. Tim scanned our new Lego VIP card and then bid us a good day. He wished JP a great time at playing with his new Legos.

Off we went on our shopping adventure with JP carrying his Lego Bag with pride. He couldn’t wait to get home to play. As soon as we arrived home, JP begged me to open everything up so we neatly spilled all the Legos onto the kitchen table. He giggled so much checking them all out.

I double checked the receipt to find that, unfortunately the $3.99 for that free gift wasn’t credited. I called the store and got Tim, my sales guy on the first ring. He was just as smiley on the telephone. I told him who I was and that I had gotten home to see that my free gift cost me $3.99. He asked me to double check that there wasn’t a credit further down because they only ring it up for accounting purposes and then immediately refund it. I double checked and told him no. 

He apologized so much you’d think he had stepped on my toe on accident. He said so easily, “come on back in to see me and I’ll take care of it right away!” I told him in my “mommy just got all the way home to South of the Canal Smyrna” voice that I couldn’t. He immediately had a solution. He asks me if I would mind giving him my address and he would send the refund in a Gift Card. I said that was fine and that with how much my son now loves these Legos we would definitely use it at some point. 

This is where I was blown away! Tim says my Gift Card would go out in the mail on Tuesday and would be to me soon. He apologizes again and again and says that never should have happened and how much he ruined a free gift by charging me for it. He tells me he wants all of his customers happy as it is Legos, after all, and says my Gift Card will be for $10!

Now THAT is Customer Service I could get used to! 

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Start/Finish Line

This morning I was asked if I was busy at 10am. Jokingly, I asked, why, for what had I been volunteered?

I had been volunteered to be a guinea pig on the new Segway Tour of the Track at Dover International Speedway. I jumped on board. Ok, well, I hesitated about a mili-second.

 We drove around to the Start/Finish Line where the group was congregating in the parking lot outside the track. About a dozen Segways were lined up against the fence. After a brief tutorial to us as a group our Segway Guide had each of us, one at a time, get on our Segways while he gave us individual instruction. As I stepped on I panicked and started to wobble. He assured me that was perfectly normal. (I’m sure he tells all the first timers that.) He had me do a few ups and backs, lefts and rights and then sent me on my way around the parking lot for a five minute practice. Honestly, after the five minutes I was more comfortable than I thought I would be. It was easy. Our Segway Guide had joked during his tutorial about becoming one with the Segway. Literally, it worked that way. 

Our Track Tour Guide, Brian Citino, the Track’s Communications Manager, had us all turn on our ear pieces as he tested out his mic. He explained that we could lag behind or cruise right along at our own pace checking out the scenery while he gave his spiel. 

Off we went. We left the parking lot and began cruising the opposite way the race runs yet on the outside of the track. We were at the Start/Finish Line so we cruised past Turn 4 and then Turn 3. Our first stop was clear to the opposite side of the Track. Apparently they do this to give you some practice time on the Segways. What a great idea. 

As we approached Turn 3 it came to mind we were headed to a steep hill I have been over many times, yet in a Golf Cart. Never on a Segway. I was a little nervous. However, we all scaled it with ease to reach the top of the Hill and the Back Straight Away, still on the outside of the Track. We parked the Segways (I’m not a fan of the dismount, but I did get used to it) and climbed the 20 or so stairs to the Monster Bridge. 

In the 7 years since the Bridge was built this was only my third time ever going in, and not yet lucky enough to attend a Race in the bridge (hint hint). It is amazing. It is breath taking. Brian gave us specifics about the Bridge’s construction and safety and I got goose bumps hearing those facts again. The thought and planning and engineering that went into the Bridge- WOW! And it’s so safe that IF any car ever went airborne into it, the car would see more damage than anyone inside- again WOW!

We took some pictures and heard about some celebs and sports stars that have been invited to watch Races there: Nick Lachey, Hulk Hogan, Deidre Downs, Mario Batalia, and of course many, many Race Car Drivers and Car Owners. We did a short Q&A and put Brian to the test before we finished up in the Monster Bridge. What a piece of amazing architecture. 

We then hopped back onto our Segways and traveled back down the hill from which we came. My anticipation of how hard the hill would be going down was completely over rated. Hill or Flat Land, all the same on a Segway, easy. Back around the Track we traveled now knowing, like pros which little route to travel to avoid some of the bumpier areas. Brian gave us some information on the Fan Zone located outside of Turn 3 and reminded us that with an entire week, yet only three Races of about 4 hours each, Fans and Families need something to keep them entertained. Hence, the Fan Zone. My kiddos love the FanZone, more on that another time. 

We arrived at Monster Miles and heard some statistics and facts about him and decided to take a few more pictures. Brian got our attention when he jokingly told us that the real life stock car Miles is held in place by four bolts and they haven’t been checked or inspected since they were installed. Gee, I hope no one tells Hurricane Irene that.

Anyway, this time we never dismounted our Segways. Instead we all tried to remain still while Brian was talking but found ourselves moving in place using only our leaning skills (remember, we’re Pros by now). Once the Monster segment was completed we made our way to the track through the Gates at the Start/Finish Line. We stopped and took in the scene with the entire Race Track all to ourselves. No roaring engines, no screaming fans, no smell of burnt rubber. It was a moment of serene silence realizing that in about a month so many of those seats would be filled with Fans that follow their sport religiously. And all in our little home town backyard. 

Brian led us straight down the track at the Start/Finish Line and stopped us at Pit Road. The straight away embankment and it’s nine degrees was a little intimidating. But remembering the hill on the opposite side of the track and the fact that we were all Pros now, we gracefully made our way down. After a run down of the Track Capacity, the Track’s Safety Center, and a little of the Track’s History, we rolled on. 

Awaiting our arrival in the Sprint Cup Garage was Track Historian, and retired local High School History Teacher, George Keller. What a brilliant man. Of course this was not my first time meeting Mr. Keller, or hearing how brilliant he was. It is however, yet another reminder of that fact. Mr. Keller spouted out numbers that blew our minds: the number of tires used in a Race by drivers and the Track altogether, the cost of each tire, the gallons of gas, the cost of a gallon of Sunoco Racing Fuel (Holy Gas Tank, Batman!). Mr. Keller rattled off the stats with pure joy. He smiled the entire time, he grinned like a little school kid on the playground. He thoroughly enjoys what he does. 

Brian and Mr. Keller then steered us over to the Infield Media Center. This building was recently revamped and according to Mr. Keller is famous for being the second best Media Center on the circuit (he stated with pride in his eyes). We sat and watched a short music video that hyped us up on the happenings at the Track from the 60s, 70s, and beyond. What special talent it took for that video to be made using still shots from so long ago. The video was just long enough to see some great shots and take a breather in the air conditioning. 

Then off we rolled again, this time back down Pit Row to the Winner’s Circle (it never really is a circle). Mr. Keller wowed us again with his stories of bringing the champagne to the area and moving back once the driver gets out of his Race Car so as not to get all sticky. He laughed as he told us of getting stuck in one spot from all the sprays of celebratory drinks flying around in enthusiasm. We took time for a few pictures and a few more stories and then headed back to the Start/Finish Line where it all began. 

But not before I hightailed it up that nine degree straight away and hit top speed on the Segway going the wrong way on the Famous Monster Mile. Eat your heart out Jeff Gordon! I hit 12.5mph!

The Segway Track Tours are reserved by calling 302-883-6561. According to the waiver I signed you must be at least 14 years old to drive the Segway.
I recommend the Segway Track Tour not only for Race Fans but all Delawareans. Come see what’s in your backyard. This was a great tour!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

So, I Survived

So, I survived, EastCoastEarthQuake and all.

I've been having some difficulties lately. Not something I can really put on my FB or write specifically about in Blog. Just know that I am surviving, am not sure for how long. I don't know what the end is or where or how far away.

It's not Hubs related, family related, kiddos related. 

It's ugh related. It's questioning myself, my ethics, my abilities, my judgement, my style. I feel as though I don't measure up to expectations and I have no idea how to play the game. I think it's a game anyway.

I know I am better than this, more experienced in this and more respected in this... in some eyes. Unfortunately, they're not the right sets of eyes. So for now, I guess it's a waiting game, or a puppet game. I'm not really sure. I am trying everyday to stay true to who I am and not let it get me down but it is harder and harder to fake it everyday. This is me. This is how I've succeeded thus far and this is how I want to continue. a

What's a girl to do but trudge on and then... I get to hug my kiddos.


You have broken me.

I feel violated. I feel isolated. I feel misunderstood, under appreciated, unrecognized, unknown.

I don’t know where to start digging. I don’t know which end is up.

I don’t know who to talk to. Or if I should. Why would they care?

I don’t know how to fake it anymore. I don’t know if I should or if I could.

Why does it have to be so difficult? Am I making it difficult? Am I responsible for this?

Is it the all powerful bottom line or is it something else?

What dance do I need to know? How do I continue? Which direction do you want? Which steps do I take?

What do you want from me?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Shoot the Bear

Here's where I'll list five things about me, you decide which ONE is my Dare:

1. I've held an alligator.

2. I've been to Niagra Falls at Christmas.

3. I've been to all 50 states.

4. I've had three surgeries.

5. I've served a famous band.

Since you're wondering where the post title came from, Madi said "Truth or Dare" yesterday and JP translated it to "Shoot the Bear." I love toddler talk!

Sunday, August 21, 2011

What Are... Movies I've Never Seen?

The 40 Year Old Virgin

The Hangover

Harry Potter


Lord of the Rings

Gone with the Wind

Pulp Fiction

Full Metal Jacket


Nightmare on Elm Street

Apollo 13

The Thin Red Line

8 Seconds

Moulin Rouge

Iron Man

Lethal Weapon

Black Hawk Down

Die Hard

The Hunt for Red October

American Pie

Revenge of the Nerds

Tyler Perry's anything

Scary Movie

And soooo many more

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Ponies on the Beach

Wednesday we traveled from our little (temporary) beach house in Bethany Beach to Assateague Island. The drive was longer than the kiddos would have liked but it wasn't terrible. It was however hot. Hubs had taken the top and (front) doors off the Jeep so it was nice and breezy in the open areas but once we hit the lights of OC it was Hot. I found myself lifting my sundress just to catch the breezes. :-0

We first stopped off at the Nature Center to check out the exhibits. The kiddos love the touch me tank that houses some horseshoe crabs, seashells, conchs, snails, and more. They even did more listening this time to the Junior Ranger giving them tidbits about each creature. Across the exhibit a special presentation was just wrapping up so the kiddos got the benefit of seeing that presentation’s star performer, the Corn Snake. ME even pet it. (YUCK) I was so surprised, shocked, scared, grossed out I forgot to take a picture. I am not a snake fan. I did however bite my tongue and keep my thoughts and body language to myself as much as I possibly could. 

When we crossed the Island’s Bridge we saw Ponies off in the distance almost immediately. That is always a good thing for the kiddos' morale as it helps in proving the Ponies are, in fact, there. Then on the ride to the Ranger Station we slowed down to pass this pony. He was just strolling along. We later found out he is yet to be named. ME wanted to name him but they are having a contest for that.

ME and I walked the forest trail on the Bay side of the National Seashore Park. It was buggy but nothing a little spray couldn’t handle. We dodged “crap apples” here and there, more proof of ponies in the area. There was a nice stream running off to the south of the trail where the ponies come for fresh water. As she and I arrived at the end of the trail we took in the pier and watched as two Egrets battled for their food spot. The one had been their first. ME and I dubbed in their voices and got a kick out of making up what we thought they were thinking and saying to each other.

We stopped at the Ranger Station to get our OSV License for the Jeep beach ride. (Finally, I remember the acronym, I only had to ask Hubs about 21 times.) One of the Rangers was even nice enough to share a homemade cookie with ME. She was tickled he was so nice to her. I think he was tickled, too. He seemed to be of the Grampa type.

We made a quick pit-stop at the bath house and got this view. We then watched as these three strolled away and joined another small family. They all made their way to the beach. I'm thinking they must look for just the perfect spot for sunbathing, too. :)

Well prepared with our beach chairs, sand toys, umbrellas, towels, sunscreen, and bug spray we made our maiden voyage on the OSV Beach with the Jeep. We only drove about 2-3 miles down the 12 mile long beach until we found the perfect private beach all of our own. The nearest beach goers were about 100 yards from us either direction. Since it was mid week we had no worries of getting on the Beach. The Rangers did tell us, however, that only 140 vehicles are allowed on at a time and the weekends cause quite a stir. Beach goers often sit for hours waiting in line to get on. One on, one off.

We set up our beach camp and before you know it we were building sand castles and catching waves. What a wonderful way to take in the beach. No carting supplies from a parking lot, no parking meters, and no kiddos complaining about carrying their sand castle molds and shovels. This is the way to go!

Ho Hum

Having kind of a ho-hum day.

You know when you take a beating at something and then a few days later you get this tiny-einsey-weinsey pat on the back?

Yeah, THAT.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Daisy Mae

I just gave her a middle name. 

The puppy is doing well so far. We are all getting well acquainted. Mommy is very well acquainted with the pee pee dance and how fast that happens. I must be a gluten for punishment considering I have a three year old that still does the pee pee dance. Hell, so does the almost 7 year old. (Shut up, I do not).

JP speaks for all of us constantly repeating "Mommy, I like two doggies." So far, the only hold out is Haley. She continues to growl and get up and walk away. She hasn't actually snapped, of which I am Mama proud. She simply removes herself from the situation and finds another place to chill. She doesn't even seem to mind when Daisy takes over her doggie bed although she has a perfectly comfy one in her kennel. I think Haley secretly is ok with this whole new scenario though. She'll come around, in time. 

Daisy has met all of the neighbors and even the nightly walkers in the 'hood. One older couple helped themselves to her in our driveway today and fell in love. So much so that they know our puppy's name but had no concern for who we are. :) I suppose that's the first of many admirers. She really is a cute puppy (is there not?). 

She does a wonderful job at going to bed at night. The first night she whimpered for about 20 minutes and then she was down for the count. She sleeps like a log. I think we exhaust her during the day. She even tries to catch a few power naps when the kiddos aren't hounding her for attention.

I'll let you in on a secret too. You need your family to pick up after themselves? Get a puppy. In just two days my kiddos have realized that toys, flip flops, towels, socks, hats, stuffed aminals and more have to be up off the floor. {And the Heavens opened up and the angels sang } Beginning Tuesday, his first day off, let's see how long Hubs takes with the lesson. I'll keep you posted. 

For now, though, we are a Family with two doggies and we are all happy with this bright and cheery addition to the family. She has her first vet appointment tomorrow and the kiddos are excited to show her off. They have already set a schedule of which of their laps Daisy will ride in and when. It's usually me their fighting over. :(

PS. Yes, I know I spelled it aminals. :)


Today's Karate Class is a going away class for one of the trainers and his younger brother. Sensei has set aside some time to give a little goodbye speech to the boys, D an older teenager, K a barely teen.

I'm inspired listening to his stories of the two boys starting out in Karate. He tells of D starting out so shy and quiet, having moved up to Black Belt through hard work and dedication. Sensei reminds the students of his motto: a Black Belt is a White Belt that never gave up. I can see the pride in his eyes and hear it in his voice. I can see him looking at the rest of his class wondering which one will be his next prodigy.

Sensei then moves on to telling of D's natural ability to teach other students. And that each one of the students listening today has been taught something special from D.

The closeness Sensei feels for this student is even more evident as he tries to read his tribute to D in a book he is passing on to him. The book was originally from his own Sensei many years ago.

I admire the friendships and family relationships that Karate has helped build for these students and teachers. It's encouraging. It's awe inspiring.

I look for my little girl to one day be given this speech by her Sensei or her Coach or her Teacher she makes proud. I know she already makes me very proud.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Saturday, August 13, 2011

August 13

I remember the night you passed like it was yesterday. I remember both of us shocked and horrified by the notion that we had yet to have a grandchild for you. I remember sitting on our back porch after returning from the hospital in disbelief. I remember holding your Son so tightly that I thought I would choke him. I remember his sobs.

We have been happily married 12 years now. Your Son works hard for his Family and is the best Daddy our kiddos could ever have. He teaches our kiddos new things every day and never misses a chance to squeeze in a Family day amid our hectic lives. No matter how hectic, I know he thinks of you daily.

ME is almost 7 now. She is your third grandchild. It’s sad to think you only met your eldest. ME came along to us after more than five years of our marriage. We waited (not so) patiently for her to bless our lives. You were one of our first thoughts when we discovered we were finally pregnant. ME asks about you often. She wants to soak up all she can about her family. She is quite inquisitive. She often asks your Son if he misses you. It brings sadness back into his eyes.

JP is 3.5 now. He is in to everything, as I’m sure you know too well from experience with your Son. He likes mud and tractors and everything a little boy should. He is Daddy’s little Bubba and always following in his footsteps. He will grow up to be the Gentleman his Daddy is. I think he sees himself in Bubba and wonders sometimes how you could have possibly raised him, at times on your own.

I, myself, have come to miss you more and more as my kiddos grow and learn. I do take comfort in knowing they have a Guardian Angel watching over them. But sometimes, that’s just not quite enough. I had so many people tell me later how much you liked me. I’m glad I know it now but wish I had realized it then. I often wonder if we would have become better friends once we had mommy-hood in common. Someday, we will.

Until then, Happy Birthday and know that we love you.

Friday, August 12, 2011

It's A Girl!

In addition to her daughter, Rhonda has twin boys. The oldest, J, was a Marine. The younger, C, is in the Army.

J has two Golden Retrievers: Jack & Jill who had 8 tiny puppies on June 12th. We got to go visit them exactly two weeks later on June 26th. Jill was a great, over protective Mama. The kiddos got to hold one puppy but not without Jill keeping a close, close eye on the kiddos with her pup. JP wasn't quite sure what to think of the puppies at first. He was a little squeamish not knowing how to hold it and then what to do with it. Why wouldn't it play with him?

A few weeks went by with me nagging the Hubs about wanting one. He said no way. Then he said why. Then he said no way. Then he complained of the dog hair. Then he ignored me. Then he would roll his eyes at me. Then he would tell me I wasn't serious. Then he would say no way. Then today, at exactly two months old, I asked Hubs via text to meet me at J's. He ignored the text. For hours. So I asked if that was a no. He said "maybe." And then he beat me there. 

J had picked out a pup for us ahead of time. There were four left of the litter: one is J's, one is Rhonda's when she is better, one is up for auction at Rhonda's Beef & Beer Benefit August 26th, and one was ours. I sat down on the ground, work clothes and all and our Pup came right over to me. She would run away now and then but again and again she would make her way back to my lap. It was as if some how she knew. We knew too. We fell in love with her immediately and even Hubs was holding her after just a  few minutes. She snuggled right in his arms. We sat with the pups for probably 30 minutes asking all sorts of questions. When was her last shot, what does she eat, how is she with the other pups. ME asked all sorts of questions of Mommy later: how do you know it's a girl, does a boy doggie have a pee-tube? Yup, pee-tube. That was good for a few giggles. 

We finally left with our Pup and have played with her and pet her and given her house tours and yard tours and taken her shopping (for her bed and kennel and leash and collar and toys and food and shampoo) and met the neighbors and she was even given a bath (Mommy somehow was wetter than the puppy), all in her first night as part of our Family. 

Our new addition even found a cute little hiding spot to nibble on her chew toy. Didn't take the kiddos long to find her, though.  She won't be able to fit under our futon for long so I hope she enjoys it.

The kiddos thoroughly enjoy having a puppy follow their every move and stick close on their heels. They were very careful not to upset Haley too much, though. Haley is now 9 years old and has been with us through thick and thin so we made sure she got our attention, too. It's going to take some getting used to on her part but I think she will do fine. She was once in this position as the new Pup in our Family with a grown dog. Hopefully, she remembers that. 

So, we're once again a two dog Family. I'm sure you'll be seeing more of this Pup as she grows. 
We've even Twit-Pic'ed like crazy tonight and have asked for some help in naming her. We've received a ton of suggestions but are somehow still stuck on our first choice. What do you think?

~ Sadie ~ Scout ~ Ginger ~ Max ~ Honey ~ Clint ~ Clintina ~ Cinnamon ~ Lulu ~ Fiona ~ Clover ~ Olivia ~ Penelope ~ Bailey ~ Brandy ~ Dixie ~ Daisy ~ Maisie ~ Nala ~ Blondie

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Beach Vacation

Family Beach Vacations are Magical!

Mommy doesn't have to

pick up after anyone, scrape crumbs, gather laundry, start showers, wash other people's hair, wipe faces, blow noses, make beds, serve breakfast, wake up at 6:30, collect toys, do dishes, empty trash, dress kiddos, be keeper of the essentials, scold anyone, search for blankies & favorite animals, fill downtime, navigate trips, put kiddos to bed...

Wait! What!?

Sunday, August 7, 2011


Scene: On our way to Pop's House so he could kiddo sit for ME and JP while Mommy goes to work. At the kiddos request Mommy pulls off the highway to take "the shortcut."

JP: Mommy! PopPop learned me somefin.

Mommy: Oh yeah, Buddy? What did PopPop learn you?

JP: When I was older, PopPop came to my school. 

ME: You mean when you were younger.

JP: No, when I was older.

Mommy: Go ahead, Buddy. ME, let him finish. 

JP: PopPop had lollipops.

Mommy: Ok. Does PopPop like lollipops? 

JP: Yeah, PopPop bringed them for everyone. Then he learn me awkward. 

Mommy: Awkward? What, Bubba? 

ME: I think he means backward.

JP: No, awk.ward.

Mommy: Bubba, when you helped PopPop on his lawn mower the other day, did he take you backwards?

JP: No, Mommy, PopPop learn me awkward, when I was older.

Mommy: Hmmmm....?

JP: Then he learn me spell it. M E I M O.

Mommy: M E I M O? What, Buddy? Are you sure?

JP: Yup, M E I M O.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sweet Sixteen

August 6, 1995, some Dude I worked with (at the restaurant my brother, Mark, and I got a job at on his 16th birthday) finally asked me to be his girlfriend. It had been a long time coming. Since the day Mark and I started working there this Dude and he became fast friends. I didn't pay him much mind.

Mark and his friend, let's just call him Nick, would hang out at the house, cruise around in his Honda or my Dad's Honda and try to avoid the normal boy trouble. His friend was 17 at the time. Let's not say how old I was. They would hang out after work and party play board games and drink beer milk.

I was into dating this other boy we all worked with until the day we all figured out he was a jerk. In fact, Nick figured it out quickly. The work crew had planned a party get together to celebrate Nick's birthday. Everyone was there having a great time. Nick was nice enough to come to my rescue in a bedroom when the other boy decided he didn't understand what No meant. I remember seeing the boy fly across the room. I should have known then that Nick liked me. Instead, I was clueless.

So clueless that I found out later Mark's friend had been asking him for months to "hook me up with your sister." Mark's response, apparently, was always of the "eww, that's gross" kind. 

So, the Summer continued with Mark and Nick always hanging out with me and my friends. It was a fun summer. We would watch movies and have popcorn and play games (no really, we would play board games in that circle of friends). One night, mid summer, Nick gave me a ride home from work. On the way we chatted and chatted until he finally flirted with the thought of maybe going out one night together. He was seeing someone else, though, so I flirted back with a "well, if you weren't already taken, then who knows," kinda talk.

That's all it took. Nick raced home and called the girl and told her it was over, whatever "it" was. He called me later and asked me out.

My Dad was hilarious when Nick and I started dating. As Mark's friend he was allowed upstairs to hang out in Mark's room. We all laugh about one day, after we began dating, when I was at work and Nick came over to the house. Dad was taking a nap on the couch. He put one foot on the staircase to go upstairs to see Mark and my Dad opened one eye and said "where you going, boy?" I wasn't even home! Nick never again went upstairs. (Stick to that if my Dad asks, ok? Never again did he go upstairs, wink wink.)

Oh, and that's all it took for me, too. From that point on I was Nick's girl.

And Sixteen Years later? Yup, still.

I love you, Dude.

Hold On for One More Day

It was 1990. I was a Freshman in High School. And I was miserably depressed.

Whatever could go wrong, would go wrong with me. Even if only in my head.

I was late to school more than I was on time. My first period of the day was Algebra. My Algebra Teacher, bless his amazing soul, lived around the corner from me. I would arrive to his class late, sink into a chair in the back with tear stained cheeks, red puffy eyes, and a mess of an outfit and hair do. He would nod as if to tell me I'm noticed and then he would continue his lesson. At the end of the day, my Algebra Teacher would give me a ride home but not before tutoring me on the lesson missed that morning. I aced Algebra.

I remember the very first time I heard my Theme Song on the radio. I was on my way home from school in my Algebra Teachers 1960 something green pick up truck with the foot shaped gas pedal. We were having a nice talk as usual about anything and everything. He would never comment on the mornings except to say that he missed me in class that morning. Somehow the unspoken was worth a thousand words. It was nice to know that someone noticed. I was of the thinking that no one would even miss me if I was gone.

Then this song came on. A song from an all girl band that struck a nerve with me. It was written for me and being sung to me.

"Things'll go your way, 
if you hold on for one more day. 
Can you hold on for one more day? 
Things'll go your way. 
hold on for one more day."

I went home and turned on my radio begging for the DJs to play it again. I'm sure I went out the next day and bought the Cassette Single. I played that thing until it broke. I sang it at the top of my lungs repeatedly every day. That song became my mantra, my saving grace. Can I, would I, could I just Hold On for one more day?

I did. I did Hold On for one more day and then another. 

And I made it, 

until June 12th, 1993...

Friday, August 5, 2011

Who I Want to Be When I Grow Up

The man I used to work for has an amazing way of motivating his reports (and me, who isn’t anymore). He’s not a hover boss. He isn’t a hands-off boss. He is that exact mix of happy medium one can only dream of having as their superior.

From the very beginning of my reign with him his philosophies stood out to me. I use them to this day to mold, motivate, and grow my staff. And he continues to use them to mold, motivate, and grow me. My Boss or not. :)

Decision Making
He empowers you to make a decision in the best interest of the company, the Patron, and the situation. No two situations are alike. You make the decision in a timely manner to best suit the issue. You back up your decision later with him. Even argue you it, if you like. IF, which is rare, the decision proves to be the poor choice, great job for making it, but here’s how and what we would do the next time.

Customer Service
He believes in favoring the Patron and working to loyalize them. No need to argue and argue. He believes you are wasting more time, energy, and thus money to do so. Ask yourself, is what we’re arguing over worth it? But there is a fine line between that and letting a Patron take advantage time after time.

He never leaves a room without telling you it was nice to speak with you, nice to see you, nice to hear your thoughts. And he means it.
He quietly plugs your work any chance he gets with others. He has the ability to do so without shouting it from the rooftops but rather subtly working in your strengths into conversation with others. It’s a knack.

He listens. He doesn’t just act like he is. He truly listens. You may not get a reaction from him at that point in time, but down the road, when the time is right, those words come back, he reminds you of them and he fills you in on the thoughts he had about them. He also passes those thoughts along. Which leads to…

Where Credit is Due
He pitches your ideas when the time is right. When the idea is used, applauded, liked, he immediately gives you your credit, whether you are present or not. I have had other people return to me after meetings where he did so to tell me what a great idea I had.

His Word
He is a man of his word. When he makes a promise, he keeps it.

Can you tell why I miss working for with him?

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Gone Are the Days

Gone are the days of Employee Etiquette. The days of Patrons not knowing, having to think about, or even realizing we Customer Service Representatives are Human. Those days are long gone. Patrons never knew we peed, or ate, or smoked, or how we even arrived to work. Just that we did and now we were here to serve them.
As a Customer myself, I would go out to eat or shopping in my local restaurants and never give a second thought to where the cashier or waitress had been the night before or that they just returned from a lunch break or a smoke break. I mean, God forbid if I had ever smelled smoke on someone just returning to their work area. That was just unheard. It never crossed my mind because no in your face evidence was ever provided.
As a Customer myself, the days are gone of never noticing the texting on cell phones hidden under aprons or behind the cash register in a secret spot, or even the blatantly obvious: picking up a call right in front of a Patron. Yikes!
The days are gone of being made to feel special by your Customer Service Representative asking you how your day is and how you plan to spend your weekend. Instead, CSRs find it acceptable to give you their “woe is me” stories while waiting on you.
I miss that Employee Etiquette there once was. I miss how Customer Service was all about impressing the Patron with all you had. IMPRESSING! Not “this is my job, so I do it.” Not “I’m just doing this to pay the bills or until something better comes along.” Not the nonchalant body language given off now that makes you feel as if you’re just another Patron and another one will come along in your absence.
I welcome that Employees use the back door to come and go from their shift. I appreciate that Employees don’t dine at the tables next to Patrons while still on the clock and in uniform. I encourage Employees to either arrive to work in no uniform at all or in a full, perfectly presentable uniform. I strongly recommend the use of private, Employee only restrooms so as not to run into one of your Patrons in a quite intimate spot. I value an Employee that leaves their cell behind in their car, or a locker, or is able to turn it off and leave it off while working. I promote the use of alternate places to shop and dine other than your own place of employment on a regular basis.
This is Employee Etiquette.
Should I consider myself old school; a dying breed; a breed that supported proper Employee Etiquette?

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

My Girl Wants to Go To Karate Camp

ME stated Karate Camp three weeks (or so) ago. I had to beg her to go. And by beg, I mean kicking and screaming ALL.THE.WAY. The kicking part was good, considering where we were headed.

I didn't think it would last. I hoped it would but with all her protesting, I wasn't holding my breath.

I wanted her to learn how to be strong, respectful, independent, and be able to kick any stranger's ass that ever dared try to touch/take/mess with her if Mommy or Daddy wasn't around. We, of course, would do the follow up later and kill the sorry piece a shit but I wanted her to be able to handle any of these awful situations I read so much about in the news. And subsequently have tried to stop reading.

She surprised the hell out of me! She loved it, from day one. In fact, I asked her again today on the way home, after earning her very first stripe on her belt, if she likes it. She says "I don't just like it, Mommy, I lOve it! And I can't wait for camp!"

Whoa! What? Wait! Camp?

Yes, CAMP. It's in three weekends. That means six weeks into Karate class she wants to go to the Summer Camp they have annually. Overnight Camp. Her first ever. O-ver-night Camp. I think I said that already.

"Sensei says we'll have a bonfire and Sensei says we'll pick out our bunk beds and Sensei says we'll have breakfast and Sensei says we'll joust and Sensei says we'll have water games and...."

Somewhere in the middle of that, Mommy started to hyperventilate.

My girl wants to go to Karate Camp. And Mommy doesn't know what to do.

Monday, August 1, 2011

So We Went Bowling

My friend S and I have free bowling coupons for the kiddos on weekdays. We got them through So we decided to take them to Mid County Lanes who participates in the program. On the way S called ahead to check on availability, as the coupon suggests. It went like this: 

S: We are on our way with the Kids Bowl Free Coupons. Do you have any lanes available?
Idiot on the other end: For what?
S: Ummm? Bowling.
Idiot: Yeah, I guess.

We arrived around 12:45. The coupons are good until 2pm for two games. As we approached the counter we quickly realized who had been on the other end of that earlier phone call. 

I handed him my two kiddos' coupons, S hers. He asks "how many?" Ummmm?
We asked if we could bowl along side the kiddos and how much that would be. After fumbling with prices and shoe prices and lanes, he figured it out to be $14 for each of the families.  We both pay. Then it went like this:

Idiot: “Lane 10”
Me: “All six of us?”
Idiot: “Ya”
Me: “Can we have a lane next to the kids?”
Idiot: “None open”
Me: “Umm, could you check?”
Idiot: “Lane 11 has 10 frames left. Wait?”

As S and I look back and forth and back and forth dumb founded Idiot adds: “or I could split you up.”

Me with what I wanted to say: REALLY!? Yeah, let’s put the kids on one lane at this end and the Mommies at the other end. That makes sense. Do you understand the meaning of along side?

Me with instead what I said: “Can we just have our money back then for the Moms? Six on one lane will take forever.”

Idiot gives me a dumb look and an "I'm so annoyed at you" sigh with a roll of the eyes. Meanwhile, S and I take note that not only is no one on 11, no one is on 12, or 9, or 8 for that matter.

Idiot calls his (later found out) Manager over to do the refund. She completely ignores us and speaks to him about us as if we aren't even there asking why we wanted a refund. He mumbles something about no two lanes available. She asks nothing about the situation to us. She snaps at him “did they bowl yet?” No, we didn’t bowl yet, lady. You’ve been here on the phone the entire time we’ve stood here. We don’t even have shoes yet!

Insert proper Customer Service Manager response here
Ladies, can I help you with something? Did we not have what you were looking for? Let me see if I can find something for you.

She, herself gets all huffy doing the refund mumbling something about if we had bowled it would be no refunds because it’s too late, blah, blah, blah. Then, the phone rings and she stops what she’s doing with our refund and answers the call.

I, as the customer, don’t need to hear all that crap! And I certainly don’t need to be held up for a phone call. I’m money in person. So I walk away pissy. Yes, I was pissy. And it got worse.

We get to the lane, empty everywhere, and we put the shoes on the kiddos. Then, I finally decide, no dammit, we deserve some kind of explanation. So, I march (told you I was pissy) right back up to the counter. Ms. Manager is now on the outside of the counter having a conversation with said idiot. She turns to look at me coming and looks away. I get to her, it was pretty damn obvious that was where I was headed, and ask her if she is the Supervisor or Manager. She says “Ya.” I ask, which? She tells me, “doesn’t matter.” And then it goes like this:

Me: “Your guy over here is quite an idiot, and I don’t understand why he had no information for us, couldn’t figure out prices, and couldn’t even help on the phone. All we’re asking is for a lane next to the kids to bowl while they do and he said that can’t be done and even suggested splitting us up.”

Insert proper Customer Service Manager response here
{nod, nod, nod, let me vent, let me vent, let me vent some more} You are absolutely right ma’am, you deserved more of an explanation but there was no need for us giving out more behind the scenes info than necessary. Now, there is no need to resort to name calling, let’s just get you set up with what you originally came in to do, have a good time bowling with your kids.

Ms.Mngr  Yelling as soon as the word Idiot left my mouth: “How dare you call my person an idiot. You didn’t know what you wanted and paid anyway causing an unnecessary refund, blah, blah, blah, blah.” She never heard another word I said.

I walked away from her telling her she would never see another dime of my money.

Five minutes later, out of the corner of my eye I see her walking towards me. Here we go:

Insert proper Customer Service Manager response here
Ma’am, I’m sorry, we got off on the wrong foot. Let’s start over. What is it that we can do to make your stay today enjoyable?

Ms Mngr: “You can’t have those lanes because the motors are broke on them.”
Me: “Likely story after the fact.”
Ms. Mngr: “You don’t believe me, I’ll take you back there to prove it if you want me to.”
Me: “I’m done. Go away.”
Ms. Mngr: Yell, yell, yell, blah, blah, blah.

I honestly have no clue as to what she said from them on. I put my hand up and told her, “I’m done, that’s enough, let my kids bowl in peace, and we won’t be back, ever. Go away.”
Ms. Mngr: Yell, yell, yell, blah, blah, blah some more.

She finally walked away.

Not even 2 frames later a family came and sat down beside us to bowl on Lane 11.

The kiddos had a great time bowling for the next hour. Their only disappointment, a BIG one, was that we had plans to go to the adjoining part, Family Fun Galaxy and hang out there for the rest of the afternoon, like we did last Monday. And we had a great time, last Monday, which was why we came back. S and I spent at least $45 each at the arcade, last Monday.

Unfortunately now, today became THE last Monday.