Monday, July 28, 2008

Heading out of town

The kids and I are leaving to go on a trip to Virginia tomorrow. We will be gone for two weeks, and I have no idea how much Internet access I will have while we're gone. So don't think that I've quit blogging! I'll be back!

In the mean time, here is a really funny site you might enjoy. It's really messed up cakes. I laughed so hard my sides hurt while I was perusing this site.

And from that one, I followed a link to this one:
Now I know we can't all be really bothered when we see punctuation misused on public signs (it drives me nuts, just ask my family). But if you liked the book "Eats, Shoots, and Leaves" then this site is for YOU. There is even a little video clip of Jon Stewart a little ways down the page that is worth watching for four minutes and twenty seconds to get to his bit about quotation marks.

Pray for me to have a safe trip! The last one was not so great for the car!

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Please, can I go to the dentist?

Okay, normally the dentist is not my favorite place to spend an hour. Getting my teeth cleaned is just not fun. At times it's downright "uncomfortable" which is dentist talk for "this is going to hurt like hell". And there's always the guilt that I haven't been flossing enough and they can tell.


I have found THE dentist. The dentist everyone should go to. All dentist experiences should be like this one.

On Monday, all three kids had their cleanings scheduled so I took them to the new dentist. Just off the waiting room was a room with video games in it for the kids to play while they wait. Cool. The kids were pleased. But we've seen that at other dentist offices, so it was nothing too surprising. Then they took all three kids back at once. They had one long room of dentist chairs and each one was in a solid bright color. There were bright quilts hanging on all the walls. It was a very cheerful room. Over each chair, flat up against the ceiling, was a flat screen TV. They lay the kids back, put headphones on them and handed them each a remote. Every kid in the room could watch whatever they wanted and listen to it while having their teeth cleaned. Uber cool! The kids were very impressed.

The next day, it was my turn. I went without the kids. This time when I checked in the receptionist asked me if I would like to wait in the "adult room" and pointed to a room on the opposite end of where the video game room was. I hadn't noticed it before. No children were allowed in this room. It was a quite, nicely decorated room. There was a glass front refrigerator with water bottles in it and a laptop hooked up to the Internet. Awesome. I sat down and surfed the net a few minutes while I was waiting. Then I realized there was a massage chair in the room (how did I miss that when I walked in?)! And not just any massage chair. A Sharper Image massage chair!

Now I am a connoisseur of massage chairs. I've tried them all. Any place that sells massage chairs, I've sat in them and given them a good test run. As a matter of fact when Sam's Club was selling massage chairs, the kids and I used to go there and eat the free samples and take turns in the massage chair and call it a field trip.

I've never found a massage chair that comes close to this one. It had the calf massaging feature where each of my calves was being squeezed in it's own little area. And the back massage wasn't one of those that just vibrates. It rolled and rotated and even stopped at various points and played percussion on my muscles. I felt like a real person was in there.

They were late taking me back for my appointment. Like maybe 20 minutes late. I'm not sure, I never looked at my watch. I've never been so happy to have to wait.

Another lady came in and I didn't move out of the chair. They called her back after she'd been in the adult room only a minute or two so it was okay. I like to think that I would have given her a turn in the chair before long if she had stayed.

Then they called me back. I was taken to a completely different room from where the kids had been. This was a normal colored adult oriented room. The dental hygienist took all my information, went over my records with me, then asked me if I would like to do a paraffin dip on my hands.
She explained that I could do the hot paraffin wax dip on my hands while my teeth were being cleaned. Sure! I'll do that! She gave me some lotion that was called "Vanilla Cupcake" and it made my mouth water it smelled so good. Then I dipped my hands in the melted wax and she wrapped them up in plastic bags. I lay back in my chair, put on the headphones, chose the Travel Channel for my viewing pleasure and let my hands get soft while she worked on making my smile brighter.
When she was done, she went to fetch the dentist. She came back and we waited a while and she said, "I'm sorry it's taking so long for her to come in here, she's with another patient." And I said, "Huh? What? Has it been a while? Oh it's fine. No hurry." I could have waited a few more hours without complaint. This was by far the best dental visit I have ever had in my life! I was thinking, "Wow! I get all this just for a teeth cleaning? I wonder what I would get if I had to have a root canal? Maybe a pedicure!"

There was only one negative thing: I didn't have any cavities so I can't go back any time soon!

Maybe I could chip a tooth......................

Saturday, July 19, 2008

Wrist Injury

I took Rigger out for a walk yesterday. He likes a good walk, but he is such a scaredy cat (for a dog). I figured he needed some time to really wander around, so we went a little farther than we usually do.

We came to a fenced in yard with two small, yappy terriers in it. They, of course, became hysterical at the sight of Rigger like small, yappy terrorists. Usually, Rigger runs from anything noisy. He is NOT the alpha dog around here, and he never forgets that, especially when dealing with other dogs. But for some reason, these little ankle biters fascinated him. He trotted right over to their chain link fence for a good sniff which sent the terrorist into a near rabid state. They began racing back and forth on their side of the fence as though this would help them somehow.

Rigger found this behavior very exciting and he decided to walk down the length of fence and see what was so thrilling that made these two dogs want to run down there over and over and over.

We made it about halfway down the fence when Rigger suddenly realized he was between two noisy 5 pound dogs and an an air conditioning unit! OH NO!
Rigger has always been terrified of the outdoor portion of the A/C system around here. It's loud, it's big, and he just doesn't know if it might eat him.

He flattened his 150 pound self to the ground, quivering in fear, looking back and forth between the dogs and the A/C. Then did the only thing he knew to do to save himself --- he fled. (Never mind if I got eaten by the A/C, at least he would be safe.)

Now, I'm not tiny. But I'm not 150 pounds either. And when a very large dog takes off and I have hold of the other end of the leash he is attached to, there is not much I can do about it. He snatched the leash right out of my hand giving me one heck of a jolt in the process.

I think my wrist is slightly sprained. It's not bad, but I can't do a whole lot with my right hand at the moment. I don't notice it most of the time, but as soon as I pick up a book or coffee cup or anything my wrist hurts and feels like a limp noodle.

Next time I'll just let the A/C unit eat him.

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Saga Begins

A girl showed up at our door and asked if Ben could come out.

He says they are "just friends" and that he doesn't like her "like that".

I pointed out that girls don't usually show up at a boy's house and ask them to come out unless she likes the boy "like that". He says all her friends just moved away.


Either he is clueless, or he thinks I am. Not sure which.

She has come by the last two days in a row and asked him to come out. After the second time, I had a talk with him. I told him they need to have a third person with them at all times. I know they are just walking around the neighborhood talking, but there are reputations to consider. If they go around a corner, or behind a tree, or into some shade, anyone who sees them might think "typical teen" thoughts. I told him he needs to be mindful of her reputation, and of the fact that her parents may come hunt him down if they think (or hear) anything "teenagery" is going on. I could tell he thinks I'm being too protective.

This is going to be the beginning of some very long years, I believe.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Swimming With Dolphins

And now we return to our reguarly scheduled blog.....

Okay, before I had to switch gears, I was going to write some more about what happended to us at the beach. It was probably one of the most magnificent things that has ever happened to me!

We went to the beach one day, just my mother, my sister, Emily, Katie and me. Ben was with his cousins and of course Kerry was back here in Kansas. We were just building sandcastles and playing in the surf.

A group of several people came by with a seine net. A seine net is a very long net with a long pole at each end. Several people have to hold it and walk through the water with it to catch fish, crabs, and shrimp. It's like sifting for seafood.

So these folks are seining and a school of dolphins comes up. Cool! We're watching the dolphins swim around and these folks offer us some fish out of their net to feed the dolphins!

I know!

So we snatch up the fish and head out into the waves and dad gum if those dolphins didn't swim right up to us and eat fish right out of our hands! It was like being at Sea World! The nice folks seined for fish three times, and we just kept getting fish and giving them to the dolphins. Even after all the fish were gone, the dolphins would come up next to us in the water and just hover right by our legs, turning on their sides to grin up at us, in the hopes that maybe we really had another fish hidden inside our swimsuits.

My mother and sister didn't want to feed the dolphins, but they did video me and the girls feeding the dolphins. If I ever figure out how to post a video, I'll put them on here!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Emily's Eleven!

Yesterday was my darling daughter's eleventh birthday. We were supposed to be at Sea World for her special day, but since our car decided to abandon us and take it's own vacation at Aamco (which apparently is a spa for transmissions) we decided to go a local water park.

It has an awsome area that is just like a giant tub toy. I has great slides on it and a giant bucket that dumps over it every few minutes. It also has spinning wheels, bells and water guns. All the kids (including the big kids) have a great time in it.

Emily made her own cake - a chocolate swirl cheescake. She discovered during the party that she still doesn't like cheesecake. I think she just thought the picture looked so good, she was sure to like it

Saturday, July 5, 2008

On The Beach

We spent a week on Jekyll Island for our vacation this year. Fortunately I have a friend from high school, Lisa, who has a house on St. Simons Island which is right next door to Jekyll. We met her on the pier at St Simons and she took us crabbing.

The girls got a kick out of pulling up the nets and checking for edible crabs, and throwing back the hermit crabs.

Then Lisa took us down to the beach to teach us a dying sport - "Stringing" crab. Usually we hang a basket off the pier with some raw chicken in it and you wait for a hungry crab to come nibble on the chicken. Then you haul the basket up and - voila! - dinner!

Stringing crab is more challenging than using a basket. In this sport, you tie the chicken to a heavy twine and toss it out into the water from the beach. You give the crab time to get to it, then you catch him with a net. Not easy, but gives the crab a sporting chance.

Unfortunately the crabs were on to us and we did not catch any with the stringing method, although we did get some nice sized ones with the baskets.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

I'm back!

I've been on vacation for two weeks now, but I am finally home. I drove to Georgia with the kids, picked up my mother, then met a whole crowd of family members at the beach for a week. I have some pretty good stories to tell, but it will take days so, I'll do it a little at a time.

For now, I'm going to start with the ending because it's consuming all my thoughts right now.

The drive back from Georgia takes about 16 hours. We have to stop and spend the night somewhere because I'm the only one driving and I've got to have a break. If Kerry were with me, we could trade off a lot and maybe do it in one day.

On the first day, we had left Georgia and were somewhere in Tennessee when my engine light came on. Oh no! I'm a zillion miles from anyone I know! Why couldn't this happen when I was near family?

So I called Kerry and asked if he thought I should stop at a town and have the engine checked out. The engine was not running hot and there were no other noticeable problems with the car. We decided that if I stopped, I would be at the mercy of strangers, who may or may not be ethical in their dealings with travelers. Plus I would most likely have to spend the night while the car was checked out and that would just add to the cost of the trip. So I kept driving and fortunately made it home.

Now, let me back up and add that our renters just moved out of our house in North Carolina. Our property manager has been getting the house ready to show to prospective renters. While I was on vacation she called to say that the wallpaper in the kitchen was starting to peel and would need to be replaced. It will take over $700 to do this. That's a lot of money, but we don't have a lot of choice.

So, back to the present. I walk in the door from driving for two days with my engine light on and we lug all the suitcases and stuff in the house and the phone rings. It is our property manager again saying, "We're going to need $12 for this, and $44 dollars for that, and $8 for this other thing and......$800 for a new back door." Ack!

Then she tells me when the renters moved out, they turned off the electricity and water, and we need to get it turned back on right away so the workmen can work hard at spending all our money. So I call the electricity company and the water company and they tell me I have to pay deposits to get all this turned back on. So we fax papers back and forth and hand money out left and right.

And then.....we take the car to the shop. Where the news is not good. The transmission has decided to fry itself up like a hamburger. Which is not going to be cheap. And it won't be ready until Tuesday. Although we were supposed to leave this past Thursday to go to Sea World in Texas for Emily's birthday.

I was feeling very overwhelmed, and very attacked. I cried. A lot.

Things are not better. We still have to pay lots of money we don't have. We still don't have renters. Our car is not fixed and our vacation is cancelled. Our situation has not improved. But my attitude has.

I don't know why we are going through this valley right now. But I know it is good. I trust that God is looking after us. Maybe if we had gone to Texas, we would have been in a terrible wreck on the way. Maybe the car breaking down actually saved our lives. I'd rather be out the money for the car, than have my family hurt.

Maybe if we weren't having to pay so much money for the house, we would have rented a car to go ahead on our vacation. I don't know the reasons. But I know God is good. And He loves me.

And that's enough for now.