Wednesday, April 30, 2008
Since Phene...(gurbleblurp)...amine will be called Fenni, that actually kind of included the suggestion of Fenn as well, so we have TWO winners.
Wendster and Karen of Rocking Pony are the grand prize winners (just so happens, Karen was also my Tax Time buddy, so she doesn't need to send me her snail mail address). Um, Wendy, you do. Click on that 'email me' thing over there ----->---->
see it? and send me a snail mail address please.
There was a runner-up too. In fact, it actually got down to drawing straws because we couldn't decide. Tara, over at Tara's View of the World will also be winning something from England for her suggestion of Sir Chocolate Puppington the third. It cracked us up! (and Tara, just so you know-- it's on it's way already... with my mailing record, this win wouldn't have been so great if I couldn't tell you that).
Now to let you in on the complicated process... awww, you're leaving?
We all gathered around the computer-- like in the olden days of gathering around the radio. The olden days really missed out on YouTube though...
As I read off and wrote every name suggestion that had come in, the family got to mull them over in their heads.
One very outspoken 5 year-old kept giving me suggestions as I wrote and since he's so wise with phonics these days, he corrected me when I wrote names that didn't match what he was telling me. So, Tom's Midnight Garden got added. He still insists he's calling the pup Tom (this is my determined April birthday boy). At least he moved on from the Nicky Butt suggestion.
The Star Wars nerdy Hubby was happy with several of the names, but I think Vaders Mom just got a new reader with her suggestion of Chewy.
J2, who was recently in a Midsummer Night's Dream production, wanted Shakespeare.
There were so many good names-- we just had to begin a process of elimination and narrowed it down to about five. The we slept on it and got it to three. Then we just had to close our eyes and pick.
Now we'll see if it sticks or if we find ourselves calling him Jake....
Thanks everyone. I will be hosting another giveaway (because it's so much fun) in June, so don't forget me when you're laying on a raft slathered in sunscreen--and I might throw out a bone before that (in case you weren't planning on popping back until then). You never know.... Congrats Wendy, Karen and Tara!
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
We're supposed to sign our lease Thursday and begin the move... however, Miss Ky has been christening our home with the gifts that come with the flu.
Boxes began arriving yesterday from different sources, and now I can at least do something--well, I could if I wasn't holding the Old Faithful geyser all day. I hate the flu.
A2 and she took turns last night waking and crying-- every 1/2 to 1 hour we were up with someone. A2 probably has an ear infection. Miss Ky saw the Doctor yesterday (who said she's on the upside--?-- of the illness from Hades).
Dog formerly known as Jake is getting used to us calling him Jake, however, in our democratic society here at The Flu headquarters, we've narrowed it to three names... I will pick before we move and then Dog, formerly known as Jake, needs to get his waggily tail to the post to send out a cool prize to the name suggester ...
I hope he wasn't expecting me to do it, he's the one who called for help (but I will help because he used MY blog friends-- who are awesome name-comer uppers!).
I've been a yucky blog friend, I'm not reading and commenting where I should and I'm sorry!
Friday, April 25, 2008
Sir, may I have your name please?
I'm sorry, I didn't hear that.
I had a name. for about a month. Apparently this new family I've chosen already has one of these names in the house and think we might get confused, you know like, "Jake! Hang that back pack up!". Will I know if it's him or me responsible for the hanging of a school bag? And, "Jake, did you wee on the floor again?!" ( I'll be the first to point my finger at the other guy).
You don't have a name?
Um, not really. One boy wanted to call me Nicky Butt, who happens to play football, but I don't think that's why he keeps saying the name and then breaking out in hysterics.
Don't you have a maternal figure in the house, can't she help you with a proper name?
Well, she probably could but she has issues of her own. I know I am Pedigreed as a "Chocolate Labrador Retriever" but she's really taking this literally and is trying to pin me with Fifi names like "Coco". Who names their new best friend "Coco?" (No offense to you girly-men dogs sporting a name like Daisy or anything). She's a chocolate nutter-- basically, she's useless.
So how can I help you today Sir?
I was wondering if you could ask all six of the maternal figures' blog readers if they could give me a name. I'm pretty handy and if I choose one of their suggestions (and if it doesn't make me sound like a sissy-- I'll be living close to a school yard you know and I don't need extra bullying), I will send the clever name-comer-upper a super prize. All the way from Great Britain.
I think we can help you with that... and, if it doesn't work out for you with that crazy family, you'll ring me again?
Well, it was a little complicated dialing this time, but I'll try.
It was created by Dyln, the funny blogger that has animal interviews and great nature photos (no, not nekked people, get yer mind outta the gutter).
1. Step out your front door and take a picture.
2. Step out your back door and take a picture.
3. Put them on your blog, along with the rules.
4. If there are things in the photos that you particularly like or dislike, you can point them out, or just explain what we are seeing. Maybe changes over the seasons or some junk in your neighbor's yard that drives you nuts.
5. Tag as many or few people as you like - preferably at least one though.
6. Do it again next month if you like.
The biggest problem I had with this is to determine: Which front door? Which back door? Remember, this is a barn conversion and barns don't need front doors...
This is the view straight out of the side of the house closest to the garage. It's where the wellies are kicked off and school bags are hung, so it's our most -used doorway.
With that established, this is the door opposite to that one, down a long hallway. It allows us to enter our courtyard, so it's kind of like a back door.
But wait, this door does the same thing, but it's a few feet to the right of that other door and now we can leave the kitchen to enter the courtyard.
And if we walk a few yards to the right, we can go out the dining room door to that area facing the garage. We can do that from two rooms, the sitting room's door view looks almost identical to this.
This is our poor trampoline that has been blown into the house several times in the last few years. It gets dragged off of the grass for every mowing as well. And speaking of mowing, see my pansies, my hyacinths my beautiful purple phlox?
Nope, you can't. The land lord kept riding over them with the mower, so I stopped weeding.
If you'll step into my living room (we've taken a turn to the left to begin the top of the "U" shape of this place), you'll see that we can go out this "back" door to the courtyard as well.
And the door opposite of that is the foggy view from the last post.
Speaking of that last post... Tuesday night, the house was quiet, the sky was clear and the stars were glittering in our black, un-obscured sky. We had enjoyed several days of clear, sunny weather. As I stood at my bedroom window and looked over this courtyard we'd be leaving in less than two weeks, I got melancholy. I thought "No more waking to frozen cobwebs, or beautiful thick fog". And I woke to that beautiful sight. It burned off by noon, but I felt like it was a little "gift".
Ahhh, I think this is our most front-ish front door, although the only person who really comes to it is our Postman. He always rings twice... just kidding. People got tired of ringing the bell and then walking to each door to see if someone would come to it, so now they just pull into the drive and come to my wellies-hallway door.
And, the door opposite of that one.... from an angle and straight out.That cottage? This is the house that started it all. We're in the barn for their acres and acres of land they have slowly sold off. It belongs to Dorothy and Hobb.
Hobb is in his late nineties and not doing well. Poor Dorothy is really having a rough time He's getting irritable and hard to care for and she's devastated that after such a great marriage, this is how it's ending.
This is the view from J2's room,
which is obviously NOT our back door, but I wanted to give you the view of where you just walked. There's another door just like this a little way down the hall.
I'm thrilled you came by today and read my meme even though I know you hate them. But see, I'm not tagging anybody, so it really was a harmless visit right?
Come back again later, after we've picked up our new addition. Today's the day that all peaceful-ness ends... oh, wait, that was 19 years ago, how much more chaos could a puppy possibly contribute?
Thursday, April 24, 2008
Do you lie in bed at night and think, “Golly, I hope I have the chance to scrub that shower tomorrow”?
Me neither. Hate it. Hate it more than I hate someone trying to convince me that sugar free chocolate tastes the same as regular chocolate.
So, I was taught a tip (from an old boyfriend’s mom and at the time I thought she was a little eccentric... hmmm, that’s something to think about now) to keep that serious cleaning job at bay and I have been doing it for 20 some-odd years.
First, and you’re not going to like this, you have to do a thorough cleaning. Use your lime/scale/mold remover-- whatever it takes and give every bit of elbow grease you have (oh, and btw, for those of you worrying about our ecological footprints-- this may not be the blog for you. I am stomping around with cleats when it comes to getting my house clean).*
Give it a good rinse. If you have hard water, you may want to swing by this site first for tips on cleaning the shower head. I promise, you are NOT going to have to do that again for a long time. (Swinging by that site is also a good idea if you have black stuff growing on your grout or sealant).
Hang a squeegee in the shower stall and train your family how to use it (squeegee all surfaces, tile or glass). My nine-year old even squeegees his shower off every time. Believe it or not, it is in a child’s programming to want to help. If you approach this task in a way that he feels he is helping, and praise him when he does it, your job becomes that much easier. My four year-old likes to wipe the base boards. A job I dreaded like the plague because I would either get sore knees or a stiff back every time. Children like to help, so
In addition to imitating a window washer, wipe the faucets with a soft towel. Don’t kid yourself that you’ll come back after you get a towel from the airing cupboard. Keep one in the bathroom. Wipe the faucets and get a little buzz from the sparkle. You could let this shower go for weeks without another chemical if you just do these two steps with every shower.
Sparkling faucets give the impression of clean. And it's all about the impression...
Now, you could sit back and pop a few bonbons, but wouldn’t you rather leave the bathroom first?
Until next time!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Tuesday, April 22, 2008
Let's say you're impulsive and shoot off an email asking to see the place.
Then you agree to let the place.
You begin arranging a move. At your own expense of course because the military had no qualms with you living an hour away from the base.
Could it be possible to schedule the move during the same weekend that your son has agreed to take on a visiting French student? Why of course it could! Well, done.
Oh, I know, add a birthday party into the plans.
Hey, it'd be a great time to sell the Hubby's car too. You don't need three now that you're leaving your three-car garage. (No, we're not idiots, he bought a safer car and when we listed his old one to sell, his gear box on the new one disintegrated the first week he had it. Now's the time to part with the old car....).
Hmmm, what else? Oh, boxes are £3.00 EACH, so you need to slowly collect what you can from shops instead.
Expose your toddler to sick people so she can acquire the flu the same week you had planned to sell your excess stuff (since we're seriously downsizing, that means just about everything), attend school luncheons with your child, participate in Bike to School week (our poor bus people) and put an ad on the base for your Brio and Geo Trax so people can email and call constantly.
Did I miss anything?
Oh yeah. There is one more thing you should do if you've managed to commit to all of the above.
We agreed to adopt him today. My husband has GOT to learn to tell me "No" once in a while.
On second thought, we are idiots.
Monday, April 21, 2008
Energetic, multi-tasker to do damage control while family attempts to move house.
Primary responsibilities will be to care for a miniature tornado we currently have living in our home.
- Must have two sets of arms as one set will be needed to clean a mess while the other set is holding her to prevent new messes. At least one set must be very strong to hold dead weight when tornado is being convinced to do something she is against doing.
- Applicant should also have eyes in the back of the head.
- It would be good if your eyesight borders on legally blind so that you will not be suckered in by her cheesy smile when scolded.
Salary and terms will be discussed and permanently contracted on unchangeable metal sheets before the job begins.
Attempts to run screaming from the house after job begins will not be tolerated.
Please apply via the comment section of this post.
This has been a Monday Mission, a post written in the style of a want ad. Write your own Monday Mission and let Painted Maypole know you're playing along.
Saturday, April 19, 2008
The Saturday before Easter, Your brothers were outside in their pj's happily hunting the eggs we had all dyed the night before when I felt the first pain. As they got stronger and more insistent, I warned them that we may not be able to attend all of the things we had planned for that day.
We left for the parade, but there was no where close by to park. I was a little worried about getting too far from the car, but we were going to have to park blocks away for the parade and festivities. I latched on to my BFF's hubby and asked if he'd stick by us (he went into the "woman having a baby" mode and I had to convince him to calm down). He made me call your Dad at work --just to make him anxious, I guess. We watched the parade, ate ice cream, did the community egg hunt and then I took your brothers to some Chinese food. I knew by the pains, you'd be here by the end of the day.
I tried to rest the remainder of the afternoon, but I was far too excited. When Daddy got home, he insisted we head to the hospital. I insisted on walking, so we trudged through the desert arroyo behind the house and walked up to the hospital-- stopping every few minutes to breathe through the pains.
Yesterday when I was explaining how we used the class list to decide who was your friend, after every name you said, "yes". The woman replied, "Oh, he IS popular with the kids", but I explained that it's not that. It's that you love everyone. You love the shy girl, you love the bully, you love the silly kid. You genuinely accept kids as they are.You have been one of my greatest joys .
Thank you for picking me to be your Mum.
I love you big guy.
Friday, April 18, 2008
That's my son's world for you. He may live to see 20 in August. We hope he will anyway.
When he was six he wanted to be an Entomologist. By 13 it changed to Herpetology and other than his obsession with music, we pretty much excepted that this would be his career choice and we would never again be able to relax as long as he was living.
So, imagine last week when I received the following email: "I'm going to go to Arizona and New Mexico."
Me: "Where are you staying?"
Him: "In a tent"
I turned off the computer and went to bed (when the going gets tough, J goes to bed...).
The next day when I was ready to hear what I knew was coming, I learned he would be looking for a Rosy Boa, a Chuckwalla and several other snakey-sort of things he lives for.
With no real itinerary.
Holy Carps I love my life.
Oh, and a little something funny happened. Remember the incident in the Hubby's car? J1 swore up and down that it couldn't possibly have been one of the snakes he caught while driving Dad's car in the desert... but he had to take a detour in his travels to stop by my brother's house in Mesa, AZ---so that my Bro could remove his seats and carpet to try to find where the stinky, dead snake was in his truck. They didn't find it. They're pretty sure it died in the dashboard and he's going to have to wait and let nature run it's course! Karma.
I don't know if it's a controlling issue, or maybe I am over-compensating for my own childhood let downs, but I miss NOTHING in my children's lives (and I have 11,000 photos to prove it). I am at every award ceremony, every baseball game (when there was baseball, now it's football-American soccer), every production. I did have to miss A2 getting an award when Miss Ky had to be taken to the ER for a dislocated elbow, but he understood.
J2 has been practicing for two months for his role in Midsummer Night's Dream. He has been as anxious as only a 9 year-old could be anxious about having to hold girl's hand. When he's nervous, he pings off of the walls. He recited his lines constantly. He'd be performing Wednesday at another school in an auditorium, with lights and make-up, for several schools.
Of course Wednesday had to be nightmare day with me needing to be in several places at once and Miss Ky and I have both been a little achy and flu-like. Tuesday evening J2 had nicely informed me that he needed to wear black for this event. Did they really just get told this on Tuesday afternoon? It wouldn't be so bad if the kid wasn't outgrowing his clothing every week, but non-uniform clothes pretty much go by unnoticed since he lives in his football kits when not at school.
So, I did the usual daily things-- like follow my mini-tornado around doing damage control, getting dinner in the crock pot, etc... I still had to secure a baby sitter since only two family members were allowed tickets and frantically search for a black shirt and trousers to fit the boy. No shop had anything that didn't have something on the front. So, he was left to wear his church trousers and a shirt he had outgrown.
He got dressed as soon as he came home. He sat and waited. He rehearsed his lines. I found out where some of his anxiety was coming from.
"I'm going to be saying my lines and everyone will hear my American accent".
"That's ok, people like to hear it, just be yourself"
"Should I do it with a British accent?"
"No, it will make you more anxious, just speak normally"
"I'm going to just look right at you when I say my lines so that I don't get nervous"
"Oh, you may not be able to see me with the lights and all..."
"Yes I will, you're wearing white, so I will see you".
His Dad came home, swept him up in the car and shot off to the school. I gathered the rest of the brood, drove to A1's sport practice to collect him, drove all the kids back home, realized the crock pot meal was NOT done (stupid potatoes), so I started the oven for pizza and made a veggie dish. My babysitter was a tiny bit late, but in the time it took her to unload her baby and get inside for my instructions, I was now precariously close to being late.
I drove fast-- when I could. There was traffic.
Remember how I described these roads? They're made for one way travel, but two way traffic drives them. There's a lot of sucking in your breath as you pass and leaving your paint on hedges. So the traffic I was following wasn't a problem, it's the oncoming that I had to keep slowing for.
I made it into the city. My phone rang. I didn't have my blue tooth on, so I flipped open the phone to tell the Husband I couldn't talk.
The phone fell onto the floor board.
I'm shouting, "I can't hear you, wait!"
I drive through the round about, only vaguely aware of whether or not it was even safe to do so. I feel blindly around my feet for my phone as I am driving in the opposite lane around a line of parked cars. I get the phone to my head and say, "I can't talk".
The Husband wants to make sure I know where I'm going-- he's had 45 minutes of relaxing wandering around the city. I have been on a dead run since my eyes opened. I am not happy that he's not letting me hang up.
He's telling me how to get to the school when he has NO IDEA which direction I came into the city from. He also took BOTH of our tickets with him, so now, not only will I be going in late looking for my seat, we both will.
When I get to the school (on my own, thank you), I manage to see him in the crowd of chaos and ask for my ticket while I try to park.
And I spend the next 16 minutes trying to navigate my big American piece of Fod through this little British car park where people have pulled onto the grass, are parked in fire zones and actually in some of the lanes-- leaving the rest of us to back our way out of the narrow nightmare--
I exited the school to find something in the neighborhood.
There is NOTHING.
I knew that even at that point, if I parked my car in the middle of the roundabout (which of course is impossible) and ran to the school, I still will have missed his performance.
Hot tears filled my eyes as I text, "I'm going home".
There's a reason I am not allowed a gun. On my way home if anyone had even challenged me in anyway, I would've annihilated them.
What kept going through my mind was this sweet, trusting voice-- the voice that said, "I'm going to say my lines to you".
And I blamed everybody that I wouldn't be there for it: The school for not having any parking, or at least, not having anyone to direct parking; England for being so ridiculously bunny hugging and "Let's save the world, everyone should carpool even though none of you are going to the same place" so that car parks are almost non-existent; my husband because once again, he had the cushy day; our school for not providing a coach into the city or at least warning us that parking would be so limited (I was not the only parent that drove away-- I followed a stream of cars); the blame multiplied while I drove.
He's ok. He will survive not having his Mom at a play. He was tired and hungry and hugely disappointed that I wasn't there, but he's ok.
I, on the other hand, am scarred. For life. I missed the first play.
My husband said he did really good, "He stood there and delivered his lines confidently, clearly and just like any other British boy".
Wednesday, April 16, 2008
Miss Brown Eyed Girl decided to get me since I boasted I was clear of her last tag-- but it's easy and I was able to do it without hurting my packing arm. So, thank you for thinking of me.
- My perfect food: Roast beef with gravy in a Yorkshire pudding. YUM. Followed by chocolate. :-) Dark chocolate, milk chocolate but NO white chocolate-- that's not even chocolate, who do they think they're fooling?! Maybe you should reverse the order-- chocolate and then Yorkshire Pudding. I just said chocolate SIX times in one paragraph-- now THAT's a perfect post.
- Favorite colors: oooh, I like so many. I like purple since Miss Ky came along. Also now fond of pink-- bright, vivid , shocking pinks.
- Hair: Yes, I have some, thanks for asking.
- DVD I recently saw: Dan in Real Life. I loved it!
- Guilty TV pleasure: Desperate Housewives
- If I were a tree, I would be a(n): Weeping Willow. Gorgeous, it's always been my favorite. I was tempted to go with another tree I saw on one of these tags that looked like Wisteria, but I can't remember the name of it.
Flea who I mention just about every other post gave me this cool bloggy bling for my blog. I get all warm and fuzzy that she thinks of me like this. Thank you Flea.
And so, thinking quickly here, I'd like to pass this on to:
Kathryn, Woman in a Window, OhMommy, Snooty Primadona (with a cracking post today in memory of her Hubby's parents) and The Rocking Pony. These women probably already have a whole wall papered with this award, but now they have one for the fridge.
And there's more of you that I know SO deserve this award, but like I said, I was working on speed brain (which we all know is an oxymoron for me).
Tuesday, April 15, 2008
Spotting our table, I noticed that a couple I had spoken to previously were looking at their seats-- anxiously. The wife would be placed on the other side of Miss Ky's high chair.
The husband switched with her.
Feeling now that maybe we weren't everyone's first choice to sit next to, I hoped Miss Ky would behave herself and I wouldn't do anything too obnoxiously American. She did, and I didn't... I think.
That was a few months ago and I was just able to visit with the bride this last saturday. She apologized for not getting around to me more (there were LOADS of people in attendance, I wasn't expecting coddling) but I mentioned how the guests we were seated with were so nice and then laughed about the last-minute seat change.
Apparently, it had nothing to do with Miss Ky at all.
The woman is painfully shy and making conversation with someone she doesn't know is a horrifying experience for her. She had managed to sit between her husband and son and avoided most conversation.
That made me think about what I avoid.
I can be having a great chat outside of the school, say my good-byes and then I will purposely drive out of my way to avoid going back by the same people.
For what-- to avoid straining my hand in a wave? I just feel dumb waving at the people I just said good-bye to.
Is that strange?
Have you ever seen someone you knew (and liked perfectly well) and then detoured to avoid talking to them?
How many times have you changed your route through a store because you feel at a loss as to what to say the third or fourth time you meet up with the same person in the aisle?
Do you type out comments to posts and then delete them?
How do you feel about sitting in a restaurant/cafe/coffee shop alone-- oh, without a book? What do you look at?
Maybe that's what makes this virtual world so great. We visit when it's convenient and slip out of the room when we're feeling a little grumpy. We wave at each other often, and I don't mind when you come around in the middle of the night. And I know more about most of you than I know about some of my real-life friends (it's mutual).
So tell me, are you a little strange too?
Or did I just tell you too much again?
We've really been praying about this move.
My biggest concern was the Landlord--what a great guy he is and I didn't want to leave him in a spot. I worried about telling him.
So I began praying. Praying that this would be a good thing for him.
The Hubby told him yesterday and it just so happens, he just got news that the council has given him approval to sell this house! He has been trying for over three years, but since it shares a driveway and a well with his bungalow, he couldn't sell this part without selling the part he lives in as well. They finally approved it.
He was beginning to worry about us and had decided that he just wouldn't tell us that it could now be sold-- he was going to let us live here as long as we wanted--at a potentially huge financial loss to him. I got all of this from his daughter.
So. We're moving. Within a month. I may be a crappy bloggy friend for a little while and quite the boring read, so "sorry" ahead of time. Like I've been so stimulating with my stories of snot and vomit thus far...
Sunday, April 13, 2008
Well, let me tell you.... (do you want to grab a cuppa before diving into this?)
We moved to England during one of the hottest summers on record. Grass was brown-- if you can believe it--and the heat was stifling.
There's a law of some kind here that requires workers to take a break during exceptionally hot hours of the day, and that meant the room cleaning and maintenance people of our lodging were working limited hours.
That alone wouldn't have been bad, had we any air conditioning (I tend to be even more impatient than normal when I am hot-- luckily for my husband, I am freezing most of the time) and if the bathroom above the kitchen hadn't had a pipe leaking-- water dripped through the ceiling light fixture. Enough to soak several towels per hour.
Cooking was life-threatening (more than normal) and a little gross to consider. Add summer heat to this and the kitchen had become our "Rain Forest" that we only visited long enough to get something from the refrigerator.
The room was also plagued by ants.
We were roughing it in England.
I was very pregnant.
We were waiting for our car to arrive by a slow-moving ship, attempting to acquire UK's driver's licenses, the husband was doing his "In-processing" into his new workplace and we were thinking about getting the children enrolled into schools.
The only problem was that we didn't know what schools they'd be attending.
The base also requires you to find a place to live within a specific time period AND you're required to see a certain number of houses per week. You are not allowed to turn one down because it was too small (?!), too far, etc...
Did you spot two problems here?
- We had no car, no licenses, and four children and we were supposed to be out finding a home. We had to rely on other people to take us around (we went in shifts).
- And why are you even looking at a house other than to determine whether or not it's suitable for your family?
Despite the obstacles, we found an unbelievably beautiful home. It fell into our laps really-- but that's another post.
We were planning our move when we got the terrible phone call, "The current residents had their new home purchase fall through and have extended their lease... I'm so sorry."
He really did feel bad and kept apologizing and then added, "There's a good mate of mine and he has a house that's not five minutes from here..." and The Hubby booked an appointment to see this other house.
I was devastated. We had trampled through so many places and, well, look at the place.... how could I possibly even care about another home?
So I pouted. Not one of my finer moments, but it was hot, I was pregnant and coming up on homelessness in a foreign country ( I am NOT dramatic and that wasn't nice to say it).
I even said I didn't care to see this "other stupid house" and was not impressed by the photos online. Not. Impressed. At. All.
Just before my husband left for the appointment, I said, "Fine, I'll go, but I'll hate it."
As we pulled up to this Spanish-style bungalow (mostly one level and not very English looking), I repeated, "I hate it".
This giant of a man met us in the front garden. A garden devoid of trees or shrubs, just miles of brown, dead grass.
From our car, a teenager (with a red mohawk) sulkily stepped out (he loved the other house too and is very much like his mom), three young, very energetic boys toppled out over one another and one fat, grumpy woman who obviously knew nothing of birth control waddled out after her husband-- can you imagine what the giant was thinking of us?!
He opened the door, my jaw dropped and hung that way for the whole tour.
This is the back entry way we came in through. It leads to the kitchen.
There's underfloor heating, the towel racks are heated and there are radiators in each room.
Every room is en suite (which means we have 6 full bathrooms and one bathroom in the garage with just the toilet and sink-- the "Loo"). No, that wasn't a misprint. We have SIX full bathrooms. One purple, two dark blue, two burgundy and one Forest green.
The house is massive.
He even wanted less money than the house we had previously fallen in love with. We committed to it as soon as we got back to the Rain Forest and have been here ever since.
And now we're leaving it. I think.
It's not 100% final, but we've found a much smaller place (I can get my life back from the constant cleaning) right next door to the boys' school in a cute little village. We may end up buying a home over here.... but for now, one issue at a time.
So, THAT is really our house. Well, a bit of it anyways.
Thanks for stopping by to see me. Next time, could you bring a few boxes with you?
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Funny thing is, I already posted one today, but when I went back to tweak it, something seemed oddly familiar. I had scrolled it before.
It was the Photographer's Anonymous post-- appropriate since I'm clearing out my iphoto (and will be for the next five years). But this one is appropriate too. We're looking at a new house today (shhhh, the kids don't know).
Thursday, January 10, 2008
After my last entry, I thought you may be trying to imagine this place I live in, so I thought I'd include a picture or four. This is my kitchen I hang my herbs in. I also churn butter here while my husband kills pheasants for our evening stew. With four boys, I really don't need chairs. They might muffle the farting contests held regularly in my home (to my dismay).
This is my bed. Of course my husband has his own cot in his own room. The house is big enough to do that, you know. As you can see by the cradle, he doesn't always stay in his own side of the house.
And last, I don't know what all the whining about "free time" is about. I have never had to pay for a child minder and don't have the least trouble with my children.
Here's a picture of our courtyard in a rare sun shining moment.
The other pictures are from the Iceni Village nearby, taken last year sometime.
Friday, April 11, 2008
Tip for today:
Clutter does more than make you waste time looking for things, it actually causes stress in your life-- did you know that?
So, I'd like you to pick one thing. A drawer, your closet, a magazine rack. Go big if you have the time and small if you don't. Now is NOT the time to reorganize recipes-- you'll get side-tracked and start planning the week's menu.
Have a bag for trash, a bag for charity and a box for keeping-- if you're doing a drawer, closet etc
First, the rules:
1. Each blogger answers the questions about themselves.
2. Then tag five people. Make sure to let them know! :)
What I was doing 10 years ago - 1998
I was living in the land of Chiggers and Ticks (Missouri), 6 months pregnant with Son #2 and preparing to be a leader at our church's Young Women's Camp for the first time (which I did at 8 months pregnant and came home with two ticks on my back-- yuck). It was tornado season, so I spent a lot of time in the basement.
Five things on my to-do list today
1. Dry J2's clothes that he just had to have washed (at 10 oclock) so he could wear them today. It's Non-uniform day at school. I will then feed the boys and take them to the bus and then follow Ky around while she destroys the house. She's sick too, so I'll wipe her nose against her will about 100 times. Wow, can't wait to get started.
2. Other than this, I actually won't be blogging. Like yesterday, I intend to get this iphoto cleaned up once and for all (when we updated our operating system, I had 11,000 photos and some were duplicated, tripled and even quadrupled. I had to sort through over 29,000 photos. I'm down to 15, 490 and it's taken me well over a month).
3. Start the lasagna my husband has been waiting for all week. I dread it because it's one of the meals that I get two "I don't like this"s every time.
4. Eat a package of Airbornes. Miss Ky has shared her cold with me.
5. Psyche myself up-- two of the kids are having friends over after school. Oh, and I'll be hoping from a call from a realtor. We've found a house in the same village the kids go to school! (Which means we'll have the chance to get over this pride issue we're suffering with-- we're living in the U.S. equivalent of a million dollar home. It'd also be a reduction in size, so I may be able to quit cleaning every second of every day-- yeah me!).
Snacks I enjoy
1. Good British chocolate-- I may never eat American chocolate again.
2. Again, British food-- Cream Tea, which is a scone with jam and clotted cream-- no actual tea.
3. I like fruit or carrots if they're cut up for me-- if I have to prepare them, I'll eat crackers instead.
4. cheese. British cheese. Yum
5. frozen grapes. The best summer snack. And I don't have to cut them.
Things I would do if I were a billionaire
1. buy a home in England-- right out, with nothing owed (except of course all the ridiculous yearly taxing)
2. make sure my family were comfortable-- distant and close. Hah! It's funny the way that came out-- yes, I'd keep most of them distant, but what I meant was, immediate family and extended. I'd put a lot away for my Mil whose husband doesn't trust banks so he doesn't save money. He "invests" in falling apart cars that he has littered all over their land.
3. Put a lot into our Church's aid-- that way they distribute it to worthy causes and I don't make a bad decision to support a dirty charity.
4. Still live frugally, so that my children don't get prideful like their parents.
5. I just don't see this happening in my lifetime, so I couldn't come up with five things. Sorry.
Five of my bad habits
1. I don't have any negative habits
2. lying about my habits
3. patience... I have none.
4. Living in the past or in the future.
5. I'm telling you, I have no bad habits.
Five places I have lived
1. Arizona, the best state ever.
2. Terceira, an island in the Azores.
4. Biloxi Mississippi. I loved it there. It's gone now. Well, where we lived, shopped, ate pizza and watched movies is gone.
5. Alamogordo, New Mexico. Have you googled it recently? Brown as far as the eye can see....
Five jobs I’ve had
2. Cowgirl. Not really. Did I mention my bad habit?
3. Ex. Sec. for a Nissan Dealership
4. Night Auditor for Ramada Inn
What I’d like to be doing in 25 years
1. Something other than laundry
2. walking without assistance
3. eating without assistance
4. not using a bed pan
5. playing with grand and great-grand children outside, unassisted and without an attached breathing apparatus.
I'm done? Hey, that wasn't so hard.
I'm tagging Flea's World because she likes to be tagged. Color of Home because she's ignoring me now that she has two blogs going. The Hanners Family Times, because she has had the same post up for a while (some silly excuse about being close to delivering child number four while her Hubby is away) and The Davis Family, because he gets all sappy. That's five. Trust. Me.
Did I ever tell you how I did poorly in maths?
Wednesday, April 9, 2008
Following is the one that stands out worthy of a blog post and goes with this Wordless Wednesday shot...
only leave off the "Wordless" part.
Warning: graphic, disgusting, stomach-turning image to come.
I'm not kidding.
We lived in Arizona.
And New Mexico.
So when the Hubby said the smell was getting to him (wow, it took you 8 years to get fed up with it?), I laughed.
He kept bringing it up. I kept blowing him off.
When he said he was now driving with his windows down all of the time, I asked if he had checked to see if anything was spilled, or dead in his car.
He had looked. But he looks like a man (nothing personal, guys-- just a proven fact with my man).
One day when his car was parked in the drive, I took my trusty nose to it.
You need to know that I don't set timers when I cook. There's no need. My nose knows when something is done. It knows approximately how far off something is from being done. My nose is the bomb. When I'm pregnant and my sense of smell is even sharper? I have a hard time living with four stinky boys.
It's a hot, sunny, NM day and I begin sniffing.
Whoo doggy! He's right. That is NOT a good smell.
I smell throughout the car, noticing the smell is stronger towards the back of the car.
I look under the seats, in the trunk, under the car.
The smell is sickening.
You should also know that I have a weak stomach. When a child vomits, I join him. The Hubby handles missed toilets during Flu season.
I can't stand to be beaten and this smell was beating me. So I removed everything, one whif at a time.
I lifted the hatch in the trunk and unscrewed the spare tire...
and was BLOWN back by the stench.
There on the wheel well was a long-dead, decomposing snake. You sick folks can look at the picture and see how dead it was but I won't go into details, because there's still a few people reading that probably shouldn't be---because they didn't believe me when I said,
I cleaned the car. With a lot of bleach. While holding my nose. and my breath.
My big, brave hero of a husband was rescued by the Little Woman.
He owes me for this one.
Wanna see it closer? Click on it, I uploaded the whole file. Wow, that's sick.
Tuesday, April 8, 2008
First, I've noticed this meme circulating the blogosphere where people are sharing the contents of their handbags. Who knows why, but for some reason, we all find it fascinating enough that we either participate, or read about others who do. Today I am showing you my handbag.
See the beautiful colors?
Not a lot in it though.
You see, I am an amazingly organized person and my purse is always immaculate.
Well, when it's brand-spanking new it is.
Take a good look at the inside-- that's the last time anyone will see that beautiful, vivid aqua. I will bury it with diaper wipes, kid snacks, a sippy cup or two, commissary receipts etc...
I just purchased this from the nicest lady (who is coming to visit me. Actually she's visiting England, but I'm in England, so that means she's visiting me, right?). Her name is Michelle and she has an Etsy store called Hyperdoodle.
If you like my purse (and even my husband liked it, saying it was very "Oilily-ish"), check out her store-- her free shipping (in the U.S.) special has been extended .
This was the bright spot of my week. Thank you Michelle and to the Rocking Pony for directing me her way. And I'll be showing you what I found at the Rocking Pony soon too! Somebody take away my visa please.
Monday, April 7, 2008
Sunday, April 6, 2008
"Look Mom, A1 just sold me this."
"Oh Sweetie, he sold you a chewed piece of gum?!"
"Yeah. It's not spicy anymore" and he pops it in his mouth and smiles.
Snake oil vendors need not apply. We already have that position filled apparently.
First, pick out your favorite chick flick.
This won’t work if your husband has ripped you a copy, so get out your purchased dvd please. I like to watch things like Becoming Jane, or the new BBC version of Sense & Sensibility (just released in a cool new box set through Amazon dot com)-- movies my Hubby and boys would ruin with heavy sighs of boredom if they were around.
Next, get your dusting cloth, furniture polish, swiffer duster-- whatever you use.
Ready? Put in the dvd and while it plays the movie previews, dust like your life depends on it. Start high and work your way down. Get the cobwebs out of the corners, blow the dust off of the books. See how much you can finish before the movie starts. And, when the movie starts--
You heard me. I don’t care if you got three shelves out of four. I don't care if you only finished half of the room. We're retraining you to not dread cleaning. Tell yourself you’ll do better next time. Think about it, if next week you know that you only have the previews to do this task, will you put it off as long? And on the bonus day when your dvd doesn't have previews-- Who Hoo! Throw a party!
Now, quit complaining about the dusty TV screen and sit down and enjoy your film.
Until next time!
Saturday, April 5, 2008
of a Neat Freak: Bon Bon style
There are blogs out there that defend children’s rights, blogs to educate us on social injustices, blogs helping us to understand the peril the world is in and the personal blogs of journeys through life (and sometimes death).
I was floating around, enjoying some, learning from others, agreeing with a few but belonging to none. I had nothing to share. Not much to stand up for... until it hit me.
Somewhere during the last movie preview on a recently purchased dvd for the kids.
All of the time.
It’s not because I like to...well, maybe I do get a little high from it here and there (the chemicals), but because I have to. My 5 kids could give Hurricane Hector a run for it's money.
You know that saying: “Cleaning your house while your kids are still growing is like shoveling the walk while it's still snowing”?
Well, I agree.
However, if I sit back and watch the flakes fall, pretty soon I’m buried in the drifts. And quite honestly, I’d rather shovel while it’s falling than to have to spit on myself (to figure which way is up) so that I can shovel my way out of the avalanche.
When I’m not cleaning, I like to watch shows about cleaning. My heros are Aggie and Kim, from “How Clean Is Your House?” Some of those houses they visit? I've been in worse.
Before I moved to England, it was TLC's Clean Sweep. I longed for the chance to haul out every thing I owned to sit on a tarp in front of the entire neighborhood.
Yeah, I have a problem. So....
That’s what the Fly Lady is for (I've heard great praise for the Fly Lady).
SAH, Bon Bon-eating, Soap Opera-watching style
That IS all we SAHMs do all day, right?
It might get a little silly--so grab your bonbons, wave at the dust bunnies and get ready to tackle the job, one goofy suggestion at a time.
couple of weeks and the pressures of keeping up with the needs of a graduating Senior all the way down to child five (the 7-month old baby) were already starting to get to me.
I had given little Miss a bath, wrapped her in a towel next to my bed and went back into the bathroom for lotion.
I returned to an empty room. The little cockroach had disappeared. I panicked and ran towards the stairs-- nothing. She wasn't in her room just past the stairs. I went back to my room and found this little
dust bunny under my bed playing with the battery stash.
Luckily my camera has fused to my right hand and it's always ready for a shot....
Friday, April 4, 2008
Attendees: All but the big one-- #1 son.
Meal: Tacos and Spanish rice (say it with me, "Tack-ohs" which cracks me up. We're supposed to say, "Bah-Nah-Nah" and "Pah-jah-mah", but they say "Tack-oh").
A rubber goes flying across the table and lands on the Hubby's plate.
We all crack up.
It's A1's rubber (the 8 year-old), he has carried it all over the house since he got it at a birthday party, but tonight Miss Ky, who has been released from her high chair prison, lofts it onto Dad's plate. And we laugh.
Only in England would this be funny...
Rubber=eraser, because it rubs out the mistakes you make in pencil.
Thursday, April 3, 2008
Growing up, I had a best friend-- let's call her Lori (because that was her name)-- and our lifestyles couldn't have been more different.
I had a Mom and a Dad.
She had a Mom, but not really. Her Mom had become an alcoholic after her dad had shot and killed himself when Lori was very young. Lori drove a car way earlier than 16 because she had to get her Mom home from the bars.
Once, I was really freaked out when I went to make myself some canned green beans because there was NOTHING on the can that told me what to do. Nothing people. Were you supposed to put them in a pan with water? Drain them? How long do you heat them? I'm not psychic here!
Lori would put the roast and vegetables on before school so that she and her sister would have dinner that night. She also did the shopping.
I can compare son #1's childhood with my four remaining at home, his younger siblings.
Son #1 had an energetic woman who only needed a few hours a night of rest, had a clear mind, a quick, sharp wit and a future that glowed with possibility. But she worked long hours and put herself through school, so he didn't benefit from any of those traits. He only knew his daycare workers and had a full belly and a warm bed. As a teenager, he took pride in the fact that other teens loved his Mom.
These other beings in my house have a tired mother. Physically and emotionally. She doesn't bounce back quickly when knocked down-- in fact her motto could be: "When the going gets tough, the tough go to bed". They have everything they could want, participate in most of the things they would like (we're not over-schedulers here), have meals I could only have dreamed of, fresh smelling clean clothes, and if pushed to admit it-- will probably tell you they don't like their Mom very much.
Which leads to the next comparison:
There's a dad who plays football on the lawn, allows them to eat macaroni and cheese five times a day if he's out of french fries and chicken nuggets, and doesn't care if they're out in the mud in their good clothes. And, oh... "Is it really three hours past their bedtime?"
There's a Mom who insists they finish their veg., will not let them leave the house in what they originally put on, questions the completion of homework and makes them stay inside if they spent the night throwing up. Bad Mom. This same Mom was called "an idiot" the other day by one of their friends. Do you know what these loyal kids did in defense of the woman who nurtures them? They went on playing football with him.
I shouldn't have been surprised. There was one kid that came to J2's 7th birthday party that informed him that his "Mom was fat"-- even though the kid's mom easily had 20 pounds on me!
Did J2 punch him in the nose? Nope.
One last comparison:
A few weeks back, I went to bed after 1 am --no, it wasn't because I was blogging. I painstakingly designed 24 cupcakes to look like Pikachu faces-- I hate Pokemon-- for A1 to share with his classmates. I awoke to find some little finger has slashed through the row closest to the counter's edge ("Yum! " must've said a little voice as he left the crime scene). I started a new batch since I was already cutting it close with 24. They had to be delivered by noon.
I baked, cooled and decorated the new additions. I wrapped them carefully and set out in the wind to get them to A1's classroom, with a toddler in tow. I completed my errands, did laundry, picked up our groceries, got dinner in the oven, retrieved children from their bus stops and football practice, fed and bathed children, watched over homework, endured tantrums, butt wipings and nose blowings.
My hubby came home thrilled with the report of his day. "I did five hundred push-ups today."
He and his coworker were shooting for a thousand, but thought they should start out easy.
Whose life is tougher?
It's all apples and oranges.
Wednesday, April 2, 2008
So here's the meme Flea wants me to answer:
How long have you been together?
about a century. Actually, 11 or 12 years--laugh all you want, we had our 11th anniversary which means we're living our 12th year. We may make it to 13.
How long did you date?
You're supposed to date first?
How old is he?
Younger than me. By a LOT
Who said ‘I love you’ first?
He'll say me, I'll say I don't remember.
Who is taller?
He's six foot one and I'm 5'7 3/4".
Who is smarter?
On geeky things like computers, names of galaxies I will never see in my lifetime and Monty Python movies, he's tops.
On things that really matter like which actors have played Mr. Darcy, I win.
Who does the laundry?
Laundry is going in our home all day everyday. We have ridiculous doll-sized appliances over here and so no one can slack-- we all have a role in it of some kind.
Who does the dishes?
Whoever is closest. This is where the Sexy man rocks-- daily I will open up the dishwasher and find it empty and I'll say, "Oh, you Rahwk, Hubby!" even though he's gone to work. He'll unload it at 4:00 am before he goes to work. We both do sink dishes too.
Who sleeps on the right side of the bed?
Right side looking at it or looking from it? I like to sleep diagonally, but that's only when he's deployed.
Who pays the bills?
HE DOES. I handled them for the first 8-9 years of our marriage, but then I realized there was some serious issues with him having what seemed to be way more free time than I. He does it all now. It took some getting used to, but what a relief!
Who mows the lawn?
Our landlord-- he insisted and we agreed. Thank goodness, it's the size of a golf course. Unfortunately, he sometimes mows our flowers as well. And I'm missing an ornamental bush too. Back in the states, we both did the mowing, but Hubby was the one to mow flowers.
Who cooks dinner?
I do most of it, but he's the Saturday Pancake Bomb. He also makes a cheesecake that people can't get enough of. He was a cook when I married him, so he can do the job, I just like to do it.
Who is more stubborn?
You have to ask?
Who kissed who first?
He kissed me when I was still stunned to learn he was NOT the age I assumed him to be!
Who asked who out?
Must've been him and it was to dinner in a Thai restaurant.
We are so weird. We were talking about weddings and the kind we'd want to have and then one thing led to another about whether or not we could pull off the wedding we'd like by December... no actual proposal.
Who is more sensitive?
This is Flea's answer, and I'm sticking with it: "It is SOOO not me! I am NOT the girl here! The absent minded professor, yes. Never sensitive. Unless you touch me. Then we have a problem." However, I am a Gemini girl, and so the other me is super sensitive if you touch on any of my insecurities.
Now, Tag You're it. I don't want to pressure anybody, but I'd love to see answers from the blogs I frequent. Could you leave me a sticky note so that I'll know to come over and see your answers please? And YOU, Tara. I specifically tag you.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008
- April Fool's Day started fun. I finished my giveaway and even though I was thrilled for Flea, I wish I had given away more stuff so more could win. There's still time, I'm not going anywhere...(snickering).
- I read some hilarious posts, played a couple of jokes-- oh, and the LOVE you all showed me warmed me all the way to my toes (examples: "you suck", "you're a brat", "you're mean...") gosh, I get all fuzzy thinking about it!
- and then got an email from #1 son : "...so... i basically just got laid off. and i calculated that all the money i had saved up could last me until june. .....
so basically, sucks to be me right now.
just thought i'd let you in on the happenings of my life..." Email # 2 that came immediately behind that one said, "as ironic as it is, NO that was not an april fool's prank.
ha... when i heard the news today i kept waiting for the "april fool's" too... none came.."
Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Edition.
See the perks with sticking around?
Miss Ky in her princess swim gear...ignore the twenty-some-odd hangers and previously folded laundry behind her ...they didn't have a 2T in Ariel but as you can see, she's really pushing it in this suit and I am kicking myself for not purchasing the one and only Little Mermaid suit in a 3T.
We have a BX [Base Exchange] here and when you see something you like, you get it because you may never see it again. It encourages impulse shopping and over-spending...thanks BX.
I am the LM nut. My poor husband sleeps on a bed with cream coloured flannel sheets, a down comforter resting inside of a white eyelet duvet cover purchased in Spain several years ago, AND a little Mermaid fleece blanket and pillow case --on my side. Say what you want, a grey-haired woman collecting Little Mermaid stuff-- at least I'm not singing, "Part of Your World" on YouTube (you're very welcome).
There's still time and I have Walmart's address-- things happen for a reason people.
Before you go, head over here for a hilarious post. I just went back and read it for the third time in two days and am crying again!