Tuesday, November 9, 2010


Sometimes, being a good person sucks. Sometimes you just want to do the wrong thing so bad you can taste it and it hurts to not do it. They try to tell you that being good feels good. That it's so rewarding to be kind and nice and help other people feel good that you'll forget your own troubles and bask in the glow of God's love and be perfectly content. Well, they lied. Sure it can be nice to help someone. But sometimes it just sucks beyond belief. There are the times when you bust ass to help someone and they don't even bother to thank you, or worse they just ask you what else you can do for them. Then there are the times when you've busted ass helping someone and never asked for anything in return but always kind of assumed that the people you helped would be there for you when you needed them. Only when you actually did need them they just disappeared on you and you realized that all they ever saw in you was a sucker. But the worst is when you do something for someone and they never even know it. When you put aside what you want because you know it's not yours to have and you just walk away from your dreams or desires or hopes. And no one knows or cares. They're off happy in their own little bubble of joy while you feel your insides dying and you KNOW that you could have had what you wanted. You know that it could have been you in that bubble of joy except for the fact that you're trying to do the right thing. And some days, I'm just not sure it's worth it.

Sunday, November 7, 2010

a good kiss

As far back as I can remember, teenaged boys have confided in me. When I was very, very young my sister's and cousin's boyfriends told me things I wouldn't understand for years. When I was a teen, the boys I knew inschool all thought I was the one girl they could confide in. And now my kids' friends talk to me and tell me things that they don't feel they can tell anyone else. I don't exactly understand why I'm the one they talk to, but I do take the responsibility very seriously. They trust me and I try to never betray that trust.

One of the perks of having their trust is that I get to spend a lot of time thinking and talking about the important things in life like love and friendship and what makes you feel alive. And this week I got to talk about what makes a hug or a kiss good.

Let me say now that the teenaged boy I was talking about this with was actually talking about the hug or kiss of a friend, not a lover. I was trying to define why a certain friend's hugs were so much nicer than anyone else's hugs. And somehow kisses became included in the conversation. Specifically, we talked about what a good kiss says.

A good kiss says yes.

Not yes to sex or yes to romance or yes to the future. Not yes to a commitment or yes to a fling. Not yes in answer to any question. A good kiss says yes to you, the person being kissed. It says yes to who you are.

A good hug doesn't feel rushed. When someone who really knows how to hug hugs you, you feel as if they are perfectly content to hold you in their arms forever, as if they feels that that's where you belong. And when you're being hugged that way, you feel like you belong there too. You feel loved.

I have been fortunate enough to be hugged and kissed by the people who love me. And I've been fortunate enough to hug and kiss the people I love. I hope that I did a good job and that they know how much I love them.

Friday, September 24, 2010

why i can't sleep

Today was too good.

I should give details but I'm typing this in from the tiny keyboard on my phone. So let's just say it was a damn good day... the best in a long while.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The way of things

Well, it's been almost a month since I posted anything at all and I'm sorry about that. My computer has basically died and I'm doing much of my web activity from my phone. I can read blogs, but I don't have the patience to post from those tiny little keys. Hopefully, I'll have the funds to fix my computer soon (within the next week I'm thinking) and I'll be able to be a bit more active again.

Over the last month, a lot has happened. It's almost too much to fit into words, but I'll do my best.

First off, I suppose I should update you on my friend Rebecca, since the last two posts I made had to do with the death of her son Toby. I've been spending a lot of time with her lately, both because I want to be a good friend and because she's actually one of the people I most enjoy being with, even when things are bad. But yeah... things have been real bad. Within three weeks of Toby's death, Rebecca's father had a heart attack (he survived and is doing well), her mother-in-law in England died from cancer, and her father-in-law and some of her husband's friends and family began sending Rebecca and her husband nasty texts, e-mails, and facebook messages. Nasty is an understatement. Viscious is probably more accurate. I wish I could fathom why, but since I can imagine no circumstance in which I would send my children any of those messages I am at a loss to explain it. But more important than explaining the reason for those messages is explaining the results of them. My friend is falling apart. She is feeling suicidal. She has started hurting herself. Her husband is also on the verge of falling apart. He's lost a child, a mother, a father, and most of his childhood friends, all in the same month. I cannot imagine how I could deal with that.

I keep trying to think of ways to help. She is looking into counseling and I think that's a good step. Meanwhile, I try to go see her often and I sometimes spend the night at her house. I wish I could do more.

On other fronts, I seem to have adopted another son. His name is John and he's 17. My older kids have known John for a few years, though I only met him over the summer. But just before my computer died John started chatting with me regularly on Facebook and talking to me some about his life. He's had a rough start to life, although by all accounts things are far better than they used to be. I'm not exactly sure how it happened, but I decided to keep him. I know people get attached to their kid's friends and joke around that they've adopted them, but this is far more like an actual adoption than that. He spends most days here, most weekends here, takes his showers here, has chores here, and keeps clothes here. He's being introduced to extended family as the opportunity arises, and they're all treating him the same as they treat my other kids. My sister wants to know his clothing sizes so she can buy things for him. I've already gotten some of his Christmas presents.

John's mom seems to be okay with our taking over his life. I make sure to never bring him home late and to show her as much respect as possible. I think she's overwhelmed so maybe this is a bit of a relief. But I'm not sure how it'll play out in the long run.

As to the rest of my family, things seem to be going well. The kids are loving school and seem to be doing well for the most part. Well, Quinn is having trouble adjusting. His teacher is worried about him and I suspect she's going to want to have him tested for behavioral issues. But in my gut, I don't think that the problems she sees are the result of actual medical issues. He's never once in his life been in a daycare or had to follow a schedule or been told that now is when we eat and now is when we go to the bathroom and now is when we draw. He's always been able to decide all those things for himself and just do what he wants to do. Plus he's never been around other kids his age. So this is all new, and not in a good way. But in the course of the week and a half that he's actually been in classes, he's gone from screaming and crying and fighting against going to waking up and asking if he can go to school. And while I know he's still not following the rules, listening to the teachers, etc., I think he's gotten to the point where he wants to be a part of that. Maybe he does have behavioral issues. But I think the root of the current problem has more to do with the adjustment than his teacher understands. So we'll wait and see.

The other kids are doing fabulously well. Zoe had new friends, a new boyfriend, and seems to love school. Zaven and Caly have been spending all their time goofing off with friends, talking on the phone, and soaking up every last bit of fun that high school has to offer. I honestly don't think that either one of them could be happier. Well, maybe if they were to fall in love... but short of that, no.

Scott has been very, very busy. I don't talk about him much here, but that's mostly because he's kind of a private person and I don't want to take over and tell his stories for him. But this week has been a good week for him and that's making me happy. We're getting along really well. We always have, but I've learned not to take that for granted. One funny thing has been his relationship with John. I didn't really ask Scott if it was okay to adopt John. It just sort of happened. And when it did, I worried that Scott and John might have a rough time. John's late father was not a nice man and I figured that John might have a hard time having a dad around. Then the other day I saw John and another family friend arguing about who Scott liked more. Scott for his part seems to also like John. His only complaint is that he can't walk around the house in his underwear anymore. I think I can live with that.

Monday, August 23, 2010

the snarky post. please forgive

I am awake. I suppose that's pretty normal for me. I usually am awake at this time of night. But tonight I am awake because I can't turn my head off. I think I don't want to sleep because I don't want to dream. Kind of like Hamlet, but less dramatic. And I'm not wearing tights.

Tomorrow I have to buy nice clothes to wear to Toby's funeral. I don't usually wear dressy clothes. I wear t-shirts and jeans and things like that. I probably have a dress somewhere, but I don't have any idea where. I'll just buy something. I don't have the energy to look.

I talked to Rebecca for a few minutes today. She had gone with some friends and picked out a casket. Actually, I think the friends picked it out for her. That was probably for the best. No one should have to pick out their baby's casket.

The funeral and visitation will be in Rebecca's home town. It's a long way from here so the kids will be missing school. If the school gives me any shit about that I'm going to tell them they can go fuck themselves. I'm almost hoping they do give me shit so that I can tell someone to go fuck themselves. It feels like a good occasion to say that to someone, but I'd feel bad to just walk up to random strangers and say it. It would probably be better to wait until someone actually does something wrong.

Caly said she wished that there was something to fix. I feel the same way. There's nothing fixable about all this. So instead I'm awake at 3 a.m. trying to think of ways to get people to do something wrong so I can tell them to go fuck themselves. Maybe that's what people are supposed to do. Maybe this is a normal reaction. I don't know. I've never had to find out. I don't remember what the stages of grieving are and I'm in a bad mood so even if I did know them I'd probably be doing them wrong on purpose. You know, as a vain attempt at conveying that go fuck yourself sentiment to an idea from a book written decades ago. Futile is the catch-word of the day. Or the night. You get the idea.

Sunday, August 22, 2010


On Friday I went to see Rebecca and Toby. She looked better than I expected. I thought she'd be more stressed, but she was okay. Shaky, but okay. He was snuggled up on the couch next to her, just looking at her face that way that babies sometimes look at their moms. Every now and then he would smile at her. A big beautiful smile that was pure joy. And when she talked to me, she didn't look at me, she looked at him.

She told me about how she'd been having panic attacks, how sometimes she lost track of time and did the same things over and over. She had some medicine that helped, but she didn't want to take it when she was home alone with him because it knocked her out. I told her it would get better. I said that anyone who had been through what she'd been through would be having trouble.

She said the doctors didn't think she had postpartum depression. They thought she had post traumatic stress disorder. She'd had such a rough pregnancy and then when she started bleeding so heavily they thought that she was dying, that Toby was dying. If she'd been home alone she probably would have died. If she'd bled into her body cavity instead of outward, Toby would have died.

He got a little fussy and I asked if I could hold him. I burped him and fed him a bottle. Then I patted his back and sang him a lullaby. He fell asleep against my shoulder and I kept kissing the back of his head. His hair was so soft against my lips.

I held him for a long time while he slept. Rebecca and I talked, not about anything in particular but just talking and passing the time. Then I had to lay him down again so that I could leave to pick up Zoe from school. I laid him down next to Rebecca and kissed her head and covered her legs in a blanket. Then I left.

Saturday morning the phone rang. It was Rebecca's mom Brenda and as I walked to the phone I couldn't understand why she'd be calling. She told me they'd lost Toby. It didn't make any sense at first. It was like random words had been put together. Then all of the sudden I understood.

When I got to the hospital I saw Brenda and Sam. She told me that Pete and Rebecca were in with Toby and that if I was allowed to go back, she thought they'd want me there.

I wish I had words to tell you. I wish I didn't. I don't think anyone should ever have to know that story. It should be as nonsensical as it seemed when Brenda said they'd lost him.

I should have reached out to them first. I didn't. I went to Toby and smoothed his hair. Why would I go to comfort him when he couldn't feel it? Why didn't I go straight to them when they could? His hair felt exactly the same as it had the day before. But this time, his head was cold.

Pete was crying and rocking back and forth. I could hear him praying under his breath, "Please don't let it be real. Please don't let it be real. Please don't let it be real."

Rebecca looked like the walking dead. There was no recognition in her eyes. When I hugged her, she made a little low moan that reminded me of the sound puppies make when they are dying but are still trying to wag their tails. I told them both that Toby is okay. We are not. But he is.

We sat and looked at him for a while, all of us together, but each in our own heads. I find myself watching to see if he's breathing. He's not.

His face looks bruised on one side where the blood has pooled. The other side looks too pale. But his head is turned to the side so the color changes from pale to dark across his face. One eyelid looks exactly like it did the day before. He still had the breathing tube in his mouth and tape across his face to hold it in place. I want to take the tape off but I'm afraid of damaging his skin. I don't touch it.

A man came to talk to them about donating Toby's organs. Rebecca went with him to fill out the papers. I stayed with Pete and Toby. Maybe I should have been with Rebecca. Didn't she need a friend there? But that would have left Pete alone with Toby and I know that Pete can't be alone now. He's not okay. Rebecca has the organ donation man with her. She's not alone. Pete would be alone. I stayed with Pete.

Pete thinks this was his fault. Toby died when they were asleep together.

How can he think that? I've laid down with my children more times than I can count. I've fallen asleep cuddling a baby so often that in my mind it's all blurred into one memory of sleep and warmth. Bad parents hurt their children. Good parents cuddle them. How can cuddling them be bad?

Pete hovers between wanting to hold him and not wanting to disturb him. He uncovers Toby, then covers him back up. His hands go to him and pull back. He smooths his hair. He said that Sam wanted to play with him. Now Sam won't get to. He tells me he's a bad father. I try to tell him he's not but I don't think he believes me.

Pete says something about Toby's red hair. I think, 'He had beautiful hair.' Then I realized that I just thought of Toby in the past tense. He's right in front of me and his hair is still beautiful. But I know then that he's really gone. I can't make myself think 'He HAS beautiful hair.' It just won't work that way in my head.

When Rebecca comes back in the room, she tells us they think they can use Toby's heart. Pete starts crying again. He looks as if his own heart has been ripped out of his chest. For just a moment, Rebecca looks like herself again. She seems alive again. She says, "But this way they can save someone else's baby." Then before the last word is even fully out she's gone again, off into her mind. Pete can't speak. He knows. We all know. This can't happen again. This can't happen to someone else. But why couldn't it have not happened to us?

Saturday, July 31, 2010

Button Gear

Caly and I have decided that we should start a company called Button Gear that has button-themed cleaning and organizing supplies. That way people could say, "I need to get my Button Gear and start cleaning the living room."

Friday, July 30, 2010

Getting ready for school

I've been doing all the back-to-school shopping this week. I'm so tickled because I scored 3 free-after-rebate backpacks. One at Staples and two at OfficeMax. What I'm not tickled about is that Quinn is just not ready for school. He's 3 (almost 4) and not completely potty trained. He can go most of the day without a diaper (and even overnight) but just won't poop in a potty. Not only that, but he will pee anywhere. When we're inside and he needs to go he usually asks to go to the bathroom. But if he's outside he just whips it out and starts looking for a good place to let it fly. And no, it's not just in the grass. It's also into any interesting looking container. I am so envisioning angry phone calls from parents who found out he peed in their kid's lunch box during recess. Thank God we have a few more weeks to work on this before school starts. Of course we've been working on it a lot longer than that and it's still a problem.... Maybe you can all cross your fingers for us?

By the way, this post will be deleted at a future date to ensure his privacy. Not that any kid his age won't have a similar post on their mom's blog.

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The heat.

It's soooo hot here. It was over 100 actual temperature today and very humid on top of that. We just have a window A/C at home and it's just not cutting it. Even running full out, the house is just uncomfortably warm. And the forecast just keeps calling for more and more heat. I'm starting to think that global warming really sucks!

On the plus side, tomorrow is when Upward Bound ends and Zaven comes home. I know he's technically not that far away, but I missed him. I'm used to seeing my kids every day so it's hard to have him leave for 7 or 8 weeks every summer. Plus this summer has just been so overwhelming. I want things to be more normal. That means having Zaven around.

Monday, July 19, 2010

The magic show

Today was Zoe's birthday. We'll be having a party in a week or two, once the house no longer has active construction going on. For today, we kept things simple. Caly invited her best friend Elysha over and the two of them made a cake for Zoe. We read "Happy Birthday To You," by Dr. Seuss aloud (and I do mean LOUD). That's a family tradition on all the kid's birthdays. We even have them shout 'I am I' from the toppest blue space (usually my bed). And at Zoe's insistance, we had a magic show.

When Caly was in the third grade, she and Elysha started putting on magic shows for us. Any time Elysha spent the night, the two of them pulled out the fanciest play clothes, brought in props from all over the house, and put on a show that involved lots of "OK, close your eyes for a few minutes" and "pretend you don't see the string" moments. And, of course, lots and lots of giggles.

Now the girls are 14 and starting high school. Over the years, the show has evolved. Now it always includes their 'lovely assistant Zoe' and even live animals like the goldfish and the cat. But it still includes fancy outfits and not a single trick that actually works.

You can't improve on perfection.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Good grief! They want you to pay what???

For Zoe's birthday I bought a bunch of Littlest Pet Shop toys both for her gift and for party favors for the few friends coming over. We decided to open the packages and put them in baggies beforehand because I know from experience that it's almost impossible to get those things out of their packaging in a hurry. When we opened the boxes, we saw that there were collector stickers inside and an offer to get a free toy platypus (about 2 inches tall) if you send in 8 stickers. Then we read the fine print and realized you had to BUY a collector's diary to get a form to send in the stickers. The diary comes with a toy pet, too. But still, you have to pay money to get it. So we decided we'd just look online at Amazon and see how much just the platypus cost. $27.95! And it's marked down from $39.99! And you have to pay shipping! Good grief that's insane!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Resisting Temptation

Next week is the last week of Upward Bound, so Zaven will be coming home soon. Then in not quite three weeks, school starts. Next summer he'll have his last summer of Upward Bound and then he'll be going to college. So these last few weeks of summer are some of our last few weeks where our whole family will be together and not overwhelmed with school, sports, lessons, etc.

I want to go on vacation. I want it bad. It's been a rough summer.

But we can't afford a vacation.

I try to be a frugal person, save money when I can, coupon shop, etc. So we've tried 'staycations' in the past. Can I just take this opportunity to say how much I hate staycations? They're great if you live in Chicago or New York where there's a ton to do and even the people who live there can't have done everything... or if you live by the beach or the grand canyon where no matter how many times you've been it's still exciting and new. But for those of us who live in a small town, chances are we've been to every interesting place so often they know us by name. 'Real' vacations are a break from your normal life. Plus real vacations involve someone else cleaning up your living quarters while you're out and about, eating out so there aren't dishes, and staying where your kids can't pull out every toy they own because all those toys and books and videos are back at home.

Sure you can eat all your meals out since you're saving all that money by not paying for airfare, gas, and hotels. But that doesn't take into account how cheap I am. On my vacations, we drive rather than fly, stay in priceline hotels (with free continental breakfasts) at bargain prices, and fix sandwiches in the hotel room so we only eat our lunch mean in restaurants. It doesn't feel bad doing this on vacation because we remind ourselves that the money we're saving is paying for all the cool things we're doing during the day. But fixing sandwiches at home for dinner doesn't feel at all like a vacation because the money we're saving is only paying for the trash pickup and the electric bill.

I keep a pretty close eye on our budget and I know how much we can and can't afford. We CAN'T afford a vacation.

Maybe I'll win the lottery.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Let me 'splain. No, there is too much. Let me sum up.

I know I don't have that many readers. But I didn't mean to abandon the few I did have. It's been a long time since I posted and I'm sorry about that. I'm hoping to just start fresh but I feel I owe an explanation. But just like in the Princess Bride, there is too much. So, let me sum up.

Zaven and Caly both had big birthday bashes for which I prepared fancy cakes, etc. Both parties were big sucesses.

My mom had open heart surgery. She's doing great.

Part of our kitchen floor started to sag wildly. Scott cut a 3 foot by 12 foot hole in the floor so he could do repairs. The subfloor is rebuilt but there's still a lot of construction going on so the kids and I have been staying at my mother-in-law's house.

My pets had babies. We are now covered in puppies outside and kittens inside. I'm hoping to give them away soon, but it's hard seeing as I've been staying in another town and Scott has been up to his ears in rebuilding our house.

So that's the summary of the past couple of months. Hope yours went a little more smoothly.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Finally, a relaxed day!

Today was such a nice day. I did almost nothing. I think I folded one load of laundry and that's it. My mom and dad took Scott and I out to eat at Applebee's. My food was so delicious and it was such a treat, both to have a nice meal out and to go out with only grown-ups and have a regular conversation without little ones climbing on me.

After that, we took the kids out to a movie. We saw Shrek and I really liked it. Quinn wouldn't sit still for it and Scott ended up walking around the theatre with him while the rest of us watched the show, but we made it up to him when we got home and I kept the kids outside playing in the yard so he could watch TV and have a beer and get to relax.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Spring, with new life everywhere...

So new life is just busting out all over the place here. We have kittens, puppies, calves, toddlers, fleas, termites, and even a very upset mouse.

Most of that is good, right?

Let's see... the puppies are adorable but they won't stop peeing on the porch. The kittens are just plain adorable. The calves aren't technically ours. We lease out the land to the guy who owns them. But I like to see them anyway. The fleas may be real and may be just Caly's imagination. But she got a few bug bites and is blaming the cat. The termites haven't caused any damage yet because they just hatched out today. But they're freaking me out. I do NOT want termite damage on top of everything else wrong with my 80 year old house. Scott is going to buy bug bombs tomorrow and we'll set them off while the older kids are in school later in the week. We'll also be buying poisons to put down around the house. So I know it will be taken care of... but I won't be happy until the fleas and termites are all dead.

The mouse I almost feel sorry for. I mentioned in my last post how we'd had a crazy couple of weeks and had put off all the mundane chores like keeping up with the dishes and laundry. Well apparently that's when the mouse moved in. But over the weekend we cleaned the house and got caught back up on the dishes. So late last night I went to the kitchen sink to wash my hands. The counters are all clean, with any non-mouse-proof foods like bread or open cereal boxes put in the fridge. We live in an old farm house and mice are a common hazard. So the only thing in the sink is a couple of empty glasses and a cooking pot. When I turned on the water a mouse jumped out from behind the pot and ran back behind the microwave. It must have gone looking for food in the sink because the rest of the kitchen is clean. I told the kids about it and said "Can you imagine how he felt? When he moved in there was food everywhere. Then he took a nap and when he woke up, it was a barren wasteland." Despite feeling bad for him, I will still be buying traps when I get to the store next. Too bad the kittens aren't old enough for the job.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

It's been a while.

I haven't posted in far too long. Sorry about that. Things got out of control here. First off, we were robbed, got the money back, had a business partner quit, had our basement flood, and Caly had a school trip which has had some problems. Here's how the last week and a half went:

Scott had worked out a deal with a family friend to haul off some of the stuff his dad hoarded and sell it for scrap. The friend (Wayne) called Scott to tell him he had some money for him. $1600 cash. Scott said, I'm not home but I will be in a few minutes. Wayne was in a hurry and says is there someplace I can leave it. Scott tells him leave it under the driver's seat in our car. I was home and I don't know why Scott didn't just say leave it with Karen. I think he thought I wasn't at home since I'd told him that I needed to run some errands. Anyhow, Wayne left the cash in my car. Only he's got someone who works for him in his truck with him. When they stop for gas a few minutes later the guy calls his wife from his cell phone and tells her where the cash is. So a few minutes later the wife shows up at our door. She says she's looking for her husband to bring him lunch and asks is he on the farm. I tell her no, and she starts to leave. Her kid got out to play with Quinn so she's fussing at him to get back in the car just as Scott drives up. Of course I have no idea there's $1600 in cash in my car so I didn't think anything of it. But she drives off, Scott goes to the car and looks, realizes it's gone and that she took it, and he calls Wayne. When Wayne answers his phone and says 'Hey Scott' the guy whose wife stole the cash jumps out of the parked truck and takes off running. So we call the police, give reports, etc. The police officer says he's going to pick them up and mirandize them and they'll think they're under arrest. Then he'll lie and say we have surveilance video and have them caught dead to rights and that we'll drop the charges in exchange for the money back. He says that the way the laws are, people who get arrested for stealing are actually prosecuted for the things that go along with the theft... breaking an entering, selling of stolen goods, etc. But the theft itself is a civil matter. So we're screwed unless the idiots confess or give back the cash.

But, apparently it worked. The man's mom and his wife' aunt showed up the next day to give us the money and beg us to not prosecute them. They stayed and talked for at least two hours because once they got here, they met Scott and Wayne and found out how much the husband was making working for Wayne (good money by local standards) and realized he'd been lying to them and telling them he didn't have money when he did so that he could get more money from them. While I was happy to get the money back, I felt bad for them because I'm fairly certain they paid us with their own cash rather than getting the money from the ones who stole it. We all think that they're on drugs. Probably meth since that's really big around here, but who knows.

When we thought the money was just gone Wayne said that he'd pay Scott back the money but Scott told him to only pay back half since Scott told him it was ok to put it there. I thought that was really nice of Wayne. He's a good guy.

Meanwhile Scott's partner on the car lot ran off. He listened to someone who was trying to manipulate him and decided that Scott was taking all the profits so far and spending them on our family rather than giving him his share. Um, no. There aren't really any profits yet. In fact, it's the other way around. The business is still operating at a loss and we're paying the bills for it out of our pockets rather than out of profits.

It didn't bother me that he was leaving if he's going to go listen to idiots and take their ideas without checking the facts. But it would leave us in a tough position because Scott starts his summer teaching job in just a few weeks and can't be on hand to run the lot day to day. And he can't yet afford to pay someone to run it. So that sucks too. I'll try to help out but it would be hard to have Quinn running around down there. There's a lot he could get hurt on. So I'd have to have a sitter maybe? Or do some major childproofing.

Then I found out that our outside water line (where the hose hooks up) is leaking water into the basement and all our off season clothes got soaked. I'll have a huge water bill, Scott will have hours of repair work to fix it since the leak is underground, and of course I have to wash all the clothes because they're soaking wet in dirty water and will mildew.

While we were still dealing with that, Scott's partner showed back up to work at the car lot as if nothing had happened. There were customers there and Scott couldn't talk to him for a while without having a public scene so it was really strange. When he finally got him alone Scott started to talk with him and the guy apologized, but Scott thinks there's something physically wrong like maybe diabetes out of whack or medication that needs adjusted. Scott said he didn't talk like himself and didn't seem quite right mentally. So while he wants to have a sit down talk with him, he didn't do it there and then because he wasn't sure that his partner would even remember it later.

They are partners, but on paper the business is all Scott's and the partnership only extends to individual cars that they purchased together. So there isn't really a risk of this guy running off with bank funds or filing a law suit. But it's put us in a strange position because we do need a partner, but not an unstable one.

Then Caly went on a school trip to Washington DC. They are still there. She called yesterday and they had witnessed a mugging from their tour bus. The kids all wanted to call the police but they didn't know where they were to direct the police. The adults said isn't that too bad and continued the tour. She was upset and I don't blame her. I know that the police can't stop every crime and it probably wouldn't even have been a priority but I take that sort of thing seriously. What if it was your son or husband or sister? Wouldn't you want someone to help them?

Then last night I noticed that Caly had send me a text just to say hi earlier in the day. So I texted back to tell her a joke. She sent a one word reply ('yeah'), which is totally not her style. I replied to see if I could figure out what was up. Turns out one of her friends was having a seizure. He was in his room and according to the other boys in the room, they were rough-housing, he hit his head, and then he started having a seizure. The other boys called Caly and her friends in their room to see if they knew where the school nurse was. The girls called their chaperones and got him help, but Caly and her friends were in near hysterics and crying uncontrolably by the time her dad and I realized what was happening and called them. They'd never seen a seizure and it scared them terribly.

So today is day 3 of the trip and their last day in the city. I'm crossing my fingers and saying a quick prayer that it's a better day for them.

Then this morning Scott finally talked to his business partner and they agreed to sever ties. Scott said that he decided not to even bring up what's been going on with the partner acting strangely but to go over the bank statements with him and show him that they aren't yet making money and that because of the crappy economy it will be a while before they do. So the partner talked it over with Scott and both agreed that the best choice for both of them is to end the partnership. Scott has a summer teaching job that starts soon, so at least for the summer the lot will either be closed or operating online only. Then in the fall Scott will attempt to reopen again without the partner. I think it's for the best. And if the business ever does take off, the profits will be all ours.

On the plus side, Scott and I are both eerily calm about it all. We aren't fighting or freaking out or blaming each other. I was on edge because of trying to get the clothes washed and dried before they rot, but we haven't been yelling or fussing and Scott and the kids are helping too. So far, all the laundry is washed and dried, but it's spread all over the house in big piles because I have to clean the boxes and sort and fold the clothes before I can put them back... except they are still working on the basement so I can't put them back yet.

Oh, and we're having Caly's birthday party and a cookout in a week and a half. So I will also soon need to make a cake, get the yard picked up, shop for the party, etc.

As I said, things are out of hand around here.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Joe vs. Steve

It's a full out Blue's Clues war here. Quinn loves the show, but will only watch the episodes with Joe. That makes sense. He's three and three-year-olds don't like change. The problem is that Caly HATES Joe. With a flaming passion. And she's thirteen!

Meanwhile, I'm getting over my cold and still clearing junk out of the house. It's amazing to me how little of it we miss once it's gone. It makes sense though. The stuff that we're purging is stuff that's buried behind and under the stuff we use. It's the extras shirts in the dresser drawer that you shove aside to get to the shirt you love. So when it's gone, the drawer is a little roomier, but you don't miss the shirts. So I just keep reminding myself that somewhere out there is someone who would really love to have that shirt or those pants or that extra casserole dish. I'm donating all our extras to Goodwill, in part because I live too far from town for a yard sale to be profitable, and in part because I shop at Goodwill. I like finding a sweet deal when I'm there and I imagine that my old stuff will be a sweet deal for someone else.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

I have a stove!

Whoo-hoo! I'm so happy. It wasn't just that I couldn't cook. It was that the parts were everywhere. No more parts on the floor is the nicest feeling.

Of course, my faucet is still not working right. Scott couldn't even really get to the faucet because of the stove being in the way. Maybe we'll have a chance to work on it this week. And as for the dishwasher, I'm thinking I'll start saving for a new one. It breaks down FAR more often than my old one did. And it just never did clean as well. Sometimes you have to know when to admit defeat.

On the flip side, my closets should totally surrender. They are getting their butts kicked. And once I get my kitchen back into shape, I'm planning on attacking the cabinets and getting rid of all the junk there too. Scott is a kitchen pack rat and loves cooking gadgets. Even worse, my cabinets have all kinds of inaccessible nooks and crannies. You know how old-fashioned corner cabinets are. There're way deep and you have to kind of reach around a wall to get to anything. The bulk of the stuff in them can't be pulled out unless you pull out everything in the entire cabinet. I'm thinking that I'll get a couple of plastic bins that fit in there and use the space to store Christmas ornaments or something else that I only pull out once a year. If the stuff is in bins, it'll be easier to get out when I need it.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

The update

Just so you know, my kitchen is still impassable, and now my computer is having problems too. BUT my bathroom closet kicks ass!

I've been dropping so much stuff off at Goodwill that they all recognize me now. You would think that there would be an end in sight, but I swear I keep finding more layers of junk under the junk. That being said, I'm really really happy with the progress we've made. Office Depot has been having free after rebate products lately and I picked up some boxes and a labeler. As I purge the junk, I'm organizing and properly storing and labeling everything before putting the stuff I'm keeping away.

My goal is to have my whole house cleaned out one day. (Cue howls of laughter from anyone who's ever seen my house.) And while I may never reach that goal, I can say that I WILL have a clean bathroom one day soon.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Avoiding the fire by jumping into the frying pan.

I should be cleaning house. I NEED to clean house. It's a total wreck. But I hate cleaning. On top of that my stove is currently disassembled and all over the kitchen floor, the kitchen faucet has quit except for a small dribble, and my dishwasher is only getting the things on the bottom rack clean. So what should be a simple job of loading the dishes now involves walking through the kitchen on tiptoes so as to avoid stepping on the stove, washing half-loads in the dishwasher, and carrying water in from the bathroom.

Of course I have no similar excuse for not doing laundry. I just don't feel like it.

So... instead of cleaning, I'm sorting a bunch of our clothes and de-cluttering the closets. It won't result in a clean home, clean clothes, or clean dishes. And it involves as much work as doing the dishes and more than doing the laundry. So it doesn't exactly make sense. It just feels slightly less futile.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

A better week

Last week was so sucky. Sorry, but it was. I'd go into the details but honestly you don't want to hear it and I don't want to think about it. It just sucked. On the plus side, this week seems to be improving. Among the other improvements was that I got my Amazon shipment of Jim Butcher's new Dresden Files novel, Changes. It was SO freaking good. I can't discuss it yet because we have a pact among the family that the ones who read a book first have to pretend they know nothing about it until everyone in the house have had a chance to read it. Zaven and I are finished, but Scott and Caly aren't. So all Zaven and I are allowed to say is, "I wonder what happens in that book 'Changes'? Bet it's good."

It IS good. But that's all I'm saying.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Bad week

Nest week official starts today. Because if last week is still going on, I'm thinking of leaving town and hiding. No one died last week. Other than that, it pretty much sucked.

Friday, April 2, 2010

She knows me too well.

The other day Caly offered to put some music on my MP3 player. I didn't have a player of my own until I won one a while ago and (being me) it took me forever to get it out of the box and put anything on it. Initially, I put an audiobook on it. The one drawback of having so many kids is that I don't get to sit and read like I used to. So audiobooks are great for me. After listening to the book, I let Scott borrow my player so that he could hear it. Then I got distracted. Long story, short... there's still no music on my MP3 player. So Caly offered to take the book off and put some music on for me.

She asked me what music I wanted and I told her to just put on things she thought I'd like. She knows that I like most kinds of popular music. I'm not that much into country or hip hop, but otherwise, if I can sing to it, I'll sing along.

So later in the day, Caly loaded it up and handed it back. And yesterday I put it on to keep my brain occupied while I cleaned house. I half-expected to have a tone of teen pop music to listen to, but Caly had been pretty conservative with the music she'd put on. In fact, I recognized almost all the songs as soon as they started playing. The only thing that threw me for a loop was when I heard the first few notes of Nirvana's Smells Like Teen Spirit. I recognized it, but was kind of surprised that Caly had put it on. I tend to like music I can sing along with and Nirvana mumbles so much that I could never figure out what I was supposed to be singing. Then the I realized... it wasn't Nirvana. It was Weird Al Yankovic's Smells Like Nirvana.

Monday, March 29, 2010


A while ago I posted about Zaven thinking ahead to college. We'd learned that now was the time to research and choose schools that he'd like to attend even though he's still a junior. Apparently, good students spend that extra year perfecting their application, finding financial assistance, and doing everything they can to up their odds of getting to attend a school that's a perfect match for them.

When I first learned about this, I figured it was kind of overkill. But on the off chance that it wasn't, we started looking at the process. Turns out, so many kids do this that you're at a real disadvantage if you don't. So we started looking around at schools, considering majors and career choices, and Zaven took his ACT. He did good. Actually, he did really good. But then he found a school that he loved. Really, really loved. Kenyon College in Ohio. And for that particular school his ACT scores were just barely good enough. And maybe, not good enough at all. They're as picky as a lot of Ivy League schools.

But a few weeks ago he retook the ACT. And I got the scores today.

He kicked ass.

Kenyon College, you'd better get ready.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Today, Quinn tried to pee into an uninflated balloon. And in case you're wondering how that worked for him... it didn't.

Friday, March 12, 2010

Kitty Pie

I call Quinn a cutie pie all the time. Turns out, he thinks I'm calling him a Kitty Pie. He is so freaking adorable sometimes.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Zoe's engagement

This week, Zoe came home from Kindergarten with some news. She's getting married! Last week she met Jacob, her best friend's cousin. Apparently he fell madly in love with her at first site and has already proposed. She said yes. They've decided to wait for the actual wedding until they are grown-ups. For now she's happy just having a boyfriend. She says that when she thinks about him, her eyes sparkle. She's already kissed him (on the mouth!) and is planning to give him a naked barbie as a gift because she thinks it's fun how naked barbies make the boys at school so upset. She's very excited about giving him the gift and says that she's sure he'll be terrified. Wow. Only five and already she knows that having your fiance terified of what you might do is a good thing.

Friday, March 5, 2010

All two of me.

The other day was trash day. For me it's not a big event, but Zoe really likes it. What she likes is that after our trash is picked up, she can take the empty trash can back to the house. Our driveway is about a tenth of a mile long. Zoe loves to walk up from the road to the house and she loves it even more when she can drag the empty trash can with her. It has wheels so it's not too difficult, even on the gravel. But it gives her a big feeling of accomplishment.

This time, we had a lot of trash. We used all three trash cans. So after I'd picked up the kids from school I stopped at the bottom of our driveway and let Caly, Zoe, and Quinn out of the car so they could walk up the drive. Caly and Zoe both carried trash cans. Zoe raced ahead so that she could lead the way. I opened the window of my car so that I could hold on to the handle of the third can a carry it up the house as I drove. I let the kids walk up first, then I drove the van up. When I got out, Zoe asked me if she'd earned extra allowance. I said I thought that all three of them had because they'd all three worked hard. She said, "Well all two of me did, but I was in front so I should get extra."

I can't argue with that!

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Wow. I haven't posted in forever.

I truly didn't realize it had been so long. Sorry.

Let's see. What have we been doing? Ummm... well we all got sick again. It was a boomerang kind of a cold. Or maybe we just picked up new germs while at the doctor's office.

Other than that I've been shopping a lot. I got that tax money I'd mentioned and went out and bought socks and undies for everyone. I know, boring. But when money is tight I avoid buying things we don't NEED. So if your socks get worn thin or your undies have a stain... well then you don't technically Need new ones. But after they all get worn and ugly, you really want them. Thus my big sock splurge.

I also got Zaven a ton of new clothes. Zaven has been a slob since he was about 7. He never looks in the mirror, never cares about how others see him, and never bothers to make sure his clothes match or look decent. But about a week ago he suddenly started showing an interest. Since the rare event of us having extra money coincided with the even rarer event of Zaven wanting nice clothes, I bought him a bunch of stuff. It felt good. And he looks really, really nice.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Catching up

After having spent all last week either sick or taking care of someone who was sick, our house is totally trashed. So this weekend Scott took Zaven and Quinn over to his mom's house. Quinn is right at the age where he makes it impossible to get things done. If you're distracted by cleaning something, he uses that time to make another (larger) mess. Anyhow, the end result of this is that it's only girls in the house today.

Caly and Zoe are 8 years apart in age. Sometimes they don't get along because of that. It's too easy for them to fall into the parent/child roles. And even when they are acting as equals, they don't exactly share interests. But sometimes, every now and then, they get along perfectly. I've got my fingers crossed that today will be one of those days. They need it.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Spending money

Well, it's been kind of a sucky week. Zaven had his wisdom teeth pulled and got a dry socket. The other kids and I all had colds and felt crappy. And despite the fact that Zaven was finally able to get his learner's permit (aka Dr. Lisc), he's not been able to drive because he's been on painkillers all week.

BUT... we did get our taxes done. That's a huge deal for us. Ours are usually complicated and time consuming. But since we have four kids all living at home, we usually get some money back. This year we lucked out. The taxes weren't complicated AND we're getting back a bit more than we usually do. So, that leaves us with a little bit of spending money.

As you probably already know, I'm one of those coupon loving freaks who tries to go to the store and get a few hundred dollars worth of stuff for 57 cents after taxes. Sometimes I even manage to do that. I get all my shampoo and toothpaste and deodorant for free and have boxes of toiletries that I got for free in storage in the basement. So what does someone like me do when I have extra money?

Well, it's kind of complicated. Part of me really, really wants to just go crazy and splurge on whatever it is I want at the moment. After all, I'm always scrimping and saving and squirreling away. I deserve to get to spend this money. It won't be coming out of our regular budget. It's more like a prize we won.

Of course another part of me knows that even if we don't need extra money right at this moment, we eventually will need it. We don't have much in the way of an emergency fund right now. On top of that, even if we did have an emergency fund, there are dozens of other things that this money could do that would really have a positive impact on our lives. We could put it in an IRA, invest in some much needed home repairs, or buy a more fuel efficient car.

So... what will it be? Frugal or fun?

Both. Last year we paid off an old bank loan. This year I'll be paying off my credit card. I like to be debt-free. It means I never have to worry about late fees, LOL. But I don't owe much, so I'll still have most of the money left over. Most of that will be just put in the bank. But some of the money will be for fun. I like fun. I'm thinking that maybe Scott and I will go on a weekend trip without the kids. We haven't had a vacation without kids along in over a decade.

So my only questions are, where will we go and what kind of a deal can I get on our hotel room?

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

The mess.

I've been trying to get rid of stuff. That's part of my 2010 goals. I want to be more organized and as soon as I started trying to organize our stuff, I realized that we have way too much of it. Part of that is natural. We have four kids. Each comes with their own set of interests, likes, and dislikes. So they each have different books, toys, etc. But I'm realizing that a big part of it is my own desire to indulge them. I don't keep a lot of stuff for myself. I regularly purge my own junk. And if I didn't have the ambition to take back up a few crafts (crochet, sewing, painting) when Quinn gets back in school, I wouldn't have any junk at all. But when it comes to everyone else's stuff, I have a much harder time letting it go.

I look at an old toy and I remember how much fun Zaven had with it... and I keep it. I SAY it's for Quinn, but honestly he has no interest in it at all. It's just that I want him to have interest. And the same thing goes for books, clothes, etc. I even find myself doing it with Scott's stuff. I want him to be happy, to have hobbies, to do fun stuff. So I don't make him get rid of the stuff that has been sitting around, unused, for years.

But I've decided that what my family needs is more space and less clutter. So I'm on a big purge. And even though it's going to take a while, I already feel better. Each area that I clear makes me feel a bit more excited and happy. I don't miss the stuff at all.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

I never thought I would say this

...but I've become addicted to a car show. Yes, a car show. Meaning a show where the hosts test drive new cars and tell you how they perform.

I know. You think I've gone insane. But it's a really, really, REALLY good show. It's a british show called Top Gear and Scott started watching it a few months ago. Now we're all hooked and can't stop watching all the old episodes. Yes, I know. That's even crazier. It's bad enough to watch a show where they test drive new cars. Now I'm watching them test drive old cars?

But you should watch this show. It's SO not what you would think. They test the cars in the funniest ways. Like when they tested the Ford Fiesta and asked, "What if I go to a shopping centre and get chased by baddies in a corvette?" or when they tested The Lotus Exige against the missile locking capabilities of an Apache helicopter.

They've had buses jumping motor cycles (instead of the other way around), crossed the English Channel in cars that they (sort of) made amphibious, and added rockets to a car and sent it down an olympic ski jump ramp. They also race cars against things like trains, bobsledders, french skiers, boats, and once they raced a dog sled team to the north pole.

It's crazy and funny and usually has everyone in the house laughing until our ribs hurt. Even Zoe likes it, although I'm half afraid for her to watch. She's only 5 but she has big ambitions when it comes to driving. So there it is. I like a car show. Who'd have thunk it?

Sunday, January 24, 2010

The elusive Dr. Lisc

I write lists. I could tell you that I developed the habit to help combat the confusion of having four kids around. But in all honesty my mom says I've done it since I learned how to write. It's a good thing, though. I have an awful memory for the mundane details of life like getting milk at the store or remembering to change the sheets regularly. Writing lists of what I need to do, need to buy, need to remember... that keeps me on track. And it keeps me from being an incessant nag. I just write down what I need the kids to do and they're in charge of getting it done. But there is one thing that has been on the list for about 7 months. Dr. Lisc.

Last summer, Zaven turned 16. So I added an item to our family to-do list. Get him a driver's license. Only I always misspell license. I spell it liscense. And when I wrote it down on the list I abbreviated it Dr. Lisc. Caly promptly asked, "Who's Doctor Lisc and why do we need to see him?" And so began the search for the elusive Dr. Lisc.

During the summer months, Zaven was away at Upward Bound. No opportunity to even study for his permit.

Once he was home we kept forgetting to stop in at the courthouse to pick up a manual. But after several weeks we remembered. Only guess what? They don't print driver's manuals any more. You have to download them from the internet. And it turns out that they're a bit thicker than I remembered. The document is about 130 pages long. Printing out 130 pages is out of my budget. So Zaven would need to read it online. The job off capturing Dr. Lisc just got a lot more complicated. We have one computer in our home, several people who want to use it, and only a small window of time that Zaven has free in a typical week. He's on a swim team, in an art club, takes music lessons, etc. Add to that the fact that when you put a teenaged boy in front of a computer, studying for a test, even a driving test, isn't what he has in mind. So the simple job of reading and studying a short manual ended up taking about 3 months. And we began to refer to Dr. Lisc as 'The Elusive Dr. Lisc.'

But eventually Zaven did study the manual and was finally ready to take the written test. Only Dr. Lisc had other plans in mind. First we found out that the courthouse in never open when he's out of school and not in an afterschool activity. In fact, the courthouse in our town doesn't administer the test, so he'd be going to the next town over. So even if he left school and went directly to the courthouse he wouldn't get there before they closed. And going to get your permit is not an excused school excuse. So we waited for a day when he had a dental appointment so he would already be out of school with an excused absence. Then we went to the courthouse... only to find that you can only take the permit test from 8-10:30 AM on Monday, Wednesday, Thursday or Friday. Dr. Lisc slips out of our grasp yet again. He's wily, that Dr. Lisc.

The dentist told Zaven he'd chipped a filling and would need to come back in to have it repaired. He also needed to get an appointment with an oral surgeon to see about taking out his wisdom teeth. I set the filling repair up for the next Friday so that he could also take his permit test while he was out of school. We double checked to make sure he had his social security card, birth certificate, letter from the school, etc. Then we headed to the courthouse. He made it as far as the eye exam. Due to his poor vision in one eye (from a cataract when he was 5), he would need to have a form filled out by an eye doctor before he could take the permit test. They assured us that his vision was good enough for him to get a license as long as he had all the mirrors on his car. But he had to have that form filled out first. I was beginning to hate Dr. Lisc.

Our usual eye doctor didn't have any openings for a month. I called around and found one who could see him in a week, also on a Friday, but in the afternoon. The hunt was back on. Dr. Lisc could evade us for only so long. Realizing that it would be too late in the day to make it to the courthouse before 10:30 after the eye appointment, I called the oral surgeon and set up Zaven's initial consultation for the following Monday morning. If all went according to plan, Zaven would get his eye doctor forms filled out Friday, and still have an excused absence Monday morning that we could use as a cover to stop by the courthouse and finally capture Dr. Lisc.

The eye appointment went well. And it turns out that Zaven's prescription has changed. He will be able to pick up his new glasses Monday after school. Oh, and by the way, he would need to have those new glasses with him when he took his permit test. It says so in the small print on the form they wanted his eye doctor to fill out. So even though he'll have an excused absence on Monday morning, he won't be able to take the test until Wednesday morning (not open Tuesday, remember?) and he won't have an excuse to miss school then. And the school office staff is beginning to realize that Zaven is out of school a lot. They're giving me suspicious looks these days. And I've run out of legitimate excuses to check him out. He's already been to the dentist twice, the oral surgeon, and the eye doctor.

The elusive Dr. Lisc has escaped yet again, and I'm not sure how we'll manage to capture him. But I'm now muttering lines from Moby Dick about stabbing at him from Hell's Heart, so giving up is not an option. Currently I'm thinking we'll fake a case of Meningitis or Malaria or something and try it again on Wednesday. But one way or another, Dr. Lisc is going down.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Thinking ahead

Next fall, Quinn will start pre-school. So what am I thinking about? Picking colleges. Not for Quinn of course, but for Zaven. He's a junior this year. When I was in high school, you didn't really spend much time thinking about college until you were a senior, but the competition for scholarships is a bigger deal now, and we WILL be needing those scholarships. So the hunt for the perfect school, the perfect scholarship, and the perfect major all begin earlier.

So far, Zaven has been doing most everything right. He gets good grades for the most part. He takes difficult classes. He's involved in sports (via swimming), extra-curricular activities, music lessons, and he volunteers. So what is there to think about? Tons, apparently.

First off, he needs to at least have an idea of what he wants to major in so that he can pick a school which is strong in that program. He's thinking about paleontology, which has been a love of his since he was Quinn's age. Neither of us know anything about which schools offer good paleo programs, so we need to do research. And to make things just that more complicated, paleo isn't really an undergraduate major. It's a master's or doctoral program. I have no idea what the preferred undergrad degree is in.

Once you've picked your potential schools, you request an application. Yes, in your junior year. Why? So you can spend the next YEAR working on getting the perfect application, essay, and recommendations.

I swear I'm not making this up.

Who does that? Who spends a year on an essay? Apparently, a lot of people. Probably, a lot of parents. But the fact is that enough people do this that not doing it puts you at a real disadvantage both in getting accepted to the school and in getting financial assistance from them.

Then there are all the scholarships to research. That was becoming a big field when I was in high school. Rich parents paid for someone to go through all the potential scholarships their kids could apply for, find those most suitable to their kids, and do most of the work in filling them out. They didn't write your essays, but they filled in all the forms and organized all the materials you'd need. This was pre-autofill. Filling the things out took forever.

Apparently, that service quickly devolved into an array of potential scams. Some of the companies wrote the essays for the students, others didn't research the scholarships which resulted in kids and parents wasting time applying for scholarships that they couldn't possibly get, and most companies simply sent the family huge lists of thousands of scholarships with no guidance into which ones to apply for or how to apply... which is where I'm at. Sure it sounds great that there are all those scholarships that Zaven could get. But have you ever googled the word 'scholarship'? 44 million results. How on earth does one narrow that down? Even the reliable sites that our school recommends has thousands and thousands of scholarships that one can apply for. And since everyone wants those which have a big payout, there's a lot of competition for those. Schools now recommend that instead of trying to get one major scholarship, students try to get several dozen smaller scholarships. Thirty $500 scholarships means $15,000. That's nothing to sneeze at.

So here we sit, looking at spending the next year and a half trying to sort through all those potential gold mines for just the right gold mines.

How come I'm doing this while I still have a kid in diapers? And (heaven forbid) will this even be harder when Quinn is in high school?

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

and a Happy New Year!

Wow! I can't believe it's been so long since I posted anything. Well, I won't waste your time filling you in on the last few weeks. Christmas was fun and surprisingly relaxing despite having a cold, but other than that, it's pretty much been life as normal here.

But there is one nice thing I've been meaning to post about, and I think it will be a nice first post for a new year and a new decade.

Just before Christmas, our school had their annual middle school Snowflake Dance. Caly always goes to the dances and she was super excited to go to this one in particular. She'd had someone ask her to the dance, but knowing that he had stronger feelings for her than she had for him, she declined and decided to go with her friends. She wore a full length dress, brand new high heeled boots, and looked fantastic. After the dance when I picked her up, she was giddy with excitement. But she wasn't excited about a boy liking her or asking her to dance. Instead, she was excited about something very different. You see, every year at the dance, the eighth grade elects a king and queen of the dance. Traditionally, no one campaigns or asks for votes for themselves or anyone else. They just vote for their friends. But this year all the kids were passing word to each other to vote for one particular person. So when the time came for the vote, almost every student there had heard about the plan and they all voted for the same person.

No, it wasn't for Caly. It was for one of her friends, someone she's known since they were in diapers together. He's not a close friend though, because despite being in the same grade at the same school, they have hardly ever had classes together. You see, he's a special ed student who is only mainstreamed in some of his classes. Yes, you read that right. The king of the dance is a special needs student. And in case you were wondering, no, it wasn't a prank, a joke, or even pity. He's just a really nice kid, and the other students wanted to make him happy. They like him.

Caly said, "He was so happy! At first I thought he was gonna yell, and then I thought he was gonna jump, and then I thought his face was going to break from smiling so big." As soon as I heard, I called Scott, because Scott is friends with this boy's grandfather and I knew that Scott would be excited. So I called Scott and then Scott called his grandfather to make sure that he'd heard what happened. And apparently his grandfather had arrived at the dance to pick him up early and was there in the back of the room to see it happen. I'm not sure I can really appreciate what that must have felt like.

But what a wonderful way to end one year and bring in the next.