Tuesday, December 23, 2008
Icing on the cake - Sunday morning when he picked up the kids he tells me they are getting "spoiled" at his house for Christmas, and that his girlfriend just made $400 in tips the night before and is making a ton again that day so they have all this money! Nice huh! (not that I think she should pay his debt to me and the kids but really - is that why he figured he didn't need to work?!)
Saturday, December 20, 2008
1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Honestly it just kind of depends on the year, and my mood. I've been known to wrap all my gifts in brown craft paper (off of a GIANT roll that I ordered from Uline a million years ago) and spruce it up with fun ribbon. Then everyone told me I was boring so I stopped... I really liked that brown paper, maybe I should break it out again this year!
2. Real tree or Artificial? I've been rockin the fake tree for a LONG time and I'm over it. We have a real tree at the office and now I'm 100% convinced I need a real one next year!
3. When do you put up the tree? Typically the day after Thanksgiving - but sometimes a bit later.
4. When do you take the tree down? Early January... not really a specific time.
5. Do you like eggnog? Not so much - it has the consistency of snot, only sweet... YUCK!
6. Favorite gift received as a child? One year the only thing I wanted was a purple radio. I was absolutely sure I wouldn't get it because we didn't have much money. When I opened that radio (that I think my parents got some crazy deal on) I couldn't believe it. The tape player started eating tapes years later but my dad actually uses it to this day to listen to talk radio while he works. It always makes me smile to see my purple radio sitting in the middle of a construction zone with my dad still getting use out of it!
8. Easiest person to buy for? Ella. If it's girly girly girly she'll LOVE it!
9. Do You have a nativity scene? Yes, my brother bought it for me a long time ago and I love it!
10. Mail or email Christmas cards? I'm a loser in this department. I used to buy Christmas cards and never mailed them. Now I save the money knowing they'll never get sent anyway!
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? One year my grandma gave me blue eye shadow and a lip gloss when the rest of the grand kids, except for my brother, got Levi jeans and shirts and sleeping bags and, and, and, and.... it was really ridiculous! Buy evenly, or at least do a good job of making it LOOK even - especially for kids!
12. Favorite Christmas Movie? We used to watch Christmas Vacation every year on Thanksgiving - it was a tradition... well that and Grumpy Old Men... but this year I think it might be Elf.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? I usually try to get it done before Thanksgiving but this year that didn't even come close to happening! I don't have a start date... just before the rush starts for sure!
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Absolutely. One mans junk is another mans treasure.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? My mom's (passed down from my dad's grandma) orange rolls - yummy!!!
16. Lights on the tree? I always do white but I think I'm going to change it up next year!
17. Favorite Christmas song? I LOVE Baby it's Cold Outside!!! (one reason I love the movie Elf)
18. Travel for Christmas or stay home? A little of both.
19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeers? not so much
20. Angel on the tree top or a star? I have a star. It's my favorite ornament!
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? Hello, Santa delivers them Christmas night so Christmas morning is when you open them! <---- Heather's answer is exactly right! Oh, and If we're at my grandma Ashley's house the answer is "not until it's dark?"
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year? Cranky spazzoid shoppers!
23. Favorite ornament theme or color? I always do gold, crystal and red.. with white lights. BUT... I'm loving the colors this year so I may switch it up... oh and at work the gifts were wrapped in lime green and bright pink which was pretty cool!
24. Favorite Christmas dinner? I can't pick one answer here - I love the traditional meal at the Ashley Christmas, but we've done tamales at my house which I always love, oh and then there was the time we did fondue which was super fun!!!
25. What do you want for Christmas this year? I don't really have wants.... I'm content :-)
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
Now we have a Christmas party planned, and a secret Santa gift exchange too. I have been hearing tales of Christmas parties past and it's all very interesting. Things like "we start the liquor flowing at 8 a.m.!" No kidding?! We are going to Club 33 at Disneyland for lunch (seems appropriate considering I feel like I arrive at the Disney decorating barn for work every morning!) and we'll be taking a tour bus to the park. Apparently the alcohol continues to flow on the ride down from what I'm told.
Yesterday the support staff was called into a meeting with The BOSS. Understand that we never have an audience with the office royalty so this is clearly a huge deal! Mr. Boss proceeds to tell us that we need to be aware of how much we drink this year (read: don't get plastered... I think) and that if we are deemed, by him, too drunk to drive home by the time we arrive back at the office at 5:15 or so that he will hire a car to drive us home. Next order of business, because we apparently sit around the giant Christmas tree like a scene from Jerry Springer's Best of Holiday's Special, people were "upset" last year because of their Christmas gift. The Boss doesn't want anyone to "ruin" Christmas again this year so as a result we are to email the office administrator within a half an hour and tell her what store we want a gift card from, or a list of 3 gifts we want and they will select from our list. Ok, so I guess I don't hide my shock well. My chin hit the floor. I cannot imagine complaining about a gift from anyone but I sure as heck can't imagine complaining about a gift at work! Wait, but then again, I can't imagine a workplace where the boss actually has to lecture the employees not to get plastered at the office Christmas party!!!
I couldn't make this stuff up - it's way too crazy!
Wednesday, December 10, 2008
Five years ago my cousin had twins. She couldn’t take care of them and they were placed in foster care. They were eventually adopted by the foster parents. In August of 2003, 13 months after the twins were born she had a son. She named him Isaiah. I was at the hospital the day she had him. I changed his first diaper and fed him his first bottle. I fell in love. When he was four months old she found herself without a place to live. She asked me to take him in. At the time she said it could be for “a few weeks, months, years… I don’t know.” Honestly I was prepared then to raise him for life. However, because of the open case with the twins at the time DCFS got involved. In spite of the fact that his father (who’s name was not even on the birth certificate) had been recently released from jail after a conviction for WILLFUL harm to a child, the social worker told me to turn Isaiah over to his father. In fact the social worker said he didn’t want a white woman raising a black child and that if I didn’t give the child to the father willingly he would give the man my home address. Out of concern for the safety of the rest of my family and frankly unaware of my options at the time, I complied. I have prayed for Isaiah constantly for the last five years. I have worried about his safety and how his life would turn out.
Fast forward to Saturday night. My mom received a call from my aunt saying that Isaiah had been removed from the home he had been living in due to abuse. I immediately started contemplating what I would do if they asked me to take him in. There really wasn’t ever any doubt. In any event, yesterday I received a call from my cousin saying that DCFS wanted my contact information and details about my home and who lives with me. She asked if I would take him in. Obviously I said yes. There is still plenty of question as to what the court will decide to do. If you know anything about the children’s courts they don’t always make a lot of sense. I volunteered to meet my cousin at the court for a hearing today in part to be a support to her but also to try to get a moment with the social worker in hopes that I can convince her that I would provide a more stable and loving environment that the other option. That other possibility is actually placing him back in the same home he was removed from, which to you and me might seem an obviously poor option but as I said, with the children’s courts you really never know.
I left the house at 7 am, got to court at 8:30, only to find out that I needed cash for parking. I turned around and got cash at a nearby gas station and got back and into the court by 9. I proceeded to wait until 11:45 or so before they called our case. Upon entering the court room the judge essentially took roll, had a sidebar with the attorneys and continued the case, with no further discussion, to January 22. When we left, the attorney for my cousin said that we should get me interviewed by DCFS asap and to get that moving today. When we called them they said they couldn't do anything until I was LiveScanned and that we had to go to Torrance to do that. They said it would only take a few minutes, so we went. It took over two hours. Then I headed back to work. It should have been about an hour drive. It took three. I called work and found out that the updates I had given my coworker throughout the day had not been relayed to my boss! I left her a message, but I never made it to work. I hope I have a job in the morning!
Friday, December 5, 2008
Oh and another thing, I bought a new car! A 2008 Saturn Outlook. YEAH me! I should post pictures sometime, but as you well know I'll probably never get around to it!
Saturday, November 22, 2008
See, the thing is, it's been really hard to come up with things to write about when the thing I want most to say I can't... Yet. I think I should be able to spill the beans in a few more weeks though. I am buzzing with excitement about my announcement!
In other news, my car is on it's last leg. I need a new one! Well not a NEW one but one that, I don't know, say starts on demand with at least relative frequency. I think it would also be cool if the car would only start with the key, preferably the one that is meant to start the car. (If any of you are looking for a filthy ride come on over to my job and pick it up, it wouldn't take much to steal it!) Oh, and if the air worked that would be such a huge bonus! I mean seriously, I come in to work after lunch looking like I jumped out of a plane on my break. I could deal with it, I guess, if it was just me, but I also have at least one kid prone to car sickness. We can usually head it off with a good dose of nice cold air conditioning but when that option is no longer available then we have a problem. I have been wanting a Saturn Outlook since they came out in late 2007. I've test driven them twice. I'm excited that it seats 8 but gets better gas mileage than my van! So I'm looking. I'm not in a panic at least until the day that my van doesn't start at all but one of these days I'm going to be driving a nice new (at least to me) Outlook! WooHoo!!!
Sunday, November 9, 2008
First of all some background: My mom's childhood neighbor was named Elissa. Obviously when you know someone with a name it becomes familiar to you. My parents chose to name me after her. All is well until I was about 7 days old and they realized there was a problem. So many people had trouble saying my name that by the time I was a week old my brother, who was 22 months old at the time, told a waitress in a restaurant that my name was "Melissa without the M" or at least that's the story as I recall it.
I have spent the rest of my life doing essentially the same thing. I was probably eight when I remember laying awake at night trying to figure out how, exactly, my mom intended people to pronounce my name. Frankly, they usually just called me "liss" (or "chubby cheeks" but that's for another post). See the problem was this: Mom's whole family calls me EEEEElissa (seriously EMPHASIS ON THE E!!!!!). My Dad's family called me something closer to Eh-lissa. People at school pronounced it like Alyssa. And those are just the pronunciations that were somewhere close to right... Then there's the great uncle who, to this day calls me Aleesa, Alicia or something else that is close but really, really not right. I have only had one teacher in my entire school career who said my name right the first time. Many of them never said it right all semester!
When I say my name I say it like the letter "L" and then "issa." Oh and then there's this... I can't ever, ever say "Hi, I'm Elissa" because then I put that pesky "m" right in front of my name and the person will invariably call me "Melissa" for the rest of my life. I learned (probably right around that lying awake incident) that I have to say "hi, my name is Elissa" or I was doomed to be mispronounced! You would think that seeing it written would help, but that only seems to make it worse!
... and my brother's name is Mark. How many times do you think someone has said his name wrong in his whole life?! :~)
Saturday, November 8, 2008
So, I recruited Ella and Abby to unload the dishwasher. Isaiah loaded it. The kids cleaned their rooms, well they did a kid version of cleaning their rooms which means at least I know there is still carpet in there. I cleared out the textbooks and the drawers and cabinet beneath them. While I was at it I cleaned out my desk. I filled an entire trash bag. Then I found my piano under all the crap that had piled up. I organized and moved all my important junk into the desk... you know where important junk should go. I managed to get the mountain of dirty laundry moved to the garage. Then I realized I'm out of laundry soap, oh... and toilet paper too, but the kids are napping now so I guess I'll have to get to all the laundry tomorrow! As for the T.P., if I get desperate at least I know I have good neighbors!
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
All the political wrangling of the last few months had me dizzy. I was sick of all of it. I wanted it to end! I was tired of political signs every 3 feet and swarms of people begging me to honk at every street corner.
I am amazed, I must say, that in this state we value farm animals more than human lives. That two consenting gay adults cannot get married (and where you stand on that issue isn't the point but rather the contrast of that fact to this one:) but a 10 year old girl can get an abortion without her parents even knowing it truly blows my mind. What kind of sense does that make? That little girl couldn't get ibuprofen at school, a pair of prescription eyeglasses, or even cold medicine without parental consent, but we will allow her to have the life of her unborn child suctioned from her womb without any thought. All the while we want to make REAL sure that animals headed for slaughter as food have enough room to stretch their legs/wings etc. while they wait! Ridiculous!
You can all call me crazy but I am just plain confused at how this stuff makes any sense.
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
I ended up picking a really cool looking white pumpkin. Then I started trying to come up with an idea. I had one of those light bulb moments but kind of wondered if it would be lame... Finally I turned to my trusty friend the internet. Lo and behold I'm not the first person to come up with the idea. Needless to say I probably won't win any awards, but at least I won't return with a naked pumpkin!
He will be sitting on a Fed Ex box when I put him on display... just to add a little something to his relevance. Just in case you are wondering, yes - I know that movie is soooooo last decade, or maybe even last century, but it was the best I could come up with!
As for the coffin's, I make a mean brownie, so I decided to put my strength on a platter. I also am fairly handy with some cake decorating tools so we'll see how it goes. I'm baking and cutting out the shapes tonight. Then I'll wrap them up and freeze them so that I can decorate on Thursday night. I'll post pictures of those when they're done if I remember... but they smell YUMMY! Oh, and as an added bonus - tonight, I'm eating brownie scraps!!!
Wednesday, October 22, 2008
There is a "candy," disguising itself in a Hershey Kiss wrapper, that is unworthy to be consumed by any human - much less be considered candy! Now, I don't know exactly what it is called but it's some kind of holiday bull crap with spices. I think it must be white "chocolate" (anything white calling itself chocolate is NOT chocolate - but that's a whole 'nother blog) colored about the shade of pumpkin pie and flavored with the spice mix meant to go in pumpkin pie. It is horrible. I mean truly awful - DON'T TRY THIS AT HOME!
My boss - who I'm convinced at this point must be trying to make me vomit in the stairwell for sport (I'm wondering if Adam put her up to it?) - put a bowl of these by the sign in/out sheet on the third floor. I grabbed one on the way out and popped it in my mouth before heading down the stairs. I realized as soon as it's foul meltiness hit my taste buds that it was a mistake, but there was no remedy. I am stuck running down three flights of stairs with this horrendous excuse for a candy in my mouth. I ran out the door at the bottom floor, knowing that my rescue was near. I reached for the trashcan by the desk of our door man and SPAT that nasty thing out!
I think I may never live it down with the two coworkers who witnessed the event but I have learned my lesson. Never trust a Hershey's Kiss - they are no longer an innocent sweetness in a cute silver wrapper - they are trickery, madness, pure unadulterated BLECH!
Consider yourself warned!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
Today I decided I was sleeping in! The kids didn't go to their dad's so I didn't have to get them ready early. I woke up around nine thirty. I don't remember the last time I slept that late! I did finally go through a bag of junk that Drew gave me about a week ago. He said there were clothes for the kids in the bag. Most of it was too small, or too stained to actually use. I now have a giant bag of trash in my living room but at least I can check sorting through all that junk off my list! Now I have a week worth of laundry to do and last weeks laundry still needs to be folded... ugh... it never ends! I did enlist the help of the kids to get the dishes done. Obviously, I still have tons to do but I'm taking a break now, it's nap time!
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Friday, October 10, 2008
Friday, October 3, 2008
Sunday, September 21, 2008
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Last night however... She literally bled everywhere. I haven't checked the carpet thoroughly yet but it wouldn't surprise me if I found some spots. She managed to bleed on my side of the bed, her side of the bed, the middle of the bed, the blanket on top of the bed, the sheet in about a dozen places, I mean EVERYWHERE! Plus the bleed wouldn't stop. (which, in my awake mind, is probably why she managed to bleed in so many places!) I had to pinch her nose with tissue to keep it from bleeding. We both fell asleep like that. Oh, and the superhero mommy I am, I covered the bed in towels (red ones thank you) and we went back to sleep. I'm off to bleach my sheets now. Happy Saturday to me!
Thursday, September 18, 2008
In other news, today I found out that my work only pays for junior college - not the next two years... which is AWESOME... since I already have my associates. So much for that. I think I might get some loans and finish anyway because I really want to be able to move up in a career.
Another thing I found out is that somehow the firm administrator has decided that the office clerk and I are salaried and exempt. In other words she won't pay overtime. She says that "it all works out in the end" because if I have to go to the doctor or something she won't deduct it from my pay so it's a wash.
Except that I'm not as dumb as I may appear and the way I'm looking at it I don't think it ever comes out even for me. First of all my start time is 8:15 a.m. but she wants me there to sign in, turn on lights, check voicemail, turn on the computer, start coffee, and switch the phones off night service and I have to do all of that before my start time so that I can be at my desk ready to answer my phone by 8:15. Basically I need to be there ten minutes early every day. Then there's the fact that I have to be back from lunch by 2 p.m. every day. That sounds easy except that my lunch depends on someone being there to cover my desk so that I can leave. I'm supposed to get an hour but if my desk isn't covered until 1:15 p.m. then I have to shorten my lunch or risk getting in trouble for not being back by 2.
Basically on a daily basis I work an extra 20 minutes. That's just the regular stuff, never mind that there are special circumstances that she wants me to come in almost an hour early to prepare for depositions that get put on calendar for a time before the office is even open. I realize that the regular twenty minutes a day over eight hours isn't much, and I wouldn't really care except that she keeps telling me it will "all balance out" and that I'm "salary" - which in her vocabulary means exempt from overtime. By my calculations just at straight time (not time and a half which it should be since it's over 40 hours per week) I will work an extra 6 hours and 40 minutes a month. Over the course of a year that's easily ten extra days of work. I'm absolutely certain she's not planning on giving me an extra two weeks of vacation (or sick time) every year to compensate.
But alas, I cannot complain. At least not to anyone who can do anything about it... seeing as complaining to the powers that be could cost me the job altogether.
Monday, September 15, 2008
Saturday, September 13, 2008
I took this one standing where the garage connects to my parents bathroom/closet area at the end of the house... at the opposite end (at the far end of that runway of flooring) is my bedroom... :) In between there will be my parents bedroom, living room, kitchen, the laundry room and a bathroom, my kitchen and great room, the guest room, Isaiah's room, the GIANT sized girls room, and then my room. I guess in the picture it doesn't look that big but... it's HUGE!
This picture was taken from what will be my living room, right in front of what will be my fireplace, looking towards the three car garage - even more of the garage is framed now!
Tuesday, September 9, 2008
Then we headed over to Victoria Gardens. We wandered through Borders looking at books, magazines, movies, calendars (Some of them with very interesting daily phrases! For example, at a price of around ten bucks you can have a calendar with quotes like "Butter my butt and call me a biscuit!"), and well, a little bit of everything. After Borders we wandered Victoria Gardens and talked. Then we stopped a Cheesecake factory for a slice to go.
For my birthday Brian bought me a new lunch box. Now, this might seem a little funny to most of you but, he knows that I've been "borrowing" Ella's lunch bag from her backpack set to take my lunch to work every day because I didn't have my own lunch box. Not only did he get me something totally useful but it's super cute too. In fact it's so cute that it was the talk of the office yesterday. People were all asking aroung to find out who's cool lunch box was in the fridge. I'd post pictures but... I'm feeling lazy so I'll do it another time. I can stop borrowing Ella's now that I have my own. He also got me Les Miserables the movie and some super cute pens.
After our Victoria Gardens excursion we watched Les Mis and ate cheesecake, yummy! It was the perfect birthday before my birthday!
Not enough sleep because I stayed up late watching Les Miserables with Brian for my birthday the night before.
Get ready and leave for work.
My car seatbelt (which is one of those old school automatic ones) is broken - fortunately it's in the seatbelt "on" position, but the motor decides to run the entire time I'm driving today.
I stop for gas.
I realize my atm card is missing.
I have lost my atm card for the first time in my entire life. UGH!
Drive to work on "E" trying to figure out how I'm going to score access to my money so I can get home.
Realize that I'm pretty sure Taco Bell has my atm card.
Call Taco Bell about 20 times.
My drive to work takes me an extra ten minutes so I get to work two minutes late.
Get a very cool card on my desk at work signed by everyone I work with, and my little buddy Evan who left the firm a week ago.
Get thru to Taco Bell and locate my atm card, SIGH of relief!
Go to the trailer at the property to see my kids.
The garage is framed - holy cow this is cool!!!
They give me the coolest gifts ever!
A bracelet they picked out.
A Burts Bees lip stick.
A new nail polish color (I'm obsessed with polish)
And the BEST thing of all - a scrapbook they all put together of their trip to Riley's Farm with The Grove homeschool group. I missed it on account of my working mom status and that had been a rough day so this was a really awesome gift! I almost cried.
Then we went to dinner at Portillos - never been there before - it was good and very cool. Fast food, but not really fast food.
Cupcakes for birthday cake.
Dad screws my seatbelt down so the stupid motor will stop running - this might actually be the best thing he could have given me for my birthday - a little sanity!
Drove towards home.
Drove thru Taco Bell and picked up my atm card.
Got home with four sleeping kids.
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Sorry she looks bug eye-d but she was SUPER excited about that tooth being gone finally! It has caused her nagging pain for days at least. Tonight she says "Mom, will you pull my tooth?" So I said "Sure!" Well, in my experience that request is followed swiftly by a "No, don't do it, it's gonna hurt." Complete with a locked jaw. Not Abby! She opened right up and it came out with basically no effort at all. Yeah Abby!
As a side note the tooth fairy has a terrible time remembering to arrive at our house on lost tooth nights. She usually makes it within a day or two. She is far worse since there has only been one parent in this house. I can't for the life of me figure out why.
What's a tooth fairy to do when a tooth comes out right at bedtime and there is no time to run to the store for cash? Luckily, I have a small stash in my purse she can borrow - that is IF she remembers to stop here tonight!
Wednesday, September 3, 2008
So, how's that for stupid?
Sunday, August 31, 2008
Oh, and if somehow it's mine - I'm still not going! You all better throw a big party, eat some good food, and have a few drinks. While you're at it maybe you could ditch your filter and say things that will make my brother have to "go to the bathroom" or something out of embarrassment. I don't know but I do know that I'm done with funerals for a while.
Tuesday, August 26, 2008
It is an interesting loss for me. I was not particularly close to the man who's life was punctuated by drug use and abuse of his family for the vast majority of the time I knew him. He was, in spite of those negative qualities, an amazingly talented man. He could play the harmonica insanely well. It was not an instrument I ever would have thought to appreciate so much before I heard him play. I'll never hear a harmonica again with out thinking of him... well him and Grandpa Bob Guier. To be fair he could also be incredibly sweet. He rarely called me by my name, most often he called me "baby."
Life changed for Al when he chose to follow Christ several years ago. His life changed drastically. His face had a softness I hadn't ever seen in him before. It wasn't a change that was permanent and easy. He struggled, and failed, but in the end he claimed faith in Christ.
The last conversation I had with him was just before Father's Day in June of this year. Prior to that I hadn't spoken with him since the night Drew and I split and on that night he was spewing hatred and venom at me. In our last conversation though, he told me he was sorry, and that he loved me. I told him I loved him too.
I made plans to go visit him last week but he didn't want visitors in the hospital, so I told the family to let him know that I'd come see him when he was home. I didn't get the chance.
This loss is not as hard for me personally as the loss of Karissa, not even close. It is breaking my heart though to know that, in the morning when their dad tells them, my kids hearts will break one more time. They are going to grow up to be the most resilient people on the planet for all the heartbreak they have endured in the last few years. I think my kids are my heroes.
Thursday, August 21, 2008
The problem is that I trade cars with my mom every morning at work so she has the van with the kids. I decided to bring my computer because I can hang out online when I eat lunch alone at Panera, which I planned on doing yesterday. Well, not only did I not eat lunch alone at Panera, which then meant that bringing my computer to begin with was a wasted effort, but then I forgot to get it when we switched cars back at the end of the day. ARGH!
In my boredom I gave myself a pedicure last night. Then I did the unthinkable... I turned on the TV! I watched two of the US divers take a leap off an insanely tall platform and flipped through the channels a few times before I was tired of it and turned it back off.
Tonight we went to dinner at the Old Spaghetti Factory or as Sophia calls it the Owd Skabetti Factowee. That place is beautiful! We (I say in the "corporate" sense, since the "we" who paid was named Dad) paid for two adult meals and got four kids dinners free because we brought in a list of 5 books that each of the kids had read. My dad laughed that it cost less to eat there than it would have to buy us all In N Out. I'm stuffed and I have leftovers for lunch tomorrow.
Oh, and one more bit of good news - this oh so exciting post was brought to you via my laptop - which I remembered to bring home today!
Thursday, August 14, 2008
This is where I start the hike... and yes I use it.
The view on the way up...
This used to be a HUGE waterfall. The first few times we hiked here there was a giant bank of snow extending from just left of the waterfall in this picture. It has melted and the volume of water is less the farther we get from winter but I know it will be full again next year!
Believe it or not this is the view from right next to those porta potties!
If a tree falls in the mountain... Brian is standing on a tree that has fallen across a stream. He walked across it... I took pictures and stayed on solid ground! I would say I stayed where it was "safe" but I'll post a picture in another blog that could prove otherwise!
Some random stuff:
I went out to the property last night. Had dinner in the trailer with the fam... 4 kids, mom, dad and me at a table smaller than a standard four seater restaurant booth. Good times! Pretty exciting progress is being made on the house. The walls have been framed to the floor level and dad said we might have some of the floor done in the next week. Not like actual inside residential flooring but what I think is called "sub" floor. Then the walls of the house will start to be framed!
Another thing, a while back I went on a hike. I took a bunch of pictures... I don't know if any of them are good but I'm uploading them as I type this and I'll post a few like I said I would forever ago.
Lately I'm tired a lot and can't figure out how I'm supposed to balance this whole full time working mom gig. For the moment my normally messy house has become my downright filthy house. Too bad I don't make enough to hire someone to clean it...
Saturday, August 9, 2008
I think though I learned another, probably even more important, lesson. In my job, the MOST critical task I face is to anticipate EVERY problem and avert the crisis BEFORE the office administrator is aware it existed. In short... I'm going to learn to read minds and run interference. Did you know how much I love that kind of thing?
On the personal side of things the people I work with are all very nice. I think my favorite part of the job so far though is that I've been told at least twenty times that I have an amazing phone voice and perfect diction. Yeah me!!! Wait, that's not my favorite part of the job, I lied. If I'm being completely honest I'd probably admit that my favorite part of the job is be the real life paycheck - as opposed to that thing I used to get from the diner that was masquerading as a paycheck.
I paid off two debts on Thursday night. I'm on a mission. I'm getting OUT of debt!
Tuesday, August 5, 2008
My dad has been working on our house... well he has been, but now I'm thinking we've just hit another snag. Last night my parents got a call that their house on the mountain (which is their primary residence) had been flooded with water from a broken pipe for about a week. They haven't been home in that time because my dad has been working so hard at trying to get things moving at our property, so they've been staying down there in the trailer.
The house is old. The floors are all wood. Well, now they're all buckled, waterlogged wood. Just another project for my dad to work on, with all the time he doesn't have.
You know what's funny? For a lot of people their house flooding, tools and workshop being destroyed, and a ton of other damage, would be considered a big deal. In my family... it doesn't even make the list of the top ten worst things that have happened in the last two years.
Someone spoke to me today the time tested words of wisdom "God doesn't give you more than you can handle." You know what I think? I think I'd like God to stop trusting my family so darned much! I'd love for us all to have a year of the easy life... Anyone know where God keeps the sign up forms for winning the lottery? At very least I think we should get to opt out on the next round of crap.
Friday, August 1, 2008
Then there is the matter of my kids. They are beyond tired but they miss me. They refuse to go to sleep. They've been in bed for a good hour and a half and the younger two are tired to the point of uncontrollable crying and yet... they are awake.
I'm not a nice mommy tonight. I want a quiet house. I want to go to sleep. I haven't gotten anything done that I want and need to get done. In all likelihood I'll probably fall asleep while on the phone trying to have a conversation with Brian once the kids crash.
Oh, that and the dog won't stop barking!
On a positive note... I LOVE my new job. I enjoy the people and I'm really looking forward to learning everything that they need me to know. There have been several comments about how happy they are to have me. Specifically it has been mentioned that people have made a point of telling my boss know what a good job I'm doing. To tell you the truth that feels really nice!
Once I get this internal clock thing worked out, and the kids are acclimated to this new life, it will all be a lot smoother!
Wednesday, July 30, 2008
Anyway - I'm off to work... no aftershocks today please! I'm on the second floor - talk about feeling the earth move.
Monday, July 28, 2008
There are a lot of little details to learn. For instance, one person does not get voicemail - ever! So I have to remember to take written messages for them. Several others get all their calls screened but others I can just transfer directly. There is some very specific language they want me to use that isn't necessarily first nature but I'll get that down soon I'm sure. That kind of thing I had to do at the diner so it's really not any different here - just a different script.
I learned how to process the mail, and log medical records... there is a lot involved with that but it will be second nature in about a half a second - I got it all done myself today (while they trained me) even though it was my first day. I know there is a lot more to learn but I'm not worried about it at all now... just super excited!
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Thursday, July 24, 2008
So as it turns out I am on my own today. I have to exchange a bathing suit that I bought for Abby that was too small. Then I think I'm going to steal Brian and go for a hike. I'm going to try to remember to bring my actual camera - as opposed to being stuck with my crappy camera phone. If I remember, and if I get any decent pictures I'll post them.
Wednesday, July 16, 2008
Tuesday, July 15, 2008
It was cool because he got to meet a bunch of my friends. It was nice too that I didn't have to worry quite so much about the fact that I couldn't be at the fire pit and on the water at the same time.
We all had a blast! It was 9:30p.m. before we left the beach, bundled in sandy towels and carrying a sleeping Sophia. It was tons of fun!
Saturday, July 12, 2008
I keep wondering when I'll feel like life is "fine" again... how long does it take to get from hell back to somewhere that even vaguely resembles fine?
Then there's this... I think there's a part of me that's afraid to ever be fine again.... because in my experience "fine" doesn't seem to last very long. I'm tempted to list the crap that we've been through as a family in the last few years but I won't because, to be honest, even the most horrific things we've been through up to this point seem like a party compared to the horror of missing Karissa.
Wednesday, July 9, 2008
Last night I had a crazy dream
A wish was granted just for me
It could be for anything
I didn't ask for money
Or a mansion in Malibu
I simply wished, for one more day with you
One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again
I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day with you
First thing I'd do, is pray for time to crawl
Then I'd unplug the telephone
And keep the TV off
I'd hold you every second
Say a million I love you's
That's what I'd do, with one more day with you
One more day
One more time
One more sunset, maybe I'd be satisfied
But then again I know what it would do
Leave me wishing still, for one more day
Leave me wishing still, for one more day
By: Diamond Rio
Yesterday, after only 3 short years with us, Karissa went to be with Jesus. I can't describe the pain I feel. I can't express how sad my kids were when I told them that their cousin had died. Most of all I can't even begin to wrap my brain around the pain Mark and Adrianne are feeling and the Grand Canyon sized hole that has been left in their hearts.
I think, in the case of our family, if we didn't have a HOPE then we would never be able to get through this pain. We cling to the thoughts of Karissa in heaven, seizure free, running without falling, and perfectly able to express everything she could not express to us in her earthly body... all of that, and doing "tickle arms" with Jesus.
Wednesday, July 2, 2008
Wednesday, June 25, 2008
I am however still looking for a job. A "real" job as I like to call it. I know it's out there somewhere... and I'll find it when the timing is right!
(Just an FYI in case you don't know "expo" is short for "expeditor." An expeditor is someone who pulls the prepared dishes from the kitchen, checks them for accuracy, assembles the entire order for a table, and delivers it to the table... we are basically servers who just don't take the order. Oh, and I make shakes, sundaes and banana splits too)
Monday, June 23, 2008
To try and make it seem slightly less ridiculous that it took so long to have a party for them I should mention that I tried to do it earlier but the place they wanted to go was booked for two months ahead... I knew the party was going to come after their birthdays to begin with but this scheduling issue made it downright silly.
When Ella was turning 5 I was so excited because I had decided that for each of my three girls fifth birthday's I was going to take them to tea. For Ella we did that - in formal dresses and tiara's and everything. It was so much fun and so girly. When I started planning this tradition Ella was about to turn four and Abby was not yet two. At that point the fullness of Abby's personality had not yet surfaced. When Abby was about to turn four I started talking to her about how "next year" she was going to get to have her 5 year old tea party. (not five year old tea... but a party for a five year old... you got that, right?!) Well she immediately scrunches up her face and says "I don't want a tea party! I'm gonna have a gymnastics party." Her only experience with gymnastics was a party we had been to about a year earlier. Well, that and the fact that she tumbles, literally, through her entire day - every day. A patch of grass is an invitation to tumble... well, then again, so is a patch of carpet... or any other soft enough surface.
I gave up my dream of a tea party tradition, clinging to the hope that Sophia will let me throw her a tea party when she turns five, and started planning for a gymnastics party.
Ella basically had to go along for the ride... she had fun too even if her natural tendency is tea parties and not gymnastics.
Friday, June 20, 2008
Tuesday, June 17, 2008
Funny to watch a 9 year old who loves basketball get to watch a game and be that intense about it. He hadn't gotten to watch any of the other games in the finals because he was either with his dad or I was working so this is the only one he got to see... and we lost. I guess it was a good lesson though. I actually found myself saying the words "sometimes it's ok to not win, you just have to always do your best."
Friday, June 13, 2008
Thursday, June 12, 2008
I talked to my former father in law yesterday for the first time since the day my ex and I split. The last time I heard his voice he was threatening to kill me if his son hurt himself because I "left" him. Needless to say I was a little nervous to make the call. I'm glad I did. We had a short sweet conversation right before the doctors came to take him to CT.
Today my parents stopped by the hospital where he is currently going stir crazy in Hollywood. They had a great visit with him. He talked about his church - which he has apparently started going to again in the last year. He also told them how sad he was that he hadn't heard from his son.
I called him again tonight. He said he's still waiting to find out the plan of attack... actually he said he's waiting for the doctors to finish "jibber-jabbering" and tell him what's next. He is sick and tired of being cooped up in a hospital room with nothing to do.
I told him I'd come see him as soon as he was home since I can't take the kids in to the hospital anyway - not to mention that driving to Hollywood with four kids sounds like a nightmare of it's own.
If you think of it I know he and the family would appreciate your prayers!
So tonight was "family night" in my house. The start of my problem is most likely the fact that it occurred by default because I happen not to be working tonight so it's just me and the kids. Then there's the fact that "family night" consisted of a trip to Target so the kids could buy a father's day gift for their dad, my ex. Followed by the lovely bonding experience that is the Taco Bell drive thru... and finally Mary Poppins on dvd.
Yep, I'm a rockstar... you can tell me, because I already know.
Wednesday, June 11, 2008
"Does he love me I wanna know
How can I tell if he loves me so
Is it in his eyes?
Oh no you'll be deceived
Is it in his eyes?
Oh no he'll make believe
If you wanna know if he loves you so
It's in his kiss
That's where it is"
Is there a cure for this? Or maybe I just infected you too? ha ha!
Tuesday, June 10, 2008
Also my former father in law is very sick. He is not eligible for a transplant. The doctors are starting chemo today. I should know more in the next couple of days... but it's not looking good.
Thursday, June 5, 2008
All that sounds great right... except that now, with gas creeping ever closer to $5 a gallon and my guess that it will probably go a LOT higher, I'm thinking 27 miles a gallon isn't nearly enough. So I start doing what I do best. I start digging around online. I find this company that manufactures fully electric vehicles in the US that isn't just some prototype for politicians. I mean they actually make them and sell them right now. The even crazier thing is that they aren't expensive. They sell a minivan style vehicle that looks a little like the boxy Volkswagen van and it's retail price is under $20,000! Are you kidding? My car payment would be less than the cost of a month worth of gas!
There are drawbacks - like the fact that this particular vehicle can go only around 70 miles on a charge... but honestly I VERY rarely go farther than that anyway. I can always recharge at my destination because it uses a standard plug. If I need to I can keep the car I currently have for those random long trips anyway. Here's what I think may be the coolest part. We are going to have solar electricity at my new house. Which means that there would be exactly ZERO cost for fuel. I think that sounds great! Today I requested more information about the cars from the company that makes them.
Now if I could just get a job so that looking at cars to begin with doesn't seem so... cart before the horse!
Wednesday, June 4, 2008
Tuesday, June 3, 2008
And now for some other randomness...
Last night the owner came in to my work. I asked him about the specific measure of ice cream that is supposed to go in our shakes. I asked him because the recipe calls for 12 oz but I recently discovered that, using the system we have been given to fill shake containers with ice cream, we are only putting 9 or 10 oz's in. I brought this to the attention of two managers. One was afraid to make a change because if a "big boss" measured a shake cup it would weigh too much and he didn't want to get in trouble. The other one said "the shakes look full enough to me and Carlos doesn't want to change it." I inferred that the reasoning was the same. So I figured when I had one of those "big bosses" attention I'd ask them - if they don't want to fix the problem then fine but at least I'd have tried right?! So when the owner asked how things were going or if there were any problems I wanted to talk about I mentioned it. He said "We do the right thing, all the time. If the recipe calls for 12 oz that what we do. We aren't going to steal from our customers!" Can I tell you how great it was to hear that from the OWNER?! Anyway so he set Carlos straight... except that as it turns out the one manager had never even talked to Carlos about it... she just pulled his name out of her backside... because that's how she rolls. Carlos comes to me and tells me never to tell the owner something that I haven't come to him directly with first. The Owner walks up in the midst of this and tells the manager that it is unacceptable for him to scold me for that. He says I should feel free to talk to him about anything at all and at any time without fear of reprisals. Ahh, the joys. At some point the owner tells me he should make me manager because he really appreciates that kind of attention to detail. I tell him I don't want to be a restaurant manger - I don't want the stress - but now I'm thinking maybe I should ask if they have any openings at the corporate office because that would be more my style. Maybe next time I see him I'll ask. After all I'm applying for every other possible job opening I can find!
Monday, June 2, 2008
On a more positive note - I do think that this was a good starting point. I got to practice leaving my kids 15 to 20 hours a week before I jumped in and started working 40 or so. In any event I'm now applying for every job I can find that I'm even remotely qualified to do.
I also called the Riv. Co. Sheriffs Dept. again today and they said (again) that I'm still in it but there's some "bad news." The next two dispatch academies are full so I should not expect to hear anything until probably August. All the more reason to find a job in the meantime I guess!
Oh, and I hiked again yesterday... it's probably been about a month since the last time I hiked. I'm sore today.
Friday, May 30, 2008
Today was the day. We got their hair done and they were beaming! Both of the girls love their new hair. Then after Ella's was done she says "Dad's gonna yell at me! He's gonna be SOOOO mad!" Well I texted him a picture and said that the girls really liked their new hair but that Ella was afraid he was going to yell at her so to be nice about it. Well he responded that we needed to "talk" about my "decision to cut their hair!" UGH! Are you kidding me? We have to disagree about something THAT petty? Especially when it was a sweet and giving gesture for the girls to donate their hair!
Oh, and Isaiah got his hair done too - for good measure, though he didn't donate any of his!
Thursday, May 29, 2008
Anyway I'm ready for a grown up job... like yesterday! First I'd like to be doing something fulfilling - with a bent toward public service... oh and something over minimum wage would be fantastic! Anyone know of a job opening?
This viewing marathon started because my dad left the TV on when my parents left the house tonight. On a whim I started flipping channels. I ended up on National Geographic. I watched Prison Nation... then some show came on about the "Chupacabra" and now the "Loch Ness Monster." I actually watched Prison Nation... the next two shows have just been background noise. Seriously they are so irritating I am reminded why I don't watch tv.
The only show I haven't given up is LOST because, really, it's the best show on television. Thought to be honest I don't watch it on TV anyway so I guess it doesn't really count. Gotta love having the ability to watch it online!
The funny thing about it is that I never realized how much commercials are a part of our culture until I hadn't seen one in nearly a year. People make references to them and I am completely in the dark! Oh, and then there's the fact that I haven't seen an ad for a single movie so I have absolutely no idea what is out, has come out, or will come out soon. Anybody have a movie to recommend - I'm sure I haven't heard anything about it!
Monday, May 26, 2008
Thursday, May 22, 2008
Tuesday, May 20, 2008
Monday, May 19, 2008
Saturday, May 17, 2008
Monday, May 12, 2008
So I was pretty much ok after that with a couple of quick exceptions but I had a killer headache all day.