Saturday, January 31, 2009
I think the stress of the moving situation has finally broken me down:
Exhibit One-Tonight Don and I got into a fight which we rarely do. I had spent the entire day cleaning and packing to make our house "open house worthy" and Don didn't acknowledge it when he got home. I was very "fragile" at dinner and let everything he did or didn't say upset me to the point where I was crying and hyperventilating. I'm ok now, but my eyes will be swollen for days...
Exhibit Two--I'm not proud to admit this, but I forgot to pick Gooser up at school today. His schedule is part half day and part full and I guess I had it in my head that it was a full day (when it wasn't) and was so focused on the packing that I was oblivious. His teacher called about 15 minutes after pick-up time and was like "Was he supposed to go home with someone...?" And I was like OMG! and went racing over. Gooser seemed fine but I felt awful.
So I guess what I'm trying to say is that I feel like my blog might be kind of makeshift (just like this one I'm writing now!) until things calm down around here--and also I want to apologize for not making the blog-rounds lately. I really enjoy reading and commenting on blogs, but since the majority of my time and energy are being sucked up my the house situation--I just haven't been able to. I will be back in business soon though.
Small real estate update: Mr. Howell did sign the contract, so that's one less thing to worry about, and tomorrow is the house inspection. Our house will go on the market next week so wish us luck!
I need to go sleep off my crying jag now...
Thursday, January 29, 2009
He is following in his brother's footsteps--Andy won the all-school bee four years in a row!
Here he is before the bee started:
And after (with his posse)!
With his trophies!
Can you tell he's excited!?!
Please join Candid Carrie for lots of Phriday Foto fun!!
1. Which one of your accomplishments over the past year or two do you feel best about? Why?
Well, the first thing that came to mind was the birth of Pickle. I have written on the blog before how I desperately wanted a girl, so having Pickle was a huge accomplishment for me--although I was really just lucky! But since the pursuit of having a girl was such a big part of my life for such a long time--I'm still going to consider it an accomplishment!
2. What object in your home has the greatest amount of meaning to you personally?
I guess my scrapbooks. I know everyone says that--but I really love mine, not just for all the photos, but for all the journaling I have done in them and the fun artsy stuff too.
3. What does ugly mean to you? Describe it.
That's a hard question! I don't think of the physical "ugly" (though Don does--I asked him)--I guess I think of it in terms of things like racism and meanness and "ugly" personalities. If someone is mean and selfish--I don' t care how "good looking" they are--they're ugly to me! I used a lot of quotation marks in that answer!
4. What is the most beautiful thing you have ever seen?
My kids' faces when they're sleeping. I could just gaze at them forever...
5. If you could spend the day doing anything you want without guilt of any kind...What would you do?
OK--"without guilt" would definitely translate as a food fest to me!! I love to eat and I love to see movies--So I would probably spend the entire day alternating between the two. I would go to my favorite restaurant which has very avante garde food and serves, like, 25 courses--and I would try to fit in a couple more favorite restaurants. Then at the movies I would get half Coke/half Cherry Coke (I don't drink Coke anymore--but since this is guilt-free...!) large popcorn and Twizzlers. Maybe some Sno-Caps too.
So, in short, a day of non-stop eating with some movies thrown in! And if there was time--a My Chemical Romance concert!
Thanks so much for the questions, Ronda! That was fun!
Wednesday, January 28, 2009
They offered the 3-pack of Frankenberry, Booberry and Count Chocula so I bought all three. They arrived today!
Of course, the kids were excited that a box arrived in the mail and extra excited that it was something to eat! I want you to take note of Pickle's outfit in this pic. This is her current outfit of choice--pajamas and Hello Kitty boots. She has completely turned on wearing anything other than pajamas. If I try to put an outfit on her, she's begging for jammies within an hour--so I'm going with the flow on this one! When she pairs them with boots, we can still go out and do errands.
Here's the Goose with some Booberry:
Which he also chose to sample first:
Pickle went with the Count:
Patrick asked me to surprise him so I gave him Frankenberry.
I don't know if you can tell in this pic because of the red bowl--but this cereal is BRIGHT pink!
Interesting Frankenberry trivia: "The initial run of Franken Berry contained a dye that did not break down in the body and caused the consumers stool to come out a disturbing pink. This phenomenon came to be called…wait for it…Franken Berry Stool. A new dye was quickly implemented." So now you know!
Some more interesting trivia: Two lesser-known Monster Cereals, Fruit Brute and Yummy Mummy have been discontinued.
Patrick read about Fruit Brute (fruit-flavored cereal with lime-flavored marshmallows) and is bummed they don't make it anymore--so he's signed a petition to bring it back!
The other three are still out there--but it's usually hard to find except at Halloween time!
Tuesday, January 27, 2009
I plan on boxing up as much superfluous crap as I can to make our house more saleable. Please forgive me if my blog starts to turn into nothing but musings on packing tape for awhile...
Meanwhile, we have scheduled the inspection of the new house for Saturday--that should be interesting as it's a 100 year old house and undoubtedly has some interesting issues!
But can I just stress/freak out for a second? Although we've been told that Mr. Howell has accepted our offer and asked that a few changes be made (like the amount of time we have to sell the house) he hasn't actually signed it yet. Our realtor isn't worried and says that he's just on his own weird time frame--but it makes me anxious!
Meanwhile I have a storage unit thing arriving tomorrow to put the boxes in and we need to tell the architect who's been working on our renovation about our new plans. I'm making Don tell him because I'm too scared to!
Monday, January 26, 2009
If you're really bored and you haven't read any of my past ramblings about our bizarre real estate dealings, you might want to click here and here to catch up. Otherwise, here comes the most recent installment in the craziness.
When I last updated, we upped our offer slightly on Mr. Howell's house and he never really responded. The realtor called us about a month or so later and said that he would accept a higher offer and that was about the end of it.
More recently, we brought a friend of ours in on the case who is also a broker and happens to now work in the same office as the broker that has the listing on the house.
Under his supervision, we resubmitted our offer with the same price as before, but also adding in a contingency clause to sell our house first--so it was actually inferior to our previous offer--but the market has gone down the tubes even more since then, so that's what we felt comfortable with.
We submitted this about two weeks ago--our new realtor telling us that we should get an answer in a day.
A day went by--still nothing, but the realtor said Mr. Howell needed another day to discuss it with his daughters (he's a widower). Another day...nothing.
Our realtor was getting more and more frustrated as it was nearly impossible to reach the listing agent, and when he could speak with her, details were always sketchy about why we weren't hearing back.
It all started to become laughable to me!
Then finally, on Friday our realtor called and said that the he found out the seller was working on some kind of cryptic deal and couldn't make a decision until he was finished. He wouldn't reveal what this mysterious deal was to anyone except his listing broker and she was sworn to secrecy. She would only tell us that it was "something really weird." (!!!)
At that point, we issued a kind of an ultimatum that we would "appreciate" an answer by noon on Saturday. Sooo much time had gone by and we just couldn't stand being in limbo anymore!
Of course, noon rolled by with no word, so we went on with our weekend. I headed out to get some stuff framed (including an original Little Edie poster--I'm so excited to have it!).
Anyway, while I was at the frame place, Don called to say our offer had been accepted!! I was shocked!
So, at first, I was really excited--but as the day went on, I started to feel overcome with panic.
It didn't help that when we went out to dinner to celebrate, Gooser sobbed through the whole meal because he doesn't want to move. But he started to perk up a little when I told him that the closets of the new house would make very good batcaves!
In the middle of the night, I woke up consumed with doubt and worry that we are making the wrong decision, but after talking to Don today, I feel better about it.
The next obstacle now will be selling our house--Mr. Howell changed the contract giving us only 45 days to sell. I don't know if that's even possible--but we're going to try!
In the next week or so, I'm going to be in a frenzy of cleaning and organizing--in fact, I think I'm going to box up a bunch of crap and put it in storage so my house doesn't look so cluttered.
Please wish us luck--we're going to need it!
Saturday, January 24, 2009
1. How did you and Don meet? Was it love at first site?
This is kind of a fun story! After I graduated from college I was writing for a (small) newspaper and not making a whole lot of money. My mom was the manager of an apartment building and offered me a job in the office renting apartments, etc.--plus I would get an apartment as part of the deal!
Long story short--I rented Don an apartment. I wouldn't say it was love at first sight (I was involved with someone else at the time) but I liked him a lot and thought he was really funny. Because we lived in the same building, we were always running into each other.
One day, I ran into him and suddenly remembered the dream I had the night before--which was about him. I blurted out that I had a dream about him and apparently he went to work the next day and asked his friends if that meant he should ask me out--they were like "Yeah, dude!"
So we went out and the rest is history!
2. You are so blessed to have 5 beautiful, healthy kids. It always looks like so much fun at your house. Inquiring minds want to know about each of your Fabulous Five and how they differ from one another in their own unique ways.
That's a great question, Karla! All my kids are great and they all have unique qualities.
Andy is an amazing kid and I predict that will go far in life! He is one of those that succeeds at everything he does. He has been compared to Jim Carrey on more than one occasion--he seemingly has no self-consciousness (which I think is a great thing!). He is so good with all his brothers and sister and never complains when I ask him to help. In grade school he won the school spelling bee every year he was in it and went on to win the county level and ended up coming in third in the state competition. Last year, he was the lead in the school play, Oklahoma, and was just amazing! He had to sing five or six songs and carry the whole play--people still come up to me to say how great he was! Last year he also won a state-wide science competition.
Teddy is gorgeous and super creative--a true artist. When I look at the paintings and drawings he does, I wish I could tap into his brain! He is also extremely athletic and, although he's kind of small, is really good at things like football because he's so fast. He is very interested in airplanes and claims he wants to be a pilot when he grows up--though I kind of hope he changes his tune on that! I predict he might be a rock star!
Patrick might well be a genius. I'm not kidding when I say he gets straight A+s on his report card. But it's the observations and the connections he makes that really blows me away. He is very sweet and always concerned about his family's welfare. When i was in the hospital after having Pickle--he would call on the hour to make sure I was ok! He is also a very good friend and has a devoted group of pals.
Gooser is the sweetest child ever--he doesn't have a mean bone in his body. I am actually amazed by his sweetness! I'm sure you all know how much he loves Batman--today he told me that when he's a grown-up, he is going to drive a Batmobile and wear an adult-sized Batman costume--that way everyone will think he's Batman!
Pickle is one of a kind! Being with her all day is like riding an emotional roller coaster--but mostly in a good way! She has fully embraced her role of token sister and baby of the family--and she milks it for all it's worth! She is a sweetheart and says "I wuz you Mommy" about a million times a day! I'm sure you're all well aware of her bacon addiction!
3. I’m cold right now….and I know you guys are right now too….so tell me about a big family vacation you have planned for this year. Do you know where you will be going? What will you be doing?
It's funny you should ask because I just made our reservations yesterday! We are going to California over Spring Break and we are very excited! Don's parents, brother and sister are there--so we will visit them and do some other fun things--probably not Disney because we did that last time--maybe Universal Studios? Of course we will go to my beautiful Pinkberry--probably every day!
4. If you could meet any living person in the world right now (except for Gerard Way, I know he’s a given) who would it be? What would you say?
OK, Karla--I'm sorry, but it just has to be Gerard! Seriously--he's the number one person on my list for so many reasons. I guess if you were forcing me to choose otherwise--I would love to meet Barack Obama and, after seeing The Wrestler tonight--I think I might be semi-obsessed with Mickey Rourke!
But back to Gerard--for those of you who don't know, Gerard Way is the founder and lead singer of my favorite band, My Chemical Romance. Now, I know this sounds awful after I said above that Don and I weren't love at first sight, but I swear it was love at first sight with Gerard! (Sorry, Don...) I was hooked the first time I laid eyes on him and he has become a amazing inspiration to me in so many ways. I got back into painting because of Gerard and when I listen to his music while I'm painting--I get so many ideas. I would love to tell him what a huge inspiration he has been to me.
So, yeah, I'd like to meet Gerard--and I'm confident I will some day!
5. I always wished I had a big family so we have a family ‘game night’. Does your family like to play games? Do you have a game night? If so, what games do you like to play?
Oh, we LOVE games! I would say my all-time favorite game is Pictionary--though we don't play that with the kids too often because it can be kind of hard. We don't have a game night per se, but we tend to play a lot when we're at our vacation house. We love a game called Uno Attack also Scattergories and Yahtzee (not sure if I'm spelling that right?). Don loves to play a card game called Hearts with the boys--but I haven't learned to play that yet.
I am highly competitive at board games and have had several fights--like ending up no longer being on speaking terms--with people I have played games in. My sister-in-law and I still talk about this one game of Scrabble--it wasn't pretty!
Thank you SO much Karla!! Those were great questions and I really enjoyed answering them!
Thursday, January 22, 2009
What truck me about these is that she's wearing the very first dress I ever bought her--when she was still in utero!
When I found out I was having a girl (after four boys) I tried to control myself at first and not go crazy with the girl clothes, but one day when I was at Nordstrom, they had just put out all the beautiful spring dresses and I couldn't help myself!
This dress seemed so perfect and girly--and I bought it in a size 24 month even though she hadn't been born.
But now here she is wearing it--so crazy how time flies!!
And you know what? Not only did I have an excellent time and have some great conversations with my teacher and classmates, I got lots of inspiration and started a new painting that I'm really excited about! It involves trees and blood vessels and eyes and I can't wait to get back into it!
One of the things I like about about my class is that we have a weekly assignment to do any painting of our choosing on postcard-sized paper--then we bring it in and the rest of the class looks at it from different angles and comments on different ideas or images that they see within the painting Then we use those ideas to branch out and use in our next painting. The result is a very cool sequence of small paintings. It's an exercise in creativity and I love the crazy tangents I have gone off on through these assignments.
So even though it's late and I'm sure I will regret staying up, I really want to go work on this painting some more. I'm desperate to add some blue to one area and I have to do it NOW!!
Looking forward to sharing it when I'm done!
Wednesday, January 21, 2009
At one point, she uses Meow-Meow as a pawn in her porky game. Enjoy!
Pickle's Bacon Meltdown
With guest appearances by: Meow-Meow, Petey and Gooser.
Don ended up microwaving some emergency bacon because the griddle cooking just wasn't working for Pickle.
Tuesday, January 20, 2009
As usual, is was cold (this is a window in our house).
And snowing non-stop--no swimming this weekend! Poor swimming pool...
But we decided to make the best of it and take the kids sledding. We had the sleds, but had forgotten to bring all the snow gear, so I headed off to Wal-Mart and many $$$s later had enough snow pants, boots and gloves to keep the five kids snow-proof.
We headed off to some nearby dunes to let the sled fest begin.
Point blank: I'm not fond of sledding! I'm a city girl and I don't like climbing "mountains" covered in snow. I fell like five times and *almost* started crying, plus I lost my lens cap (and my dignity) during a particularly bad spill--but it's all for the kids, right!?
And they loved it! Here's Pickle AKA The Snowbunny.
I really like these outdoorsy pics of Andy:
Action shot of Patrick!
And action shot of Don and Pickle...
Also, a non-action shot!
Oops, here's yet another one of Andy.
Just one more of Pickle...
Pretty sky/tree pic:
I don't know if you can tell in this pic, but Gooser's snowpants are hot pink! It was the only pair at Wal-Mart that was even remotely his size--he didn't seem to mind though!
Today we drove back in a blizzard (Of course! Becacuse it never stops snowing!) and I'm frazzled and exhausted. I think a nice hot bath is in order...
Monday, January 19, 2009
Well, That Was Fun...*eyeroll*
We just got back from a "getaway" at our weekend house and it was NOT fun!! Let's see... (If there's no time to read just note red highlights. )
First, I made the mistake of not putting Pickle down for her morning nap, thinking she would sleep in the car on the way there. That didn't work...apparently she got overtired to the point where she was beyond sleep and all she could do was scream. Not cry--SCREAM. At the top of her lungs and for a solid hour at least. That was inevitably followed by throwing up all over the car after which she fell asleep for the remaining 20 minutes of the drive--so we had to wake her up almost immediately.
Upon arriving at the house we noticed right away that our normally sparkling clean pool looked like something this:
might emerge from. It was dirty (like OPAQUE!) and full of leaves and other crap. Did I mention the dead chipmunk in the skimmer basket? yeah--that was pretty!
A few minutes later, Don walked, trance-like, into the kitchen and said he's forgotton his suitcase.Then the torrential rains started...and pretty much never stopped for the rest of the trip.
Let's see...some other "high"lights...
-the air conditioning stopped working.
-the cable tv stopped working.
-the dvd player stopped working.
-the baby continued to vomit in the car, in the crib and just about everywhere else. (She's just a little sick, but I think the small amount of congestion she has keeps triggering her gag reflex so the floodgates opened everytime she cleared her throat.)
-there were two more dead chipmunks in the pool over the next two days.
I'm sure there's even more that I'm blocking out!
We usually have an amazing trip every time we go--so hopefully this was just a fluke and we've gotten the bad luck stuff out of the way so we can have a great time the rest of the summer!
Sunday, January 18, 2009
So back in the late 1980's, right around the time "Say Anything" came out, my friend Christina and I were strolling around Chicago. We came across a cool, old-fashioned car (like maybe a 60's model Thunderbird or something?) and stopped to admire it. Upon closer inspection, we saw that the inside of the car was littered with crumpled-up, trampled-on fan mail addressed to John Cusack--I mean, there were thousands of letters!The windows were rolled down and being young (and stupid) Christina and I "helped ourselves" to a few of the letters and sat on the curb to read them.
Now, let me just say that I know how awful this sounds--but remember, I was very YOUNG and very STUPID! I guess our mindset was that it certainly didn't look like Cusack cared about or was ever going to read the mail, so why not...?Anyway, the letters we read were hysterical! I remember one in particular was saying how great L. Ron Hubbard was (I still remember quotes from some of these letters because Christina and I laughed about them so much)--it said "Have you ever heard of Dianetics? It's great!" Another one asked Cusack if he would go to prom with her, another one had poems written about Cusack, some included pictures...on and on...these people were crazy-obsessed with John Cusack and he was just throwing them all over the floor of his car.
So we came up with this scheme that we would write the fans back--pretending we were John Cusack. We took the letters (I know, I know!) and we wrote these absolutely hilarious letters back to the desperate fans. I think we wrote about four and each one was custom-made for the fan We praised Dianetics to L. Ron Hubbard Girl, kindly turned down the prom, told poem-guy that we dabbled in poetry too and wrote a poem for him, etc., etc.I wish that I could find copies of the letters we wrote (I'm sure I have then somewhere...) because they were truly amazing. They were masterpieces!
We decided that the only way we could send them was if we had Cusack's permission (we already feeling uneasy enough about reading/taking them) so we sent him a letter (we figured out where he lived based on where the car was parked) with the original fan letters and copies of our responses to the fans and asked him to call us if it was ok.
Point blank: John Cusack loved the idea! He called and left a message (I'm still kicking myself that I wasn't home) and said that, yes, we could send the letters and actually thanked us for doing it! He even referenced the poem we had written--you could tell he thought the whole thing was hilarious!
So we sent the letters and probably made some die-hard John Cusack fans really happy!
Saturday, January 17, 2009
Here ya go:
Meatballs: A Horror Story
This is a really gross story, read at your own risk!My dear, departed Monte was my first Italian greyhound and lived to be 16 without a sick day in his life until the very end. He was the greatest dog ever, but what I'm about to tell you was a definite low point...
Let me take you back about 15 years ago when Don and I were living in the Boston area. He was in graduate school and I was working in the management office of an apartment building. This building had several apartments that were reserved for the elderly and they were available for a very low price. Along with these price perks, the seniors were also given free hot lunches a couple times a week.Very often, there were leftover lunches and some of the sweet old ladies would bring them to me so I could take them home for dinner. They were usually pretty gross and on this particular day it was really gross--I think the lunch was supposed to be Swedish meatballs and it looked like pale lumps in a grayish sauce. I didn't want them and I was pretty sure Don wouldn't want them either (he's very squeamish about food) but I took them because I didn't want to hurt the ladies' feelings.
When I brought them home and showed them to Don, he practically backed out of the room making a choking sound. "Get rid of them!" he gagged. I would have put them down the garbage disposal but it was broken (that story would be called "When Don Poured Muriatic Acid and Fish-Tank Gravel Down the Garbage Disposal and Broke it) and I didn't want to put it in the garbage can. "Give it to the dog," Don said, still gagging.I was hesitant because I didn't usually give many table scraps to Monte, but I thought it would be a special treat for him, so I set the Styroform container on floor.The amazing thing about watching Monte consume those meatballs was that he did not chew--at all. You know those hose things that you attach to the vacuum cleaner so you can get the dirt out of the sofa cushions? It was like his snout turned into one of those hoses and he just sucked up everything in record time.Don and I watched in amazement as Monte inhaled them without even stopping to breathe.
When he was done, he stood there motionless for a moment or two. Then I saw his whole body ripple and contract and I knew he was "rejecting" the meatballs.Sure enough, the vomiting started ,and it was equally gross and amazing at the same time because when the meatballs "came back" they were perfectly intact. If he had vomited onto a platter, the meatballs and sauce would have looked "ready to serve."
It's about to get a lot grosser...
Within moments of the vomiting, Monte went back into "vacuum mode" and began re-sucking up the regurgitated meatballs. Don and I watched in horror, but this time it looked like he was going to keep them down. Monte stumbled off somewhere to sleep off his meatball-fest and Don and I went on with our evening.
Later, when we were watching t.v., Monte staggered into the room and proceeded to have the worst diarrhea attack imaginable!! I'll spare the gory details--but it was BAD!! The next half-hour or so involved a lot of screaming and swearing and crying as we tried to clean this unthinkable mess off the carpet.
Wait! There's more!
What I didn't realize was that Don was attempting to flush his wads of soiled paper towels down the toilet! By the time I noticed what he was doing, it was too late--the toilet backed up and overflowed, flooding the bathroom and adjoining hall with brown meatball-diarrhea water.And there you have what might be the grossest pet story ever!!
Friday, January 16, 2009
Take a look--it's short and cute.
Please join Candid Carrie for some Phriday Foto Pun! Happy Friday!
P.S. They're coming to pick up the snowblower tomorrow...