Saturday, September 26, 2009

Weekly Brewer Update

Quick update so my friends from "away" won't think that I'm ignoring them:

1) I lost 5.4 pounds last week which put me in second place in the Biggest Loser contest at work for that week. The first place winner, a dear friend of mine, is a skinny little witch who shouldn't even be allowed to play, what with her resemblance to a toothpick and all. Since I love her dearly, I'll allow it, but I really want to force-feed her a milkshake. And a side of curly fries.

2) I probably won't place in the top 3 this week because we had Spirit Night at Zaxby's Thursday for school and everything on their menu has, like, a thousand and one calories in it. Yum. I had a grilled Zensation Zalad which was yummy. Unfortunately their website only had the nutritional information posted for the fried chicken salad, so I counted it instead of the grilled chicken. Even with the overinflated calorie count, I still finished within my limit for the day, so maybe I didn't do too much damage Thursday night. I can't say the same for Friday because...

3) I had a Miche purse party Friday night, which was an absolute blast. I LOVED having people over to my new house. I bought/cooked mostly healthy stuff for us to eat since three of us are playing Loser: corn, black bean, and spicy Ro-tel (no cheese, just the ingredients listed) with Baked Tostitos Scoops tortilla chips, Fritos scoops for the non-Losers, chicken taquitos with light sour cream, veggie tray, watermelon, pineapple, Tahini hummus with All Bran crackers, reduced fat Triscuits, and pita chips. Mmm. Now I'm hungry again. It was healthy stuff, but I ate a ton of it.

Oh, and for the first time since we moved into the house on June 12th, there was alcohol here--two kinds of wine and "Phantom Parrots" (a drink my friend Kat invented that consists of Parrot Bay Coconut Rum and orange soda--she used Fanta which is where the name came from). Of course, I used diet orange soda, but that coconut rum has lots of calories. Yum. It tastes like you're drinking summer. I can't wait to get my new purses--as soon as I figure out which ones I want to order. I know I'm getting the closet organizer because...

4) I spent the day cleaning out my closet. It was already clean, but I was trying to box up all my summer stuff to make room to bring in my fall/winter stuff from storage. Did I mention that I am the only girl in the family and I have the smallest closet in the house? Not sure if I've mentioned that before. Anyway, I pulled in some of the Sterilite storage boxes (pink, naturally) from the garage, sorted all the clothes, and started the many, many loads of laundry it would require to insure that my clothes were free of spiders and the smell of gasoline from the mowers. I've come to the conclusion that I either need fewer clothes (not gonna happen) or a bigger closet (not possible). Since neither of those are options, I'm trying to streamline my organization system--thus the Miche closet organizer. I still haven't unpacked the sweaters, sweatshirts, blazers, jackets, and coats. Ugh. I think I may end up claiming part of the boys' closets by the time winter is here. Can you believe it's almost the end of September...?

5) Dan had a great September with AFLAC, and it's not even over yet. I'm so very, very proud of him. If he keeps that up, we'll be able to afford those granite countertops sooner than I thought! And maybe more purses! If you need supplemental insurance, Dan can hook you up because Mama needs some new counters. And a fence. And a downstairs bathroom. And a vacation because...

6) This week will end the first nine-week grading period and I've survived it so far. Actually, I have a really great class this year, but nine weeks is a long time. We'll have three days of school next week, then parent-teacher conferences, then I'll be off work for TEN DAYS!! Maybe I'll finally have time to take my dog to the vet because...

7) Lily is still allergic to something and we can't figure out what. She scratches all the time, chews on the base of her tail giving herself "hot spots," occasionally breaks out in hives, and rubs her face on the carpet. The mother of a student in my class who volunteers in my room said that her brother's dog's vet said that labs are notoriously allergic to goldenrod. (Did you follow that six degrees of separation, or do you need a minute to reread that sentence?) Or maybe she's allergic to cats, like the one who is now living on our patio...

8) Snowball is still here. Sometime soon Dan's going to have to take her to get her shots and have her spayed so she doesn't show up pregnant or rabid (or both) one day. But now I'm worried that Lily is allergic to Snowball and that this allergy thing won't go away. Lily and Snowball have become great friends. Well, for a few minutes, until Snowball gets tired of being sniffed and head-butted, and then she goes under my car where the dog won't fit. When she feels like slumming and allowing the dog to pay attention to her, she rubs her face up against Lily and curls herself around the dog's legs, rubbing up against her over and over again. It's so cute, but I really don't want to get attached to this cat if Lily is allergic to her. The boys are in love with her, so she's probably going to stay. And speaking of the boys...

9) Ryan had his first middle school chorus concert Monday night and he was great. We could pick his voice out of the crowd, mostly because there wasn't much of a crowd in the tenor and bass sections. There are a bazillion girls, but there aren't as many boys in the chorus here as there were in the magnet school. Still, he stood out because he's really, really talented, if I do say so myself. He was happy that they don't have to dress up for concerts at this school. The eighth-grade choir members designed a T-shirt for the group to wear. It's blue camouflage and says "Cougar Chorus," the colors and mascot of the school. It's so cute to hear the boys at this age because their voices are too low to sing with the girls, but not low enough to sing the "man notes." It won't be long, though. He's growing up so fast. And so is his brother...

10) Aaron continues to win the hearts of his teachers at school. He and I have quite a lot of time alone before school each morning after we drop Ryan off, and he's a pretty cool person to be around. He was helping me with some tasks the other day and it occured to me that after this year, I'll only have him there with me in elementary school for two more years. And at that time Ryan will be in high school. Then my brain imploded and I had to lie down.

So that's our week in review. Join us back here again next weekend at the castle when I finally have time to blog again.

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Twelve is Way too Close to Thirteen

Today my oldest son turned twelve. Twelve. As in, yikes he's way too close to being a teenager.

In fact, this is the last year that we will be without a teenager in the house for the next ten years. Ugh. Maybe I should just stock up on the two V's now: Valium and Vodka.

We had a fun family night with the boys. Twelve got a free video at Hollywood Video in honor of his special day. Then he got to pick the restaurant: Fazoli's. We used to go there in Smyrna every Tuesday night for Kid's Night because they have 99 cent kids' meals. Of course, I have to buy TWO of them for Ryan because he loves him some fettucini Alfredo.

(I skipped the cheesy, creamy pasta that I wanted and got a cranberry walnut grilled chicken salad with red wine vinaigrette because I'm doing the Biggest Loser game at work.)

Aaron was in heaven because they have an employee do crafts with the kids and he got to make a scarecrow. That is the craftiest kid I ever met. He scarfed down his cheese pizza slice to get to the scarecrow-making table sooner. Of course, he had to make a ZOMBIE scarecrow, because...well, because he's Aaron.

Then we went to Baskin Robbins because Ryan had a free birthday scoop, Dan had a $2 off gift certificate, and it was $1 scoop night for Aaron. (I got nothing because I ate two garlic breadsticks at Fazoli's. See: Biggest Loser.)

So, to sum up: really cheap family night, Mommy's craving ice cream now, my boy is almost a man, and this is our last teenager-free year. We fully intend to enjoy every minute of it.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Sleepy = Random

These are some random thoughts that I'll type as I think of them because I'm too tired to do more than free-form thinking right now.

1) Want to know what's wrong with healthcare in this country? I'll tell you. My husband got an ear plug stuck in his ear a while back (don't ask) and couldn't get it out on his own. I was at work and therefore couldn't help him, so he went to some kind of clinic. I just got the bill for this "surgery" and almost had to have reconstructive surgery on my jaw after it hit the floor. $185 to yank a broken piece of plastic out of his ear?!? Are you freakin' kidding me? If he'd come to my school with a pair of pliers , I could've performed that "surgical service" for a whole lot less. Sheesh. "Surgery services" my hind quarters. That, folks, is what's wrong with healthcare.

2) My kitchen is still a blizzard of drywall dust, so we were forced (forced, I tell you) to go out to dinner tonight. I know, right? The sacrifices I make for my family. I'm really hoping that I can get this kitchen finished (the part of it that we can do on our own, not the granite counter tops) this weekend because I would really hate to have to keep going out to eat. Yeah, right.

3) When we got to the restaurant tonight and the hostess asked for our name, I told her "Starving," just so I could hear her call on the intercom, "Starving, party of four, your table is now available. Starving, party of four." Yes, I AM that mature. Well, we weren't the only ones laughing. We just laughed louder than the others, because we're nerds.

4) I'm having my favorite food for lunch tomorrow: Leftovers That I Didn't Have to Cook. The beauty of LTIDHtC, as I like to call it (although it is hard to pronounce) is that I get out of cooking not once, but twice. I am a culinary genius.

5) I spent WAY too long today posting pictures on my website of my class dissecting owl pellets, just so that I wouldn't have to grade papers. The joke was on me, of course, because the papers did not spontaneously disappear as I'd hoped they would. I JUST finished grading them. I have to wake up in five hours, and I'm not even ready for bed yet.

6) I also still have to tag a box full of clothes for a consignment sale before Friday. If you live in the middle TN area, you should check out The Sprout House Exchange. My friends Gina and Jessica are running it, so I'm certain it will be great. I haven't done a consignment sale in years, since my boys tend to be pretty rough on their clothes, but I'm looking forward to getting rid of some stuff and hopefully making a little money too.

7) I am way overdue for a haircut and a brow waxing. I'm thinking of legally changing my name to Sasquatch. But, on the other hand, (or foot, in this case) I'm sporting some way cute chrome-colored toenails with little hot pink flowers on them. What can I say, I got bored Friday night while waiting for the multiple applications of wood filler to dry? I was tired of doing he-man home repairs and needed to feel girly for a little while. Besides, home pedicures are the only kind I can afford.

8) My dog is very angry with me right now because she just knows that all the other dogs in the neighborhood are laughing at her when we go for a walk. See, I had to shave the area around the base of her tail because she has a "hot spot." She's been biting and scratching there a lot in the last week and it's really red and irritated. I had to shave it to put medicine on her skin. I swear, I think I heard a neighbor dog bark, "Bald Butt" at her as we walked by. Poor Lily.

9) To add insult to injury, our family has been adopted by a cat, which my boys have unfortunately started feeding, so it will probably never go away. They even gave her a really trite name for a white cat, Snowball. She's all white except for her little gray eyebrows and she's actually very cute and sweet, but we can't afford another critter. Plus, there's the not terribly insignificant matter of my raging out of control cat allergies. Lily desperately wants to play with the cat (or eat it, I'm not sure which) but the cat just sticks its tail up in the air and walks away, teasing Lily with its intact butt hair. Poor, poor Lily.

10) I'm supposed to meet some of my Smyrna peeps for dinner Friday night. This gives me a reason to get through the next two school days, even though I'll be working on very little sleep.

Monday, September 7, 2009

LABOR DAY should be Labor Week

Labor Day weekend has been a big labor of love on the new castle:

I no longer have a big, gaping hole in the ceiling and wall of my kitchen where we removed a row of cabinets. No, now I have a big, gaping pile of wood filler and drywall joint compound that is waiting for me to sand, recoat, sand again, prime, and paint. Dan made beautiful cuts on the scraps of paneling and drywall, just like putting together pieces of a puzzle. A very messy, dusty, I want my kitchen back puzzle. When we finish all the sanding and painting, Dan has some really cool amber pendant track lights to install (bought on sale at Lowe's for about $12 for the whole track system).

We have curtains in the master bedroom now. YAY! I bought some Ikea chocolate brown drapes at a yard sale (NEW) for $5. Then I bought a sheer sky blue panel at Goodwill for 99 cents, cut it in half, and used it as a tie-back for the drapes. I found drapery rods on sale at Lowe's for $11.00 and, voila, we have two window treatments for less than $30.

Oh, I also bought some bar stools for the kitchen (we're going to expand the counters to make a breakfast bar) at a yard sale (three for $40). They're kind of an orangey-brown which will look great with those amber lights. All the money I've saved being extremely cheap, ahem frugal, will allow us to hopefully get granite countertops in the kitchen in a few months. I LOVE getting a good deal!

I got some ledge shelves for the bedroom (two for $1.00). Now I just have to figure out where to put them. Last week I bought some brown and blue pottery (Goodwill--99 cents each) for the bedroom, so I might display them on those shelves.

I still have to paint the mailbox, a curtain rod for the kitchen (on which I will hang my 50 cent curtain from the Lowe's sidewalk sale), and all of my patio furniture. I have a coffee table that my PawPaw made and my Mom and Dad's old kitchen table and four chairs that I need to get from my Dad. Then we need to reorganize the Man Cave and Dan's work shelves. Then clean everything in the whole house from top to bottom.

This weekend was NOT long enough!!