Thursday, December 30, 2010

I am a Rock Star

Even if only because of what I drink.

Today I drank a Rock Star Sugar Free Energy Drink for breakfast instead of a cup of coffee. Let me just tell you that if I drank one of those every day, I'm certain I could rule the world. Here's a list of everything I got done today...

  • called ARC to find out why they didn't come pick up my donation yesterday, even though they were the ones who contacted me and even gave me a reminder call the day before. Got them to come out today to pick up NINE BAGS of stuff--most of which came from the ten year old's room after I helped him clean out the closet, dressers, desk, and under the bed a few days ago
  • called the Federal court system and sweet-talked the clerk into changing my jury duty from February to June so I won't have to miss school.
  • noticed a guy sitting in a lawn chair in front of my house with his laptop. Seriously. You red that correctly. This is the second time this has happened--the first was Sunday night when it was FREEZING outside and I was snuggled on the couch watching The Sound of Music. Took pictures and video of the guy until someone drove up to get him. He calmly folded his chair and got in the car. I called the police and they sent an officer out to file a report about the weirdo. Then Dan changed the router so that guests cannot use it. That is a picture of him loading his chair into the "getaway car." I'm still astounded.

  • ordered a gig bag for my bass guitar so I'll have something to carry it in when I start lessons next week (But I just found out it won't arrive until the day after my first lesson. Sigh.) Also shopped for a carrying case for Dan's foot pedal, but couldn't find it.
  • took a trunk full of three month's worth of recycling to Gallatin (just plastic and steel cans--already took the aluminum cans to the Humane Society yesterday and the newspapers go to my school)
  • took a huge bag and two boxes of books to the used book store and got $68 in credit--which I immediately used $10 of to get more books
  • took the rest of the books she couldn't use to Goodwill
  • bought the kids lunch at Wendy's
  • did five loads of laundry (including the sheets) and put it all away
  • cleaned out the garage (which is a huge deal because the part I cleaned is where we crammed everything we didn't know what to do with when we first moved in and haven't touched it since)
  • took apart an old computer that no charities would take and completely smashed its innards to smithereens with a hammer so no one could get our personal information from it (this was So. Much. Fun.--highly recommended for anger management)
I'm thinking about framing that picture and displaying it in full view of my current computer as a warning any time it decides to start running slowly. Please notice that even though I had a great time doing this, I wore safety goggles like a responsible adult. Oh, and what you can't see is that I shouted "Towanda!!" and then giggled the whole time just like in the movie (except I was smashing a computer instead of a red convertible).
  • hauled all the broken computer pieces (Hee hee--Towanda! It just never gets old.) and a ton of old computer stuff and other electronic items out to the trash cans (but I had to leave it there until Monday's trash pickup)
  • straightened out the laundry room and boys' downstairs coat closet
  • cleaned out the upstairs coat closet
  • filled two more bags of stuff to donate
  • realized it was 9:00 p.m. and I still hadn't eaten dinner so I ate some Triscuits and hummus
  • wrote this blog
See what I mean? Efficiency times one hundred! Dan walked into the bedroom when I was sorting out the trunk at the foot of our bed and putting away towels. I looked up to find him watching me, smiling. I asked what he wanted and he said, "Nothing. I was just checking to see if you were building an addition to the house or something in here. You're a little scary today."

I think tomorrow I'll tackle the craft closet and computer desk. Then the world.

E coli, anyone?

So, if you wanted to kick start your weight loss New Year's resolutions, you might consider ordering a Quarter Pounder from McDonald's. But wait, you might say, aren't those things full of saturated fat and something like 500 calories? How could that help me lose weight? Well you see grasshopper, you have to order the secret ingredient: E coli.

My poor husband discovered this the hard way. I've never seen anyone vomit so much in my entire life--and that's saying a lot considering I was sick the full nine months with BOTH of my pregnancies. I felt so sorry for my poor Dan. I was fairly certain that I was going to see a spleen come flying out of him. Three days later he's still a little weak and shaky. His ribs and back muscles hurt from all the violent retching. He still doesn't have his appetite back. But at least he's lost a bit of weight so I'm a tiny bit jealous.

Not envious enough to eat another hamburger any time soon, but still.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

The White Christmas Edition

Merry Christmas everyone!!

We're celebrating the birth of the Prince of Peace with a Nerf Longstrike here at Casa de Princess because nothing says "Peace on Earth, Goodwill to Men" like a longe-range sniper rifle and a kid who knows how to use it.

Speaking of Peace on Earth, Dan bought me bass guitar lessons in the interest of keeping the peace in our household. Turns out it's not a good idea to be married to the person who is trying to teach you to play an instrument. To cut down on the number of tears during practice (mostly mine, but I'm sure he wanted to cry too), Dan is paying someone else to teach me how to play bass. Apparently I'm an impatient student. Go figure. He's also planning to get me a bass amplifier in the after-Christmas clearance sale because I think I blew out one of his speakers already. Um, oops. He's getting me some headphones for my amp so that I can go to praise band practice and play along with the band but no one will be able to hear me play except myself. That's really for the best for everyone involved at this point in my skill level.

The boys picked out each other's gifts from Dan and me, which made shopping a breeze this year. I took them shopping individually, they loaded up the cart with what the other one wanted, and I produced a credit card, no questions asked. It was the best shopping experience ever. All I had to do was hide and then wrap them. Piece of cake. Oh, and Aaron made his brother a "Black Ops Ninja Snowman" mug, ornament, and gift bag which Ryan found hilarious. The gift bag said, "Ryan, I'm pretty sure you're the only one who can stand this picture," and it showed many different snowmen engaged in battle. Disturbing, yet very creative. That's my Aaron. They got each other lots of Star Wars action figures, Halo Reach toys, Lego stuff, and Nerf guns. The Special K box in the corner of that picture was my "special" trick--I put the action figures in the cereal box before wrapping them so they wouldn't be able to figure out what I'd bought. The best part was when Aaron unwrapped the corner of the gift and saw a pink box. He said, "Uh, Mom? I think this might be YOUR gift. You wouldn't buy me anything PINK, right?"

And speaking of pink, Dan also bought me a pink Snuggie so that I can be "Snugg-tacular" during recess at school this winter. I'm thinking about embellishing it with some "Teacher of the Year" monogramming and a few pink daisies or something. It looks really awesome with the blingtastic "pink diamond" ring that Aaron bought for me with his last dollar at the flea market when Grama took them shopping. Ryan picked out a bracelet with MOM spelled in gold (the Os are "genuine faux diamonds"). When I opened the jewelry box Dan said, "He went to Jared," which had us all cracking up because everyone knows how much I hate jewelry commercials. They know they'd be dead meat if any of them actually did buy me anything from Jared.

Last night we did Christmas at Mom and Dad's house, where we all racked up the gifts. The boys got tons of toys, stocking stuffers, clothes, and MP3 players. I got a bunch of cute clothes (including a new red coat), and a gazillion other awesome things including a great pink and brown scarf that Mom made for me. The thing that made me cry though was a mug which says "a daughter is a little girl who grows up to be a friend." So sweet.

We went to the candlelight service at BBC last night. I sang three songs with the choir, which was interesting with a cold. Shame I didn't learn the baritone parts beforehand, because I sounded a bit like Foghorn Leghorn whenever I tried to talk. It was great seeing our church family last night and participating in communion by candlelight while singing Christmas carols.

Oh, and did I mention the snow? For the first time in 17 years, Tennessee is experiencing a white Christmas! We stayed up 'til midnight last night watching the snow fall and playing music together. There's only about an inch on the ground, but we'll take it!

I hope your family is having a great Christmas too. I'll leave you with the disturbing image of my oldest child "Rockin' it Brewer Style" as he put it. He was sporting my Snuggie, the hat he bought me, and the gloves and ear muffs he bought for his dad. As Ryan said, "I'm taking one for the team," because we couldn't talk his dad into posing for this shot.

This is such a proud moment for me.----------------------->

Merry Christmas to all!

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Brief Pop-In

Just a few tidbits to prove I'm still alive...

Thankfully the ice storm fizzled out and didn't amount to anything except a one-hour early dismissal from school. Teenager finished his project. Now all is merry and bright.

I'm frantically trying to figure out how to make a vampire snowman right now. Yes, this is the kind of holiday I've been reduced to--trying to paint fangs on a snowman. Don't ask.

I might survive one and a half more days of school before winter break. Maybe.

More later.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Four Day Weekend?

Why oh why did my school system just bless me with a four-day weekend, only to send us tomorrow with an impending ice storm? Do they not realize that we are STILL IN SCHOOL during the time the storm is expected to arrive? Have they never dealt with an early weather dismissal and all the madness that entails? ARGH!

And WHY for the love of all that is good and precious did my teenage son JUST NOW remember that he has a project due tomorrow, even though he just had FOUR DAYS to work on it when he did little more than play video games the whole freakin' time. I might kill him before he gets a chance to open his Christmas presents.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Not Dead (Yet)

Okay, I was totally shamed into this blog entry by Grace and Loren (even though I have nothing worthwhile to write) if for no other reason than proof of life.

It's almost Christmas and I have no tree up, no lights, no village, no Christmas jewelry or tacky sweaters, no decorations at all except the front door wreath. It's all stored in the garage and it might just stay there until next year. I'm just not feeling inspired. On the other hand, I love singing Christmas music with my church choir, so I'm not a total Scrooge. My seasonal affective disorder has hit early this year and with a vengeance. Right now I'm not even trying to be friendly--I'm just hoping to avoid becoming Jack Nicholson in The Shining.

This has been one of the craziest, busiest weeks of my life. I won't go into the details, but just trust me on this. I'm ready to hibernate. Sometimes I really love my job. This is not one of those times.

I hate cold weather REAL BAD*, so I've decided to compile a list of jobs you'll never see me do in this lifetime. Or any lifetime for that matter.

  1. igloo designer
  2. crossing guard
  3. Christmas parade grand marshal
  4. figure skater
  5. Arctic explorer
  6. alpine skier
  7. Zamboni driver
  8. beer deliverer
  9. speed skater
  10. ice sculptor

*Yes, I know that should have been the adverb "really" instead of an adjective, but I claim poetic license because I was going for ghetto-tastic slang. Cut me some slack, my peeps. Word to your mother.

Anyway, I'll try to write more often, if for no other reason than to entertain Loren, my blog stalker, so she won't be tempted to stalk someone else's blog. That's me. Keeping cyberspace safe for the rest of you.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Rude Awakening

After staying up until 2:30 a.m. because it's fall break and I can (and also because I had Starbucks yesterday afternoon with Loren and I became the Energizer bunny), I had a very rude awakening this morning at 6:45 when I heard a continuous beeping sound coming from far away. I'd slept in Nine's room last night since I went to bed so late and didn't want to wake Dan up. Nine was sleeping in his brother's room because, if you ask him, fall break is just one really long sleepover. Anyway, I heard this beeping, didn't know where it was coming from, and didn't know what it was.

In my groggy state, I stumbled out into the hallway, where the sound got a little louder. I kind of smelled a stale, vaguely smoky, gas heater-y kind of smell, but it didn't smell like raging house fire. I thought maybe the sound was coming from a carbon monoxide detector. Then I remembered we didn't have one of those anymore because the old one went on the fritz
at our previous house and got thrown down on the concrete driveway and smashed repeatedly with a broomstick by someone with obvious anger management issues when it wouldn't Stop Making Noise. Ahem. Calm, soothing breaths. Okay, moving on...

So, then I kind of woke up the rest of the way and realized it must be a smoke detector and it must be coming from downstairs because I could barely hear it. Then I noticed that Dan was awake. Then the smoke detector in the hallway right outside the bedroom doors started going crazy. Two sleepy boys came tumbling out of Thirteen's room, dragging their feet and looking confused. I yelled for them to follow me downstairs, but they couldn't hear me because they were covering their ears to drown out all the beeping. I pulled them downstairs while Dan found a stepladder to reach the smoke detector and shut it up. I grabbed jackets for the boys and got them outside, then made the other detector in the laundry room stop beeping.

We figured out that it happened because this was the first time that our heater had ever been used, since we got the new air conditioner/heater combo back in June. There was probably some kind of protective covering or layer of dust over the heating element or in the ducts that burned off when it first cut on. At least, that's my scientific explanation.

Bottom line is, if this had been a real fire emergency, we'd all be toast. Between the whole parents-not-hearing-the-alarm-at-first, the kids-covering-the-ears-so-they-don't-hear-instructions, and the bypass-the-closest-exit-upstairs-and-go all-the-way-downstairs-where-there-might-actually-BE-a-fire, we sucked at fire safety. Epic fire drill fail.

The good news is, since this wasn't an actual fire and we didn't die from our stupidity, it gave us a good opportunity to talk about what we did wrong and how we should respond in a real emergency. When I taught preschool, we always did a lesson about fire safety in October because, in addition to being Breast Cancer Awareness month (didn't the football players look so cute in all their pink accessories Sunday?), October is also, you guessed it, Fire Safety Month.

When I taught Pre-K, Grace and I always taught the kids to "Stop, Drop, and Roll." I loved that I got paid to roll around on the floor with four- and five-year-olds. We taught them to feel a door to see if it's hot before they opened it. We showed them how to "Get Low and Get Out" to avoid smoke inhalation. We taught them to never go back into the house for anything--pets, toys, parents, etc.We told the kids to talk to their parents about an escape plan. We even had the Smyrna fire department come out with a fire truck to show the kids how it worked and what firefighters do. I always put in a special request for them to send the really H-O-T firefighters to our school, because anyone who spends several hours a day with little kids deserves a little eye candy to spice things up a bit.

But I realized this morning that my own children probably haven't heard any of that since they were preschoolers themselves. So we had a mini-lesson right there in our pajamas in the Man Cave. Nine had a million What If? questions, of course, and Thirteen was busy hatching all kinds of radical escape plans involving the use of Nerf guns to break windows that he would then crawl through and Spidey down the downspouts with an invincibility that is only possessed by teenage boys. Or forty-five-year-old worship pastors, but that's another story for another day. I seem to remember this lesson being easier to teach with preschoolers.

So, even though I was rudely awakened way too early, we all learned a valuable lesson. Now if you'll excuse me, I'm going to go take a nap and dream about hot firefighters.

Monday, October 4, 2010

To Do (Done)

Here's the list of things accomplished today:

1) cleaned the upstairs, not just sort of picked up like I usually do. There was actual mopping involved, people.

2) took two bags of aluminum cans and one bag of newspapers to the Humane Society so they can get money to feed their furry charges

3) took about seven bags of stuff to Goodwill

4) loaded my car up with plastic grocery bags to be recycled, and then forgot to go to the store to recycle them

5) had coffee with my friend and blog stalker, Loren

6) Hauled all the fall/winter clothes in from the detached garage. Then unpacked, washed, dried, folded or hung all of them and put most of them away. I say most of them because my closet is too tiny to put all of them away at the same time. The rest are hanging in the laundry room waiting to see which boy's closets becomes the extension of Mommy's closet. I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before, maybe just once or twice, but I have the smallest closet in the family. Just thought I'd mention that, in case you weren't aware.

7) Removed all the spring/summer clothes and put them in SpaceBags and totes. Wept copious tears of joy when saying good-bye to all my cute, strappy sandals and flip-flops (which, incidentally, filled two Sterilite 18 gallon storage containers--pink ones, of course)

8) watched my boyfriend, Rick Castle

9) pulled some of my potted plants inside since we have a frost/freeze warning tonight. Got bored with that and decided the rest of the plants can fend for themselves.

10) made sure the cat had food, water, and blankets in her igloo to survive the cold night

11) blogged this so that my stalker would have something new to read

Notice I still haven't listed "painted Thirteen's room." Sigh.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

How to Ensure that I Will NEVER Buy Your Product

An open letter to all companies who sell products which they advertise on television...

There are a lot of ads on TV today. This comes as no surprise to anyone who actually owns a television set, but I am still amazed at how much companies spend on television marketing. These are tough economic times, and consumers have to make important financial decisions when shopping. Therefore, I thought I'd help out those companies who are shelling out big bucks to get their share of our money. Here are the top five things that guarantee I will never buy your product:

1) Use the words "erectile dysfunction" at any point in your advertisement. So far I've been extremely lucky, but I know that at some point my children are going to ask me what that means. That is a conversation I really do not want to have, ever, in my life.

2) List side effects for a pharmaceutical product that are far worse than whatever the advertised drug is supposed to treat. You've all seen these ads. They go a little something like this:

"Side effects include dry mouth, headaches, joint pain, projectile vomiting, explosive diarrhea, and impossibly odorous flatulence. Some users report the growth of a third arm while taking this medication. If you develop neon orange chest hair or the sudden urge to sing Milli Vanilli songs while flying to the moon, please discontinue use and contact your doctor immediately. "

Er, no thanks. I think I'll just continue to be a bit depressed. Really.

3) Four words: "As seen on Oprah." Whatever she's plugging, I'm pretty sure I won't ever need it. Ever. Especially if it's a book from her book club. *Shudder*

4) Ditto any product for whom the spokesperson is a caveman, a talking dinosaur, or Marie Osmond.

5) Try to convince me (or my kids) that we will never be cool/happy/hip/smart/skinny/ or popular unless we rush right out to buy what you're selling. Sorry, I'm not that gullible and neither are my children. Shame on you. We're all just fine the way we are, thankyouverymuch.

Okay, Madison Avenue. There you have it. Please take this advice to heart and save not only a few of your advertising dollars, but my television viewing pleasure as well. Thank you.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Couch Crazy

They say the first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem, right? Okay, in that case, here goes...

I am addicted to couches.

There. Whew. It felt good to get that off my chest. In the past year Mom and I have moved no fewer than SEVEN couches, which means I should probably look for a twelve-step program really soon.

See, I kind of have a problem with collecting couches. It started innocently enough. When we lived in Smyrna we had an off-white matching couch and love seat downstairs in the living room, which we covered with chocolate brown slipcovers after realizing that people with small boys and black cats should NOT have off-white couches. We had a gray matching couch, love seat, and chair in the bonus room upstairs because the color theme in that room was red and black with gray. No problems, right?

Well, when we were in the process of buying our Hendy home, I knew we'd need a bit more furniture because we'd have an additional room (a den) here. I didn't want to break up our matched sets, so I bought an extra couch at a yard sale for $10 and Mom and I hauled it home in her Suburban. Since we didn't have the house yet but we'd already moved out of our other one, I stored it on Mom and Dad's patio for a couple of weeks, much to my dad's chagrin.

So a few weeks later we moved into the house and discovered that the new $10 couch was too big for the den. We switched it with the off-white-slipcovered-in-brown love seat from the living room, then bought another similar but not totally matchy brown slipcover for the $10 couch.

All was quiet on the couch front for a few months.

Then Mom and I worked a Humane Society yard sale where I fell in love with a brownish leather love seat. So, that time we borrowed PawPaw's truck, hauled the love seat to my living room, and moved the $10 couch downstairs to replace the gray couch that was beginning to show the strain of being occupied by an eighty-pound lab every day. We bought a black slipcover so it would match the music room (a.k.a. "Man Cave") theme. Then we hauled the gray couch to Mom's and dumped it at the top of her street for the trash men to take away.

Digression: Have I mentioned that the trash collectors hate me? Well, they do. I don't know what I ever did to them, but they will not haul away anything I leave at the curb. My neighbors can leave all manner of household refuse at their curbs and it gets picked up that day. I, on the other hand, have had a rusty old planter and an ancient chandelier sitting by the street for two weeks and no one in the sanitation profession has even glanced at it. Grrr...

Anyway, so I've been fairly disciplined with my upholstered furniture purchases for a few months. Then last week we found a free couch and love seat that had seen better days, but we thought it would be okay for my brother. See, he's taken out his own trash by kicking his wife out of the house. (Sorry, I'll retract my claws now, but she totally deserves that comment.) Since she'll be taking some furniture with her if she ever finally picks up her crap from his house (sorry, claws again, gotta work on that), we thought he could use them. Once we got it to his house (with the use of PawPaw's truck again), we realized it was in worse shape than we'd originally thought. Now it's waiting to be carted off to Goodwill.

So today Mom and I were out yard saling again (of course, because it's Saturday. Duh!) and we found a sleeper sofa that I could afford. I've been looking for one so that when my in-laws come to stay we can offer an alternative bedding option (other than the Aerobed, which is losing air through a slow leak so that our guests end up flat on the floor by morning--because we're givers, you see), but they were all either too expensive or in really bad shape. The sleeper sofa is a woven kind of rust and brown combination that would be really pretty if it weren't unraveled in a couple (okay, several) places, but it'll look great with a slipcover on it. And I just happen to have a couple of those lying around. Ha!

So, you guessed it, we borrowed a truck (this time my brother's) and brought home the sleeper sofa, then hauled the old $10 couch to Goodwill (because the couch I'd been sitting on for months was not good enough for my brother to put in his garage TV room). What a couch snob!

I washed all the covers that would unzip in the washing machine, then shampooed and vacuumed the parts that aren't removable, and sprayed antimicrobial Febreeze over all the cushions. Now I have a new (to me) sleeper sofa.

So there you have it. Seven couches moved in less than 16 months. There's probably a cure for this sickness, but I don't want to know. I don't suffer from my insanity--I enjoy every minute of it.

And don't even talk to me about shoes. Just don't.

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Fall Break Madness

What better way to celebrate eight weeks of teaching and eight hours of parent conferences than an MRI at seven o'clock in the morning? Because that's how I roll.

After the joyous experience that is an MRI, I'm going to get my hair did because I'm not enough of a glutton for punishment to schedule dental work on the same day as an MRI. Well, not again, anyway. My hair is almost long enough to reach my shoulders again. Even though I swore the last time I got it cut short that I would keep it short forever, I'm starting to crave ponytail simplicity again. I think I'll grow it out a little, but not halfway-down-my-back, donating-to-Locks-of-Love long. Again. That was madness.

Then I think we'll spend Saturday painting the teenager's room. I hate painting almost as much as I hate dental work, but it's time. We've lived here a year and nearly four months and I've wanted to paint that room since we first looked at the house. I'm thinking that the walls will be the lighter blue of the Titans logo. Then I'm going to borrow a projector from school and paint the logo in the center of the wall above his bed. It would be so much easier to buy those life-sized cut-outs of the players but, with my luck, I'd put Chris Johnson on my kid's wall and then he'd get traded to another city. (C.J., not my kid. Trust me, if that were an option, he'd be in Detroit already.) Plus those things are like $85 and paint is cheap. Well, cheapER, anyway. Who knows what it will cost me in time-on-task.

After that, I have to unpack all the fall/winter clothes and pack up the spring/summer clothes. Then grade a metric butt load of papers, upload the grades to the online gradebook, plan lessons, create tests and quizzes and study guides, and reorganize my reading and math stations.

Because, you know, I'm OFF WORK this week.

Ahhh, I love fall break.

Saturday, September 25, 2010


I am now the parent of a teenager. For the next ten years and six weeks we will have at least one teenage boy living in our house. Not that I'm counting or anything.

Friday night the teens and tweens descended on our domicile in all their pimply, squeaky-voiced, nearly man-sized glory and ate everything they found in our kitchen. The six boys managed to eat two pizzas, several bags of chips, about a dozen popsicles, a box of cinnamon sticks, and two batches of homemade (by Dan, of course) pancakes. It was kind of like a car wreck--horrifying to watch, but I couldn't look away.

They built a Lego battle ship, played several games of Guitar Hero, had an air hockey competition, a darts tournament, and chased each other through the house for hours in some big, complicated Nerf gun battle, which resulted in a broken door. I don't want to know how. After Dan got home from his gig at 12th & Porter last night, I tagged him as the P.O.D. (Parent on Duty) and fell asleep. I'm pretty sure the kids went to sleep at some point, but I can't prove it.

There were a few real conversational gems last night:

1) Thirteen said, "I hate when you drink Sprite and then burp. I feel like I just tasered my nose."

2) [While building a Lego Star Wars Turbo Tank in his bedroom]
13: No fighting or farting in my room.
Boy 1: Too late.
13: Okay, no MORE farting in my room.
Boy 2: [toot sound, followed by giggling] Too late again.
13: What? Were you people raised by wolves?
Boys: [more giggling, more toot sounds]
13: Remind me why I invited you guys over again.

3) [the next morning]
Me: Boys, your moms are going to be picking you up at 10:00.
Boy 1: When's 10?
Dan and I, in unison: Um, after 9.
Me: You guys all met in Search class, right?

As uncertain as I am about what the teen years will bring, I am confident that Ryan will continue to be the great, wonderful, annoying, smart, and sensitive kid he's always been.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

I Can't Feel My Fingers

Friday night we parked the kids at Grama's and went on a double date with some of our favorite people from our "new" church. One of these days I'll have to stop calling it our "new" church because we're pretty much a fixture there now every time the doors are open and we don't feel like newcomers any more.

Anyway, we had a great evening full of Japanese food, friendship, and Rock Band. Dan and I were Rock Band virgins, so we relied on the Echols to school us because they are wise in the ways of Rock Band. They are seriously good. At first I refused to play any instrument (other than my voice) because I didn't want to be responsible for making the band get booed off the stage. I tried drums and, while I showed a little improvement after a few songs, I still pretty much sucked at it. Then I tried guitar and made it through a few songs on the easy level without making the entire band fail. Then I tried bass guitar and something kind of shifted inside me. It was fun. Really fun.

Granted, I still sucked at it, but it I sucked slightly less at bass guitar than I did at the other instruments. At one point, I was playing along with our foursome while belting out Bon Jovi's "Livin' on a Prayer" and I looked over at Dan. He was grinning at me with a look that I've grown to recognize over the years--a look that means trouble. He was digging watching me play the bass. I could tell. I casually, jokingly mentioned that I might want a bass guitar. And Loren and Aaron were witnesses so I couldn't take it back.

The very next day Dan went down to Sam Ash and bought me my very own bass. He was getting some other stuff for himself too, but he brought that guitar home just for me. He's been wanting me to learn to play bass for years. Apparently all it took was just a tiny glimmer of an interest on my part to justify the expense.

Last night I sat down with my shiny new bass while Dan was practicing his electric guitar for the praise band in today's service. He showed me how to play a few notes and I was off. I managed to play along with every song he played. I didn't play well or with any great style, but I managed to find all the notes reasonably close to the right tempo. And it. was. fun.

Of course, today I'm struggling to type this because I can't feel the fingers on my left hand, but it was worth it.

New bass guitar...$80
Impressing my husband with my mad bass-playin' skeelz...priceless.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In Which I Develop Arachnophobia

Let me begin by saying that I've never been afraid of spiders. I don't particularly care for inadvertently walking through a web, but the spiders themselves are not a major problem for me. If I see a spider in the house, I just take care of it myself. I do not stand on chairs, squeal like a girl, or beg my husband to kill it for me.

Some of you might be thinking, "What about cave crickets? Aren't you afraid of them?" Well see, that's another story. Cave crickets are not technically insects or arachnids. They are the devil with an exoskeleton.

So anyway...spiders. After tonight I will probably develop a healthy fear and respect of them and steer clear when I see one. Because tonight we had a scene in the basement that would've been right at home in a Ridley Scott movie.

There was a spider crawling along the baseboard behind the keyboard. Nine was trying to practice his piece for piano lessons, but he was worried about that spider. Dan waited for it to move away from the wall enough so he could squish it. Nine and I were busy looking at his homework Dan waited to flush out the critter.

All of a sudden, we heard a surprised yell erupt from the other side of the room. Dan had tried to kill the spider by stepping on it, but when he smooshed it, several baby spiders came bursting out and started crawling in every direction away from their dead parent.

Full. Body. Shudder.

This memory, plus the dark chocolate-covered espresso beans I scarfed earlier with a diet Coke chaser, will keep me up all night.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Releasing the Kraken

Remember a couple of days ago when I admitted that I often include potty humor in the blog because I live with three dudes? Well, this is one of those times. If you're easily offended by poop jokes, this would be a really good time for you to log off the computer and go have a snack.

Okay, so if you've followed my blog for long, you know about the "cloud of despair" and the "one giant sniff for mankind." And if you don't, feel free to make clicky and go find out what I mean. Go ahead. We'll wait for you.

Oh, good you're back. We were getting worried. So anyway, since I'm so well-read, I have it on good literary authority that everyone poops. My man cubs just have very vivid descriptions of the whole "getting rid of waste" thing that everybody does. They came up with a new line (with their daddy's help) after watching Clash of the Titans recently. This will be a lot funnier if you've seen it too. If not, well, you could always join the others for that snack.

Nine had just fouled up the atmosphere in their shared bathroom and Twelve was not pleased about it. He whined to his dad about the stink cloud, so Dan told Nine that from now on, he needed to remember to use the air freshener spray whenever he "released the Kraken" in their shared bathroom. And just like that, a new potty phrase had been coined.

Fast forward a couple of days later. This time Twelve was the one who had "released the Kraken" in the bathroom. He came out, trailing a stench cloud behind him and said, "Let them know a man did this."

It was a very proud moment for their father, who I'm fairly certain sprained something laughing at his son. I was just grateful that the princess has her own bathroom.

Saturday, September 11, 2010

The Aliens Got My Baby

My good friend Tina Foster warned me it would happen. She is wise in the ways of parenting boys, since she has two boys of her own. The difference is that her youngest is about seven years older than my oldest, so she's been where I now stand: on the precipice of the rocky abyss that is otherwise known as parenting a teenage boy. She told me that lo about the time that my cub turned 13, aliens would take him and replace him with a surly, snarling, eye-rolling facsimile of the sweet boy I'd once rocked to sleep. Boy, was she right. He'll turn 13 in eleven days, if I decide to let him live that long.

Twice this week I've tried to reason with an unruly, unreasonable, unrelenting, fit-throwing toddler trapped in a pimply, nearly man-sized body. I blame the aliens. Within twenty-four hours after the fit, he was back to his "normal" self: offering to do chores without being told and speaking in a calm, non-shrieking voice.

Today we were talking about the other night when he was in the middle of an all out tantrum. I told him that next time (because I'm NOT naive enough to think that this won't happen again) I'm not going to try to reason, argue, explain, or even placate him. I'll just say, "Son, you're clearly not yourself. I will deal with you tomorrow when the aliens return with the real you. Until then, go to your room and avoid all human contact." He agreed that might be the best plan.

I hope the aliens leave him alone for the next couple of weeks so that he'll actually get a chance to turn 13. It's really hard to plan a party and buy presents for someone whose face you want to rip off.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

A Ministry? Gulp!

Here's another reason I haven't written much here lately.

A very nice lady at church killed my blog. No, really.

See, she came up to me at church one Sunday morning this summer and said something along the lines of, "I read your blog. It is such a ministry."

A ministry? Eh?

You mean I'm supposed to be writing inspiring, uplifting blog entries for fellow goody-two-shoes Christian women to read? What? I thought this was just a place for me to whine and moan about things that bother me because it's the only place I can do that without annoying the people I live with. I thought it was a way to keep in touch with my out-of-town friends. Now I'm supposed to write good stuff? Um....I got nothing.

One innocent, well-meaning comment in Sunday School and BAM! my creative juices immediately dried up faster than a Hollywood starlet about to lose a big movie contract. Really. I couldn't write a word because I kept thinking to myself, "I can't say that. People will read it and be disappointed. Because this is a ministry."

Here's the real deal, folks. This blog is NOT a ministry. I am not a role model.

Wow, that was weird. I'm pretty sure I've never quoted Charles Barkley before. Huh. "I'm not a role model... Just because I dunk a basketball write a blog doesn't mean I should raise your kids."

Anyway, of course I'm a role model for the kids in my class. I model appropriate behavior, problem-solving skills, and study habits all day long for nine- and ten-year-olds. But serving as a role model of Christian behavior for other adults? Um, gee, no thanks.

Just in case you haven't already figured this out, I'm kind of irreverent. I can be really cranky, snarky, and bitchy, sometimes all in the same blog entry. I occasionally use bad language. I tell fart jokes and all manner of potty humor because I live with all men. I've been known to give in to the urge to gossip. I sometimes consume "non-Baptist" beverages because, much like Gladys Hardy, that old lady on the Ellen show, "I love Jesus but I drink a little." I don't remember to do my daily devotional or keep up with my Bible study like I should. I yell at my kids, my husband, and my dog. I make fun of rednecks at Wal-Mart. I use derogatory terms like "redneck."

See what I mean? NOT a role model.

But now that we've got that out in the open where it belongs, I'm going to continue writing what I write because that's who I am and how I roll. Take me or leave me, peeps. I just wanted you to know that if you're offended, I'm going to be okay with that. Because I warned you. And I'll pray for you, if I don't fall asleep in the middle of my nightly prayers, like I sometimes do. There, I said it.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

A Praise and a Warning

It was an eventful Labor Day weekend for the Brewers.

Friday night was the home run derby at BBC. I wasn't planning to enter the contest, so I showed up after work in a skirt and heels. Well, after a little encouragement from our pastor, I kicked off my shoes and grabbed a bat. No one was as surprised as I was when I hit three home runs and won the women's division of the competition. Twelve won the kid's division, so the Brewers had all kinds of bragging rights going into the tournament. Unfortunately, the bragging stopped there.

Saturday we played in the BBC Wiffleball tournament, teaming up once again with the Echols crew. This time we were The Supers. That was our team name, not a description of our playing skeelz. What? We're supposed to look fabulous AND play a good game? Too much pressure. We just focused on having fun.
As you can see, we all wore superhero costumes: Batman, Spiderman, Superman, The Incredibles, the whole Marvel lineup, the Incredible Hulk, the Punisher, and Ryan who was wearing a "God is my Hero" shirt. You can't see me, the midget, back there in the back row, but I was wearing my Super Grover "Superfly" T-shirt. Because I'm cool like that. Like how I was so cool when I fell rounding second base (trying to be greedy and take more bases than I should rightfully take) and commando crawled back to the base to avoid getting tagged out. I was safe, but it wasn't pretty.

Then on Sunday, we were the victims of a hit-and-run driver. Dan and I had been at praise team practice really early in the morning, and then we came home to pick up the kids before church started. On the way through our neighborhood, a blonde on a cell phone plowed through a stop sign without even braking and slammed into the back of our car. Luckily, Dan has Jedi-like reflexes and saw her coming in his peripheral vision. He sped up just enough so that she hit the back quarter panel instead of the back passenger side door where my oldest child was sitting. For a split second, I saw Twelve's life flash before my eyes and thanked God that he wasn't hurt.

We pulled over to assess the damage, but the other driver took off. Long story (and a case of mistaken identity) short, the police didn't find her but they're still looking. Right. You know what that means. I won't be counting on her paying to fix my car any time soon. But the important thing is that no one was hurt and my car is still driveble. Ugly, but drivable. Hey, it's a 1999 Camry that only gets washed about once a year, so it wasn't much to look at even before the wreck. AND we made it back to church on time to sing/play guitar in the praise band, so it all worked out.

Monday I was attacked by cave crickets, my arch nemesis, while cleaning out the garage. The final score was Cave Crickets: 0, Teble: 16. It may have actually been higher than 16, but I lost count when several of them jumped on my legs at once and I went ballistic batting at them with a broom. I'm pretty sure I saw my life flash before my eyes right before I snuffed out the lives of those vile insects.

Monday night we went to our Sunday School teacher's house for a cookout and swimming party. At one point Nine fell off the raft he was floating on and panicked when he couldn't touch the bottom. He started flailing around and crying for help. I kicked off my shoes for the second time that weekend and was ready to dive in to save him, when his older brother (who also can't swim, but was tall enough to touch the bottom) jumped in and saved his brother's life. At that point I saw Nine's life flash before my eyes and realized that if this weekend didn't end soon, our good luck might just run out.

So, God has kept us under a circle of protection for the last few days. But, you might not want to stand too close to any of us, just in case our weird voodoo hex is contagious and our circle of protection doesn't expand to outsiders.

Consider yourself warned.

Monday, September 6, 2010

August Flew By

It has been brought to my attention (by my blog-stalker: Hi Loren) that I haven't updated my blog recently. Yeah, I know. School started and my life has been all about lesson-planning and paper-grading. But I've left out some pretty important events that I need to share.

The most important is that our whole family was baptized on August 15th (Dan's birthday). Dan was baptized when he was eight-years-old and I was sprinkled in the Methodist church when I was a kid, but we both wanted to recommit as a family. Pastor Matt dunked Dan and me, then Dan baptized both of the kids. What was really cool was that 14 people were baptized at my church that morning. What's even cooler is that it's not an enormous church, so 14 was a really, really big number. I was so thrilled to be a part of it. Dan turned 45 that day, so now I am officially married to an old man.

I mentioned before that Dan was playing guitar with the praise band, but I don't think I mentioned that I started singing with the praise team this summer. It's been so much fun! Ron Foster, the worship leader, has me singing alto, which is out of my comfort zone since I've always sung soprano, but I'm learning. It's fun to learn new things in our old age, right? Keeps the brain fresh. We're also rehearsing music for the Christmas program. I haven't done one of those in a few years, so I'm looking forward to that too.

My class this year is, ahem, challenging but going well so far. I have 20 kids in my class. I already knew most of them before they walked in my door because they're Nine's friends. It's weird having Nine in the same grade level that I teach, but it's nice too.

I'll try to update more frequently, if for no other reason than to give my "fans" (cough, cough) something to do to keep them off the streets.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Back to School

I just realized that I haven't updated the blog since July. So here's my update:

School started. Have no life. More later.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Bit Blue

I'm feeling just a bit blue tonight, so it's time to give myself a pep talk and get over it. But first, here's why...

I'm feeling a bit left out, out of sorts, and cranky. See, a good many of my writer friends and Seppie friends and Cherry friends are in Orlando. Without me. It would be bad enough if they were all just there having a great time without me if I were still writing, but it's even worse since I haven't written a word all summer. Well, except blogging and Facebook, which totally doesn't count. I ditched all my WIPs (and even the little glimmers of ideas that might have become WIPs) a couple of years ago when I decided to go back into teaching, but I told myself that I'd pick it back up again when things settled down. And, of course, I haven't. If I have a few minutes of spare time, I'm usually playing around on Facebook (darn you, Bejeweled Blitz--why do you have to be so addicting?) or reading someone else's work. And now I'm kicking myself because RWA National is just another reminder that I haven't been writintg--that I am letting a dream fester and die because of busy-ness, laziness, and self-doubt. Not only that, but my buddies are having a great time and I'm not with them. If it had been in Nashville, I'd at least get to drive into town and visit everybody, but there's no way I could fly to Florida the weekend before school starts. Stupid flood. (Laura Z, if you click that link, you'll see the areas we walked with you and James were completely underwater back in May.) Stupid Opryland Hotel underwater. So I'm a little sad.

My Smyrna friends are moving on without me too. My TFAA friends are getting the phone calls to tell them which teachers their kids will have this year and I'm sitting here wondering who my kids would have if we'd stayed there. Which of their friends would be in their classes if we'd stayed? Which parts would they have performed in the plays at school? I know that I had to go back to work and I really believe that moving to Hendersonville was God's plan for us. I'm glad that I got my job when I did because Linens N Things closed just a few months later and we'd be in big trouble if I hadn't had a job then. But even so, I still second-guess that decision every few weeks. Will my kids suffer because we pulled them out of the magnet school? Are they better off here? Do they miss their friends horribly, or have they formed even stronger bonds with their friends up here? I love our new church, being close to my family, our new house, my co-workers at NBE, but I still wonder what would have been. I guess I always will.

I'm excited about the school year that's about to start, but I can't help but be apprehensive too. I know first-hand how hard fourth grade is, and I worry about my own sweet fourth grader. He's just not ready for the academic challenges that he'll face this year. None of them are. Last year's class was so awesome that I worry this new class will not compare favorably. This will be my tenure year, so there's an intense amount of pressure on me to be incredible. My evaluations last year were really great, so I'm going to have to totally blow it out of the water in order to show growth on my observations. I know I'll be fine once the year gets started, but right now the fear of the unknown is weighing heavily on my mind.

And finally, I have to go in for my six-month diagnostic mammogram next month. After all the garbage I went through last August with the lumpectomy and everything associated with it, I can't help but feel a little nervous. Plus, I'll have to miss at least a half-day of school and anyone who knows me knows how much I HATE to take a day off. Writing sub plans is worse than scrubbing toilets, trying on bathing suits, and shaving with a dull razor. Combined.

Thus, the whining. I'll be fine and will get over myself really soon. I'm going to pray about it and give it all over to God tonight.

But first I need ice cream.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Friday, July 9, 2010

Brotherly Love

Nine is going to be a ring bearer in my friend Brandy's wedding tomorrow night and tonight we went to the rehearsal dinner. I was trying to get a nice picture of him before we went. It started out innocently enough and I managed to get a couple of decent shots...

<------See how cute he is? How handsome and charming?

Adorable, right?----------->

And then things took an ugly turn. Twelve decided he wanted to get in on the action. Literally. They insisted that I take some action shots. See, this is what happens when you have only boy-type children. Girls want to pose sweetly, all smiley-faced and pretty. Boys want to simulate WWF posters. These are the shots I ended up with...

This whole raising boys thing is not for the weak. Although the flowers in the background add a somewhat dignified flavor, don't you think?

Cow Appreciation Day

Today was Cow Appreciation Day at Chick-Fil-A. If you dress like a cow, you get a free meal. Well, Nine and I were all for it. I love free food and he loves dressing up in costumes. But even better than free food, it totally annoyed the twelve-year-old to be seen in public with us. Mommy SCORE! See how delighted he is?I told him that he didn't have to dress up, but if he didn't want to, then he'd have to pay for his own food. Sometimes being a Mom is just plain fun.

When we got there, dozens of other people got in on the fun without being embarrassed. We had Young and Hip cows...And Red Hatter Cows...
And a ton of Adorable Little Kid Cows, but I didn't feel right about putting a picture of a complete stranger's kid on the internet. But I can put THIS adorable kid's picture on here because he's mine.
We had a great time (once Twelve got over the I'll die if I see anybody I know phase) and saved $15.57 on our meal.

Free food, fun, and humiliating my tweeny-bopper...priceless.

Sunday, July 4, 2010


In which I gush some more about my church, which our pastor refers to as a church full of imperfect people. But I have to say, some of them are pretty close to perfect in my eyes.

We just wrapped up an awesome weekend of fellowship in the form of a wiffleball extravaganza. Today my husband played in the praise band for the first time. Our worship pastor let Dan borrow a couple of very expensive guitars simply because he doesn't have a lot of time to play them himself. We haven't known these folks very long, but he trusted Dan with these instruments anyway. The band sounded great and Dan had a blast playing with them.

When I picked Nine up from his Sunday School class today, he had a nice printed card which said this (Matthew 5:14-16) on the outside:
You are the light of the world. A city on a hill cannot be hidden. Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before men, that they may see your good deeds and praise you father in heaven.

Then on the inside it said:

Let your light shine!
This is how Aaron's friends see his light shining.
He is nice, kind, and smart.
He is very smart.
He always speaks the truth.
He is the bestest friend in the world.
You are a very good friend.

I love that this is how his friends in church see him, because that's the way we see him too.

When we got home, Nine told me that he wanted to work on a surprise for me so I needed to stay downstairs for a while. I went outside and sat on the swing with the dog and cat until I was allowed to come upstairs. When I got to the kitchen I saw that Nine had emptied the dishwasher all by himself. He's been learning about responsibility in Sunday School, so he wanted to do chores to show me that he is responsible. I love the way he takes what he's learning and finds ways to apply the lesson at home.

We are so lucky to have such a great children's pastor and awesome teachers at church. I'm praying for them this week as they go to CentriKid camp. I'm so glad God led us to the church where we belong.

I'm also praying that God will help the student pastor work a miracle with Twelve's attitude. :-) Hey, he parted the Red Sea and turned water into wine and fed 5,000 with a few fish and loaves, so...miracles can happen.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

WiffleMania Games 2 and 3

Team Echols/Brewer (a.k.a. The Heat) won our second game against Team Swaby. There were many awesome moments of the game but my personal favorite was when Nine hit a triple! He was the last batter of the inning because we're only allowed to bat around our roster one time. Since the inning would be ending no matter how he hit, Dan kept waving Nine on past every base. The other team finally tagged him out at home plate, but not until he'd racked up a few RBIs. Twelve also got a couple of hits and made some good plays at second base. We won 11-4 (I think that was the final score.)

In Game 3 we played against Team Tyler and lost. I don't even know what the score was. By then I was too tired and hot to care. We didn't lose by a lot (maybe four runs), but I was not disappointed. I was ready for lunch, a shower, and air conditioning.

But forget the score, some of you are saying...what did you wear? W
e dressed as tourists on Earth because our permanent home is in heaven. We tried to make it Biblical so God would favor our team. Check out the Hawaiian shirts on my family. We were ready for a luau!

Friday, July 2, 2010

Wiffleball 2010 Game 1

I've never had so much fun being totally whooped up on in my life.

Tonight our church held the first two games of the July 4th weekend wiffleball tournament. Game 1 featured Team Tyler VS the "Fruits of the Spirit." Each player had their own T-shirts made with their name and their "fruit" on the back. Yes, they are overachievers. My favorite Fruit was our Worship Pastor, Ron Foster, who was "Beans." Think about it for a minute...

Beans, beans, the Musical Fruit... (Get it? He's the Music Guy?) For those of you not familiar with the rhyme, here's the one I grew up with:

Beans, beans, the Musical Fruit
The more you eat 'em, the more you toot.
The more you toot, the better you feel,
So let's eat beans with every meal.

Apparently Yankees learned a different rhyme because my Ohio hubby learned this rhyme growing up:

Bean, beans, they're good for your heart.
The more you eat 'em, the more you fart.

Personally, I like the Musical Fruit better because it's ever so much classier. But, alas, the Fruits lost--mostly due to the efforts of the nine-year-old pitching phenom on the other team. Seriously, there should have been some MLB scouts out there watching this kid.

We played in the second
slaughter game of the night against the student team. This was a group of very talented teenagers who outplayed us in every aspect of the game. Except one.

We looked cool.

We were rocking the uniforms. (I got schooled by the children's pastor, Loren Echols, for calling them "costumes" yesterday so I made sure to say "uniforms" tonight.) Either way, we really presented a unified, very intimidating, picture. Well, check out the slide show below and see for yourself...

I know, right? It's really shocking that we lost 14-5, isn't it?

My favorite moments of the game were when Dan hit an over-the-fence homerun (we won't mention the two times he struck out first), when Nine got a hit and scored a run, and Rosi's amazing catch up against the fence in left field. Thanks to Matt Tyler for his mad umpiring skeelz, Pastor Matt for shooting the video montage that I'm pretty sure I don't ever want to see, and Kim King for taking the above pictures with my camera.

Since it's a double elimination tournament, I'll add an update tomorrow with pictures from our next game so you can see our next amazing
costumes uniforms. I'm about 99.99% positive that we will not need to break out our costumes uniforms for the championship game on Sunday. Darn, because I was going to dress as the Princess Wiffle, complete with rhinestone bling and a tiara.