Monday, January 31, 2005

Now I'm Angry

I just read a report that said Iraqi police believe one of yesterday's bombers was a child with Down's syndrome. That just makes me sick. As the mother of an autistic child, I think it is the most horrible, despicable thing in the world to take advantage of a disabled person, and a CHILD, no less. I didn't think the terrorists could stoop any lower than they already had - well, I was wrong. I hope this gets splashed all over the mainstream media, and I hope there is worldwide outrage. Yeah, hope springs eternal, doesn't it?

On a lighter note, I realized that there may be some who don't get the meaning of a statue with purple fingers. The reason for purple fingers is that, after an Iraqi citizen voted, they dipped their index finger in purple dye to indicate they'd voted. It was a measure to prevent voter fraud. People were gladly showing off their dyed fingers for the media yesterday, proving they weren't afraid of the insurgents and they were grateful for their freedom.

But I'm still mad at the creeps who wrapped explosives around a disabled person and sent him not only to his death, but also to the deaths of anyone nearby to where his bomb went off. It really grinds my axe. It makes me want to show a different finger to the insurgents, but I won't since this is a family blog and besides, I don't think my Master would approve. But I'm still angry, and I want to do something to prevent this from ever happening again.

I think I'll make a donation to the ARC of East Central Iowa.

Random Thoughts on the News

I saw this headline on the Drudge Report this morning: “'Dangerous' Global Warming Possible by 2026 - WWF...” What a joke. First of all, I don’t believe in global warming, and second of all, what does the World Wrestling Federation know about climatology, anyway?

I also saw a headline where the mayor of Baghdad wants to build a statue of George W. Bush in the middle of the city. Now, while I like Mr. Bush and I appreciate the gratitude of the mayor, I think a statue of Mr. Bush in Baghdad is a really bad idea. A statue of an American president in Iraq would, I think, send the message that the USA means to occupy Iraq and use its government as a puppet regime. That’s not a good thing: in fact, that would be a very, very BAD thing, and I don’t think that’s the message that President Bush wants to send, anyway. So I have a better idea. Build a statue, carved out of white marble, depicting several Iraqi citizens, but find a way to permanently dye the statue’s fingers purple. Now that would be a great monument to their democracy!

<>Haven’t you just loved the stories coming out of Iraq about the people going to vote? Like how an Iraqi soldier tucked his rifle under his arm and with his other arm guided a blind, elderly Iraqi woman into the polling place? Or how other people were carrying the elderly and disabled to the polling places since private cars were banned from the streets? Isn’t that just over the top way too cool?!? I’ve heard estimates that 72% of eligible people voted. Fantastic! These people are reveling in their new-found freedom. (Too bad we Americans take our freedom for granted, and some even abuse their privileges.)

I’ve also seen estimates that 44 people were killed by homicide bombers trying to disrupt the elections. Nine of the 44 were the bombers themselves. That’s tragic, isn’t it? It’s really too sad to write about any further, so I won’t, except to say that I feel very sorry for both the bombers and their victims.

<>Meanwhile, back in the good ol’ USA; it’s snowing in the nation’s heartland. Not a lot, just a dusting, and it will probably melt off by the end of the day as the meteorologists predict a daytime high of 35 degrees. <>

I wonder if any of those meteorologists ever wrestled?

Thursday, January 27, 2005

Da Bomb

<>Thursday is chore day at our house. It’s Mary’s job to pick up the garbage upstairs, and Hannah’s job to pick up the dog poop. I gather the garbage downstairs, and Carl bags it up in the garage because Friday is garbage day in our town and the garbage guys come pretty early in the morning. However, today was a little different. Hannah was complaining of an aching shoulder (which she claimed she injured skiing) so I gave her a choice: suffer through the pain and get the poochie bombs, or pay Mom a dollar to do it. Hannah reluctantly stomped upstairs to her room, got a dollar, and paid me. So out I went into the cold and snow, and did Hannah’s chore. I don’t know what’s worse: stinky, rotting poochie bombs in the hot summer, or frozen poochie bombs stuck to the ground in winter. Neither is pleasant. <>

And speaking of this unpleasant subject, did you hear about the seeing eye dog who, after a halftime presentation at an Orlando basketball game, made a “presentation” of her own right on the court? No one noticed until the players came back out and found the mound. According to Dennis Miller (sage and comedian) the fans were really disappointed: they’d come to see the Magic, not the Nuggets. (HA!) [Note to my brother Bob – the Greasiwype Mime Company plans to hire this dog for their next world tour.]

Well, I guess I better finish this so I can go out and feed the dog his supper. Gotta have some chore for Hannah to do next week after her shoulder heals.

Wednesday, January 26, 2005

It's All Downhill From Here

Today Hannah went on her first ever ski trip. It's a yearly thing that the fifth graders in her elementary school get to do. Carl went with her. I wanted to go, but after we discussed it we thought that it would be better for Carl to go, since I knew for sure that I liked skiing, but he wasn't so sure. So he went to see how much he'd enjoy it, and also to help Hannah get the hang of skiing since it would take her longer to understand what to do (because of her autism). Well, they had a great time, and Carl thinks that skiing is something that maybe the family can do together. Sounds like a good idea to me! Maybe next year, after Carl graduates.

I spent today working down in the basement. Carl finished the room he was building for me to do painting in, so I put down some old carpet and moved my painting table and some other stuff in the room. You know, essential stuff like the stereo. However, I had to take the speaker wires out of the stereo to move it, and I didn't know how to hook it back up. So I called my brother Bob, and he gave me a step by step on what to do. (I couldn't call Carl - he was out skiing.) Thanks, Bob! So now I'm set up to paint again, and now I won't freeze my fingers off.

I've been following Dr. Condoleezza Rice's confirmation hearings, and today's vote. Thirteen senators, including Tom Harkin of Iowa, voted against her. The jerks. John McCain was right to call them "sore losers". What gets me is, if this had been a Democrat nominee, and a bunch of white Republicans were attacking her, the Democrats, liberals, civil rights leaders and the media would all be screaming, "Racism!". I'm glad she got confirmed by an overwhelming majority. I've read some of Dr. Rice's biography. She has more degrees (probably) than the thirteen senators who voted against her have combined. Did you know she graduated from high school early, like at age sixteen? She's incredibly intellegent! I wonder if maybe Barbara Boxer is a little jealous. I am glad that Dr. Rice has an easy to spell last name, and I hope I didn't butcher her first name.

And now, I think I'll go watch the Three Stooges with my girls, and fold my laundry. If the underwear is tied in knots, well, you know why. (Ya knucklehead!)

Tuesday, January 25, 2005


Today the temperature is hovering right around 40 degrees. That's nice, for January. The snow starts to melt, the roofs clear, the ice dams disappear (I hope) and the pavement loses its icy patches where the trees next to the road cast their shade. All in all, a good thing.

What's not a good thing is the other meltdown I experienced today. No, not my computer - worse. It was the main computer at Wal-Mart. I went in there this morning and half way through the shopping part of the trip someone announced over the intercom that the front registers were having problems. By the time I finished gathering what I wanted, all the registers were down and people were waiting in line for them to come back up. I didn't have much, so I went to the self checkout area and waited. And waited. And WAITED. By this time the computer system had been down for over an hour. I figured, if I'm gonna sit here and wait, I may as well amuse myself. So I told jokes to the clerks and the patient customers: "It sounds like Wal-Mart has a bug in its system. With my luck its either a spider or a cockroach, the bugs I hate most." That got a laugh. So did "One of the side disadvantages to waiting this long is you forget where you parked." When I ran out of jokes (which didn't take long) I called my Mom on my cell phone and chatted with her for 15 minutes. (Thanks, Mom!) Then I called my husband the computer genius to see if he'd heard any corporate chatter about someone hacking into the Wal-Mart system and shutting it down. He said he hadn't heard anything, bu he said it probably wouldn't be too difficult for someone to hack that system, since it's so large and covers the entire country. We'd heard that the other Wal-Mart in town wasn't affected, but oh well. Carl said he'd keep his ears open and he'd let me know if he heard anything.

So after about 40 minutes, a voice came over the intercom again and announced, for the bizillionth time, that the store was experiencing technical difficulties and they were working to solve the problem as fast as they could. I know the management team was on the phone to the home office in Arkansas, but after 40 minutes, I'd had enough. I told the very nice clerk (who'd been handing out free cookies) that I was sorry, but I couldn't stay anymore. She was understanding and I know she felt worse than I did about my leaving, but I needed to get home and get back to work. She told me to leave my cart and their staff would put my stuff away, so I left and went a block down the road to Target and got what I wanted there.

So now I'm home, but am I working? Nooooo. I'm blogging! So I guess I better get back to work. The laundry can't wash itself, you know!

Time Travels

Let's take a trip back in time, about 28 - 29 years-ish. I'm an elementary aged kid, watching football around the holidays with my brothers and an uncle or two. We're watching our favorite team, the Dallas Cowboys, and it looks like they're going to be playing the Steelers in the Super Bowl. It would have been a major transgression to cheer for any team other than Dallas. They were the family team. Fast forward a couple of years. Now I'm in junior high, and Dallas is going to play Denver in the Super Bowl. My school is overrun with people rooting for Denver and the "Orange Crush". Meanwhile, off by myself, I quietly cheer for Dallas, because to do so out loud was to risk the wrath and ridicule of my peers, but I won't disappoint my family, either. I also quietly gloated the Monday following the Super Bowl after Dallas beat Denver. I don't remember the score, but I remember having this mysterious yet happy grin on my face. I would never have dreamed, at that time, of rooting for the Broncos or, even worse, the Steelers. I would NOT dishonor the family.

Now, fast forward back to the present. Time changes things, and so does participation in a fantasy football league. Once the fantasy season was over, I could back any team I wanted, but I found myself cheering for teams on which I had fantasy players. I rooted for the ill-fated Packers, then rooted against the Vikings. And I found myself rooting for the Steelers. Yes, the Steelers, probably much to the chagrin of my brothers. But I was counting on Big Ben Roethlisberger; he was my primary quarterback for the last half of the fantasy season, and he rarely let me down. I was pleased when they beat the Jets, especially since I was rooting for San Diego in the wild card game (Nate Kaeding was my fantasy league kicker - poor schmoe). But I digress. On Sunday I was rooting for the Eagles and the Steelers. I wanted the Steelers and Big Ben to win, and I wanted the Eagles to win because I thought it would be neat to have an all Pennsylvania Super Bowl. You know, kinda like the I-70 World Series (Saint Louis Cardinals vs. Kansas City Royals).

Well, I only got half my wish. I got the Eagles, but not the Steelers, because the Patriots shut down the Steelers running game and Big Ben's rookie side really showed. He has potential, that kid, but Tom Brady had the experience so its the Patriots vs. the Eagles in the Super Bowl. I am NOT cheering for the Patriots. They already have a couple Vince Lombardi trophies and they don't need another one. So go Eagles! Find a way to sack Brady, and the game is yours.

Too Tall Jones, where are you when I need you?

Thursday, January 20, 2005

Sworn In And Sworn At

I watched some of the inauguration stuff this morning. I started watching around 9:30 and quit shortly after the benediction because I hate the analysis that the liberal media people think they have to interject. Just once I'd like to watch something like this without hearing Peter Jennings ramblings. I mean, I could go to Washington and watch it in person, but I'd rather watch it in the warm comfort of my own home without Peter.

I ended up watching about half an hour of the lead-up stuff while exercising. I like to walk, so I walk around my house from the kitchen down the hall to the living room through the foyer to the "dining" room and back to the kitchen. There are TV sets in the living room and kitchen, and our computer in the "dining" room (aka computer room) has a TV tuner on it, so I was able to amble around the house and not miss anything. The times I wanted to stop and watch I just marched fast in place. I also caught myself marching in step with the Marine band once. That was fun!

So after my walk I sat down to watch the President get re-sworn in and also to listen to his speech. I thought his speech was OK. I liked the part about how people are created in the image of God and thus their lives and freedoms should be respected. But I liked the pastor who gave the benediction better. I found myself saying "Amen!" at him more often than I said "Atta boy, George" at the President. I wish I could remember the name of that pastor, but I think he should be a Cabinet member. He'd bring a little fire and brimstone to Washington, and hopefully shove it under the seats of Congress members who drag their butts when work needs to be done.

Of course, Peter Jennings had to comment on the protestors who tried to make their point during the President's speech but weren't bright enough to realize that, no matter how loud they shouted, they'd never overcome the Presiden't amplified voice. At one point, the crowd in the back started cheering not because of something Mr. Bush said but because the police tore down a protest banner that was blocking everyone's view. What a way to make a point: tick off the people around you so that they pelt you with snowballs. I don't know if that happened, but it would have if I were there. Earlier in the week someone mentioned that Michael Moore and some other people were throwing "anti-inauguration balls" aimed at protesting the President. That's funny. I didn't know Michael Moore had balls.

But I digress. I thought the whole ceremony was well done. Didn't Laura Bush look terrific? Now that's a real lady. I bet she doesn't carry a tape measure in her purse. She has the Secret Service carry it for her. And I found it interesting (and slightly amusing) that Dick Cheney walked to the archway with Senator Bill Frist, a heart surgeon. Go figure. And although I liked the music, I thought the National Anthem should have been done by Acoustic Timbre. One opera singer per inauguration is enough, don't need two.

But now it's over and Mr. Bush has four more years to straighten out America and the world. Sic 'em, George, go get 'em! Don't let the commie libs and the terrorists drag you down. God bless you, sir. You've go the toughest job on the planet.

Wednesday, January 19, 2005

Cranial Clutter Clearout

Some random news of the past couple days (daze?) -

Yesterday Carl took my truck (Candy) in to the dealership for its first oil change. It was free (a perk from our dealer) so hey, why not take advantage of their generosity? That meant I had Carl's truck, the F-150 that we call Big Red. That also meant that, since I had the pickup and time during the day, I could take our old dishwasher to the landfill. No problem, job done. But I definitely noticed a difference in how the vehicles drive. They both have the same style of frame but the similarities end there. I missed my digital temperature readout and my CD player. The F-150 doesn't accelerate quite as fast as the Expedition and the engine is alot noisier, too. Red also handles more stiffly than Candy, and turning tight is harder. But its still a truck, which in my opinion beats a sedan any day. No offense to those who prefer sedans, I hope.

While I was out running errands, I took my mountain dulcimer to a guitar shop to have them look at it. I thought I needed to have the action lowered (which meant tearing the dulcimer apart because it's glued) but the guy said no, all I needed was a steel bar like the ones dobro players use. I tried it and liked it, so now I can continue teaching myself to play dulcimer. I have a great instruction book (complete with DVD) so hopefully I'll have some skill improvements shortly.

The kids had another two hour school delay today, which means I had my neighbor's kids over again. They're nice kids: Jacob's in second grade and Shannon's in first, in Mary's class. Hannah plays with them, too, and they all have a good time. Four kids in the house and not a brat in the group. I love it!

The weather here has been weird, and when the temperature fluctuates the way it does, it has an effect on the wooden fence that surrounds our back yard. The effect this time was that the south gate pulled away from its post, and as soon as Judah (who lives in the back yard) saw the opening, he was gone. I didn't know it until I went to feed him and wasn't met at the door by a large drooling beast. Then I heard the gate banging in the wind and thought "Oh, great. Gone again." (Dog gone! HA!) So I stood at the west gate and hollered, and in about 30 seconds I heard him running up the street, collar jingling merrily in the sharp, cold northwest wind. I got Judah back in the yard, fed him, then went to the garage and got a piece of wire to tie the gate closed. I hate it when that happens.

Last night on Leno I saw the new JibJab parody on George Bush's inauguration. If you haven't seen it yet, go to their website ( and watch it. It's hysterical. I like the JibJab guys - they poke fun without being partisan. I wonder if they would want two slightly used scarecrows.

Right now I have my favorite Mannheim Steamroller CD's in, so I think I shall go lay on the couch and enjoy the music. Ciao!

Monday, January 17, 2005

An Out-Of-Sync Female, Revisited

I've had several responses of various sorts from people who read my "Confessions of an out of sync female" blog, and I think I need to clarify a few things:

To be honest, I'm not saying I don't have a feminine side. What I'm saying is that I lean more toward my tomboyish side than my ladylike side. That bothers me a little (a very little) because sometimes I think that I should be more ladylike and less tomboyish. (Maybe then the checkout clerk at Menard's wouldn't call me "sir" anymore.) But then, as I said, I wouldn't be the practical me that I am. Case in point - a friend, who I consider to be much more "female" than myself, said that I was no less "female" than she was, and why did I think that? I said, "What's in your purse? Let's compare purse contents." So we opened our purses. She had a wallet (with the usual contents) and so did I. She had her "tool kit" - a small makeup bag with a compact, lipstick, and a couple other things, and I had mine - a tape measure, multi-purpose tool, pocket knife and a roll of black electrical tape. She had a tube of Mary Kay hand lotion, I had a tube of 1% hydorcortisone lotion from Wal-Mart. She had a bottle of Tylenol, and so did I. The stuff in her purse was stuffed in haphazardly, and she had to dig around to find stuff, and she was amazed that my purse's contents were sorted into plastic, sectioned containers. (She obviously had forgotten about my blog on November 3rd, 2004.) So I asked her, "Which purse seems more ladylike to you?" and she said "Mine" and I said "Case closed". Then she said, "But you paint such pretty things" and I said, "Well, so do lots of guys, especially woodworkers. They have to make what they build sellable, so they stain or paint their products and add decorative embellishments." By now my poor friend was getting a little frustrated, so she said, "But you can cook. I've eaten your food at potlucks." True, I told her, I can cook well enough to keep my family fed, but I'm no Martha Stewart. "You'd be in jail if you were" she said, grinning.

So we ended our conversation (amicably, because she's really nice) with neither of us really winning the debate. The only reason we didn't keep talking is that our husbands and kids were pacing impatiently by the church entrance doors, ready and eager to go home. But I don't think either of us was satisfied with the result of the conversation. I think the point she was trying to make was that I felt guilty about not fitting into the mold of a "stereotypical lady", and I shouldn't, because my talents define my femininity. My point is, my talents don't define my "femaleness", and I really don't mind being a "tomboy". Actually, I think it's pretty funny, while some of the more "ladylike" behaviors are kind of silly in my opinion. It was my point to compare my "weird" behavior with others' "silly" behavior and have a little humorous fun at my own expense. Apparently, it didn't come out that way. So I apologize to everyone out there who thought I was being too hard on myself. I really wasn't. I'm content with who I am. However, now you'll understand why I snicker quietly when I hear a female say, "Did you watch 'The View' this week? They had the neatest new tips on how to apply your makeup to make you look younger!" and yet this person actually looks like a middle aged gal trying to disguise herself as a teenager. I think they're silly. They think I'm weird.

And we're both right.

Wednesday, January 12, 2005

A Truism

The old saying "Good times pass swiftly while bad times take forever" (paraphrased) is so true. For example, I found myself wondering why Christmas seemed to pass so quickly. It was here, and then in a flash it was gone. However, all the snow days my kids have been having helped me figure out why the Christmas season seemed so short. It's because when I was in college, Christmas break lasted a month, and therefore the Christmas season lasted a month instead of a week. I remember those days fondly: no eight a.m. classes, no bad dorm food, no responsibilities. Just a month to sleep in late, relax, do a few chores for Mom and Dad, eat Mom's wonderful homemade food and snarf down lots of leftover Christmas cookies. Ah, those were the days. It's hard to believe that I graduated sixteen years ago.

I wish there was a way to make Christmas last for a month. Not necessarily the presents part, but the "get together with the family" part. I may be wrong, but it seemed like I was around my parents and siblings more during my college years than I am now, that my siblings were able to spend more days at Mom and Dad's than they can now. Maybe its just because I was home, and thus around Mom and Dad, that it seems that way. Beats me. After all, that was 16 years ago, and I can't remember everything.

My girls are enjoying their weather-extended Christmas break. They're still walking around the house singing Christmas songs. I'll bet they won't be this happy in June when they have to make up their snow days.

Am I the only one with the "Christmas is too short" blues? I can't seem to find anyone else afflicted with this. Most everyone else if afflicted with the "stinkin' lousy weather" grumpies. I must just be weird.

Go figure.

Monday, January 10, 2005

Confessions of an out-of-sync female

There are times that, as a female, I feel totally out of sync with the rest of my fellow females. I seem to have nothing in common with the women I know, and I think that, somewhere along the line, I must have missed something. For instance:

1) I don't like to read mushy, gushy books. Don't hand me a romance novel - give me a good Mary Higgins Clark mystery, or a collection of columns by Dave Barry. And I just can't bring myself to read saccharine-soaked devotional books like those written by Max Lucado. My ideal devotional book would be The Three Stooges Guide to Daily Devotions. Unfortunately, I don't think that book exists.

2) I don't like soap operas. Even though I'm home all day, I never watch TV (except for the news) because I don't care if All My Children are at odds with The Young and the Restless As The World Turns around General Hospital. I'd rather listen to talk radio (especially Tony Snow) or listen to music. Right now I have five Mannheim Steamroller discs in my CD player, so there.

3) I hate to cook. My grandmothers, mother and sister are all wonderful cooks, but for some reason the cooking gene didn't get passed to me. I get self-induced allergic reactions at the idea of mincing onions and chopping fresh herbs. Why do all that work when the grocery store provides you with frozen chopped onions and dried herbs in little plastic containers? Now, I'll cook out of necessity (one cannot live on Wendy's food alone) and once every year I'll dust off my Christmas recipe book and whip up some goodies, but I wish the chore of day in and day out cooking fell to someone else. Preferably someone who didn't mind cleaning up afterward, either.

4) I have absolutely no fashion sense. I do most of my clothes shopping at Wal-Mart, or through JCPennney's catalog, and I only go clothes shopping when I need to. I think weekly trips to the mall are a complete waste of time, and since I'm 6'1" clothes at the mall don't fit me, anyway. And as for makeup, I only wear makeup to church or on special occasions. I know women who spend an hour in the bathroom every morning fixing their hair and putting on makeup only to spend the day at home mincing onions while watching soap operas or (gag me) Oprah Winfrey. I've watched Oprah on a rare occasion, and I know her opinions about clothes and makeup. If she ever visited my house, I think she'd go into shock because I only have one eye shadow compact, and it's blue.

5) I like football. Now, I know that there's plenty of women out there who like football, but if given the choice between football or figure skating, they'd go with figure skating. Not this chick. I'll take a blitzing linebacker over a spinning skater any day. How do those skaters spin like that without barfing, anyway?

6) I also like tools. I'd rather go shopping for tools than go shopping for clothes because for me, tools are toys. They're fun to play with and, when you're done playing, you usually have some sort of useful result like you've fixed your truck or built a shed or refinished an antique. Meanwhile, the dress I bought for Carl's fancy "introduction to the dual degree program" dinner just hangs in the closet because I prefer to wear pants to church. Why? Because I think I have ugly legs, that's why. Also, it's cold around here right now and pantyhose provide no warmth whatsoever.

The thing is, I have no problem with not being as "feminine" as the other ladies I know. I tend to view some of their behaviours (like having a dozen pairs of high heeled shoes that are the same color) as horribly impractical. I mean, it would be nice if I was a better cook, or a little more fashion conscious, but then I wouldn't be me - the practical female who can walk into the ladies' bathroom on a Sunday morning and remount the paper towel holder to the wall using the proper hardware.

Hand me that screwdriver, would you?

Saturday, January 08, 2005

The Open Road

I love to drive. I love the sensation of speed, the vibration of the vehicle, the adventure of taking a new route to a familiar destination. I like the challenges of driving in town, weaving through traffic, accelerating into an empty space (turn signal on, of course) and the satisfaction of beating some weenie in a Honda Accord when he pulls up next to you at a stoplight. I'm in the right lane, he's in the left, and he thinks he's going to beat me and my 5.4L V-8 engine in an acceleration duel when the light turns green? I think not!

I'm really getting used to driving Candy, my new Ford Expedition. For the first month or so, I was extremely careful and cautious, only going to town on weekday mornings when there's little traffic. Now, however, I'm not afraid to tackle the Saturday traffic on Collins Road, the busiest street in Cedar Rapids. What a great vehicle, my SUV, and what a satisfying feeling, cruising along, The Essential Johnny Cash 3-CD set playing on the stereo, a soda in one cup holder and a box of Wendy's fries in the other. After a week of snow days and cabin fevered kids, its relaxing to get out on my own and go shopping, buying tools for my man, the world's greatest husband. He is, at this very moment, down in the basement closing off one corner so I can have a heated area in which to paint. And since every job requires a new tool, I went out and got him a Remington 490 .22 caliber concrete nailer. This thing is cool. You put a special washered nail and a .22 caliber charge in this gun, point it straight down, pull the trigger and viola! your 2 x 4 treated lumber stud is pinned to the concrete floor. Much faster than a hammer drill and concrete anchors, and upstairs here it sounds like a wood plank hitting the floor. And as a side benefit, if the commie-socialists take over America and confiscate our guns, we still have a means (besides Judah) to defend our property. "Hello, 911? Some guy just broke into our house and I nailed him to the wall with my concrete nailer. You better send the sheriff and an ambulance before my dog eats this guy. No, really, I'm not kidding. What? No, that's OK, I have a prybar in the garage the EMT's can borrow." Imagine that on your six o'clock news.

Anyway, back to driving. As much as I love my truck, the one car that we had that I really enjoyed driving was Carl's 1986 Ford Mustang GT. It had a 5.0L V-8 engine, manual transmission, and more get up and go than the Space Shuttle. Alas, we had to trade the 'tang in when our first daughter was born because the car was essentially a two-seater, and there was no place for her car carrier thingamabob. However, I promised Carl that once Candy is paid for, he can go out and get himself some kind of sports sedan. He'll be just about mid-life crisis age then, and our oldest daughter will be sixteen, so she can inherit her Dad's old F-150 pickup. I can only hope she inherits my love of driving.

Friday, January 07, 2005

Drippy Faucets and Debit Cards

Today, finally, the girls went to school, and I got to get out of the house. Yippee! I had the whole day planned: first- get the girls off to school, second - go get my hair cut, and third - go shopping. I hadn't been to the stores since before New Year's, and we were out of alot of stuff. However, about an hour before the girls were set to leave, I got a call from our wonderful church secretary Kathy (and I'm not kidding, she really is a wonderful, neat person) telling me that we got another notice from the City that we were using three times the normal amount of water. We'd had this problem before, and I thought we'd fixed it. Also, she said, no one had been to the building to shovel the snow (our snow removal contractor only does the parking lot) and did I know how to start the snow blower so she could go out and clear the sidewalks? No, I told her, I didn't know anything about the snow blower, but I'd come up and look around to see if I could find the source of our water loss. So I packed up my snow gear and shovel and headed up to the church building after my haircut. When I got there, she told me that Chuck (another really nice member of our congregation) was coming over on his lunch break to blow the snow, and she hadn't been able to find anything leaking. So I did a room by room search, looking for any areas of wet carpet that would indicate a broken waterline in our slab foundation. Fortunately, I didn't find that, nor did I find any water line breaks outside. What I did find was a dripping drinking water faucet in the youth wing, so I had Kathy call our in-house plumber Steve (yet another really nice member of our congregation) and we arranged for him to come and put a shut off valve on the water line until we could get the faucet replaced or removed. While I was out scouting the property for waterline breaks, Chuck showed up and tried unsuccessfully to start the snowblower. He's going to consult with Kelli (another guy who is also really nice) and they'll try to get it fixed.

So with all that done I left to go shopping. First stop, Theisen's, which was having their annual coupon-style stock up sale. I love those sales. I'm a pack rat and a buy-in-bulk-aholic, a trait that I got from my Dad. My Dad used to buy lots of things, especially automotive maintenance fluids, by the case, sometimes multiple cases. I remember several instances of standing in line at Farm and Fleet with two cases of motor oil in my cart and cash in my hand, because their sale limited each customer to just two cases of oil, and that was never enough for Dad. He had all of us kids (and Mom too) in line, and we usually walked away with six to eight cases of oil. I think we even still have some in the loft of their garage. Anyway, off to Theisen's I went, and came away with two carts full of stuff: four cases of soda, a case of windshield washer fluid (hi, Dad!) a bag of oil absorber (ie glorified kitty litter) two bags of dog biscuits, two 50 pound bags of ice melting salt (for the church) two 40 pound bags of solar salt (for my water softener) plus a bunch of little stuff that I kind of tucked in around the big bags and boxes. After loading that in the SUV, I went to Wal-Mart and Fareway (the grocery store) and hurried through them because I was running out of time and had to beat the school bus home. But I still kept up with the theme of bulk buying: a 12 pack of toilet paper (double rolls, of course) three boxes of Kleenex, three boxes of Uncrustables for the girls, plus the other usual groceries. Candy (the SUV) was stuffed with stuff, but I managed to get home and unload the truck before the bus came. All in all, a successful day, with only one minor hitch. In the chaos of the morning, trying to add the church run to my schedule, I forgot to grab the checkbook, so I owe my beautician still for my haircut. Luckily, Joan is a good friend and neighbor who said not to worry about it and to pay her the next time I came. Now I think I'd better end this blog, because it's really long.

Thursday, January 06, 2005

Snowstorm Update

Well, the snowstorm is over. We got 12" of snow, what I like to call a "nuisance snow". It's a nuisance because school gets cancelled but the adults still have to go to work. Just once I'd like to see a real, honest-to-goodness blizzard hit here, the kind of storm that shuts down the entire state for three days. We haven't had a storm that bad since 1973, and I'm starting to get bored. I know no one agrees with me because the snow has to be shoveled and businesses have to keep running to make money. But a blizzard would be exciting, whereas a 12" snowfall is just a pain in the butt.

School was supposed to have started Monday, but because of the freezing rain and snow we've had this week, the girls only went to school on Tuesday, and they started the day two hours late. Tomorrow the school district has another two hour late start, probably because we live in a rural county and it takes forever to plow the bizillions of miles of gravel roads we have. (Sometimes I wonder if the road crews can even find all the roads.) But what gets me is when the TV newspeople say "Road conditions are dangerous, don't leave your house" but Carl still has to go to work. Doesn't it make sense that, if all the schools are closed, they should close the businesses, too? I get stomach aches and headaches whenever Carl is out driving in bad weather because I worry about him so much. He's a good driver (and both our vehicles have four wheel drive) it's the other idiots that scare me. You know, the people who drive their rear wheel drive cars a little too fast for conditions while talking on their cell phones. My dog has more common sense than those drivers. Where do they think they are, Florida?

Well, speaking of my dog, he's been living the life of Reilly lately. He spent most of yesterday in the house because I couldn't bear the thought of him being outside in the storm (heated doghouse not withstanding). Today he had the girls to play with outside, plus one of Boo-Boo's friends came over, so he was having a rip-roarin' good time. I wish I could've gotten this on tape: Boo-Boo and her friend were taking turns pulling each other around the yard on our toboggan, and every once in a while Judah would jump in, grab the rope out of the girls' hands, and play tug-of-war with it, thus towing the girls around the yard (kids in forward, dog in reverse). They thought that was pretty funny. The girls also lavished the dog with lots of poochie treats. Yeah, he's got it good, alright, the big mutt.

I guess the only nice thing about school delays and cancellations is that I get to sleep in late. And right now sleep sounds like a good idea. G'night!

Wednesday, January 05, 2005

January Blues

As I write this, the first major snowstorm of the year is raging outside. Well, maybe not "raging", it isn't exactly a blizzard. But it still cancelled school, and the sky is grey and dreary. I'm not a big fan of the month of January. Nothing happens in January (except a few family birthdays). January is a long, grey, boring month with no holidays, and you have to be stuck inside all day. Think about it - every month has some sort of holiday in it except for January, June and August, and two of those are summer months when its warm and you can be outside having fun. But not January. And besides, January is a big let down after Christmas (and I consider New Year's as part of the Christmas season). Once January 1st is over, you have to take down all the decorations and lights and stuff, and the neighborhood, which had been cheerfully lit at night for an entire month, is now dark and dismal. I guess that's one good thing about snow - it reflects the light from the street lamps and makes things more visible at night.

And speaking of Christmas, what do you get when angelic peas take a nap? Sleeping heavenly peas! Now, I'll bet you're wondering about all the bad vegetable jokes. It's because of my Mom. Poor Mom, she told me she wanted an Elvis Christmas CD, and I tried to comply, really I did. But of all the entertainers who have ever walked the earth (including Slim Whitman and William Hung) the one I most dislike is Elvis Presley. Why is too long an explanation to go into, but I can't stand him. But for Mom's sake, I got online to see what kind of Elvis Christmas CD's they had. It turns out that Elvis recorded maybe a dozen Christmas songs which were packaged and repackaged over and over ad nauseum into several albums, including one called "Elvis - Christmas Peace". I made a list of those songs and ended up making Mom a CD called "Elvis' Christmas Peas", a CD of Elvis Christmas songs as sung by Other People. For instance, "White Christmas" was sung by Garth Brooks, "Silver Bells" was sung by Bing Crosby, and "Blue Christmas" was sung by the KRNA DJ's as Porky Pig. Seriously. The project actually turned out to be pretty decent (and fun!) and Mom, bless her heart, took the whole thing in stride and even said it was cute. And no, Slim Whitman and William Hung did not make appearances on this CD. I only went with high class impersonators. It's times like this that I miss the late Steve Goodman.