Wednesday, September 28, 2005

Doin' the Pants Dance

The girls got out of school today at 1 PM, and I am glad. Why? Because a cold front moved through Iowa today, and tomorrow is going to be seasonal (by which I mean cold) and windy. Therefore the girls need to wear pants to school, and since I've already gone through Hannah's closet, it was time to do Mary's. It went really well. She had some jeans and swishy pants left over from last year that still fit, and the ones that didn't fit got put into a bag to be donated somewhere. After we went through her last year's clothes, we got out the box of pants that formerly belonged to Hannah and Mary started trying them on. Only one pair was too big, but the others fit fine. Among these pants were the very first Levi's I'd ever bought Hannah. (sniffle!) Now Mary's in her first Levi's ever. My babies are growing up.

I guess with growing up comes new adventures in humor. The girls have discovered a new book series that they just love: The Adventures of Captain Underpants. No, I'm not kidding. The general gist of the series is this: two boys (George Beard and Harold Hutchins) like to write comic books about some character named Captain Underpants, and through a series of weird events, their school principal (Mr. Krupp) gets hypnotized into thinking that he's Captain Underpants. Snap your fingers, and the Captain appears. Douse the Captain with water, and Mr. Krupp appears. These three seem to get into alot of trouble, but I suppose that's what makes the books fun. That and the Underpants Dance.

I should mention that the previous paragraph was supervised by Hannah, the family's leading authority on Captain Underpants. Even as we speak, she's standing to my right wearing a tank top, panties and a baby-blanket cape. And she's laughing hysterically. Assisting the supervisor is her partner in humor, Mary, who is dressed normally (for once). Seriously, my two girls think nothing of running around inside the house in their underwear. But if you can't run around inside the house in your underwear, where can you run around in your underwear? Really!

Please, don't try to answer that question.

Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Mondays Stink

The good news is, I made it home with the snowblower attachment. The unit is in relatively decent shape: the auger turns, the ejection chute turns, and the belt looks pretty new. That's the good news.

The bad news is, it was Monday, cloudy, and I was driving to Minneapolis. Now, don't get me wrong: I love to drive and go on adventures, so I didn't mind driving to MN by myself. However, my stomach decided that yesterday was the day it was going to rebel, and it did. By the time I got to Eagan (a Minneapolis suburb) my gut was in a knot. Within 45 minutes, I must have hit the restroom three or four times. I pity the poor person who went in there next. And to top it off, I got into town a couple hours early, and in an attempt to kill time I may have gotten a traffic ticket. I'm not sure, but here's what happened: I was driving down some street looking for a strip mall with a TJ Maxx and some other stores, but since I wasn't finding it, I decided to turn around. I pulled into a left turn lane and stopped because there was oncoming traffic. And since the through lights were green, once the traffic passed I turned. BUT - this intersection had a turn arrow, and because I was thinking about finding my way back and also thinking in Iowa driving terms, the red arrow thingy didn't register until I started turning and I thought I saw something blink in my right eye. When I got turned around and came back I saw something mounted on top of the signal pole that may have been a camera. I don't know. I told all this to Carl who was very reassuring, but I'm expecting a letter from the City of Eagan, MN telling me that I owe them 30 bizillion dollars because I ran a red light, I'm from out of state and I live within an hour's drive of the University of Iowa, key rival of the Minnesota Golden Gophers. Given the way things have been going recently, that would just be my luck.

Speaking of luck and Minnesota, there's good news on the football front. Not my football front - Carl's. Daunte Culpepper finally awoke from his trance and played a decent football game. Carl whupped the ever-lovin' snot out of his opponent thanks to 33 points from the Vikings quarterback. That gives Carl a 2 - 1 record and makes him fourth in the league. I, on the other hand, took a serious beating from a previously winless team, so now I'm 1 - 2 and eighth in the league. I guess I coached Carl too well on the aspects of fantasy management. Of course, he's been taking Management classes in school, which I'm sure somehow gives him an unfair advantage.

So now I'm trying to revamp my team. The problem is, some of my players are on a "can't cut" list, and I don't know why. These are turkeys who were supposed to be top-notch players but haven't produced so much as a fart. I don't know what I'm going to do, and this week I have to play the league leader, who's 3 - 0. Yippee.

Ooogh. There goes my stomach again. Pass the Hepmo-Hepmo!

Saturday, September 24, 2005

Birthday Blues

As if turning 42 wasn't bad enough.

Here's the synopsis of my day: Carl left for classes around 7:30. Between 8 and 8:30 it started to rain, and Mary and I had to be in Amana for a soccer game by 9:45. Hannah said she wanted to stay home by herself, so I let her, even when the power went out just as Mary and I were walking to my truck (Candy). I had to open the garage door manually, and of course I got soaked. But we managed to get going. To get to Amana, I have to drive through the town of Norway, and I have to cross the Union Pacific railroad tracks. As I was in the middle of the crossing, I looked to my left and saw train lights headed right toward me. Simultaneously the crossing bells and lights went off and the gates started dropping. To say that I hit the gas is an understatement. I dang near punched my foot through the firewall I hit the accelerator so hard. Candy jumped through the crossing and I was a half mile gone by the time the gates came all the way down. We got to Amana around 9:55 and found our team. It had stopped raining, but only for a moment. It started in again (I had a large umbrella that the girls all huddled under) and we headed for the park shelter. Yeah, the one with the metal roof. Then it started to lightning and thunder, so our game was cancelled and Mary and I headed for home. The power still wasn't back on, so I had to get out and lift the garage door manually again. But this time the door didn't stay all the way up, and as I drove through I hit the bottom of the door with the luggage rack on my truck. (Carl checked it when he got home and there's no damage. Whew!) So Hannah meets us at the door, and because the power wouldn't come back on she got scared while I was gone and let Judah in the house. No problem there, and once it stopped raining I put the dog out. But the power didn't come back on until 1:15. In the meantime I put batteries in my portable radio and listened to Ohio State obliterate the Hawkeyes. (Arg.) Once the power came back up I turned on the TV to watch the game, but because the girls wanted to watch movies I had to watch the game in the kitchen. I was tired, so I laid my head down on my arms on the table, and by the time I woke up the game was over and my arms were asleep. Things got better from there, though. For my birthday supper I ordered carryout from Texas Roadhouse. Carl and I split a rack of ribs and a "cactus" blossom onion, Hannah had a hot dog and a baked potato, and Mary had mac & cheese and steak fries. No one finished all their meal, so we have plenty of leftovers for tomorrow's lunch.

I forgot to mention that I got some nice phone calls: one from my Mom, one from my sister, and one from my mother-in-law that came just as the power went back up. My brother Bob called, too, but he called in the middle of supper so I asked him to call back. I didn't want my ribs to get cold and my beer to get warm. Thanks for understanding, Bob!

So now I'm at the end of my birthday and even though it started out rough it seems to be ending well. Mary picked up her room and took her shower without complaining, and every time I walk through the foyer I marvel at how much nicer it looks thanks to my wonderful husband. He also got the garage door back on electric controls - what a guy. Don't know what I'd do without him, or my girls. Having them around makes growing older tolerable.

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Foyer Update

Carl's been working hard getting the foyer painted. He's got the ceiling done, and he's gotten a first coat on about 3/4 of the walls. He's working on putting a second coat over the first coat, then he'll finish the 1/4 that's over the stairs. He's been using "Baker" scaffolding, a system that can be assembled over stairs so that you don't have to use ladders. I'm taking pictures and as soon as I can I'll post some, including a shot of the scaffolding on the stairs. You may not be impressed, but I thought it was cool.

In other painting news, Hannah and I have completed our One-Stroke painting class, and Hannah did really well. She has a good grasp of the concepts and techniques, so all she needs now is practice. I'll probably set up a work area in the basement for her, and once she gets the skills down pat I'll give her some surfaces to paint and sell. Expand the family business, as it were.

My job interview with Manpower got postponed until next week, but that's OK. I'm flexible, and I hope my cooperative spirit counts for something.

I'm following Hurricane Rita (just like the rest of you) and honestly, I hope that once she makes landfall she takes a north but slightly east track right toward Iowa. We could use some rain. A cold front passed through last night and I think we got 3 drops. I vaguely remember that a hurricane once tracked through Iowa when I was little - we still lived on Jones Street in Bettendorf. I thought I heard grownups say that the hurricane was drawn up the Mississippi River and stalled over the Quad Cities because of that weird east-to-west dogleg the river takes, but it was a long time ago so the memories are fuzzy. But I wonder if it was Camille they were talking about. Oh, well.

There's not much else going on, so I'm going to go check the NOAA radar. 'Bye!

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Week Two Football Update

Well, this week finds both Nuclear Moose and Coyote Ka-Boom! at 1 - 1. I lost to Pastor Bill by only a 12 points, while Carl whupped his opponent by 23. Carl won despite the fact that Daunte Culpepper let him down again. What is it with Culpepper this year, anyway? He'd better get his act together or else he's going to find out how cold it is in the Free Agency Netherland.

Meanwhile, here at home, Carl is on Day Two of his "vacation" which means he's been working hard trying to get the foyer painted. He has almost all the prep work done so the actual painting will commence tomorrow. I've basically tried to stay out of his way since he's spent most of the day up on scaffolding and I couldn't be much help up there anyway. But I got the stair rails covered with plastic, and I did most of the supply shopping, plus I made cookie bars, so I've done my part. This paint job is, after all, my birthday present. Why should I work on my own birthday present? Don't answer that.

In other news, I have a "job interview" with Manpower on Thursday morning. I hope to find some kind of work that I can do at home, and if not I hope to find something I can do during the evenings as I need to be around during the day for my girls. I applied for a part time office clerk job with a transport firm down in Norway, but then a friend of mine asked me "What will you do with your girls during the summer?" so I don't think I'll interview for that job, even if they call me. I found out they got 90 applications for that job, so I don't think I really have a chance.

Next Monday will find me in our pickup headed for Minneapolis, MN to retrieve a John Deere snowthrower attachment for our 214 lawn tractor. I won it on eBay, and it was fairly cheap: $152.50. I've seen them go for over $200, so this really wasn't too bad. I hope to eventually find a rototiller attachment, but anyway. I just hope it snows enough this year to justify the expense of the purchase, and also the time and gas necessary to go get it. Then I hope we can figure out how to hook it up. What fun.

So hang in there, and next week I'll tell you all about the trip and I'll also bring you up to date on the latest football news. See ya!

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Football Update

Week One of Fantasy Football is over, and I, the manager of team Nuclear Moose, am in second place in our league. Whoo-hoo! I only hope I can keep this up. I have a pretty good team, I just have to watch for injuries. For some reason Yahoo! won't let me in to see my team, so all I know for now is that I'm in second place and my next opponent is Pastor Bill. I also know that Carl's team, Coyote Ka-Boom! is (unfortunately) last place in the league, but this isn't Carl's fault. He had a great lineup. It's Daunte Culpepper's fault, and he'd better get it in gear.

In other football news, for those who haven't heard, Iowa State beat Iowa in their big intra-state rival game 23-3. You could've knocked me over with a feather at the end of the game. I never expected to see that. I was amazed at how well ISU's team played, and I mean on both sides of the ball. It was great! However, my poor Aunt Jane and cousin John were not nearly so happy as me and Carl. Did I mention that Carl and I had tickets to the game and we took Jane and John with us? Anyway. We had a good time, although my aunt probably thinks that I need to have my head examined. I went a little nuts during the game. Can you blame me? For all the years I went to school in Ames, I never saw the team play that well. And during my college years Iowa routinely trounced Iowa State, with scores like 65 - 0. No kidding. So it was nice to be in the stadium and actually see my Cyclones beat the Hawkeyes. I will, though, cheer for the Hawks the rest of the year. (Well, mostly.) I hope they can get Drew Tate, their ace quarterback, up and playing again. Poor kid suffered a concussion. I hate it when that happens.

Speaking of Jane and John, John is thinking about maybe going to Iowa State once he graduates. (He's a senior.) So after the game we all went for a walk around campus and I gave everyone a brief guided tour of my old alma mater. It's a beautiful place, but last week they had severe weather and there were still big tree branches down everywhere. That was sad. But they're working on restoring old Morrill Hall. That's nice. I'm glad to see the University keeping the old, original buildings, some of which date back to the Victorian era and have outstanding, graceful architecture.

On a side, sports-related note, Mary's soccer team plays their first game this Saturday at Amana. I'm looking forward to it.

I'm also looking forward to next week. Carl's taking a week's vacation as a birthday present to me, and he's going to help me paint the interior of the house. We're going to work together on the foyer, which is 18 ft. high. (I think.) He'll do the upper part, and I'll do the lower part, or something like that. And I have no other news, really, to pass along. But stay tuned, another football update comes in one week!

Thursday, September 08, 2005

An Explanation

This is a picture of my husband, Carl. I'm posting his photo because on Dave Barry's blog today, there's a link to a news article about a labrador retriever named Carl who got attacked by a squirrel. My Carl would never chase squirrels. He'd get our dog to do that. Our dog happens to be a black lab/rottweiler mix, and if you want to see the dog's picture you'll have to go to this link

Thursday Blatherskite

Last night Hannah and I went to a "one-stroke" painting class, and we had a blast. We learned alot in just three hours, and there's two more sessions to go, so this class was a great investment of time and money. And I just have to brag on Hannah. She did a fantastic job. Her work was just as good as everyone else's, and she picked up on the techniques quickly. She and I had already tried one-stroke at home, so she had a concept of what to do, but she really flourished in the class. Plus, before we left home she worked hard and finished all her homework. What a kid.

Now, I've tried one-stroke before. Some of the stuff I did OK on, but the thing that always got me was the "wiggle" stroke. You use the wiggle stroke to make lobed leaves and cottage roses, and I just could never get it right, until last night. The teacher (Deb Klouda) stood behind me and helped me do the stroke, and when she pivoted the brush in my hand, I finally got it. It took me three years, but I finally got it. Whew!

In other news, Carl and I had once again been looking at rural property, and once again we got goosed. This particular place was really nice: ten acres with a ranch house and four outbuildings, and it was already set up for horses with stalls in one building and sturdy fencing all around. However, the house was inadequate in a couple places: the galley kitchen was claustrophobic, and one of the three upstairs bedrooms was too small, so one of the girls would've had to sleep in the (finished) basement where there was no fire egress. We were working on trying to figure out how much it would cost to put a two-story addition on to the house, but we think it will be cost prohibitive. Plus, this farm was outside of our school district, and even though you can open enroll in Iowa, we would have had to drive four miles to meet the school bus, and Mary would've had to transfer from the Atkins/Norway elementary group to the Van Horne/Keystone elementary group. There's no way we could have enrolled the girls in the Vinton-Shellsburg district: the change of routine for Hannah would have been overwhelming, especially at her age when her hormones are starting to kick into high gear. So even though this place was really nice, we're going to tell the land agent that we aren't interested any more. We do plan to ask him to keep his eyes and ears open for any land that comes up for sale, especially land in the Conservation Reserve program. The program ends in 2007 and now is the time to buy this type of "government" pasture because no one knows if the government will re-issue the program or not.

So that's the latest blather. Tomorrow is Mary's first soccer practice, and I'll let you know how she does in another blog post. I'm pretty sure I'll have alot to brag about with Boo-Boo, too.

See you later!

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

There's No Do-Overs

I'm depressed. I watched the movie St. Elmo's Fire while I was folding laundry, and unfortunately it took me back to a time when my hair was long, curly and non-grey, my gut was flat, my thighs and my (ahem!) bosoms were shapely, and I wasn't ashamed to wear a swimsuit. Those were the days when I could lay out on a beach towel in front of my old dorm building and good-looking guys would want to talk to me. It doesn't seem like that long ago, but it was. Twenty years have passed since those days, and it amazes me how fast they flew by.

Am I the only one who wishes they could go back in time and spend one more semester at college? Yeah, I know the school work was hard, but the rest of the time was fun. Of course, I screwed up my college education by not knowing what career path to follow, but hindsight is 20-20 and if I had it to do all over again, I'd change everything except the part about meeting Carl. I'd never want to change that. Carl's the only good thing that happened to me between 1982 and 1986. But I would want to change what I studied. I'd get either a meteorology degree, or an ag management degree. That probably sounds funny, but it's true.

However, there ain't no going back, so I suppose I'll have to live in the present. For those of you who read the "flat gut" part and immediately jumped to the conclusion that a diet would do me good, you're right, but hold your horses. I have some digestive problems, so on October 3rd I have to go to a stomach doctor (no I can't spell the specialty) and have an endoscopy. They'll stick a tube down my throat and try and figure out why prevacid won't completely stop my proton pumps. You want that explanation in English? Me, too.

Meanwhile, I have to get ready for tonight. Hannah and I are taking a "one-stroke" painting class and I need to get some stuff together. The class lasts for three weeks (on Wednesdays) and hopefully it will be enjoyable for both of us. It won't be like college, but at least we'll be learning something.

But I still feel depressed, and really, really OLD.