Wednesday, May 30

Even Big Boys Pretend

Even at 11 years old, it is fun to take an afternoon for playing army on the back hill. Brainy Boy has dozens of Bionicle robot models that he's built. But the real enjoyment is covering the rocks with the models and pretending to have World War III.

Tuesday, May 29

No Contest


Who would you say is winning the mega-ear contest? And who would you say is losing the "no dogs on the beds" battle?!

Monday, May 28

Leaving a Legacy

We are sad today because our grandpa, great-grandpa and generally all around wonderful guy went to Heaven yesterday morning. Muh Main Man has flown to Florida to attend the funeral of his granddad, John Francis Olsen. Gramps was a guy who lived life to the fullest, working well into his eighties, helping us every day when we were building our house eleven years ago and generally enjoying his life and his family.

He left a legacy of generosity, kindness and Christian living that we are diligently trying to pass on to our own kids. He was especially close to Muh Main Man, being his namesake and all. Muh Main Man worked at his granddad's car dealership as a teenager and they spent lots of time together. Even though he died of old age after having a full and wonderful life, we still weren't ready to let him go.

Saturday, May 26

Mission....Not Accomplished

I am generally a laid back person, at least on the outside. I tend to keep any fretting and fuming well concealed. Every once in a while, though, a bug gets under my skin and I undertake a mission just on the sake of principle.

If you read my blog much, you know I made a resolution to celebrate all holidays and birthdays with gifts on time this year. Frankly, I've done pretty well so far. So it went with Mother's Day as well, with me ordering a corsage for my mom as well as Ma-in-law on time. Imagine my dismay on Sunday when we called to wish the Ma-in-law a Happy Mother's Day, to learn that Hobe Sound Florist had not delivered her corsage! I checked my credit card statement, saw that I had not been billed for it and assumed they'd gotten too busy to follow through. I made a call to the flower shop on Monday and didn't get an answer. I assumed again, that they were closed on Mondays.

Tuesday I saw the charge come through on my card and called the florist and got a lady with a foreign accent, who told me to call back to speak to the owner in an hour. An hour later I called back, and never got an answer. Wednesday when I called, someone picked up the phone and hung it back up immediately, without answering. I sent Ma-in-law over to the shop to speak to the owner and wah-lah....they apparently don't work out of the store front any more. Thursday I called several times and never got an answer. Also Thursday, the flower shop attempted to deliver the corsage and my Pa-in-law refused it and asked that they credit my account. By this time, I was getting a bit steamed. Friday I came up with the brilliant idea to call from my cell phone since I'd convinced myself there was a conspiracy going on and they were screening my calls. My suspicions were confirmed and a nice gentleman picked up the phone and asked that I call back and talk to the owner. When I explained that I'd rather not hang up since I'd probably never get a hold of another person, he took my complaint and offered to credit my account.

All seemed well until this past Tuesday when on a whim, I decided to make sure they were going to follow through. I made a call to the shop and they had disconnected their phone number!! At that point, I went to the bank, made a fraud complaint with Visa and they credited my account. Now for those of you who know me well, returning things is not generally something I bother with and spending a week pursuing a credit of $37 -- well, not my typical behavior. But I'm working on behalf of all the daughter-in-laws who have their act together in time for Mother's Day.

On Thursday afternoon I noticed that the charge on my account was actually from All In Bloom, and the phone number attached to the charge was different from the phone number from Hobe Sound Florist. I decided to take a chance with that route, and don't you know, a nice woman answered, took my complaint and told me to call the owner that afternoon.

I didn't get to it again that day, but called today (now this has been 2-1/2 weeks since I originally placed the order and almost 2 weeks since Mother's Day) and Miss Snooty answered the phone. She wanted to know why I wanted to talk to the owner, argued that I must not have actually spoken to anybody before since I didn't have their names, but then didn't want to give me hers. She said that she couldn't believe that I actually placed a corsage order for Mother's Day because they were entirely too busy to make corsages. She also said that the original phone number was in perfect working condition and that anybody in the shop could have and would have credited my account if I'd actually spoken to them. I told her that she had just given me great news. I said "Miss Snooty", you have just solved both of our problems! I want my credit and you don't want me to bother your owner. You do my credit and I won't need to call back.

You better believe I am going to be watching that account like a hawk for the next couple of weeks and if that credit doesn't come through, I'll call back once more, this time from Muh Main Man's cell phone-to tell them that Visa is looking for them. And who wants to bet that Miss Snooty is actually the owner?

Thursday, May 24

Broken Record

Poor Little Chic! After an entire year of being well and making it to school every single day. She is home with a sore throat of three days and a fever. This would have been the first year for her to have perfect attendance and she is very disappointed at the prospect of missing out on the Perfect Attendance Prize at the end of the school year. I assured her it was not likely to be a $25 gift certificate to Toys R Us or anything, so I'm confident she'll survive the loss.

Her sore throat started as a nagging irritation but has progressed to being really painful and with the fever today, so Mean Mom overruled the nine-year-old's judgment and kept her home. We briefly considered the option of sending her to school for attendance and then me picking her up to go to the doctor's but with the fever, Mom-mode kicked in and squashed that plan. She didn't really feel like it anyway.

The disappointment is tempered with the fact that she has gotten a quarterly certificate for perfect attendance so at least that's something. I never was a big one for striving for perfect attendance, as I liked my occasional "mental health days" when I was a kid. But contests and Little Chic seem to be a match made in heaven - no matter what the competition.

ADDENDUM: Poor Little Chic has a full-blown case of strep!

Wednesday, May 23

Day, Interrupted

I am not a morning person. Not by a long shot. So I was ever thankful when Muh Main Man agreed to run my Ma up to the airport at 5am so she could make her 5:50am flight this morning. As luck would have it, he got a serious medic call last night and was whooped by the time he got home. We switched roles and I agreed to take Ma if he would set the coffee pot up and also get the Short People dressed and to school. He thought that was a great deal. I wasn't so sure.

I fretted half the night that I would oversleep and got up bleary-eyed, threw on some clothes and headed straight to the coffee. Muh Main Man kept his end of the bargain and set up the coffee pot, but didn't have it start until departure time. In desperation, I clicked the button and held my cup under the spout as it drip-dropped x-tra strong brew into my cup.

We arrived at the airport in record time and against my better judgment, I left as I saw Ma approach the kiosk to check in. Twenty minutes later, just as I reached my street, my cell phone rang and it was Ma asking me to come back and get her. Apparently there was snafu. I made a U-turn, hauled back to the terminal and sat out front for 40 minutes while she worked her magic. I guess my presence did the trick because I left again without her and they squeezed her on a 7:30am flight. I arrived BACK home just in time to dress and deliver the Short People to school myself. What can I say? I was in martyr mode.

Needless to say, I've been in a fog all day. I would have gone back to bed but I had several errands to do and they were all scheduled at random intervals throughout the day, so it just isn't working for me. I'm already preparing to get my second wind so I can watch the American Idol finale tonight. And then I'll sleep. Until then, I'm a zombie.

American Idol

I love it when dynamic Christians hit the mainstream media and do Christ proud. It's been interesting to see how American Idol has been influenced by Christian music this season. It turns out that last night's songwriting winner, Scott Krippayne, has killer songs on Christian radio, so it was awesome when he and his pastor friend, Jeff Peabody won the contest for This Is My Now.

It's also been exciting to watch Chris Sligh, Phil Stacey and Melinda Doolittle, all committed Christians, perform and place in the top 12 this season.

Tuesday, May 22

These are the Days

Times have been good, but busy. I am revisiting a stage of life I thought I never would - the potty training stage. Although, I have to say that I appear to be much more successful in this endeavor with the canine species than I was with my own offspring. It's much less stressful too, being able to crate the peeing one when I'm not able to hover over in potty-watching state.

The Short People have taken wildly to our new DogSpot, although MonsterPaw is thoroughly irritated at us all. We've had to move the cat food and litter box out of the prying paw-ness of the puppy and MonsterPaw is beginning to forgive the intrusion just a bit.

We have found a few nice surprises along the way - DogSpot doesn't mind sleeping all night in her crate and waiting patiently to go outside in the morning. She is also a very polite passenger in the vehicle and rides nicely to school with the Short People every morning. DogSpot has only barked twice - once at first sight of the cat and once to go outside! DogSpot is a pleasant companion at the park and will cooperate on a leash. These are all things we didn't get to enjoy with our beloved HyperDog and although we miss her dearly, we are enjoying the benefits of a more, let's just say....mild personality. Since we are enjoying her so much, another surprise (**NOT**) is that it is much more difficult to enforce the "No dogs on the bed" rule.

Wednesday, May 16

Is This Kansas?

I think she's gonna like it here with us. I know we're gonna like it here with her.

Patch


After searching like maniacs as if we were on some type of deadline, we have brought DogSpot home. She is a Jack Russell mix, reminiscent of our beloved HyperDog. She is mixed with what-we-don't-know, but she has beautiful white fur with a brown spot on her rear. Her eyes are a very unusual half blue/half brown in both eyes, making us think she may be mixed with a boxer. Little Chic was afraid that the picture might make readers think she was bald, but I assured her that I would inform you that indeed, she is not a hairless dog.

In any event, she has quickly decided that we are A-Okay, as we have her. She was a star passenger, sprawling on the back seat between Brainy Boy and Little Chic. As you can imagine, she is particularly fond of Little Chic, sitting politely when hoping for a nibble of some unexpected crumb. She has indulged all the pretend and play fantasies so far and has not been a disappointing playmate in the 2 hours she has been at home. Hopefully the potty training will be as successful. That's not generally my high point.

Her name is Patch. And we think she's grand.

Tuesday, May 15

Recovery

We are hanging in there after the departure of our sweet HyperDog. It appears that we are a re-bound type of family, rejecting any suggestions to wait a while before re-entering parenthood of a new dog. We all want a new dog. Now. We miss our HyperDog immensely and it is just too depressing to each of us not having that wagging craziness greet us at the door.

We began scouring every known source for a new family member over the weekend and have yet to find the furry one who is looking for us, but I'm sure it won't be long. It's amazing how you can't seem to find a mutt when you are looking for one, but all sorts turn up when you aren't. Our requirements are few. Small to medium size, short hair, under a year old. Mutts and runts okay...after all, we all have a little of that in us.

Sunday, May 13

Heartbreak

I am overwhelmed with sadness to tell you that our sweet HyperDog died in an accident on Saturday morning. We've had our faithful little sentry for six years and our kids don't even remember life before her. We were crazy about her. She was an icon around our house, welcoming everybody who came near in an embarrassingly undisciplined way. We loved that about her. She heralded everybody who came within sight, and tried to gain rides in the vehicles of the oil man, the cable guy, the mail man, the UPS man, the drycleaner man, the flower delivery guy...well, you get the idea. She was the only dog I knew who was thrilled with the idea of getting a shot at the vet as it meant riding in the car to go see more people. She loved our house, she loved us, she loved the deer in the back yard, she loved the cat...even though the cat didn't love her back. She just loved.

She was the eternal little Swiffer Vac and dish pre-washer, believing that any and all crumbs were good to the last drop. Somehow the floor under our table never needed cleaning after dinnertime. She took her clean-up jobs very seriously and the size of her belly proved that fact. She even went a little overboard sometimes believing that the garbage can was within her jurisdiction. She firmly insisted that the purses and suitcases of any and all visitors were fair game though, and she was rewarded with many a package of gum snatched from an unwatchful owner.

We are heartbroken, we miss her, we've been crying. It has been heart wrenching to see my two wee ones mourn the loss of the first thing that they've been so close to. It has been a lesson in human emotion to see how they each deal with their grief. It's been giving me the opportunity to teach them about how God is with us especially when we are sad, that he has been getting us ready for this bad experience and that he'll make all of us able to love better after this is over. I sometimes wonder if God uses losing a pet to prepare us for the experience of losing a human loved one later on in our lives.

We have a little grave on the back hill that has already had lots of visits. We're going to be blue for a while. We're going to keep thinking we need to let the dog out or to feed her. We'll expect her to bark when somebody rings the doorbell. As I've told the kids, that's called "mourning." That's how we know we loved her.

Thursday, May 10

Can't Say It's Boring

We all know the saying, "When it rains, it pours." I've definitely had my share of pouring the last month or so, and this week is just zipping along like all the others! I'm actually looking forward to a dry spell, so to speak, and I keep peering at my calendar to see when there is a day that has nothing on it. I haven't identified one on this page yet. I'm a gal who likes to keep busy, though, so I keep reminding myself of that fact.

Little Chic had her final fourth grade orchestra and chorus concert Tuesday night and she was quite the sight. The older she gets, the more serious she is about what outfit she'll be wearing, what hairdo she'll be sporting and all that jazz. I enjoy spiffing up, but I generally go for the no fuss style - but not Little Chic. The more complicated the hairdo, the more she likes it. Unfortunately, I'm not that gifted a hairstylist and we have to visit the hairdresser for the really fancy schmancy stuff. Luckily she went with an understated look for her concert, so I was able to manage. She even graduated to her first wearing of dangly earrings, borrowed from Mom.

It may have been her last ever orchestra concert if she switches to a band instrument next year. She is wanting to continue the viola and add a band instrument as well, but I'm not caving, so she'll have to choose....squeaks or screeches...I'm not having both ;) After the concert we went to a new ice cream shop that sells the beloved Dippin' Dots which Little Chic has been enthralled with since she did a science experiment making ice cream with liquid nitrogen. It was a real thrill, I tell ya, paying $3.50 for a minuscule cup of the frozen gold.

Last night was another softball game. Brainy Boy doesn't always attend, but he did last night and joyfully met a new friend, "Harry, who's Jewish." Brainy Boy always loves to find a new friend who has something that he deems unusual. It can be anything from "John, who is one of seven kids in his family" to "Austin who has warts on his hand." It really doesn't matter what the unique fact is, but it always invokes lots of discussion and analyzing.

Funny kids, these ones are!

Tuesday, May 8

Little MVP


I figure I'll post an extra one, just to make up for lost time. Little Chic is playing her first season of girls softball and is absolutely loving it. She is really impressing us with her skills and she was awarded the "game ball" last Wednesday for her great playing! Her only prior baseball was a year of T-ball when she was four, so she really is a newbie but catching on quickly. Her batting and fielding are as good or better than some of the other girls who played last year!

The game ball is signed by each team player before the game and the coach awards it at the end of the game to the girl who shows outstanding spirit, sportsmanship, most improvement, etc.

It is especially fun to watch a group of 7-9 year olds play because the most important issues are: 1) What number is on the back of your shirt, 2) What color is your shirt uniform, 3) What cheers you are going to do during the game while you are on the bench waiting to bat.

No Cause For Worry

I'm attempting to get back into a quasi-regular blogging schedule but my attention has been dragged to and fro over the past couple of weeks.

Thankfully, Brainy Boy is suddenly progressing splendidly after a somewhat anxiety-ridden (for Muah) slow road. I was about at the breaking point with worry that we'd done the wrong thing with his foot surgery when yesterday, he took a drastic turn for the better. His limp is beginning to disappear and he's no longer walking as if one foot is two inches shorter than the other. This happened suddenly and starting yesterday morning, the only sign of abnormality is that he walks with his legs a bit further apart than would be normal. This is due to the fact that his Achilles tendon is still too short, but we are confidently expecting physical therapy to take care of stretching it out so that no further surgery is necessary.

I'm not an outward worrier, and generally nobody knows that I'm an internal basket case. Muh Main Man is shocked when I ever get to the overflowing point since I don't generally show my stress level. But my fretting got to the point that last Monday (4/30) I think I induced myself into a troublesome migraine that caused some stroke-like symptoms with some temporary expressive aphasia. I suddenly couldn't think of words that I was trying to say, including the names of most of my family members and close friends. Luckily it only lasted about an hour, and a trip to the Emergency Room with a CAT scan showed....you guessed it...nothing :0 I'll be following up with a neurologist on Friday just to make sure that it was indeed a migraine that I had and that my brain is as it should be. Other than a little fogginess that is gradually disappearing, I'm pretty much back to my old self.

Frankly, if I didn't have God in my life, I can't imagine what state I'd have been in the last month or so. Even through all the stress, it has been reassuring to know that nothing can happen to my kiddo without God already knowing about it. Thank God for that! This Mom stuff is tough!

Thursday, May 3

Long Overdue Hello

Due to recent events, including birthdays, softball games and a weird migraine incident on Monday, I have not told you about one of the more exciting things that happened last week. I got to see a long-lost friend who was up visiting in my neck of the woods! We had known each other through middle school and high school and hadn't been in touch since my wedding, way back in 1989 (yeah, I know I look entirely too young to have been married in that year, but hey...) Any-who, I reconnected with Debbie in December 2005 via the blogsphere, and we've been in touch ever since! Debbie does amazingly awesome pottery and she brought me a glazed tile for my birthday that a friend of hers made - so I have my first very own handmade piece of artwork! It even says "Fresh Coffee" which shows how faithfully Debbie reads my blog.

You can imagine how shocked I was to learn that she was coming to visit the nether regions and that we'd be able to meet up. We ended up having breakfast together and then the whole fam met she and her husband later again that evening for ice cream and Muh Favorite Place. I would post a picture of the reunited duo, but I looked particularly frumpy in the picture. I'm blaming it on the skills of the very nice volunteer photographer who didn't suggest that I stand up straight. Oh...what the hay...I know I'll get lots of complaints about not posting a pic, so here goes my dignity...especially since she looks so darn good!

Wednesday, May 2

The Big One-One


It doesn't seem possible that Brainy Boy has turned 11 today. He's turning out to be quite a kid. I overheard him talking to several family members who called to wish him a Happy Birthday and he told all of them, "Only 7 more years until I can vote!"

We are going to his beloved Red Lobster for dinner and then to Toys R Us and Barnes & Noble where he can spend the bulk of his birthday money. He opted for mostly cash rather than gifts because he wanted to see what a "spending spree" was like. He's been dreaming of several hardcover mega-sized Dilbert and Far Side comic books so I'm sure we'll be needing another bookshelf by the end of the night.