Friday, October 30, 2009

This Is It!

I couldn't wait to see the MJ movie/documentary---This Is It! I was not disappointed. It was fabulous! Basically, it's the concert---but during rehearsals. You see some of the costumes, some of the sets---incredible---and lots of what we love about MJ---singing and dancing. The entire show is more of a theatrical event rather than just an ordinary concert. It's so hard to believe that at 50, he could still move and sing at the same time---and wasn't out of breath. He gave new life to all of the "oldies" including some cool new things with Thriller.

The tickets are $10.00. The movie made $20M the first DAY! You certainly would not have known it by our theater as there couldn't have been 15 people in there. I guess Nashville, TN is not an MJ fan capitol! The movie only runs for the next week and a half. I don't know why it's only running for a short time.

I'm sure it will come out on video, but you really should take the chance to see it on the big screen. After all, Michael Jackson was larger than life! 

Monday, October 26, 2009

Who Washes Their Buttons?

It will take me awhile to get there, so bear with me and you'll find out who washes their buttons.

We picked up Steph and the girls at 9 a.m. for a little geo-caching. We drove to Thompson Station and then on to Spring Hill, TN---about 45 minutes away. Butch had lined up 8 caches for us. The conversation in the car is always fun---everyone talking over everyone else. Aside from the fact that the girls were with us this past week, we hadn't really done anything all together since August. Jordan had her iPod on and was already complaining that she was hungry. She said the she didn't have time for breakfast because Steph only gave her 15 minutes to get ready. Still she had on make-up, so I guess for a teenager, that wins out over food.

Our first "find" was down a little incline to some railroad tracks. Morgan had the GPS, told everyone the cache was on the other side of the tracks while she backtracked and found it on her own. After that, we didn't trust her. 

Our next stop was the Thompson Station where farmers brought their crops in the "olden" days. It has been re-built due to the history and Civil War battle that took place there. The cache was a good size magnetic box that I found---pretty proudly---I might add---as no one else could. Even Butch---"the pro" passed it up.

The next one was in a park. The name of the cache was "Re-shaping the earth, Tonka style".  We pulled up to a darling little sandbox full of Tonka trucks. What a cute idea! We all searched without much luck for awhile. Butch said we needed to go about it systematically as there at least 50 trucks there. We were looking for something "velcroed" on. We all wondered how it could still be there with kids playing with the trucks. Surely they would discover anything attached to a truck. We looked at all the trucks again, being careful to keep them separated. Even with that second look, Morgan passed it up. The "Master" found it. It was a tiny, bison tube---about 1/2" by 1 1/2" tube---tucked down between the wheels. No child would find something like that unless they were looking for it. Very fun and challenging "find." (Photo above---still can't get these photos to line up right).

From there, we continued further into the park. We hiked down a trail and then ventured into the woods. Jordan found it---a bat house mounted on a tree. When Butch went to open the lid, a mouse jumped out. The girls freaked. The photo below is of the mouse nest inside. Dilemma---disturb the nest to get to the box and log the "find", or leave it alone. We decided that the mouse would re-build if necessary. I'm glad we did because I got this darling little, PINK, Madame Alexander doll. She's a munchkin from the Wizard of OZ. I was happy. 

Steph was complaining that she hadn't found one. Butch set her up with an easy one in a parking lot. Morgan beat her to it. Butch set her up with another easy one in another parking lot and sent Morgan in the other direction. Now Steph was happy. You know how she can be when she's not happy!

There was one we decided not to look for as we were having trouble trying to get to it. It was supposed to be at some rec center. The girls had a fit when we drove up the driveway of what was clearly a farmhouse. We figured we had the coordinates wrong.

We stopped at Applebee's for lunch---they have a great 2 for $20.00 special---choice of 1 appetizer and 2 entrees for $20.00, plus we had a $5.00 coupon. Butch and Steph did the "deal", Morgan had a sandwich and I got the grilled shrimp and spinach salad (fabulous). Jordan wrecked all the savings with her order of the sirloin steak and shrimp skewers. She got away with it because Butch had gotten up to wash his hands. Great meal anyway.

Now we're finally to the buttons. On the way home, the girls were
 talking about someone being A.D.D. I said that
 I didn't really know what that was, but thought I might have that. I explained that I had made my "to do" list for the weekend. I hardly had gotten anything done on my list because I kept getting side-tracked. I spent 3 hours finishing up organizing my fibers from my stitching projects---putting each one in individual bags marked with their lot number and organized by color. When I finished that, I decided to wash my buttons. 

When I said that one line, the whole family chimed in---"why would you wash buttons?" I started to explain that I needed to do it so I could sort them for Christmas gifts. Everyone jumped on that---why would you spend time sorting buttons. Butch interrupted that he wanted to go on record right now, saying that he didn't want any buttons for Christmas. He told the girls that they might want to go on record now too---otherwise it would be dirty buttons for Christmas. Steph was the only sensible one. She said, "wait, if mom's making something, then I might want it." Good answer Steph---but it's not for you. 

Washing buttons isn't really anything I had ever done before. But, I purchased a big jar at the flea market---and they were dirty. Now I'm not an idiot, I didn't wash each one by hand. I filled the sink with hot, soapy water, and dumped the buttons in my large colander. Then I realized that I needed the colander to rinse and drain them, so I had to dump them out. I scooped them up by the handful and swished them around and then rinsed them. Look how filthy the water got! How does a jar of buttons get so dirty? I tried really hard to not let any go down the drain, but I failed to "catch" the straight pin. That can't be good. An $8.00 jar of buttons could cost me a service call from my favorite plumber, Jeff. Yes, I'm on a first name basis with him too. 

I'm actually doing the sorting tonight while I watch t.v. 

Oh, and one last thing---the girls decided that grandpa's "coolness factor" was greatly diminished by the 50's music in the car.

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Halloween is in the HOUSE!

Hal (as in "Halloween") and Jack (as in "Jack-o-lantern") greet you as you enter the house. When I was decorating, Butch said, "I thought you hated Halloween." He's right, I always did hate Halloween. I thought about the reasons why I no longer find that haunted night loathesome:
1. I don't have to think up costumes. I used to break out in a cold sweat---I don't sew and store-bought costumes were tacky. 2. I didn't have extra money to spend on decorations--now I do. 3. Now I'm creating spooky memories for my grandkids! Oh, the things you do for them...

I haven't named my witch yet---Wendy is just too predictable. Notice my hand-made pumpkins---well I didn't actually make them. They are paper mache' that I painted, stenciled and decorated.

How do you like my adopted creepy relatives? Some of them look familiar. I got the glittery skull from Michaels. They have all their Halloween stuff on sale now.

I was so excited to find these old apothecary bottles at an antique mall complete with vintage poison labels. The perfect addition to the Halloween decor.

Just a few things I've made. The Halloween banner was going to be the project for our Cousin's Crop, but I couldn't get enough of the base banners. Next year for sure. 
Connie is coveting my witch's hat, so I'm going to put her name on it. She has "dibs" on a piece of my needlework already.

And finally, the latest addition to our household---Bernard the Butler! He moves and interacts with the skull on the plate that also talks and lights up. His eyes are incredible. A bargain for $49.99 at Walgreen's. I'll bet he's half price on Halloween. At least go see him.

So what are you all doing for Halloween? I'm going to the theater with friends to see "Little House on the Prairie" starring Melissa Gilbert as "Ma". Whoopee---part of our season tickets. Butch will handle the trick-or-treaters---all 12 of them.

Share some of your decorations with me!

Friday, October 23, 2009

Done with the Girls---Day 5

It's over! With bagelwiches for breakfast and a "have a good day" as they walked out the door, I have my life back! I have to admit, it flew by pretty fast. There were no major arguments. It was easy. I have the beds stripped and the house back in order. 

I'll miss them. Maybe...

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Ditchin' the Girls---Day 4

I told the girls they would pretty much be on their own today. This is the first day all week that my time has been my own! I played bridge and then met my friends to make the hour drive to Clarksville for our bi-monthly scrapbook club meeting. We stopped for dinner first and just had a good time. An all around fun day.

Once home---at 8:45, I talked to the girls about their day. Nothing out of the ordinary. I promised them bagelwiches for breakfast tomorrow.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Catering to the Girls---Day 3

After nearly being late yesterday, I gave the girls their wake-up call at 6:15 a.m. I knew they wouldn't get up, but that didn't worry me. All of a sudden, my old, mother tricks came back to me. Every minute or two, I yelled a different question up to them. "How many pancakes do you want?" 2 minutes later, "chocolate chip, pecan or plain", 2 minutes later, "how many strips of bacon do you want", "do you want milk or water." I won, they got up---and it was before 6:30.

As soon as they got to the table, I started nagging. "Morgan, did you take your pill---do your  back exercises? Jordan, did you finish your homework---what time did you go to bed?" I don't want to make it too much fun being here! 

Morgan told Jordan that she looked like a "skank" because she didn't have her top blouse button--buttoned. Butch and I both chimed in that she looked fine. Morgan insisted that she must be trying to impress someone. Believe me, Jordan was not voluptuously hanging out in any way. We're talking the second blouse button---the third one was securely buttoned a good inch above the bra line!

As they were walking out the door---on time---I asked, "whose underwear are these on the kitchen floor?" Not exactly appetizing. Their crap is everywhere. Okay, they weren't exactly underwear, but tights. Still, they were inside/out. Who wants to see a "crotch" so early in the morning?

The girls did save us a little money at breakfast. Neither of them used their napkin.

Jordan had a half day today, so I had the carpool run at noon. Jordan also had a doctor's appointment at 3, so we went to lunch. About the time we arrived at O'Charley's---about 1:30, Steph called to say the appointment had been cancelled. Jordan's doctor has the flu! We went home for naps. I changed my clothes only to find that Jordan had taken my favorite nap spot---the couch. She got up for a second to get her phone. I quickly grabbed the couch and reminded her that she forgot to call "place back." Come on, I know it sounds like 3rd grade, but calling "place back" is a universal rule! She went upstairs!

Morgan got home around 3 with 3 friends in tow. They were getting ready here to go to a cheerleading competition (just to watch) at Father Ryan High School. I agreed to drive there and someone else is bringing them home. What I didn't know is that they were decorating t-shirts here. Morgan had already gotten one from Butch. 

I had planned homemade pizza for dinner. I was making 2 mediums for the 4 of us, but suddenly that had to stretch to 7. Turns out they apparently didn't like sausage and mushroom, so the 5 girls shared the pepperoni.  OMG--sorry this getting too long. Anyway, they wanted me to stop at Target so they could buy some bandanas. Instead, I went to the kitchen cabinet and pulled out about a dozen. They were impressed that I had them. I offered them the cowboy hats, but they didn't want those. Morgan wanted to know "who just happens to have bandanas laying around." I've used them for entertaining with a western theme for one of my "functions." Good thing I kept them.

One thing I am learning about myself this week: I am not as flexible as I think I am. I am really set in my routines. I'm used to getting on the treadmill every morning between 5 and 6. It's the first thing I do. It's been really hard to do it later. Today I got on at 7 as soon as the family left. By the time I finished and took my shower, it was 8:30. Sheesh, I'm usually an hour into my day by then.

Two more days....

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Coping with the Girls---Day 2

Today started off like most of the girl's days, I'm sure. I told them that I was going to wake them up at 6:30 so we could leave the house by 7 a.m. Since Jordan goes to an all girls school, she doesn't have to bother with make-up. Morgan isn't allowed to wear make-up in 8th grade. They wear uniforms, so choosing just the right outfit isn't an issue. Fifteen minutes to get up and ready is enough---so they assured me. I'm adamant about sitting down to breakfast together at 6:45. Did it with my own family and still do it every day with Butch. I don't always cook something, but we always eat breakfast together---just a nice way to start the day. I truly believe it sets the tone for the day.

My first mistake was letting them "sleep in" until 6:32. Actually, I was uploading photos to Walgreens and the time got away from me. I had already been up since 5, but had to choose quiet activities that early so as not to disturb the girls. Apparently, 2 minutes made all the difference in the world. Not only did we not have time for breakfast, I ended up "nagging" them to get moving. We all had Capri Suns and donuts in the car---wholesome, I know---at least the sugar high would get them going. We still made it out of the house by 7:01. I told them that tomorrow I'll be waking them up at 6:15. I'm making chocolate chip pancakes---by request. 

The afternoon "hook-up" went off without a hitch today. The girls asked to go to the club for dinner. I told them to get a good hour of homework under their belt and then we'd go. They left their phones in the car. We had a nice dinner and I heard all about Jordan's latest "squeeze"-- Ian. She met him in karate in the 4th grade. They just recently re-connected through Facebook. (I still don't really "get it" but I know it's the "in" thing with everyone under 50). Morgan is still with Cowden---it's been 8 months. She considers herself in a "long-term" relationship. Kids!

Amazing, after only 45 minutes at dinner, Jordan had 6 text messages and Morgan had 5. They didn't have a stroke without their phones and even found it kind of exciting to have all those messages waiting for them. Needless to say, the conversation came to an end. Okay by me. I'm ready for my jammies and some t.v. time.


Monday, October 19, 2009

Keeping the Girls---Day 1

Steph had to go out-of-town on business this week and won't get home until Friday. Conveniently, Butch left town too. I'm starting to see a pattern here. He left town when I had the Lapps' children this summer too!

This is how the day went. Steph dropped Morgan off early this morning as she had her appointment with the orthopedic doctor. I scheduled my mammogram after that. I figured I wait on her for so many appointments that she could wait on me---especially since both places were in the same area. Morgan had the day off school, but Jordan didn't.

I took Morgan to Cheeseburger Charley's for lunch and then to the movie. We saw "The Invention of Lying." I was very excited to see it since someone (and now I can't remember who that was) said it was so funny. It had a star studded cast---Jennifer Garner, Edward Norton, Tina Fey and Rob Lowe. It was pretty stupid with a few funny parts. The premise of the movie is that everyone in this little town tells the truth---about everything.  I was a little distressed right off the bat when it started out with Jennifer Garner's date arriving early. Upon opening the door, she told her date that he had interrupted her masterbating. I cringed as she continued to talk about it. Nothing like watching a wholesome movie with your 13 yr. old granddaughter (the movie was PG-13). That was the worst of it, so that was okay. Still, don't waste your money.

After the movie, we went to pick up Jordan and the "hook-up" (southern expression for carpool). None of the usual hitches.

I have planned my meals for the week based on what I know the girls like. Tonight it was Grandpa's Soup. When I served it, Jordan groaned, "grammy, you know I hate soup!" I reminded her that everyone loved it when I made it for the family this summer (except Elizabeth who didn't like the "green hunks" (zucchini) in the soup). Jordan said that she was just being polite at the time. Oh well. Then she cracked us up by saying that she felt like we were having a "poverty" meal. She said it seemed like something you would get at a soup kitchen---like she's been to so many of those. Anyway, Morgan was laughing so hard that she actually snorted the soup out her nose. I swear, I think a noodle flew out too. Thank goodness that Butch wasn't here. He hates that sort of thing at the dinner table. Come to think of it, I wasn't crazy about it either.

Oh, and I set my first rule: No phones at the table. I told them that I'm not planning on saying it at every meal. If they have their phones at the table, they'll lose it for an hour. 2 hours for the 2nd infraction and so on.

Stay tuned....

Thursday, October 15, 2009

My Ginormous Mug...

Just isn't working for me. 
1. It doesn't fit under the ice dispenser---shoots water all over the place because you can't just get the ice without hitting the water dispenser too.
2. I don't have long enough straws. It's fine when the mug is full as the short straw floats. When it gets low, the short straw sinks down to where I can't use it. I tried hooking 2 straws together, but that took longer than if I had to just refill my old, giant mug.
3. It's so big, there is no room for it on my scrapbook table. I have to keep it on the floor which poses a "tripping" problem for me. Since I use my floor as a storage device when I'm working in my room, it's like a maze getting around. Plus, I already have a "falling"problem---don't need one more thing to "dodge."
4. And finally, when it's full, it's so darn heavy I can't lift it with one hand. I spilled it twice. That's really okay because tea stains on the carpet in my scrapbook room blend in with the burn marks from my heat gun. But it hurts my wrist.

Sorry Janet. Great idea, just not working for me. Now I'll have to hook up the trailer to haul it to Good Will!

Monday, October 12, 2009

I've Got a Secret

I've got a secret and I have to keep it from Butch. I'm pretty sure that I'm the reason that the Titan's are losing. I find that when we're watching the game at home, I start to secretly root for the other team. Then if the other team scores, Butch gets so aggravated that he'll finally turn it off. I didn't even realize I was doing this until the game last night. First of all, I had been down at the stadium with my friend, Connie, holding our spot for tailgating since 3:30 p.m. The game didn't even start until 7:30. And it was cold (okay, cold for Nashville---in the 50's). By half time, at 9 or so, I was really ready to go home. By then, the score was 21 to 6 in favor of Indianapolis. I mentioned to Butch that if we left right then, we could be home when the 3rd quarter was starting---and watch it from the comfort of our own home---enabling me to multi-task at the same time. He said that he wanted to stay for the 3rd quarter because the Titans could still "come back." That's when I realized that I was secretly saying things to myself like, "fumble, intercept, miss," etc. Then, it happened---another score and we were outta' there. I was pretty happy, but then felt so guilty about what I'd done. It was actually our friend, Pete that made me realize it. He commented as we were leaving, "Notice how Barb is happiest when we're leaving?" I've always said that I do football for "love." Not really my favorite way to spend the day. Now I feel like such a traitor. I'm going to have to change my attitude. There, done! Now let's see if they win next weekend. If they do, I'll go to confession...."bless me father, for I have sinned..."

Cousin's Crop---A Success!

We had a great time on our second annual Cousin's Crop. We scrapbooked, ate, played games and just gabbed the weekend away. Really fun.

Janet gave me this humongous mug---it's as big as my whole head---really! I'm thinking this might get me through the whole day. You know how I hate wasting time getting new drinks throughout the day....

I'm doing my normal Monday routine---house straightening, laundry, grocery store, etc. Publix had these flowers on sale. They make me happy! ;) Happy Monday to all of you!

Monday, October 5, 2009

Carpool Update

I've already complained about the carpool. Well, let me tell you how it's been going. 

After having a "melt-down", "oh, woe is me", moment to Butch a week ago, I thought I had it all together again. This was after a week of orthodontic appointments, physical therapy appointments, a "late start" school day and the regular carpool that had me driving someone somewhere every day that week.  It takes about an hour and a half of my day for the pick ups and drop offs. Then last Monday happened. Steph called in the morning to let me know that Jordan was sick and Morgan had to work concessions for the cross country meet. Which meant that I would only be picking up the carpool kids. I arrive at 3:15 like usual. The 9th grader, Megan, gets in the front seat, says hello, and proceeds to start texting on her phone. After a minute of so, I ask her if her sister, Julia is coming. She said she didn't know. I asked her to call her mom to find out. Her mom didn't know either, so asked me to drive around to Overbrook to check. Of course, this put me in all the cross country traffic. 

Megan went in school to track down her sister. She comes out a few minutes later to tell me that Julia is working concessions with Morgan, and "oh, can they have $10.00 for food?" Now I'm getting more than a little "miffed." Megan gets in the car and immediately calls her mom complaining about how rude her sister is. Just as I'm about to pull into major traffic, I hear her say, "wait, can I even get in the house?" I immediately pulled over to find out what I was going to have to do next. She got off the phone and said that Julia had the house key, so could I pull back around. In my mind, I'm thinking, if one of my girls or grand-girls had caused all this confusion, I would have laid them out! But, since it's not family, I just had to grin and bear it.

I dropped Megan off at home without further ado. Cost me about an extra half hour of my day. 

The next day, Steph called to let me know that she was going to work from home since Jordan was still sick. Again, Morgan was staying after school. So, Steph picked up the carpool. I'm off the hook for a day.

Fast forward to today. Morgan calls me as I'm on my way to school. She has a basketball meeting after school, so I'll just have to wait for her and Julia. That was another half hour. 

It's going to be a long year....

Sunday, October 4, 2009

They Ask Me How I Do It!

Well, you better grab a cup of coffee (or my preference---tea), because it's going to be a long one!

Some of my friends ask me how I do it---Housework, Cooking, Laundry, Carpool, Paying Bills, Decorating, Book Club, Stitching, Gardening, Scrapbooking---and of course, Social Event Organizing on TOP of all this traveling.

I'd have to say it all began in the first grade at St. Aloysius School. On my very first report card, I got an "E" (for "excellent" and the highest grade you could get) in USES TIME WELL. At the time, I had no idea what that meant. And growing up, considering I was a "mess" (gee, I wonder where Mindy got that), I guess I've turned out okay. That simple little phrase---USES TIME WELL---really is the key.

There's no big secret here. But if there was one (or 7), they would be as follows:
1. I make a list.
How can you know what you need to do without one? Plus, there is great satisfaction in crossing things off the list. I've even heard of people putting things on the list at the end of the day just so they can cross them off (a-hem, Jeanne). I go one better---I keep a permanent "To Do" list on my computer that I update and print out weekly. Sure, there are some things on there that I don't really ever expect to do---like the ironing---heck, I haven't ironed in 15 years, why start now? Once the ironing basket fills up, I find that most of the stuff is out-dated anyway.
2. I have a belief that I can do it all. 
I do know my limits, but I'm never more efficient than when I have several irons in the fire at the same time. The busier I am, the more organized I become.
3. I'm competitive. 
I want to keep up with it all. I won't be showing up to book club without having read the book. I'm behind at present with my needlepoint, but after this past weekend, I'm pretty sure I might have pulled ahead of at least one or two of my friends.
4. I don't do everything for everyone else. 
Butch does all of his own packing and makes his own lunches. I never signed up to be a slave. Our roles are pretty clearly defined. I handle all household matters, he handles the garage. 
5. I multi-task. 
Simple enough---I check emails, stitch, thumb through catalogs and magazines while watching t.v. I tape every show so I can zip through the commercials and save even more time. I pay bills, upload photos and shop online. Admittedly, I've had a few minor "snaffu's" in this area----like the credit card company calling Butch to say I hadn't paid the bill. Butch argued with the guy that their records must be wrong---as "my wife ALWAYS pay the bills in full and on time." But, the credit card guy was right. I simply hadn't paid the bill. Luckily, with a good bill paying history, I was able to get the finance charges and penalties removed. That didn't stress me at all.
6. I delegate. 
Okay, I'll admit that not only am I spoiled, but pretty darn lucky too. I have Margarita. She does all the household chores. I'm really happy to not have to clean. Of course, this too, I learned at a young age. The only difference is that when Chrissy came to spend the weekend with me, she never knew I had delegated my housework to her. She just did it. That's where the "I was a mess" fits into the picture. I was darn lucky to have her!
7. And here's my "ace in the hole"---the biggest secret of all. I get up an hour earlier than everybody else! 
Do the math---1 hour x 365 days = 15 extra DAYS in a year. And if you break it down further and consider that I sleep 6-7 hours during those days, I actually have another 7.5 working days. Heck, if I keep going with my math and subtract weekends and only count working hours, I would have about another full YEAR of time!!! It really does add up in the productivity department!

Still things do fall through the cracks at times. Right now, that would be keeping up with my blogging! ;) I've got lots of ideas, so there is more to come....

And that's how I do it!