Sunday, January 31, 2010

Butch is Retiring!

He's going to have way more time for this:

Butch is retiring! The fact is, when you cut through all the "crap" of the press release, he was "let go". But we don't feel sad---in fact, it's quite a relief. It's a happy day! He's been unhappy for the past two years and does not like the direction the new owners want to take the company which is a "slice and dice" approach. If he'd quit---which he felt like doing many times (and even had my encouragement on that), he'd have lost out on his severance pay. This way, he gets to retire and they have to pay him for a long time.

Anyway, yesterday was the first day of the rest of our lives! That's exactly how it feels for Butch. He said after his meeting in New York, he went back to his office (he had one there too), and started looking at all the piles, urgent decisions, emails that needed answering and work that needed doing. He said it was a great feeling to scoop it all in the trash---in his words---"not my problem!" He said the sense of relief was so freeing.

Butch says:
*Togetherness is going to be so much fun. (The jury is still out on that. I am seriously thinking this house isn't big enough)!
*His work schedule will no longer impact family time or vacations.
*We can take day trips to geo-cache (you saw my calendar, when can I work that in?).
*He can play golf as much as he wants and plans to take some lessons.
*We can take trips where it's warm so he can play golf and geo-cache (yeah, check my calendar)
*He might go back to school for his MBA---just for fun and the sense of accomplishment.
*He's going to set up an LLC---a company so he can do some consulting.
*He might buy a business.
*He might do some guest lecturing on the college level in their business programs.

I told him I would not be able to stand it if the tv was on all day. I'm a music person and having the tv on all weekend drives me crazy. He said he won't have time to watch tv all day as he'll be busy keeping up with all his new-found activities and household chores (does this mean I have to get rid of Rankin the handyman, Sara and Missy the garden girls, Ted the pool boy, Aaron the arborist, Robert the lawn boy, John the boxwood sprayer, Jim and Bob the painters, Craig the sprinkler man, can't remember their names---window washers, Mason the mason (appropriate name), John the chandelier cleaner, Culligan man, Jason the carpet cleaner, Rick the exterminator, Jeff the plumber and whoever those electronic guys are that come at least 3 times a year to deal with our tv issues?---hey, I love these people---I tend to develop a relationship with everyone that works here---not to mention Randy, my UPS guy). He better not think about taking over Margarita's job---I simply can't live without her---she cleans better than I do.

Barb says:
Of course, all I can think of is how this will impact ME.
*No more valet parking at the airport.
*Togetherness is going to be so much fun.
*No more parking attendant meeting me downtown while literally "holding" a parking place for me.
*Togetherness is going to be so much fun.
*No more free valet parking at the theater.
*Togetherness is going to be so much fun.
*No more free parking for the girls either.
*Togetherness is going to be so much fun.
*Butch could learn how to play bridge---not with me---that would never work---but he would love it and has good card sense.
*Togetherness is going to be so much fun.
*I can delegate stuff to him like the taxes.
*Togetherness is going to be so much fun.
*He can plant a garden or pick up the farmer's basket.
*Togetherness is going to be so much fun.
*He can take over the grocery shopping. We're only 3 hours into it and he's already driving me nuts. I made some party mix today. He asked me if I used the "good" nuts---meaning the $10.00 ones from Sam's versus the 2/$5.00 ones from Walgreen's. When I said yes, he said, "Barb, remember, I'm unemployed." To that I answered, "okay so in 3 hours you've gone from retired to unemployed?"
*Togetherness is going to be so much fun.
*He can help with driving the girls around---and just when I no longer have carpool responsibilities.
*Togetherness is going to be so much fun.
*I'm going to have to get him cable upstairs in his office. He says we can stay up late every night watching tv! I kinda like the routine we've had going for a long time---he goes to bed at 9 and I get the tv!
*And did I mention that togetherness is going to be so much fun?

He woke up this morning all cheerful---and he is definitely NOT a morning person---said he slept like a baby! Then he said---and this is really scary---"when are we going up to your scrapbook room---I think I'll take up scrapbooking!" Oh---My---God---HELP ME!

This afternoon I asked him if he wanted to play Scrabble---now with all this togetherness time. Nothing's changed there, he still won't play Scrabble with me.

All joking aside, I'm really excited for us. He's worked so hard from the beginning of our marriage---first working and going to school for 10 years and then building his career for the next 30. I'm so proud of him and the life he's provided for us. He deserves this break. Heck I've been retired my whole life (well, except for the 25 years I was a full-time volunteer)! Oh---my life---it is a-changing! But I will miss that free parking.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Can Microwaves Dry Things?

The answer is NO! Here's the story:

I've been trying to take a bath for 3 weeks now. I was always a bath person, but due to the size and amount of time and water it takes to fill the tub, I gave them up when we moved in this house 15 years ago. I could probably count on 2 hands how many baths I've had in that time.

Well, 3 weeks ago I decided to take a bath. I started to fill the tub and realized that I don't even have any bubble or bath stuff. Okay, I'll use the jacuzzi instead. Before the tub was even filled, the water was disgusting brown---like rust or something. I don't know what could rust in the tub. Anyway. it took me 3 separate times on separate days to finally get the water somewhat clear.

Steph gave me bath stuff for my birthday, so today was the day. I filled the tub, used the chamomile and lilac bath salts. Smelled good. I get my book, soda, and towel "pillow" for my head. I get in and get all adjusted comfortably. I grab my book and realize I forgot my glasses. Great, now I have to slosh water all over the bathroom to get some glasses---luckily I keep readers everywhere so didn't have to go far.

Back to the tub for a nice relaxing soak. I lounged for about a half hour. Got out, dried off and slung the towel over the "wall" to dry. Unfortunately, the towel hit my soda, glasses and BOOK! Plop, into the water. I wasn't quick enough---my book sunk to the bottom and was completely soaked. It's so good----definitely recommended---SARA'S KEY---(can't get the underline to work). I'm only 50 pages from the end, so I have to get it dried out.

My first thought was the microwave---that didn't work at all. I thought about the dryer, but thought it could potentially catch fire. The only choice left was my blow dryer. It took me a half hour to dry the last 50 pages. Sure, I can finish it, but the rest is so sopping that if I read in bed, I'll get the bed wet. I decided to fan the book open and put it over the heat register. I'm hoping that will work by bedtime. I can't wait to finish it.

A bath just isn't as relaxing as it used to be! And maybe I need to re-think that Kindle (or---have you seen the iPad?---totally cool).

This is Awesome!

I've never tried to put a video clip on my blog before, so I hope it works. This is how I want to dance. Do you think it's too late? Enjoy!! I couldn't get the video to upload, so you'll have to copy and paste it into your browser.


Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Be Careful What You Wish For

I said I've been very busy lately, so here's the proof. Check out my calendar. I showed it to Morgan the day after my birthday while bragging at the same time about my birthday "wishes" from family and friends. I asked her, "Morgan, how do you spell "popular"?" Anyway, due to my busy schedule, there's not a lot of wiggle room. I know when my carpool days are and try to plan around them if at all possible.

That brings me to today. I was already "bummed" that I had to pick up at all since it isn't my day. But, for whatever reason, the "other" lady couldn't do it. The worst part was that neither Jordan or Morgan were coming home. I was just picking up one girl---Megan. Yesterday, when I was dropping her off, I said, "Megan, now tomorrow, you are the only one I'm picking up. Be sure to let us know if anything changes." Well, you can guess where this is headed. I'm at school today, waiting and waiting. About 10 minutes late, Megan comes out of school and says, "my mom is picking me up." I was soooo mad, I said to her, "Megan, I told you yesterday when I dropped you off to call if something changed. Now I've had to drive all the way over here." She just said, "I'm sorry."

I immediately called Steph---it went to voicemail. I hung up. Now I'm so mad, I can hardly see straight and am starting to cry---feeling really sorry for myself. I called again to leave her a ranting message. This time she picked up and I unloaded with both barrels. I did start off by saying that I knew it wasn't her fault, but that I wanted out of this f***n' carpool---even if that meant I had to drive every day. She cut me off and said in a low whisper, "mom, I'm in the middle of a training session. I only answered because I thought it was an emergency." Well, hello, it was an emergency to me! I quickly told her I'd talk to her later. Really, I don't usually interrupt her at work.

Still, I needed to rant. I called Nancy. She heard me out and gave the proper sympathy to my lot in life. Luckily, she can relate as she is called on frequently to deal with her granddaughter unexpectedly. Sadly for her, she's just beginning. Her granddaughter is only 4 with another on the way. She's going to be at this for a very long time. At least I'm seeing the light at the end of the tunnel as Jordan continues her driver's ed. She'll get her license next December.

When I finished my call with Nancy, I called Butch and ranted to him. He didn't really say anything---sort of in the normal "Butch" style. I told him that I was giving myself a raise of my allowance to cover the additional gas expense. (I've put myself on an allowance---but that's another story). He was wise not to say anything to that. At that point, I really was just joking. My allowance is very generous---I mean after all, I'm the one who set it.

Back to the story. Anyway, Steph called later to get the whole story. Turns out, she even told the mom that I was only picking up her daughter today, so she knew too. That made it even worse that they would be so inconsiderate. In the meantime, Steph called Rob and he's "stepping up". He said that since he's not working, there's no reason he can't pick up. He also volunteered his mother. We'll see how that goes. But now it looks like I won't be driving at all. I never dreamed of this outcome---and just when I resigned myself to picking up every single day.

Now I'm sort of sad. I do enjoy the time with the girls---they tell me stuff about their lives. We have a pretty cool relationship. I gripe about having to drive the girls around to appointments, home, friends houses, and events and how it interferes with my life. I guess I really wouldn't trade all this time I've had with them over the years. I think I'm going to miss them---they're growing up so fast. It really is true---be careful what you wish for! I think I'll adjust.

It's Been Too Long!

Sorry it's been so long since I've blogged, but I've been incredibly busy. Besides my needlework lessons, bridge classes, book club, scrapbook clubs and car pool, I'm working on another friend's scrapbook room. You'll meet Nancy this week at Tony's. I've been antiquing since we've decided to go with a vintage theme for her room. She already has a lot of cool old family stuff. Plus, I get to buy stuff too. I've found that I LOVE spending other people's money. And when I get to decorate the room from scratch, well that's an added bonus. Check out this cool window I scored at the flea market this weekend for 4 bucks! Yep, 4 BUCKS!! I've been buying vintage hankies ($1.00 is my limit) for her window treatments. Even though this window is going on the wall, I got the bright idea to go ahead and repeat the window treatment on it. Pretty cool---I sorta wished I'd kept it for myself. She's going with brown and blue. I picked her paint colors this week. She has a lot of homework to do---I'm having her paint a desk brown and move a ton of stuff out, and find brown panels for the windows---but it'll be worth it.

Maybe what I like the most is being the BOSS! I'm so good at that.

See you on Wednesday at Tony's---5:30. Can't wait. Can someone pick up mom? I love you guys!

PS Yes, I know the window is sideways---I'm hanging it that way---more interesting.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

New York Travel Tips

Better late than never.... these tips will come in handy whenever you go....

1. Find your most comfortable shoes and then find some more comfortabler. Better yet, go buy those ones with the roller balls on the bottom.

2. Go to the bank and get money, then drive back through and get twice as much as you got the first time

3. Raise your allowance and start saving 2 years before you plan to go.

4. If somebody says they want to show you "something", don't look. 

5. Never make eye contact---unless you deemed yourself the official picture taker for all tourists. 

6. The official language of nyc is "foul".  All Zimmermann's understand and speak it.

7. Deeming yourself an interpreter at Starbucks is okay---but it's sad that the "barrista" couldn't understand a British accent. 

8. Don't forget the umbrella otherwise you'll need it.

9. Get to know your hotel. Walk around and find out what's there. After smelling popcorn for 2 days, I finally asked the bell captain and discovered there's a movie theater in the hotel---and this is the 2nd time I've stayed at this hotel. When I walked over to where the theater is located, I discovered a Starbucks in the hotel too. Would have saved me 2 trips down the block!

10. Check concierge for offers, deals and coupons. I missed $5.00 off coupon for the Titanic exhibit, but got an additional 10% coupon for Macy's.

11. Don't be excited if you think you got a good seat on the train---most of the trip will be underground anyway.

12. Counting your money on the subway is probably not a very good idea.

13. Walking an "almost healed", broken baby toe around New York isn't such a good idea either.

14. Be aware that police control the pedestrians with caution tape.

15. Annoying children are everywhere. Remember, only you think your child/grandchild singing in a restaurant is adorable. To everyone else, they are obnoxious.

 No matter how much time you are in nyc, it's never enough. Who wants to go with me?

Monday, January 11, 2010

It's My Birthday!!

I've had---almost---the best day! I received 29 phone calls, emails, voice mails and "in person" birthday greetings. The day started off great! Actually, it makes me feel kind of bad since I'm not so diligent about dates of my friends' and family's birthdays and yet they still think of me. Makes me feel so popular! Doesn't that sound like high school?

Actually, my birthday started last night. Butch had to leave for L.A. yesterday. When I went to put my pj's on, I found a box of Russell Stover's (my all time favorite chocolates) along with a nice note. It was such an unexpected surprise---especially since we've always been flexible over the years when it comes to celebrating and we'd decided to forego gifts awhile ago. I must say, the guy has his moments. I'm not sure I really deserved it as on Saturday I told him he needed to go somewhere because he was driving me nuts! It was too cold to really do his favorite pastime---geo-caching, so he decided to "annoy" me. About the time I decided to curl up in front of the fireplace with my book, he asked me to laminate something for him. I told him I'd do it after my nap and reading. A few minutes later, he said the printer was out of ink. About another 10 minutes later, he comes in and asks "okay, where is your laminator?" That's when I said, "I'll do it for you, but then you better go somewhere because you're driving me nuts!" He didn't go anywhere, but he didn't drive me nuts anymore either. I have to admit, I think he's nicer to me than I am to him. If he'd said something like that to me, I would have been crushed. I didn't say it really ugly, more jokingly, but still...not very nice of me.

On to my day. Elizabeth was the first to call. Sandy then told me Mitchell's good news. He won the Geography Bee at his school. He'll go on to the next level to try to qualify for the city competition. He was so happy to beat out the 4th grade brother of a friend of his who is a geography "savant"---they were the last two left. He wore his medal the whole day and the next. Looks like he's an athlete AND a scholar! Good for him.

Now back to me---after all, it is MY birthday! I had some friends coming over for a new club that I've started. I came up with the idea for A Year of Memories Workshop so that at the end of the year, those that made the commitment would have a completed album. I'll post a picture of our first topic and page later. After, being the birthday girl and all, I got to pick the lunch spot. We went to O'Charley's as I'm always wanting a good salad. I had them split it right away so I could have the other half for dinner. I got the Fiesta Grilled Chicken salad. Delish---at lunch, not so good at home. They didn't put the dressing on, so that wasn't the problem---I couldn't get the f*****g tv sound system to work. I like to watch tv while I'm eating---you know, multi-tasking. I spent a half hour trying to figure it out while gulping bites in between. I just couldn't miss The Bachelor which was coming on at 7. Finally, I had to give up and go in the bedroom. I turned on the fireplace, gathered all my junk (computer, drink, fruit, notebook, magazines and needlework---can't watch tv without multi-tasking) and turned on the tv. Then it dawned on me---channel 2 doesn't come in on the tv in the bedroom. Next I head to the rec room. I've spent the past 2 hours watching the show and freezing. Luckily Butch got me the "snuggie" for Christmas, so I'm toasty now. Considering I made so much fun of the "snuggie", I guess I have to eat those words. It works really well. Butch got it for me to use at the Titan's games. The color is right---bright blue---kind of makes me look like a giant Smurf. 

The lighting is bad up in the rec room (one too many lamps have been "done in" by the kids, so I didn't replace the last one). As a result, I couldn't do anything but play computer games while watching the show. Speaking of which---what a shocker tonight! I'll bet Rosaline's parents are proud. Actually, I feel sorry for them---to have 100 million people find out their daughter is a slut on national tv.

Now I'm listening to music and playing around on my computer. It's only 9:30. I'll just go to bed and read soon. You might know it, when I have a chance to have the tv to myself all night.

All in all, a pretty darn good day. So far, 58 hasn't been too bad---except for the darn electronics---which get me charged up!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

The Big Snow

Here it is!

This is why school was cancelled for 2 days (poor Jordan and Morgan only got 1 day off).
Pitiful isn't it?
The back roads might have been a little icy, but nothing that kept everyone in-doors. The news reported about how busy the malls were with all the kids off school. I will admit, it's been very cold here---colder than I can remember in a long time. We were coming home from playing games at a friends house last night about midnight and it was 12 degrees. I'm actually kind of enjoying it while Butch is complaining. He just left for L.A. and is happy about the 70 something temps out there. Me---I curled up on the couch in front of a blazing fire and read all afternoon!! Heaven!

Friday, January 8, 2010


I'm on day 9 of my "free" perfumes. All of a sudden, I noticed the perfume brochure has switched to men's fragrances after I rubbed it all over. I just hope some guy doesn't "hit" on me today. I won't know which way he swings!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

I Called It!

The weathermen were wrong AGAIN! We didn't even get an inch of snow. But, since Connie was off school, I decided to make the best of it. I had a pajama party. Only Karolyn showed up in her p.j.'s. I started a fire in the fireplace and we watched a really good movie (Rendition---with Reese Winterspoon and Jake Gillinhall (sp?), had lunch (homemade vegetable soup---Steph, don't bother stopping by to get your bowl---we ate it) and stitched. Fun way to spend a fake snow day!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Brief Update

Happy New Year to everyone!!!

Christmas was great---as usual, but crazy as always. Tons of food eaten. Not much damage this time:
3 spills
1 destroyed floral arrangement
several jelly bellies down the heat vent

My friends and I had a movie marathon day. Movie in the morning---"It's Complicated"---hysterically funny---a must see. Lunch at Cheeseburger Charley's---children's cheeseburger meal with grilled onions. Afternoon movie "Up in the Air"---save your money---depressing---not even worth a rental unless you LOVE George Clooney.

Talked to my mom---luckily, she didn't have a repeat of the "gravy" problems she had at the "big house" over Thanksgiving. Who serves gravy with a slotted spoon? It's hard to believe you can have a 30 minute conversation about gravy.

I won $12.00 playing poker on New Year's Eve.

I lost $40.00  playing poker Saturday night. (for real---I haven't lost that much since 1971 when I lost $100. I had two beers, passed out and Butch and Ronnie played the rest of the night to win back my I.O.U.'s---I was always a cheap drunk---except that one time---or wait, maybe it's I became cheap after getting drunk---can't really remember---must be one of those black-out episodes).  

I've decided to put myself on an allowance. I want to get an idea about how much money I spend in a year.  I really have no clue. I thought the money I'm giving myself was very generous until I received my first credit card bill. It took my whole month of January allowance to pay it. I'm broke---that and my poker loss. I might have to say FTS and go back to my "ignorance is bliss" attitude. I don't really spend THAT much---or maybe I do!

Butch is teaching Jordan how to drive. She told me that he said she's pretty good. She said that "as a matter of fact, I'm really good at cul-de-sacs"! Can you tell she hasn't been on the "road" yet? Heaven help us all---she says she doesn't need to read the "book"---famous last words.

Mindy got a really good Christmas bonus and then this week a really nice raise. Somebody tell Ronnie that she'll be able to stop "hooking" now.

Victoria called tonight to find out about her ancestors. I told her about my half Italian, half German heritage, but we don't know where Butch came from. I have an idea---could be Walmart. 

Speaking of Walmart, Steph recently snagged some pretty cute clothes there. Really cheap.

It's freezing cold here in Nashville---it's 26 (I know, a heat wave for you St. Louis folks). They're predicting snow for tomorrow. I swear, it's an effort to help the grocery stores sell out of milk! They've already called off school which is an absolute that we will NOT get the snow. Our weathermen are pretty much always wrong. I would like some snow. I can't remember the last time we had a good one. Hmmm, maybe that was when Mindy was a senior in high school and it took us 6 hours to get home (normally 15 minutes). Jordan had to pee in Mindy's sweatshirt, we rationed a pack of M&M's in case it was our last meal and I "lost my water" when we decided to hike the rest of the way home and I slipped, fell and slid down the hill at the entrance to our neighborhood. The girls thought that was hilarious. Of course, that's why I did it! Anything to make memories....

New York report soon. Oh, and my hives have really got me down---but not for long. And Johnny Depp still does it for me!