Sunday, October 30, 2011

Still looking for a costume?

Here's what my three youngest will be appearing in (sneak preview courtesy of party at church last week):

Here's Luke Skywalker, wearing the finest in Geek Chic:

For anyone who doesn't watch the Discovery chanel, he's emulating Jamie Hyneman from Mythbusters. I didn't want to pay $20 for a logo shirt off the internet, so I hand paited that little number there with craft paints, because I'm an awesome mom. There is just ONE little detail missing to keep this costume from being perfect. But he wouldn't let me shave his head to be bald like Jamie.

Watch out, the next one is kinda scary:

Don't quite know what this is? Well, that would be because Eclair (thinks that she) invented it.
a vam-pirate! Makes you want to run right out and buy some plastic teeth, doesn't it.

And last, but not least, Screamapillar:

Not sure what that is, I think she called it "Costume I Threw Together in the 12 Minutes I Had Between Play Practice and the Ward Party."

Things One and Two have yet to reveal their costumes. I know Thing One has some diabolical costume plan in the works that includes Boyfriend, I'm not sure what. I'm pretty sure that Thing Two plans to sleep through the entire day. I'll let you know.

Saturday, October 29, 2011

Beginnings, endings and the stuff that comes in between

If I'm not careful, this blog could come to look like a "public notice" column in the newspaper. What with all my reporting of people havin' babies and birthdays and all, and me feeling obligated to write about it every time....

Based on the activity of the last month, this would become an obit blog entirely. So, to quote Inigo Montoya, " 'S to much to es'plain - lemme sum up."

Update on Jamie's Matt:

After 12 days in the ICU, Matt decided to continue the great adventure on the other side. This leaves Jamie quite devastated, and has been really difficult for my Matt, too. He was only 47, and still probably had another 50 books in that brain of his. Hubby is currently working on getting Matt's final book through final editing and hopefully it will be published in short order. You can read up a little more on Matt on his Wiki page, and tributes were published on a few sites in the webiverse, like Temple Study (but I must amend this entry: the "incident" was not heart failure, the cause of his collapse is still undetermined, and it was the Wilkinson Center not the Library, where it occurred, that's me, being a stickler over the details). We held a graveside service on October 7th, followed by a large memorial service the following week on October 15. The outpouring of love for dear Jamie at this event was pretty fantastic.

While Jamie's Matt was in the hospital my grandpa passed away.

He was always a tough guy, a contractor by trade. He was a man who loved to work with his hands, and he worked hard. He instilled in his boys a rock-solid work ethic. He also loved to cook, and the kitchen in my grandparent's home was HIS DOMAIN. He always had a smile on his face, and a very ready laugh. He's been on his own since my grandma passed away 13 years ago, and has known for a while his time was coming. His was not an untimely death, as he was 96 years old, and ready to go. He chose to donate his body to science through the UCLA medical center, and eschewed anything to do with a funeral - no service, no obituary, no stress or travel for the family (especially as one of his sons, my Uncle Darryl, had passed away on the opposite side of the country just shortly ago). He lived a very full life, and we have lots of good memories to hold on to.

In September, Hubby's Aunt Ellen passed away.

She was the matriach of this tribe, full of crazy fun cousins who have been like sisters to me since I married into this family twenty-three years ago. Ellen is the baby girl in her family, my MIL's littlest sister. She was SO much fun to be around. She was diagnosed with a brain tumor six years ago, and valiantly fought it off to buy six more jam-packed years with her family. Her funeral....well, let's just say that you shouldn't have so much fun at a funeral. She didn't want anyone to mourn, and asked Uncle Perry to "tell it like it is" in his eulogy. It was truly a celebration of her life. Here are a few gems Uncle Perry shared:

While making the arrangements for the funeral, they asked Ellen if she wanted an open casket. The cancer hadn't been kind to her in the last months, and she replied  "I will haunt you forever if you open that casket." and she MEANT it.

When summing up about Ellen's relationship with her children and the difficulties she faced getting them through their teenage years, Uncle Perry said "They had a lot of problems. For one thing, Seth. (pause) That didn't come out right, now did it?"  

During a Primary program at church when her son Burke was just little, instead of quoting his memorized part in the program, he said into the microphone "Mom?! I hate you, Mom!"

The congregation at the funeral laughed so hard that they cried. I'm sure Ellen was laughing along with us, she didn't want anyone to be sad.

Endings. Far too many of them.

And more beginnings too:


Now, that's a little guy who looks happy to be here. We've been blessed with lot's of new little ones this year. The newest is Rocky, here, son of my friend Jack. Rocky decided to make things difficult for his poor mama, and show up more than a week overdue.

I think he was worth the wait. And a nice thing to celebrate after so much recent loss.

Friday, October 14, 2011

While you were out...

I was awakend very early yesterday. VERY early.

Screamapillar had a kidnap breakfast for two friends' birthdays, so I had to wake her up and get her out at 5:15 am.

Then I went back to sleep. And was awakened by some horrible noise. I assumed it was Screampillar's alarm clock, which is renown for it's ablity to wake the dead in the next county (but strangely enough, it does not awaken the Screamapillar). That, or someone's cell phone alarm (there were four in the house at the time). Wandering blindly through the house, I search for the device that has ruined my sleep.

It turned out to be the phone. The old fashioned one that has wires coming out that attaches to the wall. You may remember such a thing from you childhood if you're old enough. It was my parents calling from Florida. They were on vacation, they went for a little boat ride all the way from Washington State, thru the Panama Canal and on to Florida. They had no cell phones or internet for the duration of the three week trip.

"Do you think you could run over to my house and check on something before you go to work?" my dad says.

(yeah, run over to your house. do you remember that you used to live a couple streets away, then you abandoned me and moved to a different city 25 miles away? and that EVERY route to your house is currently undergoing construction, making the trip an easy 45 minutes one way?)

"I guess, what's up?" I reply.

"It appears that we've either had a burgular or the basement is flooded - the alarm went off a few days ago and we weren't notified until we got off the boat."

He goes on with more detail about the different notifications from the alarm company, the neighbors, and the police department that he got via text, cell phone, and email. LOTS of notifications. The alarm system itself sent him a bunch of messages. One said "FLOOD" and the another "BURGULAR."

So of course, I'm going to the house.  But I've got to get kids off to school, and IT'S STILL ONLY 5:30 AM! Dark! and cold! I crawl back into bed and try to get a little more sleep until I have to awaken the next child at 6:15.

But I can't sleep. Images flash though my head: a suspicious-looking panel van is parked outside the garage. They've already cleaned out all the power tools and electronics. A creepy dude dressed in black is rifling though my mother's jewelry box. Another creepy guy is trying on my mothers hats and shoes...."Bill, do we want any caftans? This lady has a lot of caftans. Do pawn shops even buy caftans?"

Like I can sleep now.

So I get up, get showered and dressed, get the bigger kids off to school. Then I have to wake up Thing One (I have already tried to wake up Thing Two instead, but got a boot thrown at my head for my efforts). I'll need her to help Eclair get ready, because Hubby is defintely going with me to defend against the gang of theives at my parents house.

"Honey, I'm sorry to wake you early, but I need your help. I gotta run over to g-ma's house, they may have been burgled."

She leaps outta the bed and says "Whaaa?" But she's a good sport. She goes to sleep next to Eclair and is going to get her up at 7:30 and get her dressed and breakfasted and off to school.

Before we leave, I have to Google-map my parent's address, because, while I do know how to get there and I know the street name, I do not know the house number. I need this because I am certain that when we get there, the suspcious van will be in the driveway, ruffians and thugs will be plundering my mother's closet, and I'm going to have to park up the street and call the police. And when I say I don't know the house number, the cops are all gonna say "You DON'T even KNOW your parents address?" and I'm going to feel like an idiot. Hubby's planning ahead also. He's dressed for the office, but the scenario running through his head has taken the other possibility into account: he's packed up some work clothes and his old tennis shoes, prepared to clean up a flood.

Dad calls two more times before we can get there. Each time giving me a list of what to do in what order. And he has allegedly turned off the alarm from his iphone now.

We get to the house, and call Dad back. 1: Alarm indicator appears off. 2: Opening garage door has not activated klaxon (literaly, I promise. It's a klaxon alarm.). 3: Enter code in keypad to ensure deactivation of alarm. 4: Open the door from garage to house and go check for damages.

It's locked  But how are we going to get in? Dad's super upset, really needs us INSIDE the house to check things out, and he NEVER locks that door, because the garage is so secure.

"Why didn't you hide some spare keys somewhere for this kind of emergency?"

"I did! But I can't remember where."

"Is it even remotely possible that you have left some keys in one of the cars?"

"Not likely. Check anyway."

LOOK!! Keys in the ignition of the sedan! AND it's unlocked! I guess there was no burgular, Dad, or they woulda taken this car.

We unlock the house and enter, being very careful about fingerprints and such, because we're entering a potential crime scene. More good news: the tv and everything is untouched. Hubby prowls about a bit making sure no other doors or any windows are open. I check on Mom's shoes and hats and caftans: all accounted for.

So now, to check for flood.

We go down the horribly windy stairs (somebody shoot the architect that designed this switchback staircase, k?) in total darkness (because he's been working on the unfinished basement and all power down there is off), surprisingly enough without breaking our necks. As instructed by Dad, we check the window well by his soon-to-be-but-not-done-yet office, expecting it to be filled with water and saturating the wall insulation and everything else. No water, but the small sump he installed in the window well is running.

So, no burgular, no flood.

What really happend was this: when it snowed a few days back, it filled up the bucket the sump pump is in and fired off the alarm (which isn't supposed to sound for water, only for burgulars). The alarm is deafening. Completely deafening.

It was 3 am when the alarm went off. It woke up people who live two streets away.

The neighbors tried to call my dad. They went over and pounded on the door. When it was obvious that no one was home, they called the alarm company, who couldn't find my dad's info, and thus could not turn off the alarm. So the neighbors called the police. The police borrowed a ladder and disconnected the klaxon alarm on the outside of the house (acutally, they had little success disconntecting it, and just tried to beat it to death in order to silence it). The damage to the klaxon is what triggered the "BURGULAR" alarm, and set the klaxon off again. And then they ripped it off the house.

Dad told me he's fixing the water error so the alarm won't sound. And he has a plan (which includes notifying me to come turn off the alarm) which should keep such a thing from happening again. I told him that if neighbors have to wait 45 minutes for me to get there and turn it off, he's probably going to need to move instead. People are going to start egging his house.

What I recommend is writing a formal apology to the masses who were so unkindly awakened by the horrible alarm and publishing it in the paper, and make your neighbors some cookies.

And Lots.
Of cookies.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

It's only October 11...

...but I don't have ANY of my Halloween deco up yet. Other important things seem to be filling my time, more on those another day.

My family threatened me.


I don't know what got them so riled up. I only put pumpkin on my own face last year in my vain attempt to have something to blog about every day....

This year I'm taking lots of pitchers.

Lots and lots of pitchers.

And so far, I'm having the same problem I had last year: my own kids are impossible to shoot. Just the other day Thing Two got his braces off! I asked for a before and after shot and here is what I got:

Thank you, son, for that lovely peek at your new smile. Can I kill you now?

And Screamapillar wanted a new profile picture for Facebook, and we hadn't gotten around to family pictures yet because I wanted to lose 150 lbs. first (apparently not happening unless I amputate something). She wanted to get pitchers with the sunflowers before they all died off, and here we are!

I should mention that she has a bit of sensitivity to sunlight. Let's start with some photos where she has her back to the sun and we use the reflector:

Hmmm. That didn't go as well as I hoped. Let's try again:

Still, not what we were looking for. That last one would have been okay if it had only been in focus. Let's try turning her around so we don't have to bounce light into her eyes with the reflector, maybe that will help:

Wow. Those are.......attractive! One more time, perhaps:
 Interesting that she thought these would be better than the soccer picture I posted on facebook which is why I am currently receiving the silent treatmenf from my third-born:

Okay, there's got to be ONE good one in the 62 pictures I took!

There it is! What a lovely girl she is when she is not being blinded.

Monday, October 3, 2011

In preparation for Halloween...

So today is the day. You really should be getting ready for Halloween already, and if you haven't started yet, there is still time if you follow this schedule:

Saturdays: McDonalds
Mondays: Del Taco
Tuesdays: Burger King
Wednesdays: Taco Bell
Thursdays: Carls Jr.
Fridays: Arby's

If you collect an average of 10 per day, you should have enough sauce/ketchup packets that you won't have to spend any money on Halloween candy, k?

Awesome plan.

Saturday, October 1, 2011


(The following post was written about five weeks ago, during "rush" - when the students move in and out in droves at the end of summer term and the beginning of fall term. My brain was exhausted from the overload and this post got lost on my dashboard without being posted until today. Enjoy. I hope?)


Number of times I had to bite my tongue at work today because people are idiots.

I work at the local utility, and in case you didn't know (but I won't call YOU an idiot, you couldn't possibly be, because you're smart enough to be reading my blog, right?), when you MOVE AWAY or have some issue, you should CALL to tell us about changes or problems on your account. In case you missed the memo, we have been prohibited by the federal government from reading your mind anymore.

Here's a few gems from today:
"But I didn't know what to pay because I didn't get my bill."

What I said: "Your mailing address is apparently correct, and we haven't gotten anything back from the post office. Perhaps you should set up your internet account so you can get your statements in real time."

What I should have and would have LOVED to  say: "The last time you made a payment was in April. It is now August. And you only got around to telling us about your missing bills after we turned your power off? Sounds like getting your mail is the LEAST of your problems!"

And then there are the people who don't. Know. Where. They. Live.

"It's a blue house, it's about a half block down from Taco Bell"


Other CRUCIAL information that you MUST have at your fingertips:
Your freaking NAME. Not your nickname, or your maiden name, your ACTUAL LEGAL NAME. I'll be running an identity check, so if you tell me "Bob" and you were too embarrassed to tell be it's really "Boris," I'm going to find out anyway...

Your real authentic social security number, not the one you bought off that guy that sells cards down by the gas station.
When you were born (or hatched, as it seems in some cases).

Let's not forget that "refundable deposit" means that your DEPOSIT is REFUNDABLE. So when I say, "You'll be charged a $75 refundable deposit," and you say "Will I get that back?" that you will automatically forfeit your deposit to me because of your sheer stupidity. M'kay?

And if I say that $56 is the "minimum payment to restore service" what I mean is that $56. Is. What you have to pay. Right now. Before we can restore your service. Which means turn your lights back on.

"I moved out a month ago, so can you stop billing me, like, maybe starting on August 1?"

Why yes, I'll just jump in my time machine and take care of that for you, you moron.