On the Road Again – this time with kids

I received a call from my sister over the weekend. She was preparing to undergo emergency surgery to repair a twisted/blocked/knotted intestine.  Five and 1/2 hours later she emerged lighter by 2 1/2 feet of colon, 8 inches of intestine and an appendix! Yikes!  She is on major restrictions – and drugs – for the next several weeks.

When I last talked with her, she proceeded to tell me how the doctors inflated her with gas and were all waiting for her to fart before she could leave the hospital.  Hmmm. This is a situation ripe for jokes! 

Seriously, she is in much pain and prayers are appreciated.

The kiddos and I are headed to her house to help out. I debated flying but didn’t feel so good about the $1,500 price tag, and that was only if I lied about Bugaboo turning 3 this past weekend and claimed he was still 2. I wasn’t so keen on that (and he keeps proudly announcing to everyone “I tree now”).  So we’ll leave bright and early at the ass crack of dawn (5 am) on Wednesday.  I’ve driven the 563 miles before myself, but not with two kids.  I’ve taken care of many kids before, but not 5, related to me, kids at once. 

So I’ll be back in a week, sure to be filled with lots of funny tales about my sister’s drug induced state, my managing (or lack thereof) of 5 children and my BIL, and attempting to “homeschool” my child for 3 days.


Damsels (not) in Distress

 As I wrote about in my last post, I was away on a Girls’ Weekend. We had much wine fun. 

On Friday we arrived at the mountain cabin after a trip to the grocery store.  We then drove down two gravel roads during which time we lost cell phone service and internet capability.  The view from the cabin was breathtaking. Friday night consisted of eating food, drinking wine and catching up.  Saturday consisted of a wine tour and tasting, a nice meal out, more wine at the cabin and some scrapbooking.  We then slept in on Sunday and drove home, by way of another winery where we did another tasting.  We also hit a chocolate factory one day and purchased some chocolate to go with our wine.  It was much fun.  No crying kids. No husbands. No phone. No internet. No email. 

Our only real adventure came when we left on Sunday.  We thought the car acted funny but blew it off as being a bit sluggish on the gravel road. When we pulled onto the paved road we realized that there was indeed something wrong.  A quick glance at the car revealed an extremely flat tire.  Polling revealed that only I had ever changed a tire (thank you Dad for finally teaching me something useful and insisting I know how to change a flat and thanks to my 1976 vehicle that left me with a flat tire thereby ensuring I actually had practiced those skills in the past).

I instructed the driver to pull back onto the paved road so the vehicle was level.  I retrieved the instruction manual and she and I unloaded the car to access the spare tire. The other girl watched for traffic.  The last girl was quite sure we should not be changing the tire and went off to find a male neighbor.  I remembered enough to know that when jacking up a car you should make sure the jack contacts with steel or metal, and not plastic.  The instruction booklet showed a picture of just such a point.  We finally figured out how to unscrew the jack and tire from the compartment (car manufacturers definitely don’t want to let you access such things easily – THREE bolts fastened the suckers down).  We had the spare tire out and the car halfway jacked up when the friend returned with the male neighbor.

He told us we were doing a great job but he’d be glad to help us out, especially with the lug nuts since they are often very tight.  We let him take over.  Soon we were back on the road and 1/4 mile later pulled off for some gas.  Since this was a country (middle of nowhere) gas station, you had to pay inside.  When asked, the cashier mentioned a car repair shop just down the road.  A quick call later, and we learned the owner had stopped in to pay some bills and would be glad to plug the tire for us.  A short while later and $30 paid ($20 bill and we tipped the man $10 for helping us out) and we were on our way. Less than 1 hour lost from top to bottom.

We felt pretty proud of ourselves.  While we did accept help, I know that we probably could have managed on our own. And we wouldn’t have had to resort to this –

So….What’s up Doc? A general update

So what’s happened since last May?

Bugaboo still says “Big Balls – Big Splash is his favorite.”  https://legallyinsanemommy.wordpress.com/2011/02/04/big-balls-big-splash/

We still play musical beds (https://legallyinsanemommy.wordpress.com/2011/02/16/musical-beds/) only I try to be uber-cool about it and claim we intended to co-sleep all along. Yeah right. I keep telling Bugaboo that when he turns 3, he has to sleep in his own bed all night long.

We finally finished the kitchen remodel. Well, I do still have to figure out what to do about wall art. But the flooring and walls are done. From this (https://legallyinsanemommy.wordpress.com/2011/03/22/green-linoleum-really/







to this









and no one (meaning DH or myself) killed the other or ourselves doing it.

We are in the midst of potty training (still) but the recent move from the 2 year to 3 year old room has much improved our success rate. We are out of town this weekend and when we return on Tuesday it is full-fledged big boy underwear. I have to keep reminding myself it is “underwear” and not “panties” because having your son yell in public that he wants to “wear his panties” isn’t such a good idea!

Munchkin enjoyed staying home with DH this summer. We worked it out to where she stayed home with him and then hung out at a friend’s for a few hours until I could pick her up.  She also did two weeks of church camp and then camp every Wednesday.  I asked her what she would miss most returning to school and she said her “TV time.”  She is still addicted to Phineas and Ferb.

We are getting ready to enter Hunting season (husband) which shall be offset by Scrapbooking Season (me).  We are also entering the holidays which means bring out the colored markers so we can appropriately label the calendar.

Last but not least, we have the puppy – her name is Oreo and she’s lucky she’s cute. And has hunting potential. Because despite the adorable puppy eyes, she can be a handful.









Of course she got to keep the ball with those sad eyes.  Works with the kids -works with the dogs.  Who exactly is supposed to be in charge around here anyway?



Whew – I’m exhausted!

We had a very nice Easter vacation. On Thursday I efficiently managed a 237 person child support docket.  Finished at 3, I rushed home and we were out the door and on the road at 4.  Partway through our 8 hour drive, we received a phone call from the window installation company – they had an opening on Monday.  Did we want it? Sure, why not? I was off Monday so that sounded good.

We had a great visit with my sister and her family. We actually went to bed at decent times and napped at times.  As we left to drive home at 5 pm we remarked how refreshed we felt.

At 1:30 am, we pulled into our driveway and carried the kids inside. We dumped all the suitcases and junk in the kitchen and crawled into bed.  At 8 am the kids were up and moving.  I switched the coffee pot on and sat down.  At 8:15 I heard my husband yell, “the window guys are here.”  Uh oh.  I grabbed some clothes and raced to the bathroom to change.

Within 30 minutes, we had all the blinds and curtains down. The window crew consisted of 3 guys and within 1 hour, they had half  of the old windows out.  Bugaboo was infatuated with the power tools but kept wanting to walk in and out of the way.  I decided to take both kids out for awhile. We hit the playyard at McDonald’s for brunch and then the grocery store. When we returned at noon, all the windows were out and they were onto installation.

Everything had to be moved away from the walls where there were windows. Since dust was a-flying, DH had stripped the beds.  Since the beds were stripped and curtains down, I decided to wash it all.  Since there were no windows, we turned the AC off and the 86 degree heat was blazing. The kids and I escaped to the basement rec room to watch TV and try to stay cool.  At 2:30, DH left for work. At 4, I got the signal the window guys were finished.

The boss showed me how to tilt the new windows and make them all work. As he showed me the operations, I tried to shy away. I thought he sure stunk from working so hard.

Then the real work began…..

I had to remake the beds. Munchkin decided she wanted her room rearranged so we did.   Of course we found dust when we moved things, so we dusted. Then half of her clothes didn’t fit in the closet, so I pulled out the winter stuff and hung up the summer things. We re-made her bed. Then I rehung all the blinds and curtains. Our old window AC unit and wooden boards were gone – replaced with a new window (the prior owner never removed the old units even after having central air installed).  Since we now have two windows in our bedroom, I rearranged too.  More dusting.  Had to remake all the beds.  Then vacuum and dust the house.

I’m EXHAUSTED. So much for relaxed. I need a vacation day for my vacation day.  When I stopped to take a breather, I realized that now I was the one stinking.  I hopped in the shower, too tired to do anything but stand there for the first 10 minutes.  On the plus side, a hot shower has never felt so good.

But there is a bottle of wine chilling and I plan to have a glass after the kids are in bed.

From Redneck Girl to Sophisticated Lady

 This weekend we travelled to my in-laws for the night. They live way out in the country where cell phone reception is questionable and there is no wireless internet.   I can let the children run outside and know if they happen to run far enough to leave the boundaries of FIL’s land, that they’ll end up on some other relative’s land and be returned.  We arrived mid-morning Saturday where my ILs gave the children Easter baskets and hyped them up on sugar. Then we went out and rode the tractor which has a cart hooked up behind it.  We flew kites (and drug them around with the tractor).  We visited Uncle’s new animal barn where he raises chickens and roosters (for the eggs), peacocks (just for fun),and quail and pheasants (to release and hunt). We helped him train his new puppies by driving the lawnmower through the woods while dragging fox and squirrel hides behind. The dogs then learned to follow the scent.  We all shot some guns.  I hit the milk jug and DH didn’t, which made for some good teasing.  Munchkin wanted to shoot the gun initially but after watching decided she wouldn’t. She did scale the tree deer stand quite adeptly.  Bugaboo walked around with his toy pistol shooting everything and showing everyone his “camo pants.”

After lunch (fried chicken of course) and a nap, DH & I got ready to go to dinner. My college mentor/advisor was retiring after 40 years of teaching and they were having a dinner at a nearby country club in honor of him.  We changed out of our blue jeans and into a suit and dress.  Gone were the dirt stains under the nails and on went nail polish.

We arrived to find black suited wait staff walking around with hors d’oeuvres and glasses of wine. Dinner was a wonderful spinach salad followed by chicken, pasta, veggies and then wonderful dessert of apple pie or a carrot cake.  I went from handling a .44 magnum to deftly managing three forks and cloth napkins.  My topics of conversation went from the best way to cook venison to what I thought of the latest trends in tort reform.

Call me what you want, but I’m definitely a contemporary woman.  From redneck woman to sophisticated lady in less than two hours. How many can do that?

Monday Morning Randoms

I have lots of thoughts running through my head but none coherent or long enough to justify their own blog entry so I’ll just include them all here in their original, straight out of my brain, form.

  • Why is it that I get so excited for spring every single year the first time it hits 80 degrees? I know, from years of experience, that it will turn cold again.  This week it is 40 and rainy. Totally sucks.
  • What part of “I have a headache” does my husband not understand? You’d think the fact that I went to bed at 7:30 pm would have clued him in that I was serious.  It’s really not that hard to look in and see that both your wife and your son are asleep in the bed, to turn and walk away. Instead DH chose to wake me up to tell me he was leaving to go pick up Munchkin, wake me up to tell me he was back, allow Munchkin to come in and sleep with me, leave Bugaboo in the bed, on the edge where he fell off at 3am. To top it all off, he then whined this morning about how he had to sleep in Munchkin’s bed and it was cold in her room.   Then he asked me if I slept well.  Lucky for him my vocabulary was restrained by the fact that Bugaboo was in the room.  I still have a headache too.
  • A person who is running from their child support obligation and is bat-shit crazy keeps sending me emails bragging because we haven’t caught him yet. He claims that the government is conspiring against him because he’s a secret agent who has some knowledge the United States doesn’t want getting out. He also claims his wife is an unfit mother because she and her new husband took some provocative pictures and somehow he hacked into their computer and found them. He now sends them to me in the emails he sends. I have learned not to open attachments from him so he cut and pasted it into the body of his email.  Someone pass me some bleach for my eyes.  IT is now working on blocking his email from our server.
  • Last week one of my (least) favorite defendants was in court. Two weeks ago he was ordered to do community service until he found a job. We told him that he would work for free until he found a job and could pay child support. He didn’t like that so much. The next week he was to report on his progress. Lo and behold, we got a message that he had fallen off the curb waiting for the bus and was at the hospital.  So last week he was on the docket again. He showed up at 12:40, much later than the 9 am start time, a time which the Judge had specifically ordered him to appear. He came hobbling in on crutches proudly clutching a stack of medical papers. I guess he didn’t think I would read them.  Not only did I read them, but I shared with the Judge the fact that the “fall” took place three days prior to court and was at his house. He presented to the hospital on the morning of court with a chief complaint of “I have to be in court but I don’t have any money. Can I get a doctor’s note?”  He also explained that his fall occurred after he used ecstasy, meth and smoked large quantities of tobacco. So this guy had money for drugs, but not child support. He also appeared wearing brand new Nikes.  He went to jail without passing Go and collecting $200.  In our jail you can be a trustee/supervisor which means you get some privileges (own cell, more freedom) in return for taking on some extra responsibilities.  This guy is accustomed to being a trustee but you have to be able to walk in order to get that position. Lo and behold, this guy was walking without crutches within 10 seconds of being informed he would have to share a cell.  So glad I could play a small part in healing this person. What a miracle!
  • I learned last week that my husband has been washing our clothes with fabric softener instead of detergent.  He thought all containers in the laundry aisle were the same. I shudder to think how long it has been since my clothes saw soap. He also chose a lavender scent despite knowing that Munchkin and I are both allergic to lavender.
  • I finally sewed on all the badges to Munchkin’s Girl Scout and awana vests. Only to get an email from the leader today that she is sending home the recent badges they have earned. Grrr. My fingers are still sore and bloody.
  • Munchkin was super duper wild yesterday. I threatened that if she didn’t calm down, I’d take her outside and make her run laps. She thought that sounded fun and continued to act out. So I put on my sneakers and made her run.  I’d walk behind her and say “run to the black mailbox.”  It was a mile walk probably. She was whining the last bit and I turned the corner as if to do another lap and she begged me to stop and promised to behave. It was good exercise for me. Wonder if I can get her to be wild again tonight? Ha
  • I heard that the Oxford dictionary added “LOL” and “BFF” to their dictionary this year. That irks me. What irks me more is the teenagers who sit through church and text.  Worse than that are the grownups who do it too.
  • I’m addicted to “quotation marks.”  I also start each question with “and.” These things I learned in reviewing a recent article I wrote and listening to an audio recording from a recent trial.  Oh well, that’s me!

Green Linoleum – really?

After years of wanting and three years of trying for child #2, we decided it might not be in the plans for us. Instead we bought a new house that needed much work. Boom, I was pregnant one month later.  Having a new child and then two in daycare put all renovation plans requiring money (or time) on hold. 

The house we bought was built in the early 1960s.  Every room had hideous wallpaper.  The bathroom is pink tile.  The half bath is puke green and baby blue tile.  At some point the hardwoods had been covered by carpet which was then removed again. The kitchen was the worst.  The cabinets had wallpaper across the top – like a border. The walls were green and the floor was green linoleum. Think Brady bunch.  This weekend we finally decided to do something about it.

Our eventual plan is to gut the kitchen and destroy those hideous cabinets with the silver rimmed counters.  Knock out the window and put in sliders and a big deck and open the kitchen to the living room more.  But for now, we’ll settle for new floor and paint, removing the wallpaper and putting windows (big $$) in the entire house (replacing the horizontal levered 1960s style crank out, leaky windows).

This is the kitchen just before we moved in.

Last week I took a new approach to painting. Instead of spending hours contemplating shades of colors, I went to Lowe’s and picked out the first three colors that caught my eye. I bought samples and spread huge splotches on different walls. I settled on a lemony yellow.  Then I went and picked a peel-n-stick tile floor. Eventually I want real tiles, but this will do for now.  In the closet, we noticed the floor was different than the kitchen, which led us to believe that the green linoleum had been laid on top of another floor. I peeled up a tiny corner just to see and —– rip — a huge 5 foot tear.  Lo and behold the floor came up super easy. (wish I had known that 3 years ago)

This is the old green floor being pulled up.  The older floor underneath is a WHOLE lot better.  Why on earth did anyone chose that hideous green to cover up the other stuff?

So now we have a beige tiled floor underneath. It is scuffed and the “Armstrong” label printed on the bottom of the green linoleum has been permanently imprinted on the beige flooring.  But that’s okay.  It is laid in nice, neat squares which will make lining up the new tile so much easier.

I have a house party in mid-April. My goal is to have the new floor, painted ceiling and painted walls complete by then. Wish me luck!

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