Tuesday, June 30, 2009

the trip - the final installment

On the way home from the Mainland we all went our separate ways. Hubby, the girls and I all left on the same flight out of Wisconsin, but once in Chicago, hubby took a flight to Austin, TX, Angel #4 and I had a direct flight to Kona and Angel #2 took a different flight with a layover in San Francisco - this is the result of everyone flying on frequent flyer miles, it may be cheap, but you can't be too picky about how you get there. Angel #4 and I were seated about 25 rows apart on the flight and it was obvious she was bored - 8 hours on a plane will do that to ya. First she started coming back and bothering me until I told her she needed to get out of the aisles. Next thing I know, she and her new BFF, a United flight attendant, were passing out waters and collecting garbage. She was having a great time helping the crew and they claimed she wasn't being a pain. So, our flight had a layover in Maui and as they were getting ready to land, the flight crew did their usual thank you to the passengers for flying with United, then they gave a special thank you to the Angel and she got a round of applause from everyone on the plane. That's my girl! She also managed to finagle a seat in first class during the short jump from Maui to Kona. She's going to g0 far in this world. Upon landing, we collected all our luggage and I set #4 to guard it while I got the van. To save money, hubby had parked it in the free overflow parking. It's free, but it's also almost a mile away from the airport with no shuttle. After a long flight, the walk was somewhat nice, though hot since it was mid-afternoon. I finally got there and flopped down in the drivers seat in relief only to discover that the battery was dead. I h ad jumper cables but needed someone to give me a jump. Sad thing was, I had to ask 3 different people before someone would give me a few minutes of their time to help me. One guy was in his running vehicle parked about 10 yards away from me, but gave me some lame excuse about why he couldn't help. I find it sad that people aren't willing to help someone in need. Finally a nice young woman who was leaving work gave me a jump. It took all of 2 minutes to do it. I made a mental note to myself to remember that there are very few things that are more important than to help a fellow human being out. When people stop caring about each other, this world doesn't have much going for it anymore.

We decided to put the chickens in a box in the bathtub last night. That way we could keep them in an enclosed area, make it warm and protect them from the cats. One of the chicks died overnight, but that's par for the course.

I got a call from our small local library today telling me that today will be the last day they'll be open. Budget cuts are making them have to close as of July 1st. I was totally bummed since this is the closest I've ever lived to a public library (half a mile) and was loving the convenience of it all. Now I'll have to go to the bigger library downtown for my books - this makes me sad. I was telling hubby about the call and my disappointment when a thought dawned on me and I asked him: does it make me a nerd that the library calls me personally to tell me about their closing? He just gave me one of his "that should be obvious" looks.

Monday, June 29, 2009

the peeping - it drives me crazy

This morning, hubby asked WE and his friend Elijah lightning if they wanted to go pick up some chicks. Both boys eagerly went and they came back with, you guessed it, chicks. The ones of the peeping variety, not of the swimsuit kind. The kids are having a blast with them, which sent Angel #1 down memory lane when he was little and we got our shipment of baby chicks in and they'd drive them around in their Barbie cars.

I'd always assumed that Angel #4, aka the Tomboy Princess got her love of being the center of attention from her father, but I may be wrong. I'd never really noticed it before, but looking back it was obvious, my dad LOVES attention. He likes to make and invent things and is very proud to show them off. When I was a kid, his unipod was a mainstay of camping. The unipod was like a one-legged tripod that had additional arms on it for grilling tools and a tray for holding food, plates and stuff. It always attracted the attention of a few people when we were camping and he'd happily show the curious his toy. He was constantly making improvements on common things (he put a bicycle seat on his woodsplitter so we kids could sit on it and work the handle for the pushing ram to help him during wood cutting season). When we were camping, he unpacked a couple of large, yellow-painted metal wheels and when we asked him what they were for, he simply explained that they were for the grill. It all made sense when the grill came out. My dad has tricked his grill out to look like a steam operated John Deere tractor. Yep, that's my daddy! When this miracle of modern industry wasn't being used to cook actual food, Dad made sure it was parked out in front of the campsite to lure the curious in for a closer look. We even had our family picture taken with it so Dad can send it into the publication the grill company puts out. So, if you get a newsletter from a wood pellet burning grill company and you see a bunch of nerds standing around what looks like an antique John Deere tractor/grill, that'll be us.

Sunday, June 28, 2009

the great camper race

We went camping with my family while in Wisconsin. If you think of camping as tents, sleeping bags and cooking over an open fire - don't go camping with my family. They're more the air conditioned 25ft travel trailer with surround sound and multiple tv's kind of campers. As you can see,I come by my love for creature comforts legitimately. They've also got camping down to an art form, which is where hubby fits in. He managed to get my dad and brother into a contest to see who could set up their campsite the fastest - egging them on during the entire procedure. Normally, we not a very competitive family, but not where campsite setting up is concerned. My dad won the contest by about 5 minutes, signifying his win by calling out to my brother, then very loudly cracking open a beer and taking a seat in one of their zero gravity, high-concept lawn chairs. I won't even tell you about their insta-pop, easy open camping garbage cans.

The first night camping, I made a Hawaiian dish for my folks and brother - one of my sisters had to be somewhere else and my other sister was coming in with her family the next day. While cleaning up, we had a pan full of leftover sauce from the chicken and my brother and I weren't sure where to dump it. He was going to put it in a corner of our campsite, but I was afraid it was going to draw flies, so we came up with an alternative dumping spot. In the campsite across the way, right where my sister was going to be setting up her camper the following day. Yeah, we're kind of naughty that way. Lucky for her, we got a dumping of rain on us right after they set up their camper, effectively washing way the fly lure we so thoughtfully dumped in their campsite. The plans of mice and men and all that good stuff, ya know?

Anyway, we all had a great time camping, my dad especially. It was the first time all 11 of his grandkids were together at the same time. All 4 of our kids hadn't been on the mainland at the same time since we'd moved to Hawaii and my brother had a little girl in the meantime. So, with all 4 of his kids and 11 grandkids all together camping for a couple days was a real highlight for not only dad, but I think for the rest of us as well. My kids are already talking about going again next year. We'll have to see how that works out.

Friday, June 26, 2009

More trip excitement

I wanted to post this little tidbit before I forgot because it's a typical WE moment. While we were in Canada, we sleep in big dorm-like rooms. The first night we were there, the bunks were fairly empty and hubby and the boys were some of the only people up there. But, those people were joined by a bat - yes, a mouse with wings was swooping around over their heads when they were trying to sleep. WE didn't like that thought, so he decided to do something about it. Right as the bat was swooping down, he swung up his pillow, hit the bat who bounced off the wall and fell...right onto WE's toothbrush. The next day, when Angel #2 said she didn't have a pillow to sleep on, he oh so graciously offered his. Sweet kid, eh? A few days later we were out shopping with my brother and I grabbed a new toothbrush for WE. My brother said that we were on vacation so I shouldn't make the kids brush their teeth and I told him that WE actually DID pack a toothbrush himself, but a bat fell on it. You've got to give my bro credit, he barely even batted an eyelash. He knows us well.

Weird goings on here last night. Jake, the Wonder Dog woke me up barking and growling (Jake was barking and growling, not me). He did this twice last night and once on Monday night. What makes this weird is that Jake has barked a grand total of about a dozen times since we got him 2 years ago, and all those times were because a stranger was in/around our house. Three times, I looked around to see what was getting him worked up, but didn't see a thing. I was getting mildly freaked out about this, especially since, with hubby gone, I was the resident, responsible adult in the household. Then, to make matters even weirder, about 10 minutes after I went back to bed, I heard a loud banging sound. I jumped up to see what happened and found one of the wooden stools in the kitchen had been tipped over backwards and was lying on the floor. Strange, eh? Well, hubby's home now, so tonight if something odd happens, he can take care of it while I offer helpful advice from the safety of the bed.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

It's a bird, it's a plane, no...it's a Canadian mosquito

Hubby and the kids flew into Wisconsin on the Tuesday after I got there and I met them at the airport. Right away at 6 the next morning, we headed up to Canada for a church convention. We used to go up there just about every year. Though the miracle of modern journaling, I looked back through my old entries and discovered that we hadn't been up there since June of 2005. Four years is a long time and though most of the adults looked pretty much the same, the kids who were kids back then are now teenagers - just like mine. My kids had a great time catching up with old friends and making some new ones, they want to go back again next year. Something that hasn't changed over the years in Canada are the mosquitos. They swarmed over our heads in clouds, it was unbelievable. Everyone there reeked of eau de bug spray for the entire weekend. Another thing had hasn't changed is that that particular convention is known as the 'pie convention'. I'd been jonesing for rhubarb pie for quite a while. I had a piece with just about every meal - I think I gained a ton but man, was it good.

The boys got home last night. Right after picking them up at the airport we headed to Bible study, which is held at a house near the airport. Just as we turned the corner to get on the street where the house we were going to, my van died and wouldn't start again. I put on my flashers and tried to restart it a couple times but it only made nasty grinding sounds. Fortunately, some people also heading to Bible study pulled in and helped us push the van off the road. I was worried about getting home, which made it hard to concentrate on what was being said but my worries were for nothing. My van started right up afterwards and got us home without a problem. But I don't trust it anymore and will be driving Debbie, the Toyota Echo from now on - the van can stay parked unless hubby is around to help if it dies. I think it's time for a new vehicle which would cost about as much as Angel #2's new braces will cost. We may have to come to the point where we have to decide what's more important, a trusty vehicle or straight teeth.

I started a Facebook page today, just because so many people have bugged me about starting one. I don't really get the allure, but I've got 4 friends already, so that's kind of cool. What really freaks me out though is how Facebook pulled out a list of potential friends for me as soon as I signed up. How does it know that I know those people? (And I did know most of them - how creepy is that?)

Tomorrow, I'll give you highlights on the Daydreamer's Family Campout. As you might guess, my family does NOT camp like normal people.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

travel excitement

Yesterday I was busy playing catch-up. For the moment, the laundry's pretty much done, the garden is half weeded and the house feels like home again. All's good.

The day I left home, something funny happened. The TSA line was HUGE, trailing through the maze thing and down the sidewalk. Our airport is open-air, like a huge pavilion, so though the line was long, waiting on the sidewalk isn't as remarkable as it would be if I were in, say, O'Hare or something. Anyway, the lady in front of me hurt her toe in the parking lot and she reported it to an airport person. There isn't much excitement around here, so if something DOES happen, people are all over it. It's not unusual to have 5 police cars show up at a simple fender-bender. This lady's cut toe caused all kinds of action. Two (count'em - 2) of those first responder pick-up truck things showed up as well as a FULL-SIZED firetruck, all for a small cut on a toe. One guy came out with a first aid kit and began working on her foot, three others stood around in case she went into shock from loss of blood or something, while another guy stood in the road and directed traffic around the fleet of first aid vehicles parked there. There was also a guy with an official looking clip board filling out an accident report. The lady looked at me and gave me this helpless, I can't believe this is happening look. All she wanted was a band-aid.

I've also made a mental note to myself to never, never, never talk about mine or anyone else's childbirth experience on a cell phone in the middle of a crowded airport waiting area. It's just gross.

My sister picked me up at the airport and I had a fun day with her and her 3 kids. We had a few of our famous snort-fests when we laugh so hard we start snorting, a common problem in my family.

Friday I went to my writers conference. What a BLAST! I had this little problem there. I was going to meet up with an internet friend that I'd met at Romance Divas. Problem was, that until I was actually there at the conference, I hadn't realized that we didn't know each other's names, just the nicknames we use at RD. I was working at the registration table, which was a good thing since I could see most of the people coming in. By weeding out the people I already knew, which were quite a few, I only ended up asking 3 people if they were Funky Bunny before I found the real one. Let's just say I got a few odd looks when I went up to complete strangers and asked them if they were Funky Bunny.

Tomorrow, I'll give you the 411 on the next phase of our trip....Canada

Monday, June 22, 2009

Nothing says welcome home like a dead rat in the driveway

After an awesome trip, the girls and I are back home. The boys come home Wednesday and hubby on Friday.

I was expecting great things when I got home because hubby told me he had "higher standards" than I did and the house would be totally cleaned and organized when I got home (yeah, he said this with a totally straight face). I usually get all wound up when we're getting ready for a trip trying to get everyone packed and the house cleaned before we head out - hubby was sure he could do much better. Since I left 5 days before the rest of the family, it was time to put his theory to the test. It was obvious he had been having the kids do the laundry since there was a clean unfolded pile lying on the couch when I got here - the cats have been sleeping on it for the past 2 weeks. There was also a load of damp clothes sitting in the dryer and the sheets from our bed had been mouldering away wet in the washing machine since they left. So...yeah.

Jake and the cats were glad to see us come home, I think they missed us. Our garden, along with the weeds, grew tremendously and it smells like there's something dead by the back door, but I can't find anything. Looks like we've got a busy day tomorrow.

I'll tell you about my adventures up north tomorrow. I've been up since 4:30am Wisconsin time and it's now 8:30pm here, which would make it 1:30am in Wisconsin. So that means I've been up for close to 24 hours straight making me one tired little camper.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

packed and ready to go

This will be my last post for a while. Tomorrow I head off to the wilds of Northeastern Wisconsin and won't get back until June 22. I won't be bringing my computer along, so you all will just have to live without me until I get back....unless, of course, you're one of the people living in the wilds of Northeastern Wisconsin that I'll be seeing when I get there.

I got my packing done this afternoon. We bought these vacuum pack bags to put our stuff in. I put my whole 2 weeks worth of clothes in one, then stuck the vacuum cleaner hose into the little nozzle and it sucked all the air out of it, giving me a solid, heavy, plastic wrapped clothing log. I stuck the log in my roller bag and stashed the rest of the stuff in the corners and into my Betty Boop backpack and I'm good to go and I won't even have a check-in suitcase. My roller weighs a ton though because not only does it have my clothes log in it, but it's crammed full of books. I'm participating in a book signing and am bringing all my own books. So, in addition to the three books I'm taking along for my own reading pleasure, I've go 20 copies of Moxie and Eye of the Beholder as well as an additional book I'm bringing up to give to my dad for father's day. If you knew my dad, you'd laugh yourself silly at the thought of me (or anyone for that matter) giving him a book for any reason, but it all makes sense. I got him a guidebook to the Big Island as an incentive for him and my step-mother to hop a plane and come down here to visit us. It's the best guide book to the island out there. When I went to the store to pick it up, all I had to do was ask my friend Jake who works there where the Hawaii blue books were and he knew exactly what I was talking about. Everyone here knows the blue books. There's a whole series each featuring a different Hawaiian island and I'd highly recommend them if you ever consider visiting down here. I'd also highly recommend you call me so we can do lunch, but that's a whole different subject. Oh, the author's name is Doughty or something like that and the books are the "Revealed" series, such as - Kaui Revealed, Oahu Revealed, etc.

WE had his chorus concert tonight. After hearing them sing, I understand why he hates the class and isn't going to be taking it next year despite the fact that he likes to sing. Out of the 5 or 6 songs the kids sang, only one was in English, the rest in Hawaiian. Which would be fine we anyone actually spoke Hawaiian, but, for the most part - no. So, not only do they have to sing the songs, but they have to do it phonetically without knowing what the heck they're singing about. Sounds like more work than fun if you ask me. The ukelele band did awesome. One 8th grader did a solo of Over the Rainbow that brought me to tears it sounded so good.

Well, I'm off to bed. I've got to get my sleep. My flight leaves at around 12:30 pm tomorrow and all night tomorrow I'll be flying the friendly skies with my tired, rumpled, jet-lagged body finally crawling off a plane in Wisconsin at 9am Thursday. Man, I hate that flight.

Monday, June 1, 2009

It didn't sound like he was doing his homework

Today, WE was on my computer typing in his homework assignment. He was giggling his butt off, which doesn't usually happen when people are doing homework. Homework does NOT equal happiness. Turns out, he was reading past journal entries. He said it was funnier to read about his life than when he was actually living it. He's also mad at me for revealing the secret to his time machine. I promised you wouldn't tell anybody.

I'm getting ready for my trip up to the mainland. It's so neat to get e-mails from my friends who tack a little "see you Friday" at the end of them. Since these are people I only see once a year, a "see you Friday" is pretty exciting. I also bought coffee for those who responded to my yearly coffee call. Every year, I walk into the writers conference with all my clothes smelling like freshly roasted coffee. Thank goodness I live in the coffee capitol rather than the Limburger cheese capitol of the US - no one would want to room with me at the hotel.

I took Angel #4 to visit her new school this afternoon. Next school year she'll be going to a different elementary school due to our move in December. She wasn't real happy about leaving the the school she's spent most of her school years at, but now that she's visited the new one, I think she feels a bit better about the whole situation. She even got to meet the 3 5th grade teachers, so she'll at least have met next her years teacher. They also have organized basketball, which she's totally thrilled about. So, all's good.