Tuesday, December 27, 2011

in which I lose my skirt in a parking lot

We had something special for Church on Sunday, so instead of going to our usual place Sunday morning, we met in a large hall with a lot of people from churches from the surrounding area. Anyway, during the lunch break, Angel #2 and I headed out to the parking lot to put our lunch leftovers back into the car and as we were coming back inside, I realized that it wasn't the seam from one of the skirts tiers that was rubbing against my thighs, but it was, in fact, the waistband. The elastic in the waistband had been slowly giving way, but it decided to give up the ghost entirely on Sunday afternoon, in a parking lot. Since I don't carry around one of those huge mom purse's that contain everything but the kitchen sink (though the bathroom sink IS there) I didn't have a safety pin and spent the rest of the afternoon hoiking my skirt up. Yes, I find it difficult to even go to church like a normal person.

We got a phone call from Angel #1 on Friday. It was great hearing his voice and, now that he's got a sort of military international go-phone, it's nice to know that we'll be able to talk to him occasionally while he's out there. He told me what he's missing out there and I'm in the process of putting together a care package for him full of beef jerky and peanut butter.

And now, in other breaking news. Angel #1 won't be my only international Angel. Angel #2 has decided to take a Spanish immersion course followed by a one month internship at a ranch in Uruguay. She's brushing up on her Spanish and is deciding what to pack so she's ready to head out on January 20th, a few days after her 18th birthday. I'm so excited for her and I'm sure she's going to have an awesome time down there. If she really likes it, she's considering staying down there, we'll see what happens I guess. It's always something.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Where did the time go?

First off, I want to thank you for your kind words, Jeannie, it's a little overwhelming if I think of my little boy in such a scary place, so I try not to think about it. Then, when I do think about it and start to feel helpless, I just think of those poor mothers who live there and are trying to raise their children in such horrible circumstances and it puts everything else into perspective.

On a cheerier note, I've been really painting up a storm lately. It all started a couple weeks ago when I decided that I'd been avoiding painting my kitchen long enough. I had intended to just do the trim on the walls, so I took out my 1 1/2 inch brush and got to work. Well, one thing led to another and I just kept going until I'd painted all my kitchen walls with that tiny little brush. It's now an awesome shade of turquoise. Well, after my walls looked so cool, my gross cabinets looked worse than ever. We'd taken the doors off the upper cabinets before we moved in because the previous owners had removed the ceiling and only replaced half of it before giving up. We took out the cabinets, ripped out the nasty looking boards they were putting up for the ceiling and got as far as hanging 2 sheets of drywall up. We put them on the north side of the room so we could replace the cabinets there, but never got around to putting the doors back, figuring it would be easier to paint them if they were off. BUT, I'd been avoiding the whole painting thing, so I had ugly yellow, doorless cabinets since July. Well, that's changed now. I sanded them down and put primer and 2 coats of paint on over the course of 3 days. By then, I was sick of painting for awhile, so only the upper cabinets got finished, the lower ones are still yellow while the uppers are this great shade of dark melony orangey-pink (salmon??). I retired from the painting business for a bit, but then hubs and I went to the REStore on Saturday. The REStore has got to be my new favorite place to shop. Saturday was 50% off day. We got upper cabinets for the laundry room, more linear feet than what I've currently got in my melony orangey-pink kitchen cabinets, all for under $20. Before we could hang them up though, I needed to get the laundry room painted. Someone who lived here at one time a long time ago, really loved the color pink, it looked like Pepto Bismol exploded in my laundry room. NOT attractive. I searched through my collection of random paint that's piled up in my basement. I found white for the ceiling and trim and a sage green color for the walls. It looks great, but after painting the room from top to bottom, then helping hubs hang the cabinets, I was pretty pooped out. Today, I put contact paper on the shelves and put all the laundry room stuff that had been sitting in boxes since we moved in onto their very own shelves. Old houses are cool, but they sure are short on storage space. But slowly my little castle is catching up to the 20th century (getting it up to the 21st is waaay beyond its capabilities).

Tuesday, December 6, 2011


Just an FYI for the world's enlightenment: 1. Turn your phone off when you go to a concert. 2. If you don't turn off your phone, put it on vibrate or silent mode. 3. If you don't do the first two, if someone calls you during the concert, turn off the ringer and don't answer. 4. If you feel you have to answer, quietly say you're busy and you'll call back, don't say "what's up??" 5. If you're a complete idiot and do none of the above, the LEAST you could do is not visit during MY KID'S SOLO!!! Some people should be shot. /rant

Besides idiots on cell phones sitting behind me, Angel #4's concert was wonderful. Since she's on the list of what Angel #2 called The Overachievers, she got a lot of stage time, being in the band, the tonechimes group and the choir, where she had a small solo, we got to see a lot of her.

Angel #1 is currently in Kurdistan, at least he was the last we heard from him. Now that he's out of the country, he's no longer using his cell phone and he doesn't have a computer with him, so we'll just have to assume he's where he's supposed to be. He's using someone's phone to update on Facebook, which is why I know he was in Kurdistan yesterday. He called on Sunday, right before he left the States. He told us he was sitting on the runway, so we assumed he was talking to us from the plane. We didn't know why he could be on the phone during take-off, but figured he was on a military transport or something. Until a half hour later he was still talking. Turns out he was literally SITTING ON THE RUNWAY with his platoon waiting to get on a plane. #1 isn't a particularly chatty guy, so he didn't see the need to explain himself further.

Thanks for your encouraging words, Tanya. About the crying thing, you'd be surprised how tough you can be when you've got to be. I figured my crying would make things harder for him, so I sucked it up, you do what you've got to do. Now, we begin the countdown to when he comes back home. Seven months and counting!!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011


After some computer troubles that I thought were internet troubles which led to getting a different (much better) internet carrier then fixing the problem with my computer, I'm back on line, baby!

Saturday morning we dropped Angel #1 off at the airport. We won't seem him again until June, when he gets back from Afghanistan. I did real good and didn't cry until we were driving away from the airport. I'm going to miss my boy so much and will worry about him a lot, but I'm going to try not to think about it and tell myself he's just gone somewhere on an extended vacation or something.

After spending the last week or two avoiding it, I finally took WE out driving today. He did really well, but refused to drive on the highway. We stuck to back roads, which is really easy to do around here since 90% of the roads ARE back roads. He kept going to extremes though, either driving too slow or too fast, which is all part of the learning curve. Besides the time we took a corner on 2 wheels, my nerves were pretty steady. He kept up a constant monologue on potential hazards such as: oncoming car, make sure I'm on the far right side of the road and there goes a gas truck, potential explosion. Yeah, it was fun.

Diesel, the doofus dog, loves chasing a laser light. Angel #4 was having way too much fun today with his laser obsession. She tied a rope around his collar, sat in a rolling chair and would put the laser ahead of the dog so he ran and chased it, pulling her around the room in the chair. This made making supper a bit difficult since she insisted on lasering her way through the middle of the kitchen, but Diesel is a very tired dog tonight, I think he'll sleep well.

Monday, November 14, 2011

and we've got another one on the road

WE got his temporary driver's license today. We actually went over a week ago to get them only to find out that after standing 45 minutes in line at the DMV that WE couldn't pass the eye test. He couldn't even read the top line. He had his eyes tested a year ago and had a slight prescription, but I guess things got considerably worse as the year went on. So I hauled all the kids to the eye dr's, got WE some glasses, Angel #2 a new prescription for her contacts and was told that Angel #4 is good for now, but may need glasses in the next year or so.

After the eye doctor, we headed to the mall, a place I hate, but my kids love. We had an hour or so to kill before the big event of the day. We went to the airport to pick up Angel #1. Yay!! He's home for a 2 week leave and will be going back after Thanksgiving. Also meeting him at the airport were a couple of his friends and my sister and her family. We all went to Perkins for some celebration pie, where we were met by my brother and his little girl. All the little kids were glad to see their cousin, #1 is the oldest of all the grandkids on my side of the family and his little cousins (especially the boys) think he's just the coolest thing ever. His coolness quotient is going to go up incredibly on Friday when he takes my sisters kids to Wild Air for the evening. Wild Air is a big bouncy house place where even adults can go on the equipment. #1 thought it sounded like fun, so he's bringing his cousins there for camouflage.

I picked my van up at the fix-it shop today. It's so nice to have my vehicle back and all ready to face the upcoming winter. It had better face the winter after what it cost to have it fixed. But, sometimes you've got to fork over a little money if you want to drive without worry.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

More Letters for WE

We were at the fall sports award program for the high school tonight. WE got a letter in cross country, that makes 2 letters now, he'll have the whole alphabet before you know it! He's been working out in the weight room after school now that the cross country season is over, he's also been goofing around with the wrestlers. He managed to take down a couple guys that were quite a bit bigger than him and is gaining a bit of a reputation, but he's still not interested in joining the school wrestling team. Tonight, he was talking to a kid who decided that WE's new nickname is the Flyin' Hawaiian. WE's planning on wrestling that kid tomorrow and was wondering if that's what the guy was planning on doing to him but the kid said he meant it in a good way. I dunno though, I remember seeing that particular kid on the football field this fall and looking him up in the program because he was so much bigger than the rest of the kids. He tops WE by about 5 or 6 inches and over 100 pounds. I hope there's something left of my little boy when he's done with him.

Tomorrow my van going to the shop. It's been sitting in the driveway for about a week now while we debated if we wanted to spend the approximately $2000 it's going to take to rebuild the transmission. The decision was made for us this afternoon when Angel #2 brought the car into the shop to get an estimate on getting the brakes done. The car fixer place said that the car isn't long for this world and it doesn't even pay to get the brakes done unless we want to spend $1100 to get everything fixed. Since we only paid $450 for the car itself, we really can't justify paying over a grand to get it road worthy, so we'll run it til it's dead and get on with life. But, in the meantime, we're going to need a reliable, not going to fall apart, kind of vehicle, which means we've got to fork over the big moolah to get the van running again. It's always something, isn't it? But, once we get that fixed, we should be good vehicle-wise for awhile. *fingers crossed*

Hubs is on his way to Hawaii again tomorrow, but he's taking a side trip to Aspen on the way, the lucky skunk. Some of our best friends from Hawaii now live in Colorado and he's going to spend a couple days with them before hitting the sandy shores of Hawaii. He's cutting his trip fairly short (only 9 days) so he can be home to spend time with Angel #1, who'll be here for 2 weeks on leave. YAY!! We've all missed #1 and can't wait to see him again. I'm planning on moving all the breakables out of the living room, since that seems to be my boys favorite place to wrestle around. When both boys are home, it's like the testosterone kingdom around here.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The ROUS is still running free

We haven't had any luck getting our silverware drawer eating ROUS trapped, though I have't had any more drawers eaten, so we're at a rodent impasse at the moment. I know there still at least one roaming the house because I heard it scrabbling in the wall over our bed last night. Why, oh why, do those stupid things choose MY room to scrabble in? It's like they know my rodent phobia and just like messing with me. More proof that rodents are evil. Tanya, I'm glad I can give you a laugh, I know you can use one right now. Living with a diet restricted husband has got to be a major pain in the butt, especially since you're used to having him on the road and now he's stuck at home. I'm sure he's NOT a happy camper.

Angel #2 and I went to the REstore today and had way too much fun. I needed some lights to put in the kitchen and I really wanted some that keeps the 1950's feel to the place. I figured the best place to do that is the REstore. I was right, I found 2 great ones for the kitchen and one for the dining room that'll probably have to be rewired, but it's so cool looking it'll be worth it. We also found a turquoise toilet seat which #2 wouldn't leave the store without, so now our downstairs bathroom is going to go turquoise. We decided that the REstore is as much fun as St. Vincent DePaul and we're planning on hitting the one in Green Bay some day as well. We've become REstore addicts.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Holy rat bait Batman!

I was blaming Diesel, the doofus dog, for eating my wooden spoons. I kept finding chewed up ones and having to throw them away. But, the other day, I found a wooden spoon in the drawer, chewed up with shavings in the bowl of the spoon. Diesel gets himself into lots of predicaments, but even he can't open the silverware drawer, so I investigated. The whole back of the drawer was filled with wood shavings, not sawdust, but actual big shavings-like pieces and there was a big whole chewed in the back of the drawer. Now, these aren't whimpy, off-the-shelf kitchen cabinets, these are handmade, 1950's era cabinets made with inch thick lumber and some big freakin animal chewed right through it! What was especially disturbing about the whole thing is that it had chewed its way OUT of the drawer, not into it...and it also chewed up all my wooden spoons. This was no ordinary mouse, people. My sister thinks we've got a renegade beaver in the house, I suspect it's R.O.U.S.'s (Rodents Of Unusual Size for you Princess Bride impaired people) and I'm going to have to hire a heavy hitter to get rid of this creature. "My name is Inigo Montoya, you ate my silverware drawer, prepare to die!" We also got sticky traps and a big snappy trap in case swordplay fails. So far, we've only caught one little mouse in the basement, hubs suggested that instead of putting peanut butter on the traps we use a wooden spoon since that seems to be the most attractive to our unwanted guest.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

poster child

WE is in drivers ed. The problem with the class block system that our high school implements is that kids are required to spend an hour and a half each day for 9 weeks for each class, even when it's a class that doesn't really need that much class time. Because of this, the driver's ed teacher really scrapes for things to keep the kids occupied. The thing he chose to occupy them with this week is that they had to make traffic safety posters. WE wasn't real dedicated to the poster thing, he figured that if driver's ed's main requirement is good poster making skills, he probably doesn't want to be on the road anyway. So, last night (the poster was due today) he was asking the family for a good slogan for his poster. He went with the old Calvin and Hobbes standby: Be Careful or Be Roadkill, thankfully, sans Calvin's spaghetti sauce, he figured the pictures of car accidents would have as good an effect. He said his was one of the worst posters in class, but at least he got his point across.

Angel #2 and I were at a thrift store today and what do you think I found there? A Mouli! I still haven't found mine and I was seriously debating buying the one at the store, it had all the blades, was in mint condition and only $8. But, I decided that I would hold out and hope for my own Mouli to someday make a reappearance. Besides, I've got my nifty Salad Shooter now and I really love that little guy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

vroom vroom pbthhh

I was running errands for hubby yesterday. Errands for hubby aren't like normal people errands, these errands involve fitting 2 furnaces along with the needed ductwork into my mini-van. Thank goodness the seats come out of those babies. So, I got all the stuff picked up, then started heading thirty miles away to do the delivery when my van decided to not go into high gear. I checked the relevant fluids and they all seemed okay, so after a telephone consultation with hubs (who really needed the stuff I had) we decided that I keep on driving and hope for the best. Just in case you didn't know, it's really nerve wracking to drive fifty miles an hour on a 65 mile an hour highway, but I sure didn't have to worry about being pulled over for speeding. I made it safely to hubs then made the 35 mile drive home at 45 mph then an additional 5 miles to the car fixer guy. It doesn't sound like it's going to be an expensive fix, which is a good thing, expensive fixes aren't any fun. (just got a call from the car fixer guy - he can't do the repair, looks like things might get spendy :( )

**I also have to say that I can't stop giggling about Castle calling ghosts Apparition Americans. :p

Thursday, October 20, 2011

I will talk to you, singing will cost extra

I did my very first author talk for pay today. Imagine, getting paid to talk to a group of people who can't leave because they've got lunch and a meeting afterwards. It's like your birthday, 4th of July and Christmas all rolled up into one! I was asked to speak to the district meeting of a women's group, a whole bunch of people I'd never met before. Our local librarian gave the organizer my name as a suggestion for a speaker and we dealt through e-mail, so I didn't even know who I was looking for. I didn't think it would be that big of a deal until I got to the place where the event was being held and saw that about 3 or 4 different organizations were holding meetings there. I went up to one group and asked if they were who I was looking for, the woman asked if I was there to sing. GAH!!! I KNEW I was in the wrong place. I finally found out where I was supposed to be and did pretty good for my half hour speech. Afterwards I did a book signing and met some of the people, a very nice group of ladies.

I also went grocery shopping this afternoon. I hadn't gone in a couple weeks and my cupboards were starting to look bare. With all my canning and stuff, I still probably had twice as much food as a normal person, but I get antsy when my food supply drops past a certain level. I feel much better now seeing full shelves and a filled freezer. It's the little things in life that make me happy.

Monday, October 17, 2011

We used to laugh about this day

As of last Thursday, my baby girl aka Angel #4 is 13 years old. Way back in the day before we had kids, hubs and I used to joke that we were going to have 14 kids. Well, after Angel #4 was born, we rethought our options and decided that, unlike opinions expressed in popular tv dramas from the 70's, 4 is enough. When people picked on us for reneging on our original 14 kids, we explained that they misunderstood us and we were going to have four TEENS at the same time. Well, here it is, 13 years later and sure nuff, we're now the parents of four teenagers at once. I don't think we believed that day was ever really going to come and now here we are.

Friday night, #4 had her birthday party. I brought her and 5 of her friends to Wild Air, which is a big bouncy house place for big kids. WE decided that if #4 was going to have a bunch of her friends over, he needed reinforcements, so he had a friend overnight as well. At around 9 o'clock, Angel #2 walked in with a friend who was also going to stay the night. If you haven't done the math yet, that makes 10 teenagers sleeping in my house. #4 and her friends were watching movies in the living room, WE and his friend were in his bedroom watching '300', and while I love Gerard Butler, it's really hard to fall asleep when his Scottish/ancient Grecian accent is yelling for the Spartans to die for glory or whatever he was growling about. Angel #2 and her friend were up until 2am making soap and bath salts to sell at a craft sale they were vendering in on Saturday. So yeah, I didn't get much sleep. There was also an airsoft war going on and I have the feeling I'll be stepping on plastic bb's in my house for the next month or two. Thank goodness Angel #4 only has birthdays once a year.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

an owange cawnation, how womantic

Tonight was Angel #4's volleyball parents night. Hubs and I, along with Angel #4 and Rent-a-Grandma all went to watch her play. Between the 8th & 7th grade games, each play called her parents out to the court where we were given an orange carnation tied with a black ribbon (orange and black are the school colors). Of course, I managed to break the stem of the flower off before we even manage to get home. I've got skilz. With orange and black being the school colors and with me being a cheapskate, I'm planning on hitting the clearance sales after Halloween and buying up orange and black socks, tee-shirts and whatever else seems school spirit-ish and giving them to the kids so they can show their Panther pride without me breaking the bank. Thursday is #4's last volleyball game. WE has got the conference meet for cross country on Thursday and the sectional meet the 22nd. Since the odds are pretty slim that he'll make state for cross country, I think that we'll soon be in the clear for after school sports practice...until someone decides they want to take part in the next round of winter sports. WE keeps waffling back and forth about wrestling and #4 doesn't sound like she's too interested in basketball, so I may have a couple of quiet months ahead of me.

I finally finished painting my dining room today. I had almost the entire room done, except for one corner where hubs has his desk. When I painted the first stuff, I was too lazy to move the desk, so today I finally decided that I should have at least one room completely painted and done. There's still a little bit of trim that needs doing in there, but nothing too noticeable. I also painted part of the stairwell. It's got a really really high ceiling that's going to take some creative scaffolding to finish, but did what I could with just standing on the steps and moving the paint roller as far as I could. So now my stairwell is an interesting mixture of lime green on the bottom and pepto-bismol pink on the top. It looks like something you might find in your Easter basket. The only way you can see the two-tone though is if you're upstairs looking down or right at the bottom of the steps looking straight up, so from the dining room, my stairway looks utterly respectable. So, that makes one respectable looking room in my house. Some day, I may even get around to getting my kitchen cabinets painted, but don't hold your breath.

Friday, October 7, 2011

we ran all the way over there for that?

Overheard in the library bathroom yesterday:
Mother: come on Ashley, hurry up and poop. I won't watch, just hurry
Ashley: I did. See my poopy
Mother: that's it? We came rushing in here for that little turd? You can do better than that.
Ashley: no, I'm done pooping now, lets go back to the park.
Me (in my mind): I'm SO glad my kids are grown up!

Yesterday I was driving along the country roads, the Eagles blasting on the radio, the van windows open, the smell of harvesting corn in the air and the beautiful colors of the fall leaves on that gorgeous Indian Summer afternoon and I felt sorry for anyone who didn't live in rural Wisconsin. Today was exactly the same and, according to the weather reports, we've got more of the same coming into the middle of next week. I planted a bunch of tulip and daffodil bulbs this afternoon which will be a welcome sight come spring. I also took advantage of the weather and got all the old dead weeds and plants cleared out of the garden, so that looks all pretty and ready for winter as well. Life is good.

Tonight, hubs and I are going to the high school football game. Angel #4 is playing the halftime show with the middle school band. Fortunately, since the weather is nice, we won't have to freeze our patooties off. WE had his last regular season cross country meet tonight, I haven't heard how he did yet. Next he's got conference and sectionals, then he should be done for the season since I don't foresee him going to state. It sounds like he's wanting to go out for wrestling this winter, which will be something new for us around here. Hubs and his dad were both pretty big into wrestling when they were in high school and college, we'll see if those skills were passed down to the next generation.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

purple hair and toilet paper

Yesterday, Angel #2 decided to fix her turquoise hair, she claimed it made her look like a mermaid, but apparently she decided that the marine look just wasn't her. So she went to a professional this time where they dyed her hair close to her natural color, then put purple highlights in it. I never thought I'd be a fan of purple hair, but it's much better than the turquoise.

Yesterday was also my sister's birthday, so I gave her a call. We hadn't spoken in a while, so we had a little bit of a gabfest. I was telling her that I thought our cats had taken care of any mice we may have had in the house. Of course, you know what that means. About 3:30 this morning, I was woke up by the sound of a mouse scurrying across the bedroom floor. I guess we'll be leaving our bedroom door open tonight so the cats can take care of that little issue.

The mouse in the bedroom incident made me realize how tuned in my ears are to certain sounds. After the Homecoming football game last night, WE went out with friends toilet papering peoples yards. I feel sorry for high school kids in big cities, they never get to experience that great, autumn small town sport, TPing. Anyway, he was told he had to be home by midnight. I heard him come in the house at about ten to twelve, and once I knew he was home safe, I conked right out and didn't hear a thing til the mouse. It was when I woke up this morning that I saw that sometime after WE got home, our yard also got TP'd. WE found out from his friends that 2 minutes after they dropped him off and drove away that they turned around and TP'd our yard. I never heard a thing, even though we've got toilet paper wrapped around the front porch posts and WE's best friend's name was written in silly string on the side of our mini-van. We also decided that our dog, Diesel, is a really sucky watch dog, he never even made a peep. I had WE clean up some of the yard this afternoon, but he left the paper in the trees. His reasoning is that it's even more fun to TP a house after the first round of toilet paper has already been picked up, so if he keeps our trees filled with paper until Sunday, it won't be quite as tempting to hit our yard a second time.

Right now, WE's at the homecoming dance. I still can't believe he asked a girl to the dance. He claimed he wasn't nervous or excited about it, but he was all dressed and ready to go by noon for his 5 o'clock date. She came to pick him up and he waited in the driveway, practically on the side of the road so we couldn't get a good look at her or embarrass him in anyway. Us, embarrass him?!? Can you even imagine such a thing?

Today, I got to meet my first Congressman. He's not the Congressman for our district, but a friend hooked us up with an invite to a bar-b-que the Congressman was holding. He's someone hubs needed to network with in an effort to see if he could meet with some people in Hawaii. Anyway, mission accomplished. Reid (he told us to call him Reid, so now we're on a first name basis la-di-da!!) was already planning on being in Hawaii with his family this winter and sounded like he'd be happy to do the island hop to do some speechifying. My husband is a networking dynamo!

Thursday, September 29, 2011

I guess I've been busy

Once again, I've been a blog slacker. There's just so much going on around here that time's limited. We've got volley ball games, cross country meets, gardening, church convention and a minuscule Indian summer dealt with. It's our schools cross country invitational today, so we're going out to cheer WE on as he's running through the park. Each CC meet he's had he's beaten his previous time and he's hoping to get a consistent 7 minute mile in today's 5K, we'll see how he does. He's also got other things on his mind since it's also homecoming week and he managed to get himself a date to the dance on Saturday night. This will be his first boy/girl date and he's being very cool about it all. The girl's a junior, a year ahead of him, so he snagged an upperclassman with a drivers license, which will omit having to have us drive him over to pick up his date (good thinking on his behalf).

Angel #4 is still loving volleyball and is doing well. She's got 3 games left in the year, then I don't know what she's going to do all her excess energy. Probably drive me nuts.

Angel #2 dyed her hair turquoise the other day. The roots didn't take, so she's got about an inch or two of natural color roots before the turquoise begins. When I first saw it, she was just getting out of bed and she had massive bedhead and was looking very Medusaesque. She couldn't understand why I was laughing hysterically. Kids, what ya gonna do?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

now we're gasping in a different way

That wildfire up in Minnesota must be one heck of a big blaze. We're almost 500 miles away from it and we're smelling smoke and not just a little. When I went outside this morning, I was wondering why my neighbor had a fire going so early in the morning. It took til someone mentioned it on facebook this afternoon for it to click that it was the MN fires. Look out Afton, the stink is heading your way!

Though things are unusually warm in northern Minnesota, there's a threat of frost down here in Wisconsin so I've got the whole September Wisconsin garden thing going on. All my tomatoes, peppers and eggplants are nicely tucked in under old sheets and curtains to protect them from the frost. Tomorrow morning I'll uncover them and will probably have to RE-cover them again tomorrow night. It's so much fun tucking your vegetables in at night.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

one of summer's last gasps

BEAUTIFUL day today. The sun was shining, the temperature was perfect. A great day to go running around with my girls. On our way home from church we stopped at a couple rummage sales and the grocery store for a few odds and ends. There was a farmers market set up in the parking lot at the store, so we hit that as well. I didn't get much at the farmers market since I've got a garden of my own, but I did get a big head of cabbage (my cabbage is kind of small), some fresh blueberries and lettuce.

After we got home and unloaded our loot, we headed right out again to St Patricks. St. Pats was a big catholic church complete with separate priests house, sister house and another huge building (maybe a school?) that's now an apartment building. There's also a ginormous cemetery. It's all closed down now, but still maintained by the Friends of St Pats society. Every year they hold a harvest festival to raise money. There's a bake sale, silent auction, drinks, snacks and the local food standbys, brats & sauerkraut and chicken booyah. This is all topped off by music from a local polka band. Angel #4 ran off immediately with friends while #2 and I wandered around the grounds. We explored the nun house, which is totally gorgeous. It's got some rocking linoleum floors from the 50's, along with some great retro bathroom fixtures and original stained woodwork. A beautiful house. We even snuck up to the attic, which wasn't open to the public and checked that out too. Afterwards, we bought some stuff from the bake sale and I sat down to listen to the band while #2 wandered off somewhere. I must have caught the bandleaders eye because I wasn't sitting there more than 5 minutes when he announced that the next song was dedicated to the young lady in the front row with all the food on her lap. I never had a polka dedicated to me before, so that was a first. Later on, they played God Bless America with a polka beat and the whole place got to their feet and sang along. It brought tears to my eyes, patriotism Wisconsin style. We won a few things in the silent auction, so we hauled that, our baked goods and the bucket 'o booyah the I bought home and have been eating ourselves silly ever since. Thank goodness the weekend is over, I need a break.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Haystacks for Ahm-lets

Last night we went to a haystack supper put on by our local Amish community. All the proceeds go to their school. I go past the school quite often, it's only a couple miles down the road, and I love seeing all the bikes parked by the door and all the little Ahm-lets (Ahm-lets = little Amish) outside playing baseball in their suspenders and hats or the girls in their pretty blue dresses. I guess it says something about my hermitness to say that I knew more of the Amish people putting on the feed than I did of the 50+ people there chowing down. Anyway, after stuffing ourselves on haystack, hubs and I went for a stroll around the lake next door to our house to walk some of that awesome food off. (FYI, a haystack is a handful of crushed tortilla chips on a plate then meat, beans, lettuce, peppers, onions, cheese sauce layered on top of them and topped with crushed Doritos. For dessert, homemade pie and ice cream)

I dropped hubs off at the airport this morning. He's on his way to Hawaii for 10 days or so. On the way, he's making a side trip to San Diego and spending a couple days with Angel #1. He also had something he wanted to do in Austin, TX, but decided against it. A few days after his decision, we heard of the wildfires in that area, so I'm glad he's skipping Austin this trip. WE came along with us this morning and I left him at the airport as well. He was picked up by a friend who lives near the airport and he's spending the weekend there. I guess I'll see him again sometime tomorrow. He was looking forward to a little break. He's been busting his buns in Cross-Country - he had a meet last night and beat his personal best by a full minute. His time for the 5K is now 23:30. His ultimate goal is around 19 minutes since Angel #1's best 5K time is 19:20 and he really really wants to beat his big brother.

I've canned about 20qts of carrots in the last couple days and am getting a bit sick of doing them. I've still got about half a row left to pick, which will come out to about a 5 gallon bucketful. I put some in my new food dehydrator yesterday and they dried up real nice, so I think I'm going to do another dehydrator or two full and see how that goes. I'm also going to shred some zucchini and see how that dehydrates. Since I still haven't found my Mouli and it's really cramping my style, I picked up a salad shooter this morning for $2 at a rummage sale. I'll try shredding my zucchini in that and, with any luck, I'll be able to make zucchini cake this winter.

Monday, September 5, 2011

I guess this is why they call it Labor Day Weekend

There's just so much to do around here. I get overwhelmed and then just sit down and read a book. Not very proactive. But, I did get a lot done despite my literary escapes.

Friday morning, we had huge storms. Our power went our around 10am and finally came back on again around 6:30 pm. I don't mind the lack of electricity that much, it was day time, I've got a gas stove, we didn't need the heat or a/c on, so no big deal. What I do hate is the lack of water. This doesn't happen when you have city water, but in the country, you've got your own well which pulls water up from the ground and through your pipes using, you guessed it, an electric pump. Fortunately, since I try to be on top of things, I keep a large supple of water stored up in our basement in old orange juice bottles, so it would be awhile before we really felt the hit, but you don't realize how often you wash your hands until you don't have a working sink.

Fortunately, Angel #2 and I were invited to a friends house for lunch on Friday, so we had a perfect excuse to escape our waterless home and have a delicious lunch to boot. After lunch, we hit a few rummage sales before going back home. WE had a cross-country meet on Friday evening, so when we went to town to pick him up. He had an awesome meet and beat his personal record in the 5K by 3 whole minutes. We stopped by the football field and watched the last half of the high school game going on. Our Panthers handily beat the other team, who had an even small team roster than we had, which is pretty unusual since we've got a tiny school. Theirs must be even tinier. One of WE's spring track cronies plays on the football team. This boy is a fast runner, but has a very unusual, unorthodox way of running. It's so unusual that though he was in full football gear complete with helmet and was only standing on the sidelines at the moment, I knew who he was from his posture alone. Now THAT'S distinctive!

Saturday, I put the girls on chopping and dicing duty and we canned up 9 pts of zucchini relish, 2 of cucumber relish and 5 pts of apple butter. I've got about 20 pts of apple butter made and I think it's safe to say, my whole family is sick to death of the scent of apple butter cooking down. I think we're done with windfall apples for the year, so thankfully, Saturday's batch should be my last one.

Sunday was a potluck after church. SO much delicious food and great conversation. I visited with an acquaintance I hadn't talked to in years. She was reminiscing about the days when my kids were little, laughing about stuff they did. I said that I was so pleased and surprised that WE turned out to be such a wonderful teenager after what a stinker little kid he had been. She said she was surprised he lived to see 4 years old.

Today, I'm going to see what else in the garden is yearning to be thrown into a jar and boiled to death. The girls and I are also going to participate in that age old, cold weather tradition of throwing wood through the cellar window and stacking it up to be burned when things get chilly outside. Since the weather turned this weekend and we've had to dig out our long pants and sweatshirts, that probably won't be too far in the future. After the canning and wood throwing, we're going to get this house in some semblance of order. It's been woefully ignored lately. It doesn't really pay to scrub the kitchen floor only to spill pickle juice, apple peelings, green bean clippings, etc, all over it right afterwards. But since things are getting dirty enough where I could probably just replant the garden inside, I think we ought to do something.

Sigh. Better hit the Publish Post button and get to work.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

too cool for school

Angel #2 celebrated the first day of her not going back to school by sitting on the porch with a bagel and cappuccino watching her younger siblings get on the school bus this morning. She took a few pictures and waved them off. I think she's enjoying this waaay too much. Both WE and Angel #4 have sports practice after school, so I haven't heard how their day went yet. I would be enjoying the peace and quiet, if only all the critters in this house would have got onto the school bus as well, but, as it is, I'm stuck with 5 cats, 2 cockatiels and a dog. Not so peaceful.

I was pretty busy on my first day w/out kids. Picked and canned 5 quarts of beans, 7 qts of pickles and canned up the 7 pints of apple butter that I made up yesterday. I've got pinging jars sitting all over my kitchen table. Next on my list is to figure out what to do with all the zucchini and yellow squash I've got sitting around here. I'm thinking zucchini relish should put a dent in my plethora o'squash. I've got so many yellow squash that it's piled on the counters and we're even using one for a doorstop. It's gone out of control. We've got a potluck after church on Sunday, I'm thinking I'll take a bag of squash with me and pass it out among those poor gardenless souls who don't have squash doorstops. I think it's safe to say that I'm getting just the teensiest bit sick of my garden.

Tanya, I'm talking about Jersey cows. Guernsey's are okay, as far as cows go, but Jerseys are MUCH cuter.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

fairest of the fair

We went to the county fair today. I like going through the animal barns at the fair, they're all so clean and neat and the animals are scrubbed up and nice looking. It almost makes you forget what a pain in the butt they can be. I like the cow barns...and in Wisconsin, there are plenty of those. If, and that's a huge IF, we ever got a cow, it would have to be a Jersey, they're so soft eyed and pretty, plus, they've got some of the highest percentage of butterfat, which would be a priority to me since if we had our own milk, I'd want to make stuff like butter. Then we went to see the goats, which are really cute when they're not being mischievous. After the animal barns, we hit the midway and the food stands. I don't know if they're as important to your fair as they are to ours, but cream puffs are a Wisconsin fair tradition. So, I had the traditional fair cream puff then, I found Nirvana. Deep fried chocolate chip cookie dough, people. Oh, and topped with whipped cream. I was not leaving the fairgrounds without one of those little lovelies in my gullet. There were 3 of them, each a little bigger than the size of a golf ball. Hubs and I each ate one and split the third, which was waaaay more than I really needed. Not exactly an important part of the food pyramid, but hey, it's the fair, you've gotta splurge just a little. I should get some credit for passing on the deep fried blooming onions, deep fried twinkies and the elephant ears.

Monday, August 22, 2011

if he only knew...

Tomorrow morning, angel #4's cat is going into the vet to get neutered. He's 8 months old, so this is long overdue, but it's been a busy summer and this is the first we got time. I want to get him fixed before it starts causing problems.

The craziness of school is starting already. Last Monday WE started cross-country practice and Angel #4 started volleyball practice. #2's practices are from 9-11am and WE's are from 6-8pm, so that makes for 4 trips back and forth to town to get them to practice. Once school starts, they'll both have practice at the same time so we'll only have one town trip a day, which will be much nicer.

Still haven't found my Mouli, but I'm still looking, because I KNOW it's here somewhere, so I refuse to look for or buy a new one. There's no place else it could be. WE lost his running shorts he wears to practice as well, we suspect that his shorts and the Mouli ran off together. I'm not sure what offspring a union of that sort would produce, but I bet it would be able to grate cheese in a real hurry. :P

Thursday, August 11, 2011


Besides a couple of boxes of books, winter clothes and a box of small and basically useless electric kitchen appliances, we're all unpacked. But I've got a missing object to report. I can't find my Mouli. It looks like this bad boy:

I got it about 15 years ago for $1 at an auction still in its original box and I loved him with all my might. He made the trip to Hawaii with us and came back up when we returned to Wisconsin, though one of his blades got a little bent up in the move. I used it for shredding cheese, zuchinni, and Fels Naptha soap (I make my own laundry detergent). I love that little guy. But, I've turned my house inside out and upside down and I can't find it. I last used it right before we moved, so probably the end of June. I noticed it was missing on Saturday when I had a bunch of zuchinni that needed shredding and I couldn't find it. I've also run out of laundry detergent and have had to resort to using store-bought stuff, because my MOULI HAS DISAPPEARED!! I've re-searched all the unpacked boxes, crawled through the grainery, barn, attic and garage looking for it. I'm at my wit's end and it's not pretty people. So, if you've seen my Mouli wandering around looking lost, please send him home, I miss him.

In non-disappearing Mouli news, Saturday we went to a beautiful wedding. A girl we've known since before she was born got married in her parents backyard on a beautiful sunny day. Sarah looked gorgeous and it was hard to reconcile that beautiful young woman to the little girl who used to play with Angel #1. I think #1 was really missing being here to watch his lifelong friend get married, but those are the breaks when you join the military, I guess. Anyway, around 3:30pm, just when the bride and groom were saying their goodbyes, they had a little surprise in store for them. There's a small, grass airstrip on her parents farm and the bride's grandpa hired someone to land his plane there and pick up the bride and groom. We all stood off to the side and waved as they flew off to start their life together. It was almost like a movie.

My mom's side of the family had a reunion on Saturday as well, but we'd had a busy couple of days and were really just wanting to go home and chill after the wedding. My refrigerator died on Wednesday night and at 10pm, the girls and I were hauling our refrigerated stuff outside and to the garage refrigerator. We went out of town early Thursday morning to work at the day camp for the mentally handicapped that we like volunteering at and spend the night at Rent-a-Grandma's house so we could go there again on Friday (the camp is a 2 hour drive from our house). We got home late Friday night, left early in the morning for the 2 hour drive to get to the wedding and finally got around to taking the old fridge out and putting the garage fridge into the kitchen on Saturday night. That was a bit chaotic since I was also trying to make a zuchinni cake for my dish to pass for the family reunion for my dad's side of the family, which was on Sunday. A lot of that time was spent looking for my Mouli so I could shred the zuchinni. Our doorways are really narrow, so hubs had to take all the doors and hinges off the fridge to get it into the kitchen. Things were a bit crazy.

The girls and I went to the reunion right after church on Sunday and, since something happened and my cake turned out looking awful, I didn't put my name on my cake pan and had one of the girls quietly slip it onto the dessert table so no one knew it was mine. :p I also found out how much I adore my cousin Theresa when she told me the story of how one of her roosters attacked her and she took out a gun and shot it. I think she's my hero. My family also has a 50/50 raffle every year. In case you don't know, a 50/50 raffle means that whoever holds the winning ticket gets half of the proceeds of the raffle, the other half goes to a charity. In my family's case, the charity is one my cousin's disabled daughter takes part in. It never fails though, every year, whoever wins the raffle ends up donating their winnings to the charity as well. How can you not love a family like that? This year, the winner was a young 4th generation relative who is getting married soon. I'm sure he could have found a use for that $100+, but didn't think twice about not accepting the winnings, even when someone brought up the fact that he was kind of broke. It gives me the warm fuzzies. So you don't think that my family is just a bunch of boring do-gooders, they also got out the water balloon launcher. In another family tradition, a whole bunch of kids stand out in the yard and try to catch the water balloons as they come whizzing through the air. By the time they run out of balloons, they're all covered with welts and bruises. So yeah, we're all a bit warped as well as altruistic. After a few ears of grill roasted corn and some hugs from a couple of awesome aunts, the girls and I headed home. I think this was our busiest weekend of the summer and it's all downhill from here. I don't even want to think about frost and cold, but, since this is Wisconsin, things will be getting downright chilly here in the next month or so. I miss summer already and it's not even over yet.

Monday, August 1, 2011

And just when I think it's over

The crazy continues. Saturday afternoon, the car broke. Literally broke. It was an old car, older than all my kids, and it was definitely showing its age, but when it decided to give up the ghost, it made its plans totally clear. Angel #2 was driving down the road, thankfully through town, so she was going slow, when the steering went out. The car started pulling to the left and she steered to the right and the steering wheel just spun, like a kiddie car in the carnival. She crossed a lane of traffic, thankfully there were no oncoming cars, and came to a stop at the side of the road facing the wrong direction. One of the first cars that went past her was a cop, so she flagged him down for help, since the rear of the car was sticking out into traffic, and he directed traffic until the tow truck came to take our old faithful car away. The tow truck driver took one look at it and said it couldn't be saved, the entire sub-frame broke off, which apparently, is something that helps hold the car together. So the car headed off to the junk and Sunday, we scrambled to find a cheap vehicle fast. Our only remaining vehicle was our pickup truck, which only holds 3 people and is stick, which Angel #2 isn't very proficient at. Fortunately, we've got wonderful friends and by Sunday afternoon, we were driving home with a 1996 Taurus. It's not perfect, but it's much better than what we had, besides, the a/c works, which it didn't in the old car, so we're coming out ahead. Considering we paid $600 for our old car and it lasted us a year, we came out ahead all over the place. Hopefully, this new one will hang on for a long while as well.

Friday, July 29, 2011

Now are we done with the crazy?

I think we've finally hit the end of the pet parade. WE came home last night with a year old black lab mix named Diesel. Diesel is a pretty good dog, but it'll take a little while for him to learn the rules at our house, like no going on the furniture, no licking and no begging - apparently those things were all allowed at his last house. He's slowing figuring it out, he's already learned to stay out of Angel #2's bedroom - his presence there causes all sorts of ruckus since she's got 2 birds in there, along with a very freaked out kitten.

I was a canning whirlwind today. I started out doing 5 quarts of green beans, then the girls and I went on to the bushel of peaches sitting in the middle of the kitchen floor. The three of us got an assembly line going (or as Angel #2 referred to it 'a sweatshop') and got the peeled, pitted and turned into pie filling and jam. At the end of the day we ended up with 7 quarts of pie filling, 15 pints of peach jam and 3 additional quarts of plain peaches. I love hearing the 'ping' of jars sealing. Such a feeling of accomplishment. I don't have a few key pieces of canning equipment and couldn't find them at our local store, so instead of a canning funnel I had to cut off the bottom of a plastic McDonalds iced coffee cup and use that. It didn't work nearly as well as an actual funnel would, but beggars can't be choosers. I also found out that I only have 3 wide-mouthed jar rings, so I had to use regular jars, which made the whole funneling thing an even bigger challenge.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Why yes, I DO need more crazy in my life. Why do you ask?

Angel #2 got a kitten a few weeks ago. I think it was the runt of the litter, it's really tiny. Then her boyfriend brought a cat over, a 7 month old that really dwarfs the little one, but doesn't stop the little guy from trying to attack. Angel #4 took over ownership of Muse, the big cat. But now, Pepper, the little guy, is no longer the little guy. Angel #2 got a call from the vets office where she helps out, someone had a tiny kitten abandoned by its mother, did #2 want to bottle feed a 2 week old kitten? What a silly question. So now we've got this tiny little thing mewing and bottles and formula lying around. WE is still on the lookout for the perfect dog.

In other exciting news, hubs got my oven working correctly finally. It had been sooting everything up and making a real mess of my pans and my kitchen in general. After working on it and being completely stumped, he went against all his good manly judgement and read the instructions printed on a big metal tag attached to the inside of the cooktop. After following the instructions, things are now soot-free and cooking nicely, though hubs IS in danger of being kicked out of the he-man club for stooping so low as to read instructions.

My garden is starting to produce something other than weeds finally. Saturday I canned up 7 quarts of green beans. I should have some yellow summer squash and some zuchinni within a week as well. Yay for fresh veggies! I also painted the entryway by the back door on Saturday. We bought the paint for the kitchen & dining room a couple days ago, but I don't really have time to do it right now, but I really wanted to get something on the wall. Since the entryway is going to be the same color as the kitchen, I figured I'l slap a coat on those walls so I felt like I accomplished something. It's a gorgeous turquoise color and really pops out with the white trim. Now I'm really antsy to get the rest painted. Oh, to find the time.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

A day of Lowes stalkers and crazy cat ladies

Hubs and I went to Lowes yesterday. One thing we've noticed since the economy is taking a nosedive and people are losing their jobs left and right, is that in many places, especially those mega building supply stores like Lowes and Home Depot, employees are trying desperately to be invaluable. This was especially evident in Hawaii, when, at the height of the building boom there, store employees acted more like you were an interruption than a paying customer. But now, things have changed, they're falling over themselves trying to help you so they don't get discovered standing around, doing nothing, and getting downsized. Hubs and I were standing in the middle of an aisle, discussing something non-hardware related, at Lowes yesterday, when an employees asked if he could help us find something. I told him no and we moved on, but hubby started complaining to me about being constantly pestered by sales clerks. He goes to these stores all the time for work, and is sick of having his shopping constantly interrupted, especially since you can never find any of these people when you actually need help. As we were escaping the first employees, a 2nd one was right behind us, talking on the phone with a customer. In an effort to dodge her, we went down a different aisle, only to have her follow us, still yakking away. We ended up going outside in the garden department, hubs saying that there shouldn't be any employees out there since they prefer to stay inside in the air conditioning than be in the 95 degree heat. We split up and hubs was a few aisles away when I heard someone ask if he was finding everything okay. I was standing there, all by myself, when I burst out laughing so hard I started to snort. Anyone watching me had to think I was deranged. Which leads me to my next adventure.

Since, as I mentioned before, it was really hot and humid outside, I just wanted to do a quick scan of the reduced plants to see if they had any interesting veggies I could stick out into the garden at this late stage in the game. A lady standing next to me started up a conversation about flowers. She said she just wanted to buy them all because she hated the thought of leaving them there to die. I wanted to remind her that these were begonias at Lowes, not puppies at the animal shelter, but just smiled nicely and said I was looking for vegetables. She said that with only the two of them, she didn't bother planting veggies and I said I was feeding a houseful of teens and needed all the help I could get. Then she said she didn't have any two legged kids, only the four legged kind, and I knew I was in trouble. I said I wasn't much of an animal lover, hoping to deflect what I knew was going to come, but it didn't work. I got to hear all about her 9 cats and 2 dogs, her troubles finding a vet and about the cat that she's had for 11 years that won't let her pick it up. I was polite, but kept wandering away, hoping to get out of the garden department and back inside where it was cool and critter-free, but she kept following me around and chatting away. I know she was lonely and I should have spent more time with her than I did, but I figure that 10 minutes in the sun and heat was about the limit of my good deed for the day. It was hard looking at her when she was talking anyway. She had pure white hair, but no eyebrows, so they were drawn in with brown eyebrow pencil. But they were only about half an inch long, so were only little dashes above her eyes, and they kept moving up and down when she talked. I could not resist looking at her bouncing eyebrows, it was like I was hypnotized. Eventually, I made my excuses and escaped to the coolness and safety of the store. I found hubs and we picked out some linoleum for our new upstairs bathroom and paint for the kitchen and dining room. Now I've just got to find the time and ambition to paint those rooms. As much as I want to get going on it, it may have to wait until winter. I got my first big batch of green beans today and will have to start canning them up within the next couple days. I've got fresh peas to shell and the battle of me vs. potato bug still wages on.

Angel #4 got home safe and sound yesterday. She had some really good flights, so she landed early in Chicago, which helped her catch her final flight home, which also landed 15 minutes early. She met a friendly man on the first leg of the journey and had a pleasant time chatting with him. She said the flight attendant thought they were together until they explained that they were just flight buddies. That's a great thing about my youngest, she makes friends wherever she goes. She worked hard in the garden this morning pulling weeds and squishing bugs, so things are starting to get caught up in the weeding department also. Summer is So busy.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Hitchcock Revisited

We had another bird-y morning the other day. They were pecking at the screen and dive bombing the window. I went outside to see what was going on and about 30 birds flew off my roof. I don't know what the big attraction is in my shingles, but I wish it would stop. After the mosquitofest we had the night before, I was really wanting my sleep. I bet I killed about 25 of the blood suckers before we finally got enough silence that we could sleep. The mosquitoes are big here too, like B-52 bombers, which is helpful in a way, they make an easier target when you slap your hands together to get them in midair. The day after the great mosquito massacre, hubs fixed the screens on some of the windows. With this being an old house, some of the screens are in pretty bad shape.

Screens aren't much of an issue at the moment, though. It's so hot that we turned on the air conditioning. Hubs got the ductwork and the inside of the furnace all cleaned out first before turning it on, who knows how many years of dust and crude were in there. But, things are working fine now, which is nice. The temps have been in the 90's and it's really humid. No one likes this kind of weather but corn and Jeanie C. Fortunately, with our house being perched on a hill, we usually get somewhat of a breeze, which helps a little, even though our breeze feels like someone opened a hot, wet oven.

Angel #4 comes home from her Virginia trip tomorrow afternoon. She's a little nervous about flying by herself, mainly it's the plane change in Chicago that's making her nervous. We've given her instructions on what to do, and even if she misses her connection, another flight leaves for the same airport an hour and a half later, so she'll get home eventually. Then, we'll have to deprogram her after all the spoiling I'm sure she got while she was out there. It's nothing an hour or two out weeding in the garden won't take care of.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

a weird way to wake up

I woke up this morning at 6am to the scritchy-scratching of little feet over my head. I lay there, eyes wide open, wondering if we had rats or mice in our attic, then wondering how they could make scritchy-scratchy noises while walking on the insulation in the attic. I heard banging on something metal on the outside of the house and deduced with a sigh of relief that there must be birds doing some kind of tango on my roof. I crawled across the bed to look out the window and suddenly, a bird landed right on the window sill about 2 feet from my face, then just sat there looking at me. I was thinking "what the heck???" when I heard WE voice verbalize my exact thought from his bedroom. I asked him what was going on, and apparently he had a bird on his windowsill trying to get into his room. I looked back at MY bird, who decided to fly away. He wasn't gone for long though, a few minutes later, he came back with a friend, they each took a window and started pecking at them. Especially weird since they weren't even woodpeckers. WE said his bird was now next door at Angel #4's bedroom window, pecking at that. It was like an audition for an Alfred Hitchcock movie or something.

Finally, all the psychotic little tweeters left to find somebody else's window to peck at. After lying in bed for a little while, I realized I wasn't going to get back to sleep and got out of bed. It was then that I realized that my marathon weeding session on Monday had come back to haunt me. My neck was so sore that I could barely move my head to the right and the joints in my right hand felt the same way those red glowing hands did in those arthritis commercials Patricia Neal did back when I was a little kid. I put stinky muscle relaxer stuff on my neck and hand, but I'm still pretty sore. A hot shower didn't do much either. I think I'm going to lay in bed with a heating pad tonight and hope for the best tomorrow. This must be what getting old is like. It sucks.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

recovery day

After my marathon gardening session yesterday, I took a little break today. I headed into town to restock my library books and do a little grocery shopping. I also had to take back the loaner cell phone booster that didn't work, so I still have very unreliable cell phone service. We may have to go retro and get a land line. I did a couple loads of laundry and made a pasta salad for supper, since it's been too warm to want to do much cooking, though today was nice and only got to about 80. Last week, I noticed some asparagus plants randomly growing in the yard by the garden. I assume that that was where the long ago asparagus patch was back in the day. Since I planted a new patch in the complete opposite side of the yard this spring, I figured I'd try to dig up the old plants and put them in with the new ones. Hopefully, they'll take, because you can never have too much asparagus, in my opinion. I know that it likes rich soil, so I mixed in some really old pigeon poo before planting. I don't care what anybody says, you can call it fertilizer as much as you want, but at the end of the day, it's still pigeon poop. I got this stuff from our little silo room, and it's probably decades old, since it's about 4 inches thick on the floor. I can just imagine how many feet are in the bottom of the silo where the birds actually roost.

After spending quality time shoveling poo, I headed back into the house. I've been without an oven now since we moved in, and frankly, I'm going into oven withdrawals. I commonly make a batch of cookies impulsively, simply because I've got the munchies. I haven't been able to do this without an oven and it's really starting to drive me nuts. Today, just to feed my cravings, I made a batch of chainsaw bars, at least, that's what my mom always called them, she said they were so chewy you needed a chainsaw to cut them. I've never made them before and when I looked them up on allrecipes.com, I couldn't find them under that name, so I entered the ingredients. Apparently, the rest of the world calls them Scotcheroos. They'll always be Chainsaw Bars to me.

Angel #4 posted a status on her Facebook today. She headed into Washington DC and went to a museum. She said it was "like a nightmare, just room after room of stuff." That is no spawn of mine. I love museums. She didn't know what museum she was at, but if it was the Smithsonian and she's complaining about it having too much stuff, I just may have to disown her. Spending an entire week at the Smithsonian has always been a dream of mine.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Help, I'm weeding and I can't stop

We had a big storm last night, lots of wind and rain. The rain was perfect for watering the garden and softening the dirt for easy weeding. I've been working my way through weeding the garden all week, but the going was hard since the ground was dry and solid. Well, not today, things just pulled right out. I went out about 9am and started pulling. I needed to make a run into town in the late morning, so I was planning on stopping around 11. Then the people started coming. First, the Jehovah Witnesses stopped by, they came out and talked to me by the garden since I was weeding so industriously that I didn't notice they'd driven in. Shortly after they left, the internet guy came (early). He was the reason I needed to go to town, since he was going to put an antennae on the house so we could be new internet since our old stuff doesn't work real well. Turns out that we're so far out in the boonies that HIS internet service doesn't come here at all, so we're stuck with the old stuff, but then I didn't need to go to town because there was no reason to pay him since he didn't do anything. The internet guy was still here loading up, I went back into the garden and then someone else drove in. He was selling books we don't need, so I sent him on his way without listening to his spiel since I really wanted to get back to the garden. This house was quiet and abandoned for over a year and in one day, everyone and their uncle shows up. I guess we just attract people.

I came inside for a little while and ate some lunch, but just couldn't stay away from the garden. The ground was rapidly drying out and I knew my time of easy weed pulling was limited, so back out I went. I finally came in for good around 5:30-6:00, very sweaty, dirty and really sunburned. Since my skin is immune to the sun most of the time, I very seldom use sunscreen. Today, by the time I realized that I had a sick weeding addiction, it was too late to put some on. The thought of smearing greasy cream on my sweaty, dirty body just didn't appeal to me. So, I've got red thighs and a red right arm. No biggie though, the way my skin works is that the burn will fade within 2 days and my skin will be lily white again. It's a gift.

After a day of frenzied weeding, I've got all 6 rows of potatoes nicely cleaned out. I discovered some plants had potato bugs on them, so WE and I squished lots of bugs and had orange bug goo all over our hands. I hate potato bugs.

Jeanie, your comment about nuns being regular people made me laugh. I think the thing that first attracted me to my nun cousin when I was a little girl was the fact that not only was she an active participant in the annual family reunion water fight, but many times, she initiated it. It's been years, but I've still got the vision of Sister GeorgeEllen, in full-out nun regalia, pelting my cousin Joe with a water balloon.

Friday, July 8, 2011


Just got back from the neighbor's house. Every year he holds a huge party after July 4th and this year, we were invited, along with literally hundreds of other people. It's all the beer/soda you can drink, along with a booyah feed followed by fireworks. Neighbor guy told hubs he spent $10,000 on fireworks this year, and I believe it. They topped just about anything I've seen municipalities put on. Neighbor guy has a big private lake, about 17 acres, surrounded by beautiful manicured lawns, a huge shed full of man toys and the cabin, which would make a really nice house for somebody. No, he doesn't live there, he's got a big house about 40 miles away. Some guys use their basement for a man-cave, Ken has a 200 acre one. So anyway, every year he puts on this party for all his friends, which, fortunately, we've become. They shoot the fireworks out over the lake. It was a little awkward, since the only person I knew out of the hundreds that were there, was the host himself, and since hubs and Angel #4 are both out of town, we were missing the family extroverts, so we didn't do a lot of mixing and mingling. At events like this, I usually trail in hubby's wake and let him introduce himself to people and I just sort of hang in the background and smile. I'm not particularly outgoing, but since hubs is, it makes us a perfect couple.

Angel #2 got a kitten today, so our animal population has grown to 16 chickens, 2 cockatiels, and a kitten. WE wants to get a dog yet, and Angel #4 has plans to get a cat of her own when she gets back from Virginia. We're also going to have to get a couple of cats for the barn to keep the rodent population down. I think our zoo is going to keep getting bigger and bigger.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Fun with Nuns

"I'm sorry I'm late getting to the convent, but I couldn't find the tattoo parlor."

Just the fact that I made that statement today means that my life is filled with 36 flavors of awesomeness. Aren't you jealous? You should be. Not many people can use the words 'convent' and 'tattoo parlor' in the same sentence in general conversation. My mom's cousin is a nun and has been now for almost 50 years. When I was little, I idolized her and wanted to be a nun, just like she was. Of course, the fact that I was a little Lutheran girl as well as the fact that the only Catholic stuff I knew was what my mom taught me from her years in a Catholic elementary school, which consisted of "Hail Mary, full of grace, washed her hands and forgot her face," which I'm pretty sure isn't even doctrine. Anyway, flash forward 35 years, I got over the wanting to be a nun thing, but became reacquainted with Sister GeorgeEllen. Through a bizarre series of events, she moved to Hawaii on the very day that I moved away from the Aloha State, but she's now up in Wisconsin on home visit, staying in a convent only 25 miles from my house. So today we arranged to meet up after so many years. As long as I was heading in that direction, Angel #2 asked that I drop her off at the tattoo parlor, her boyfriend was getting a tattoo and she wanted to be there for moral support. We had a little problem finding the place, and I really question the wisdom of getting permanent body art done at a place called Stinky's Tattoo Parlor, but hey, it's not my back getting inked. Eventually, we found it, but I was late getting to the convent, which necessitated me making the statement above.

I got a full on tour of the convent, I'd never been to one before and have only been to a Catholic church for a handful of weddings and funerals, so it was an interesting experience. The convent itself is almost 200 years old and looks like a big old castle with gorgeous wood carvings inside. I got to see the kitchens, infirmary, library, etc and met both the former and present Mother Superiors. Very interesting. After the convent tour, we went to a public garden right on the shore of Lake Michigan and afterwards, went out to eat. Of course, the obvious place to go to eat with a 70 year old nun is Taco Bell, where we pigged out on burritos and gorditas. During the entire 5 hour visit, we talked constantly and had a wonderful time. We've decided that we're going to get together again next year when she's back on home visit.

In farming news, we had another weird egg today. This one didn't have a shell, the inside egg goo was just floating around inside the membrane. It was all floppy like a water balloon and looked utterly disgusting. It went directly into the compost pile. Life with chickens just leads from one adventure to another.

Monday, July 4, 2011

Happy Independence Day!

Summer is finally here and it's gorgeous! Warm and sunny during the day and a nice cool breeze at night. Wisconsin summers make up for the horrible winters. The mosquitoes seem to be enjoying it also. Last night, I was in the kitchen and when things got quiet (which occasionally happens around here) I could hear them all buzzing and whining at the screen. Made me pretty darn grateful for the little bit of mesh between me and the great outdoors.

I dropped hubs off at the airport this morning. He's got to do his part to keep the residents of the state of Hawaii cool and dry. Funny thing though, he wasn't nearly as eager to go this time as he was back in January. Amazing the difference an 80 degree temperature change can make. Before he left, he had a list of things I needed him to do. He busted his butt and got the whole list done, which is pretty awesome since I had no intention of spending the next 10 days of him gone with no stove or washing machine. Not only did he get those much needed appliances hooked up, but he also rehung most of my upper kitchen cabinets which, up til now, had been sitting on the dining room floor. They're now up where they belong and full of food and dishes. I still don't have everything unpacked, but I made a pretty good dent. We moved the kitchen table into the dining room now. It had been in the kitchen, which made sitting at the table kind of a challenge. With this being an old, old house, the floor in the kitchen are a bit sloped. By 'a bit' I mean a LOT. Our kitchen chairs have wheels and we all got a chuckle that first night when WE sat down at the table and the chair rolled to the opposite side of the room. I suggested we just drill a hole in the northeast corner of the room and when it's time to wash the floor, I just hose it down and let all the water run out the hole. I think it would work and would sure cut down on my housekeeping time.

With hubs in Hawaii, Angel #1 in California and Angel #4 in Virginia, my family is a bit spread out at the moment. Angel #2 spent the weekend with her boyfriends family at a reunion, so it's just been WE and me today. He's got his bedroom all done to his specifications, one of the chores on hubs list last night was putting up WE's bedroom door. He's got his computer set up there now and he spent most of the day holed up there. I thought I'd give him the day off since he's been working his butt off this last week. He spent 3 long days helping hubs on a furnace job on a new house a couple hours drive from here, then worked like a trooper helping with the move and all the construction that went with it. I figured the poor kid needed a break. But tomorrow, I'm cracking the whip again and sending him and Angel #2 out to weed the garden. As much as I like doing it, the garden is much too big for me to handle on my own, especially since we don't have a tiller. Before you know it, we're going to start doing some harvesting, then we'll have a whole new brand of work to look forward to. Summer just isn't long enough for all the stuff that needs doing.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Sometimes, it's not always the ghost's fault

Since moving in, Angel #2 and I have been blaming mysterious noises, everything that goes wrong or gets lost on 'the ghost'. We haven't had any evidence of a ghost, but it's much easier to blame an invisible being than to accept the fact that we keep loosing things. Last night, we heard a loud bang upstairs, like something fell over. We went up to see what the noise was and didn't see anything, granted, we didn't look too hard. We figured that with all the junk we have piled up, we wouldn't notice if something fell over anyway, it got blamed on 'the ghost'. Until hubby came home and headed up to our bedroom, then called down for me to grab a broom and garbage can. Turns out the noise we heard couldn't be attributed to kin of Casper after all, but a chunk of our ceiling fell onto our bed. I'm really really glad it chose early evening to fall, since waking up to 50 pounds of plaster falling on me doesn't sound like much fun. I know it wasn't fun cleaning it up off the bed. We're still placing the blame for the lost fingernail clippers onto the ghost though.

Jeanie, you can come on over for chicken any time.

Friday, July 1, 2011

I need a maid

Well, we're out of the old house and into the new. Of course, now the work is just beginning. Since we're in the process of remodeling the new house, there isn't really places to put all our stuff, so it's just sitting around in bags and boxes all over the place with little trails for walking. I feel like I live in one of those houses on the Hoarders show. I've got the living room mostly cleared out so we've got one room that we can relax in, otherwise, things are pretty chaotic. But, it's home, so it's all good. Now that we're onsite, maybe I can manage to spend a little time cleaning up the garden as well, but I'm taking a small break this morning. Yesterday, Angel #2 and I cleaned and scrubbed the old house for 5 hours straight. I like to make a point of making sure that a house is as clean or cleaner when we leave than how it was when we moved in. Some people appreciate that, other landlords still charge a cleaning fee, just to get every stinking penny out of your security deposit that they can. I've dealt with both, most of the time you see a security scammer ahead of time, but I optimistically clean anyway in hopes that I'm wrong. I'm usually not though, which really sucks. I don't foresee any problem with the place we're leaving now though, we've always had a great relationship with the landlords. I just want to make sure they get a clean house back.

In farming news, hubs caught a cannibal chicken red-handed, or yellow beaked, as the case may be. She ate 5 eggs right in front of him. She's since been put in solitary confinement and is sentenced for execution tomorrow. Once an egg eater, always an egg eater, so now we're going to be chicken eaters. It's a tough life out there.

Monday, June 27, 2011

you know you must be busy when

you had no idea it had been over a week since blogging. But man, things are just buzzing around here like a moth in a bug light.

On the 21st, Angel #1 headed back to life with the Marines. He's in California again for the time being. He let us know a couple days ago that he's being deployed in December. I'm not too thrilled about my baby going to Afghanistan, but he's excited about it, besides, going to dangerous places are what you do when you're a Marine. Worrying about your baby is what you do when you're a Marine's mom.

Rent-a-Grandmas son's wedding reception was on Saturday. It was a beautiful day and a wonderful time. Since we don't get to her area much anymore, it was great seeing some friends that we hadn't talked to in a while. It was also nice to see the whole Rent-a-Grandma extended family. Through the years, we've gotten to know her sister and her family as well as her sister-in-law and her family. Everyone's kids have grown so much over the years. Angel #4 made friends with one of the nephews daughters, which was pretty cool, especially since, through a series of events, Angel #4 is spending the night at the girls house in the south side of Chicago tonight. #4 was invited by the bride and groom to go back to Virginia with them for a while this summer, so they headed out this afternoon. We're not quite sure when she's coming back. They're driving out there, but she's going to have to fly home at the end of the visit. The deal is that she's going to earn the money to pay for her flight while she's out there. One of the ways is by helping the bride, who's from Thailand, on her English. She and #4 really hit it off last time they were together and so #4 is really looking forward to spending more time with her.

Because of her spur of the moment trip decision, she needed to do some speedy work at home before she left. We've moving out of our house on Thursday, so she needed to get everything in her room packed up and ready to move out before she could go. She managed to get it all done, with a little help from me. Now, if only I could find the magical moving fairy who would come overnight and pack all the rest of our stuff up for me, I'd be one happy camper. There just aren't enough hours in the day for all the stuff that needs doing. Today, I painted a couple bedroom floors at the new place, brought two loads of stuff over and spent about an hour working in the garden, which is being sadly neglected due to the gazillion other things that are more pressing than weedfree onions. Since we're remodeling the new house, I don't really have places to put our stuff when we move it over there, so we've just been piling things up in the grainery, but sooner or later (hopefully sooner) hubs will get my kitchen cabinets off the dining room floor and back on the wall so I can at least unpack my kitchen things.

Sigh, I need a couple clones.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

so, what came first, the egg or the egg?

Breakfast was interesting yesterday. Our chickens lay some huge eggs, so big sometimes that we can't close the egg cartons all the way. Yesterdays egg was particularly large, with a bizarre rippled pattern to the shell. The shell was also pretty fragile and cracked a bit when I was washing it, so it was first in line to become breakfast. I cracked it and put it into the egg poacher and saw, what looked like a double yolker, which I've had before, but then noticed that the color of the yolk wasn't yolk colored. Upon closer inspection, it wasn't another yolk, but another egg. Yep, there was a little egg, complete with hard shell, inside the first egg. It was about the size of one of those bigger shooter marbles. When I cracked the little egg, which had a really hard shell, incidentally, it had a little tiny yolk and everything inside it. How weird is that?

After breakfast, we loaded the family up in the car and roadtripped it out to some friends of our who live a 3 hour drive away. Angel #4 had spent the week with them helping out with their kids, so we needed to pick her up. We had a great afternoon with them, then decided to visit some other friends who live near them. They just bought a new house and we wanted to go check it out. We got the tour of the house, the yard and gardens and ended up staying and visiting with them until 8:30 or so before heading back on the long drive home. Our car doesn't comfortably carry 6 people, but we all squeezed in and had a great time on the way home. Traveling with the family is a great way to have good conversations with your kids, you just have to resist the urge to turn on the radio. It was a great trip and I'm so glad I had that extra time to spend with all my kids. With Angel #1 going back to the Marines on Monday and Angel #2 working her way toward her own apartment and independence, times like that are going to become more and more rare.

When we got home, we discovered that we had extra passengers in the car we weren't aware of. Our friends yard was full of ticks, and now, so were we. I pulled 3 off of myself, 4 off Angel #2, #4 had one in her neck and I'm not sure how many hubs pulled off himself, at least 5 or 6. We were all paranoid after that, and soon all the kids were stripped down to their undies so I could do a full body tick scan on them. Of course, this had to be done in the kitchen so I could pop all the nasty culprits down the garbage disposal when I found them. Someone peeking in our window around 11:30 last night, would have definitely been wondering why there was an entire family standing in the middle of the kitchen in their underwear picking at each other like a family of orangutans.

Today is warm and slightly overcast, perfect for working out in the garden. I went out by myself for about 2 hours this afternoon and really enjoyed messing around out there. I replanted a few things that didn't come up and found deer tracks all over the place. Hubs was going to put up some fencing, now it's going to have to be sooner rather than later since I'm not spending all that time sweating out there to provide a Bambi salad bar.

Monday, June 13, 2011

so, which is better?

I looked at the extended weather forecast for this week. Tomorrow it's supposed to be a high of 70, partly sunny and nice (the exact words). Wednesday it's going to be a high of 70, partly sunny and pleasant. So, which one is the better day, partly sunny and nice or partly sunny and pleasant? And, what's the difference? What makes Tuesday less pleasant than Wednesday? Curious minds want to know.

We had a great time at Angel #2's graduation party on Saturday. I'm not sure how many people were here, I'm guessing around 40. The original plan was that we were going to set up folding tables in the garage for eating, but it was pretty stinking cold, so the set up was moved inside. Thankfully, we live in a house that can easily accommodate 40 random people wandering around, even a bunch of teenagers having way too much fun popping balloons and playing a very boisterous game of spoons in the basement. Our very good friends from Hawaii showed up early in the afternoon. They were our closest friends when we were living in Hawaii and moved to Colorado a few months before we moved back to Wisconsin. They were on a working vacation in the Midwest and made a detour through Wisconsin so they could spend some time with us and it worked out perfectly that it fell on the same weekend as the graduation party. What a great weekend.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

well, we had summer, now it's over

We had a couple days of 90 degree hot miserable weather, but overnight our temps dropped and this morning it was 51 degrees outside. I guess we had our summer and it's on to fall again. We had a bigger temperature span in 12 hours in Wisconsin then we ever had in the 5 years we lived in Hawaii. We had a monster thunder storm last night, which created the break in the heat. The wind was blowing and there's trees down all over the place. Lots of rain and a creepily orange sky made it look like an apocalypse storm or something. Thankfully, no tornadoes that I heard of.

We're more than happy to have a break in the heat. The whole family has been working together to tame the weeds trying to take over the garden. The heat and humidity mixed in with the dusty, dry soil made us look and feel pretty nasty. The girls and I had a little break on Tuesday and after working in the garden all morning, showered up and headed to the local library to set up for the booksale they're having this weekend. It was still hard work, 3 straight hours of hauling and piling books on tables, but it was in the air conditioned basement of the library, so at least we got a chance to cool off. Then, to celebrate getting it finished, we headed to McDonalds for nice, cold frappes. After we got home, we had to unload all the books we bought at the sale. That's one of the perks of helping set up for the book sale, we get first dibs on all the books. Yay for books. I think we're going to help take things down next week, so I'll pick through the books that didn't sell and dig through those. You just can't have enough books.

Today, the girls and I went shopping to get the food for Angel #2's graduation party. She wants a costume/fancy dress party, so not only do I have to make the food, but I've got to get dressed up too. I'm not sure what I'm going to wear yet, I don't have a whole lot of costume stuff sitting around in the closet. I'm sure I'll think of something, I usually do.

Monday, June 6, 2011

we finally meet

Yesterday, we went to a friend's daughter's graduation party. I've known this friend for about 18 years. We met when our two oldest sons were babies. We didn't see each other often, about once or twice yearly at church functions, we spent a lot of time together in the nursery since we each had babies number two and three around the same time as well. Until our recent move back to Wisconsin, where we now see her every Sunday morning and Wednesday night at church. Anyway, after knowing Julie for all this time, I've never met her husband, though she would talk about him frequently. Last night, after all those years of hearing about him, I finally met him. Now I can finally put a face to the name. He seems like a really nice guy and we had a great time over at their house. Next weekend, I think they're headed over to our house for OUR daughter's graduation party. What a busy time of year.

Angel #1 gave WE a Marine jarhead haircut Saturday night. When their hair is cut short, the boys have almost the same color, so now, when I can only see the back of one of the boys heads, I have a hard time telling them apart. Once I see the rest of them though, it's obvious who's who. Angel #1 definitely has turned into a man with huge, broad shoulders while WE is still in the middle of the whole boy to man transition, though WE is now taller than his big brother. He's got to take his glories where he can though, because even though he passed him by heightwise, #1 can still out run, out wrestle and out maneuver his little brother. Some day WE will equal or surpass #1 physically, but at the moment, he's still the dorky little brother.

Friday, June 3, 2011

finally silence

Angel #1 got home around 1am this morning and the first thing he did was attack his sleeping brother. Fortunately, they settled down and didn't get all wound up again until morning when they started arguing around 8am about who could do the most push-ups.

Angel #2's boyfriend has been spending the last couple nights sleeping on our sofa due to the fact that his mother is psychotic and he's working is way over to live with his grandmother. I think that besides his mother screaming obscenities, his house is usually fairly quiet, with everyone preferring to watch tv rather than talk to each other. He's having a bit of a culture shock being with our family 24/7, because it's really noisy and active at our house. I'm willing to guess that this is probably the first time in his life that he was woke up by a 15 year old boy galloping around the house like a horse while carrying his Marine Corps brother around on his back. This kind of goofing around went on pretty much all day and I was more than happy to have hubs take the boys out to the new house to get some work done. Now all the kids, including #2's boyfriend, have loaded up in the car to go to a friends house for a bonfire. For the first time since school let out for the summer yesterday afternoon, my house is peaceful and quiet. *sigh*

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Thanks all, for the congratulations on the new house and on #2's graduation. So many changes in such a short time. The story of my life. Hubs is on his way to pick up Angel #1 at the airport. He graduated from combat engineer school today. Angel #4 and WE had their last day of school today and are already to goof off their way through summer. They'll have a rude awakening when we put them to work at the new house. We've already got them hauling out remodel garbage and weeding the garden. Now that we'll have them available 24/7...bwa-ha-ha They'll be our SLAVES!!! We gave our 30-day notice for the house we're living in now, so we've got a deadline to get the place livable. It wouldn't be so bad if hubs hadn't gotten carried away knocking out walls. Though it was necessary for some of them to go if we wanted the bathroom in, it just seems like walls were disappearing on a regular basis. Today it was the original bathrooms ceiling that got knocked out. It had to go so we can extend the plumbing to the new upstairs bathroom. Oh, so much work, but it'll be worth it.

Since it's such an old, beat up house, I'm going to have fun and go a little wild with the paint. I've got a plan for the kitchen and have searched the internet in vain for a kitchen with the color scheme I'm envisioning. I think that either means I'm ahead of my time or a crackpot. But, people made fun of my kitchen ideas when we built our house awhile ago, but once they saw the finished project, I got tons of compliments. Hopefully the same will happen this time as well. My first paint job will be the floors though. All through the upstairs, the living room and laundry room are all hardwood floors that have over a 100 years worth of coats of paint on them. I'm planning on adding one more coat to the collection. I'm also going to see how many layers of wallpaper I can get off the kitchen. My record is 5, which I peeled off the kitchen wall of the very first dilapidated farmhouse hubs and I lived in when we first got married. Now, 20 years later, we've come a full circle and are once again going to live in a dilapidated farmhouse. I've got a soft spot in my house for dilapidated farm houses, apparently.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Well, this wasn't the plan, but it'll work

Guess what? We bought a house! We've been working on the deal for a couple weeks now, but I didn't want to say something until the papers were all signed. I didn't want to jinx the deal. We weren't looking to buy a house and didn't really even want to buy a house, but we passed this place that had a For Sale sign in the front of it. We called the number on the sign, looking to see if they're rent it to us if it didn't sell. The owner offered us such a deal if we bought it that we just didn't see a reason to not go ahead and sign on the dotted line. It's an old farmhouse with 5 outbuildings. We've already got a chicken coop built and full of happy clucking chickens who are giving us almost a dozen eggs a day already. We're going to fence in some pasture for more critters, because you know my family, it's just not complete without a herd of animals wandering around. We put the garden in almost 2 weeks ago already, a couple days after we put the offer in on the house, actually. We wanted the garden in as soon as possible and decided it was worth the risk of the house deal falling through to make sure it was all planted and growing before it was too late.

Now, the coolest thing. The house is really old. It only has one bathroom, so we want to get a 2nd one in before we even move in, especially since all the bedrooms are upstairs and the bathroom is on the first floor off the kitchen. So hubs is knocking away lathe and plaster, we've hauled over a ton of it to the dump already, and he starts chipping away at an outside wall to see how much insulation there was in it. Once he gets a small hole in the wall, he's trying to figure out why there's no insulation and a wall beam stuck in a weird position, then he realizes what it was. Our house was a log cabin! How cool is that? He knocked out the rest of the lathe and plaster on that wall and found great big old square cut logs with chinking in between, right out of Little House on the Prairie. I found an old newspaper stuck in the wall, it didn't have a date on it, but there was an advertisement for books in it and all the books were published in the 1880's, so that's probably a pretty good guess. We're planning on moving in around July 1st, so we've got a busy month ahead of us. Angel #1 is coming home on leave for about a week and a half, so we'll have another grunt to help with the heavy work. I can't wait to get in.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Half my kids are now out of school

I was incredibly proud to see my beautiful oldest daughter receive her diploma last night. I was also relieved to see that she didn't fall off her ridiculously high heels while doing it. The graduation ceremony was very nice and much much shorter than Angel #1's was last year where they had both the principal and valedictorian give horrendously long boring speeches. Plus, #2's class had 51 kids graduating, while #1's graduating class had over 300. My, how things change in a year's time. They announced scholarship winners and there were a few kids who really cleaned up. Each time one walked on stage to get their scholarship certificate, I could hear their parent's checkbook sighing in relief. Since #2's decided to not do college, my checkbook is safe for the time being.

Rent-a-Grandma and Hubby's dad and older sister came for the graduation. I hadn't seen hubs sister since before we moved to Hawaii. She lives in Manhattan and makes it to Wisconsin about once a year, but never at the same time as my once a year trip to Wisconsin, so it was nice to see her. We didn't have a whole lot of time to visit, but it was nice to see her nonetheless. I think she's looking better than ever and I'm wondering what her stay young looking secret is. I suspect it has something to do with never having any kids. :p