Monday, January 31, 2011

Semper Fi and stuff

Well, I've finally got some time to sit down and report in. Let me tell you, life's amazing. Three months ago, I shipped out a well-behaved, but fairly lazy teenager. This weekend, I brought home a young man who's heavy into yessirs, no ma'ams, and thank you, sirs. He also shoveled the driveway, emptied the dishwasher and carries groceries, all without being asked. I think I'm going to send my other 3 kids to basic training next month!

We had a wonderful time in San Diego. On Wednesday, we went to Balboa Park. If you ever get to San Diego, I highly recommend going here. It's got some beautiful gardens and architecture and a whole bunch of museums. Hubs and WE went to the air and space museum while my FIL and I went to the Museum of Man and learned how they shrink heads (it's pretty cool) and make mummies. We did supper on the pier and watched the sun go down on the Pacific, something I haven't seen since moving from Hawaii.

Thursday we met up with a couple of Angel #1's friends who also came to the graduation. We all got a crash course in following orders and getting yelled at by drill instructors, as well as learning what the guys did during basic. We got to watch our soldiers both start out, then finish a 4 mile motivational run, though I'm not sure what's motivational about running 4 miles. Though we could see them, they weren't allowed to even so much as look at us. After there run, they got cleaned up, then showed off their marching skills before being dismissed for the first liberty they'd received since they left home October 31st. Once they got the dismissal, we all swarmed down on our Marines and did a whole lotta hugging. People warned me that I wouldn't recognize #1 because Basic changes their looks so much, but, besides the fact that the guys all wore the same clothes and had the same 'high and tight' haircuts, I picked him out fairly easily...except the glasses threw me off a bit. Let me tell you, they don't call military issue glasses 'birth control glasses' for nothing. I think they did a study to find the more horrendously ugly eye glasses possible, then made the uglier, then stuck them on my son's face. Whenever we took a picture of him, he made sure to take his glasses off first. We only had about 5 hours with him and he wasn't allowed to leave the base, so he just showed us around and we took him out to eat at a buffet they have on the base. The funniest thing about the whole day was how much #1 talked. He's normally a VERY quiet, taciturn kind of guy, but wow, he sure was a chatterbox on Thursday. He had so much to tell us and just talked and talked. We were all laughing about it by the end of the afternoon.

Friday was the big day - graduation. I did pretty good about not crying, but I have to admit, my eyes were pretty watery when I watched those young men come marching out in such perfect order, knowing that just 3 months ago they were a bunch of ragtag kids. The ceremony was all very precise and orderly and the only flaw was one of the guys in #1's platoon passed out twice. Afterwards, #1 told us that that guy was one of the platoon slackers and whiners and no one was surprised that he messed up. He also said the drill instructor was so mad he was cussing the guy out under his breath during the rest of the ceremony. I was just happy when they were dismissed and the most difficult and challenging 3 months of my sons life was over with. He later said that it wasn't that bad once he got used to it. I thought maybe hearing all that you went through to be a Marine would change WE's plans for after high school, but now he wants to be a Marine more than ever. So I'll be going through all this again in another 4 years from the looks of it.

Anyway, now I'm home and doing tons of laundry. Not only do I have the catch-up laundry from being out of town for most of the week, but I have 2 sea bags worth of Marine clothes to wash. I've sorted them into different patters of camo, except for one set that gets a load all its own. #1 said he wore them for The Crucible, which is this huge endurance thing that's spread out over 3-4 days. I'm not sure exactly what they all do, but from the looks of it, at some point they all got up close and personal with a mud puddle. Those clothes could almost walk themselves to the washing machine.

It sure is great having all 4 of my babies home together again, even if it's only for 1 1/2 weeks.

Monday, January 24, 2011

Am I allowed to say I'm sick to death of the Packers?

Packer fans are rabid under the most common conditions, put those boys in the Superbowl and it's gonna be nuts around here. I've got to say, I'm happy to be heading out of here tomorrow for a while, that many fewer days I have to hear about the mighty green and gold. I'm thinking it won't be that much of an issue in San Diego.

Talk about San Diego, we're getting ready to head out tomorrow. I can't wait to see Angel #1, though that won't be until Thursday. Wednesday, we're going to Balboa Park and check out a museum or two. I'm just looking forward to warm weather. Angel #4 looked at the thermometer this morning and was excited that it was warming up was 17 degrees. Oh, how far we've fallen from the Hawaiian mentality! It doesn't take long for winter to beat you down and force you to lower your expectations of what constitutes a 'nice' day.

I think I became a fail mom in two different venues this weekend. First, I was at Angel #4's basketball game. One of the little girls playing had spent the night at our house the night before. Apparently, she wasn't really on her game and afterwards, her mother started yelling at her for how badly she played. She was told that she can no longer have sleepovers the night before a game since it affects her performance the next day. See, this is where I fail. I don't really care how my kid plays in a game. Sure, I'd love for her to play well, but I really don't have that much ambition or effort invested in sports to really, deep down, care. I was under the impression that games were supposed to be fun and there shouldn't be consequences for your kid when they don't perform according to your expectations, especially when they're only TWELVE years old. I'm totally NOT a sports mom.

My second mom failure shows that I'm also not a tiara mom. Angel #2 told me that she and her boyfriend have a really good chance at being on their schools Snow Ball Court. I think at this point, as a mother, I was supposed to get teary-eyed and start discussing hair styles and new dresses, instead, I burst into laughter. Then, when I asked if she might have to wear a crown and she said yes, the laughter ratcheted up until I almost wet my pants. #2 and her boyfriend are really, really not your typical Snow Ball Court material. The only reason #2 signed up was an impulse, and I think she thought it would be funny. She didn't tell her boyfriend she signed up until afterwards and thought she'd really have to work to talk him into it. Fortunately for her, he's an easy going guy and went along with it. But the thought of the two of them on the court is pretty hilarious...for the record, she thinks it is too and was laughing right along side me. It'll be interesting to see if they make it on the court, the image of all the blonde, blue eyed kids up there with my emo kid and her multi-pierced boyfriend is pretty darn funny. I'm totally NOT a tiara mom.

I'll be computerless while in San Diego, so I'll give you an update, and probably some pictures, when I get back next weekend.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

it's cold

It's cold today and going to be even colder tomorrow. I think tomorrow's high temp is 4. Yeah, just '4'. Of course, the wind chill is supposed to be -30, which adds a few new numbers in the mix, but I'm not a big fan of temperature numbers that have a minus sign in front of them. I think I'll just stay in the house.

Angel #2 had a chance to use her Spanish speaking skills yesterday at work. She's always trying to learn new Spanish phrases. When a customer came in and said "no speak English", her mind when blank and the only word she could remember was 'si'. Ironically, she starting Spanish class in school today. She's now on a mission to learn how to say all the pizza toppings in Spanish so she'll be ready next time Francisco gets the munchies. She was also pretty upset about something else. She takes great pride in her work and, in her words, tries to make 'pretty pizzas'. Yesterday, a customer came in during the day before she was at work and claimed he'd gotten a burned pizza the night before and wanted his money back. The Angel's boss called her and asked her about it (this guy had done the same thing a month earlier). Not only did the Angel remember who all her customers had been the night before (and this guy wasn't one of them), when she found out he was black, she knew for sure. Seriously? When you're trying to pull a scam, claiming you were someplace the night before, depending on people not remembering if you were there or not, you should probably NOT be a black guy in a place where there are NO BLACK PEOPLE! Yeah, we've got an Asian family and a few Mexicans (Francisco, the non-English speaker for example), but there just aren't any black people here, so if one shows up, people are going to remember. The same thing happened with another guy a few weeks ago, the Angel said, this guy had a bunch of face piercings. The Angel said she's seen one lip ring the entire time she's lived in this town, someone's going to notice if you've got a pin cushion for a face. Some people are so stupid.

One of our local radio stations, in honor of the Packers/Bears game, is playing the song The Bears Still Suck Polka every hour, round the clock, for an entire week. I barely ever listen to the radio, but I'm still amazed at how often I still end up hearing that song. It was playing when my clock radio alarm went off this morning, I think I'm going to change to a buzz alarm. I'm in no way a Packers fan, I'm not a football fan at all anymore, though I don't mind watching a game if it's in front of me. Packermania is more than a tad bit annoying, imo. Besides, let me in on one of my dirty secrets...after 25 years, I'm still just a leeeetle bit in love with Jim McMahon. And, I can tell you, that, 25 years ago, our local Green Bay radio stations NEVER played The Superbowl Shuffle. So, when is this stupid game going to be over?

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Well, we tried

So, hubs didn't get to Washington DC yesterday like we'd planned. Instead, he flight was cancelled due to the 3-4 inches of snow we got throughout the day. He rebooked and I dropped him off this morning and he's now in the air on the way east. They let the kids out from school a little early, only 10 minutes. I guess they figured the buses were already there and the sooner they get the kids on them, the sooner they'll get them home. Anyway, everyone was home, safe and sound last night, which is just the way I like it. I just hope we don't have to deal with weather next week when we're going to and from San Diego.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

busy weekend

All kinds of things keeping us busy this weekend. For the first time, hubs was home to watch Angel #4's basketball game. Once again they won, making them undefeated by a wide margin. Saturday morning, Angel #2 went to a nearby town for an all day rehearsal of the the regional high school honors band. It was pretty cool, they gathered a bunch of the best band kids from each of the schools in our conference, gave them music to practice ahead of time, then brought them together for practice on Saturday. We were all invited to the concert they held at the end of the day. Those kids were so good, I literally got tears in my eyes. After only 6 hours of practice, they sounded downright professional.

Today was Angel #2's 17th birthday. I made her favorite, angel food cake. Her boyfriend came over and took her shopping for the occasion. That was about it, we didn't do anything too exciting.

#2 got a smart phone last week when we all got our new phones. WE, Angel #4 and I all just got regular phones - if they're not considered smart phones, would that make them dumb phones? Anyway, she's now developed an app addiction and is constantly downloading different apps. It got so bad that the other day, her pencil broke and, without thinking, looked to see if there was a pencil sharpener app. She downloaded a DDR app, but since you can't actually dance on your phone, you do it with your fingers. To make it more interesting, she and Angel #4 did the dance steps anyway, just jumped around on the floor while trying to focus on that little screen on her phone. Did you know they made a remake of The Witchdoctor? I figure why even bother to top The Chipmunks. But, someone always thinks they can improve something.

Hubs is headed out to Washington DC again tomorrow for a few days. He'll get home Saturday, just enough time for me to get his laundry done and we'll be out the door early Tuesday morning for San Diego. He added up his days away from home last year and discovered that he was gone over 90 days. If he keeps this up, I'm going to forget what he looks like.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Fire!...or maybe not

Wednesday night, we were on our way home from Bible study. About 3 miles from home, we passed a fire truck going the opposite way, its lights off. About 30 seconds after that, Angel #2 announced that she got a text from a friend who lives near us, wondering about all the fire trucks on our road and is it our house? *gulp* Then Angel #4 got a text from a friend whose dad is on the fire department and he heard there was a fire reported on our road, was it us? *double gulp* Needless to say, we all were holding our breath as we got closer to home and you could hear an audible sigh of relief when we saw our house sitting there, dark and quiet, just as we left it. But, we could smell smoke strongly, so the fire must have been nearby, but by the time we got home, all the fire trucks apparently had left, so we don't know whose house it was or what happened. I was just happy to see our house still standing. But, I wasn't happy to see that we'd missed a phone call. Angel #1 had called while we were gone to go over our plans for his graduation and his flight home. It was so disappointing that after missing him so much that day, we ended up missing the first phone call we've had from him since the beginning of November.

Tomorrow hubby is finally going to be in town to see one of Angel #4's basket ball games. He's been gone so much lately that he hasn't been around for a single one yet. After the game, we're going to Angel #2's band concert. She was chosen to participate in the regional honors band program for seniors, so she'll be there working with other kids from other schools all day, then in late afternoon, they're going to have a concert for the parents. It'll be interesting to see what they can accomplish in one day.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It's already started

Hubs sent me a link to a page talking about Marine graduation - what to expect, what to wear, what you should do while you're there, that sort of thing. Well, at one point, it tells you to not, repeat, NOT bring kleenex to the graduation, take a whole roll of Bounty paper towels - per person, to mop up your tears. Just reading that, along with the other stuff on the page made me cry already, I'm going to be a basket case by the time the actual graduation happens. Along with hubs, me, WE and my FIL, 4 of Angel #1's friends are going to go to the graduation, though I'm not sure if he knows about the friends coming or if they want it to be a surprise. Either way, he's going to be so excited to see them. We've also got a friend in San Diego who's going to meet up with us while were there and we'll have a big junk food party for him at the hotel the night he graduates. I'm getting so excited to see him. It was bad enough this summer when I hadn't seen him in 2 months, but at least then I could talk to him. Now it'll be 3 months with limited contact and I know that he's been working his butt off and is homesick. WAAH! I want my baby!

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Why can't you people just be normal?

Our best family together time is our almost nightly Bible studies. Sometimes, we spend more time discussing non-Bible things, but it's just a really nice time to sit and talk about things. Last night, for example, we started talking about pizza, but I thought WE said feetza. That sounded like a Jeffry Dahmer pizza, which led us to discussing what would be on a Jeffry Dahmer 5 feet pizza (instead of Canadian bacon, it would just be Canadians, etc). We've decided that we don't think we're a normal family, I suspect most people would agree. But, our family Bible studies sure are interesting.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Happy New Year and my 5 seconds of fame

First off, I hope everyone made it safely into 2011 and is ready to take this year by the horns and show it who's boss. I spent the first day of the new year in an unusual least unusual for me. I ended up at the mall. I really hate shopping and the mall is a place of evil, as far as I'm concerned, but, Angel #4 spent New Years Eve with some friends who live about 45 minutes away and since they were headed to the mall, I thought I'd save myself an extra half hour on the road and pick her up there. Instead of saving time, however, I was sucked into the mall and left shortly before it closed for the evening. All I bought was a pretzel though, so I didn't blow a lot of money.

Also, for someone who hates shopping as much as me, I find it incredibly odd that my shopping habits showed up on the tv news. Wednesday, the girls and I headed into town to do some shopping, it was my kind of shopping, we hit the thrift stores. First off, we headed to the huge St Vincent DePaul store and I was shocked at how busy it was. I had to circle the lot twice before I found a place to park. While we were there, Angel #2 said she saw a television news crew in the store. I didn't think much of it until a couple days later. We got new cell phones and I went on the tv stations web site so I could sign up to get a text message from them if the schools were closed or delayed because of weather. While I was on the site, I saw a headline about St. Vinnies and, remembering what #2 said about the camera, I clicked on the video link. There I am, about one minute into the report, cruising my cart through housewares. I think it's hilarious that someone who avoids shopping as much as I do still managed to show the television world that I'm a sucker for a cheap coffee mug.