Monday, April 30, 2012

I'm pleased to say that the baby chickens are doing great out in the barn, despite the fact the the first night they were out there, the temps dropped to the lowest they'd gone in a month.  Even the little guy with the gimpy leg seems to be getting around better now that there's more room.  And, of course, there's the whole, 'no chickens in my house thing' which is obviously wonderful.  

But, my big chickens have betrayed me.  They've been getting out of their pen and they dug up the asparagus that I planted last weekend.  I spent a couple of fun-filled afternoons tacking a row of chicken wire to the original (obvious) non-chicken proof fence we already had up and I think they're contained now.  I saw a hawk flying around the coop a couple days ago, looking like a Chevy trying to use the drive-thru at McDonalds.  I yelled at it and shook my fist.  I hope that'll discourage it from thinking it can make my hens into a 5 pack McNugget combo meal.

Busy week on the sports front this week.  Between WE and Angel #4, there are 4 track meets this week.  Fortunately, we're only expected to go to 2 of them, tonight for #4 and Thursday for WE.  I hope the weather is decent, it's not a whole lot of fun sitting on a cold metal bench, freezing your butt off for 3 hours so you can watch your kid run a 57 second race then jump into a sand pit 3 times.  WE runs the 4X4 relay, which is always the very last race run during a meet, which means we always have to stay til the bitter end.  But, on the bright side, at least it's a non-contact sport and no one is trying to take my kid out with a discus or anything.  WE's worst track injuries have occurred while goofing off in the locker room after practice.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Attacked by swim trunks. Has my life come to this???

The act of innocently shaking the wrinkles out of a pair of swim trunks before folding them became vicious today.  The little islet on the end of the drawstring snapped back and hit me just below, then just above my eye.  It doesn't look like it left a mark, but dang, it hurt.  I hope there's no bruising or swelling, because I would hate to have to explain to people that I hurt myself folding laundry.

Through an impressive display of teamwork, hubs and I got the chickens set up in the barn today.  The baby chicks had been hanging out in an old air conditioner box in our attic room for long enough, they're getting too big and noisy.  We didn't really have a place set up in the barn for them yet.  We've got the chicken pen in the barn, but I don't want the little chickens in with the big ones just yet.  We had a big water tank set up in our haymow.  Back in the day, all the barn's eaves were channeled into it so it would fill up when it rained.  A pipe was set through the bottom, which went through the floor of the mow and through a series of pipes running through the lower part of the basement, giving the running water way back when running water in a barn was a huge luxury.  Well, our barn has a faucet now, so we don't need the big tank up in the mow, but it's the perfect size for a bunch of little chickens to live in for awhile.  So, between the two of us, we got this huge tank unplumbed and carefully lowered over the edge of the haymow and set up in the barn.  I cleaned it out, covered the bottom with hay and we stuck the chicks in there.  They freaked out a bit at first, not only were they not used to the tank after living their lives in a cardboard box, but up til this time, they've only walked on newspapers and paper towels, so the hay was pretty darn exciting to them.  They seemed to be getting braver and wandering around when I was done doing my outside chores, hopefully the heat lamp will keep them warm enough tonight.  I'm just happy to have a chicken-free home once again.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

It's an MGM dream world

I don't know what's going on with my sleep lately, but it's been weird in a CinemaScope sort of way.  I usually don't even remember my dreams, and in best case scenarios, it's just scattered bits.  Well the scattered bits seem to be having a theme.  First off, I dreamed I was in Oz and going down the yellow brick road the wrong way.  I don't know if I was actually headed to Munchkin Land or what, but I would be walking along and see stuff left behind by Dorothy & Co on their trip down the road.  For some reason, the Scarecrow left his shoes behind.  I didn't even know scarecrows wore shoes.  In my other dream, me, along with Bette Davis and Joan Crawford were being chased.  Not the Baby Jane era Joan and Bette, but the full-on glamour girls of the 1940's.  We were being chased by Bela Lugosi and Lon Chaney dressed as Dracula and Frankenstein's Monster - and it wasn't the monsters, it was the actors DRESSED like the monsters, and Bette, Joan and I knew  this.  Of course, this dream was in black and white while the Oz dream was in full Technicolor mode.  I usually don't sleep that weird, maybe they mean something important.  Any dream interpreters out there?

And yeah, I know exactly what you guys mean about helicopters parents.  What sad little lives they live, being so centered around their kids that they don't know how to live a life of their own.  I think the term for being a non-helicopter parent is a Free-Range parent, but I think I may go one step beyond that sometimes.  I prefer to think of myself as a Parachute Parent, I try to strap the needed skills on my kids backs, then shove them out of an airplane and assume they'll parachute to safety and go about their lives.  It may be naive thinking, but it's worked great for me so far.  I know my kids can all get through TSA, fly on an airplane and make any connecting flights all by themselves, all of them across the country, some of them have done it to foreign countries.  That alone is better than a lot of adults out there.  I can't help it, I think my kids are just the coolest kids ever.

The month of the rodent is still in full force.  Today, hubs found a mousy little gift lying next to his shoes in our bedroom today, we suspect it was Fred who gave the gift, he loves hubs.  It's nice that the cats seem to be sharing with their BFF's, and I'm glad that none of them think of me as their BFF.

Monday, April 23, 2012

So, is April National Rodent Week or something?

I didn't tell you about my horrific experience on my birthday, mostly because I forgot. But, further events have made me suspect that there's a conspiracy afoot. On my birthday, of all days, I was going to haul some things upstairs in our granary. The upstairs in our granary is the catch-all place for stuff I have no place for in the house. Random kitchen stuff, jigsaw puzzles, suitcases, etc. So, I walk into the granary and turn to go up the stairs when I rat (yes, a RAT!) came running down the stairs right at me. It literally Ran. Into. My. Leg. Then he bounced off and continued down the steps and ran into a hole in the floor. As you can imagine, there was some screaming going on. I mean, really people, a RAT ran into my leg. I pretty much was freaking out for the rest of the afternoon. Then, Saturday, when we got home from WE's track meet, there was a mouse running around in the bathtub. Fortunately, I didn't see it, but WE did, it ran down the bathtub drain and he ran water until hopefully it drown and is now slowly decomposing in the septic tank. Then Sunday, Angel #2 was putting on her shoe and felt something inside. You guessed it, there was a dead mouse in her shoe. She didn't inherit her mother's fear for rodents, so she just shook it out outside, put on her show and jumped in the van to go to church. And, if all that isn't traumatizing enough, today I let the dog outside, he ran to the side of the barn and started barking like an idiot. I went to see what he was getting all worked up about and there was a squirrel crawling up the side of our barn. He made it all the way to the peak, which is probably about 40ft high and made weird little chirping noises while the dog went bonkers on the ground. Eventually I got the dog in the house, but every time I went outside to do something, he'd run back out there and act like a big dork while the dumb squirrel still clung to the side of the barn. Eventually, it either climbed down or got into the barn, because by mid-afternoon, it disappeared. Weird thing is I've never ever seen a squirrel in our yard, we have no big trees to attract a squirrel or anything. So, why was there a squirrel climbing our barn???

 As I said earlier, WE had a big track meet on Saturday. He had an awesome day and broke a lot of his personal records. He even managed to get 4th place in the long jump, which is pretty good considering there were 6 schools there and 15 long jump participants. He beat his personal best by almost a foot! Tomorrow, Angel #4 has her first meet. It'll be interesting to see how she does.

Friday, April 20, 2012

This is probably why I shouldn't be allowed out in public

Last night was a meeting for parents of music students. The choir and band teachers sent a note saying they were trying to get up a parent group for music students so they had advocates for the music department, much like the group of wrestling parents our school district has. I didn't know if I should go to the meeting or not, I'm not exactly a joiner, besides, I was afraid I was going to end up volunteering for something. But, Angel #4 said they were serving really good cookies, so that tipped the scales. Apparently, the news of the cookies didn't get out there and there were only 3 of us parents there and the three music teachers. One of the moms was the professional cookie maker who brought the awesome cookies, the other was the super-mom.

I think every school has a super-mom. She's the one that chaperones every field trip and school dance, goes to every school event and knows all the teachers on a first name basis. Our current super-mom also feels everyone is entitled to her opinion. At a 7th grade basketball game this winter, she literally went down onto the court during a time-out, broke into the huddle and told the team what they should do. The coach was speechless. Well, last night, super-mom was talking about a choir field trip the kids went on in March. They went to an Irish song and dance concert in a town 40 miles away. She was saying she was shocked that the school didn't require that every student that went on the trip wasn't required to have a parent or guardian with them - uh yeah, because it's much more sensible to have to schedule an extra bus so that parents can supervise the same kids that the teachers manage to control for 8 hours every school day. Obviously, I was NOT on that trip. They didn't even ask for chaparones, so it never even occurred to me to go along. Well, super-mom ponied up the cash for her own ticket so she could ride along on the bus with the rest of the group and felt everyone else should have done the same, she "couldn't comprehend" how parents wouldn't want to go along with their kids. Unable to keep quiet, I said, "then you didn't have enough kids. I had 4 babies in 6 years, any chance I get to get them out of the house, I take. Heck, some days I just drive real slow past the school and shove them out the car door." I guess I don't have a high tolerance level for people I don't really care for. I like or put up with most people, but there are just some people that flip my switches, and she's one of them.

In my defense, I had been out and running around all day and by the time the band meeting rolled around, I was getting peopled out. I planted 6 lilac bushes hubs got for me in the morning, I love lilacs, they're my favorite flower. After that, hubs and I went to an Optimist Club lunch. Hubs is a new member and he wanted me to come to a meeting and see what it's all about. After we got home from the lunch, I had to pick WE up for a Drs appointment. We had to meet a new doctor because his regular one jumped the gun and had her baby yesterday, the day before she was scheduled to go on maternity leave. She's now the proud mother of a baby boy. After we got home from the Dr, I had about an hour before I had to pick Angel #4 up from track practice and on the way home from that, we stopped by the local nursery to buy some plants. The nursery is closed, the Amish family who owned it are moving back to Ohio soon and are just getting rid of the plants they had leftover from last year. I bought 20 asparagus plants, 2 cherry bushes and a grape vine. Now I'm hoping for nice weather so I can get all of them into the ground. I may pick up another couple of cherry bushes, he had a lot of them left yet and man, I really really love cherries (and asparagus too, obviously).

Monday, April 16, 2012

SOLD to the sucker with the auction number in her hand!

Thanks for the birthday wishes everyone. I had a nice quiet day at home, topped off with a chocolate birthday cake the kids got for me.

Saturday was a lot of fun. Angel #2 and I wanted to go to an auction being held in town. It was for an elderly couple cleaning out their house to go into assisted living. Old people usually have good junk and since #2 and I are both into 1950's stuff, we figured it was worth a look-see. It was a beautiful day, which brought out a lot of people looking for an excuse to stand around outside and since it's too early for gardening work, an auction is a perfect outlet. There were actually 2 auctions in town that day, but the other one was for farm equipment, which didn't interested us in the slightest, even though we were in the minority. There were a TON of cars parked at that one. There were quite a few at the one we went to as well. We looked around for a little bit but didn't see anything real exciting that we couldn't live without, so we headed out rummage saleing instead. After a couple rummage sales, we swung by a fundraiser also being held in town (it was a BIG day in our little town). The fundraiser was for a local Amish family whose little girl needs a lot of medical care (she weighed only 2lb2oz at birth, she's now 2 years old). We bid on a few silent auction things, bought a couple brats for lunch and sat out on the grass and ate out lunch. While there we bumped into a lady we were talking to at the fundraiser we'd been at the night before. That one was for our local EMT's and was a fish boil. I'd been looking forward to that one for a long time since fish boils are so incredibly tasty. After lunch, we went back to the original auction to see what kind of progress had been made. The crowd had thinned out enormously, they'd already sold the big ticket item, a 1959 Ford Fairlaine convertible. There were a few interesting things in boxes that I thought might be fun to pick up if the price was right, so I got a number and started paying attention to what was going on. Well, I didn't get any of the things I thought looked interesting, but I ended up buying a box of miscellaneous glass casseroles and cake pans for $1 and a dresser for $4. It was a bit of an adventure getting the dresser into the minivan, but we managed without damaging ourselves, the van or the dresser. We also saw the woman we'd been talking to at the other fundraisers (everyone in town apparently just wandered back and forth from fundraiser to auction the entire day) as well as the Superintendent of our school, who ended up buying a box of wooden shoes at the auction, he claimed that he finally got a pair of shoes that wasn't going to wear out. I told him they probably weren't ideal for sneaking up on misbehaving students at school.

After we were all fundraisered/rummage saled/auctioned out, we picked up WE's dates corsage for prom and headed home. I helped WE iron his shirt and gave him a few prom date tips before he headed out the door for his big night. He was a bit lacking on the romance end of the deal. He didn't ask the girl to prom until Thursday. He'd been planning on just going stag so he'd already made plans with his friends that he had to readjust a bit. His buddy Billy picked him up here and he met up with his prom date at the Co-op. I thought he could have come up with a little better meeting place since prom pictures in front of the gas pumps or the feed bins aren't the most romantic, but he claimed it was the girls idea for the whole group to meet there. I guess your prom meet-up places are pretty limited in a town as small as ours. They then went out to eat, which also made WE a little nervous since the majority of his money went toward getting a new dress shirt for prom and he only had $30 left for the meal. He figured he'd be alright if she didn't order steak or lobster. I think her mom must have given her a pre-date talk, because the girl ordered water and a chicken wrap and WE got out of there for under $20. It sounds like he had a great time, though he got picked on a bit by his buddies. It was bad enough that his date was already taller than him, but her 3 inch heels made him look like an absolute midget. Sad thing is, at 5'9" WE is the tallest in our family. I guess we're a family of munchkins.

Sunday was a special thing for church. People come from all over and gives our kids a chance to meet up with kids they don't normally get to see. A friend of mine who has 4 boys all about the same age as my kids was there. Her boys have changed a bit since they used to play in the tire swing in our backyard with my kids. Angel #2 decided it was time to get reacquainted, especially with the oldest boy, a tall, blonde, good-looking pre-med student. Sadly, she used the Napoleon Dynamite book of pick-up lines when she saw him and said, "I like your tie, it's really clean." It's a wonder she doesn't have guys lined up outside the door with lines like that.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Seriously, does every post really need a title?

Well, you'll be relieved to know I survived the wild weekend and spring break. Now my kids are back in school and back into routine. Angel #4 started track practice yesterday, so now both of my school kids don't get home until around 5pm every day. Makes for a rather quiet day around here, besides the dog, cats & chickens, of course.

Our baby chicks are getting big and feathering out quite nicely. Surprisingly, I didn't have a single casualty among them. Usually, you get at least one weak one that doesn't make it past the first couple days, but they all look strong and healthy. They're still living in the bathroom, they're going upstairs to the attic this evening. But since it's warm in the bathroom during the day, today I decided to unplug their heat lamp and see how they do with just room temperature. It's chillier in the attic, so I'll have to keep the lamp going when they move up there, but they're going to be heading outside in the next couple weeks, so they really need to start hardening off soon. It's amazing how fast having chickens in your bathroom gets old.

Talk about getting old, it's my birthday today!!! I love my birthday, it's like having my own special holiday that no one but me gets to celebrate. We don't have a big deal for birthdays in our family, the kids usually get a cake and, sometime around their birthday, they get a present. WE's already got his b-day present and his birthday isn't until May, but he wanted/needed his new track sweats now. For us parents, it's usually hit or miss if anything at all happens on our birthday, but that's not why I love my birthday anyway. I just love having it be my special day. Of course, it's not mine alone. I know 4 other people personally, who have the same birthday as me, it's like we've got our own special club with a very exclusive membership. And isn't it cool? Every one of you reading this belongs to an exclusive club of your very own. Birthdays are just awesome.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Smelled like teen spirit

So I survived the lock-in last night. I got there around midnight and the dance was in full swing. I knew this before I got to the gym, because about 50ft from the gym doors, it hit me. It was an awful combination of sweat, teen hormones, spearmint gum, Axe body spray and cotton candy scented perfume. Just a bit overwhelming. I went hesitantly into the gym and stood by the other parents who were stationed right by the doors, as far from the smell as possible. The kids seemed to be having a great time, except for the one girl who apparently wasn't used to staying up late and was already asleep on the floor in the corner of the room. We checked occasionally to see if she was still breathing, otherwise left her alone. A funny thing, the DJ was playing the typical rappy/techno stuff the kids listen to and they were all out there dancing, then a marvelous thing happened. He started playing Journey's "Don't Stop Believing" and all the kids ran out onto the floor and started singing along. All the parents were shocked that they knew all the words to a song that we danced to when we were in high school. Even funnier, though they all knew the words and stood together and sang the song at the top of their lungs, not a single kid danced. I guess that even though it's okay to know all the words to an 80's song, it's not cool to actually dance to it.

After the dance, they had a Easter egg race/hunt, then tag football, 3 on 3 basketball and human Foosball, which involved a giant, inflatable foosball court lined with ropes that had movable harnesses on them. Teams of 9 kids each strapped themselves in and went at it. In the meantime, I was doing concessions, making up frozen pizzas, cotton candy, hot pretzels and a load of other food & sodas. Each 7th grader had to bring in a frozen pizza and each 8th grader, some kind of baked good like cupcakes, cookies etc. We then sold the stuff for 50cents apiece or a dollar for a whole pizza. So they could eat a whole lot of junk food for a little amount of money. They needed to say sugared and caffeined up if they wanted to stay awake all night. It was fun, but I was more than happy to head home and crawl into bed at 4:30 this morning.

Angel #4 got home around 7am, slept a few hours, then headed off with a friend to spend the next 2 nights in Wisconsin Dells. The Dells is Wisconsin's biggest tourist site and is the home of America's biggest outdoor water park. Yep, a state that only has about 4 months of summer has the country's biggest water park. That's obviously closed right now, but the Dells is also full of hotels that have huge indoor water parks, and that's what she's doing. The hotel she's staying at has 4 indoor water parks, that should keep her busy for the next couple days. With all her activities, she's going to be running on fumes by the time she gets home Saturday night.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

So, here I sit

It's 10:40 pm and I'm kind of tired and ready for bed. So, why am I posting here instead? I'll tell you why, because I'm kind of stupid. Angel #4 is having a lock-in tonight at school. They didn't have those kind of things when I was a kid, but I guess they're fairly common now. The tradition at our school is that one night during the school year, the 7th & 8th graders get to spend the entire night in the school. There's basketball, volleyball & human Foosball in the gym, Wii's and other video games set up, a dance and all kinds of activities planned. It started at 7pm and we have to pick up our over-tired, over-sugared kids at 7am. Of course, an event like this needs chaperones and they put out the word about a month ago. I avoided the chaparone slip for as long as I could, until #4 said they were still short and really needed a few more volunteers. Being the nice person I am, I offered to do the midnight-4am shift, figuring I'm one of the lucky parents who doesn't have to get up for work the next morning. So I'm sitting here, trying to stay awake until midnight, so I can go to the school, run the concession stand and try to stay awake until 4am so I can finally crawl into bed. I'm not a night person in the first place. It's going to be a loooong night.