Saturday, May 31, 2014

Dare I say it without jinxing things? Summer's here!!

The weather's finally been beautiful and it's time for fun in the sun!  YAY!

We finally got the garden in today, which is a load off.  I don't like getting it in so late, it should have been planted a week ago, but we finally got someone to plow it up real good on Friday.  The same guy also sold us a tiller, so yay for that.  I've been gardening by hand forever, so it'll be a real treat to have a tiller to do the rough stuff for me this summer.  I still have to put in the potatoes and tomatoes, but everything else is in.  I haven't gotten around to buying seed potatoes yet and I only want to put in a few this year since I don't have much luck with them - our land is too clay-ee or limey or something and they always end up small and not worth the effort it takes to plant, weed, pick potato bugs and dig the up.  I'll just buy a big 50 lb bag from someone this fall.  I screwed up buying tomato plants and accidentally bought cherry tomatoes instead of real ones.  I hate cherry tomatoes, hubs is the only one who likes raw tomatoes, so he's the only one to eat them and to pick all those stupid little things to can them is a pain in the butt.  I'm going to pitch the plants I got by accident and pick up some good ones and get those in the ground asap.  I've still got tons of canned tomatoes from last year, but it just doesn't seem like  a real garden without a few tomato plants out there.  Besides, I love eating the green ones fried up and that's something you can't store for winter eating.  Some treats are meant for summertime only.

Yesterday we went to watch the track and field team compete at sectionals.  WE didn't do, real great on the long jump, well, he did all right for what he usually does, but the winners were jumping at over 20 feet and WE's goal was to get over 19 this year.  One of our girl disc throwers broke our school's record, so she was pretty excited, she's going on to the state competition as is one of our girl hurdlers who took first in both the 100 and 300 meter hurdles and our girls high jumper took a 2nd, so we've got 3 girls going on to state in 4 different events.  WE's buddy Grant is going on for the 800 meter - Grant is also the kid who took a first in state in wrestling this year, he's a bit of a go-getter.  In a surprise move, WE ended up running in the 4X400 relay as well.  He didn't run that race at regionals, it was run by an alternate, but the coach decided that WE should run it at sectionals.  The boys did awesome and managed to take 5th place, not good enough for state, but good nonetheless.  The race was run in two heats, WE's group taking 1st in the 1st, and slower heat.  The 7 faster teams ran in the 2nd heat, but in a heartbreaking development, the teams battling it out for 2nd & 3rd place bumped or something, sending one of the kids toppling to the ground hurt and the other team, I believe, was disqualified.  It was those two teams dropping out of the race that sent our guys up to #5.  It's so sad to see something like that happen when you know those kids worked so hard to get there.  There were a couple of injuries yesterday.  When you get to finals, those kids remaining push themselves so hard that injuries are just going to happen.  I'm glad our team all came out of things in one piece.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

It almost looks like a brand new house

Thanks for the congrats, Tanya, WE is all officially graduated and out of school now.  The graduation ceremony was wonderful and very touching.  This is a class that has been through a lot together starting with their teacher dying during the school year when they were elementary school and a classmate dying in an accident in 8th grade.  Also, in a class of 54 kids, there are at least 4 kids who have lost a parent in the last 5 years and the class valedictorian's dad has only weeks or possibly days to live and everyone was so very thankful he was able to make it to the graduation ceremony to hear his son give his speech. This is a very close group of kids who have been there for each other through some pretty bad times and the principal made a note of that during his address to the crowd.  They're a great group of kids and I'm going to miss seeing them around.

Most graduation ceremonies tend to celebrate those going on in academics, announcing the honor students (this class had more honor students than non-honor students), giving out scholarships, etc, but our principal did something special which meant so much to our family.  After talking about the kids going on to school and the workforce, he spoke of those who were going on to the military and had the ones who were enlisted stand  up, WE and his buddy Casey got a huge round of applause and a standing ovation, I was so proud of my boy.  WE said there were kids in his class who were brought to tears.  It was wonderful to see.

This weekend brought a round of graduation parties.  It was a lot of fun hanging out with friends and getting to know new people though I'm definitely peopled-out for awhile.

We also did some major work on our house over the weekend.  We've got about half the new siding put on the house now, which is great since it's been just board insulation on the outside all winter and it looked pretty crappy.  I'm sure every time someone drove by they'd say to themselves:  When are those people who bought the old O'Connell place going to fix that awful looking house up???   We also got all the windows replaced.  Now every window in the house opens and closes and the ALL HAVE HOLE-LESS SCREENS!!!  You can't get us now, mosquitoes!  Replacing the patio door was a bit of an adventure.  Last week, hubs pulled the roof off the old porch on the front of the house, leaving only the base of the porch, kind of like a real ugly deck.  Then on Saturday, they pulled the old patio door out, it was one of those old things from the 1970's that weigh about 100 pounds.  After pulling it out, they decided it would be better to rip out the old porch base before putting in the new door.  Turns out that they had built the porch right over top of the cement steps that used to go up to the old front door.  The cement steps had to go before we could install the new door and they were HEAVY.  After having a huge 6 foot hole in the wall of our living room for the majority of the day, our neighbor came over with a skid steer and finally pulled the steps away.  It seemed like everyone in town drove by our place while we were doing the work because just about everyone I saw over the weekend commented on the house.  One friend happened by when we had the big hole and when I saw her later in the day she said:  I drove past your house this morning, it seems to be missing some pieces.  - But, it's all good now.

We just got back from Regionals for track & field.  Angel #4 competed in the shot putt, but didn't do so great.  WE was in the 100, 200 and the long jump.  He made finals in the 100, but missed the call for the final race so he missed it, which sucked pretty bad.  He also made finals in the 200, but finished in 5th place - the top 4 go on to Sectionals.   He did manage to go on for the long jump and will be competing on Friday.  He has a pretty bad cold, so he didn't do too badly - considering.  He claimed it was being zoned out on cold meds was what made him miss the call for the 100.  Oh well, that's life.

Thursday, May 22, 2014


It's graduation night and the high school traditions are running wild.  Saturday night was Senior Class Trip, and overnighter to the amusement park.  The park closed to the public in the evening and opened up to high school senior class trips only for the rest of the night. The kids rode rides until 6am and had a very long, sleepy bus ride home.  Tonight is the annual seniors parking lot camp-out.  The senior class camp out in the school parking lot for the night, having a cook-out and the whole shebang.  I guess they just can't get enough of the school.   These aren't your normal high school kids though, WE said that when the subject of a senior skip day came up, the majority response was:  We can't do that, we'd miss a day of school!  Yeah, they actually said that, it's all about getting good grades and an education around here.  We've got a whole town of over achievers.  Tomorrow is the senior breakfast at the school followed by graduation ceremony practice then the parade of seniors driving their cars around town, blowing their horns and generally getting one last hurrah in before the pass the upper classman torch to the juniors.  I can't believe my little WE is graduating tomorrow night.  It seems like only yesterday he was eating worms to impress the girls and look where he is now.  Time flies.

The rest of the school, however, still have 2 weeks left to go before their summer begins, if it ever does.  We've had about 2 days where the temps got in the 70's, otherwise, this spring has been a wet, cold, miserable bust.  I think we had a single track meet where we didn't have to bundle up in full on winter gear.  A friend lost all his tomato and pepper plants last week due to frost, he jumped the gun and put in his garden early.  Last year he lucked out and it worked, not so much this year though. We don't even have our garden plowed up yet, it's been too wet and what's the point?  It's too cold  for anything to grow right now anyway.  I can't wait for summer.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

The final nail in the coffin

Our minivan has been less than optimal for quite awhile now.  It's had issues from the beginning (we had to replace the transmission for the first time about 2 months after we got it then had to do it a second time about 2 years later) but we survived.  Things really started going downhill when WE went in the ditch in January and the front bumper got pulled off when it was getting pulled out.  The bumper was ruined and we never got around to replacing it, so we've been driving around without one.  It was just the plastic cosmetic bumper, so it wasn't a structural thing, it just looked awful with the front of the van exposed, but on the bright side, we didn't have to open the hood to see if we needed washer fluid, we could see the whole fluid tank just by looking at the van.  About 2 months ago, the van made a weird noise while I was driving it and I discovered my power steering pump went out.  We weren't quite prepared to spend $500 to get it replaced, so we've been driving it without power steering since then.  Once again, we all got used to it and it built up our arm strength, but pulling out of parking spaces was a really pain in the butt.  Then about 2 weeks ago, it started making that weird squeaking noise by the alternator belt that we'd already spent about $400 to fix about a year ago.  I was really really ready for a new vehicle, but hubs wanted to keep limping it along.

But then came Thursday night and now all bets are off.  Hubs was driving home from a comedy event he was hosting and managed to get himself some grilled venison - that's Wisconsin-speak for hitting a deer with your car, if you were wondering.  Not just one deer, he did it right and managed to get 2 deer at once.  My van is not only merely dead, it's really most sincerely dead.  These things never come at an opportune time, but 12:30am is not the time you want to get a call from your husband asking you to come tow your dead van home.  At least it happened close to home, within the same 1 mile stretch that I hit a deer with the same van about a year ago, so I can't really blame hubs, that place is stinking deer alley.  This being a small town, WE said by the time he got to school the next morning, about 5 people knew his dad had hit a deer the night before.  How these things get out so fast is beyond me, besides our family, the only people who officially knew hubs had gone road warrioring were the two cops who wrote up the accident report and I hardly think they cared enough to run around spreading the word around town.  Actually, when the 2nd cop came over to the van window and asked me how bad the damage was, I pointed to our truck parked in front of the van, (remember that one?  No door handle, holes in the floorboards, etc) and said, "That just became our good vehicle."

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Spring Concert

Last night we went to the high school spring concert, what a wonderful show!  We got to hear the state-worthy Solo & Ensemble performances from 2 percussionists, 3 singing solos and a duet.  Angel #4 absolutely hates performing, so she skipped out of the concert and didn't perform her song.  But, the other kids did an incredible job.

 After the high school band performed, a select group of kids from the choir sang a song that WE's girlfriend wrote.  She's composed the music about a year ago and then the lyrics came to her after her dad was killed in a car accident in July.  She accompanied the kids on the piano and it was gorgeous.  I don't think there was a dry eye in the house and they finished up to a rousing standing ovation.  I get teary-eyed again just thinking about it.  I'm so proud of our school and the kids who go there.

When I'm doing lunch numbers in the line during the day, sometimes I horse around with the kids, other times I just stand there quietly and listen to what they have to say to each other.  The other day I missed the beginning of the conversation, but this is what I heard:  "I found the spell on the internet.  You're supposed to say it 5 times in a row at midnight.  I think it's working because my teeth are starting to feel sharper"  I think Jillian is attempting to become a vampire. I hope she doesn't get a doctors diagnoses of her condition, because then by law I'd have to work up a lunch menu to fit her special dietary habits and I don't know if I can find blood in our food suppliers catalog.

Sunday, May 11, 2014

In honor of Mother's Day, I took the which sitcom mom are you? test.  This is what I got:
Morticia Addams
You are cool, seductive and bring a sense of macabre fun to your role as a mother. The teenage goth you used to be would be proud. You are unashamed of your family's eccentricities and are at your happiest when they let their freak flags fly!

 I'm sure you're all as shocked as I was that I didn't get June Cleaver.

The kids and I went out for Chinese food after church this morning then headed out to Walmart to pick a few things up.  I ran into some issues and ended up standing in 3 different lines before I finally got it straightened out while the kids waited for me in the car.  Once the guy got my mulch loaded up I jumped in the passengers seat and told Angel #4 to get going, but I guess not.  While they were waiting for me, they noticed a guy standing in the parking lot with a bouquet of roses, obviously waiting for someone.  Since they already had so much time invested in watching him wait (their words, not mine), they wouldn't leave the parking lot until the person he was waiting for showed up.  I said it was obviously going to be his mom, since it's mother's day, but WE was sure he was waiting for his girlfriend to get off her cashiers shift so he could propose in the Walmart parking lot.  Well, after waiting for a half hour the guy's mom comes out of Walmart and he gives her the flowers and a hug.  So yeah, we creepered on a guy for half an hour to see him give his mom flowers.  And please note:  this did not give my kids the idea to get me anything for Mother's Day, the rotten bums. Angel #4 had an awesome blond moment last night.  There's something wrong with the dash of our minivan and every once in awhile, all the gauges, speedometer and that stuff all shut down.  The van runs fine, you just don't know how fast you're going or how much gas you have, that kind of thing.  Usually, all you have to do is karate chop the dash and everything turns  back on, I call it doing a Hong Kong Phooey.  Last night, when she was taking her boyfriend home, the gauges went out on Angel #4, we Hong Kong Phooey'ed it a couple of times, but it wasn't working.  It isn't far to her boyfriend's house, so she just drove without the gauges until she got him home, once he was dropped off, she asked if she turned the van off, then on again, if that would help and I told her it was worth a try.  So that's what she did, then she started slamming on the dash again and said, well it worked for everything but the speedometer and hit the dash again.  I looked at her and said, you realize the speedometer is on zero because you're not going anywhere, right??  We laughed hysterically the whole ride back home.

Saturday, May 10, 2014

we do fondue, do you?

This afternoon I went with my friends Kim & Sarah to a 'fun'due.  Live music, fondue, wine and lots & lots of people.  The weather was gorgeous, which explains why there were so many people there, any excuse to hang around outside on a beautiful spring day.  Of course, I can't escape my sordid professional life, I was only there about 15 minutes when I heard someone yell, 'hey lunch lady!'  It was one of the janitors from the school, small world.

Last night was Amish haystack supper night.  We had overnight house guests, so they came along.   Neither of them had any interactions with the Amish before, so it was a new experience for them.  Of course, the food was, as always, delicious, but I managed to pace myself and saved room for homemade pie and ice cream, which was a first.  I've always had to take my pie to-go in the past.

It's been a busy week, Monday was a freshman/sophomore track meet, Tuesday was a regular track meet, Wednesday was Bible study, Thursday was ANOTHER track meet & Friday we had grandparents day at school.  We got about 600 people through the lunch line in about an hour & 20 minutes, that about double our number of lunches we usually serve.  I spent the entire meal washing dishes - we don't have enough trays and silverware for all those people, so we had to keep running clean stuff out front to keep up with the masses.  Amazingly enough, we even finished up early and washed the final dish around 12:30, about 10-15 minutes sooner than we usually do.  Go figger.  After all that rushing around, I was glad we had the haystack supper, I sure wasn't in the mood to make a meal.

WE & I finally got a guest list put together for his graduation/going away party.  Boy, it sure is difficult keeping the number at a reasonable size.  It's a joint party with his friend, Casey, who's also going into the Marines at the same time, so it should be a pretty big blow out. Fortunately for me, Casey's family is big on throwing parties and has the whole thing under control and we're just sort of along for the ride.  I'll be making some of the food and buying stuff, but for the most part, they've got almost everything done already.  Now that's the kind of party I like to throw.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

I...I...I'm all right

I swear, some days at work are so covered in awesome that I feel guilty getting paid for being there.  Today was just that kind of day.  I'm NOT making this up or exaggerating, I promise.  This totally happened.

I'm in the back office doing my lunch lady thing when I hear the other lunch ladies freaking out up front.  Of course, I'm nosy, so I head up there to see what's going on.  There was POOP on the floor of the lunch room.  There was some smeared on the floor and a couple of actual turds.  We figured some animal must have gotten inside when they had doors propped open during sports practice or something.  Since 300 kids are going to be in there eating lunch in 45 minutes, we immediately called one of the janitors to come deal with it.  10 minutes later Gary had the job finished (hee hee, see what I did there?) and comes back into the kitchen.  He said, and I kid you not, "That wasn't poop, it was a candy bar.  I think it was a Baby Ruth."  Of course, I did what anybody would do, I yelled, "DOODIE!!" Yes people, my job is Caddyshack!  Does life get any cooler?  Oh wait, yes it does!  First off, I asked him if he took a bite from it - sadly, he did not.  BUT, and listen to this, When I got into my car to go home after work, 'I'm All Right' was playing on the radio!  I think I've  pretty much reached Nirvana and everything else in life is going to be downhill from here.

In other news, I'd like to report that my husband went kite surfing in Maui yesterday and lived to tell the tale, which is a good thing because I'm not sure if his life insurance covers acts of mid-life crises stupidity.