Thursday, June 29, 2006

My Beaded Jewelry

I'm going to try to post a few pictures of the jewelry I've made. I mentioned it in my June 18 post but for some reason I wasn't able to post photos at that time. This first one is made with aquamarine chips.

This is a 3-strand pearl necklace I made for my friend, Renee. She kept Son#3 amused at the bead shop while I browsed so I told her to pick out some beads that she liked and I'd make her something. She selected the dyed green pearls to go with an outfit she has. She wanted to keep it simple but I snuck in a few Swarovski crystals on the middle strand. I also made her a pair of matching drop earrings.

I'm just now experimenting with the embellished chain stuff. This photo is of my first piece of that type. The picture doesn't do it justice. It's a sterling chain with grey cultured pearls and grey Swarovski crystals.

It's fun - a nice little creative outlet, not to mention that I now can own accessories to match every outfit if I wanted to (except I'm not that much of a fashionista so most of this stuff just sits in a box)!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Another Birth Story...(Son #2)

On June 23 – Son #1’s bday – I posted his birth story. Granted it was long, but then again so was the labor. Here is Son #2’s birth story. It started similarly to Son #1’s – irregular contractions, long pre-labor. However, I was a bit more nervous this time because second labors are supposed to be quicker that the first.

The contractions started around midnight – still not 5 minutes apart for an hour or more, as directed by the doctor. My past experience taught me to take that with a grain of salt. The period between 4 and 6 a.m. were filled with painful contractions – not back labor this time, but still no picnic. Narcissist that I am, I managed a shower (if I can’t shower daily, I get grumpy).

I called the OB/GYN’s answering service around 6:30a.m. It’s a multi-doctor practice. The Cute Doctor, who was at the hospital, returned my call – think Tim McGraw with hair (maybe Tim does have hair, but I’ve never seen him without a hat so I’m skeptical). He tells me, “well, the contractions aren’t very close together and the fact that you can talk during the contractions tells me this isn’t the real thing yet.” Uh hello? Doesn’t past experience count for anything? And besides, as Dear Hubby can attest, there isn’t much that I can’t talk through. I push the issue. It may be my imagination, but he seemed just a tad irritated when he suggested that I stop by the office in an hour for a ‘labor check’ since the first doctor usually arrives at 7:30. Okay, I can wait. I hope.

Anyway, the doctor’s office is down the street from the hospital. I show up unannounced and explain that Dr. S. suggested I stop by for a ‘labor check.’ I was ushered into an exam room. Dear Hubby stayed in the waiting room. Not sure why, other than it was just a peek. Dr. M. (my regular OB-GYN) checks and says, “uh, did anyone drive you here?” Sure, Dear Hubby is in the waiting room…why? “You need to get to the hospital NOW.” I was, still talking through my irregular contractions mind you, 8 centimeters dilated. Dr. M. considered calling for an ambulance, but we figured Dear Hubby could drive the two blocks just as fast as the ambulance could make the 4-block round trip.

I arrive at the hospital, what 8 minutes later, and there was Dr. Cute to greet me. Nyaaahh nyaahhh, Cute Guy – you don’t know who you’re dealing with here. I settle into my hospital bed (none of this walking the halls nonsense like last time), and secretly hope that one of the other doctors arrive to deliver my baby. Dr. Cute’s day started early so shouldn’t he be going home by now? No such luck. Glad I managed to paint my toenails and shave my legs. Wish I would’ve paid more attention to my bikini area. Isn’t it stupid the things that go through one’s mind at a time like this?

Dr. Cute and I discuss the timing of my epidural. Should we break the water first or get the epi first? I agreed that we should wait until after he manually breaks my water (I remember that crochet hook thingy!). The reason being that my contractions were still highly irregular and that the epidural could potentially slow the contractions further. It’s settled then. He’ll break the water, go have a cup of coffee and come back to check on me.

Keep in mind that I was in labor for *hours* after having my water broken the first time. Even if second labors are quicker, then what’s faster than “hours”? Fewer hours? An hour? Try minutes. Poke with the crochet needle, gush, doc steps out of the room, doesn’t make it down the hall before we (me, Dear Hubby, nurses) call him back. I want my pain meds NOW!!! No time, says Dr. Not So Cute By This Point. An anesthetist raced in just in time to give me an injection that he says “should” (!) kick in just in time for Doc to make any – ahem – necessary repairs. (I don’t want to offend the sensibilities of The Guy who occasionally reads my blog.)

Although it was very short delivery, it was indeed ‘natural’ childbirth says Dr. Cute And Forgiven. Nice catch by the way, Doc, did you play baseball in college?

So Son #2, who turned 9 on June 17, was born without the cone head that adorned his big brother. Getting him here was a royal pain in the ass (pun intended), but well worth it. He is affectionate, funny, smart, sometimes exasperating, always beautiful and I’m a better person because of him.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

They're Baaaaccckkk!

Son#1 and Dear Hubby returned from Boy Scout Camp yesterday afternoon. They had been gone a week. It was really a great experience for them both. Son#1 tends to be a loner most of the time, preferring the company of books over people but he really mixed well with the other kids.

Their sleeping quarters were simple tents. Think M*A*S*H, minus the distillery. The adult leaders gave out gag awards ("Johnny Come Lately", Messiest Tent, etc.). Son#1 and his bunk mate, Patrick, earned The Odd Couple Award. The Troop Leader said it was as if an imaginary line had been drawn down the middle of the tent and one half was very neat, the other very messy. Son#1's side was the Felix side. (That's the neat side for those of you unfamiliar with the Broadway play, the movie, or the early 70's TV sitcom.) The prize was a pair of mismatched socks. Son#1 was thrilled. I'm frequently fussing at him because he shuffles his feet when he walks without shoes and therefore wears holes in the heels of his socks. These are his offical hanging-around-the-house socks so he can skate around on the tile floors (a la "Risky Business") all he wants.

He earned two merit badges: first aid and pottery. Most of the other kids earned their swimming merit badge, but Son#1 isn't a great swimmer to begin with, plus he didn't like the lake because you can't see the bottom. He'll eventually have to earn the swimming badge, but he still has time. I should look into swim lessons for him. He's taken them in the past, but we don't have access to a pool so I'll have to join someplace - a local athletic club, or another community's pool (some neighborhoods will allow non-residents access to their pool for a fee). In any event, he'll eventually have to get comfortable with swimming in a lake. He enjoyed pottery though. He created a few pieces, including a cool dragon.

He had a great time, but I'm glad to have him home. We took him to Semolina's last night for his birthday dinner.

Friday, June 23, 2006

Happy Birthday, Son #1! (A Birth Story)

You’re 11 today. I can hardly believe it. In part, because you’re still so small for your age and you do seem to act a bit younger than your peers. However, there’s no need to rush to grow up (being an adult has its privileges, but truthfully, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be!). Part of it is also because time flies.

You were a meticulously planned baby and it was a perfect textbook pregnancy (if there’s such a thing). Back when you were just an idea – no, a dream – I abstained from alcohol and over-the-counter meds (no prescription meds needed). I did everything ‘right’ during my pregnancy. You repaid me by making me sick, literally, for 4 months. Morning, noon and night sickness.

You took your own sweet time getting here, too. I started with pre-labor pains shortly after midnight on a Wednesday. My doctor said when my contractions were 5 minutes apart for an hour, then I should report to the hospital. (Fortunately, I disregarded that advice, or else you would’ve been born at home. Eventually. More on that in a moment.)

Since the contractions weren’t frequent or painful (this was pre-labor, remember), I decided to drive myself to work. I bought my stopwatch with me and made a whole lot of people very nervous. However, I only had 6 weeks’ maternity leave and I wasn’t going to waste Day One at home awaiting your arrival. Throughout the day, the contractions were sporadic. Sometimes 20 minutes apart, then five minutes, then 17 minutes and so it went. All day long. Some of the contractions were painful but most weren’t very intense.

The work day was over and I went home and continued timing my contractions. Still irregular and still not time to go, per my doc’s earlier instructions. Finally around 11:30 p.m. Thursday evening, the contractions were occasionally 5 minutes apart, occasionally 10+ minutes. I called my obstetrician’s answering service and the doc called back promptly. Keep in mind this has been going on for 24 hours. Since the contractions weren’t so strong that it impeded my speaking, and since they still weren’t regularly 5 minutes apart for an hour, I should continue to wait it out at home. Another sleepless night.

Finally, out of boredom, I showered around 2:30 a.m. While I was in the shower, I had two very painful contractions. That was enough for me! Grab the bag and a couple of magazines, I told Dear Hubby, we’re going to the hospital and if they tell me it’s not time, we’ll sit in the parking lot and read until it is! We arrived at the hospital probably a little after 3:00 a.m. – we weren’t rushing. They do a quick check and said I was 5 centimeters dilated so they were admitting me. Obviously we had a way to go until you arrived, but it was much more comforting to wait at the hospital.

Here’s the kicker. For 20 minutes out of every hour, I’d lie in bed with a monitor strapped to my belly. This monitor measured your heart rate (A-OK) and my contractions (one every 15 minutes or so). After the 20-minute monitoring session, I was allowed to roam the halls. BAM! The contractions were 5, 6, 7 minutes apart, for as long as I was moving around. And on it went for another 8 hours of so. I was in “back labor” which meant that you were facing forward so that the hardest part of your head (the back) was passing along the base of my spine. Ouch.

The doctor recommended a pitocin drip which she hoped would cause my contractions to become more regular (it didn’t). She manually broke my water, using this little crochet needle thing, hoping that would speed things along (it didn’t). Finally, I received an epidural and it was time to start pushing. I was supposed to push ‘with the contraction.’ Nice idea in theory but they had me in a bed, which meant one push every 10 minutes or so. They also had this nurse lean across my stomach to help push from the outside. (If I were to run in to her today, I’m sure I wouldn’t recognize her face, but I’ll never forget her elbow!). We were coming down to the critical mark. They didn’t want you in the birth canal any longer and were starting to talk about a c-section, but we were able to squirt you out eventually. You were born just after 1:00 p.m. on Friday, weighing 7 lbs 1 oz, 19.75 inches long. It took you long enough to get here but you were worth the wait.

Of course I realize now that you’re just destined to do things at your own pace. You were late in talking, but you found your own way to communicate (I’d like to thank you for abandoning your own language and adopting ours instead, by the way). You were late in starting to read, but now you’re reading so far above your grade level, it’s appalling. You look like you’ll be a late bloomer since at 11, you measure 4’4” inches and weigh just over 50 pounds. You’ve had your share of challenges – besides your speech issues, there’s the ADHD and those pesky seizures, although next month it’ll be 5 years since your last tonic-clonic (aka grand mal) seizure. Knock wood.

And yet, you seem to be so utterly confident in who you are. You realize that you march to the beat of a different drummer, and while others may not understand it, that’s their problem. You are the way God made you, you’ve said. So true. And although you occasionally have me pulling my hair out, God made you most beautiful indeed.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

This Has Been A Loooonnnngggg Week

This week is dragging! Son #1 is at Boy Scout Camp two states away with Dear Hubby. Of course I miss them terribly, but I also miss Steve. For those of you new to my blog, Steve is my minivan - the 'mom mobile' that we bought last week and which Dear Hubby drove to camp.

You see, sons #2&3 bicker a lot. That's part of the reason time is passing slowly. The constant refereeing is getting old and therefore, we don't go many places. That's also where Steve comes in. In Steve, although Sons #2&3 may still "push each other's buttons", the truth is, they's some physical distance between them. Son #3 sits in the middle row, while Sons #1&2 sit in the back row. With Steve gone, I'm driving Dear Hubby's Taurus, so the two younger boys are right next to each other (and right behind my ear, it seems).

Another reason this week is dragging is that without Dear Hubby coming home after work in the late afternoon/early evening, there's no "break" in the day. It's pretty much the same old, same old from morning until bedtime...

Tomorrow is Son #1's 11th birthday. I can't believe he'll be away on his birthday, but at least Dad will be there. I wonder if they'll do anything special to mark the occasion. They come home Saturday evening.

A Musical Meme from Jules...

I've been tagged by Jules. This meme has a musical theme.

1. Choose a band/artist: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers

2. Answer each question using the title of a song by that band/artist. OK

3. Are you male or female: American Girl

4. Describe yourself: A Woman in Love

5. How do some people feel about you? All Mixed Up

6. How do you feel about yourself? I Won't Back Down

7. Describe your ex boyfriend/girlfriend: @$%hole - Yes, that's the name of one of his songs.

8. Describe current boyfriend/girlfriend: You Got Lucky

9. Describe where you want to be: House in the Woods

10. Describe how you live: Baby Let's Play House

11. Describe how you love: Too Much Ain't Enough

12. What would you ask for if you had just one wish? Louisiana Rain - not a hurricane mind you, just enough to ease this drought.

13. Share a few words of Wisdom: Make it Better

14. Now say goodbye: I Don't Know What to Say to You

If you decide to play along, post a comment here so I can check yours out!

Monday, June 19, 2006

So Long, Chaz, Rest Peacefully

I just learned that a man I knew in my past life (i.e. in the workplace) died this morning. He and I were not very close, although we worked together for a little over two years until I 'retired' when Son #3 was born. Still he made an impression on many different levels. He was our company's human resource guy - self-taught. He was always upbeat and loved the company. (Back then, the company was like that: they had a knack for garnering long-term loyalty. Not so sure that's true today.)

The company underwent a reorganization in late 2001 and the powers that be decided that he would no longer serve as HR Guy. They offered him another position - a slightly lesser position, I think - and brought in someone else who had a strong HR background. Not sure what that meant. A degree, perhaps? I guess Chaz's decades of HR experience with the company didn't count. Still, at a time when several long term employees were being laid off (they didn't fit in with the company's new vision, apparently), Chaz gracefully accepted the new assignment. His health had also begun to suffer, which may have contributed to his decision. He had a bout with cancer, and more recently his kidneys and liver began to fail. He required dialysis and yet still succeeded in his work responsibilities.

A few months ago (has it been that long?) on his way home from a dialysis treatment, it's thought he blacked out and hit an 18-wheeler head on. Broke both arms and legs. Although he didn't seem to suffer any significant head trauma he never regained full consciousness and the doctors couldn't seem to figure out why.

My friend emailed me with this: "Between kidney and liver failure, cancer, Katrina
and then the car accident, I think the fight was no longer in him." If that's indeed true, Chaz put up one hell of a fight. Always with grace. Always with dignity.

As I said, he and I weren't close since I left my job. Yet, I'm deeply saddened. We've lost a true class act at a time when our city needs it the most. (I forgot to mention that he was active in several civic groups in the New Orleans area, didn't I?) Despite all he's had to contend with the past several years, he was an amazing spirit. Keep his wife and son in your prayers, if you will. I am.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

Home but Not Alone...

If you read my recent posts, you'd know that Dear Hubby and Son #1 are at Boy Scout Camp two states away. I've always had trouble sleeping when I'm home "alone." I think it stems from when I was a latch-key kid and my parents would go out and stay out late. I could never fall asleep until I saw their car's headlights as they pulled into the driveway and I knew they were safely at home (my bedroom was in the front of the house).

Several years ago when Dear Hubby was a police office, he worked the midnight shift. I didn't sleep well then either until I knew he was safely at home. Which makes me wonder? Why the heck not? What am I afraid of? Am I afraid of the Boogeyman getting me (I did watch an awful lot of horror movies as a teen)? If I'm not afraid for my own personal safety, perhaps I'm worried about my loved ones who are "out there." Personally, I think it's a little of both.

As for the boogeyman, I'm not really alone. I'm here with Son #2 (who turned 9 yesterday) and Son #3 (age 4). Anyone tries breaking in here, they'll no doubt be scared off by the noxious odors and loud belching noises that only 9- and 4-year old boys can make. Remember the scene from the movie "Home Alone" where Kevin used his toys to booby trap his home because of the big bad burglars? Yeah, that's pretty much what my house looks like right now...

Last night I caught up on my reading, made some jewelry (*more on this in a minute). When I started to get tired, I tucked the sheets and blankets in on *both* sides of the bed (Dear Hubby hates his side tucked in), added about 4 more fluffy pillows and slept rather well. We'll see how it goes tonight.

Other thoughts for the day:

Happy Father's Day to Dear Hubby, F-I-L (father-in-law) and any other Dads who might stumble upon this blog. My own dad passed away in 1991 (I was an adult). He and I had several rocky years that I think we were just on the verge of outgrowing. To over simplify, I apparently inherited his temper but not his sense of humor. Since his death, I haven't felt a profound sense of loss. Not sure why and will probably never know unless I'm willing to shell out big bucks for therapy. I do know this: while I may not miss him as a father, I do miss him for the grandfather he would've been to my kids. They would've had a blast together. He had the opportunity to meet my sister's kids (they lived in a different state), but he died several years before my children were born). To my kids, he's just a name - Grandpa Jim. The only one in either Dear Hubby's or my family that served in the military so he's the resident veteran. Someone to think about on Memorial Day and Veteran's Day. He joined the Army at age 17 with parental consent during the Korean War.

Beaded Jewelry. A fellow blogger, Flip Flop Mamma (check out the link on my blog page, if you haven't already), asked what kind of jewelry I make. First of all, I'm notorious for starting projects and never finishing. My New Year's Resolution this year was to find a hobby and stick with it. So far, I've been at this one for a little over 6 months. My former neighbor taught me how to make the beaded jewelry using the wire on which to string beads. I taught myself to make the embellished chain jewelry (i.e. little dangles). I'll try attaching a couple of older photos because Dear Hubby has my digital camera with him at camp Blogger isn't letting me do it right now.). What do I do with this jewelry, you're wondering? Not a damn thing. I'd be one heck of an accessorized girl if I'd ever wear any of it, but I don't. I'd love to sell a few pieces - not to get rich, but to cover the costs of supplies (so I can buy and make more). Perhaps this is a very practical way of nurturing my creative side. It's a lot easier to store a few dozen pieces of jewelry in my 1163 sf house than it is to store large canvas painting, you know what I mean?

Friday, June 16, 2006

Happy Birthday, Son #2!

Son #2 turned 9 today. His dad and older brother left this morning for Boy Scout camp. Our troop didn't get to choose the week, which means they'll be gone for: 1. Son #2's birthday, 2. Father's Day (tomorrow), and 3. Son #1's 11th birthday (Friday).

Anyway, we started our morning at 6:30 a.m. so Son #2 could unwrap a gift in front of Dad and his brothers. Kissed them goodbye, ate breakfast and then went to the ballpark for 8:00 a.m. Sam's baseball team, the White Sox, had their first game of a single-elimination tournament (did I also mention it was their last game?). They finished the regular season with 3 wins and 14 losses. Not a stellar season, but they had fun and the coaches were great. (Veering off topic here, but one of the coaches grew up two doors down from my childhood home, which is about 40-45 miles away from where we live now. I remember him when he was 4 years old. Small world, isn't it? And to add to it, Coach's older brother, who is my age, has a son in my Son #2's 3rd class at school.)

We returned home and Son #2 unwrapped a couple of more gifts: Nintendo DS (which worked out well since the first gift he chose unwrapped earlier in the morning was a Nintendo DS came cartridge - oops!). He spent quite a while playing with his new gifts, Son #3 watching over his shoulder, while I made some beaded bracelets. I usually limit how long the kids can play video games, but I made an exception since it was a brand new gift, because Son #1 was gone, and it was too darn hot to send him out to play.

He's showering now. In a little while, we'll bring Son #3 to Paw Paw's house and then take Son #2 to his favorite Japanese restaurant for a birthday dinner. We're not doing cake and ice cream until his actual party which will probably be on July 1st (I offered but he said no.) He and Son #1 have a combined party each year since their birthdays are 6 days apart and they pretty much have the same social circle.

We'll pick up Son #3 from Paw Paw's and come home later. Son #2 will beg to play more video games and I'll probably let him since he hasn't been bickering with Son #3. I'll stay up late since I don't sleep well when Dear Hubby isn't home (waving to Flip Flop Mamma). I'll either waste a lot of time watching late night TV, or I'll catching up on my email/blog reading, or I'll get some more jewelry pieces done. We'll see...

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Do You Censor What You Blog?

I'm curious. A blog buddy (we've been real life buddies long before we became cyber-buds) and I were talking today about controversial blog posts and it got me thinking:

Do you - you being my 6 readers, of course (oops! make that 4, two of my readers are non-bloggers. Get with the program, will ya?? I digress...) - do you edit what you write out of fear of offending the sensibilities of people that you likely have never met?

Do I? Oh yeah. There was a day when I didn't give a rat's ass what anyone thought and was more than happy to share my usually-unsolicited opinions with the world. Those days are long gone. Today, I play it safe.

A large part of that is because I don't drink as often* (bourbon makes me opinionated, okay?) and the other part is because I converted to Catholicism a few years ago so I'm trying to be a kinder, gentler me. Becoming a mom has also mellowed me. Still there are times when I feel I've lost my 'edge.'

But isn't a blog supposed to be our thoughts, our feelings, our opinions? For better or for worse? I mentioned to my friend that it's fine to apologize for offending someone, but no one should have to apologize for their feelings/opinions, especially since feelings and opinions can evolve over time.

I admire my blog buddies (you know who you are) who take risks, who aren't afraid to reveal themselves, to be - yes, controversial. Truth is, while I may not necessarily agree with you, I wish I were a bit more like you. I'm raising a glass of wine in your honor. (Wine doesn't make me more opinionated.)

Viva la difference!

* kidding about the drinking thing - I didn't need a reason to be opinionated.

Sunday, June 11, 2006

Good-Bye Gloria, Hello Steve

Yesterday morning, we picked up Son #2 from camp. Although he had a great time during his week away, he was so ready to come home. I hadn't received the letter that he promised to write and I asked him about it. He said he couldn't use his "quiet time" in the evening to write because the counselors insisted the campers shower every evening! (Something that wasn't insisted on last year, apparently, because I sent Son #1 and Son #2 to camp with 7 clean changes of clothes and they returned home each with five (!) clean outfits!!! ICK! I was told by the camp counselor last year that it wasn't an unusual phenomenon.) Too busy showering to write a simple letter? If you knew how long Son #2 spends in the shower or bathtub, you wouldn't be surprised, either.

Anyway, on to Gloria and Steve. "Gloria" is our 2002 Dodge Caravan. She's a lovely shade of red (metallic flake) and has served us well. Son #2 named her 'Gloria' on the day we bought her in January 2002. She was a true Mom-mobile.

Anyway, we had been considering upgrading to a newer vehicle for while, preferably something with a peppier engine. Of the minivans, I find Dodge to be the most affordable (okay, cheap). Finding a base model in the color I like - Gloria's color - is difficult, and I don't want to spend a bunch of money on options I don't want. Dear Hubby occasionally checks the Dodge website for locally available inventory and wouldn't you know? A dealership in Hammond had a red 2006 Dodge Caravan with a V6 engine (Gloria didn't have a V6). We decided to take a trip over there after picking up Son #2 from camp.

Before continuing, let me tell you that I HATE shopping for cars. It's my least favorite thing to do - tied with going to the dentist. (Well, actually sitting in the waiting room at the hospital is my least favorite thing, but going to the gynecologist ranks higher than car shopping for me. You get the point.) Car shopping with three kids is even worse!

Dear Hubby and I play Good Cop/Bad Cop when we visit car dealerships. I make a really good Bad Cop. Dear Hubby is very patient, very diplomatic and will listen to the sales guy's entire spiel. Not me. I let Dear Hubby handle the test drive and the negotiations. Not in the "little woman doesn't know anything about cars and complicated financing" way. More in the mega-b$#@% way: I'm with three kids who have short attention spans, and mine's even shorter. Patience? Sorry, I'm attempting to reserve that for the kids (Son #2 is making up for lost time and driving Son #3 nuts).

This is what I said: "I want this vehicle in this price range. I want about this much for my trade, I want an interest rate no higher than X% for 60 months - when you two (meaning Sales Guy and Dear Hubby) make that happen, call me. I'll be out walking around with the boys." Far from feeling emasculated, Dear Hubby finds this amusing. He and Wayne (Sales Guy) get to work. Wayne offered us about $800 less than we wanted for Gloria, although still a fair price. (Let me tell you, Gloria is a mess! We made no attempt to spruce her up because we just going to "take a look." We weren't planning on buying.)

However, Wayne countered by offering a greater discount on the new van than Dear Hubby expected so it balanced out. I'm called back inside. Boys are running around the show room, generally being noisy. Wayne's office is barely larger than a cubicle so all six of us couldn't fit in there. I approved the deal. Dear Hubby takes the boys to see the new vehicle while I fill out the credit application. Son #2 dubs the minivan "Steve."

Time to let the finance guy do his job. Dear Hubby and I hang out with the kids. It looks like we're getting a new minivan. I refuse to get too excited, because if I find any part of the deal that I don't like, I WILL walk away. Next it was time to sign the paperwork. The young guy who cleans and moves the vehicles is taking a break so he entertains the kids in the showroom (balloons, free baseball caps, etc.) while Dear Hubby and I are discussing the details with the finance guy. This biggest thing to me is the monthly note. You are NEVER supposed to discuss your desired monthly note with anyone - especially the finance guy. They can be sneaky. If you're not paying attention, they can adjust the term of your loan to make the monthly payments fit your budget, but you end up with a 85 month term. Okay, I'm exaggerating slightly, but I've seen it happen.

The monthly note is slightly higher than what I wanted, but still within my comfort zone. The term is 60 months. (I'd love to finance for 48 months, but with gas prices being what they are, I don't want to drive my car note up that much per month or else I won't be able to afford to fill the tank.) So far, sounds good, we tell Finance Guy, by the way, what's the interest rate on the loan? 8.11% with Chrysler Credit Corp. That's awfully high. "I have to get back to the kids," I tell Finance Guy. "See if you can find us a better rate with another lender." Then I left the office.

Dear Hubby patiently waits while Finance Guy checks with other lenders. Meanwhile, Wayne sees me come back out and knows something's wrong. He actually looks scared. I tell him the interest rate was outrageous but I'm sure Finance Guy will find something better. He does and my monthly note is right where I wanted it to be - to the penny. I give my blessing and we proceed with the paper-signing.

Son #1 is a little teary-eyed at this point. He's going to miss Gloria. He said the same thing about his bunk bed when he moved into his own room a few weeks ago and when we dropped Son #2 at camp a week ago. He got over both very quickly. Besides, Steve practically IS Gloria (with a zippier engine, power locks and windows, and cruise control). We had a little school of Christian fish on the back of Gloria: two large silver ones, and three small silver ones, representing each of us. Son #1 wants to get the same for Steve. I tell him we will. He'll learn to love Steve soon.

Buying Steve means I don't have to take Gloria this week for the front end alignment and the scheduled maintenance she's due before Dear Hubby and Son #1 drive to Boy Scout Camp in Alabama. They leave Saturday and will be gone for a week. They'll be driving Steve instead and will have a few other boy scouts with them. So much for the new car smell! ;-)

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Insomnia Bites!

I've been having trouble sleeping for the past week or so. Part of it may be because Son #2 went away to camp three days ago. Not sure what else is bugging me. I'm generally fine during the day, but as the evening progresses, I have this nagging suspicion that 1) I'm forgetting something important or 2) something dramatic is going to happen - it doesn't always have to be bad, does it?

Falling asleep has always been a problem for me, even as a baby. Normally, it takes about 45-60 minutes after lying down in bed for my mind to finally stop racing from one thing to the next.

The past week though, I've been waking up once or twice during the night. Sometimes it's a stupid dream - again not necessarily a bad one, just utterly ridiculous. Sometimes it's for no reason at all.

Son #1 is a night-owl so he keeps me company. Shame on me for letting him stay up late, but it is summer vacation and we don't have to get up early in the morning. When I finally do settle into a nice deep sleep, Dear Hubby's alarm goes off so he can wake for work. I can usually catch more zzzzz's until Son #3 wakes me. He goes to sleep early and is up earlier. Sometimes, I can coax him into playing with toys quietly on my bed while I "rest." Apparently I'm supposed to be playing too as I wake with a shirt full of Legos. He doesn't seem to mind my passive role, though.

I'll just rest until he says the magic words: "Can we get breakfast now?" then my day starts. I function fine during the day, not especially tired or fatigued. Just mildly annoyed by the vague foreboding or 'what am I forgetting?' feeling.

I frequently have bouts where I have trouble sleeping for a couple of days, but it's been a long time since it's lasted a week or more. My worst bout was when I was in college and averaged 2-4 hours a sleep a night for over a month (no, I wasn't studying or partying at the time). Boy, was I a B*&$# on Wheels!

I've deliberately avoided the computer the past several nights because time really does get away from me. If this keeps up, though, I'm going to bite the bullet and get cable TV.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Summer Camp & the Cowboy from El Paso

Yesterday evening we dropped Son #2 off at camp. It's a week-long (almost), sleepover camp located not too far from where we live. It's sponsored by a religious organization. He and Son #1 went last year, and Son #1 went alone the year before. This year Son #1 has opted to go to Boy Scout Camp later in the month.

Anyway, Son #2 has really been looking forward to it. He's a very sociable kid and makes friends easily so I'm sure he'll have a blast. While we were checking him in (visiting the nurse's station, the registration desk, the 'bank' table, etc.), Son #1 got a little weepy. I asked whether he was sad not to be going this year and he shook his head 'no' and said he will miss Son #2. Go figure.

After we make all the necessary stops, we unload the van and bring Son #2 and his gear to his cabin. "Bye," he says as he dashed in to claim his bunk. Bye. That's it. Barely a wave. So...dismissive. I just stood there. Speechless. Finally, one of the teen counselors calls him, "Hey, come back out here an hug your mother. You won't see her for a week." I love this teen counselor. So I got my hug from Son #2. And didn't feel guilty about taking Sons #1 and #3 out to dinner.

We dined at Mi Mamacita's Mexican Restaurant. Very small, very quaint, pretty good food. Son #3 actually ate the cheese quesadilla (which wasn't that great) and Son #1 ate a beef soft taco without cheese, lettuce or tomato. Mychicken enchiladas weren't rolled as they traditionally are, but were very good. Dear Hubby enjoyed whatever he ordered.

Anyway, since the restaurant is so tiny, we struck up a conversation with a man dining alone. Son #3 was impressed with the man's cowboy boots. When the man said they were made from alligator, Son #3 said, "oh, mine are Crocs." Turns out the man is a cowboy from El Paso, Tx. We didn't catch why he was in town, but he showed us a picture of his 3 year old granddaughter, Abigail. He told us the story of how he had this old mostly blind horse - a mare - that he wanted to donate to a local orphanage, but instead ended up selling it for a small price to an acquaintance (allegedly so the acquaintance's kids could ride). However, the acquaintance ended up selling the horse to the same orphanage that would've gotten it free from the Cowboy from El Paso. Dear Hubby said that what goes around comes around, and the Cowboy said, yep, the acquaintance died a couple of months later. Hmmmm. The Cowboy used to live in Arkansas, Tennessee, Virginia, California (didn't care for it there) and a couple of other states before moving back to Texas.

Somehow we got on the subject of cowboy movie heroes and he said that when he lived in Roanoke, Va., he was sitting on the porch drinking homemade apricot brandy when he saw a small train that he thought was in trouble. He thought it crashed in the mountains, but a buddy said that, no, he was nuts. Turns out it was Audie Murphy's fatal plane crash on May 28, 1971. (I checked the details on Audie Murphy's Official Website .) For those of you unfamiliar with Audie Murphy, he was an actor, but also the most decorated soldier to have fought in World War II. I'm not familiar with his movies, but I first heard of him when I came across his gravesite at the Arlington National Cemetary, where my father's cremains are interred. Anyway, it was a fun dinner.