Wednesday, February 28, 2007

Disney - Tuesday., Feb. 20 (Day 3)

We didn't get to see all that we wanted to at Magic Kingdom last night, so we went again the following day. We took the bus from the resort to the theme park. Below are a bunch of photos. The first is of Main Street in Magic Kingdom - a lot of shops...

We visited Mickey's Country House before proceeding on to the Judges' Tent to personally meet Mickey Mouse - a highlight for Sons #1& eventually #3. See Mickey's cactus:

And here is Mickey's pumpkin....

I don't have a photo with us meeting Mickey. We were led into this room - a private meeting with our family and the Mouse himself. As soon as the door closed behind us, locking us in the room with his Royal Rodentness, Son #3 has second thoughts. He eventually warmed up though after seeing me give Mickey a big hug and telling him how much I've missed him. I met him in 1971 when Disney World first opened. Mickey didn't speak, but his hug was uh...I'm not sure completely innocent, y'know? Was I goosed by a mouse? Oh well, at this point, Son #3 was with the program and we posed with the official Disney photographers. I bought a few of their pictures and completely forgot about taking my own, which I would've been allowed to do. Oh well....

After meeting Mickey, we took the train back to Main Street, where Son #3 had a meltdown. So much excitement to process. He recovered pretty quickly, so we took the monorail to the Disney Contemporary Resort where we had lunch reservations. Whether it's because we were first in line, or whether it was because of the birthday buttons (mine and Son #3's), we were selected to ride in the front car of the monorail with the conductor. Actually only 4 of us were allowed. Sorry Dear Hubby! (By this point, he was probably happy to have a little quiet time away from the kids.) The view from up front of the monorail was spectacular. Here are my kids on the monorail...

After lunch we rode the monorail back to Magic Kingdom, with the 'regular folks' this time. Dear Hubby and the older two boys went off to ride a certain ride, so Son #3 and I had a little alone time. We rode the Tea Cups again (I love spinning rides!), then took some photos. Here's one where he looks good and I don't. I just aimed the camera at us and clicked.

I look better here than he does, so it evens out, I guess.

Before riding the Dumbo ride (which I rode in 1971, with my dad), we took a moment for Son #3 to pose for a picture. While in line for Dumbo, we met Nicholas who, like Son #3, was also celebrating his 5th birthday, plus a nice young Scottish couple who wished me a happy birthday.

After the Dumbo ride, we met up again with the other guys, had a snack, visited the Haunted Mansion and walked around a bit.

Hmmmm.....where can I get some of these for the house? Here are Son #1 and #2 in the stockades near Liberty Square (I think that's what it's called). Son #3 is in the background.

Now it's Son #3's turn. Seriously, how do I install these in the closet? Anyone?

Tom Sawyer's Island had closed for the day so Dear Hubby took the boys on Aladdin's Magic Carpet while I browsed in a shop. The Pirates of the Caribbean attraction was closed because of technical difficulties.

We returned to the hotel restaurant where we had dinner. Another great, tiring day!

Last night I attended a church service with the group that I volunteer with. I returned home to find the Bowels of Hell have been unleashed. That's code for Son 3's stomach bug....He didn't even wake up the two times that I had to clean him off, change his clothes AND wash not one, but TWO sets of bedding. I was up doing laundry until 2:30 a.m. Then I just put him on the floor in his room (his throw rug has a rubber backing which means any messes were unlikely to soak through to the carpet), and I curled up on the floor with him. I heard his tummy rumbling around 4 a.m., and again, I knew it was trouble. For the third time, he didn't wake as I cleaned him up, changed his clothes and started another load of laundry. During the day today, he seemed to feel better, but he didn't have much of an appetite. Towards the end of the evening, he was getting sleepy, dozing off before dinner. Doc said rest is more important at this point, so I put a new set of bedding on his bed and tucked him in. It's 11:30 p.m. and so far, so good (knock wood).

I teach 4th grade religion class on Wednesday (since 3 weeks ago) and this was our best class yet. I'm finally getting a handle on the class. I had to set some ground rules because everyone is so talkative. #1. Don't raise your hand to volunteer to read until after I ask for volunteers. No kidding. Some kids will raise their hands the minute they get into class, before I'm even finished taking attendance. #2. If I ask a question, raise your hand and I'll call on 3 people to answer. #3. Do NOT raise your hand unless: I've asked a question you want to answer, or you need clarification on what was just read/discussed, or you need to use the rest room. Once we're finished covering the required assignment, we can delve into all the "what if's" and off the wall questions and anecdotes they want to share.

It's different with my 6th grade class on Sundays. No one raises their hand unless they really hacve something to share. The 4th graders will talk just for the sake of talking. I admire their enthusiasm, but I'm expected to cover a certain amount of material each class period and time management is important. This was the first class since I stepped up to volunteer to teach Son #2's class (his teacher moved suddenly) that I didn't leave with with a serious headache.

Tuesday, February 27, 2007

Disney - Monday, Feb. 19 (Day 2)

We woke around 7:00 a.m., ate breakfast in the hotel room (I packed cereal bars, fruit and pop tarts), dressed and took the bus to the MGM Studios Theme Park. Above is a photo of the boys near the park entrance. I actually liked it better than I thought I would. There weren’t a lot of traditional rides, but there were some cute movie-type attractions. Check out the picture below. Only a couple of the building facades on the sides are real. The rest is a backdrop painted to look like San Francisco. On the opposite end of the intersection was one painted to look like New York City.

We used the Fast Pass option to get advance tickets for the Star Wars ride. With Fast Pass, you put your Disney resort card in the slot and get a ticket that gives you a time frame in which to return to the special Fast Pass line. It’s a great option to standing in the regular stand-by line for 45 minutes or more. We got our Star Wars Fast Passes, then went saw Muppet Vision 3D and by the time that was over, we went back to Star Wars, bypassed the long line and went right in. We visited a few more attractions before spending some time at the Honey, I Shrunk the Kids play area. Below is a photo of the boys - notice the flower stem behind them?

After leaving, MGM, we took the bus back to the hotel, freshened up, then drove to the Fort Wilderness resort, parked there, took their bus to the restaurant area for our dinner reservation. Son #3 was overly tired, I think, and had a little melt-down. Dear Hubby took him outside for a while, Son #3 pulled himself together, and re-joined the family for dinner (a buffet of country-type cooking – my least favorite meal of the week). After dinner, we took the boat from Fort Wilderness to the Magic Kingdom Theme Park, arriving just in time for the 8:00 p.m. parade – beautiful lighted floats.

After the parade, we meandered through the crowd. Dear Hubby and the boys wanted to do on this Stitch Escapes attraction (from “Lilo & Stitch”) while I opted to watch the fireworks. Right before the fireworks started, a woman dressed as Tinkerbell rode a zip line from near the top of the Magic Kingdom castle to not far from the bridge I was standing. If you’ve never seen the castle in person, trust me, it’s very tall. Props to Tinkerbell – it looks like a fun job, and I say that even though I’m somewhat afraid of heights.

We met up again and Dear Hubby took Sons#1&2 to ride the Indy Speedway. Since Son #3 didn’t meet the minimum height requirement, he and I rode the Space Orbiter. We stood in line for a while, took and elevator to the second level, boarded our spaceship, which Son #3 could raise and lower with a lever. (As I mentioned, I hate heights so I just started at the back of his jacket for the entire ride.) Since they enjoyed the Stitch ride, they insisted on taking me on that – it was kind of cute. It was getting pretty cool (upper 40’s) so we took the boat, then bus back to where the parked the van and drove back to our hotel. That was the only time all week that we used our own transportation.


Today was Son #3's check up - 5 years old. He was okay with the finger-prick blood test, but the chicken pox booster shot was a disaster. The nurse jabs the needle in my little guy's arm and says she can't get the vaccine in. She at first thought that it was because he was clenching his muscle (he was understandably upset). However, she removed the syringe from his arm, tried squeezing the plunger part - still nothing. Apparently it was clogged (yes, it was hermetically sealed and sterile). She said she had never seen anything like that before and left the room to get a 2nd syringe. This time, she tested it by squeezing out a tiny drop. But still.... two injections when there should've been only one. He's still recovering from the stomach bug, by the way. He's also in the 75th percentile for height, which is interesting since neither Dear Hubby nor I are tall.

Monday, February 26, 2007

Did You Miss Me?

Wow! Was That FUN!

We had a great time on our vacation to Walt Disney World! I’ll blog about it throughout the week or so. If you’re not interested, just skip down to the bottom part of my posts, called “Today” (original, huh?)

Sun, Feb. 18 – Day 1 (sort of).
It was Son #3’s 5th birthday and he spent ten hours of it in the minivan. He was a trooper, though. We left the house before dawn (around 5:45 a.m.) . It was the first time that Son #3 saw the sun come up so he sang the following – over and over and over:

“Who can make the sunrise? (Who can make the sunrise?)
Who can make the sunrise? (Who can make the sunrise?)
The Candy Man can (The Candy Man can)”

That’s apparently the only verse he knows. Only he kept singing it as if the Candy Man is Jamaican (“the candy mon can”). The drive, while long, was pleasant enough. No real traffic, very little highway construction. We stopped every three hours to top off the gas tank, use the restroom, and switch drivers. We arrived at the resort, Port Orleans Riverside, around 5:00 (we crossed a time line, losing one hour). The weather was a little cool – it dipped down to the 40’s at night.

I checked into the hotel while Dear Hubby and the kids waited in the van. They had two personalized Happy Birthday pins for Son #3 and me – we wore them all week. (My birthday is actually today, Feb. 26th.)

We settled into our hotel room, which was functional but nothing spectacular. That’s fine with us, though, because we knew we wouldn’t be spending many waking hours there. Two full beds – one for Dear Hubby and me, the other for Sons #1& 2. Son #3 slept in the trundle bed that pulled out from underneath his brothers’ bed. The décor was interesting. Very rustic. The head board and foot boards were made of logs and thick sticks. I wonder if it was recycled from the Fort Wilderness resorts?

After unpacking, we took the river taxi (everyone on board sang “Happy Birthday” to Son #3 and me) from our hotel to the Downtown Disney area, where there are a lot of restaurants and shops. We had a late dinner reservation at Rainforest Café. We used to take Sons #1&2 to the one in Virginia when we lived there so we thought they’d enjoy it. We did.

After dinner, we browsed the Downtown Disney shops – there is this Lego store there that’s amazing. Every Lego set you could imagine, plus there’s an entire wall of bins containing individual Lego pieces of every size, shape and type. You can take a cup and fill it with whatever pieces you want and as long as the lid fits, you can buy it. It was Nirvana for Son #1. Each of the boys was given $40 spending money by their Grammy (my mother), but we told them they could not buy anything until Friday, our “free day.” I wanted to be sure they saw all their other options at the various theme parks we’d be visiting.

We took the bus back to the hotel and slept like babies.


Feb. 26th. My birthday. Son #2 stayed home from school, recovering from his stomach bug (more on that later). Son #3 is having trouble readjusting to our regular routine ("I'm bored."). We made a quick trip to the post office to pick up the mail that was on hold while we were on vacation. A couple of minor bills, a Victoria's Secret catalog order (sweaters), Dear Hubby's medicine (mail order pharmacy), and our state income tax refund. I more or less spent the rest of the day trying to upload my vacation photos to Snapfish or Shutterfly - unsuccessfully, I might add. Dear Hubby picked up Chinese take-out for dinner, and brought home a chocolate cake with chocolate icing (my favorite). Son #3 is having a relapse of his bug. Not the bday I planned, but not horrible...

Friday, February 16, 2007

A Birth Story (Son #3)

NOTE: For those of you who don't know, I'll be on vacation from Feb. 18-24th. I hope to post again on Monday, February 26th, which just happens to be my birthday, so check back!

Back in June around their birthdays, I posted the birth stories for Son #1 and Son #2. This Sunday is Son #3's birthday so I thought I'd post his birth story. It's hard to believe The Baby is turning 5. I was a working mom until he came along. We had purchased a small home in April 2001 - three bedrooms, two baths, 1163 sf. In June we found out we were expecting Son #3, essentially outgrowing the home we just bought. (We're still living there, though - but it's, um, cozy.)

They say every pregnancy is different. I wasn't sick much at all with Son #3, but I was very tired all the time. I didn't know if it was just fatigue or if it was my age. I napped a lot.

The boys were okay with the idea of a younger sibling, but they were rooting for a brother. They've shared a room at different times in the past and were ready to do so again. As for me, I didn't really have a strong sense whether this baby would be a boy or girl. I knew very early on - even before the ultrasound - with the other two. I sort of figured that law of averages would mean a girl this time and was getting used to the idea. After two boys, one does have to learn to "think pink", I believe. A later ultrasound showed that our future would be blue. Yea! (If I seem partial to boys, it's because they're all I know.)

It was pretty much a textbook pregnancy. There was one visit to the OB in my 7th month that was scary. He thought the baby's heart rate was slightly low. That in itself wasn't alarming, but he poked and prodded at my belly hoping to elicit a reaction (an increased heart rate) from the baby. It didn't work. The nurse fed me cookies and orange juice and had me hang around for 30 or so minutes, in hopes that the baby would get a little sugar rush. Didn't work, either. Doc was a little concerned that the baby was non-responsive so he sent me to the Labor & Delivery ward of the hospital (his office adjoins the hospital, so it was just a brief elevator ride and a short walk).

At the hospital, they hook me up to an even more sophisticated monitor, gave me an IV with something in it - possibly Mountain Dew? (kidding). I was lying there by myself, listening to the hwoo-hwoo-hwoo of the fetal heart monitor, and - because I am who I am - imagining the worst. A Eucharist Minister from our church happened to come by to offer Communion to Catholic patients. We prayed together and he gave me Communion. Just a couple of minutes after he left, the baby's heart rate increased to its more acceptable range *and* he started kicking and moving all around. Hmmmm..... Within minutes, we were sent home.

Later on, I tested postive for Group B strep (as I had with Son #2), which simply means that an antibiotic IV would be administed to me before delivery. Because my job involved a commute of a 24-mile toll bridge, Doc thought I should give up the idea of working right up to my due date, which was Feb. 18. Dear Hubby and I had pretty much decided that I'd quit working when the baby was born, so I left my favorite job two weeks early on February 4th, and haven't regretting it once.

At that point, I was visiting Doc weekly and we were charting my labor progression (I'll spare you the dilating/effacing details). On Friday, Feb. 15th, he mentioned that the volume of my amniotic fluid seems to be decreasing slightly, which is typical as a woman approaches delivery. He said to come back on the Mon. Feb. 18 - my estimated due date - and if nothing much more was happening, he'd like to induce labor. I should point out that back in the Spring when we conceived, there was a lot going on in our lives - buying and moving into a new home, the death of my mother-in-law among them - so I wasn't exactly tracking my monthly cycles. We sort of guessed.

Well, Monday arrives and I visit his office first thing in the morning. Minor dilation, rather effaced, but really not much different from the previous week's visit. He tells me to enjoy my day, not to eat after 3:00 p.m., and to go to the hospital at 7:00 p.m. They'd admit me, start a pitocin drip to jump start the contractions and he'd stop by the next morning on the way to his office and deliver the baby.

I walked around, did a little window shopping, lined up a sitter for Sons #1 and #2, and ate a leisurely lunch at LaMadeleine (salmon salad and a rich chocolate dessert - yum!). The young fellow who served my lunch asked when was the baby due. I'll never forget his face when I told him, "in about 4 hours." :-O Truthfully, during lunch I had a few maybe-Braxton-Hick's contractions, but that was it. I went home, took a shower, shaved my legs, polished my toenails (a diversionary technique that never works - hey, she has such wonderful toe nails that I'm not even noticing her Va-jay-jay!).

Dear Hubby and I arrive at the hospital at 7:00 p.m. as expected, we're shown to our room, I change into my gown - backless is still "in" apparently - and settle in to watch TV. The nurse comes in around 8:00 p.m., looks at my chart, takes a peek at me, doesn't even comment on my pedicure, and says, "Why are we inducing you? You're fully dilated. Would you like your epidural now before we call Dr. T?" Hey, I've done a medicated birth (Son #1), and a natural birth (Son #2). For those of you who prefer the natural route, that's great. More meds for me. ;-)

If you've read the two previous birth stories, you'll realize that I've always had very irregular, inconsistent, yet apparently productive contractions. Not that they weren't painful - some were very much so, while others were barely noticeable. And so it went...

The anesthesiologist arrives around 9:15 p.m., administered the epidural and we wait for Doc. He arrives around 10 p.m., we get to work, and Son #3 is born just before midnight. Interesting that Son #3 did indeed arrive on the due date estimated by Doc, just under his own terms. That's a pattern we've seen repeated a lot over the past five years. And maybe, just maybe, Son #3 was getting even for all Doctor T's poking and prodding while he was enjoying a deep, interuterine slumber two months prior.

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Thursday, February 15, 2007

Happy Valentine's Day! (a day late)

I hope everyone had a nice Valentine's Day. We've been pretty busy lately (and pinching our pennies) because: 1) Son #3's birthday party is Saturday, and 2) we leave for vacation on Sunday, so we didn't make a big deal over Valentine's Day. We did exchange cards and he bought me some beautiful roses.

Yesterday, Son #3 and I were running errands (buying suitcases for said vacation) - since weren't very far from Dear Hubby's office, we decided to meet for lunch at a quasi-fast food Mexican place.

I teach religion class to the 4th graders on Wednesday night, so we didn't make any evening plans. If it weren't for our trip, we would've probably gone out to dinner, just the two of us. And, not the "thrill is gone", but after 17 years of marriage - and 21 Valentine's Day spent together - it just isn't a big a thing as it used to be, you know? Of course, if he had forgotten, that would be an entirely different story! (Highly unlikely, though. If anyone would forget, it'd probably be me.)

Going off topic here: as you know I just switched to the new Blogger and I have comment moderation turned on. I thought I may have offended someone on another blog, but apparently no one was paying attention - not that I'm complaining. Well, Blogger does save the comments for me to moderate, but two comments to my last post did NOT appear after I selected them and clicked "publish." What's up with that?

I'll post tomorrow, and then take a hiatus for 9 or 10 days. When I return, if I see that's it's safe to do so, I'll turn off the comment moderation.

Monday, February 12, 2007

Random Thoughts...

Hello, Readers! Have you met Tracey? I bet you have, since we share the same readers. She has a cool mom-centric blog (click on her name to visit her blog). She posted some pix of her kids and I commented that her son with the glasses resembles my Son#1. Even though Son #1 is 11.5 years old, he's small for his age and looks younger. Even their glasses are similar. Tracey, if you're reading this, take a look at my handsome fellow.

To Flip Flop Mamma, who also has a cool blog, this is for you. You commented a couple of posts ago that "Ok, I do not think Llama's are cute!!" Take another look below. How could you NOT love those eyelashes?? (Just a little gentle ribbing FFM, it's okay that you like the camels better! I just needed an excuse to post this one last picture from our outing.)

Now, to Ashley, who just recently posted a comment on my blog. Whenever I someone visits my blog, I return the courtesy and take a peek at theirs (and more often than not, I become a regular reader). Today I visited your blog. Um. Wow. I'm not sure I'm your target audience, given that I'm old enough to be your mother. I mean, legitimately, to be your mother. Dear Hubby and I were married 17 years ago, after a 3 year engagement (we were both in our early to mid-20's). Had we married earlier and started our family earlier, we could easily have a child your age (17). Am I surprised by the postings on your blog? Actually, no. Not much surprises me.

Some folks on your blog have theorized that your postings are a hoax. Perhaps they are. Wouldn't it be interesting to learn that a 12 year old geeky boy assumed the fake persona of "Ashley," created an elaborate internet hoax and got the most Blogger comments ever!!!! I, however, tend to give people the benefit of the doubt for this reason alone: it takes me less than a minute to read a lengthy post, probably a minute and a half to draft a comment, and another another minute to say a sincere, earnest prayer. I figure I can afford to spare three minutes out of my oh-so-glamorous life (ha ha!) for you.

So for now, I'm voting that you're real. I hope you'll be able to use your blogs to work through your self-esteem issues. You seem to be bright, witty and kind, based on your writing, as well as your very well restained comments to the derisive comments on your blog. There's a difference between stupid (you aren't) and foolish (okay, hard to argue against that). I'll make a deal with you. I won't be condescending and judgmental if you at least listen to what I have to say without writing me off as an old fogey. Deal? As one snake to another (Chinese zodiac)? Although my marriage isn't perfect, it's damn good. If nothing else, I hope you might read my blog and come away with the feeling that "Wow. I want that. I deserve that." And I hope you find the strength to stand up for yourself in all of your relationships, recognize your worth and say, "ENOUGH!"

Lastly, why do I blog? Hmmmm..... I enjoy bragging about my family. I also enjoy telling stories that I might otherwise tell my gal pals if they were not so busy with their own lives. I also enjoy reading other people's perspectives. I'm lucky to have found other like-minded women who, although we may not share the same religions, we at least share the same faith in our Lord, and our love for our families. So to Sue, Tracey, Nadine, Flip Flop Mamma, Nicole, Anna, Jules, ~d, Jen, Ms. Big Dubya, Nikki, Les and That Chick Over There, and my non-blogging buds (Debbie, Lisa, Renee and Mom), you're the reason that I blog.


Sunday, February 11, 2007

Sneaky Blogger!

I've been resisting the urge (not an urge really) to upgrade to the new Blogger, formerly Blogger beta. Tonight, however, I had no choice. They found me! They wouldn't let me log in without my Google account, which I only signed up for to ready Chicky Pea's blog. (I won't bother linking as hers is a private blog.) So here I am.

Those of you on the new Blogger - do you like it better? I didn't have any trouble with the old blogger, with the exception of posting photos.

I've also selected "comment moderation." Someone posted a comment on another blog that I found offensive and just couldn't let slide. So I posted my own 2 cents. I doubt the original commentor will bother to come here, but just in case... I'll moderate comments for a little while. If you don't see yours showing up for a while, that's all there is to it.

So tell me, if you're using New Blogger, what do you like/dislike about it? Oooh, I see I can select text color and different fonts...that's kind of cool. And what's with "labels?"

Friday, February 09, 2007

Here are some more photos of our trip to Global Wildlife yesterday. Below is the baby llama with his mother. Aren't they the cutest?

Below is Son #3 feeding a llama. They eat right out of your hand, as do the camels.

Below are the zebras. We were instructed to toss the food on the ground for them because, although they've never bitten a visitor, they do get very aggressive with each other.

There are two different types of camels at this place. One is a male bactrian camel, which has thick wooly fur. Apparently when male bactrian camels are, um, looking for love, they urinate on their tails. It seems to drive the bactrian babes wild. But this human babe couldn't tolerate the smell to get close enough for a decent picture.

Instead, this is a female dromedary camel (not sure if I'm spelling that correctly). While no bed of roses, she smells much better than her bactrian roommate.

Finally, here's a shot of Son #3 and me.

Thursday, February 08, 2007

Say Cheese!

You're probably wondering, What is that???!!! It's a type of steer (bull). Lovely smile, don't you think? At least for an animal that has no upper teeth.

Today, Son #3, his grandfather and I went to this wildlife preserve not too far from where we live. It's a 900 acre space, fenced only along the outer perimeter. The animals just roam freely inside this fence.

You tour the property by way of a sheltered wagon pulled by a tractor (wagons, actually, as there are several of them linked together. Today was the perfect day to go - sunny, low 70's, and only 10 other people on our entire tour. You can purchase cups of feed for the animals. Of course, all of the animals are conditioned to recognize the 'feed wagon' (that would be us). I'll post as many pictures as Blogger will allow.

Below is a type of non-North American deer - a blackbuck. I like the spiraled antlers. They're pretty petite - a little smaller than my greyhound dog. To feed these guys, you just toss the feed on the ground.

Get ready to say "awwwww." Below is a 10-day old llama. He stayed pretty close to his mama llama, but for some reason, Blogger won't let me upload a photo of the two of them together.

Here's a shot of a giraffe. Yes, he really was that close. This one would walk right up to your cup of feed, stick his nose in, and steal it if you weren't holding on the cup tightly!

Well, for some reason, these are all the photos that Blogger will let me post. It tells my photos have been successfully uploaded but they're not appearing in my post. I'll try to add a few more tomorrow.

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

Can You Say 'Oops!'?

We live in an area, that although it's well developed, many houses still access their water via well. These aren't the old fashioned, lower your bucket on a rope kind, but rather underground wells with electric pumps.

Last night, Dear Hubby was cooking dinner and the water was fine. When I went to rinse the dishes after dinner (not only do I rinse, but I sort of 'pre-wash' my dishes before putting them in the dishwasher - how neurotic is that?), I noticed the water pressure was low.

Hmmmm. Dear Hubby went out to the shed (which we built around our pump/filter to protect it from the elements) and noticed that the pump indicated zero water pressure. Zero, zip, nada, nil. He inspects the pump - no signs of damage. He checks the circuit box. All looks well.

When faced with potentially bad news, I usually slip into "action mode." So I left an answering machine message for the company that services our well/filter. That's about all the action I can muster at 8:00 p.m. so I switch to Plan B: panic. Well, not exactly, but I do often assume the worst and work myself up into - if not a tizzy, then a 'cranky state.'

Here's how the cranky state works: don't talk to me because I'm busy catastrophizing (is that a word?) - i.e., surely we'll need a whole new well system and it will cost thousands of dollars and take weeks to install. We'll have to cancel our vacation, dip into the kids' already meager college funds, they won't be able to get a decent education and therefore will NEVER be able to move out. Logically, I know this is unlikely, but cranky state is like a runaway train.

I did manage to get some sleep - rare in cranky state - until 5 a.m. when I hear weird noises from our hot water heater. Lovely. Dear Hubby theorizes that it's the sound of gas warming the empty tank so he turns off the gas. Noise stops.

At 7:15 a.m., the well company returns my call and they'll send someone out to the house. I go to my sister-in-law's house (she lives 2 blocks away) to shower, leaving Dear Hubby home with a still-sleeping Son #3. I come back home, Dear Hubby heads to s-i-l's house to shower, then off to work for him. At 9:30, the well guy arrives, does some checking - everything looks okay. He takes this little thing to test electrical outlets and realizes that the well isn't getting any juice. AHA!

Time to shift gears - I don't need a whole new well after all. This must mean that I need to have the entire house rewired for electricity, right? Because in cranky mode things are never that simple. Or are they? Well guy asks whether he can peek at our circuit box. Sure. Go ahead, but my husband already checked that.

Click goes the sound of the circuit switch being set back in the "ON" position, purr goes the sound of the well's pump as it re-starts. "DOH!" is the sound that Dear Hubby makes when I inform him that it cost $75 for a stranger to switch the very circuit that Dear Hubby said was fine. (Ca-ching is the sound of the cash register at Belk Dept. Store where I decided to relieve my stress at the Clinique counter - it's gift week.)

The well guy offered not to charge me the service fee, stating that he could just write "not home" on the work order. I thanked him, but said I'd rather pay because next time I need them - and there WILL be a next time - I didn't want them to think I was a no-show and be bumped to the bottom of the list. Neurotic folks belong on top of the list, don't you think?

Dear Hubby isn't a complete idiot, though. In his defense, the top two switches in the right side are always in the OFF position because we have a gas (not electric) stove and dryer. He just didn't notice that the switch underneath those two was also in the OFF position and shouldn't have been. (Note to self: do NOT resist the urge to go behind him and double check next time. I do it with the alarm clock and it drives him crazy. Too bad!) Oy Vey!

Monday, February 05, 2007

Hooray Indianapolis Colts!

Okay, I'll be the first to tell you that I don't follow football much. Not since Joe Montana retired anyway. I pretty much watch the Superbowl for the commercial - except this year, because the USA channel was running a marathon of one of my favorite TV shows, Monk - but I digress.

I was rooting for the Colts for two reasons, one of them not so nice, I'm afraid. First, I am a New Orleans Saints fan, having been born in New Orleans and raised in its 'burbs. The Saints had a great season, don't you think? Well, if they couldn't make it to Superbowl, at least New Orleans-born Peyton Manning did. There are other Colts who have ties to New Orleans, too. So WOO-HOO, Peyton Manning!

The other reason is that I would've rooted for any team BUT the Chicago Bears. I really don't have anything against the Bears, but some of their fans were horribly rude to the Saints fans that visited their city a few weeks ago for the NFC Championship game. It's been on our local news channels and in our papers ad nauseum - I won't go into details here. I know that not all Chicago citizens are rude and hostile, but the not-so-silent minority certainly did their share to tarnish their city's reputation. (I know, I know. Like I should talk: look at the reputation of the City of New Orleans.)

I understand sports rivalry, and I get talking smack. But when you can't stick to the topic at hand (which football team is best), and have to resort to making fun of a natural disaster, that's just plain wrong. (Did any of you see the sign "Bears Finishing What Katrina Started"? There's a photo of the Chicago Tribune blog, along with some interesting comments, both pro and con. If you're interested, click here.

I know New Orleans fans aren't perfect - there was the idiotic woman with the t-shirt that said "(expletive) the Bears" that made it on TV. Yikes! But by and large, the security and management at our stadium, the Superdome, tend not to look the other way when someone is being very offensive. New Orleans may not being doing many things right these days, but at least it's relatively safe for both teams fans to enjoy a game.

And to the folks who think we (or I, specifically) are being overly sensitive, thank you. I'd much rather be overly sensitive than utterly insensitive. (End of rant.)

Friday, February 02, 2007

Ok, I'm So *Totally* Bragging Right Now

Just indulge me, okay? Remember my Jan. 18th post where I discussed (okay, bragged) about how smart Son #1 is?

Well, at the IEP meeting on Thursday, February 01, 2007, Son #1’s teacher told me that they evaluated his reading comprehension. They tested him 3 times over the past couple of months to be sure the results were accurate.

It was determined that Son #1 – age 11.5 years and in the 6th grade – is reading at a level of 12.9. This is the equivalent of a 12th grade student in the 9th month of the school year (essentially a graduating senior in high school!)


Thursday, February 01, 2007


Last week I posted about how Son #1's gym teacher told him that his dog could play football better than Son #1. (Click here if you missed it.) Anyway, I resisted the Mama Bear urge to roar into the school office the next day and defend my cub.

Today was my son's IEP (Individualized Education Plan) meeting at school. I arrive and am greeted by:

1) Son #1's primary teacher, Mrs. G. (homeroom, language arts, social studies)
2) Son #1's math & science teacher, Miss H.
3) Son #1's speech teacher, Mrs. A.
4) and the special ed resource teacher, Mrs. L. (the asst. principal did not attend).

Wait a minute. Mrs. L.? You used to be Miss N. Oh, that's right, I had heard that Miss N. married a fellow teacher over the summer. You guessed it. Mrs. L. is now Insensitive Coach's wife! Talk about awkward...

Time to regroup. During our conversation about Son #1's temperament (he's generally very even tempered, but he does tend to internalize his pain and/or anger and lets loose later), I managed to sneak in a little reference that Son #1 came home from school last week very offended that his gym teacher said (blah, blah, blah).

Apparently Mrs. L. picked up on my subtle cue because Coach L. took his foot out of his mouth long enought to call Dear Hubby at his office, *and* call me at home to apologize. This was about an hour after the IEP meeting ended. Coach L. admitted that he said it, but insisted that the comment wasn't directed at Son #1, but was said to another kid in jest (but does that really make it okay?). Anyway, he seemed to feel very badly, apologized profusely and said that he will apologize to Son #1 in class tomorrow. I guess things are all warm and fuzzy now. Hopefully Coach L. will think before he speaks and we can all live happily ever after.

Meanwhile, guess what happened yesterday: Son #1 got mad at an acquaintance at school who took grabbed Son #1's rolling backpack and took off running. When Son #1 caught up to the kid, the kid smacked Son #1 (not hard, he said). The kid wouldn't let go of my son's backpack so Son #1 gave him this sort of karate chop to the arm. Kid released his grip and Son #1 took his backpack back.

Apparently the whole thing still bothered Son #1 because an hour or so later, he raised his hand and said he had something to 'confess' - just like a good little Catholic! Except instead of confessing privately to a priest, Son #1 went to the middle of his classroom to make a public confession! He was getting teary-eyed and had trouble getting the words out so the teacher took him out in the hall so they could talk privately. From there, they went to the assistant principal's office where Son #1 explained the situation and - get this! - asked if he could please go to the kid's classroom and apologize. His idea! Did I mention that he's 11? They shook hands, made peace, other kid was fussed at (he has a history), and all's well (whew!). He told me about the tussle, but I learned about the public confession today from Mrs. G. She was touched.

I have one little thing to brag about regarding Son #1, but I'll do it as a separate post since this one is getting very long. Stay tuned....