October 29, 2007

I'm. Fine. Thats the important thing. And this is SO not a "fluffy-bunny" post, but I honestly think you need a warning. This could happen to you ...

I almost got car-jacked last night. Very cleverly, too, I might add. Follow along -- coming back from the outlet mall and dinner at 11:42. Yes, thats late -- the outlet mall is two hours away and then I had dinner at Outback (btw, 70% off lowest clearance at ColdwaterCreek). And I was on a rural out-in-the-county road. Not someplace I expected to find car-jackers. Its a "safe" community.

Imagine this -- a road with clusters of houses and then a blank area with trees and dtiches and no shoulder on the road and curves and then another cluster of houses. (By "cluster" I mean one to three houses). The clusters are close enough together that I never noticed the "dark" spots, even though I've driven the road a million times.

Here's the set-up -- Right after a small cluster of houses, a car is stopped in the road with its blinkers on. There's room to go around it in the other lane. I do that slowly, wondering if they were stopped because they were lost or maybe had hit a deer (or a cow) (or a turkey). But it was an odd place to stop. As I drove past it, I kept thinking "somethings not right -- somethings not right -- somethings not right". Which is odd for me, especially in the pasta-and-sale-euphoria. I went from "la-la-la-la" to "no-no-no-no" in a heartbeat.

I rounded the curve slowly, still muttering "somethings not right". Then I saw the second car parked IN THE MIDDLE OF THE ROAD. Trees-and-ditches and no way to ease around it. But it was on around the curve before the next cluster of houses. IF I had driven up on it, the car behind me (which had eased up behind me) would have trapped me bumper-to-bumper. But I DIDN'T drive up to the other car. I stopped cold, leaving several hundred feet of space between. So, there I sat trying to decide if I REALLY needed to try to do a u-turn or if I were being paranoid.

The second car started driving. I decided I was being paranoid. It drove past the cluster of houses. THEN it stopped in the same set-up, but in a darker spot. I hesitated, then shot forward to right behind the car. At the particular spot they had picked, I knew the road well enough to know that there was an unmarked gravel road that broke-away left-n-back exactly at their tail-lights. Its a hard turn to find even in daylight, sort of hidden in the trees.

I zipped onto the gravel road. They paused for a minute. Then both cars zoomed off. I was only a mile or two from my house, so I went home and called the Sheriff to report weirdness.

Having written this down, it doesn't sound as creepy-wrong as it felt last night. I feel a little silly. Then it occurs to me -- this was just a version of the red-light scam. One car stops at the red-light. Victim pulls up befind them. Another car pulls up behind, trapping the victim.

I know this is not the "happy-fluffy" posts I usually try to have, but this is an important warning. Be aware of your surroundings.

October 25, 2007
Theme Song For Shopping

Really, if you think about it, shopping can be a sport. I came to this conclusion this morning as I was updating my side-bar. I've added NordicWare, LLBean, and Lego under HannaAndersson.

Nordicware has a somewhat cute pumpkin-cake-pan that I refuse to pay retail for, and their clearance goes super-quick. Probably because there are freaks like me checking the site every morning waiting ... waiting ... waiting. And, after the pumpkin? There the snowman and the christmas-tree. Maybe even the poinsetta-bundt.

LLBean merchandise is extra-sturdy. And it goes on sale the first of every month. Some coats the first of November, the majority of them the first of December. At midnight Eastern time. Pick out what you want BEFORE it goes on sale and move quickly. Once its in your checkout, do NOT lolly-gag around. Checkout and THEN go back to the site for more shopping if you want.

Lego. We all love Lego. We all love Lego a LOT on sale. Their "game" site has a button at the top marked "shop". Click it. Scroll on the right to see a line that says "Deals". Click it. You'll be transported to a happy-place -- Lego Clearance! It, too, sells out fast. They've not added any new items to the clearance list in several weeks. I can feel a big bunch just around the corner. And, yes, I check it every morning. (Is it really worth it? You be the judge. In August I got my nephews for Christmas the giant packages of lego-castles and assessories for about 65% off retail.)

Don't forget the HannaAndersson sale the week before OR the week after Christmas. Posted on a Thursday night. Although, they've been more small-sale-oriented this year. I'm curious to see if they still have the crazy-giant-sale. And, yes, I occassionally write myself a small check and tuck it away. I can void the pile and spend the whole amount on the "hanna" sale. It keeps me out of bankruptsy. Because sales are no fun if they're attached to a huge bill later.

Ok. So we know I like sales. Frankly, I'm good at sales. [It amuses my husband that I "can't" do math. Unless its shopping related. And then I'm SO fast] But I'm not good at theme music. I need some suggestions. Becuase I think it will boost my performance if I have a shopping theme song. You know, the way that sports-teams have theme songs? Yep, I definitely need suggestions for a theme song.

October 24, 2007
A Christmas Elf

Brainwashing is both efficient and fun! THIS is the year that I move on to the next level with Ron (my almost ten-year old). I absolutely adore doing the stockings. One of my very best childhood memories is my little brother "doing" my Christmas stocking so wonderfully that in November my parents had to intervene because there was no way on Earth the stocking would hold all the loot!

I learned early how to make a person want something. Tell them they can't have it. Yet. (Which accounts for me being the only kindergartener concerned with GPA, as my mother told me I could only go to the "good" school if I kept my grades up)

And, so, I told my children that only when they reach ten years old can they be my stocking-helper ... A Christmas Elf! Ron turns ten in early December. I had forgotten about the Stocking Elf, but he reminded me out-of-the-blue this week! Apparently, he's really been looking forward to this! The other kids are so over-the-top envious that its hysterical. I overheard them laying around on the rug reading, "Man. I wish I could be a Stocking Elf, too"

There are rules and limits, of course. I've told him I'll do most of the stockings, but that he can offer suggestions. And that he can be in charge of spending five dollars of my money per stocking. He's started attacking the catalogs as soon as they arrive, searching for fun novelty items. Its nice to see him so excited about "giving" instead of "getting"! I know he's really interested, not just faking it to get more gifts for himself. Because this morning he asked me "Hey, Mom! Do I get to wear an Elf costume?"

October 23, 2007
Stealth Shopping

The best part about being perpetually sleep-deprived and neurotic is that sometimes I surprise myself. For example, I'm almost done with my Christmas shopping!

Now, how does that happen, you might be asking. That you can be almost done and not even realized you've started? First, I don't shop without a list. Since I've not done the list yet, I can't have started shopping. Second, I have four small children. Sleep-dep leads to short-term memory loss. Third, I live in the middle of shopping-nowhere and have resorted the past few years to intensive internet-shopping. Combined, these factors lead to the Perfect Shopping Storm!

Apparently, here's how it worked for me this year. When I ordered stuff with "free shipping", I occassionally piggy-backed another item. Tossed the extra-items in the "gift closet" and forgot all about them!

Imagine my shock today when I started making the lists (yes, there are multiple lists based on location-of-gift-opening) and discovered that I'm more than half-way done!!! Sure, its a big list so half-way still leaves me a little from the finish line. Still. Thats AMAZING!

Not to mention, a big part of the list thats left can be covered by "wish lists". Thank Goodness for "wish lists". I use them during the year to stockpile Christmas ideas. Especially Zooba.com. Now its really a matter of cruising the Zooba and Amazon lists, paying the item, and updating my lists.

*Sigh* I really enjoy updating a good list!

October 22, 2007
Pride Goes Before A Fall

Having boasted in the previous post that I'm an adult, I should have been ready for the plummet into humiliation. Yet, somehow, it always catches me by surprise! Today, while wishing to appear adult-like I've been caught with my mind in the gutter. Or, rather, with my mind in the toilet. Twice.

First, I woke my son up and stopped off in the laundry room to rotate the clothes. (Am I the ONLY one that sees the similiarity between composting and laundering?) I was standing there in the laundry-room when he staggered into his bathroom. He didn't shut the door. I know this reflects poorly on my mothering-skills but thats not the part we're focusing on today. He started to pee in the toilet. And he peed some more. And some more. AND some more. I was starting to get concerned! Thats a LOT of pee. Enough that I had decided we needed to have the talk about going to the bathroom before bedtime. I can't tell you how MUCH pee there was! THEN it dawned on me. It wasn't pee, he had turned on the shower so it would warm up while he brushed his teeth! Yes. I felt silly. (And relieved) At least that was only in my head. The second "incident" was definitely out loud ...

I was talking on the phone with my mother (MY MOTHER) who said (I swear she did) "I'm just sitting here watching your father pee." Its possible I blurted out "WHAT!?!" To which she replied something like, as best I can remember, "Well, he doesn't need my help, but I do like to watch sometimes" I can't guarentee thats EXACTLY what she said because I was close to hysteria. You get the gist of it, though. Turns out she was saying "I'm just sitting here watching your father FEED." As in, "feed the cattle". She can sit in the sunroom and look off down across the yard and see him puttering around the barn. I felt horridly embarrassed. Also, wildly relieved. Thats just one of those things you hope you NEVER have to EVER know about your parents. Ick! I've GOT to get my mind out of the toilet or I'm not EVER going to sleep well again!

October 20, 2007
Getting To Yes

Through no fault of my own, I'd been sucked down into the muck of "no" and "wait" and "later". You know what? I'm not all that patient a person. I know that must come as a shock to regular readers. [ I can't even type that with a straight face :p ]

The reality is that I'm a grown-up. I get to make choices. I get to set goals. I get to organize my pantry any old way I want! I don't have to wait to start living. THIS is living. AND ... I don't have to wait until next week to move my desk. Thats how I spent parts of yesterday and today -- breaking down and moving the school-room. Not finished yet. But, YES I'm doing it and YES we can have pizza for dinner and YES we took today off from school and the world didn't end and YES I'm feeling very ... empowered.

The children ... notice ... when I get like this. They've started suggesting projects. Lee is so thrilled with his room re-do that the others have asked for me to "do" theirs next. And then the playroom. And then the garage.

Tomorrow I'm going to finish moving the schoolroom. Sam will be back from vacation and help arrange the stuff and YES its super-fabulous to have a good interior designer walk through your house and say where stuff would look better and YES ... I'm. Going. To. Use. Power. Tools. Soon. YES! YES! YES!

Remember. Happiness is a choice! Hmmm. I sound like a woman thats had some chocolate. Maybe a lot of chocolate :)

October 16, 2007
Top Ten Reasons Lucy Didn't Blog

(10) The Move is done. Really done. Totally done. All our stuff, WAY too much stuff, is under the new roof. This was no small feat with four small children and a husband working three jobs.

(9) Husband working three jobs. Now down to two. Down to one and a half in January.

(8) Ugly hard-drive crash. Fortuately, I've learned to leave my email on the server. Lost some recipes. And my log-in url for blogging. Don't mock me. It could happen to you. [Thats my scary-Halloween-thought]

(7) Sam moved in. With me. Well, technically, with us. Sam AND the new baby. Then her mother visited. Boy THAT'S a story I won't be telling here! Then they went on vacation.

(6) Then my parents came to visit. My mother was a little ... stressed. I gained 16 pounds in 11 days. Managed not to yell at anyone. Yay for me! Now, I find myself craving green beans and unsweetened cranberry juice. So. We're having green beans and cranberry juice for dinner :)

(5) My husband wants to be in charge of Ron's tenth birthday party next month. I'm a little freaked. Thats my "thing". Sure, sometimes he really comes through far more creatively than I do. On the other hand, what if he gets the flu (like he did that Christmas I had to do his Christmas shopping on Christmas Eve)? I can't be legendary at the drop of a hat! I should be thrilled this is what I have to worry about.

(4) Scheduling is out of control. Ballet, cheerleading, karate, basketball, Awana, homeschool association. GAH! I'm about to lose my mind. How do people do it!?!

(3) Then Sam comes back this week. I like it when Sam is here. I wonder how long she'll be here. I'd love to have her here at least through the holidays in January. I'd forgotten how easy it is to just ... be ... around her. Still, there was a lot of damage done. Its hard to see her ... not completely herself. Yet.

(2) Distracted by youtube. No, really. Its scary whats out-there! Bunnies and kitties and The Mom Song.

And the #1 reason I've not been blogging, which escaped me until today, is that ...