Friday, December 29, 2006

CHRISTMAS EVE

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Sunday was great too! Auntie D and I made a big breakfast for all. So big in fact it was Christmas breakfast as well. On Saturday we only exchanged family presents but not the big presents to my children. This prompted a little begging from Man Son and Oldest daughter to open more presents. I had to laugh each time they asked since they are not little children. Even Snow White was content with the gifts she received Saturday night. She pretty much thought that was all the gifts.

Man Son and Oldest daughter had made plans the day before with a few new friends at the mall. We took our time getting ready. We dropped them off at the mall to spend time with their friends while we ventured out seeking the little shops of town. We discovered all the little shops in town were closed so we traveled on to the outskirts of town. Auntie D and I giggled as we passed by an Astrologer Reading sign and thought about going in. Neither of us had any cash on hand so we went on ward. We had the notion if we passed by an ATM we would take out a bit of cash and then stop by on our way back. Auntie D even called them to ask the cost. It is $20 to $75 depending on which cards or what type of reading you wanted. We were a bit confused as to what each reading entailed. We pondered for a few moments during which time Man Son and Oldest daughter called to say "We are ready to be picked up." It was only 4 pm so we knew the mall was not closing, they were ready to go home. Back to the mall we went and picked up Man Son and Oldest daughter.

The late nights were really catching up to Auntie D and myself. Man Son and Oldest daughter were wearing me down on opening presents. After a bit of tidying up the house. I explained that I needed a bit of a nap which is unheard of. Yeah, me taking a nap? Isn't that what I do after everyone else is asleep and before I go to work? Anyway I told them after I get a little rest and if I received a lot of cooperation from them, then maybe we could open some presents. They agreed to keep the house to a normal hum and make everything sing like Christmas for Snow White when I emerged from my room. Auntie D and Bear also took advantage of nap time. After I awoke from my nap I was surprised to see Snow White was in bed and asleep! It was only 7 pm for goodness sakes! She was not use to all the late nights either. Guess she was as wiped out as we were.

Man Son and Oldest daughter helped me carry the Santa presents upstairs. Oldest daughter asked why she was carrying a large empty box up the stairs? I held in my laughter and told her not to question Mommy. Auntie D and I filled the stockings and laid out all the presents. Auntie D was surprised to see we were filling more than three stockings. She and I then took a Santa bag full of presents over to the neighbor who changed my flat tire the other night (will write about the flat another time). No one answered the bell so we just left the Santa bag on the front porch and went on a little walk with Bear.

On our way back to the house we stopped in the front yard chatting like sisters do. We looked up at the sky and she jokingly said "Look there goes Rudolph" as a plane passed by blinking a red light. Usually they flash between red and green or red and blue but this one only flashed red. We looked at each other and just knew both of us had the same idea going through our heads. I ran into the house and started shouting "Snow White! Snow White! You have got to come out here and see this! It's Santa and his reindeer!!" She looked groggy at first but then caught on to what I was saying. She ran for the door as I gathered up her slippers and coat. She ran right past the Christmas tree, all the presents and out the door on to the front porch. She started yelling "I cannot see them!" and Auntie D pointed to the tip of the tall evergreens. " I SEE HIM!! I SEE HIM!! I SEE RUDOLPH'S RED NOSE!!" she exclaimed as she jumped around full awake and so full of excitement! When we could no longer see the blinking of Rudolph's nose we went back inside. She was so excited she walked right past the Christmas tree with all the presents laid beneath.

Man Son, Oldest daughter and Snow White really loved what Santa had brought. Man Son's favorite gift was the Retro Atari. Oldest daughter found out there was a (place cool skater guy name here) skate board in that empty box she carried up from the basement. She wanted that skate board so much I even think she told the mall Santa just incase he had even a smidgen of pull. Snow White's favorite gift so far is her American Girl Bitty Baby doll and furniture.

What did we do after that? The children played with their wonderful gifts while Auntie D and I ....what else...we chatted into the wee hours of the morning as sisters do.

Later Saturday Night

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After everyone left Auntie D, Bear, Snow White and I went for a walk. It must have been around 8 pm. While on our walk we started an impromptu Caroling which we thoroughly enjoyed! If there were people peeking out their windows we did not notice them. Just before we arrived back at the house we decided it would be a grand idea to drive around looking at all the Christmas lights. First we would have to stop by Star Bucks for some hot drinks. When we were home we told Man Son and Oldest daughter our plans. Man Son would rather stay at home but would like us to bring back some Star Bucks for him. Oldest daughter gets ready and we head out the door. I am rather new to town and only know of one Star Bucks in the area which is located in the Target store. Auntie D is leery it will be open due to it being Saturday and nearly 9 pm. Oldest daughter and I convince her all the stores are open late due to the last shopping day before Christmas. YEAH Target is open! Sadly, Star Bucks had just closed. Auntie D and Oldest daughter convince me it would be a good idea to try the mall. There might be a shop there with at least hot chocolate. Before heading to the mall I convince them we should stop by the house to give Man Son the option of coming with us. We pick him up and head to the mall. Macy's was open until midnight. Most of the mall was open until either 11 pm or Midnight. We wondered around the mall to watch the mad scurry of last minute shoppers but really they were few and far between. Auntie D and I browsed the jewelry stores but nothing gave us the feeling of we absolutely had to have it.

We all met up at Macy's around 11 pm and were fixed on the jewelry section. I showed Man Son and Oldest daughter an oriental pendant which none of us knew the meaning of the writing nor did the Macy's associates. Man Son drew a picture of it in hopes someone we know might have the answer. You cannot purchase something like this without knowing the meaning. On the plus side Auntie D found a new stone, one she does not have, a Green Amethyst. This 3 karat, cushion cut stone caught her eye. She has always hated her birthstone but now that it is no longer constrained to its purple color she is happily seeking a Green Amethyst in a white gold setting. It was getting late and we did not want to keep the store staff from closing so we went home.

Being the sisters we are we staid up until after midnight talking about the day while cleaning up.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Thursday Thirteen #1

Thirteen Things I Need to do Before the New Year

1. Get new tires on the black car.

2. Take down Christmas tree and for goodness sakes put the children’s initials on their ornaments so we can remember who’s is who’s.

3. Clean out the cars.

4. Nail something anything on the walls. The last house we lived in I didn’t put anything on the walls until we had lived there for nearly two years.

5. Pretty up Snow White’s room.

6. Find Real coal for First Night. Prepare First Night Basket

7. Get my Lincoln.

8. Return videos (3 wks over due YIKES!) I did finally have time to watch them Sunday night.

9. Clean the house top to bottom.

10. Figure out vacation dates for 2007.

11. Buy Champagne for me and Sparkling Cider for the children.

12. Buy Holiday Crakers (tube package you crack open to revile crown and toys).

13. Come up with a Realistic New Years Resolution.


Thursday Thirteen Link

Wednesday, December 27, 2006

This One's for the Gipper ...um I mean the Curmudgeon

Curmudgeon here is your wish...ok not exactly but hey I tried :-)



Christmas Comes Early

Auntie D and Bear arrived Friday around midnight. I staid up to let them in and you know what happens when sisters get together. We staid up until around 2 am chatting about this and that. Even though we talk daily on the phone there is something about sisters seeing each other in person.

Bear was up at 6 am like always and Snow White followed soon after so there was no sleeping in for us sisters. Bear met Merril and Kitten for the first time. That didn't go so well at first but after awhile Kitten being either brave or stupid kept walking up to Bear. He thought they looked like big squirrels and wanted to have a bit of a chase game with them. I had never seen a cat actually bounce off the walls where they meet the ceiling before! Merril on the other hand staid in the safety of the laundry room. We made breakfast chatted constantly and went on many walks with Bear and Snow White. While we went about our day Man Son had the luxury of sleeping in. Oldest daughter was off with her friends this weekend to return on Sunday. After awhile Uncle C called and told us one of his workers lost a family member this morning and Uncle C will cover his shift Sunday. This means he and his family would be unable to come for Christmas. Our whole family has not been gathered together for years so it was very disappointing. I know it is not as disappointing as the afore mentioned workers holiday but still it was sad news to hear.

Auntie D, Uncle C and I started brain storming and came up with a plan. If he could arrange for someone to cover him today we would move Christmas up to today. I called Grandpa to see if they could make it today. He said he would check with Grandma and call me back later. We agreed to go on about our day until we heard one way or the other from Uncle C. Auntie D, Man Son, Snow White and I all went to the mall to see if there were any last minute tempting sales. That my dear friends was a grave mistake. At 2:30 pm Uncle C called to say he could make it if everyone else could make. I called Oldest daughter to let her know she will have to come home earlier than planned. When I called Grandpa he said Grandma was not feeling well when she woke up so they would need a little more time. If Grandma was not up to it he and Uncle L would come. I call Uncle C and say Early Christmas is a go. While all of this was going on we were taking our leisure at the mall.

Then it hit me my a brick wall! I only have a few hours to cook and get everything ready! My time had been shortened by a day and a half! There were a few items on the grocery list I still needed. The wrapping of presents was not 100% finished. Even though we moved three months ago there are still unpacked boxes here and there. Not one thing is hung up on the walls so my walls are bare. This will be the first time my brothers see the house so I want it too look nice. At this point I am in over drive and anyone who gets in my way will be bowled over.

Our first stop is the grocery store and I realize the list is at home on the fridge. Oh well, how hard could it be to remember what was on the list? Auntie D had some shopping to do as well. She manned the cart and strolled through the isles with ease as Snow White staid by her side. I on the other hand ran through the isles like a tornado picking up various items and making runs to and from the cart manned by Auntie D.

As soon as we are home I put the ham and pumpkin pie in the oven. I then put everything else in it's cooking container to be turned on at varied times. I then make a mad rush around the house and shout out orders like a drill sergeant. It all seems like a blur to me but I do recall saying "I will not repeat myself so listen up" and "If you stand still in my path is not a good idea." Yeah, that last one I remember because my sister laughed and said something like "get a hold of yourself woman". She then took Man Son, Bear and Snow White down to the basement for clean up detail. Later I realized it was to get them out of the drill sergeants path. After an hour or so I mixed the glaze for the ham, took the pie out and started the rest of the dishes. Since the first and second floor was almost perfect I took a bathroom break. When I went into the bathroom I heard Auntie D laughingly say "Look out Bear, don't stand in front of that door. It will fly open at any second and crazy woman will come out."

The house was looking very nice but I wanted to put out some last minute touches so I ran down to the basement to grab some festive fabric to drape over a few items in the living room. I laid out the good china on the dinning room table and set up a children's table in the kitchen. A few phone calls from Uncle C saying he picked up Oldest daughter on his way up and needed additional directions to the house. I laid out my plan to complete all the tasks with Auntie D. When Uncle C arrived I would give them a quick tour of the house then it was up to her to entertain them. I would then dash down to the basement and wrap the remaining gifts. She was laughing at me but happy to see I had slowed down and was a normal person again. Things were going well, then I realized the side dishes were still cooking so I yelled up the stairs "Auntie D check on the food!" I could hear her laughing as she yelled down to me "All taken care of." A few minutes later I heard the front door open and Grandpa saying "Merry Christmas!!" I was worn out but trying to wrap as fast as I could. I had only two more gifts to wrap when Auntie D came down stairs to say "They are starting to open presents. What can I do to help?" She wrapped one and I wrapped one and finally everything was done.

Yeah the gangs all here! Aunt S and the Girls brought a veggie dish with home made dressing as well as cookies and a red velvet cake they had made. The Girls LOVED the MP3 players and American Girl perfume we gave them! I was thrilled with the photo bag they gave me. A lot of the moms I know have them but I never bought one for myself.

Grandpa gave Snow White her very first American Girl doll! It was visible that her heart was caught up in her throat. Then she started shaking and soon after came excited screaming "its...BITTY BABY!!!"

Aunt S gave Man Son and Oldest daughter a maze game that when completed reveled a prize. In this case it was money. Man Son quickly solved the puzzle and proclaimed his victory to all. Oldest daughter was occupied with other gifts and said she would give the puzzle another try when not so many were watching. We passed out the remainder of the gifts and everyone seemed to have been given the perfect gift. There were three gifts inspired by another blogger lalaland. Her blog of going without power which meant without the ability to plug in her coffee maker inspired these gifts. Grandpa, Auntie D and myself each received a mini generator.

After the gift exchanges we sat down to dinner and wonderful conversations. Aunt S sat down to at the Children's table only to be greeted by a surprised Snow White saying "This is the Children's table. You are not a child." She laughed and joined the rest of us in the dinning room. I am not a person to eat sweets but I couldn't help myself when it came to the cookies she baked, they were absolutely delicious. Aunt S was a real pleasure to be around this holiday and I was so grateful they came all this way to spend an early Christmas with us. Aunt S and I have had a few ups and downs through out the years and I really cherish the "up" times. Her oldest girl just had her braces taken off and the youngest girl just had her top teeth fitted with braces.

After dinner Uncle C and Aunt S said they really had to get back home so Uncle C would have time to rest before going to work. Cameras seemed to materialize out of no where. Everyone wanted a group photo on their own cameras. The last time the family was all together Uncle L brought a friend who took the group photo. This year it was up to a tripod and camera timers. Auntie D's camera took photos in good fashion. Aunt S had a bit of a time with her timer. The first time she set it I said "RUN Aunt S RUN!" And Run she did. Then we waited but nothing happened. Second time she set it and as soon as she set in motion the camera went off. Then she said "Ok, I have it now" and ran towards us and the camera went off before she came around the tripod. Once again she went behind the tripod to try again and we were all hysterical with laughter at this point and Grandpa says "I've never seen Aunt S move so fast!" I am absolutely positive everyone was smiling in that photo! I could hear Aunt S herself laughing as the flash came once again. While the next camera was being set upon the tripod I took a few impromptu shots then told everyone I want to see those silly faces and they obliged.

There was one person missing, Grandma. She was too weary from traveling from Tennessee to travel again the very next day. After the series of tripod photos we called Grandma on speaker phone. When she answered we broke out in "We Wish You A Merry Christmas." After the first verse everyone stopped but Aunt S Oldest Girl which prompted the rest of us to continue through the next verse. In Grandma's voice it was obvious she was still under the weather and we had just woke her up. She was cheerful and glad to hear our merry voices.

Then it was time for goodbye hugs and kisses all around. Aunt S, Uncle C and the Girls had to get on the road. Grandpa and Uncle L had to get back to Grandma so we packed up their loot in their cars and thanked them all for coming. I even saw Uncle L give Aunt S a hug in the drive way and she had a happy smile on her face! Aunt S and I have our ups and downs but Aunt S has only had downs with Uncle L. This happy hugging right outside my house really made this wonderful holiday brighter!

Happy Christmas to ALL!! I hope all of you had as wonderful a Christmas as we did!

Still a few more days of Christmas to come...

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Holiday Meme





1. Egg nog or hot chocolate? Nog (chocolate puts me in a coma)


2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree? Wraps with special Santa Paper


3. Colored lights or white lights on tree/house? Colored Lights


4. Do you hang mistletoe? Wow, I have forgotten all about mistletoe for a few years.


5. When do you put up your decorations? When the kids start to whine “So and so has their tree up” or when I start my Christmas shopping.


6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)? Irish Potatoes. Love seeing who will find the six pence.


7. Favorite childhood holiday memory: While driving across country we staid in a hotel over night. Each of us children took turns during the night to keep a watchful eye out the window and on our VW Bus. It was loaded with presents! Our Mother kept saying “Go to bed!”
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8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa? I was 8 yrs old and found Mom wrapping presents in the middle of the night.


9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve? YEAH!


10. How do you decorate your Christmas tree? Kids first and then Mommy evens it out.


11. Snow: love it or dread it? Love to play in it hate when I have to drive to work in it.


12. Can you ice skate? I haven’t tired in a while so I hope it is like riding a bike. Oh wait, I haven’t ridden a bike in a very long time either.


13. Do you remember your favorite gift? I big stuffed Little Foot, from The Land Before Time. He had a box of jewelry tied to each of his feet. I sill have him! Well, Snow White has him in her room. Also on the top of my favorite gift list is a gorgeous hand made jewelry box.


14. What's the most important thing to you about the holidays? Family spending lots of time hugging, laughing, talking and just enjoying themselves.


15. What is your favorite holiday dessert? I never have room for dessert but there is always pumpkin pie on our holiday dinner table.


16. What is your favorite holiday tradition? Letting my children each pick out a new ornament to purchase every year. When they are old enough to be out on their own they will have a full set of ornaments.


17. What tops your tree?. Angie, the Christmas Tree Angel


18. Which do you prefer: giving or receiving gifts? Giving! I love to see the expression on the recipient’s face when they open their gifts.


19. What is your favorite Christmas song? Jingle Bells, Silver Bells, and Away in a Manger.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

HAPPY CHRISTMAS! JOYFUL CHRISTMAS! IT'S COMING!

Hip hurray!! Christmas is coming!! The family is coming!! I cannot wait for everyone to be here!

I did a little bit of grocery shopping in preparation of the soon to arrive guests. As the Christmas songs filled the store I found myself singing along and gliding down the isles in a semi dance style. Snow White reminded me of each guests preferences and we came up with a rather pleasant menu for their stay with us.

All that is left for tomorrow is to decorate the remainder of the tree. The bottom four feet of the tree is decorated and the angel has been placed on the top all due to Snow White insisting she will be the one and only to decorate the tree this year. The tree actually lights up the whole living room this year! She did allow her brother and sister to put their ornaments on the tree. Each of my children have "their own ornaments." Every year I let them pick out an ornament to purchase. When they are ready to move on and out of the house they will have their own set of ornaments. For their first Christmas after they move out I will buy them a Christmas tree, real or fake which ever they prefer.

I also need to collapse a few straggling, empty moving boxes which are now making their presents known in the house. I am looking forward to wrapping the presents we purchased from us to our guests. I take a lot of pride in finding the perfect gift for the recipient. I am looking forward to many ooohs, awws and happily surprised faces! Snow White loves the paper I picked out. It is winter white paper with gold ornaments/gold holly leaves/gold swirls and each roll is accented with pink glittering stripes/berries/stripes. Who would have thought in this little country town we would have found such great wrapping paper? Ok, as far as wrapping paper goes I am happy if it looks good but I was really happy with this great find.

The thought of hearing stories from "When we were children" and the in person up to date news on everyone just warms my heart. I also expect a few Traveler Warrior stories sure to make you not want to make the next year but hey they made the trip for Thanksgiving and still want to come for Christmas. That reminds me I need to make sure our calls to Ireland and Scotland are going as planned for Christmas Eve. It wouldn't be a fantastic holiday if it weren't for family phone calls! All I need now is for that gold and pink tree skirt to go on sale for 75% so I can buy it for $75.


I have been smiling for a full week! I am so excited about all that Christmas brings! Thank God (literally) for this wonderful holiday about being HAPPY!

Thank you to everyone who emailed me. Let's enjoy the smiles of HAPPY people... (I need tech assistance so please bare with me on placing your photos here).

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Customer Service is Back!

I went to the grocery store to pick up just a few small but needed items like milk and bread. My son is home and I know he loves those little tuna and cracker snack packs but I couldn't find them in the new grocery store. I did find the Keebler Elf crackers and they were on sale 2 for $4.00 so I thought why not make Mommy Tuna Salad and buy the good crackers to go with it?

Well they rang up $3.49 then the discount came up $0.99. I bought more than I came in for so I was a bit bored standing in line and it occurred to me the crackers would be 2 for $5.00 instead of 2 for $4.00. It is only one dollar difference but then I start to think of what have I paid for in the past that might not have rung up the correct price? Should I keep paying for items I think are on sale but really ring up a higher price? When you go grocery shopping are you keeping exact tabs on what each item costs? I do keep a rounded off tally so I do not over spend. I remembered the crackers because it was the one item I did by on sale.

I went to the service desk and told the girl there the crackers were 2 for $4.00 but rang up 2 for $5.00. She looked over the boxes of crackers intensely then said she had to look for herself. Snow White and I giggled and horsed around while waiting. A few minutes later the grocery girl came back and said "They are 2 for $5.00", gave me back the boxes of crackers and motioned for the next in line.

I was tired, I wanted to go home, Snow White wants to eat dinner but I just knew the sign said 2 for $4.00 but I have been wrong just a few times in my life (insert a little laughter). I march back to the farthest end of the store where the display stand is and I am angry. Much to the dismay and repeated "you are going to get in trouble" from Snow White, I take down the "2 for $4.00" signs and march all the way back to the service desk.

During our jaunt back to the service desk thoughts of ...I will never come back to this store! They think everyone is a liar! There are 5 grocery stores just as close to my house! This store will not receive my business again and I will tell everyone I know, again. I did shut down a grocery store before (years ago and another story on customer service). Tonight this store was wasting my time and my daughter's time and what was that girl doing when she kept us waiting instead of looking up the price?!

I demand to see the manager and it just so happens she is next to the girl who told me the wrong price for the crackers. I place the signs on the counter and say "That girl told me these crackers were on sale 2 for $5.00 and I had to go all the way back there for me to realize she called me a liar to my face." Ok, that is what I wanted to say. What I actually said was "This girl said the crackers were not on sale for the price I thought and they actually were." The store manager looked over the boxes of cracker, looked at the signs and said "I was here when she told you." She pressed a few buttons on the register and asked me to sign a paper and gave me a five dollar bill. I was a little confused, I still wanted the crackers not a refund. She saw my puzzled look and apologized for their computer and personnel error. "Here is the amount you paid for the crackers and you get the crackers free due to our mistakes." I was almost speechless! All I could get out was a mere "Thank you." WOW Customer service isn't dead after all. I only wanted the dollar back because the crackers were on sale and they gave them to me for free because of the error. Ok, I know about the glitches in the computer programs retail stores use and the companies who supply them with the computer service sometimes offer replacement of fees if there is a problem but still WOW that was passed on to us instead of just refunding the expected sale price.

For a $1.00 difference this store said the Customer is Right and they did all the paper work in 2 minutes flat without saying they needed the history of your forefathers to offer you something comparable and then some. I would have been happy just to have the $1.00 refund due to me. I would have never gone back to that store again if I had not been floored by their end result Customer Service. I have not seen this sort of Customer Service since the early 80s when things went from Customer Service to "If you don't like it go away."

The other 5 grocery stores near my house just lost my business due to this one act over an expected $1.00 refund. The other 5 are friendly and I have had no issues with them at all but I am just overwhelmed to find a store where Customer Service is not just a sign.

Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Elephant Under Who's Chair?

The other night I was flipping through the channels and came across Bill Cosby doing a stand up. Ok, he was sitting down on a stool but it was early Cosby live so I watched and listened as Snow White worked on her home work.

Cosby was discussing his family. So many similarities with his family growing up as mine it was all down right side splitting funny to me. Snow White...well she just didn't get it. In one of his sketches he says his father blamed a "toot/Fart/cutting the cheese" on an imaginary elephant under his chair. My father also did this blame game on the elephant.

During a meeting of the heads of departments someone...passed gas. Most would have pretended not to notice and held their breath. Me? Well after watching Cosby I laughed and laughed! I attempted to say "Did you see where that Elephant under his chair went?!" If you had not just watched Cosby "live" you would not have understood my words in between my gasps for breath during my hysterical fit of laughter. I was so hysterical in my laughter I had to excuse myself. I went out to the hallway still laughing uncontrollably! Just after leaving the room it occurs to me... they think it was ME!! My laughter triples!! I cannot stop my laughing and it has grown louder and louder!

Darn that Cosby Elephant ..still laughing and all those big burly men think it was the little laughing girl who let out that enormous sound.

Monday, November 27, 2006

Christmas is Coming!!

Family Christmas will be at my house this year! Yeah! Oh wait, didn't I just do Thanksgiving? Okay, who volunteered me? Oh that's right it was all a phone in and I found out before Christmas. Yes, I am happy but hope I get to spend more time in the chatting and laughing than in just the kitchen this time. I am sure that will happen since more people are coming.

Hip Hurray for dear old BEAR!! He is not that old after all and he does not have cancer! He will be with us for a good while now!! Buggery on those meanies with their first diagnosis! Making my sister ill through out Thanksgiving with their misdiagnosis and the rest of us feeling helpless! MEANIES! {shaking my small fist at them in gesture}

Yesterday Snow White started off the ornament purchase this year. Each year I let my children purchase an ornament so by the age of 18 they have a full set of their very own. This year she chose Barbie in the 12 dancing princesses. I tried to steer her towards the Fairytopia Barbie who was dressed just as Barbie was when she met the Actress who plays Barbie in the same on stage musical. No, already have that Barbie before meeting her in person on Good Morning America so not really interested. I then pointed out the dancing Barbie from 12 dancing princesses which played music as she twirled on her toes in an arch way. Again, No, not interested. Well, I have always said they can pick their own ornaments. She did tell me that I could buy the musical dancing Barbie princess if that was the one I chose. Me choose an ornament? Really? I had not thought about that in ages!!

If I decorated a tree just for me when the children are all on their own...I want a pink and silver decorated tree. The tree will be a real honest to goodness tree, the first year. After that I want all my crappiest, over done, hand me down, outlasted their time ornaments, the ones my children picked out but wont put on there own tree on a fake tree with lights already installed. I want in the center of my hallway on the main floor my gold bell with the pull down pendulum decorated with real mistletoe that plays "Jingle Bells". On the inside door nob of my front door will be the small painted brass bells on a vibrant string cord. The wreath on my front door will be hand made or at least purchased by my children. The outside lights decoration will be a collaboration of my children's efforts and I am sure there will be a new way to hang up Christmas and Holiday cards.

What will I want for Christmas? As always...a photograph of all my children! I am just starting to realize we might not all be together all the time. Man Son was not home for Thanksgiving. First ever holiday he was not home with us. They do grow up so fast but I did not want to believe it.

As the whole family (State Side) will be at my house this Christmas please forgive me if I do not post for a while after Christmas. I am likely to be blinded by so many camera flashes going off!

Saturday, November 25, 2006

Black Friday Cometh and Goeth

I staid up until midnight looking through all the flyers to see if there was anything I should rush out to get. To my surprise it was just like the last few years. The only things on a great discount and worthy of sleep deprivation were household items.

What happened to the "The kids have to have it for Christmas" items? I remember my first Black Friday shopping experience where my sister and I waited in a line outside the toy store at 7am just to buy the new Game Boy at a great discount!

The last few years it seems like this is the only day to get a really good deal on a TV. Now think about it. If you buy a new TV who is going to wait for Christmas to hook it up? Are you really going to wait more than 14 days (the usual set time for returns) to find out that TV doesn't do what they advertised it will do or if it works properly?

The top values I found in the circulars were TVs, curtains, dishes, rugs, vacuum cleaners, guest towels and just about anything you could think of to spruce up the house before Christmas. Um, no mention of gravy boats in any of the circulars.

The TV on the top floor might need to be replaced soon so why not get up at 4:30 am and pick up a 20" TV for $69 at Walmart which opens at 5:00 am. My sister also wanted a video picture frame from Linens and Things to keep the memory of Bear alive. Linens and things opens at 6:00 am. I also had to do a double take on the Target circular! They had ATARI on sale for $20. Ok the price was not the reason for the double take...it was the sheer thought that anyone would be selling ATARI !! Ten years ago or so I sold the Atari system my brothers, sister and I played with when we were children. Then came the "Mom are you crazy! Why would you sell an Atari?!" from a very young Man Son. I decide to make amends by putting Target on my list in an attempt to purchase this new ATARI with all the games inside the system.

I put the circulars for Walmart, Linens and Things and Target by my purse and set my alarm for 4:00 am.

Morning comes and I realize I have hit the snooze button a few times. I open my eyes a bit and look at the alarm clock. I then shoot straight to a standing position next to my bed! Oh My Goodness!!! It is 5:11 am!! Walmart is already open!!

I grab clothes, pull my hair up, grab my purse, jacket and cell phone! I was in the car at 5:13 am! Ok I forgot about my socks and shoes but I did have a pair of clogs in the car.

Wow, there is no traffic on the main road. No traffic at the stop light near the Walmart. I turn into the parking lot and Holey Cow!! I cannot believe the parking lot for the mall is just about full with only Walmart being open at this time!! I waste no time in parking in the first space I see which is way out in never land. I run to the entrance then run to electronics only to be told the TV I am searching for is in Grocery? The very nice Walmart woman holds me back from bolting and says "Let me make sure they still have them before you rush over there." She calls someone on her walkie talkie and they say there are 2 1/2 skids left. It takes me all of one minute to get to that isle and this very big Walmart man says "You people are like ants! You come out of no where in multitudes! We are sold out! They were gone just a split second ago! Please don't yell at me or hurt me!" Wow it must have been brutal in that one minute it took me to get from electronics to grocery. I felt really bad for him.

Oh well, the TV wasn't something I just had to have so on to the next store. I have two choices, Target and Linens and Things. Since my sister wants the video photo frame for Bear I opt go there first. I arrive in plenty of time since the store opens in 20 minutes. I was thinking "Who would be at Linens and Things?" Turns out there were many people wanting items such as the remote control dinosaurs, Ipod thing-a-magigs and what-nots must have been on a super sale! Non the less I was pleased to stand in line behind 30-45 others since the store had not opened yet.

While waiting in line I found those in front of and behind me were all very pleasant people full of the excitement of just living the moments of Black Friday. Some told me funny stories from the stores they have already visited. A very nice looking man and his friend attempted to quiz me on Ipods. I told them the only thing I know about them is it costs around $1 to load each song and all the fad crazed teens seem to want them.

The wait only seemed moments with such good company all around. I was in the store and over whelmed by the thought of picture frames can be any where! They changed all the displays and such from when I was here just a few weeks ago! I have to run because everyone else is running. I find an associate who tells me to go back to the front of the store to find the video picture frame. Darn it! Now I have to stand in a line that goes back to the side isles. Oh wait, some were standing here and some where standing there now I am no longer in line as the line shifted! Ok, at least I only have this one small item to tote around. Meanwhile there is a woman trying to handle her purse, a large Star Bucks coffee cup and two of the large remote control dinosaurs. She was right behind me in the first line which has now shifted so I help her maneuver the dinos right behind me. Her shopping buddy must have made the tour of the store for spontaneous sales items but came to the line empty handed. I am guessing nothing in the sales was really appealing. I, myself was only there because my sister has to work and really wants this video picture frame.

An older couple behind us mentions something about the flyer and we all start chatting about why we came to this store so early in the morning. I tried to avoid the reason I was there due to everyone being so chipper. I did not want to bring them down. We talked about where this store and that store was because I am new to the area. Then they all wanted to know why I was here instead of Target purchasing the ATARI? I told them the sad story of Bear and then it was my turn at the registar, thank goodness!

I get to the register, the lady happily rings up my one item purchase and then it happens! I CANNOT FIND MY CREDIT CARD!!! I fumble through my small purse but still cannot find it! I checked before I got out of the car to make sure I had it! I then look at the cash I have on hand...I have $43 which is not enough for the $84 video frame!! The cashier allows me to run to my car to check if it dropped out on the way to the store. My thoughts go to OH MY GOSH I lost my credit card in the parking lot! OH MY GOSH did I look away from the cart at any time while in Walmart!! I get to my car and see nothing of my credit card on the way to my car!! I open the car door and what do I see....MY card!!! I quickly jaunt up to the store and the cash register to find only the women behind me have cleared the cash register! The older couple allow me to but in before them to complete my sale. Woohoo! I managed to actually get the video picture frame and no unknown person is out spending my money on Black Friday.

I call my sister while I I rush over to Target for the ATARI. I tell her that I got the picture frame and she tells me she over slept. Good thing I called her! I arrive at Target and find the WHOLE parking lot is FULL!! I have to park across the street and run to the store! I rush in and see a check out line forming to the back of the store. I ask where the ATRI is and to my pleasant surprise I arrive before the last 10 are taken off the shelves. I wait in a small check out line in electronics where one of the electronics employees tell me "You can pay for this item up front." I quickly tell her "That line is near the back of the store now so I will take my chances waiting behind this one person in front of me." I am comfortable, I have already purchased the very needed video frame, have the ATARI in my hands and I am only one person away from check out.

I was very pleased to have pleasant people all around during my Black Friday shopping. I still felt bad for the Walmart man. I hope he had a better rest of the morning.

It doesn't take me long to purchase the ATARI and head for the exit. Then I see the Star Bucks! I so wanted to go in there for a Mocha espresso but I knew I was about to crash. Two late nights in a row? I needed a little sleep time. I return back to the house by 6:50 am to cook breakfast for everyone. My parents wanted to leave by 8:00 am so they could be at their house for the walk through of the side walk estimate at their new house.

Grandma and Grandpa had their breakfast while the girls slept in from their late night. The girls woke up and proceeded to books and TV while Mom took a nap.

Thanksgiving with the Family

After work on Thursday I picked up both of my girls and headed home. Grandma and Grandpa were already there watching TV. Thank goodness I gave them a key to the house on their last visit. This way I did not need to be home when they arrived.

We sat around talked most of the night away in either the family room or dinning room. Snow White gave them the grand tour of the new house forgetting they visited us just a few weeks ago. They ooohed and ahhhed just as they did on their last visit. We staid up pretty late the lot of us! Even Snow White staid up until 11:00 pm. We sat around talking about the past, relatives, funny little things that have happened just recently. Of course it wouldn't be a family gathering if Grandma and Grandpa didn't utter the words "when your Mom was a little girl..." Then all eyes flash over to me and the girls say "Really?" then I smile and nod in concurrence.

Yeah! It's morning!! I rush to wake up the girls shouting "Happy Thanksgiving!! Happy Thanksgiving!! The parade is on! The Thanksgiving Macy's Parade is on!!!" They eventually make it down to the family room and watch the parade with mommy. Grandma and Grandpa come down shortly after. I think it was the smell of sausages that woke them up. Ok, it might have been all my shouting but I want to think it was the sausages.

I was so thrilled when my son called to wish us a happy Thanksgiving! This is the first Thanksgiving since he was born that he was not with me. Him calling me is yet another sign that he is becoming a real honest to goodness adult. I passed the phone around so everyone could talk with him and Uncle. We called my little brother and his family to wish them a happy Thanksgiving and the phone was passed around again.

My sister called, she went to the store to buy a pumpkin pie and to her surprise it was a sweet potato pie. She quickly went back to the store to exchange it. Not wanting to be the only person who ran out to the grocery store on Thanksgiving Day she said I also had to make a last minute run. I did need a news paper and have yet to find a gravy boat so I took Sweet 16 with me to the store. Snow White did not want to come with us as she was in the middle of reading one of her many Magic Tree House books to Grandpa. While we were out Sweet 16 said it would be a good idea to pick up a few DVDs. I was really amazed that anything was open on Thanksgiving Day. Oh, we are still without a gravy boat. Now I have until Christmas to find a new one.

Dinner went off without a hitch! Grandma showed Snow White how to make cornbread. Sweet 16 made the rolls, roasted red potatoes and mashed potatoes while I tended to the turkey and orchestrated the rest of the meal preparation. Everything came out of the oven, off the stove and out of the fridge at just the right time to serve. The china looked beautiful on the table. Snow White's center piece was a big hit! We sat down to our lovely meal and gave thanks for all we have been blessed with over the years and today.

My sister and I talked on and off all through the day. One of her dear friends managed to talk her into going out for a few hours. Sort of a test run for when she went to work on Friday. When she came home Bear was still there and doing fine.

After dinner I mentioned that my sister was coming to my house for Christmas since it would be Bears last Christmas. Grandpa said my brother in TN would be coming for Christmas too. Man Son would be back from TN as well!! Since my sister and brother will be up for Christmas it was decided that everyone would come to my house no later than Christmas Eve and stay over for Christmas. I made sure to tell my little brother that he and his family can either come up with everyone else or just drive up for the day. It would be so nice to have all of us together for Christmas!

We hope everyone had a safe and happy holiday!!

Diane and Bear

She bought her house based on the yard was perfect for Bear. She redecorated the inside of the house to suit his needs and likes. Her car is also a result of what Bear needs. She took accelerated college courses in order to allow her to graduate with her masters degree in a short amount of time just so she would have more time to spend with Bear. Her life revolves around her baby Bear and cancer will soon take him away.

He was scheduled to have knee surgery the day before Thanksgiving (re-scheduled from this past Saturday). She received a call at work from telling her due to finding cancer the surgery would not take place. They explained he only has a short time to live and the surgery would only worsen the cancer. She was caught completely off guard due to the previous diagnosis and non cancer related surgery. Imagine receiving a call from your doctor telling you, your 11 yr old child has only two months to live.

She called me at work because she was upset, distraught and on her way to pick him up. In between her sobs, crying and screaming I finally understood what she was telling me. I ran out of the office crying but trying to stay calm since I was still on the phone with her.

My first feeling was unbelief then grief which turned in to anger. I cannot believe they told her this devastating news over the phone and then told her to come pick him up!! I know I would be in no shape to breath let alone drive if I had a similar call about one of my children.

I wanted to yell and scream but not at her so I just staid on the line listening to her cry and let it all out until she reached the veterinarian hospital.

She talked with the vet and waited while they processed the paper work to release him. During this time several of the employees came up to her and offered their condolences which only made her cry more when she was trying so hard to compose herself.

I started thinking of how I could rearrange Thanksgiving, make travel arrangements to be with her on Thanksgiving. "Everybody listen up, a Thanksgiving feast is in the fridge call me if you need instructions on how to prepare the meal. Look after my children. I will be back Sunday night." Some how that seemed the wrong thing to do but I so wanted to just get on the first flight out or even drive down there to give her the comfort she so needed.

My sister and I had many long phone conversations during the rest of the day and most of the night. She cried some of the time but not all of the time. She was trying to get a grasp on what to do. She wanted so much to hold and cuddle her Bear but he was completely unaware what was going on. Bear was still medicated when she brought him home. He wanted to do what he normally does around the house but was a bit woozy.

Around midnight he was finally thinking about falling asleep and she was so afraid of "What if he doesn't wake up in the morning?" My feeling was he just has to wake up in the morning, because it is Thanksgiving for goodness sakes. He has to stay with her until after they go home from Christmas visit at least. When he passes it should be in his sleep, at their home and only when she is there with him.

This may seem like a big too do over a pet to some people but those "some people" do not know the history of this oh so loved Bear. They have not had him in their lives for 11 years. He has been there at the beginning and the end of every day for her. Through her divorce, good days and bad days at the office, and when she just misses the rest of her family. The days she is feeling not so great to the days she is on top of the world. All of that is going to change and she is trying to come to terms with it.

It is devastating for her to finally have everything so close to the way she wanted for them and now her time with him is so short. Another reminder that life is too short.

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Children are Sponges

Little children are such sponges! After Snow White and her older siblings watch a Japanese show with English subtitles she starts singing the songs from the show in Japanese! She also seems to remember some of the words from the show and what they mean.

A weird thing happened when Man Son and I watched a 13 disk series of a Japanese show with English subtitles. After the first two disks I got up to make more snacks while still listening in to the show. Then it hit me! I knew what was going on without seeing the screen! For the rest of the duration I no longer needed to look at the subtitles!

Am I a genius? Did I actually learn Japanese after only watching two episodes of the thirteen part series? Nope, not at all, I could not remember one word of Japanese. I could not repeat any of the millions of words I had heard let alone tell you what any of them meant. Ok, I know hello and thank you but I knew that when I was a teenager which was half my life ago. I am resigned to believe I have a very full and lazy brain that just did not want to read the subtitles.

Friday, November 10, 2006

What do YOU want to be when you Grow Up?

“Where do you see yourself at 30?” asked my high school Language Arts teacher. My response was quit automatic “I will be in a large corner office with two full walls of windows.” I could totally picture myself in this luxurious office of power. He asked how that works in my current plans for the future. Huh? What? It really didn’t fit at all. What in the world made me say that? Since I was five years old I had planned on getting married, having a dozen children and be a stay at home Mom. Where did this spur of the moment gibberish come from?!

Well, as it worked out, in my early 20s I started working as an Administrative Assistant. I worked my way up to Executive Assistant and went to as many classes as I could fit in to limited schedule. By 30 years old I was working in a very lucrative career but still playing catch up from a lesser financial past. Almost ten years later I feel I can relax, I have made it! [knocking on wood]

As for the children, well I wanted 100 babies when I was five years old but I settled on three.

When did my plans change? Was it this question that brought out my inner desire? Did it make me realize there were other options? I know when I started high school I did not want to be a career woman. Whatever the reason I am happy where I am today.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Car Seats ..Not Just For Kids

I read your blog today(Exiled in Toyland) during lunch and thought of the child seat I was in when I was a toddler. It was not meant for safety but as a lift up to the view of the car window. It was equipped with handles that also doubles as a let in for seatbelt straps. The legs of the chair were longer in the back and shorter in the front to allow a level view of the window.

I remember my son's 5th birthday! I made a big deal about driving to the park to feed the ducks as part of his coming of age...no more car seat! After feeding the ducks I realized I had locked the keys in my car. Buggery, buggery, Buggery! Oh well, we walked to a pay phone (olden days term for public phone) and called the police to unlock the car door. It was about the time the police thought it was a bad idea to unlock cars and then ask for the registration. The policeman arrived and then said "We have a problem." I assured him the registration in the glove box was mine and I gave him my drivers licenses. He then asked my son how old he was? My son proudly said "I am a whole FIVE years old today!" The policeman said "Yes, we have a problem. As of midnight last night a new state law was placed to active. Children 6 yrs old and under must be in a car seat."

My jaw dropped! I was feeling a lot of emotions the largest portion was panic! How was I going to get my 5 yr old back into a car seat after making such a big deal about being a big boy on his birthday and no more car seat? There was also the question of how were we to get home with no car seat? Then would the policeman unlock the car so I could get my keys to at least get into our house once we arrived?!

I explained the birthday situation to the policeman and he looked again at my drivers license. He saw we only lived a few blocks from the park. He unlocked the door only after pointing out I must have the car seat back in the car immediately and made me promise to be extra careful driving home. "Missy, most car accidence's happen in a 1 mile radius of home."

In the new state we live in I passed a billboard I thought read " 4' 9" is the magic number" with the fairy godmother from Cinderella pictured waving her magic wand over a car seat. I thought to myself, well Grandma and Auntie will need a car seat to visit us. After reading the safety seat laws for this state on the web it is 0-3 yrs in a car seat and 4-8 yrs in a booster seat.

Hidden Dangers - Parents Worst Nighmare

This past January while at work I received very bad news. Something so unexpected you just never know how to react. To this day when I hear or read the name Sammy Shpigler I cry.

The Shpigler family were on there annual vacation in Hawaii during the winter holidays. They were having a wonderful time. While the mother was changing her clothes in one room the father was in the bathroom and I think the rest of the family were in the living room area. The mother had locked the balcony door but the younger children thought it would be great to go out on the balcony. Tow children went out the door but only one came back in. Three year old Sammy had slipped through the railings on the balcony and fell to his death.

The space between crib railings, residential stair railings and new construction of commercial buildings now must comply with the less than 4" rule. There are some states who do not have this regulation on the space between railings. Some states have a grandfather clause that does not require them to update the safety standards. One of these hotels was the Hilton Hawaiian Village where the Shpiglers were staying.

Around this time last year we were at a hotel with an inside balcony overlooking the pool. Snow White and my friend's daughter wanted to go out on the balcony. We said it was ok but did not want them standing on the bottom rung of the railing. The hotel was going through some renovations as it was not a new hotel. My thoughts were on the bolts connecting the railing to the wall. If they were loose the railing could come off and our girls would fall to the cement floor below. The thought of them slipping through the bars of the railing did not occur to me. I automatically thought they would be too close together as were all railings in our every day life since Snow White was born.

The railings in ALL hotels should be upgraded to the standard. They can be changed out with railings of proper spacing or sturdy safety glass/plastic sheets can be installed. Balcony doors should be equipped with a safety lock that not only prevents someone other than the occupants to enter but also a lock which prevents a child from access.

The Shpiglers have created the Sammy's Spirit Organization www.SammysSpirit.org dedicated to helping others and changing the child safety regulations. There story will appear on Inside Edition tonight. I encourage everyone, whether you have children or not, to watch this show. Check the web site for the air times in your area at www.InsideEdition.com.

The Stanley Show

While doing laundry Snow White said her favorite pal Stanley needed to be washed. Stanley is a very special bear. She took the decorative pins off his colorful shirt which was made by Grandma. Poor old Stanley is balding in some spots, some of his threading is coming apart but all in all he is holding up.

I tossed Stanley in the wash and Snow White sat by the washer. It was almost as if she expected him to pop out to say he needed her or wanted something. By the time she finished reading a book it was time for him to come out of the washer. After she looked him over thoroughly bfore allowing me to pop him into the dryer.

The dryer is front loading with a large glass door. When I first turned on the dryer she could not see him and a look of worry came over her face. That look quickly changed to sheer happiness! “Look Mommy, there’s Stanley! …There he is again!... Look at him GO! … Oh, that looks silly! Wow that looks like fun!...Mom! Mom! You have got to see this! Come watch Stanley do all these tricks!” She jumped up and down with excitement each time he popped into view. I sat and watched the “Stanley Show” with her for a full 30 minutes.

When the dryer stopped she excitedly awaited his retrieval. She hugged him so tightly and said “Aww Stanley you are so warm and cuddly. Did you have a great time?”

And to think I thought it was going to be an ordinary dull evening of laundry.

Tune in next month to see if Stanley survives yet another spin cycle. Same Hot time, Same Hot channel.

Monday, October 30, 2006

2nd Mommy Stress Test for the Weekend 10/27/06…

Snow White has her first ever sleep over at a friend’s house. Early last week an invitation was in Snow White’s back pack to attend a Halloween Sleep Over Party. I looked up the address on Map Quest since we are very new to the area (second part of move was this past Saturday morning). The party would be two streets over. Part of me did not want to let her go since we just moved here but she so wanted to go and I had met the parents our second night here at the school Family Fun Night.

My Sister was here visiting for the weekend. She wanted to see our new house and visit with us. She was a bit disappointed Snow White would not be around Saturday night due to the party but she fully understood the importance of a first sleep over. We went shopping after the movers came and after Man Son’s flight cancellation. She wanted to buy Man Son and Ti Kwan Girl a bed set and new pillows for a house warming. Not the inexpensive bedding I buy on a Mommy budget but something totally top of the line. She is an A-1 Super Auntie! She buys things that matter in every day not some fly by night flash in the pan gifts. Yes, she does buy toys and play gifts but when she does they are thoughtful and last forever.

While we were out shopping we bought Snow White brand new Pjs and bunny slippers. Auntie shopped a little too. She wouldn’t let me buy what she picked out. I tried to buy everything she wanted and all our meals out. She did drive 7 hours one way to visit us, put her “baby” up in a kennel since we have a cat and unpacked two rooms and the kitchen! By Saturday night we found the pots, pans and my china! Yeah! My china was finally found! I still need to find my every day dishes but we do have some glasses now.

We went out to eat for dinner since we had not been to the grocery store and who had time to cook with the Sleep Over that night? It looked like the restaurant was packed. There were many people sitting in the waiting area but they seated us right away. It took a little while for our waiter to come over but well worth the wait. He doted on Snow White and told her what beautiful blue eyes she has. She responded with “ I have hair black as a raven and snow white skin too.” The acknowledging look on his face showed this was not lost on this particular waiter . I then noticed he also had fair skin, blue eyes and black hair. He also seemed to be of the “Black Irish”. I made particular reference to Snow White’s eyes being the exact color of Aunties. The waiter acknowledged this as well. He apologized for not having crayons for Snow White to draw on the child’s menu and scuttled around to find something for her to use. Auntie said there was no need since she had a game to occupy Snow White. It was an alphabet game we use to play when we were children. A my name is Anna, we come from Alabama and we eat Apples (latter it we remembered it was we sell ______) We went through the whole alphabet but could not think of anything to eat that started with the letter “U”. We were very impressed with Snow White’s ability to come up with Names for all the alphabet as well as places. Some times we helped out with places and gave additional input on foods after she named a food. The waiter stopped by several times to make sure Snow White had all she needed, refilled her drink without her asking. When he came again to ask us if we needed anything Snow White and Auntie were just coming back from a visit to the bathroom. I ask the waiter if he knows of any thing you can eat starting with a “U”. He cannot think of anything off hand but says he will try to come back with an answer. He does come back to inform us he has the whole kitchen and staff thinking but nothing coming forth just yet . As the meal comes to an end and we are ready for the check he informs us that no one has come up with an answer at this time but asks that if we do come up with an answer to please pass it on to them. They did as we did, we thought of different names of beans, oriental foods, sea foods, etc. in an attempt to come up with something. My Sister informed the waiter it would be a long wait for her to come back with an answer since she is not a frequent visitor. As we left the restaurant she told me to definitely go back just to see if that HOT waiter came up with an answer.

When we were ordering food Snow White’s Grandparents, Sister & my parents called to say they were on there way to my new house. We thought we had plenty of time and they had a key via meeting up with Man Son on his journey to uncle’s house. Apparently, Man Son gave them the extra key to his car which they made a copy for him but he forgot to give his Grandparents the second of the two keys I gave him for the new house. They were sitting in their van in my driveway for about half an hour!

We rushed into the house, my Sister gave my parents the grand tour of the house while I gathered things for Snow White’s first sleep over. I dressed her in the Snow White costume she purchased with her own money a few weeks ago. I made sure she had on a turtle neck, pants, long socks and sensible shoes just incase they decided to do a bit of playing outside. My parents and my Sister took photos in front of our new house and then we were all out! My parents did not have dinner yet so they followed us to the Party and then out to the main thru way. My sister and I went in a separate car so we could hit the mall I had yet to explore.

I had Snow White put a piece of paper in the front of her over night bag with my name, her name and my cell phone number. I reminded her the mall was just 5 minutes away and our house was just two streets away. The lawn was in full Halloween d├ęcor but tastefully done, not gash or overly. We rang the door bell, the father answered the door and sort of didn’t expect me to come in with Snow White. The inside of the house was also well decorated for a haunted house theme. As we entered the door a flock of girls (10 or so) came and all sang in unison” ‘Snow White’ is here at last!” [she was dressed as Snow White but they all called her out Snow White, princess ___ her name]. I was a little surprised how many knew her but she said she knows all the girls. That was all she said to me. After that she was in the “zone” and didn’t even hear me say good bye, a slight hug, a miss targeted kiss on the cheek, all she saw was her friends. Her eyes and thoughts were on them and their costumes. Not one other princess at the whole party of 20 girls as she told me Sunday afternoon.

We dropped her off at 6pm and I kept a watch full eye on my cell phone. I thought ok she will get through the first few parts of the party ok. I guided my parents to the golden mile of shops and restaurants where they pulled off to have dinner. My Sister and I headed to the mall I had yet to discover on my own. We walked and shopped, I kept my cell phone an blue tooth on and checked my cell phone every 2 minutes to make sure it was in proper working order.

My Sister and I get on so well we laugh just about every other syllable. We were carrying on so much we forgot she found a perfect little gift to bring her “Baby” Mr. Bear puppy. We walked a good distance down the mall before she called me by my first name, my middle name and ummm… her married last name as my last name. I thought “What the poop is up with you?” She said “We HAVE to go back!” Her eyes were as big as saucers! She kept repeating “We HAVE to go BACK!” Each time she said it she emphasized more on the words HAVE and BACK! I followed her back to the last store we went into and saw the gift she wanted for her “Baby” was still in her hands! We had been so caught up in our laughing and giggling we completely forgot to stop by a register and pay for “Baby’s” gift!! We went to the nearest register and paid for the item. Just as we walked out of the store the security alarm went off. A family in front of us turned around to the cashier with a questioning look. My Sister said “Oh I think they forgot to take off the security tag from ‘Baby‘s Toy.” I said “I think you would have set it off the first time we passed here.” We Laughed and giggled until we just barely supported each other standing. Our parents could not believe my Sister was almost a shop lifter.

We drove the five minutes from the mall to my house and I must have looked at my cell phone about a dozen times. My Sister is so sweet she didn’t even question me about it. She tried to keep my mind on other things. We went to the grocery store and bought junk food for the viewing of the Bell Witch aka An American Haunting. We arrived at my house to discover my parents finished their dinner before we finished our shopping. They were still Keyless.

I stopped looking at the time every few minutes and changed to every 5 minutes. The movie was over and I looked at the clock and clutched my cell phone to my chest and declared in front of my Sister and parents “it is 10 o’clock and she [Snow White] hasn’t called me to come pick her up! I am sure they are all about to go to sleep by now and she hasn’t called me yet. Maybe they are letting them stay up? My Sister laughs at me and says the first sleep over is much harder on me than it is on Snow White. My parents laugh too and they all agree it is better that she has her first sleep over now when ‘someone’ is keeping me busy so I do not worry too much.

Morning comes and I so want to sprint over and pick up Snow White from her sleep over. What if she wanted to call me but the parents there thought wait a little while and then call your Mom all the while thinking her want to call Mom would fade. I had the greatest excuses of all time! My cell phone did not jump over to the fall back [turning the clock back one hour], her Auntie was leaving and we wanted to do breakfast with her [didn’t have to be on the road until 11 am at the latest], party was to be over by 9am as the invitation stated and you know half a dozen parents would have shown up early due to not turning back the clocks the night before. I was safe to pick her up early for so many reasons!

I am at the door after my parents, my Sister and I have all showered and ready for the day. A very bright and chipper Dad answers the door and a very sleepy Snow White says ok she will go with us. She gathers her belongings as chipper Dad helps her. She is not ecstatic to see me as she thought I would wait until after Halloween breakfast was over. She gives her young hostess regretful goodbye and hugs her. A few girls say “Where is Snow White sitting?” as they gather around a large table for breakfast.

When we arrive at the restaurant for breakfast it is then that I realize Snow White is still in her Pjs but she does have her socks and shoes on. No one noticed but us since we know they were bought the night before at Old Navy.

1st Mommy Stress Test for the Weekend 10/27/06…

Well, Man Son went out on his own so to speak about two weeks ago. My brother, his uncle, had something happen which requires personal attention. It was recommended that a family member take care of him. My son, Man Son (18 yrs old, HS graduate and thinks he knows all now that he is 18) decided he needed to be away from his over loving mother (me). After two hours of screaming and crying I stop and think how wonderful this opportunity is for him and how proud I am of him to take on this family task. I was just being selfish wanting him to stay at home and go to college. He can still go to college when he returns home. Many take off a year before going to college. He can venture out on his own so to speak. He wont have to pay rent or other things, he will be in his uncle's house.

He has been gone for three weeks now and boy do I miss him. I want to call him five times a day but I limit myself to once every other day. Part of me wants him to miss Mom and all the wonderful things I do. Does he miss me? Well not for the first few weeks. He did finally call me!! Yeah! It wasn’t Mommy calling him to make sure he was ok, he actually called me! [Great big grin on my face!]. He wanted to come home for the weekend!! Yeah, he misses me!! Oh, what was that? You want to drive 12 hours to come home? What if something happens to you or your car or some crazy person attacks you when you stop to get gas? Two hours of convincing him he could die or end up in the hospital if he drove. I talked him into a flight home instead. I gleefully purchased his last minute round trip tickets. My pocket book screamed for mercy but I was going to see my boy! I was blissfully happy.

The next morning he called to get the directions to the airport which is four hours away from his uncle‘s house. It was at this time he informed me a friend was picking him up at the airport. [Loud bubble burst] Trying not to sound extremely disappointed but my squeaky voice came out and said “What about seeing your Mom? What time will you be here? What time will I get to spend with you?” In retrospect it really sounded pathetic. He did say he would be home around midnight and after all there was the fall back (turning the clock back an hour) and that hour would be mine. Grrr not liking that he is already a Man. I want my little boy that use to come up and hug me for no reason. Now I have to wait in line behind his friends? When did that happen? Ok that happened a few years ago and I was ok with that when I saw him every single day. Now he only has one day and I have to get at the very end of the line? Ok he and his friends want to hang out at our house after recounting all that happened in the last three weeks. Moms are not ment to hear all the latest gosip amongst his friends.

Ok his first venture out alone and his first real challenge at planning an event so to speak. He called several times “Should I have passed this city? What was the number of the exit off that last highway? I don’t think I brought enough money with me for gas. Do you remember my pin number? Where is the nearest gas station for this gas card? I have to make this call short since I did not pack my phone charger.” I was stressing out to the max while my loving Sister was telling me we should have planned all of this better. She meant well and was trying to convince both my son and me to put off the trip until next weekend. We wanted to move this forward this weekend so we poo-pooed her ideas.

Man Son did eventually run off course by taking a wrong fork in the road. This put him one hour south of where he should have been heading. He had to turn around and get back on track which lost him two hours. I called reservations and had the flight changed to the next available. He calls again to tell me his speedometer is evidently broken. He was clocked at 85 mph in a 70 mph zone. This is when he discovers the speedometer needle wont go past 75 mph. The dial goes up to 90 or 95 but the needle apparently gets stuck at 75. That was an expensive lesson. I tell him we will worry about the pricy ticket and fixing the speedometer when he returns. He still had to reach the airport and to keep his speed under 70 mph depending on the speed limit (55 mph, 25 mph, whatever the sign says but not more than 70 even if it says 80). Mommy’s pocket book couldn’t stand to make this trip any more expensive than it just became.

An hour before his flight was to take off he calls to tell me he still has 80 miles to go. [huge bottom lip pouting on my end] I was not going to see him this weekend and I was soooo disappointed. I asked if he wanted me to book the flight for next weekend. He was also upset he told me he was just going to drive all the way home and never go back to Tennessee. I looked up the flight reservation number on line and cancelled the flight. [so upset I forget about the internet and leave it on all weekend]

Half an hour later my son calls. He has no cash on him, the banks are closed and no gas stations with the name of the gas card he has. He is almost out of gas and not enough gas to get back to his uncle’s house. I tell him to go to the nearest gas station and have someone working there call me from his cell phone since it is long distance. The person calls me and tells me there is no way to input my credit card number in their register, they are not set up that way. The card must be read by the computer strip and cannot be entered in manually. I start to panic and want to yell at this man “That is my baby standing in front of you ! You better let him put gas in his car! I will mail you cash! I will mail you gold bars! I will do anything if you just let him fill up his car!!” Ok I didn’t say any of that but I wanted to. I explained he did not remember his pin number for his bank card and has not received his local bank card yet. I asked the man if there was a gas station near by that would accept his gas card. The man said “We are the only gas station for miles around that accept that gas card.” God must have guided him to that gas station! I was sooooo happy!!! I thanked God over and over again for watching over my son!

The next day my son calls to ask if I made the arrangements for his flights this weekend. He will not give up on the promise he made to his uncle to stand by him until he was able to stand on his feet again. I asked him if he had his pin number, cell phone charger, etc. He says yes to all and told me he was going to print out the directions to the airport tomorrow so he will have them with him.

It was a tough lesson, he didn’t get to see his friends but he did learn Mom cannot always help him and plan everything for him. As much as I want to always be there to do everything for him he needs to be prepared to do this on his own. He has never been reliant on me these past few years but I do try to emphisize on planning to the point I make all the calls. It is time that I let him do as he thinks best so he can make his own way, his own plans even if they are not successful. After all isn't this the time for him to learn Mommy did things for a reason? Teenagers think they know everything. After the teen years comes the legal adult age where they think they really know everything. I cannot remember a time past 16 years old when I did not think I knew everything there was to know or do in any situation. It was only when I was faced with an obstical that I really thought it out and over came it. My mistakes were only matched by my sucesses and the ever so horrid thoughts of "My parents were right in the first place" but I had to figure some of those out on my own because "I knew better." ha, ha, ha. We also learned that Auntie, my Sister, was right all along. Last minute plans do not always work out. We should have rescheduled the flight for the next weekend instead of trying to make the last minute arrangements, minute by minute.

Monday, October 23, 2006

New Traditions from Old

Your blog [http://exiledintoyland.blogspot.com/] brought back memories and I thank you for that.

It is wonderful to teach children to share and to be thankful for what we have.

I remember the first time I heard about children of war. My father was in the military, I was 5 yrs old and he was in Vietnam. My mother told us to be grateful for what we had and reminded us often there were whole families in Vietnam living on the streets. I asked her “Where do they plug in their TV? Fridge? Toaster? ...” The picture I had in my head was furniture and everything in a normal house but lined up on a sidewalk next to the street. A house with everything except floors, walls. doors or roof. The reason it had to be on the sidewalk and not in the street? Well every 5 yr old knows better than to be in the street. You could be run over by a car.

There were four of us children and only one prize in the cereal box (when they actually had prizes in the box). You were the “winner” if the prize fell in your bowl while you poured your cereal. Mother would give you a great big hug and kiss then place the prize in a box on top of the refrigerator. When she received the military pay for the month she would take us to the post office to send off all the cereal prizes we had collected since the same time last month. The prizes were sent to my father to pass out to the Vietnamese children in the village near his camp. It made us feel like we were helping someone else. We also sent them Valentines, paper Turkey decorations (made from tracing our hands), Christmas cards. There were other little things we put in the box on top of the fridge.

Never thought of it before today but that must be the reason I started the “Go Away” box at our house. Snow White knows if it doesn’t fit it goes in the Go Away box. If she doesn’t want a toy any more it goes in the Go Away box. I know I am dating myself by admitting to being a live during the Vietnam war and when prizes were inside the actual cereal boxes but oh well 

THE UNTOLD HISTORY OF BARBIE...

I was shocked when I heard how Kelly's mother abandoned her when she was just a baby. Apparently Kelly's mother knew she was not a good mother at all and Kelly would be much better off if Barbie took care of her. One day when Kelly's mother went out she decided it was time to leave. She never came back. She did love Kelly and that is why she left her with Barbie. Barbie is so loved by all and so kind. She has taken in so many children who were abandoned by their mothers. This was the scenario my 7 yr old came up with while playing with Kelly's Klub house and many Kelly friends.

I was not paying much attention to what she was saying due to the fact I was mostly out of breath. Then I heard "her mother abandoned her." I was like WHAT? Who? Is it a girl from school? Does she need a place to stay? Who is taking care of her? My daughter laughed and explained her scenario as to why Kelly is with her big sister Barbie but you never see Kelly & Barbie's mother. There is no Barbie's mother doll in all the Barbies I gave her from when I was little. There is no Barbie's mother from the enormous box of Barbies her big sister gave her. There isn't even a Barbie's mother in the "Barbie Collectors" book she purchased. "No mention of her ever so she must have done something really bad like being a not so good mother."

In all my Barbie years I never thought about Barbie's parents. I know she is a doll, Snow White knows she is a doll but figures there has to be more to the family make up than what is on the store shelves. A few years before Snow White was born I did think of something jokingly I thought of Barbie. She and Ken must have been married at one time but were divorced...she had everything, the Barbie Corvette, the Barbie Dream House, Barbie's dogs, Barbie's horses, everything was Barbie's. Ken...well he pretty much had the clothes on his back. Since then I have heard others say the same thing about a Barbie/Ken divorce. I was an adult when I thought that up. The others I have heard it from were also adults, not children.

OLD AS DIRT

I knew my children thought I was old long ago but did not realize how old until I was 26. On my 26th birthday as I dropped my son off at preschool he told his friends "Today is my Mommy's birthday! In an almost whispered aww he says "She is twenty-six years old" as if it was incredible I could have lived to this ancient age. My response to the dear sweet, elderly ladies of the daycare, "I older than dirt. I was there when they were drawing up the blue prints for dirt."

Since then when a young man makes a pass at me thinking I am his age I say "I older than dirt. I was there when they were drawing up the blue prints for dirt." Family genes make us look much younger than we are.

DINOSAURS

Later came the question from my daughter "Mommy, when you were a little girl did you run in caves to hide from the dinosaurs’ or did you have them as pets?" Since my son was laughing at this question I thought, good at least one of my children doesn't think I have been around since the stone age. I was wrong thinking that as his reply was "Mommy is a big scaredy-cat when it comes to spiders. How could she have a pet like a dinosaur?"

TEXAS

Snow White has misconceptions about Texas. When planning a trip to Huston for later this year she said there was no way she was going. Apparently she believes it is so hot there we will evaporate immediately after getting off the plane. Today on our way to the store she asks "Mommy what are the names of the two deserts? I know one of them is called Texas." I couldn't help myself, I laughed for about 5 minutes. I tried to explain that not all of Texas is a desert that some of it looks just like New York City. She laughed for about 5 minutes then proceeded to explain to me Texas could not be like NYC since there is no electricity in Texas. My turn to laugh again and then ask her why she believes all of this. Her information comes from one cartoon western. The streets were all dirt and there was no electricity. I tried to explain that would have been set in the early Wild West days but there was no convincing her. I told her we could look up Texas on the internet. Laughingly she replied "Mommy, you know the internet lies. People can say whatever they want on there and that doesn't make it true." I would get out the encyclopedia but mine are from the early 70s.

LITTLE DITTY ABOUT JACK & DIANE

I remember it like it was yesterday. I was 16 and driving my little sister who was 11 to the mall. On the way to the mall we passed by a school and a few sets of speed bumps. We went over the first set of speed bump and there was a clatter that seemed to come from outside the car. We went over the second set of speed bump and the clatter sounded again. My little sister said "What was that?" As my focus was on the road I only gave her a short answer "Jack".
Sister: Jack? Me: In the trunk. My sister's gaping look seemed to say "You have a GUY in your trunk?" Sister: Jack who?! My response: You know the one who is ready and waiting to help me change a flat tire.

We are both older now but that story still comes up and we laugh about it. She still looks like a little girl and that is a disadvantage in many ways. Some people do not take her seriously. The other day we were talking on the phone and Jack came up. Tonight she went to look in her journal and found this in one of the entries....

As my sister said the next time someone says you don't know Jack, tell them you do know Jack.
I said I not only know Jack, I put him where he is today, and I can move him anytime I want to.

We are still getting a laugh out of Jack after all these years.

MOM A DROP OUT OR JUST ABOVE A DROOLER?

When my son was a kindergartner and we were playing at the neighborhood park a few new to high school boys approached us. They seemed like nice boys so we chatted with them for a minute or so. Then one of the boys asked what high school I go to. I almost fell off the park bench! My reply "I don't go to high school" and we rushed off to our car. While strapping my little 5 yr old son in the car seat he said "Mommy, you should have said you gagiated (graduated) from school long, long ago. Now they think my Mommy is a drop outer."

While in the mall one rainy afternoon I wondered into a shoe store to look for a pair of heels for my sisters up coming wedding. My daughter was wondering the baby stores with Grandma and my son was with me in his stroller. A young man about high school age came over to assist my hunt for the perfect shoes. While placing a very nice size 5 heel on my foot he said "Its great that you are shopping with you little brother. I use to take my little brother with me everywhere too." My son piped up and said "My sister? She's not my sister! My sister just sleeps and drools. She's my Mommy!"

I think I will start a blog just for the funny things my children have said over the years that I want to remember later on in life.

Anyone else have funny things there children have said or done?

Tuesday, October 17, 2006

Yeah We Moved!

Yeah the moving company came.
Aw they didn't like my packing job
Yeah they said they would pack the rest
Aw it would be an extra $$$
Yeah the truck is full
Aw they couldn't fit everything in the truck
Yeah they will go back for a second load
Aw that would cost double
Yeah that gave me a good laugh
Aw the truck weighed more than the estimate
Yeah we are almost at the new house
Aw- EEE Gads the total is what??!!
Yeah all the furniture was assembled (included in the original price)
Aw I am sorry but the boxes marked Living Room need to come out of the bedrooms
Yeah the truck is unloaded
Aw you cannot leave until you find one more TV you packed

Buggery Buggery Buggery! I have to do this a second time for the rest of the house. Anyone found the coffee maker? Alarm Clock? Mommies other shoe? Oh the joys of moving.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Found Treasures and Fond Memories

I saw something in the Saturday morning paper that caught my eye. A new toy shop in our little downtown. Our downtown consists of about 5 blocks down Market Street. I just new it was going to be cute boutique style shop. They also advertised someone singing for the kids. I was happy and 2 yr old Snow White would have a ball running about in a toy shop!

I put her in a cute little romper dress, her little red English bowler hat and coat then off we go! We arrived at the toy shop a little bit early so we can browse freely. The toys were wonderful! Not one thing in the store required batteries (yeah!). There were many antique designed wooden toys and toys that required young minds to think.. It wasn’t long before the store started to get packed. I was amazed at how many other parents, just like me, had nothing better to do on a crisp fall morning. Everyone was buzzing about the singer who was coming. Apparently she is quite famous. The shop owner told me this singer was even hired by Material-Girl Modonna for her little girl’s birthday party. I was feeling very out of the loop since I had never heard of this singer. As the crowd thickened I decided we needed a little fresh air.

I looked up and down Market Street which seemed barren with the exception of those gathered in the toy shop. Just then three people walked around a corner. This must be the singer and her friends because they did not look like they were from around here. The smiling lady in the middle had beautiful, shiny auburn curls, wore a long green coat, bright red top and purple paleather, bell bottom pants. I know she was wearing boots but cannot remember what color due to the purple distracting me. She looked great in this outfit that I definitely could not pull off myself. She just had to be the singer from New York. As she came to the front of the shop she stopped to say a cheery hello to Snow White who was awe stricken. We followed them in the shop where she quickly had all the occupants singing, dancing, jumping and making all sorts of animal noises.

After the performance there were a few treats and special discounts on toys. We purchased a few toys and I took photos of Snow White with the singer. A few moms forgot to bring cameras so I took photos for them and emailed them that evening. We had a great time at the shop and on our way out the owner gave us discount coupons for the theater featuring Laurie Berkner whom Snow White nick named the “Song Lady”. All the way home she talked about the Song Lady and could not wait to tell Grandma and Grandpa all the new songs she learned complete with dance steps.

We went to the show the next day in a wonderful old theater downtown. They had everyone in the audience interacting with them. I don’t think we sat down at all during the show. After the show we bought both of the CDs they were selling and of course a t-shirt. Laurie signed the CDs and let me take pictures of her with Snow White. She remembered her from the shop due to her cute little red hat and her beautiful blue eyes.

Just the other day while packing up Snow White’s room in anticipation of our move, I found a forgotten treasure. Her t-shirt from the Laurie Berkner show. The smallest size they had left was a size 5/6 which is the size she wears now. I told her the story about going to see the “Song Lady” since she was too young to remember. She loves hearing stories about when she was little. Of course after that story she was not going to let me pack the t-shirt. She just had to wear that t-shirt today and quickly changed into it. We took a little break from packing to grab a snack and watch a little TV together. Amazing coincidence - guess who was on TV?! You guessed it! Laurie Berkner!

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

It's Got To Go

In an attempt to get a few things packed I decided to tackle Snow White's room. My goodness princess has racked up quite a treasure trove. Great toys but way too many for her to ever play with. As I sort through her closet and under her bed she delights in finding a toy she has not seen in a year. We have even found presents that were never opened and toys in their original packaging. There are of course toys that really need to go such as the McDonald's Happy Meal toys. I know someone out there must be collecting these things but not us. As I attempt to chuck some of the unwanted toys my little one jumps up and declares it a treasure!

Who was I kidding when I said it was ok for her to be in the room while I do this. I set up a movie rented from cable (Heidi) fix her a snack and set up a craft on the kitchen table. The movie did not interest her or the crafts so she was back in her room 5 minutes later.

Wish I could find a place other than Goodwill to send our things. We are moving and I have two refrigerator boxes full of stuff from Lord & Taylor (never worn), Gap, Baby Gap (worn once because babies grow too fast) tons of brand name toys...etc. I dont want to work by having a yard sale or go to a consignment shop. I just want it to go..get it out of my house so I don't have to unpack it at the new house. Whenever I find the new house. I have thought about setting the boxes outside with huge letters "FREE STUFF" written on them but would anyone go through the boxes? If I came across a box like this I would just walk on by thinking if it is free it has to be worthless.

Sunday, October 01, 2006

Where Have All the Good Homes Gone?



Months and months of house searching and still not finding anything. What is with the housing market? Who came up with the idea to have two full bathrooms on the main floor and none on the second floor where the bedrooms are? I want to find that person and give them a wake up smack in the face. Who wants to run through the living room or dinning room to take a shower? I am not looking for a mansion. I just want a nice 3 BR with at least 2 full bathrooms near the bedrooms and one guest bathroom. The next realtor to show me a house with bedrooms the size of 9x9 will be mentally flogged. My idea of a master bedroom is a large bedroom with two walk in closets and a full bathroom. Not just the largest room in the house with a small closet and walking distance to the bathroom.

I have found one developer who can provide me with my ideal house. The problem is it wont be ready until next summer. I needed to move last month so that doesn't work for me. I am tired of the 3 hour round trip commute. I want my family moved so we can spend more time together.

Not finding what I want in a purchase I start looking for a house to rent in the mean time. It appears something major happened in this state between 1957 and the present. Okay, there were a few built but still eww on the layouts. What they call condos here we call townhouses back home. They are larger than most town houses I have seen but you only own the inside of the house. The roof, the yard and the sidewalk are all the responsibility of the Condo Organization. That sounded great at first! Woohoo! I would not have to move the yard or shovel the snow! If the roof leaked or anything I wouldn't have to dip into saving to have it repaired. It also meant that I could not put up the play ground set or a tree house, a sandbox, or even a shed in the back yard. Now when I see a condo listed I just skip right by the listing.

After three months of searching I finally find a rental. I would actually love to purchase this home. It has everything I want plus a few extras like a laundry room the size of a normal living room. There are clothing racks installed so you can hang things up right away, a "dry flat" area, room for a sewing machine and peg boards for thread, ribbon, etc. There are many large storage closets and all of this extra does not take away from the living space.

The big hiccup with this house is they do not allow pets. My jaw dropped as I have asked each property manager on the phone, before setting up an appointment, if they allowed pets. The property manager called me back later to say the owner is allergic to cats and would be ok with a small dog. My little girl has a cat who she adores and loves her right back.

After a week of debating on this house and looking at the lack of houses in the area I have a little talk with my daughter. A few hours of answering all of her questions she agrees to swap out her cat for a small dog. I find a great family to take the cat upon our move in date. I call the property manager who becomes very excited at the anticipation of renting the house. She calls me back later to say the owner would rather not have a puppy in the house but will allow you to keep the cat with some minor provisions. You must pay one months rent, regular deposit, $1700 pet deposit plus the cost to ________ the property when you move out. I cannot remember the term she used but sounds of it are similar to the cleaning after a nuclear fallout. She will get back to me on the cost.

At first all I thought about was YES we are getting the house!! Then my mind started reeling. How much was it going to cost to get in to this house? Are they pulling my leg? It would be cheaper to buy the house. I wouldn't have to put that much down and I could forget the nuclear cleaning.

I give up on this house and look again at the news paper. I have an appointment on Tuesday to look at another house. I just cannot imagine any other house being as wonderful as the one I wanted so bad. Oh well, maybe that just wasn't the house for us. I console myself with the thought it must have some hidden faults such as horrid plumping, mold hidden somewhere, etc.