31 January 2008

Tax Day!

It's deadline day for W-2s. I am still waiting on a couple of them, which makes me cranky. The earned income credit is very good to us, and propane isn't getting any cheaper this year.
Off to a short day at school, Then errands and Job 2. Tomorrow night I actually took off so we can take Thing 3 to meet G'ma D for her b'day weekend. In the next two weeks I have two evenings and a Sunday free to do something with my family. I have to be anal about scheduling and planning. Hate that, because I suck at it.
Off to get ready for school.

30 January 2008

Holy frostbite, Batman!

Windchills -42 f. Yowch. Actual temp -15. If you can make a beeline from the house door to the car door and avoid the wind, it's only really insanely cold. Surprisingly enough, both Job 1 and 2 were busier today than Monday before the cold settled back in. Not much moved yesterday, but it doesn't take too long before born and bred Minnesotans develop an in-your-face attitude about the cold. I met a friend in her seventies at the door of the store across the street form Job 1. "I was only coming across the street," she stated, "my car is warm." explaining her lack of coat or mittens. Maybe it's just senility.
Filed Thing 1's very first tax return. The little bugger is quite excited about the prospect of her first refund. Now it's late and I'm shot. Nite!

29 January 2008

A day off?

Thing 4 has a virus that prevents me from going to school today, as iPastor has two night shifts in a row, so he can't watch him. This leaves me with a whole day at home. I will not be poking my head any further out the door than necessary, now that our January thaw is over, and another Alberta clipper has brought back the cold with a vengeance. I have cookies in the over, hot chocolate ready to go for when the school bus comes home, and I am ready to relax until tomorrow, when the two-job days start again.

28 January 2008

Ready, Set, Monday

Another week and we're off and running. I work my normal schedule at Job 1 (MWFSS), and I've picked up some shifts at Job 2 to fill in for a quitter. All day school on Tuesday, one class only on Thursday. Haircuts for mom and Thing 2, then Thing 2's high school registration. That will be two of my very own Things in high school. No. Way. They are not that old yet. Neither am I...

27 January 2008

Inter-waitress ranting

We were crazy busy at Job 2 last night. We had a regular Saturday crowd and a short staff. Instead of the normal camaraderie, however, everyone was testy and short-tempered. As the evening wore on, I noticed one of the other waitresses in the workstation with her cell phone. She was texting away, having an argument with her fiancee. I thought it was a bit silly, but made no mention as my kids frequently call me about dumb stuff at work, so who am I to judge. Today at Job 1, we got about halfway into lunch when my partner started arguing via text with her brother. She was in tears most of her shift. Is it contagious or what?
***
I may or may not have told the bathroom story here. It may have been on the incarnation of Sauce for the Goose that is lost to the ether. You may have heard it before. I don't care, I'm telling it again (I have a point). As a mom of 4, bathroom privacy is fleeting. Having a defective doorlatch doesn't help matters any. I am frequently barged in upon for lunch money requests, phone calls, bill conferences, or just a friendly chat while I am in the tub or trying to peacefully perform any manner of bodily functions. One day, the whole fam damily was off somewhere and I had he house to myself. I headed for the bathroom, and actually had the conscious thought of "Hey, I get the bathroom all to myself for a change." As I sat there, a little paw came under the door, pushed it open, and in sauntered the cat. I get no respect. Anyway, I told you that, because it made this just that much more funny to me.

26 January 2008

Dancing girls!

So here's the promised video. I cleaned off the camera Sunday when grandma visited, so I thought I had an empty memory card. The kids filled it with junk, tho, so I didn't get the whole thing. She can buy a pro video for her memories, but this gives her mom something to see! Enjoy.
video

25 January 2008

Sneakin' around

Tonight was slow at work, so I finished early and swung through town to grab a jug of milk and pick up a few things. As I tried to remember what we needed, I ran into iPastor. He actually had a list and everything. So we spent a couple hours and most of his paycheck with no kids in tow. Weird kinda date, but these days I'll take what I can get.

24 January 2008

Last dance

Last nite as I pulled into town, I noticed orange cones in the intersection. That means one thing hereabouts: busted water main. They got it back up and running by bedtime, but I had to flush with distilled water, and it made me cranky. Our water here is unmetered. When we first moved to town we paid a flat rate of $19/month. Then TPTB decided we need a new sewer plant, and started hiking our bills. We now pay $68/month. for that much, the dang water better work. Oh well, at least it's not my heat bill. The first tank of propane this year lasted 48 days. At $675, that was $14/day. The next tank was $840. Lets hope we get at least 60 days out of that one...
Tonite was the last performance for JV danceline, so I took a video. I was trying to work on it but I am too tired to monkey with relearning iMovie tonite, so I'll get it posted later. Maybe Sunday. Friday and Saturday are two-job days, but I'm bucking for Sunday off. See ya on the other side!

23 January 2008

Where's my worm?

Methinks my body may be reverting to the early bird schedule. Not such a bad thing, once I get used to popping awake at 4:30 am. The butt crack of dawn, indeed.
Yesterday I rolled out about 5:45, all prepared to hit the road by 6:15. Strategic before-bed planning is imperative, as I can stumble into my clothes and have coffee before my body even realizes it is upright. The effort was well-rewarded yesterday, though, as I drove out into a crystal clear pre-dawn, with a startlingly blue full moon reflecting on new snowfall. We didn't get much here, just enough to dust everything and clean it up. My fellow commuters from the south fared less well; I heard tales of commutes the same distance as mine that took two hours. The Metro news reported lots of accidents as well. Come spring we'll miss the moisture, but I haven't missed the ditch (or rather, I have consistently missed the ditch. You decide.)
I hadn't planned on waking so early this morning, but my brain dictated otherwise, and the beagle reinforced it with an early morning visit for some long-overdue attention. I was up and had the dishes done (that I wasn't here to use, how does that work?) and the laundry running before I roused the kids from their beds a few minutes early out of sheer spite. No-one missed the bus today, and the mood was definitely improved. May have to try that again tomorrow. I've even kept the laundry going while I did my online homework and checked the mail. Now I am having a little goof-off time before I get ready for work. The kids have an early out today, and no-one has work or practice. I foresee a pleasant evening at home. I'll let you know when the other boot drops.

22 January 2008

Jiggity Jig

One more dreadfully long day today. I enjoy my classes, just not the layout. I've been making good use of my break time, though, searching job sites and working on my online class. Too pooped for any real content here, though. TTFN.

21 January 2008

Observation...

...when outlining chapter notes, it's best not to mix them up with Yertle the Turtle, even though the four-year-old wants to read it one more time.

20 January 2008

Brrrr

It is old news around here that the temperature is FREAKIN' COLD! By the time we get used to it, it warms up, if only slightly. Dinner today at job 1 was decent, as people came out who were sick of being housebound. Sometimes we hearty Minnesotans do something just to spite the weather. The sun shone today, too. That makes a big difference.
Saturday was a different story; nothing was moving that didn't have to. We had planned to go to Marshall to watch the las JV Dance performance, as Alex is on danceline. The idea was to meet up with the G'mas on their weekly foray to Marshall, but that wasn't coming off as planned, and in the end, I couldn't justify spending the gas money and the $25 to get the family in the door, to risk a trip in dangerously cold weather. I picked up a shift at Job 2, then we had an impromptu birthday party for Thing 3 with her neighborhood friends, a pot of chili and a funfetti cake, per the Birthday Girl's request.
The cold weather has been opportune for my activity of choice, which is reading like a madwoman. This is a lit-heavy semester, so there's a lot to be done. The Austen has breezed by; Hemmingway not so much. Textbooks, even when they contain good information, are written to put me to sleep, so I have to do those in very small doses. The latter has proven to be an awesome sleep-aid, so I'm off.

19 January 2008

Happy Birthday Thing 3



Here we find Thing 3 early last month, as she discovered that Saint Niklaus had traveled all the way from Germany to leave goodies in her shoe. Ew.

My goodness, has it been 10 whole years since nearly 10 pounds of baby arrived on a winter afternoon? Ten years of chirpy little sunshine, always a song, always trying to be like her sisters, now trying to be a big sister to her little buddy. Wow. I sought long and hard for just the right picture or pictures to post, and learned that I really have to get going with the scanner (or find some serious bribeworthy incentive to get iPastor on it.) Anyway, Happy Birthday to you, baby girl.

18 January 2008

This could be a long semester

I just got the official email about our new time/room for the early bird Ed. course I mentioned before. The instructor said it was a pleasure "facilitating our learning" on Tuesday. Oh dear. 15 more weeks of educational theory-speak. Strength...

17 January 2008

Studious

So I've spent most of the past couple days reading Pride and Prejudice. A very engaging read, once one adapts the rhythm of the archaic language. I'm thinking this class may be as much fun as the Tennessee Williams.
This morning was relatively quiet and completely free of misfit cats. I got to be the hero for letting the kids sleep in and dropping them off on my way to school. Fun. Tonite is Job 2, now with Karaoke goodness. I'm trying to shake a nagging headache, so we'll see how the evening pans out.

16 January 2008

Heckuva way to wake up

Got the kids off on the bus and curled back up in bed to wait for Thing 4 to wake up. As we were dozing peacefully, I had just heard him starting to chirp when we were jolted out of bed by a blood-curdling scream. I hadn't heard a thud or crash, but my heart was pounding as I bolted out into the hallway to investigate. I found him sitting calmly on the stairs. "The kitties were scared," he said. I reported back to iPastor that all was well, if weird. "Cats don't make that noise." he said, and I was in agreement. It sounded like a woman screamed in my hallway. I think Thing 4 may have startled and yelped a bit as well, but I couldn't think of any other explanation. Oddly enough, the cats have never been that loud before, though they frequently tussle. I chalked it up to the younger one approaching heat, until iPastor called up from downstairs, "Well, here's the problem." as he found Fuzznut staring down a black and white stray in the living room. The doors were all closed, but we have some issues with the closers not working properly, so the newcomer may have taken advantage of a gap between the kids trucking out to the bus stop. iPastor got kitty shooed out, and we got our two little ladies calmed down. As he was breaking up the fight, the cat was moaning and yowling as they do, but I also distinctly heard it say "Meow." It sounded just like a person. Weird. Now Fuzz is kneading my lap and threatening to jump on the keyboard to put a stop to my blatant neglect of her needs, so I'd better get busy paying attention to her. Worse things to do on a January morning than love on a warm fuzzy cat.

15 January 2008

One down...

...15 to go.
Tuesdays just got longer. The 8:00 am class is moving to 7:15 to accommodate some history majors who have a conflict with one of their other required courses. That puts me on the road at 6:15 to have plenty of wiggle room for coffee stops, pee breaks, etc. Getting out of the house early is a small blessing. I seem to get hung up when we're all trying to leave at the same time. I can be up and out before they get started. I spent my very long break getting my online Alcohol awareness class straightened out, passwords and the like, as it is through Lake Superior College. Then I spent some time online and found an online Brit Lit survey that the department head will accept as a substitution, if I switch to the 3 credit Brit authors course, and out of the 1 credit Tennessee Williams course. I'm a little sad about that, and If I had extra $$ I'd keep 'em both 'cuz it looks to be really interesting, but unfortunately they meet at the same time. I opted for the Austen/Bronte course over retaking the Shakespeare. I actually did quite well in the Shakespeare course, and had I competed the stupid paper my grade would have been good. This way, since I have to cough up the money anyway, I get more bang for my buck. I spoke with my Ed dept. head, and with a trip to the registration office it looks like I will be DONE the first week of May. Hallelujah.
I am hoping to use that long break to do my reading and course work. My fees also pay for health services, and there's a fitness center and a pool I may take to using. We'll see how it goes. I got roped into a NTSO officer's meeting. Love to be of help, but need to avoid the distractions.
Got home to the bosom of my family and frozen pizza. College life, indeed...

14 January 2008

Here we go again...

I start back to school tomorrow. An ed class, two lit classes, and an alcohol awareness class I have to have for the Ed program. What. Ever. Tuesdays will suck. Class from 8 am until 8 pm. No class from 11:30 until a night class at 5. Yuck. Should be plenty of time to get my homework done. Thursdays I'll only have one class, and it's a one credit author's course, so I'll be done the 15th of Feb. Now I need to get to bed so I can get on the road in the morning. Nite!

13 January 2008

Winding up...

Wrapping the weekend. Getting ready to launch into another week. Just made plans for a friend to come to dinner. Trying to get some humanity into our routine. Now I am sleepy and a bath sounds lovely. TA!

12 January 2008

Saturday slackin'

On the way home from Job #1 I got sucked into "This American Life" on the radio. Great stories this week. So I'm flopped with a comfy blanket and a coke enjoying them. Feel free to join me.

11 January 2008

More waitress rants

If you are in a hurry, don't snark at me for not taking your order sooner when I have been to your table three times to try to get it but you are yakking on your cell phone!

We love it when buses come. Just call first. (We rocked it anyway)

I have bibs, colors, paper and crackers for your kids, but no bottle warmer. Ditto for dropcloths. Eternal gratitude to the poor mom on her hand and knees picking up baby flotsam.

And I leave you with this. At a previous job, I worked with one of the other waitresses at Job 2. After one particularly long night I said, "My dogs are barking!" To which she replied, "Why? Did your neighbors call?"

10 January 2008

Organized?

Today's contest at the Crazy Hip Blog Mamas is to post my favorite decorating or organizational tip, sponsored by better.tv. Ha! I am so hopelessly disorganized it is not even funny. The best thing I've come across, however, is Flylady.net. There are lots of hints and tips there, but the best thing there is the attitude. She and her crew invite people to take pride in the tasks that get accomplished, and not get overwhelmed with what remains. They always encourage to keep trying, keep moving, but also take stock of what is already done. When I look at my surroundings in that light, I can see how far I've come, and not get completely overwhelmed by ho far I've yet to go.
Now, it's time to chip a little more off the stack, and get ready for work.

09 January 2008

Dreams and pie

Cliff, as usual, was right on the money. Concord Grape Pie it is.
***
I have to quit going back to bed, because lately when I do, I have some weird dreams. In them, I will frequently question whether or not I am dreaming, convince myself I am really awake, then wake up. Today I dreamt I was in Florida for a weekend trip. I was thinking the whole time that it was really unlikely for me to be there, I was just home, we don't have vacation money, etc. etc. I started checking out my surroundings to make sure I was awake. I looked out the window; it was overcast and 55 on the digital clock on the hotel sign. I reached out to feel the walls around me and examine my surroundings to be sure I was really awake. When I decided I must be awake, I woke up.
***
It seems we have inadvertently started a bedtime ritual of flopping on our bed. As in the whole famdamily. A couple years ago at tax refund time, iPastor and I decided we could justify replacing our bed, which had been his grandparents', so out of shape that the mattress continually slipped off the box spring. We both loved the Tempur-pedic, but it was dreadfully expensive. We settled for a standard mattress with a pillow top of the memory foam. We decided to live large and get the king size. Lately at bedtime, the Things will gather one by one, usually until all five of them and at least one of the cats are present in a strange hybrid of a monkey pile and a perpetual motion machine. There is much laughter, frequent gas, and occasional tears if there is an unfortunate incident with a stray limb. Not a bad way to wrap the evening. So I will.

08 January 2008

Productive

One of the other college girls at work was looking to pick up hours, so I gave up a day today and puttered around the house. I wanted to be free in case bro's truck was fixed and we had to return it to SD. No-one called, so I stayed home. I could have easily frittered away the day, but iPastor was good at keeping us on track, so we got a couple of drawers cleaned out, sorted some paperwork, and got some errands run. Not the sort of thing that shows, but it felt good to get some stuff done.
While we were in town erranding, we stopped for lunch, where Thing 4 decided he wanted grape pie. He's hard to deter once he gets his mind set on something, but luckily for him he doesn't much care if his grape pie looks an awful lot like raspberry cream.
I just now got the call that the Exploder is done, so I may take another day off. We'll have to see what they have planned.
Now it is time for the weekly chauffeuring of dancing girls. I bid you adieu; pray for my foray into the land of spins, twirls and high kicks.

07 January 2008

Aw, MooOoom

I don't even remember what I said today to elicit the patented "MoOm!" from Thing 1, but I absently responded, "What?" After a short pause she replied, "That was a rhetorical 'Mom'."

06 January 2008

January Thaw, indeed...

45 degrees?!?! This is Minnesota, after all. I think most of the population was too flabbergasted to do anything yesterday. The ice fishermen and snowmobilers had a day of mourning. Our cook said he was going swimming and laying out for a tan after work. I merely came home and herded kids, which is not at all unlike herding cats. They got Dance Dance Revolution for Christmas, so I was constantly prying one of them away from the playstation to complete a task. Started taking the tree down last night. We got all the deco off, but I am thinking of leaving it up and doing the year-round tree again, just because it is such a bugger to get up and down the stairs, and guess who is the one who always gets to haul it. It's not bothering anyone there in the corner of the dining room. When we were first married, I had a tabletop tree that I kept up and tricked out according to season or whimsy. I don't think I went the whole year, but it was kinda fun. Better than a ceramic goose, I guess. Even in the Goose Capitol.
Off to bed!

05 January 2008

Lame

I had a much better day reading all of you today than coming up with something good to post. I got sprung from Job 1 a little early, so I had a lovely afternoon of goofing off. After work, I had to pick up Thing 1 at the high school dance. One of my coworkers was surprised I have kids in high school. Not nearly as surprised as I am. The little lovebirds were twittering around the front door of our armory/school facility when I pulled up, so enraptured with the games that I sat for 10 minutes before she noticed I was there. Can't decide if I miss that feeling, or if i"m glad its over.
ipastor was kind enough to bring me the laptop so I could post before bed. How thoughtful.
Since this is lame, I'll leave you with Dear Abby's column from January 1. I thought it was rather nice.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will live through this day only. I will not brood about yesterday or obsess about tomorrow. I will not set far-reaching goals or try to overcome all of my problems at once.

I know that I can do something for 24 hours that would overwhelm me if I had to keep it up for a lifetime.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will be happy. I will not dwell on thoughts that depress me. If my mind fills with clouds, I will chase them away and fill it with sunshine.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will accept what is. I will face reality. I will correct those things I can correct and accept those I cannot.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will improve my mind. I will read something that requires effort, thought and concentration. I will not be a mental loafer.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will make a conscious effort to be agreeable. I will be kind and courteous to those who cross my path, and I'll not speak ill of others. I will improve my appearance, speak softly, and not interrupt when someone else is talking.

Just for today, I will refrain from improving anybody but myself.

JUST FOR TODAY: I will do something positive to improve my health. If I'm a smoker, I'll quit. If I am overweight, I will eat healthfully -- if only just for today. And not only that, I will get off the couch and take a brisk walk, even if it's only around the block.

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JUST FOR TODAY: I will gather the courage to do what is right and take responsibility for my own actions.

And now, Dear Readers, I would like to share an item that was sent to me by I.J. Bhatia, a reader who lives in New Delhi, India:

DEAR ABBY: This year, no resolutions, only some guidelines. The Holy Vedas say: "Man has subjected himself to thousands of self-inflicted bondages. Wisdom comes to a man who lives according to the true eternal laws of nature."

The following prayer of Saint Francis contains a powerful message:

"Lord, make me an instrument of your peace;

"Where there is hatred, let me sow love;

"Where there is injury, pardon;

"Where there is doubt, faith;

"Where there is despair, hope;

"Where there is darkness, light;

"Where there is sadness, joy;

"O Divine Master, grant that I may not as much seek to be consoled as to console;

"To be loved as to love.

"For it is in giving that we are pardoned;

"It is in dying that we are born to eternal life."

And so, Dear Readers, may this New Year bring with it peace and joy. -- LOVE, ABBY

04 January 2008

Shot

Just home from Job 2. My knees ache. I am too old for this. It's a fun place, and a great crew, just like Job 1, but I am sore. The propane tank needs fillin', though, so I keep plugging.
iPastor is 4 for 4 in 2008. He rocks!
I'm thinking a soak in a hot bath and a glass of wine are just what the doctor ordered, so I'll leave you with that. G'nite!

03 January 2008

The resolution post

As part of the Crazy Hip Blog Mama's Collaboration this week, and to jump on the bandwagon, let's pull up last year's resolutions, commentary in italics...

1. Exercise more (walking the dogs might actually help with this one...)
Very slight improvement here. Still a long way to go.
2. Read the Bible through in one year or less.
Ummm, next...
3. Set consistent time for prayer and devotions, not just toss it in when I remember.
Still with the tossing...
4. Spend more time with my kids.
Making baby steps here.
5. Establish healthy eating habits.
Not.
6. Drink two quarts of water daily.
Not hardly, but better...
7. Start juicing.
A couple times...
8. Cut down on the time I waste on the internet (blogging is therapeutic, not wasteful...)
Ups and downs. Scrabulous is my downfall.
9. Finish the damn degree, already!!!!
One semester left. $2000 to go...
10. Be less sarcastic (oh the pain...)
I think this is better.
11. Jump in where I am instead of waiting for circumstances to be "just so."
This too.
12. Laugh more on purpose.
Hard sometimes.
13. Finish painting the hall.
Nope.

Resolutions are a bit silly, but they exemplify the human drive for self-improvement. Every year is like having a clean slate to start ourselves over and make a new creature. Even if we never do, the potential is there, and it's exciting.
This year, I'll probably revisit all of those. They're worthwhile, but I'll add one more:
14. Be content.

02 January 2008

Zzzzzzzz

The joy of my job is that I normally don't have to punch in until 11, so after I got the school kids loaded on the bus I crawled back into bed for a while. Thing 4 slept remarkably late for his usual habits, so I didn't roll back out until after 9, and he was just starting to wiggle. Not much time to get anything done around here, so I will enjoy a little mommy time with the Thing and get back to the grind tomorrow.
iPastor has a nice New Year's blog. I hope he holds to his intentions of posting more frequently. I think he's got a lot to offer.
Off to a new adventure. Hopefully something bloggable.

01 January 2008

Blog 365

...aaaand we're off.
Happy New Year to all of you. I have yet to write a check, so the change in date hasn't hit me yet. I spent most of the last two days in a fog of housework preparing for the last Christmas celebration of the year, which was held here. I got off easy. I just cleaned and made a couple of side dishes, MIL brought the ham and dessert, BIL brought cheesy potatoes. iPastor's mom spent most of Christmas break in FL, visiting her brother. He has cancer, but seems to be doing quite well. Alex returned home in the middle of the night from her trip to FL. She took over 300 pictures and is none the worse for wear. We enjoyed our meal and the kids opened grandma's gifts, and we called it a night early since we all have work or school in the morning.
Tomorrow it's back to the grind. Two jobs for me for the rest of the week; iPastor has a couple more night shifts. I need to contact the department head about some substitutions, then see how school plays out for next semester. Now I'm ready to hit the hay and start day two of 2008 with a bang. G'nite!