Friday, December 24, 2010

A Gift

I love Christmas music. I mean, who doesn't really? I have a favorite secular Christmas song (Silver Bells) and while I have several that are in the running for a semi-tie for favorite religious Christmas songs, probably my all-time favorite is the Harry Simeone Chorale version of "The Little Drummer Boy."

I love the harmony and the "brum brums," but mostly I love the message. Even the smallest, poorest among us have a gift we can bring -- to God, to the world, to our friends and family.

Merry Christmas!

I hope that this Christmas you learn to recognize the gifts you have to bring and that He smiles at you.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Somebody Hand Me a Tissue

I've not been shy here about mentioning some of my "mental health issues." If you're new here, go read here and, to some degree, here.

Well, for those of you playing along at home, I'm off my Lexapro again. I weaned myself this time and have had a much better result. MUCH better. You know what's best about it, though? The tears. The crying. Oh, how I've missed crying. And the sad thing was that I didn't even realize that I was missing it, which is odd since I'm a life-long crier. I'm talking about the sentimental tears. You know the ones -- that ones that come when the Mom in the Publix commercial realizes that the cake the little boy made is for her, not some imagined sweetheart. Or the ones that spring to your eyes when your child gives you a spontaneous declaration of love accompanied by a huge hug.

Of course, my most notorious sentimental cry was over the Mercedes commercial. This one, to be exact. Come ON! How can you NOT cry at that? Its life is flashing before its eyes!

I didn't even realize these tears were missing until I was driving along the other day, singing along to the radio with my kids. All of sudden, my voice and Bubba's rose above the radio in perfect harmony. I was filled with such a swell of love at that moment and all of a sudden my eyes welled.

Wait. what's this? my eyes?!

Since then it's been like unleashing a dam. Everything sets me off. Oh tears! How I missed you. I'm sooo glad you're back. And just in time, too, for Christmas, when the sight of the kids with Santa, every Christmas carol, the Christmas Eve service at church are sure to bring on the waterworks.

I'll be looking at the Christmas tree this year with tears in my eyes. And boy am I glad.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Creepie Crawlies

First off, a note to my step-sister Amy -- just skip this post. Come back tomorrow, but don't read this one. You'll thank me, I promise you.

So, yesterday we were all stuck at home due to a strep diagnosis for Punkin'. We were all just hanging out and doing our own thing. As I walked into the kitchen, I noticed a cobweb hanging from the light fixture over our table. Not having a reputation as an immaculate housekeeper, I wasn't too surprised. I went over to swipe it down when I noticed that it stretched down to the back of one of the chairs as well as over to the curtain on the window.

And that's when I noticed that this cobweb was covered with approximately 100 baby spiders. Yes, I said spiders. Now, granted, they were tiny, but me and spiders just don't gee haw . But I really do hate to kill God's creatures so I've compromised by saying that if a spider is outside, it can live. However, if it's inside, it's gotta die.

My dilemma here, though, was that I wasn't really sure how to get rid of so many tiny spiders at once, so I grabbed the first thing that came to my mind -- I should spray them with something. I grabbed the closest thing to hand -- Windex. Hey, they say it works on zits, right? It's chemicals, right? And chemicals will surely kill spiders. So saith the Lord.

So, I gave them a quick squirt followed by a quick swipe with a paper towel. I managed to get most of them, but a few survived and began to crawl everywhere, including up my arm. I did my trademarked heebie jeebie dance all the while screaming "Aaiaiaiaiaia." Punkin, who was feeling better by this time got a big kick out of my antics, but I was completely freaked out. And that's when I made the mistake of looking behind the curtain.

More spiders. A lot more. I grabbed the Windex again and went in, nozzle blazing. Because these were more contained, they were more easily wiped out. I did more dancing and more "aiaiaiaiai-ing," but I managed to get them all.

I went into bathroom to wash my hands and try to get over my freakout. Bubba, who had been zombified by the computer up until that point, asked me what all the yelling was about. As soon as he heard spiders he wanted to see the site of the massacre.

"They're not there!" he yelled back to me.

"I know," I said. "I killed them all!" It was quiet for a moment and then...

", they're all over the ceiling!"

Y'all. I went back into the kitchen and looked up. It was like that scene from that old horror movie about spiders, the one where at the end the entire town is covered in a spider web. I stared up in horror at what looked like at least 200 baby spiders. I was majorly freaked out, but something had to be done.

I grabbed the Windex again and told Bubba to stand back. I raised the bottle and gave a squirt. At which time 200 baby spiders descended from the ceiling on their webs -- straight onto the top of my head. You have never seen such screaming and dancing around, arms flailing around my head. I managed to reach the broom and then did a quick sweep, managing to catch most of them in the bristles of the broom.

Which I promptly placed outside. And squirted with more Windex, just for good measure.

This morning as I stood over my desk shuffling piles of paper, a spider crawled out from under one stack and across another. I swear to God all I could think of was "That's the momma spider and she hitched a ride here -- on MY BODY!!!!!"

So, now I have a major case of the heebie jeebies. And I'll never look at the scene from Charlotte's Web the same again. You know the one. The one where all her babies fly away at the end. That's not sweet or sad. That's just plain creepy!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

Nothing Good Comes Easy.

So, I promised a post about our recent camping trip. It's become sort of an annual event -- our winter camping extravaganza. Winter camping is always a dicey enterprise and we don't even DO hardcore camping. I mean, we sleep in a camper. A pop-up, but still, a camper. Some of you might remember this camping trip -- one of the most miserable in my life, but they've generally gotten better and I actually look forward to them now.

It doesn't look like I wrote about last year's adventures, but we went up to Unicoi State Park and had a great time. We froze our butts off the first night, but the second night we cranked up both heaters and actually slept pretty warmly.

This year we went to Enota campground and our pop up had been upgraded from a soft-side pop up with few amenities to a hard-side pop up with a built in heater! So we fully anticipated an easy set up and sleeping warmly.

Getting a campsite set up is always frought with stress, at least for our family. Mr. Daddy is, um, shall we say, easily stressed, and if things don't go just right (and they seldom do!), voices might be raised. A teeny bit. Getting a camp site set up after dark is a completely different animal. There are a lot more opportunities for things to go awry.

When we pulled into the campsite it was pitch dark -- problem number one. Problem number two? It was about 20 degrees outside. Mr. Daddy pulled the camper past the site, getting ready to back the camper into the space. The space for the camper was very narrow and I was dispatched to the back to help guide Mr. Daddy into the spot. All of a sudden, a car pulls up behind us, shining its lights into our face. We waved it around, but it just stayed there. Lights on. In our faces. Mr. Daddy sat there. I waved at the car again and I'm pretty sure my aggravation could be read in my wave. Dude, GO AROUND. The car didn't move. More aggressive waving. Finally, finally, it went around.

An older gentleman (henceforth known as Helpful Older Gentleman, or HOG) got out and walked over. "I'm sorry," he said. "I was trying to shine my headlights on the spot so that you could see a little better," he said kindly. Oops.

We finally got the camper into the spot, with the "help" of HOG who kept yelling things like "get on top of it" -- whatever that means. Mr. Daddy then pulled out the power cord, plugged it into the power pole, and hit the switch to raise the electric pop up.


He hit the switch again. Nothing except a slight groan as the motor tried to work. Awesome. He flipped the breakers on the power box and tried the switch again. Still nothing. HOG, who was still hanging "helpfully" around, offered to pull his car over and hook it up to the camper battery. Once we hooked it up, the pop up, well, popped up. HOG 2 pts, Us, 0.

The kids and I hurried inside and turned on the heater, which began blowing warm air immediately. Ah, heaven. I also set up the griddle to start cooking some hot dogs since it was way past suppertime for all of us. I grabbed the griddle and plugged into the nearest outlet and turned it on. Nothing. Zip. Zilch. Nada. Now that just didn't make any sense. The lights were on, the heat was on. Why wasn't the outlet working?

"Babe!" I hollered out the door, "The griddle's not working. And I think the heater's blowing cold air now." And wait, were the lights getting dimmer, too?

Mr. Daddy came in and fiddled with the switch on the griddle. He unplugged it and plugged it back in. "Are you sure you've got it plugged in all the way?" he asked. I just stared at him in disdain, not bothering to dignify that question with answer.

"Look," I said. "The lights are getting dimmer." He reached up and flipped them off and then back on, though they were now on in name only. We looked at each other in the near (freezing) darkness. "See!" I said.

"Oh, it's just the ballasts on the lights," he said. "They have to warm back up." "I don't think we're getting any power from the power pole," I said helpfully. At least in my mind it was said helpfully.

"I'm hungry," whined both kids at once.

Mr. Daddy went back outside and began flipping breakers on the power pole, all the while it was getting darker and colder inside the camper.

In and out, flipping switches, turning the heater on an off. Turning the lights on and off. All of us mystified as to why nothing seemed to be working. By this time, Mr. Daddy and I are both in a state. I'm frustrated, hungry and cold. So is he. In nearly fourteen years of marriage you'd think I'd have learned when to keep my mouth shut, but somehow that just hasn't sunk in yet.

In one of Mr. Daddy's forays into the camper to see if anything was working, I "helpfully" pointed out, yet again, that the heater wasn't working.

That was the straw the broke the proverbial camel's back. "I hope y'all are having fun," he said loudly as he walked back outside, "because this is the LAST TIME we are ever going camping!"

It was quiet for a moment. The Punkin said, in a quiet voice, "Really?"

"No," Bubba said reassuringly. "Sometimes people say things when they're mad that they don't really mean."

Mr. Daddy walked back in. "I don't know what the problem is."

"Let's just go to a hotel for the night," I said. "We can't stay here. It's too cold. We'll get it figured out in the morning." At the mention of hotel, both kids went berserk as staying in a hotel is obviously the coolest thing we could do.

"Let me try one more thing," Mr. Daddy said and he headed back out into the cold, though the inside temp and the outside temp had once again reached equilibrium. As he walked out, I might have said, one more time, "I don't think we're getting any power from the power pole."

Mr. Daddy must have agreed with me because he took the extension cord and ran it across the road to the empty campsite across from us. I wasn't aware of what he was doing, as I was watching my kids eat a healthy supper of potato chips and capri suns in the near darkness in the camper. All of a sudden -- LIGHTS! The kids and I actually cheered.

Mr. Daddy came back in and said "Well, you were right." WHA? Somebody please note this date on a calendar. It turns out we weren't getting any power from the power pole. We ended up having to call the campground's after hours number because by this time it was nearly 9:00. A very nice man came to help us and he and Mr. Daddy poked around out in the dark, switching breakers and futzing around.

Finally, the guy located the problem. The power pole? The one that stood about three feet tall with the large breaker box nailed to the side? That was not the power pole we were supposed to use. No, the correct one, the one that worked, was only about 8 inches high and was literally located at ground level next to the water pump. In the dark it was nearly impossible to find and we being somewhat familiar with the effects of mixing water and electricity, I don't think any of us thought to look for the power panel next to the water pump.

Finally, the lights came on for good. And the heat. At that point I began to laugh. Mr. Daddy looked at me like I'd lost my mind and said "It's not funny!" Oh, but it was. I laughed and laughed and eventually he joined in. Hot dogs were cooked and consumed. A beer or two was had. As we snuggled down under the covers and prepared to go to sleep, Punkin piped up, "Will we ever go camping again, Daddy?"

"Yes," he admitted grudgingly, "but you can bet we're getting this night for free!"

Friday, December 17, 2010

Taking it REALLY public

This is a test. This is only a test of the blogging broadcast system. I'm taking my blog public -- very public. Like Facebook public.

I'm not gonna lie, it's kind of scary, but it's kind of exciting too. I'm hoping it makes me write more. We'll see. Santa, that laptop I asked for would make thing sooo much easier. And I've been a very good girl.

Since today is Friday, I'll post one of my haikus below.

A half day today,
Freedom to nap, drink cocoa.
Time with the kiddos.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010


Did any of y'all have any age-related "rules" when you were growing up?

Like, I wasn't allowed to get my ears pierced until I was 9. Or, I wasn't allowed to wear any makeup at all until 6th grade and then I was only allowed to wear a little eye shadow and some blush. When I finally was allowed to wear mascara, I wasn't allowed to wear black, only brown. I wasn't allowed to date until I was 15 and then it had to be a double date. Single dates had to wait until I was 16.

I think most of these were based on the notion of what "good" girls do and don't do. "Good" girls don't wear too much make-up and I distinctly remember my mom telling me that only trashy girls wear black mascara. When she was younger good girls didn't get their ears pierced (remember Sandy from Grease?).

But I wonder if these sorts of rules still apply? I mean, sure, there are things I definitely won't allow Punkin to do -- no short shorts or belly baring shirts while she lives in my house.
Most of these rules worked out pretty well for me, though, and I had planned on instituting some of them in my own home. The makeup rules will definitely stand and in fact I may up it to 7th grade. I'm not even sure Punkin will be allowed to date -- we'll see when the time comes. (Kidding! Of course she'll date.) (With her dad and I in the backseat.)(Kidding again! Mostly.)

But as I mentioned yesterday, Punkin has really been angling to get her ears pierced. At first I thought about making her wait, but then I didn't really have a good reason to. Pierced ears no longer equates to trashy and even though it squicks me out to see a baby's ears pierced that has more to do with the thought of actually doing that and dealing with the resultant screaming child than any aesthetic or moral reasons. So, I told her we would go this weekend.

Whereupon she promptly changed her mind. Fear, of pain mostly, has changed her mind. I'm not completely surprised, but to be honest, I am a little disappointed. It's seems like sort of a rite of passage, you know? And I looked forward to picking out some earrings with her. Heck, I even looked forward to helping her care for them.

But I didn't push her. I told her she didn't have to if she didn't want to. We'll see what happens.

Monday, December 13, 2010

I'm Baaaack.

Whoa! I haven't posted since October 26th?!? I think that might be a record. (Well, I don't know if it's a record)

Okay, very quick digression to explain the parenthetical remark up there. There's an old joke about a guy who was trying to steal some albums from a record store. In order to sneak them out of the store, he stuck one in the front of his pants. As he was leaving the store, the manager stopped him.

"Excuse me sir, is that a record in your pants?"

"Well, I don't know if it's a record...."

Hence the remark. Now anytime anybody says anything about a record, that's mine and Mr. Daddy's standard comeback.

Things are good here. Life is busy. Very, very busy.

We've taken a wintry camping trip (which deserves a post of its own), Bubba turned 8 (also post-worthy since we had a house full of 7 and 8-year-old boys). Bubba lost two teeth in two weeks.

Punkin wants to get her ears pierced. She refuses to tell me what she wants for Christmas, insisting that she'll be happy with whatever Santa brings her. I hope she's telling the truth.

Anyway, I've missed you guys. If you see Santa, please tell him I want more time. And yes, I totally got the idea from Burgh Baby. But hey, imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, right?