Two Things

Two things this morning got me out of my own head and gave me such a sense of calm. I’d like to think my brain is like a well-oiled machine. The reality most days is, it’s more like spinning plates.

First, when I opened the garage door and looked out into the predawn morning, I was greeted by the beautiful song of a bird sitting in the still-bare crab apple tree. It was still dark, so I could only see his silhouette. He had a crest on his head, so my first thought was a Cardinal, but then I noticed his long tail. A Blue Jay, maybe? Whoever he was, his song was gorgeous. One of the most noticeable silences of the long winter is the birds singing.

Then, as I drove out of the neighborhood, heading to work, I noticed the moon, full and bright; shining behind a thin veil of clouds. There were two small, dark clouds, framed in front of the moon. It looked like an illustration for a spooky story book.

I should really try to find a couple of things to notice every day.

Busier than a one-legged man in a butt kicking contest

I feel so overwhelmed. I’m falling behind on everything!

Work is chaos, though that’s not really a complaint. I’ve been begging for this for the past two painfully slow years and I finally got my wish. But I hate when I make minor mistakes because I’ve got too many irons in the fire and I don’t know how to say no or ask for help.

The kitchen is still in chaos. But it’s coming together, slowly but surely.

Kacey is on spring break this week and filling up every spare moment with activity. Last night she hung out with a friend, first at the mall, then back home to play Wii and watch a movie. Tonight she’s going bowling with a bunch of kids. Tomorrow there’s a bonfire party at a friend’s house. I took Friday off, thinking I might spend some time with her. At the rate things are going, that probably won’t happen. That’s okay. Maybe I’ll be able to put my kitchen back in order.

I have to make some sort of Bingo card for fun night with my women’s bowling league. Only instead of BINGO, it will be called BOWLO. Get it? BOWLO? Heh. I know. Lame.

My parents come home from Arizona tomorrow. Jake turns 19 on Friday, and I’m pretty sure there’s a major holiday happening this weekend for which I’m supposed to cook the main dish for the family brunch.

Just a few things happening here…

…but it was fun

It’s been a hectic weekend, but it was fun.

Kacey hitched a ride with a team-mate to catch the bus for her softball team’s crack-of-dawn softball scrimmage on Saturday. Mark and I showed up at a more respectable hour, around 8:00. The scrimmage was held in one of those sports domes. Besides the softball scrimmage, there were also some soccer and lacrosse teams there practicing. As I sat on the side of the dome, I watched the young athletes coming and going. A dad walked in with his son, who appeared to be about 12 or 13 years old. The dad looked vaguely familiar but I couldn’t place him. Then I saw a few more parents and kids who also looked familiar. It hit me then. These were all parents and kids that I knew in my previous work-life when I was employed at the elementary school. All the cute little kindergarten kids I knew back then have grown up and are becoming teenagers. That is a weird feeling.

After the scrimmage, we took off for another one of Kacey’s volleyball tournaments. As I’ve mentioned before, there is a lot of down-time at these tournaments, when the team is either refereeing another team’s games, or just sitting until it’s time for another game of their own. Some of us parents took advantage of the down-time and found a cheap little Chinese buffet. The food wasn’t great, but the price was cheap and the company was fun. Five of us had piled into Mike’s extended-cab pick-up truck to go to lunch there. Mike is a big, big guy and he’s quite a comedian. After lunch, we stopped at a Subway Sandwich drive-through to pick up a half a sandwich to bring back for the daughter of one of the guys who was with us. As the big truck pulled around to the pick-up window, there sat five adults, staring intently at the sales girl as she handed off the little sandwich. Mike looked at her, in all seriousness and asked, “Do you think you can cut that sandwich into five portions?”

The girl looked skeptical and replied, “I don’t know. It’s only a six-inch sub. I can maybe cut it into three pieces.”

“Nah. Don’t worry about it,” Mike replied. “We’ll just take turns taking bites.”

We all cracked up as he pulled away.

Before going back to the tournament, Mike gave us a “tour” of the small town we were in. He pointed out what he insisted was the town prostitute, who was wearing a mini-skirt and high-heeled boots while walking down the street in the rain. He also drove us past a house that was going up in flames. It was a training burn, one of the local firefighters explained, after Mike rolled down his window and asked if he knew there was a house on fire.

After the tournament, Mark and I went to bowling. We didn’t bowl great, but we won, because our opponents failed to show up. Since we had no one to bowl against, we finished up early and went to watch some of the other teams bowl. We cheered them on and socialized and Paul got me in trouble because he told Steve that I said, “If Steve got a flat-top, he’d look just like Drew Carey.” After telling him, Paul came back to me, smiling and said, “I told Steve what you said.” I looked at Steve and he was pointing at me, with a mock-menacing look on his face and yelled over, “DREW CAREY???”

I said, “Thanks a LOT, Paul.” He just smiled and said, “You’re welcome.”

I made it all better with Steve when I told him that all the women think Drew Carey is hot. He forgave me by sandwiching me into a bear hug between himself and his buddy, Dan. I think I cracked a rib in the process. But it was fun.

Sunday was catch-up-on-chores-around-the-house-day. Now I’m ready to go back to work.

Life is Good – March 26, 2010

Yay! It’s Friday!

It’s been a good week. I’ve been very busy at work and that’s a good thing. Busy is good, right?

The weather has been beautiful with lots of sunshine and signs of life. Now, I don’t want to jinx anything, but I’m going to venture to say that we’ve seen the last of the snow for this year! YAY!

The kitchen remodel has been at a standstill most of this week. It’s functioning enough that we can live with it for now. The new counter tops and appliances will be in next Tuesday, and the sink and faucet sometime between Tuesday and Friday. Right now, it looks pretty much like this:

Yesterday, I spent part of the day checking out lots of hard wood. That is…hardwood. Flooring. For the floor. In the kitchen. I think I like the hickory.

Kacey has gotten over her frustration with being placed on the high school “B” softball team instead of varsity. As I knew she would, she sucked it up and is having fun. The varsity coach has pulled her up for a couple varsity practices and has invited her to play in the varsity scrimmage this weekend. She’s come home every night, excitedly chattering about softball, the coach, the new things she’s learned and the good plays she’s made.

Good. I’m glad she’s happy. Because the scrimmage on Saturday? Requires her to be at school to catch the bus at 6:30 a.m. And since she has yet to take her driver’s test, her parents will get to rise and shine and go drop her off.  What the heck. We’ll probably go watch the scrimmage because as soon as it’s over, we get to high-tail it about an hour or so in the other direction to get her to her volleyball tournament. Someone please remind me that I’ll look back on all these sports with fond memories some day.

And remember… Life is Good! Have a great weekend!

Finally Slept!

I finally slept last night. I totally laid off the caffeine yesterday, suspecting that may have been my problem Tuesday night. I was so tired on Tuesday that I drank a mocha and several cans of Diet Coke throughout the day. When I hit the sack that night, my eyes were burning with the tired, but I just couldn’t get them to close.  Last night, I could feel myself drifting off to sleep and it was effortless. I feel a million times better today.

I need to get back to being an early bird. I feel my best when I start my day early and get plenty of rest. I think it will help that spring has arrived. The cold and dark days of winter stress me out and depress me. No wonder all I want to do is sleep. Now that there is warmth and sunshine and color to look forward to, I can feel my whole being relaxing and taking things in stride again. I hope I’ll get back to my old self now.

Went to my once-every-three-weeks chiropractor appointment after work yesterday. A good adjustment always makes me feel better too. I like my chiropractor, Dr. Dave. He’s a cool guy. Did I ever mention that Dave is married to the sister-in-law of my coworker, B? I’ve been seeing Dave longer than I’ve known B, so I’m of the opinion that this makes this a small world situation!

B is one of those people who, let’s just say, you don’t want to be on her sh*t list. Lucky for me, B really likes me, but she’s got a reputation around the office for being a… well…a really big B! Dave knows what B is like, and he likes to ask me about her every time I see him. He’s always asking me to give him some goods on B so he can give her a hard time the next time he sees her. I love to hear Dave talk about the times he and his wife have gone out with B. He talks about a side of B that her coworkers don’t get to see; the side that really lets her hair down. I’ve had occasion to see this side of B once or twice, and I agree. She can be fun. Most of our coworkers wouldn’t believe it, but it’s true. I like B. I can brush off her harsh side and choose not to take it personally.

So. Anyway. (This is turning out to be a long story, isn’t it?) Remember the time I mentioned running into Dave and his wife at a local bar? I literally almost ran into them because the place was that crowded. A popular local band was playing and there was barely room to stand much less sit. As I made my way to the bar to buy a drink, I just missed slamming into Dave and the little woman playing kissy-face right there in the middle of the bar. Ever since, Dave will periodically suggest that we all get together at that same bar. A lot of good bands play there and it’s a fun place to hang out. I never take Dave’s suggestions too seriously though as he never gives a specific date or time. I always just kind of laugh that he seems to have some sort of new-found respect for me because he apparently never saw me as one to go out to a bar and whoop it up. Anyway… (again, with the “anyway”) Yesterday, as Dave was making fun of B and talking about what fun she is to go out with, he again said, “We’ve got to all go out one of these days. We’ll get B and her husband to join us. Let’s go to that same bar. It’ll be a blast!” This time he didn’t let me leave the office without a promise to make it happen, so I agreed I’d take it seriously this time and plan a date. Mark really thinks Dave is a great guy, so he’s all over this, but I just think there’s something strange about socializing with your medical professionals. There are the people you go out with and drink with and let see you make a fool of yourself when you go just a little bit overboard. And then there are the people who have seen x-rays of your innermost parts. It just seems strange to mix them in the same company. I don’t know. Maybe I’m like the little kid who is shocked to see her teacher in the grocery store because she always thought that teachers were always just teachers and not real people.

Could be interesting. It should make an interesting blog post, to say the least!

The big excitement for today is that I got the stitches removed from my head, THANK GOD! They were driving me nuts with the pinching and itching. I’m such a wuss. I was seriously afraid that it would hurt to get them removed, but I didn’t even feel a thing. My doctor is a very laid back and friendly guy, so the conversation was casual. He made a comment about his daughter being married now, which surprised me, because when I first started seeing him, his daughter was a little girl. I remarked how I couldn’t believe she was married, but it made sense, I guess, because I started seeing him when I was pregnant with Brad and Brad is now twenty-one. So then I realized that my doctor, being the one to handle all of my pregnancies and child births, has seen a lot more of me than just my x-rays, so maybe I should be glad that I have social plans with my chiropractor and not my doctor because that would just be way too weird.

My alarm clock is sadistic

I used to pride myself on my morning-personism. Sadly, it occurs to me that I am no longer a morning person. I now possess a strong degree of slacker-late-sleeperism  whenever the opportunity presents itself. I find myself sleeping into the later morning hours more and more often lately. (Theories around my heavily female populated office attribute this shift in my sleeping habits to a) hormones and b) the fact that I’m not twenty-five any more.)

It makes me a little sad. Last year, I would wake up before the crack of dawn, open my eyes and think to myself, “RUN!” I would be dressed and out running in the pre-dawn hours and back home again with energy to burn long before the rest of the household stirred. These days? L-A-Z-Y.

My occasional insomnia contributes to my aversion to the morning as well. The last two nights, I have found myself either having difficulty falling asleep (probably a result of the late sleeping on Sunday morning) or having difficulty staying asleep (probably a result of the pinchy feeling in one of the spots where my head was recently stitched up.)

So last night I woke up at 3:00 a.m. with my neck all cramped up because I have only been sleeping on my left side because when I turn over on my right side I wake up because of the stitches in my head. And I tossed and I turned…and I tossed and I turned. And finally, I found a comfortable position and fell back asleep seemingly fifteen minutes before the alarm clock went off. (I hate when that happens. Don’t you just hate when that happens?)

And when the alarm went off… it was blaring:

Para bailar La Bamba

Para bailar La Bamba

Se necessita una poca de gracia

Una poca de gracia

Para mi, para ti, ay arriba, ay arriba

…and my mind was screaming, “No, no, no, no, no…. I gotta change that damn radio station…”

NOT the most gentle song with which to alert my sleep-deprived consciousness that it’s time to rise and shine. And trust me. I don’t think I shined much today. Two nights in a row. Maybe four hours of sleep each night. Can you imagine a worse song to wake up to?

Yes, that is a challenge :-) And yes, I’m going to bed early tonight.

Back to Routine

It’s back to normal for me this week. I took some time off from work last week, giving myself a five-day weekend. It was nice and I got to spend some time with Brad during his spring break, but I always suffer a little when I’m out of my normal routine.

The kitchen remodel took up most of my time off. Thursday, the cabinets were installed. I’ve got a somewhat working kitchen again, which is a relief. It will be another week before the new counter-top, sink and faucet are installed and the new stove and refrigerator arrive. The old stove has been given away, but my microwave is back up and running. The old refrigerator is back in its place until the new one arrives. The guys that helped Mark install cabinets put the old counter-top and sink back on so I have running water in the kitchen again. It feels like heaven after washing dishes in the laundry tub and tripping over all the rearranged stuff prior to and during the installation. We’re doing as much cooking as possible on the grill and what we can’t, we do in the microwave. You can’t believe how incredibly sick of fast food I am, although I did discover an incredible place called Smashburger during our the time without cooking capabilities.

Brad, Heather and Dacotah left on Friday afternoon to visit with her parents before heading back to school. It was hard, as always, to say goodbye, but it was probably a relief for everyone. There were too many bodies in the house with half the kitchen packed into boxes stacked in the living room and all the work going on.

Product ImageThe bowling tournament fell through for me due to a few people backing out. I was fine with that. I needed the weekend to try to get the house back in order. The neighbors invited us over Saturday night for drinks and games and we had fun and got obnoxious. Ever play a game called Pit? It’s wild and crazy and loud. You better not be shy if you want to compete!

Today I was in an odd mood. The sun was shining outside, the house was quiet and I just felt unsettled. I did some cleaning and laundry, hoping it would help. Getting the house back in order usually relaxes me, but not today. I talked Jake into going bowling with me and we both had a couple of good games and a pretty bad game. Afterwards, I was still feeling…I don’t know…just not myself. I decided to hit the gym and go for a run. It’s been too many days since I did that. I got too caught up in the remodel and just never found time for it. The run did me good and surprisingly, considering I was out of routine, I did pretty damn good. It’s what I needed. I had to blow off some steam.

I enjoyed the days at home, but the stir-crazy is starting to set in. Back to work this week, and I’m looking forward to it.

Life is Crazy…But Still Good – March 19, 2010

(Alternate title: “Blah, Blah, Blah and the Week in Pictures)

What a week! How is it that individually, the days seem to crawl by, but collectively? Well, suddenly it’s Friday again already!

So much has happened this past week. Brad arrived home from school for spring break last Friday. Things just so happened to work out that he and I were the only ones home that  evening, so I took him out for a mom and son date night. We enjoyed dinner at Chili’s and a chance to catch up one on one. It was very nice to have that time with him.

Saturday morning, I finished packing up the kitchen in preparation for the removal of the cabinets. Emptying the cupboards was a good thing. Everyone should do this now and then. You’ll be amazed at what you discover:

Half of the spices have expired and can be thrown away:

The pasta has been making pasta babies in the back of the cupboard:

There’s a pig living amongst the wine glasses:

So… as much fun as it was to empty the kitchen of twenty-some years worth of kitchen stuff, I eventually took a break to attend the birthday party of my smart and handsome godson.

And then I met up with Jenelle!

And then later on Saturday, Mark and I went to our Saturday bowling league and I bowled out of my mind! I bowled a 166, a 143 and a 181. We beat our opponents and I won the strike pot! That’s right! I was the big winner of the $83 pot! Woot! Woot!

On Sunday, the kitchen tear-down began. As you can see, Jake is very enthused (not) to be participating in this project.

Brad was a trooper, considering this week was supposed to be his spring break!

During the removal of the cupboards, we discovered something interesting. There was a hole in the wall underneath the sink. At first Mark couldn’t think why that hole was cut. Then he remembered that when our home security system was installed, the installers needed to cut that hole to run some wiring. Upon further inspection in the hole, Mark noticed some electrical tape on the soil pipe. He removed the tape and found that holes had been drilled (accidentally)  straight through that pipe (by the installers of the security system.) The security system was installed 18 years ago, but we decided to call the security company anyway and see what they thought of the situation. They sent a representative out, and he took a look. He agreed it could only have been done by the installers, based on the placement of the wiring. He informed us we would receive several months of free monitoring as compensation for the cost we would incur to replace the pipe. Kudos to the home security company that starts with a B!

So by the end of the day Thursday, the new kitchen was beginning to take shape.

This is my favorite part. There used to be a “peninsula” here. There was a good amount of space in the old cupboard, but the dishwasher was located right across from it and when the dishwasher was opened, you really couldn’t walk between the two. So, we ditched the peninsula and had a cabinet of the equivalent size made, turned itsideways and placed it against the wall as you see here. And there never used to be a cabinet on the wall above the peninsula, so with this new one, we gain a bunch more space. This one is going to have glass doors and I’m going to put the china and wine glasses in it. (Hmmm… how boring is my life when the placement of china and wine glasses makes the weekly “highlights” post?)

So, did I mention that throughout all the chaos this week, Brad’s girlfriend, Heather also joined us? And that her dog, Dacotah had come on Friday with Brad? Poor Heather came down with some kind of illness and I ended up taking her to the doctor on Thursday. She completely lost her voice, had a sore throat, a cough and a mega-stuffy head. Luckily, the doctor said it was just a virus and she’d be fine with a few OTC medications.

Dacotah kept us entertained with her constant curiosity over the cats, who early on decided that they weren’t taking any sh*t from the big black creature. It soon became clear that Dacotah was very afraid, especially of Tigger who didn’t hesitate to hiss and swat at her.

Dacotah also showed us how good she is at showing her toy bear who is boss by whipping him around the living room. She chased the reflection of her dog tags around the living room endlessly and proudly hauled her huge bone (a cow femur) all over the place. (You know she likes you when she drops that big slobbery bugger in your lap.) She showed us how she likes to carry Brad’s socks to his room for him when he decides to take them off. And she showed us how much she loves the new doggy hunting blind Brad made for her.

And to top off the week, Kacey was in softball tryouts at school all week-long. She really wanted to play on the varsity team this year and so, knowing there were two returning varsity catchers (her position), she made it clear to the coaches that she was  not trying out for catcher. However, during the week, some assistance was needed with a particular group, and she was asked to catch. She agreed, stressing again that she was not trying out for catcher. One of the coaches praised her on her skills as a catcher. She started to get nervous. She knew her chances of making catcher on varsity were slim. Thursday night, the team assignments were made. Kacey was informed that she made the B team and the varsity team. The B team needed a catcher and that’s where she was really needed. She was told she would have a chance to play on both teams, but she is the only catcher on the B team. She told me she knew that her chances of seeing much time on varsity were slim.

She was ticked off! And disappointed and sad. She came home and had a good frustrated cry. I hugged her. She talked. She said if she didn’t get a chance to play varsity, she wouldn’t get a chance to earn her letter, which was a major goal this year. I asked her if she wanted to quit. I was hoping she’d say no, and she did. I helped her see some of the positives in the situation. She’s a good catcher. She was needed. A couple of her other friends also made both the varsity and B teams. She could have been cut completely. I also reminded her that she gets a lot of favor on her volleyball teams and it might be a bit much to expect the same in softball too. By the end of the evening, she was taking things in stride again. Good girl. I  was proud of her and I told her so. She’s never had to accept this kind of disappointment before. There’s a first time for everything, and I think she managed it pretty well.

All in all, it was a really hectic, busy, emotional and productive week.

This weekend… BOWLING TOURNAMENT! That will be a ton of fun!

How about you? What’s in store for your weekend?

I've got an ice pack on my head and don't even have a decent hangover to show for it!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! I celebrated by getting a lobotomy!

Okay, so it wasn’t really a lobotomy. I can’t afford to lose any of the precious few brain cells that I do have. But I did get my head cut open. I got a couple of cysts removed. It was quite an interesting experience.

The worst of it was probably getting the Lidocaine injected in my head to numb the area. And then as the doctor started to dig out the first cyst, I felt a little jab of pain. It wasn’t horrendous, but apparently my body visibly seized up.

“Are you okay,” he asked? “Are you feeling some pain?”

“It’s okay,” I said through clenched teeth.

“Can we get some more Lidocaine?” he asked the nurse.  “Terri won’t complain, but I can tell she could use some more.”

I’m glad he insisted. Afterwards, I relaxed and didn’t feel a thing. They closed me up with four stitches and moved onto the second cyst. This time there was plenty of Lidocaine and I  relaxed much sooner. I didn’t feel a thing.  Again there were four more stitches.

The physician’s assistant showed me the cysts after they cut them out. Weird. And there was a lot of blood on the towels they had me laying on. Good thing I couldn’t see what they were doing. It would have made me sick.

Wanna see my stitches? Huh? Huh? Do ya? Check ‘em out:

Gross, huh? They had to cut a little bit of hair. They said they were very careful. I told them ahead of time that hair loss was a deal breaker.  Now I’m sitting here with sort of bloody, crusty hair that I’m not allowed to wash for twenty-four hours. They cleaned it up as best they could, but I’m really craving a shower right now.

Anyway, the doctor said I shouldn’t do anything for a while and should make Mark wait on me for the evening. I’m pretty sure he was joking, but I’m totally milking it for all it’s worth.

Now I’m off work for the rest of the week, so hopefully I can catch up on all my favorite blogs and also post a kitchen update complete with pictures and a great story about something very strange that we found behind the wall…

Meeting Jenelle

I got to meet Jenelle of Easier Said than Done!

Jenelle and her family moved to North Dakota from their former home in Michigan just five weeks ago. As she was preparing for the move, I mentioned to Jenelle several times that I’d like to meet, since she would be a mere four hours away from me once they got settled in their new home. And since my son lives in the same city they moved to, where he attends college, I thought our chances of meeting were pretty good.

Last week, I got a message from Jenelle asking if I’d be free sometime this weekend. They were thinking of coming this way for a little break and a trip to IKEA. I told her I was definitely free and would love to connect if we could.

Of course “definitely free” turned into “sort of free” as I remembered I had my godson’s birthday party to attend and Mark and I had bowling leagues Saturday night, but we managed to squeeze in a two-hour visit with Jenelle and her family at a Perkins Restaurant. We had a great time and there was no nervousness whatsoever. We were very comfortable and fell right in just like we were old friends. Mark and Andy chattered away about I’m not sure what. Probably hunting and fishing. Jenelle and I were too busy talking to take much notice.

Jenelle and Andy’s little boys came along too, and they are simply charming and adorable! They were so well-behaved, especially considering that we sat in a restaurant for two hours! They did, however keep Andy busy with visits to the restroom! :-)

These two little guys were so funny, though they probably didn’t even realize it! When asked about Kindergarten and how he felt about having to adjust to a new school, teacher and classroom, Ryan explained that he liked it, but sometimes he calls his new teacher by the wrong name. His former teacher’s name is Mrs. Jacobson and his new teacher is  Mrs. Peterson. He sometimes gets their names mixed up. Jenelle sympathized, “Because they’re both so much alike.”

Ryan agreed, “Yeah! They both start with Miss!”

We all cracked up over that one!

I didn’t want Ryan to think we were laughing at him, so I told him, “Mark never remembers my name is Terri.”

Ryan  responded, “That’s a name I’ll probably forget soon too!”

Little Tyler was quite entertaining as well. When our waitress finally remembered we were there and came to take our orders, she went around the table while each of the adults told her what they’d like. Not to be overlooked, Tyler raised himself up in his seat and asserted, “I’ll have french fries and a cookie and ice cream!”

Again, the adults broke out in laughter, and Jenelle explained to the waitress that Tyler’s french fries were already accounted for, while Andy explained to Tyler that they would talk about a cookie after the french fries were eaten.

We ate and chatted and laughed and all too soon, it was time to part ways. Those little boys were so well behaved. They had been promised some swimming time back at the hotel if they behaved well during our visit. And they were so patient and good, but two hours was beginning to take its toll. Finally Ryan look at me and announced, “I’m sorry but it’s time to hit the road.”

Again, we couldn’t help but laugh. Jenelle seemed a little embarrassed, saying, “I don’t know where that came from!”

I assured her it was quite alright, we had to head home and get to bowling anyway.  And Ryan didn’t let me go without giving me a big squeezy-hug, which just melted my heart!

Jenelle, thanks for making this work and I hope we can do it again very soon!