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Thursday, August 30, 2012

More of the usual chaos

It was just another typical day.

But the good thing about being up before the sun is that I actually get to watch the sun rise. Granted, it's generally rising in my face as I'm driving, but it was still pretty this morning.

I got the kids off to school, and came back home and actually crawled back into bed for a couple of hours - something that I never do - and it was heavenly!

After I picked Daniel up from school, we hung out with The Dude for a bit. Things got a little goofy, as usual. Gotta' love those toys that come in kids' meals from fast food restaurants.

We then got to go to Sarah's first volleyball game of the season.

Wow. I don't know that I have ever been as proud of this kid as I am now. She really looked good out there tonight.

She's got an awesome serve and she was really just downright amazing out there. Her team won both of their games, and she played almost the entire time. The coach only pulled her out a couple of times for just a few minutes each time. For as much as she loves to play basketball, I think she might have found "her" sport this time.

I had to leave immediately after her games to take The Dude to work (he was at the games with us) and then I came back in time to watch the last couple of games, and then went to the other school to get Emily from volleyball practice. Things got a little more chaotic and Sarah opted to stay with Ex1 tonight, so the other 4 kids and I came back to town, picked The Dude up from work and took him home, and then came home.

And then I was told that I needed to make brownies for Emily's class tomorrow.

Yay. Late night baking.

And of course the house is a mess and I have a ton of things to do tomorrow (what a surprise).....

Oh, and the van update: I talked to the guy today, and he *thought* that he could have it done tonight. He took it to his brother's shop about 30 miles from here because his brother has a lift and he doesn't - so he's been going down there in the evenings to work on it after he closes his shop. He was supposed to call me tonight to let me know if he got it done or not, but I haven't heard from him yet, but I'm not going to worry about it. I'm going to stop by there in the morning with the rest of his money....

...and if it's done, great. If it's not done, it'll be done by Tuesday (silly holiday) so I'll get it then. As much as I would love to have it tomorrow, it's been almost 2 months already - another couple of days isn't going to kill me.

At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Busy busy busy...

It's just been another one of those days. The kind where I don't sit down until late at night because I've been too busy running around getting stuff done, yet I don't feel like I accomplished much of anything.

I started out this morning by walking Alex and Daniel to school, which is about 3/4 of a mile. After I got them there, I took off on my own and walked/jogged just over 4 miles. It felt so incredible to get out there again, and I'm hoping to do it again tomorrow.

Almost as soon as I got home, the guy from the garage called me and wanted to come and get my van. He showed up just a few minutes later, and between the two of us, we were able to get it loaded onto his trailer - although it was one heck of a job to get it done! His trailer that actually has a winch on it was loaned out to someone out of state, so we had to do it without a winch - and it wasn't easy. But, we got it done and he took off with my van. Finally. It's kind of strange to look out my kitchen window and not see it sitting in the backyard - but hopefully I'll have it back on Friday. Worst case scenario *knock on wood* is early next week.

After we got the van loaded up and out of here, I went to take The Dude to work and then picked Daniel up from school. He and I spent the afternoon cleaning and straightening up around the house. I finished up the smoky laundry (except that I just remembered that there is some still hanging in the girls' room, darn it) and did my own after that. Next thing I knew, it was time to go get Alex, so Daniel and I walked back up to the school to get him and then walked back home. We hung out for a little bit, then went to the library to return some stuff and get some more stuff, and then went and picked The Dude up from work and took him home before we came back here.


32 pints of sand plum jelly later, and I still have 2 (or maybe 3) gallons of juice in the fridge. I swear I am never going to get done with this stuff! What makes this worse is that I'm using a new kind of pectin, and so I had to remake a couple of batches that I had already made in order to get enough pectin into them to get them to set correctly. But, I think I have it mastered now. I hope.

All I know is that I need to get the jelly done so that I can work on the apples and pears that were brought to me the other day!

Tomorrow - I'm going to try to go walk/jog again in the morning and then get to the grocery store at some point. The older 3 kids will be back tomorrow evening, so I have to prepare for that chaos. Sarah has her first volleyball game on Thursday, and we just found out that there is a possibility that Emily's volleyball team will be having practices on Thursdays.

Life is about to get really really really crazy around these parts.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Van progress and the loss of Monday nights

Today was another day of running around like crazy. Imagine that.

After I forgot to take the boys to school (yes, you read that right) I made a mad dash to get them there - luckily, they were only 18 minutes late, but still....it wasn't the best way to start the day.

Anyway, I took them to school and then took The Dude to work and then took his mom to the doctor and then got Daniel from school....and then came home and started trying to locate my kitchen - I have really slacked in there and it was a disaster. But, I got it cleaned up enough and then started crunching numbers.

As I started gathering money for the Transmission Fund, it went into 3 different accounts. Some of it went directly into my PayPal account, while some of it went into my savings and my checking accounts. Not a big deal, right?


My plan, once I knew that I had enough money last week, was to transfer the money from my savings and checking into my PayPal account so that it would all be in the same place and I could just use my PayPal debit card to pay the garage. Easy, right?


I transferred the money from the checking to the PayPal account late last week, and on the same day went and talked to the guy at the garage and told him that I had the money and was ready to rock. As we were discussing it, he mentioned that due to the exorbitant fees charged by credit card companies, he doesn't take them. At all.


Anyone who has used PayPal knows that it takes 3-5 days to complete a transfer. So I came back home and transferred the money that was already in my PayPal to my checking - he told me that if I handed him $800, he'd order the part and get started on it, and then I could pay for the rest when I picked up the van.

Anyway, as of today, the money that I transferred from PayPal to my checking was there. But the money that I had initially transferred from my checking to my PayPal is still in limbo until tomorrow. Regardless, I had enough to get started....

So Daniel and I walked up to the garage and handed him the check - he was going to order the transmission right then, and then get this - he is going to bring his trailer to my house, load up my van, and take it and fix it. I don't have to get it to him - he's coming to get it.

In the meantime, as soon as the money from my checking lands in my PayPal account tomorrow, I'm going to transfer it back to my checking, and then when he has the van done (possibly as early as this Friday) I can write him another check for the remaining $624.50 and be done with it.

And I will have my very own van back in my possession.

And I can give The Dude's van back to him.

We've been dealing with having only one van between the two houses for almost 2 months now, and it's been difficult. We've been lucky in that there haven't been many scheduling conflicts, but it's been stressful on all of us. Having two functional vehicles again will do wonders for our sanity - not that we really had any at the beginning!

I know that I've said it before, but I just can't thank everyone enough for their help in getting us to this point. Whether it was a donation, or spreading the word, or saying a prayer or saying a word or two of encouragement - it means so much to both of us. Knowing that there are still people out there who are willing to help a friend - or even a stranger - is amazing. I will continue to pay it forward in any way that I possibly can for as long as I possibly can!


On to other fun and exciting news....

Alex is now a Cub Scout. Because you know, I didn't have enough on my plate already. Seriously though, I've been looking into getting him into something and had hoped to get him into flag football this year - but our schedules just will not allow that. But, I think we can handle one night a week. And of course I had to sign up to volunteer for a few things, but luckily those won't take much time (I hope).

So we'll see how this goes...

Friday, August 24, 2012

He gets me.

WARNING: This could end up being an incredibly sappy post. Deal with it.

The Dude and I started dating about 9 months ago. And you guys have all been along for the ride, for the most part (well, if you've been reading this for that long you have). Anyway...

This guy gets me. For whatever reason, that just clicked with me yesterday. I don't know how to explain it really, but I'm going to try.

He knows how incredibly stressed out I've been over the past couple of weeks, with school starting and my dead van and the change in the custody schedule with the older 3 kids and trying to get all of this canning done and everything else that I do on a daily basis.

He came over last night to help me out with some things, and he went to the store to get a few items that we needed. And he came back with flowers. Nothing super fancy or expensive - just a couple of flowers that were really pretty and smell really good and they made me smile. And now every time I look at them, well....I smile again.

Of course he came home with movies too. But that was part of the reason that he went out in the first place. He even brought home a comedy instead of the usual zombies or whatever that he prefers - because he knew that I needed to laugh. Before we sat down to watch the movie, I told him that I would be de-stemming the sand plums while we watched it - and he corrected me to inform me that WE would be doing it together. And we did - side by side on the couch, with buckets of plums, pulling off the stems and sorting them out - as we watched the movie.

I had mentioned to him that I needed a new basket-thingee for my canner - the one that I had was actually starting to fall apart from being used so much, and so while he was at the store, he found one and brought it home with him. Why? Because he knew that it would make my job easier.

It's the little things like that. And it's the big things. He walked into this relationship knowing that there were 5 kids involved, and it's never bothered him. He treats them as if they were his own children. When he was walking out the door yesterday to go to the store, Alex and Daniel yelled "love you!" to him and without missing a beat, he said it right back to them. Luckily, he was already out the door and I had my back turned, or he would have seen the tears in my eyes when I heard him say it.

Daniel is determined that The Dude is going to be his dad. I don't know when he started saying it, but a while back he made some comment saying that he wanted The Dude to be his daddy. He totally caught me off guard when he said it, and I stopped what I was doing and asked him why he felt like that. His response? "Because my real dad was sick and he died, and I love [The Dude] and I want him to be my daddy because he loves me too." Yep, more tears from me on that one - numerous times. The Dude and I have talked about this at length - he is more than prepared to be the positive male role model, father figure, or whatever you want to call it. It is a role that he embraces wholeheartedly and without hesitation - with all of the kids, not just Daniel. It's just different with Daniel because he DOESN'T have his biological father in his life. Watching the relationship between him and the kids grow and change over time has been amazing - and when I start to question whether or not he's really prepared for all of this, he never fails to remind me that he did sign up for this.

And he puts up with me. He deals with my mood swings without losing his patience with me. He tolerates when I get OCD about something and just lets me do whatever it is to get it out of my system. He supports me in my efforts to be healthier, and does whatever he can to help me when I have a race to prepare for, and he's there for me on race day when I cross the finish line. He's my biggest supporter, cheerleader, and confidant. He's the first person that I want to tell when something funny happens and the first person that I want to show a really cool picture to before I post it for the world to see. He is definitely, without a doubt, my best friend.

I don't know how I got to be so lucky after all of these years, but I do know that I have never been this happy. And while I still haven't changed my mind on marriage, I do know that I want to keep this guy around for as long as he can put up with me.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Rogue cows and friendly dogs

I went out sand plum picking again this morning (imagine that) - but it was far from a "normal" day in the thicket.

I got out there and immediately got busy. I had my goal of filling the two buckets that I had with me, and I really wanted to do it and still get back to town in time to walk to pick Daniel up from school. I was deep in the thicket, picking away, and after a while it dawned on me that the cows across the road were being really noisy. I didn't think too much about it at first, and just continued with what I was doing. I emerged from the side of the thicket a while later, and glanced down the road. I saw a lady who had pulled her car into the driveway, and she was talking to an officer from the sheriff's department, who was parked across the road in the ditch. Their voices were carrying, and I heard her say something about "I didn't want them to get hit, so I called" and then she left shortly after that.

I stood there for a moment, trying to figure out exactly what was happening. Then the officer moved his truck, and I spotted it - them, actually. Two cows, who were outside of the fence, right alongside the road. He was trying his best to shoo them toward the gate, but they weren't having any part of it. I giggled a little bit as I watched, thinking back to the days when I was constantly chasing horses like this. Just as I decided to hike down and help him, another vehicle came and stopped. And another, and another. People who were driving past just stopped their cars in the middle of the road and formed a roadblock, and were able to herd the cows back into their pasture unharmed.

Once everything was under control down the road, I turned around and started picking again. I was in my own little world, pondering the meaning of life or something, when out of the blue a dog started growling and barking right behind me. I jumped and turned around - as much as I could turn clutching my bucket full of sand plums and with my hair tangled in a branch - and saw a big black dog about five feet away from me, just on the edge of the thicket. And he was angry. I stood there for a moment, trying to decide what to do. Running wasn't an option, because I was wedged in there pretty tightly. I saw this same dog yesterday as I was getting ready to leave, and even though he did a lot of barking and growling, he didn't come near me even though he was only a few feet away from the van at the time. So I yelled at him. And I told him to go away. Because that's what you do when you're on the verge of being attacked by a crazed dog, right?

OK, he really wasn't crazed or anything, and he quickly got bored of barking at me while I was obviously trapped and not a threat to him, and so he trotted away. At the same time, I heard something else coming from right beside me, and looked down to see another dog who had actually braved the thicket and was standing at my feet. At this point, I didn't know whether to scream, cry, or laugh, so I just stood there looking at him. He looked at me for a moment, came a little closer, and proceeded to lick my hand.

At that point, I guess I had a new buddy. This dog did not leave my side for the rest of the morning. He would wriggle in and out of the thicket with me, and followed me everywhere that I went. He hung out with me, and I may or may not have found myself talking to him after a little while (hey, it's almost too quiet out there at times). He was actually a pretty cool dog - although I had to stop him from eating my plums a few times.

Anyway, with the distractions, I didn't get both buckets filled, but I did end up with another 43 pounds or so - so not bad for a morning's work. I need to go out a few more times and get as much as I can, but I may have to give it a day or two because my body is screaming at me from the exertion.

The rest of the day was normal-ish. I watched my friend's kids for a little bit while she went on a job interview, paid the bills, cleaned, worked on some more of the smoky laundry, made the last 4 batches of strawberry jelly after I cleaned up the mess from supper.....I still have to pack lunches and get stuff ready for tomorrow since it's going to be an early morning.

Saturday. Maybe I can take a nap on Saturday.

Update on the van situation: As of right now, I have just enough money to get the transmission replaced! I've been crunching numbers all day to see if it is going to be possible, because if I do it right now, things will be tight for the next month - however, I am going to either call the garage or stop by tomorrow and have them order the transmission and get the process started.

With any luck, I will have my wheels back in the next couple of weeks - and I couldn't have done it without everyone's help. It still seems more than a little surreal, but I think we might be able to do it! I will continue to post updates, I promise!

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

Plums, plums, and more plums....

I went back out this morning to pick more sand plums. The weather has changed drastically since we started doing this, and the mornings have started out much cooler - almost *gasp* pleasant (other than the sun being in my eyes).

Anyway, I had a little over 2 hours out there, and I was amazed at what I found. I went to the part where The Dude and I had already picked, not sure that there would be much fruit to be found.

I was wrong. So wonderfully wrong.

There is still a TON of it out there. So much more than I ever could have imagined - I have no idea where all of this fruit is coming from, considering how dry it has been in this area this summer. But I'm not going to complain - I will keep going out there and keep picking and keep making jelly until I just can't do it anymore.

Today's haul:

49 pounds!

I'm going to try to go back out tomorrow while Daniel is in school, but it's going to depend on the other eleventy bajillion things that I have to do as well. I'm going to watch a friend's daughters while she goes on a job interview, pay bills, go to the grocery store, work on another friend's laundry who had a house fire yesterday, and prepare for the older 3 kids to come back home after school and volleyball practice, along with my usual laundry and cleaning and stuff that has to be done every day.

So yeah. It's going to be chaos. Imagine that.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Another first...

So today was the first day of school for the older 3...

6th, 3rd, and 7th grades

It's really kind of scary to think about how old my kids are getting. I can't believe that I have a 7th grader already - it's really just unreal to me.

The whole gang

I got the stupid timeline on my personal facebook tonight (it sucks) and I took the opportunity to go back and look at some of the old pictures that I've posted of the kids on there (which I could have done just as easily even easier without timeline) and I can't believe how much they've changed over the past few years. They're really growing up so quickly.

May 2010 - what a difference a couple of years makes


Now, on an extremely happy note - some of you might have seen this on my facebook page earlier today. To make a long story short, Daniel and I stopped in at a garage that we keep walking past on the way to and from school - for whatever reason, it never dawned on me to stop there and ask how much they would charge for a new transmission for the van. Anyway, they can put in a used one (with a one year/unlimited miles warranty) for $1500.00! Here, I've been trying to come up with $2495.21 based on the other quote that I had. So, needless to say, I'm going to be taking the van there.

Thanks to the ChipIn, donations that have been made directly to me, and the money that I've been able to put aside, I currently have $1096.65, or what is now 73% of what I need to get my van fixed! And with any luck, I'll be able to put my hands on the remaining amount on Wednesday (or pretty close to it, anyway).

With any luck, I'll have my van back (and I'll be able to give The Dude's back to him) within the next couple of weeks! Woot!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Mission: Accomplished

So tomorrow is the first day of school for Sarah, Emily, and Jared.

7th grade, 6th grade, and 3rd grade. Unbelievable.

Anyway, this is going to be short and sweet because well, I have a million things to do before I have to get the kids up at 5am. Yes, 5am. We have to leave here by about 6:50 to get them to their school on time, and then to turn around and come back here and get Alex and Daniel to their school by 8:00. It makes for a long day for all of us, but we're used to long days!

So Sarah needed wanted a new backpack. We looked at a few stores but couldn't really find anything that she liked that was a reasonable price. She found this cheap little nylon deal at a second-hand store for a quarter and she bought that, convinced that it would work - plus she just liked the style of it. I told her there was no way that it was going to hold up more than a week - once one heavy book was dropped into it, it was going to fall apart. But she insisted....

As we ran around that day, an idea started forming in my head. She's usually not "into" the whole handmade look, so I tentatively broached the subject with her - what if she and I sat down and figured out how to make one out of denim, with a lining, and with pockets? She liked the idea, so we I started working on it yesterday. OK, I consulted with her and she pitched in an idea or two....

We went out today and got stuff to make the straps, but as it turned out, it didn't work for a couple of reasons. I was at a loss as to what to do, because it has to be done by tomorrow morning. She was ok with not using it for a few days, but I really wanted her to have it for her first day of school - and then the idea hit me! I have strips of fabric leftover from an old project, and so I turned that into straps - she can use it like this for now until we have time to get out and find something that will be a little sturdier.

We kept some of the pockets on the old jeans that we used to give her some exterior storage space.

Flannel lining, and there are a couple of smaller pockets in there too. Ignore the toes please - I didn't notice them until after I uploaded the picture, and I don't feel like editing them out.

So there you have it....Sarah's new backpack, that cost us exactly nothing to make.

Gotta' love free.


I figured I'd just do a quick catch-up since I didn't post anything on here yesterday.

We did a lot of running around. A LOT.

We had to pick Emily up from her slumber party. And then drop The Dude off at his playdate. *giggle* OK, I know it drives him nuts when I call it that, but I think it's funny. He was actually going to hang out with his best friend to do some fantasy football stuff that I really don't understand. But, it was his first day off in almost 2 weeks and he got to go and hang out with the guys and have fun - he deserves it.

Anyway, after we dropped him off, we headed to the mall to get haircuts for the older 3 kids. If any of you have seen that advertisement from JCPenneys for the free haircuts for kids throughout the month of August - it's true. The only "catch" that I ran into was that in order to put a tip on my card (I had NO cash with me), I had to buy something. So I now have a teeny tiny bottle of lotion that I had to pay $2 for in order to use my card and add the tip. Oh well.

While we were there, a couple of friends came by to visit and to get some of the strawberry jam that they had wanted. One of my girlfriends brought her brand new baby boy, so I got some quality baby snuggles in before I handed him back over to her and let her take him home. It's funny - even after having 5 kids, I still forget just how tiny they are when they're born! This baby isn't even 3 weeks old yet, so he was tiny!

After we left the mall, we came back home for a while so that I could get some things done around here, and then we had to take Daniel to a birthday party about 10 miles from here. It was at a park, so rather than drive back home to turn around and drive back to get him, we just hung out in the park and the kids played for a couple of hours.

It was funny. I sat on a bench and watched the kids and observed other people in the park. We were between 2 parties, and the difference in them was amazing. The party to my left was a Mennonite family - the women and girls were all wearing their beautifully simple dresses and sneakers, and the men and boys were all wearing jeans and button-down shirts.

To my right was a group of people who couldn't have been more opposite. This group was a mixture of every horrible stereotype that could be imagined. Biker guys wearing denim and bandanas, macho women wearing halter tops, skinny guys with cigarettes and no teeth, guys with long hair and tattoos and girls with no hair and more tattoos.

What fascinated me the most about these two extremely opposite groups of people was that the kids - all of the kids, including mine - were playing together on the playground. They had no preconceived notions about each others' appearances. They saw each other as an opportunity to make a new friend, even if it was just for a few hours. They didn't judge each other by the way that they were dressed or their hairstyles or what their parents looked like. They were just there to play.

Wouldn't the world be a much better place if everyone could have that attitude?

Anyway, after we got Daniel back from the party, we ran home and the boys got baths, and then we went and picked The Dude up from his friend's house and took him back to his house, and then we came back here and the kids went to bed. In the meantime, I got a call from my father to let me know that my mother had fallen again and is back in the hospital. I don't know much other than she broke her wrist and her upper arm (on the same side) and she'll be having surgery, possibly as soon as today. I haven't heard anything yet, so I'm just going on the No News Is Good News assumption for now, otherwise I might lose my mind. It's more than a little frustrating to be so far away and not be able to help, but all I can do is wait for news.

The rest of the day today is filled with laundry, cleaning, preparing the sand plums that I picked the other day to get them juiced, getting the kids ready for school tomorrow, putting the finishing touches on Sarah's new bookbag, and all sorts of other fun stuff.

If I get her bag done today (I need to, since her first day of school is tomorrow) I'll post pictures of that later.

Transmission Fund update: $1096.65 raised, out of the needed $2495.21 (44% of the way there).
If you want to help, you can click here.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Dam - it's dry

Bet you thought I was swearing, huh?

Well, maybe I am....a little bit. Lots of you have 'heard' me complaining about the lack of rain that we've had this summer. Here's probably the most telling photographic proof that I can show you.

We had some time to kill in between the time that I dropped Sarah off for volleyball practice and the parent/teacher conferences, so we headed back out of town so that I could get these pictures. I've been wanting to do it for a while, but just haven't had the time (shocker).

And I'm really not feeling well, so I'm pretty much going to slap these pictures up here and then call it quits. Really.

The upper side of the dam. The water is 2-3' below the top of it.

Random butterfly.

Yep, we walked across it.

Goofy photo op.

Maybe they should take this 'dry' time to make some repairs....

Emily found a treasure.

Anyone want to guess what (animated) movie this reminded me of?

Water level above the dam.

Yep, managed to snap a picture just as Jared took a nosedive.

Jared's treasure

To the right? Yep, that's supposed to be a rather large creek that drains into the river.

Signs of wildlife, but not of water.

How is this still standing?

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

First day, an interesting find, and more chaos...

So today was Alex and Daniel's first day of school. We managed to get up early enough for us to walk there, and they had a ball.

After I got them to school, I took The Dude to work and then went out to pick more sand plums. As soon as I got out of the van, I made an interesting discovery. I wasn't quite sure what it was at first, but it didn't take me long to figure it out.

It was a nest of turtle eggs. I don't know if something got into them and tore it apart, or if they hatched and couldn't handle the extreme heat and dryness or what. Either way, it's something that I have never seen before - and of course, I had to poke around in it and examine everything. Because I'm weird like that.

Thankfully (and I can laugh about this now) the dream that I had last night didn't come true while I was out there. The dream involved a rattlesnake, my arm, and an ambulance. But I survived. Needless to say, I was a little jumpier than usual out there, and kept making sure that I still had my phone in my pocket.

I could only pick for about an hour, and then I had to fly back to town to change my clothes and go pick Daniel up from school. I hadn't intended on jogging today, but I cut the time just a wee bit too close and had to do some to get to school on time. He only goes half days for the first few weeks, and then will eventually transition to full day kindergarten.

After Daniel and I got home, Emily and Jared arrived. Sarah stayed with her stepmother in order to go to volleyball practice. So I took the 3 kids and ran some errands, then we grabbed The Dude from work and took him home, and then we came home and then walked back up to the school to get Alex. We came back to the house for a little bit, and then I dropped all 3 boys off at The Dude's house so that he could keep an eye on them while Emily and I went to pick Sarah up from practice and attend the "parent meeting" that informed us just how incredibly chaotic our lives are going to be for the next few months until volleyball season ends. Then we came back to town, grabbed the boys from The Dude's house, came home, made supper, did baths....the boys are in bed and the girls are still up watching a movie - but they don't have school tomorrow so it's ok. I got the kitchen cleaned up a bit and then trashed it again to make yet another batch of strawberry jelly.....

And then grabbed a leftover piece of cold pizza around 10pm after I realized that I had forgotten to eat supper.

Just to make life interesting, Ex1 proposed a schedule change with the older 3 kids tonight. We've had the same arrangement for quite a while now - well over a year, and maybe even for a couple of years - and it's worked out for us. But, the change that he suggested really isn't bad and actually has some perks for both of us. I'm still rattling it around in my head to see if I think that it will work for us, but I think that it will. It'll involve a significant amount of white-out in my datebook though.

But for now, I'm going to go work on some more jelly in a desperate attempt to get the containers of strawberry juice out of my refrigerator - just in time to start working on more sandplum jelly.

That, however, will wait for a few days.