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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Catching up. And some nakedness.

The past few days have been crazy hectic.

I started my new position at work on Monday, and have been on brain overload ever since - there is so much to learn, and it's such a fast paced place that I'm really just kind of being thrown in headfirst - but I'll figure it all out eventually. It's been harder on my body - there is much more involved physically as I get into unloading the truck and putting all of it away, and just the increased running back and forth across the store to deal with stuff. I'm exhausted by the end of the day - and having to get up at 4:30am doesn't help much.

The Dude - has been amazing. He either spends the night here or comes over at about 4:30am so that he is here when the kids get out of bed. He's been feeding them and doing laundry and washing dishes and sweeping floors and running errands and all sorts of stuff. Today he even took care of dropping off school enrollment paperwork for me so that I didn't have to deal with it. All I have to do is mention that something needs to be done, and he does it. I still don't know how I got so lucky.

We've also gotten a ton of rain in the past few days - and the yard was starting to show it. After work today, I sent The Dude back home to take care of some things for his mother, and then I sent the kids outside to ride their bikes while I dragged the mower and weedeater out of the garage and got to work in the yard.

I just noticed the mud up his back.
*makes mental note for laundry*

It's a jungle out there - especially in Nice Neighbor's yard.
But now they both look spiffy.

But, the best part of the yardwork was discovering some nakedness near the swingset.

That's right - the naked ladies are getting ready to bloom again for the first time since 2011.

I made sure to call the kids over to show them exactly where they are, since they're literally just in the middle of the yard by the swingset. I gave them the lecture about how they needed to be careful and pay attention when they're out there playing so that they don't smash my flowers, yada yada yada blah blah blah....

As they ran off to continue playing, I stood and admired the flowers for a few more seconds. And then as I turned around to get back to work, I hit the trigger on the weedeater.


Luckily that was a smaller patch with just the four flowers, but still......

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Lots of -ations today

Today was a day full of -ations.


I spent the morning and early afternoon at an information fair in town today, handing out flyers and talking to people about Cub Scouts as we try to round up more boys to join our pack. I ran into some people who I haven't seen in a very long time (and The Dude ran into a buddy from his youth who now lives in Florida and was just "passing through" the area - weird) and met new people and talked until I couldn't talk anymore - which is a huge feat for me because believe it or not, I don't like to talk to people.


We went to a barbecue today to celebrate the life of Jared's classmate who passed away 2 weeks ago from brain cancer. The food was wonderful, lots of money was raised, and there were so many people there to celebrate and honor the life of a little boy who touched so many in his 9 short years of life.

Someone asked me how the kids were handling his death. Honestly, they seem to be handling it better than I am. Jared doesn't say much about it, other than asking an occasional question or two. I've tried to talk to him about it, especially in the days leading up to and right after Sam's death, and I've explained a lot to him. I think that he understands it, but he's still young enough that it doesn't consume him. But as a mother, I just can't even imagine how his family feels. I just can't. It tears my heart to shreds if I think about it too much, especially when I realize that it could easily be one of my kids.

They even had a pink fire truck there.


Just trying to get everything done that needs to be done before I start my crazy work schedule on Monday. I have so many things that I need to do, and I'm quickly running out of time. I feel like I have to have the house clean and the laundry done and put away and the meal planning completed and and and and and........ My inner control freak is coming out in a really big way, and it's driving me insane because I know in my heart that everyone will survive even if the house is a mess - but that's not how I want it to be.


Along with trying to get household stuff done, I'm also trying to finish up some craft projects. After the barbecue, The Dude and the boys and I went fabric shopping (ok, I shopped while they walked the mall to stay out of my way), and just the simple act of picking out the fabrics that I need got my mind spinning and I was able to sit down tonight and design the quilt squares that I need to make to finish one project.

So for now, I'm going to go cut fabric into pieces and sew it back together again and maybe get one thing crossed off of the to-do list.

Just one. That's all I need before I go to bed.

Friday, July 26, 2013

You asked.....

Just in case you don't follow me on facebook, every now and then I ask people on there to ask me questions, and then I answer them in a blog post. I did that tonight, and this is what they asked me:

Michael asked: why are you so damn awesome? 

Ha. I'm not. The people who read this blog - they are the awesome ones. I just blab and ramble about my normal life, which is totally NOT awesome, but the interactions with the people who read it are what make it all worth it. THEY are the awesome ones, not me.

Erica asked: How do you feel about the tooth fairy letters fame? (I love it btw and will totally use it with my kiddos) 

Honestly, I hate it. I seriously wrote that thing in about 30 seconds and never expected anything to come of it, but it did. And it keeps resurfacing. And I keep getting bashed for it, even though Emily thought that it was funny. But, it is what it is and I can't change it now. So when I see it posted somewhere, I link my blog posts about it in the comments and just let it go - I honestly try not to follow it because more times than not, I'm getting bashed for my parenting skills over one piece of paper floating around the internet.

Michelle asked: Are you freaking out about Monday? I have faith 

Yes and no. I honestly think that the thing that I'm the most worried about is that The Dude is taking on so much responsibility with my kids. The job scares me, yes. The hours scare me, yes. But I know that this is going to be such a huge change for my family, and that scares me more than anything. However, this has come at the most perfect time, and too many things are falling into place at the right time so I can't ignore them. I have to go for it.

Jennifer asked: What are some of the worst things you've seen at work? I want details! (well, not too many details.. but, ya know)

I honestly think that the bare crotch coming through the drive-thru was the worst. Seriously, I can't get that one out of my head. Cover yourselves, people!

Lavinia asked: why is life more complicated than it has to be?

That, my friend, is the million dollar question. But at the same time, I think that people tend to make things more difficult than they need to be. Life is life - whatever is going to happen is going to happen,  and most of the time there is nothing that we can do to change it. Roll with the punches, don't worry about what might happen and deal with it as it comes. One day at a time, one hour at a time, sometimes one second at a time - do what needs to be done to get through the moment, and then deal with the rest as it happens.

Bianca asked: Favourite movies? Two categories: with the kids, just you (or you'n'The Dude). 

For me alone, I can watch just about anything except for sci-fi/fantasy types. I'm a sucker for a good horror flick (yes, even alone) but I also love the typical "chick flicks", dramas, comedies, whatever. When it's me and The Dude, we tend to watch more zombie movies (his choice, but I deal with it) or whatever looks good. He's awesome though, and will willingly sit through a chick flick if that's what I'm in the mood to watch.

Heather asked: How do you manage to do all that you do on so little sleep?!? Because I am cranky butthole without it!!!

At this point in my life, it's just become normal for me. Ever since I split from Ex1 almost 9 years ago, I've lived on very little sleep. Right after we separated, I was working full-time plus a part-time job, and I just got used to it. I run so much during the day and evening that the only time that I have time for myself is at night after the kids go to bed. I know that it's not the best situation for me, so when I finally crash and sleep for 12+ hours at a time, I don't fight it much. Caffeine is my friend.

Maria asked: With how long you an the dude have been together do you think marriage is a possability ever?

We have officially been together for just over 20 months (wait, how did THAT happen?) and while I can easily see spending the rest of my life with him, I just can't see myself getting married again. I did that twice, and I got burned - badly - both times. I know that he's different, but at this point, no, I can't see myself married again. For me, emotionally, it's too big of a risk, and yes, I'm a wuss when it comes to that - and I freely admit it. I love him with all my heart - no doubt about it - but I don't want to get married.

And actually, I had to go digging but there are posts here and here that go into way more detail about that. Check those out if you haven't before.


So that's that for tonight. I haven't looked back at my page in the past few minutes, so if there are more questions, I will answer them on a different night.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Crazy weather shots

The pictures can do the talking on this one....

The first few are from last night, when The Dude and I were out on our date.

Whoops, I lied. This was yesterday morning. It was just
really pretty outside.

Just as the sun was starting to set.

I literally got up and walked out of the restaurant to
get these shots. The colors were amazing, and the
camera just doesn't do it justice at all.


Sunset breaking through the clouds farther away from
the front.

I felt like I was in some sci-fi movie at this point.
If you look closely, you can actually see a star - the sky
was perfectly clear beyond the storm front.
(Yes, I edited out local landmarks.)

And then there was tonight. We actually had a really good storm roll through here a little bit ago. Lots of wind and rain and thunder and lightning. Lots. It was awesome.

Taken from The Dude's balcony before it started.
(phone picture)

Looking the opposite direction off of the balcony.
(phone picture)

Kind of hard to really tell, but that's the water rushing down my street
during the actual storm. 
I'm trying to upload some video from the storm, but my internet is having issues (go figure) so it's taking too long. Once I get it uploaded I'll probably just post it on my facebook page so you can always find it there - and I'm pretty sure that you can see everything on there even if you aren't on facebook.

Friday, July 19, 2013

I said yes.

No, it wasn't that question.

A few months ago, I started working a part-time job. It started out as just a few hours per week, and was going to just be something to do for fun (and a little bit of spending money) while the kids were in school. As time went on, and I started getting the hang of things, my boss asked me if I could work a few more hours. I went from about 9 hours per week to about 20-24 on average. She also asked me to help train a few people here and there, but nothing major. I didn't really think too much about it.

Then I was surprised a couple of days ago when I was handed my little "award" but still...didn't think much of it. I had made it pretty clear when I started that I wasn't interested in anything more than a few hours per week.

On Wednesday, I actually got sent home a few hours early, which was fine with me. I was tired and cranky, and I had to go to Jared's friend's viewing that afternoon and I needed time to mentally prepare myself for that. When I got home from work, The Dude was hanging out with Alex and Daniel so I decided to try to lay down for a little bit. Unfortunately, a real nap didn't happen because I got a couple of phone calls - and the second one was my boss asking me if I could come back into the store because HER boss needed to talk to me. So I changed my clothes and went back to the store.

I sat down in a booth with the boss and the boss's boss, who proceeded to tell me that he had been "watching" me - I was so tempted to call him a creeper, but I figured that I'd better keep my mouth shut at that point and listen to what he had to say. Long story short, I was offered a full-time position as an assistant manager.

We talked about all of the details, and honestly, it sounded really good but I knew that there was no way that I could make a decision right then and there. I had to check into a lot of things before I could make a decision on something that huge. They understood, but said that they needed an answer by Saturday (tomorrow).

I had to check with The Dude, because working 45 hours per week is a huge jump for me - and it means that he will be taking on more responsibility with the kids. His response? "I've got your back, babe."

I had to check with Ex1, because I had to make sure that he was comfortable with The Dude taking a much bigger, much more active role in the kids' lives - he'll have to transport them to school a few days per week, among other things. His response? "Sounds like a good opportunity. I'm flexible. We'll work it out."

I had to check with Social Security because there is a limit on how much I can earn before those benefits start being reduced. Lots of technicalities about that one, but all in all it's not a big deal and I can handle that.

I had to check with the state because the kids have medical cards and I had to make sure that there wouldn't be a lapse in their medical coverage between the time when my income was too high to qualify for the medical cards and the time when my insurance through work would start. A few more technicalities there, but there won't be a lapse in coverage.

There were a lot of texts flying back and forth between me and my boss, as I asked more questions and got more clarification on a few things. She was very patient with me and answered everything that I needed, which made me feel a lot better about the whole thing.

And of course, I had to sit and think really really hard about all of this. I've been a stay-at-home-mom for so long, and I had planned to do that for a while yet, but this is a really good opportunity, and the timing is phenomenal. As I get ready to buy a house, having such a huge jump in my income will make qualifying for a mortgage even easier, and it will also allow us to take care of a few more bills and a few more necessities at the same time.

And I will have health insurance for the first time in ....... 4 years? Not that I ever go to the doctor, but at least if I have to, I'll finally have that option again...(but not for 90 days).

So with all of this going through my mind over the past few days, plus helping The Dude and his mother move into an apartment, plus just dealing with my day-to-day life, I got a little overwhelmed today and I just decided to take the kids and run away for a few hours.

So at 8:42pm tonight, I texted her and said "Ok. Let's do this." That started another flurry of texts back and forth working out a few final details. At this point, it looks like I'll start full-time the week after next.

Things are about to get a whole lot more chaotic around this place.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Didn't really expect that...

I was busy at work today, running my butt off while trying to do the work of 3 people (seriously - one who went home sick and one who didn't show up, plus doing my own stuff) when I got called into the back to meet with one of the managers. I was really kind of aggravated at that point, so I really didn't even care if I was getting in trouble - even though I couldn't figure out why that would happen in the 10 seconds that it took me to get back there.

Instead, quite the opposite happened. She handed me a cup of goodies and a certificate - apparently every few months they have a meeting where employees can nominate coworkers who they feel are doing a good job - and I was one of the ones who was picked for this round.

I had to pick either KU or KC Chiefs. It was the lesser of two evils.
But Jared likes KU, so he can have the cup.
Not the candy. Just the cup.
It was still a craptastically busy day, and I wanted to rip my hair out more than once during the 8 hours that I was there - but at least now I have chocolate to show for it.

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Laughter and Tears


The Dude and I went out today to get some mulch for the church playground. Our city takes all of the branches that come down during storms or whatever, mulches them, and anyone can go and get the mulch. For free.

Of course, I had to play on the pile of mulch. Duh.

And of course, once you get up there, there's only one way to come back down.

We found a friend.

What a stud.

He had to wear his "work boots" too.

This would be *before* we broke the tailgate.
And you can get an idea of how much mulch is actually there.

Heat index of 102 degrees + physical labor =
nasty-stinky people



Tears. So many tears.

Jared's friend lost his battle with cancer this evening. 

Sam was 9 years old, and would have gone into the 4th grade with Jared next month.

And now he's gone. My heart is broken for his friends and family. 

It's not right. It's not fair. 

F*ck you, cancer.

Rest in peace, Sam.
Sam and Jared in December 2012

Friday, July 12, 2013

The past few days.

I feel like I have to play catch-up. I've kind of lost track of some things over the past few days.

I vaguely remember telling someone that I would post a picture showing what I mean when I say that I have to "mow the trees" in my yard, so here it is.

Sunrise from the parking lot at work.

Alex's procedures yesterday. They went very well. Visually, everything is fine so we just have to wait for biopsy results, which we also expect will be normal. They were just done as a routine part of the scopes. Again, I'm not going into details about what is going on with him, but generally speaking we are trying to rule some things out, which it appears that we did.

Gotta' love those post-op popsicles.
And we got some nifty pictures of his (healthy) innards.

After not eating for about 36 hours, we were hungry. He chose Spangles - and I didn't complain.

Later, we decided to go out for a bit. We grabbed something to eat for supper, stopped at the library, then headed to the pool.

Yup. Same kid who had a colonoscopy and
endoscopy 10 hours before...

He *wanted* his ears like that.

Today was a rougher day. I received news through facebook that Jared's buddy, who has been battling brain cancer since last fall, had passed away. Jared was already back at his father's house when I found out, so I let him tell him - because honestly, I couldn't. Then I found out later that he hadn't actually passed, but things were looking very bleak. Needless to say, he has been on my mind all day long.

Then The Dude and I went and met with Mortgage Lady, hoping to get some good news. My credit scores were where they needed to be to be pre-approved for a loan, and I had all of the documentation that I needed. When she pulled my official credit report, there were some issues. In the grand scheme of things, they're not major issues, but they're bad enough that it's going to be at least another month - or maybe two - until we can move on and get the pre-approval. I had gotten my hopes up, and when I left her office I felt totally deflated. Honestly, I still do.

Just some of the paperwork so far.
As horrible as today has been, I'm trying so hard to keep it all in perspective. I know that things in my own life could be so much worse than they really are but right now I'm going through one of those times when I really wish that the crap would stop piling up on top of me. Waiting on updates on Jared's friend is tearing my heart to shreds, and finding out that we're NOT as close to getting a house as I thought we were has made today one of the hardest days for me in recent history.

But, it could be worse.

One step at a time. That's all I can do.