Sunday, December 31, 2006

Happy New Year!

Hi! Um, there's nothing new to say. Still packing.

We needed more boxes. Can you believe that? After two trips to the carton store to buy used boxes, four rolls of bubble wrap, a bag of packing paper, we had to go to Fred Meyer's last night to beg for free boxes. I just can't believe we needed MORE. I clearly have too much stuff.

Actually, it's the kid who has too much stuff. I think the stuff in her room alone filled 15 boxes!

Anyway, I'll be here for one more day, then no internet access until January 8th. That is a magical day, however, because the internet connection fairies will be coming to my new house to install a satellite dish which will allow me to use the internet wirelessly from anywhere in the house. I can hardly wait.

Have a happy new year, and enjoy some old pictures:

Giving auntie a shot.

Cousins don't shake hands, cousins hug!

Friday, December 29, 2006

Up To My Ears in Bubble Wrap

......and boxes and tape. Did you know bubble wrap comes on big rolls? I had no idea. I have found some really weird things in our house, like a coffee urn. Honey? Do we really need this? And, why did you have one in the first place? Oh, it was given to you. Again, WHY?

I have been to the Goodwill donation station more times in the last two weeks than my cat has visited the litter box in the last two days. I found out today that Sears needs to special order the kit to stabilize our washer before we move it - which consists of four bolts - and will take 5 to 10 days. We are moving in four days, including weekend and holidays. It doesn't look like the washer is going to make the moving truck.

These details are boring. How about some pictures? December was a busy month. There was a the certain birthday of a certain child turning six years old.

The Birthday Girl

Birthday party with 18 kids. EIGHT. TEEN.

Opening a present with her cousin, the cutie pie with the adorable pigtails.

The traditional birthday seafood. She ate one coconut shrimp this year, and didn't want any more.

Santa brought a bike!

She's a good rider already.

Saturday, December 23, 2006

In Which I Advise Strangers in a Wine Purchase

I don't know what it is about me, but I seem to invite trust from strangers. On any number of occasions while out for a lunchtime stroll I have been stopped in downtown Portland for directions; to the zoo, the Hilton hotel, or Pioneer Square among others. Helping another person this way is not entirely an altruistic act. There is the feeling of satisfaction from helping a fellow human find his way and expecting nothing in return, but there is also the unique satisfaction of being considered inviting enough to draw inquiry from a stranger and then being given the chance to demonstrate one's skillful navigational prowess.

Earlier today I was doing some shopping at a store which carries groceries and clothes, furniture and toys. I'll call it Fred Meyer's. I'll call it that because that is its name. Not 30 seconds after walking into the store, a woman pushing a cart looked me in the face and asked me did I know where the toy department was. Coincidence?

Later on I was in the wine section of the groceries when I overheard the two people next to me discussing wine. "Theoretically, this bottle..." said one, and he pointed to a $25 bottle of mass-produced California wine product, "...should be better than this bottle" and he pointed to some cheaper bottle. The other man said they should just look for the best-looking label and go with that. I was standing right next to them, twitching with expectation. Here is when all that drinking I've done will come in handy, I thought.

They're going to ask me for a recommendation, I'm standing right next to them. If they don't then I will just tell them what I think because that's the kind of pushy woman I am. Pushy, maybe, but then again I'm the one that knows where to find the toys AND the good wine.

"What type of wine are you looking for?" I asked, admittedly a little disappointed not to be asked when, couldn't they tell I just gave out primo directions to the toy department? The first guy answered they were looking for a good Merlot, and then confessed to not knowing a thing about wine. I suppressed a loud chortle because gee, I don't know what gave it away, ha ha! (Here's the really funny part: I don't know much about wine, either. I drink an awful lot of it and so can tell you from experience, but I hear that a particular label isn't the same from year to year, because of something to do with vintage blah blah this year's harvest blah blah weather. I don't let those kind of details stop me from giving advice, however.)

I said I'd be glad to help them find a good bottle, and pointed them to a $12.50 bottle of Genesis by Hogue Cellars. I myself selected a Cabernet.

It was fun, they were nice about it and glad to have some direction after staring at five shelves of bottles and not having a clue as to how to select one.

Tonight, I am enjoying that Cabernet in front of the fire. There's so much to do, but not tonight. OH is out with a friend who is in from out of town. OC is at her bio dad's. I've cleaned the living room floor, done some organizing, and packed a box full of breakables.


Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 22, 2006

Furry Beings of Pee

I'm sitting here checking email when I find myself engaged in a battle of wills...with my cat.

Dakota wants to pee on the floor, and I don't want him to. Every time he wanders over to his Favorite Pee Spot, I throw something his direction to land of the floor near him and scare him - but not enough to scare the piss out of him, hopefully.

He just did it again! This time I threw a half-filled water bottle, which landed with a loud *SMACK!* and he ran away. He is sitting in the middle of the room. Waiting for me to stop looking.

He sauntered over to Potential Pee Spot #2 until I start whistling. He whirls around to see me looking him in the eye, then kind of walks back like, "What? I'm just walking. I didn't do anything."




I've taken him to the litter box, scooped it, shown him it's been scooped, and still he walks back into the living room. I don't think there is anything physically wrong with him, just mentally. He is an attention-pee-er, has been all his life. He was orphaned at a young age and never learned the proper way to cover up his leavings. Instead of sticking his paw in the litter to cover it, he rubs the side of the box and covers up nothing. This is nothing new. Believe me, I wouldn't let him be sick and not take him to the vet. I really don't think he's sick.

He is likely stressed out because of all the boxes stacked up around him. He's moved enough times with me to know that this means we're doing it again, oh my holy heck. (Who am I with the 'holy heck', Ned Flanders???) He's a sensitive kitty, he knows something is up, and he wants to let me know he knows in case I think of leaving him behind while I go away and leave him for 16 days or something.

The Battle of Wills continues. I think I've worn him down, because he just settled down to rest in his fuzzy kitty bed. I won't take my eye off of him until he's used the litter box. How long can he hold it, anyway?

Mr. Innocent

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Simple Math, Massive Debt

We signed today for the house in Redmond. Now that we own two houses, I think the only questions left are, where should we celebrate Christmas? Shall we summer at the old house for two weeks or three?

The truth is, we're up to our ears in debt now. Until the old house sells it's beans and rice for dinner. And breakfast, too.

Want to take a guess at what the Christmas stockings will be filled with?

Monday, December 18, 2006


Last night saw several odd things happen, although one of them I didn't find out until this morning.

OH spent all day Sunday finishing up the tree that fell. He said he was feeling sick and so took a shower and went to bed at 6:30 without dinner.

Later that night, I had several appliances running: dishwasher, dryer and furnace. The lights flickered in the house. OH was awake and getting a drink in the kitchen and happened to look out into the backyard at that moment where he said he saw sparks and fire at the shed in the yard, as though it were coming out the electrical outlets. We had had some electrical work done earlier in the day to fix our bathroom switches that weren't done right when they were installed, so it was strange that it happened the same day. I don't know if the two are related, but he turned off that breaker to the shed which, luckily, doesn't affect the house.

I got ready to go to bed at 11:30, and not five minutes after that OH was up puking.


He didn't make it to the toilet, and instead stood heaving onto the bedroom floor. He had begun running to the bathroom, but stopped when he started throwing up, which, who does that? I urged him to go to the bathroom, uh, you know, quickly! Why he stopped to lose it on the bedroom floor, I have no idea. Luckily, we have hardwood floors and so it was easy to clean.

But still, ew.

This morning I got out to the car to take OC to school, when she told me that something was wrong with the car's gas tank. "What is it?" I asked. "The door is open, the little door," she said. "Oh, well would you shut it please?" "No," she said, "I can't because the thing is out, too."

The gas cap was off and lying against the car, as if someone had tried to siphon gas. I had filled the car up just yesterday, and with only 7 miles on that tank of gas it was still full. There were no marks on the car as if it had been forced open, but then again the doors were unlocked to access the switch that opens the lid. No one is around on our deadend street two miles from the center of town.

It was all just really, really weird.

Annoying things have been happening too, like finding out secret cat-peeing areas that are not Officially Designated Cat-Peeing Areas. ARGH!

Note to my cats: I know you guys are stressed out with all these boxes piling up around you, and you don't know what's going on. Why for the love of peanut butter and honey can't you express yourselves in other ways? Like by offering to field a few phone calls for me, or taking the kid to school for me? WHY MUST IT ALWAYS BE BY PEEING WHERE YOU ARE NOT SUPPOSED TO????


The credit union is calling this morning with another two loose ends to our loan. Will we close in time to move this year? Who knows.

Our tree is up. Guess where we got it? If you said "from a branch of the tree that fell in your yard"....YOU WOULD BE RIGHT!

And yes, it is a little ugly and a weird looking Christmas tree, but I'll be go to hell if I'm going to go out in the cold and mud to cut down a tree and pay $35 for it to stand ten days in the house and have to move the damn thing out so we can move our crap 126 miles to the new house. NO. WAY.

Ugly, free, branch-like tree it is!

It's.....I know. But the thing is there are presents under the tree, the kitties are happy to have it, OC is having fun decorating it, and it makes it smell really nice in here. And hey, the picture includes a cute little girl to distract you from that horrible tree!

Just don't look too closely at it (the tree). It might burn your eyes.

Sunday, December 17, 2006


We had a storm here last week. The wind blew, rain came down at an angle, and a tree came down in our front yard. The only casualty was the fence, and that was hit by our neighbor's tree so he's dealing with the insurance.

Friday night, my husband drove to Redmond along with two friends to move our tiller, garden tools, and gas and things the movers won't move, and his two old cars. It took all night. Then he stayed up all day and cut up both of the trees and cleaned up our yard.

I packed, cooked, cleaned, did laundry, and took care of OC. We're both totally exhausted. But guess what?!? There's more to do!

So. Much. More.

I still can't believe I'm moving, even with all the packing.

Friday was OC's birthday party. 18 kids - that's right, 18! - in an acoustically-challenged room where they ran around and screamed for two hours. In between the screaming they slowed down for pizza, presents, cake, and an attempt at organizing them into groups for fun, organized playtime.

I have come to accept that I'm better at one-on-one time with kids that I am with large groups. It's my voice. It isn't loud and doesn't carry and I don't have the presence that some people have that gives kids the sense that they should listen to me. My sister, another mom at the party, and my husband were great, however. They got the kids playing with balls, a parachute, a bean bag toss game, and hula hoops and jump ropes. They had a blast, but it looked like complete chaos to me. I was so grateful for the help, because those kids would've eaten me alive. Kids can smell fear, you know, and 18 kids scared the hell out of me simply by their numbers.

Whatever. OC said it was great and she had a great time, and that's all that matters.

Next week holds all the loose ends we need to tie up before Christmas. The mover kinda wants to know what day he should send the big trucks to pick up our stuff. No pressure.

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Business of Moving

Today sucked the mother of all lemons.

First, there is packing. We worked like crazy this weekend, got a lot done, but there is so much left to do. The sorting. The prioritizing. The throwing out.

It's all happening, it's fine.

Then, there is the scheduling. Yesterday, we're getting temporary storage; today, we're not. This is actually a good thing, because it gives us time to pack our things and give the house a good cleaning, then paint and fix the random things there are to fix. Like patch drywall, which I've never done in my life but will soon become proficient since I have to fix holes left by our previous contractor. Yes, he put holes in the wall.

Lastly, there is the need to hire a contractor to fix the other random things we don't have time to do, like put stairs at the back door to complete the remodel permit we have open, STILL.


All of this stresses my husband out, which makes him testy, which stresses me out, and makes me testy.

OC is blissfully unaware, as it should be. She feels free to whine and cry when she is bored or tired in the afternoons and either I spend time redirecting her or I get frustrated and try to explain to her that this is what we're doing and soon life will be happy again but right now I have to get these things done and be on the phone but someday I will be a mother who us fun and not be Crazy-Stressed Out Mommy maybe for once in your damn life but for now I want to run away! Far, far away!

But I can't because I have to move this household to Central Oregon within a fluctuating time frame and complete school paperwork and realtor paperwork and credit union paperwork not to mention plan and give a FANTASTIC BIRHTDAY PARTY ON FRIDAY.


I'll get back to you when I've found my damn mind. I just don't have time to look for it right now.

Friday, December 08, 2006


Okay, so I've been tagged (FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER, OMG!!!) to do a meme.

The story was started by Mrs. Chicken of Chicken and Cheese. On the heels of NaNoWriMo and NaBloPoMo, I know you're all exhausted by all the fiction already, but it is compelling if I do say so myself. Can't wait to see how it ends!

(by Mrs. Chicken @ Chicken and Cheese)
I thought I saw him at the grocery store. It was raining that afternoon, and he had an umbrella. The red and white triangles that made up his portable shelter partly obscured his face, but I caught a glimpse of his eyes. Those eyes. Huge, blue and empty.

When he left me I remember searching their vast cerulean expanse for some sign, some flicker of love. It rained that day, too. Why does it rain when you lose someone you love? My tears left him unmoved. I don’t know why that surprised me.

The baby kicked in my cart and I let my gaze fall on her face. Her father’s eyes stared back at me. Green eyes, warm and full of life.“Mamma?” she said. “Mamma!”

(by Binky @ 24/7)
The question-turned-exclamation jarred me out of my reverie. There was pressure in my temples and behind the hazel tint of my colored contact lenses. "Mamma's here," I cooed. My voice was a manufactured kind of soothing. I leaned in and brushed a kiss over Bethany's forehead, where a drop of rainwater hung like the tiniest Swarovski pendant. Its chain was made of fine blond locks.

"What do you think, baby girl?" I asked as I pulled her into my arms. "Is it time to go home?" Her searching legs and center of gravity found all the right contours as she settled atop the jut of my hip. I tugged at her coat until the hood framed her face, then I stepped into the rain. A small deluge of water streamed off the curve of the lowercase "o" on the Save-A-Lot sign and landed at the back of my neck. I could feel the tag from my shirt sticking sharp and soggy to my skin.

I sighed against Bethany's face and tried to avoid the bigger puddles on our way to my twenty year old Civic, which was miraculously close. One row over and three cars ahead, I saw a familiar red and white umbrella spanning the gap between an open door and the driver's seat of a rusty 4Runner that had to be as old as my own piece of junk. They guy I'd mistaken for Paul sat sideways and watched the rain as he talked into a cell phone.

(by Tony @ Creative-Type Dad)
Hastily reaching into my purse holding Bethany firmly, I could faintly hear the sound of his voice. His mumbled words were almost too reminiscent of Paul’s. The way he laughed as he said “Gouda” into his plastic phone brought back imagery of the two of us, sitting together last winter on the living room floor, sipping Merlot watching “Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous”. Occasionally Paul would jokingly burst out vocabulary in his comedic English accent – expressions like “Don Perignon!” and “Caviar Dreams!” oh, how I loved Caviar and that faux bear skin rug.

With keys finally in hand, stumbling to open the rusty car door, I could sense this stranger's stare against my cheek. His phone chatter abruptly ended and I could hear the sounds of squeaking cowboy boots crushing the wet pavement.

(by Occidental Girl @ The Occidental Tourist)
My mind was suddenly full of so many thoughts vying for my attention at the same time that I couldn't think straight.

It can't be him, I thought, no way. What would I say? What do I look like? What am I wearing???

The answers came in rapid succession: It could be him, it's okay if it's him because I'm not angry anymore; I could talk about my fulfilling life that I've enjoyed since knowing him, like this beautiful child I created with someone else, without him; I look like shit but since I'm too hard on myself in general, I probably look just fine; men - especially Paul - don't notice what women are wearing unless it's nothing at all. Then, they notice.

When you coincidentally encounter someone you loved once, a long time ago, the traitorous mind tends to retrieve only the good memories and leave the battles and frustrations out of it. This leaves us to wonder what in the world we ever thought was wrong and maybe it was a mistake to end the relationship. After all, doesn't every relationship have ups and downs? Ours certainly did. It was passionate, without a doubt, but in every area: the loving AND the fighting. It was when the fighting overtook the loving that we fell apart. I wonder if he ever thought about all of that, even now. Paul didn't seem to notice many thing unless they were stark - naked or otherwise.

And yet, here he was - maybe - coming over to talk after all this time.

I took a deep breath, then turned around.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

Now, it's your turn:


You guys are next.
Mrs. Maladjusted
Desitin's Child
Tater And Tot
Word Girl

Monday, December 04, 2006

Captain's Log

Stardate: 2006

Location: Volkswagen car dealership

A woman and her child arrive at the appointed time to have scheduled maintenance performed.

"No," says the man, "we cannot fit you in today. So sorry. Come back next week."

"But, I have an appointment! You suck!"

"Yes, indeed madame, but that doesn't change the fact that we won't be servicing your vehicle today."

"Make it better or I'll cry."

"Allright, you've talked me into it. I'll reschedule you for next Monday, and in order to keep the car 24 hours to make sure we can get the work finished I'll provide you with a rental car free of charge. We are inept, but then again we overcharge for our services, so it all works out in the end."

"You are the weakest link. GOOD BYE!"

Cut to dealership waiting room, 15 minutes later

"Enterprise, who is waiting for a rental car?"

"That's us!" I look at my bag, purse, car seat, and cat litter box. Carting around a 28 pound box of cat litter seems to scream 'This woman does her errands in the wrong order'. I felt an explanation was in order, but I was not in the mood.

The nice Enterprise lady helps me by carrying the cat litter. Ha! Little does she know that when we return the car, I will have a bag of cat food!

We are driven to rental car agency along with another nice couple from Washington who's brand new car crapped out on them on their way back from the beach. It was not a Volkswagen. They have a dog, which OC likes to pet.

We wait 10 minutes or so before the man says, "Okay! Let's head out to the minivan!"

"Um," I say, hesitantly, while looking at the seven passenger minivan he is about to give me for my temporary use for myself and my child. "Do you have anything smaller?"

"Why no! Well, not that is ready right now, and I didn't think you'd want to wait."

Damn, he's good.

"Okay. We're getting the minivan!"

"Hooray!" Says OC.


* * * * * * * * * * * * *

A minivan. A seven passenger minivan. And me without my five children! Of course, OC wanted to sit in the waaaaaay back. She was so far back that I couldn't hand her things, like a bottle of water. I had to throw it to her. I swear there was an echo in that thing.

I liked the automatic doors. I can see why people buy them, it's so convenient to get the kids in and out. You're up higher and can see all around. I really felt like I was in a captain's chair, and where was Scotty?

Damn it, Jim! I'm a doctor on a tv show, not your personal puppet!

Oh, brother.

The entire 24 hours we had the minivan, it was just OC and I. I thought about calling people I knew to see if their kids needed a ride somewhere, but they didn't. What a waste of all that passenger space.

Captain Out.