Monday, November 30, 2009

Another Step Forward

Before my alarm even went off this morning Grandma Dee was up pacing around and all worked up about bringing Grandpa home. She was concerned that she wouldn't be able to care for him on her own. We all tried to calm her down and assured her that we wouldn't agree to do anything that she isn't comfortable with. After we talked with the doctor and verified that YES Grandpa will be discharged tomorrow, we asked to speak with the hospital social worker about his options. We all decided (G&G included) it would be best for both Grandma and Grandpa if Grandpa went to a rehab facility for a few weeks to regain his strength before going home. The social worker gave us a whole list of local rehabs to check out today. Grandpa's only request was that he would prefer a private room but other than that he gave us complete discretion to choose a place for him. The first place we walked into was gorgeous. The rooms were big and bright, the therapy rooms were filled with top of the line equipment and the staff was incredibly friendly and helpful. The next place was a total opposite of the first complete with a strong pee smell and shady looking employees smoking out front. My aunt and I took one look at each other and knew that this was NOT the place for Grandpa. Granted, it was a rehab and long term care facility combined but I just couldn't see him improving in such an environment, and really even if we were looking for a long term care facility this still would not be the place for him. It was so sad to walk past the wheelchair lined hallways and know that these people will never leave and reclaim the lives they left behind. I also noticed a complete lack of family presence, like many of these people had been left to die. I know that sounds harsh but during my short run as a nursing assistant in a nursing home before the girls were born, I know the reality that people are left at these sorts of places all the time. The third place was newly remodeled and clean although I was not impressed that the rehab patients eat all of their meals in their rooms instead of congregating in a dining hall, but he would have a private room. The fourth and final place was out of the running when the admissions director said they only have shared rooms. So we put in our request for the first and third facilities with high hopes that the first one will have an opening come tomorrow afternoon. Either way I'm glad that we all had a chance to go through these places and make a decision together as a family. Not a fun task but a necessary one.

Once we arrived back at the hospital we told Grandpa about our findings without mentioning the places we didn't like and trying to steer clear of the words "nursing home". He was a little irritated that he would have to do actual therapy or aerobics as he insisted calling it for 2 hours every day but we reminded him that if he wants to go home and start playing his banjo again, he needs to do the work and regain his strength. Grandpa isn't much into physical activity if it doesn't include dancing or playing his banjo. Just getting him to walk around the grocery store is a small victory for us. The oxygen was removed today and the IV is out but he's still using a walker to keep himself stable while walking around. After hanging out at the hospital and making sure that the nurses take him for a walk (we've really had to keep on them about that), we said our goodbyes for the evening and we all took Grandma out to play Bingo at one of the local parks. We didn't win a damn thing, but we had fun and it took Grandma's weary mind off of Grandpa for a short time, a success in my book. Tomorrow will be a busy day but another step forward.


Internet access has been quite elusive here in AZ so I have been writing in word and waiting until I have a minute of stolen wifi to post. I wrote this Sunday night but wasn't able to publish it until now.

I arrived here in sunny and warm cloudy and cool Phoenix right on schedule this afternoon and was promptly picked up by my Uncle Mike and we drove straight to the hospital to see my grandfather. Besides being happy to have his family here supporting him, and thrilled that I remembered to bring not only one but two jars of peaches, Grandpa Conrad looked GOOD. His condition is stabilizing thanks to some new medications, and we're told that he may even be able to go home as soon as Tuesday. He's now on just 2 liters of oxygen compared to the 5 that he was on yesterday and his blood pressure has returned to a normal level. His appetite is also improving and he is starting to get up and move about with the help of a walker. His heart function is still poor due to the severe blockage and is not expected to improve but these other improvements have bought him some time for now.

I had been preparing myself to say goodbye to my dear Grandpa Conrad all week but it seems that he has other plans. His spirits are great and his positive attitude has inspired us all. He's hopeful that he'll be able to come home this week and be well enough to start playing his banjo and singing with the band again. I hope so too but the rest of us need to remain realistic and focused on day to day goals. Both my mom and my aunt were here all day today and will be again tomorrow. We plan to talk with the doctors and the hospital social worker tomorrow to make some plans for the rest of the week and beyond. When he comes home he will likely be on oxygen and using a walker. Not sure how that's going to work out with the four steps going into their home (Once he's inside it's all one level), but I'm sure we'll work something out. Grandma Dee is very happy to have her girls (as she calls us) here to support her, but this hospitalization has been especially hard on her. Her stress level is through the roof and she has become quite flustered and forgetful. This morning she thought she misplaced her medications and frantically called my mom and aunt who were on another floor of the hospital. The pills were found safe and sound but stuff like this keeps happening. She becomes confused when discussing expectations for my grandfather and goes between thinking that he'll make a full recovery to questioning if the doctors are saying that he may be released so that he can die at home. Realistically it will be something in between, we just don't know yet.

My aunt will go home tomorrow night and will be back in time for me to leave next weekend and my Mom is flying back home Wednesday afternoon. I will be here until Saturday and have big plans to get the house organized for Grandpa's homecoming and for life without us around 24/7. Tomorrow I hope to plan a menu for the week ahead and buy all the groceries to make several ready to heat meals to put in the freezer so Grandma won't have to worry about food along with caring for Grandpa once we all go back home. Plus if he does come home on Tuesday, our outings will most likely be limited to just me running out to get the essentials, and Grandma's well deserved hair appointment Friday morning.

Tomorrow night the three of us girls have decided to take Grandma to play Bingo to help get her mind off of what's wrong and have a little fun. Speaking of fun, tonight after we got back from the hospital, we played cards and had a good old giggle fest laughing about the funny things Grandma says and joking around the way only a family as close as ours can. If this is really the last family get-together, I want to make the most of it with both my grandmother and grandfather.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Family Calls

Grandma Dee called Friday morning and said she wanted me to come out to Arizona and be with her and Grandpa along with my mom and my aunt. My Mom flew in late last night and the gardener will drive me to the airport at the ass crack of dawn early tomorrow morning and off to Phoenix I will go. From what I can tell, my grandfather is doing okay but certainly not well enough to go home quite yet. He remains very alert but his breathing is still labored even with the constant flow of oxygen and he isn't able to get around on his own yet although I did hear that he took a short walk today. The doctors still say his prognosis is poor but so far he is comfortable and still complaining about the hospital food. Can't be too bad if he's still complaining right? I promised to pack a few jars of peaches just for him and that made him happy. Tonight when I talked to him, he double checked to make sure that I remembered to pack them. And yes Mom, I wrapped the jars in towels and put them in plastic bags to make sure that no spillage occurs.

After several days of thinking about going down there, I decided to just do it especially after Grandma Dee requested my presence. I would regret it terribly if I didn't. Not sure how helpful I can be but even if my time there will help ease my Grandparents' minds, then I will consider this week's trip a success. This last minute trip of mine will cause a major shift in our regular schedule and leave the Gardener managing all of the day to day kid-wrangling, house keeping, bill paying, meal cooking, story reading, dog feeding and everything else that keeps this house from spontaneously combusting.

The Gardener and I spent all day today trying to get ready for the week ahead by grocery shopping, cleaning, preparing meals, washing clothes, setting out an entire week's worth of clothes for the girls so getting ready in the morning (supervised by my in-laws as the Gardener will try to work most of the week) will be (hopefully) less dramatic than when the girls need to pick out clothes themselves and and get ready. I even caved and bought several boxes of sugar cereal so that (hopefully) breakfast will go smoothly as well, or at least with less complaints of "I don't like that." I will be gone until next Saturday so they will be on their own all week. The gardener and I went through and inventoried the the freezer and cabinets so he is aware of what's in the house food wise. Sometime in the middle of the week Grandma N will be dropping off some ready made meals for them so that the Gardener won't have to cook more than a few times this week. I'm sure the waffle iron and the microwave will get lots of use as well.

Other than that I don't have much else going on. My brother once again lent me his laptop (Thanks K!) so I will be checking in periodically so long as I can get an Internet connection. The rest of the family has been great too. My dad very generously paid for my flight and the Gardener's family has agreed to help out at home making sure the girls get to school and will be here when they hop off the bus in the afternoon. Uncle B is staying here tonight so that we won't have to wake the girls and drag them down to the airport with us early tomorrow morning. I couldn't have asked for better cooperation from any of them and I just hope that all goes well this week while I'm gone. Crossing my fingers for no illnesses or other chaos! I will miss them all, but I feel good about my decision to be with my grandparents.

I'll check in here once I get settled and have my fill of hugs from the fam.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Thanksgiving Confessions

I started writing this post a few days ago before my grandfather's health started to decline, so while I do feel odd posting something so silly today, I have decided that sitting and crying about it won't do me any good, plus I'm still making a big honking Thanksgiving meal tomorrow so what the heck, here goes...

Before I even start blathering on about my own Thanksgiving traditions and tricks, you must read (if you haven't already) Helen's Thanksgiving Letter To The Family. After you wipe away the tears that will come from laughing so hard (and possibly a change of underpants for the mom crowd), read her letters from years past. You will not be disappointed. I especially love that she prefers to cook the meal entirely herself and if her guests bring something, let's say sub-par, she lets them know. In my husband's family, that sub-par item would have to be either the snotty looking green bean casserole or as I like to call it, how many cans of Campbell's cream of mushroom soup did you add to an otherwise tasty and healthy vegetable? Or the Snicker bar and apple salad (I use the term 'salad' very loosely for a dish whose main ingredients are 3 candy bars and 2 tubs of cool whip). That said I like to have the meal at my house and avoid another Holiday of this.

Once again I will be making a big meal on Thanksgiving day for my husband's parents and brother-in-law and possibly a few single men from my family, but I'm sure they won't actually respond to my offer until the night before or even call 20 minutes before we eat and nonchalantly ask what we're having for dinner. Which brings me to the topic of this very post. Although I'm sure my meal will be the best in Wisconsin great, I have a few confessions to make about this year's Thanksgiving.
  1. I have decided not to make a turkey this year. *gasp* No I didn't pick up one of those weird Tofurkey things from Trader Joe's, I'm actually making an 11 pound happy chicken. Seriously, if you're going to not eat meat then don't eat meat. Why dress up tofu to make it look and taste like turkey? Plus chicken is way better than turkey, just sayin'.
  2. Since I don't think that my in-laws will notice, much less give a shit, I plan to serve the less expensive wine (2-Buck Chuck to be exact) this year.
  3. The pie crust will contain lard. Get over it now. (Not sounding so appetizing after all the talk of blocked arteries today though.)
  4. I plan to spend all day cooking in the kitchen, what I won't divulge (to my guests) is the fact that I will open a good bottle of wine for sipping during food preparation. Gotta keep the cook happy right?
  5. I may be very excited about cooking and serving a big meal but I really don't care for the post dinner clean-up, especially after several glasses of wine eating a huge meal. No one should be surprised if I ignore the mess in the kitchen or even fake a headache to get out of clean-up.
  6. I will be adding lots of butter and sour cream to the mashed potatoes. Get over it now.
  7. My green beans will resemble actual green beans.
  8. Canned cranberry sauce (cranberry wiggle) is banned from this house. I will serve traditional cranberry sauce made from actual cranberries.
  9. Just because it's deer hunting season doesn't mean that my guests may wear their blaze orange outerwear complete with doe vaginal secretion scent at the dinner table. You think I'm joking? Then you obviously have never eaten Thanksgiving with serious deer hunters.
  10. No football. No one in this family are real football (or any kind of sport for that matter) fans anyway so I'm not really breaking any hearts with this one. We will instead be watching the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade and the dog show (Perhaps a big, drooly Saint Bernard will win this year???).
Update on my Grandpa Conrad:
I called my grandmother this morning for an update and she broke down as she told me we were losing him. The situation didn't sound very promising at all. I then called my aunt, an RN and the voice of reason in our family and we talked about what she knew which was that the Cardiologist was planning to place a stint in one of the blocked/collapsed arteries this morning and get a better idea of treatment options. My Grandmother's friend B called me this afternoon to let me know what she knew after being at the hospital with my grandparents all day. She said the blockage and overall shape of the bad artery was too severe to even attempt the stint procedure. Grandpa does however have an extra artery that has been acting like a natural bypass for the blocked artery, taking over the load.

For now the doc wants to just adjust Grandpa's meds and do another Echocardiogram in a month to see if surgically placing a defibrillator would be an option. For a while this afternoon we were all worried that he only had a few days left but now his odds look better for an even longer and productive life as the doc said he could even go back to playing in jams and with the Arizona Banjo Band in the next few weeks, something our family can look forward to and certainly be thankful for this Thanksgiving!

I thought about going out to Arizona this weekend to be with them and help them in any way I can (cooking, driving them to doctor appointments, etc.) but for now I think that it would be premature to do so and plus my aunt will heading there on Friday after she returns to AZ from visiting her family. Once she gets there and fills me in, I'll make plans to fly out there and see them.

Thanks everyone for your thoughts and kind words! And don't forget to take time out tomorrow between Turkey, mashed potatoes and pie to give thanks for the ones you love, I know I will.

Wardrobe Wednesday

Being the last day of school for the week, the girls decided they wanted to look their best. Binny's vest (to match sister's) and Mae's boots came from one of their favorite clothing stores with a name that rhymes with mold and gravy.

Speaking of gravy... I'm working on a Thanksgiving post for later today, but first I need to bake some pies, make a run to the post office, cook the cranberry sauce and call my grandparents...

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

A Mixed Day

This cloudy, rainy Tuesday started with a dermatology appointment for me to have some more funky looking moles removed, 2 of which were on my face and neck. The looks on the way out of the doctor's office were ones I wasn't ready for. Granted this is no disability and is completely temporary, but I couldn't help but feel the stares from others as I walked out of the clinic with bandages covering my wounds and streaky, blotchy skin from the anesthetic.

Once I arrived back home I went out to the barn to feed the cat and found him lying on the floor not moving. Gator's gone. He was just a kitten when we found him hiding in one of our sheds crying for his mother 3 years ago. We decided to tame him and keep him around to help control the mice population in the barn. Binny named him, and most appropriately considering Gator was quite the wild kitty at first. He would hiss and hide when we came in the barn to feed him but warmed up to us fairly quickly. Lately he would run over when he heard the door of the barn open and rub up against our legs as we scooped food into his pan. Not sure what killed him but from our experience farm cats don't seem to live long very long lives.

As Mae bounded off the school bus she smiled so wide that I could see that she lost another tooth today. This time it was one that was ready to come out, not one that she thought should come out. The tooth Fairy has been notified and has a stop planned for later tonight.

Binny beat me at a game of checkers!

And lastly, Grandma Dee just called to let us know that Grandpa Conrad is in the hospital. He started feeling not so well Monday night and as my grandmother tried to help him to bed he said he would feel best if he went to the hospital instead. So off they went and he was admitted last evening. The culprit seems to be Congestive Heart Failure which is treatable (my grandmother has been hospitalized several times for this as well) but not fun in any case. He's on oxygen and has had several tests including an echocardiogram to check his heart. I spoke with him for a few a minutes before the nurse came in and he had to pass the phone back to Grandma Dee. Grandma says he's doing better but I'm almost positive she'd say that even if he wasn't. I guess I can't blame her for not wanting us to worry, and really we can't do much from two thousand miles away anyhow. He will likely remain in the hospital for another day but hopefully he'll be able to go home on Thanksgiving, which would be something to be thankful for.

So overall, my body hurts, our barn cat is gone, Mae lost a tooth, Binny was victorious at Checkers and Grandpa Conrad is on the mend. One hell of a day.

Monday, November 23, 2009

A Hair Raising Experience

First off, let's get one thing understood. This was not my idea. My kids know how I feel about Bump-its so when Grandma Dee asked Mae what she wanted for her Birthday, Mae conned Grandma Dee into buying a set because she knew I had no interest in buying her the unusual hair accessory.

Since acquiring Bump-its we have enacted a no bump-its at school rule (Our rule, not the school's.) so that leaves weekends and Holidays for my kids to heighten their hair. Saturday was our first round of family Thanksgiving so the girls of course wanted me to install these crazy things for them. Aaaaand since I already had the hair spray and teasing comb out, I decided to try one as well, you know just for fun. Mae used the regular Bump-it and Binny used the mini Bump-it, so I was left with the Hollywood Bump-it. Making me feel more ridiculous than Hollywood, I decided to take it out before dinner, but before I could do so, the girls insisted we all take a photo together with our big happy hair. All in the name of fun!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Pumpkin Pie Making

As Binny and I were adding ingredients and stirring the pumpkin pie filling, she looks up at me and says... "Mom, this smells like wet dog."

As she put the ginger root back into the freezer she asked, "Mom, what is this?" It's ginger root. Kind of like a tree root, but it's ginger and we eat it. "Is it a root from the gingerbread tree?"

Too cute not to share! Hope everyone is having a great weekend!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


I just hung up from talking with my grandfather. Although I didn't sing for him like he does for the rest of us on our birthdays, I did wish him a Happy Birthday and was thrilled that our card arrived today and not a day late.

I was the last of all 8 (required) family members to call him today. I kind of like being last to check-in although my Mom usually likes to give me a courtesy call when she hears that I haven't called yet. Like I don't know it's his birthday. Of myself and my 2 siblings, I am usually the one reminding everyone else. No matter. Grandpa sounded great and they were getting ready to have the birthday cake Grandma Dee made for him. Chocolate, of course.

They were over at a friend's house for a Norwegian dinner of Lutefisk and lefse, then their friend (my one senior blog reader. Hi B!) showed my grandparents my blog and the photos of the Gardener's new tractor on her TV computer. Seriously, every time he mentions computers he searches for the word in his very sharp 92 year old brain and usually still comes up with TV.

The Gardener and I often talk about how so many things have changed over the years since my grandfather was a boy, and even since he retired over 25 years ago! For many years a horse was my grandfather's only form of transportation and now he uses a GPS while my grandmother drives their car. Hell, he even uses a cell phone and pretty damn effectively at that. I don't see him starting his own blog anytime soon or purchasing an ipod (although he loves ours), but I did hear him say a while back that he wants to look for a new banjo on Ebay. See, even the Internet is growing on him.

Happy Birthday Gramps!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

RTT- Screw You Swine Flu

Well it's Tuesday again and the best way to get everything out there is to pull out the Un Mom's Random Tuesday Thoughts badge and get to it.


Shall we?

After weeks and weeks of impatient waiting, there was finally an H1N1 flu clinic in our area. My friend, (not the doctor's office or the school where the girls were supposed to receive the vaccine) called to tell me that she just took her kids to a flu clinic at a local fire department and had them vaccinated. She also said there was NO waiting and I should take the girls. (thanks for the heads up, T!) It was on an evening that I had to work but I left instructions with the Gardener to have both girls vaccinated and none of that nasal spray stuff, even for Binny no matter how much she complains and cries about getting the shot. And did Binny cry! She had herself so worked up that the Gardener had to hold her down for her 3 seconds of pain. Her arm was sore for about a day but she's fine now and even posing for the camera. It was of course no big deal for Mae who has been a little pin cushion lately. I do feel relieved now that they both have been vaccinated and I hope that everyone else who wants to have their kids vaccinated will be able to do so very soon. Mae was a special circumstances case but even if she weren't I would want them both to be vaccinated...

And finally... *drum-roll please.*

The Gardener's new toy tractor.
As you can see it's not new at all, rather old, noisy and a little rusty but it's what he wanted, something he could tinker with. It obviously needs a little work and some fresh paint, but it actually runs, so that's a start right?

Have a great Tuesday and don't forget to drop by the UnMom for more Random Tuesday thoughts!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Lazy Sunday

The skid steer that was for sale on redneck craigslist our front lawn was finally trailered out of here yesterday. Not wasting any time with a pile of hundred dollar bills burning a hole in his pocket, the Gardener left just after 8:00 this morning to look at a tractor more than 3 hours away. At least he didn't expect me and the kids to go along. Not that I don't like spending time with my husband but 6 hours (round trip) in our farm truck pulling a big heavy trailer is not my idea of quality time, especially since I know his style. He will drive straight through only stopping to refuel without even going inside the gas station to pay (he's a huge fan of pay at the pump) let alone stopping for lunch or a pee break. I just hope he remembered his anti-narcolepsy meds this morning...

Instead I'm home with the girls, catching up on some blog reading and photo editing (my new favorite obsession hobby) while the girls are playing nicely together in the living room.


The other morning there was a thick layer of frost combined with fog outside making the sunrise even more beautiful than usual. I couldn't resist running outside in my PJs and bathrobe to capture it... then of course I jazzed it up a little.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Wardrobe Wednesday

My project for the day.
Oh and family, this is the last time I'm going to say this. If your clothes make their way to the hamper looking like this they will stay there unwashed until the underwear has been removed from the pants leg and the pants are turned right side out. Same goes for tights and socks. If they are all balled up and inside out they will not be washed!

More wardrobe Wednesday at Heathen Family Revival.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Half Off Hookas. Random Enough?

Well it's Tuesday again and the best way to get everything out there is to pull out the Un Mom's Random Tuesday Thoughts badge and get to it.
Shall we?

Last week I mentioned that there was a school referendum on the ballot here. It failed miserably. The vote was something like 1200 against and 600 for. The number of people who voted against the new swimming pool was even higher. Hopefully the school board will do some more educating before sending voters back to the polls. If they had their act together they should have done this last year during the presidential election to entice more voters. The turnout for this school referendum was wimpy at best. But yet again, no one asked me.

The Gardener broke his thumb. Smashed it with a hammer at work. He only decided to go to the doctor because it happened at work and wanted it all to be on the up and up. The doc. took an x-ray then burned a hole through his thumbnail to drain off... you know what, I think I'll spare the rest of the details. He's much better though.

I saw this sign last Sunday when we were walking from the restaurant to our car. I was just happy that I had my camera in my purse.

I changed my blog! I have been wanting to make the photos on my blog larger but until now I haven't been able to figure it out. I have learned a ton of computer stuff since I started blogging over a year ago but I still have a lot to learn. I'm still a 2 column blogger but thanks to Shady Lady, this blog post and minima stretch, I now at least have the bigger photos.

This was an indoor photo I took of my brother. I didn't care for the color version but I love it in black and white.

Have a great Tuesday and don't forget to drop by the UnMom for more Random Tuesday thoughts!

Monday, November 9, 2009

Warm Weekend

After the full weekend we had I am enjoying the peace and quiet that a Monday morning brings. My mom and 2 of her friends were here over the weekend for a Unitarian function down in Milwaukee. They arrived Saturday evening and since I didn't trust my mom when she said that they would eat anything, I made a vegetarian black bean and corn stew served on white rice with cilantro and lime. My mom usually leans toward the vegetarian side but uses a new term, flexatarian which is basically a vegetarian that eats meat sometimes. Or as normal people call them, omnivores. To avoid a scene of this has meat, this doesn't, I skipped it all together. It was delicious and for once the Gardener didn't remind me that I forgot to add the meat.

Since it was just a quick overnight visit, Binny and I decided to go down to the city and have lunch with my mom and her friends along with my brother before all of the UU festivities began. They did invite us along for the service but since it wasn't until later in the afternoon (and even the UUs tend to be more church-y than I care for these days), we decided to pass.

Lunch was great though. We ate at a middle eastern restaurant and stuffed ourselves for almost 2 hours, chatting the whole time! The weather couldn't have been better too. Saturday we spent the entire day outside without jackets, hats and mittens! Even made time for a family bicycle ride. Yesterday was beautiful too, with temps in the 60s! A perfect day to be out and about in the city.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Sexism- Country Style

I know I've written about my husband's version of craigslist before, you know the park your junk on the lawn with a spray painted sign next to it kind of advertising. And without surprise we are once again hawking some rusty metal in our front yard. This time it's a skid steer, which is one of those little caged machines on wheels with a bucket in front (description for my less farm-y readers).

Last Saturday the Gardener was playing around on Google maps and realized that street view had come to our country road. As we waited for the photo to load we were both wondering what the photo would look like. Was it summer; can you see the garden? Before or after we painted? Dogs barking at the Google guy??? As the photo came in to focus I was torn between laughing and throwing something at my husband. On the lawn in front of our house (for all of the Internet to see) was a crappy old minivan. Seriously, we have turned into those people. Really though I shouldn't be surprised. I will say though that the Gardener is quite orderly otherwise. He doesn't keep any junk outside and always put away his toys, so there's that.

Anyhow I'm getting off topic here and the kids (half day of school) are hounding me to start a craft. Flash forward to today. A car pulls into our driveway and a man steps out with a big framed photo in his hand. I quickly run out the back door to catch him before he rings the doorbell and alerts my dogs that holy shit there's a stranger here, we must bark as loudly as possible and freak the hell out.! Nevermind that Oliver was laying outside and never heard the guy pull in the driveway or close the car door, only started making a scene once I was already talking to the guy. The man is an aerial photographer (basically he has one of the parachute fan planes and a camera) who takes photos of farms and then tries to sell them door to door. An older guy, white beard, didn't set off any creepy alarms in me, plus when I'm standing next to a 140 pound St. Bernard I feel quite safe. He shows me the photo and I say "Oh, that's nice." He just looks at me. I say "Very nice." He looks at me and says "I can come back when your husband is home." Sort of annoyed because he won't talk to me, I say "So what's the deal?" as I point to the the big framed photo of our house, barns and outbuildings taking note of the lack of any crap cars or tractors out for sale. He replies, "59 with the oak frame." And just the print? "39" Before I can even say anything he says, "Well I'll come back another time when your husband is around." Thanks a lot A-hole, you just blew a sale. It wasn't even his intentional (or unintentional, I don't know) sexist remarks... at first, but his idea that my husband would be the better person to talk to about buying his art. My husband has an appreciation (although limited) for art but only if it doesn't cost him anything. He has even less patience for people coming to the house trying to get some of his hard earned money. While this falls into a different category than the religious types that come around spreading the word and the fidgety woman trying to sell homeschooling materials to us over the summer, but still he wouldn't be interested.

In a world where women are now as powerful and influential as men, why do some people still think that a man should be the one calling the shots especially when it comes to money? My husband doesn't manage our finances. He doesn't even have a debit card linked to our bank account. If he needs money, he asks me. We both prefer it this way. I have the time to manage the checking account (Remember I'm just a house wife and don't work. What the 2 nights a week milking cows count as a job? Huh.) and more so the patience to deal with sorting through bills and sitting on hold when I realize that our health care provider screwed up yet another bill. But the authority to buy a photo? Absolutely not.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Wardrobe Wednesday

Winter Cold Weather Hats
It seems like it changes from flip flop weather to hat and mittens weather in the blink of an eye.

For more Wardrobe Wednesday head on over to Heathen Family Revival.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

RTT- Vote Today!

Well it must be Tuesday again. I see Random Tuesday Thoughts posts starting to fill my Google reader. Stop by the UnMom to catch up on all of the randomness.


As for me... we made it through Halloween but now we have 2 giant bags of candy sitting on the kitchen counter. I'm hoping to do something about that very soon. Freckle posted on Facebook that the Candy Fairy stopped by their house the night of Halloween, took her kids' candy and left them each a small toy. And her kids loved the idea! So, I'm thinking that after 3 days of my kids stuffing their faces with various forms of high fructose corn syrup, the Candy Fairy may stop by today while the kids are at school and drop off a small, inedible treat and sneak off with what's left of their candy.And let's face it, after wax lips, the rest is just plain old candy.

Mae had an appointment with her pediatrician yesterday. It was just her annual physical that was due in September but I wanted to wait until all of the tests came back and we had a chance to talk with the Immunologist again. Mae's pediatrician checked her out from head to toe and said that she looked very healthy. The minor ear infection she was treated for 2 weeks ago had cleared up, blood pressure was normal, and she passed the informal doctor office eye test. Doc sounded very pleased with the findings of Mae's immune work-up and went over all of the specifics with me again. Her big concern right now is the nasty H1N1 virus. There were no H1N1 vaccines at the clinic but she did say that the schools would be vaccinating kids as soon as more vaccine becomes available and of course encouraged me to have both girls vaccinated if they don't catch it first. She said that she'd be very surprised if one or both of the girls didn't come down with it in the next week or two.

The waiting room was full of masked children coughing and wheezing waiting to see a doctor. We had to use a separate "well visit" entrance to the office itself and around every turn was a hand sanitizing station. Pretty much, I'm almost certain that we were exposed to many cases of the nasty flu yesterday but so far no signs of illness yet. *crossing my fingers* Mae's doc did say though that if Mae does come down with H1N1, she should come back to the office in request of tamilflu because of her immune defect. She also asked if I wanted Mae to have the seasonal flu shot while we were there. Of course I agreed and Mae was vaccinated for the seasonal flu (just like every other year). I called last week about the shots and was told that they didn't have any and while waiting to check in at the reception desk I heard one of the receptionists tell another parent that there were no H1N1 or seasonal flu vaccines available. I guess they must be trying to keep some around for the more at-risk kids. After all Binny isn't eligible for either tamiflu or the short supply seasonal flu shot.

In more illness related news, the school is handing out small bottles of hand sanitizer to each student and encouraging them to use it. As much as I think hand washing is important to staying healthy, I think that the hype over hand sanitizer is a little extreme. Even at the doctor's office (we've been in several lately), I see health care workers use a squirt of that stuff instead of actually washing their hands. Yeah it may kill some of the germs but it doesn't actually clean your hands the way good old soap and water does. So around here with each mention from the girls that they need a squirt, I have been gently steering them to the sink instead.

I plan to vote today. There aren't any big races around here on the ballot today but there is a school referendum that has caused some commotion in our school district. The district wants to build a new middle school and a new swimming pool to replace the old pool that is in need of some major TLC. There are always people who refuse to vote for anything that could raise their property taxes (by $164 annually for a house worth $100,000) but I did see many yard signs supporting the referendum while we were out trick or treating. I also read some wimpy opposing arguments in the Squeak saying that during a recession is not a good time to be spending money on our schools. I couldn't disagree more. With all of the federal incentives and the ability to negotiate low prices with contractors that are just hoping for new projects to come up in order to keep themselves in business, this sounds like a great time. I also happen to have 2 children that will be going to middle school in the next few years and use the swimming pool for swimming lessons... and a husband who is trying to stay employed as a construction electrician. Call me selfish but I think that this project is worth the 164 bucks.

That's it for me today. Have a good one!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Halloween Recap

The weather was cold (42 degrees!) for trick or treating but we made it through 3 whole blocks before going back to our house for a pizza party.

Pre-trick or treating excitement in the car
Mae's serious look was her way of interpreting her costume. She thinks that mummies need to be emotionless.
Our little lion friend was happy to be wearing a costume with a warm hood!

We finished the night by lighting all of the glow sticks we had in the house. (Thanks to blog reader Becky for the glow sticks!)
Hope you all had a great Halloween!

*Mae's mummy costume was made with off white burlap cut into strips, then sewn together into a big piece of fabric then sewn into pants and a top. (She wore cream colored long underwear underneath the burlap mummy costume.) Her head covering was a polar fleece neck warmer that we sacrificed by cutting a hole in it for her face.

*Binny's red crayon costume was made with red and black felt... and lots of glue. The hat was just a cheap cardboard Happy Birthday hat covered in red felt.