Thursday, August 28, 2008

That Year

A decade or so ago I was having a rough year. I thought to myself that everyone has a hard year once in a while and I must be having one of them.

Little did I know.

Beginning last September I have been having one of those years. For 12 months I have had the highest stress, the most problems, and the most emotionally draining experiences of my life. I think this is the year that will forever live in my memory as "That Year".

It began when a year ago my Dad took a turn for the worst and was hospitalized for 21 days in the ICU. Since then we have had everything from my Dad's death in May to threatening letters from the IRS to one of our kids being fired from 2 jobs (one his fault and one not) to Mike's city job being threatened by firing (politics), to health issues, and on and on and on.

I think you have to keep a sense of humor or you might lose your sanity. Something happened last night that I am still shaking my head over. "Did that really happen?" It was so ridiculous that I still have a hard time believing that it really happened.

It all started when Andy was fired from his night watering job. He would go set the water in all the city parks to water the grass and then go back every few hours to change them. The city's park's director (an idiot) kept getting mad at Andy for not keeping the parks green. He gave Andy 10 days to green everything up. Andy watered day and night 7 days of the week for those 10 days. On the 10th day Andy left to go put the first set on at around 10 pm. He was home again in 30 minutes very upset. He was fired because the grass was not green. Mike has been butting heads with this idiot park director for 2 years now (Mike works for recreation, but has to use the parks tools all the time) and was quite put out at the treatment Andy received. He told the mayor that in talking with some lawn-care people they stated that the grass would never green up unless it was fertilized. The mayor told the director, they fertilized, and lo and behold - the grass turned green.

Meanwhile they had hired a new night watering guy. Andy was not getting his job back. I think idiot fired Andy as a way to hurt Mike. He's kind of like that.

Now fast forward 6 weeks to the middle of August. I have the habit of going to the park at around 9 pm to walk. Mike works on the chemicals for the splash park and I walk the path, putting in my 2 miles. I was getting more and more irritated at the doofus (I call him doofus because of the ridiculous outfit he wears while watering complete with large black garbage bags tucked around his waist like an apron, rubber boots, and fishing hat on his head with a miners light on top) who waters the parks now. He was starting earlier and earlier. The parks are supposed to be open until 11:30 pm, but he was watering at a little after 9. And for some reason instead of watering the middle of the park first, he watered the edges, right on the walking path. I was dodging the spray every night!

Mike had talked to him about starting too early, but he refused to change.

Last night I went with Mike at 9:00 and started my walk. When I had made one round I noticed that doofus was circling the park in his pickup. I saw the pickup park over by the splash park and thought I was going to have to dodge sprinklers again.

I made another round, and as I approached the splash park I saw doofus heading right towards me. I tried to keep my head down and avoid eye contact but he started speaking to me. He said, "excuse me, are you going to be walking much longer?" I said I had 2 more rounds. He said, "I'll wait until you're done before I start the water if that's okay." I was very surprised and thought "hmmmmm, maybe he's not as much of a horse's heiny as I thought he was.


I made another round of the park, and when I approached the splash park I saw Mike standing on the path waiting for me. I asked him what doofus said to him.

He said he couldn't repeat it.

I thought he was kidding. "No really, what did doofus say to you?"

Mike said he really couldn't repeat it because there was so much profanity in it he didn't want to shock me.

Apparently, Mike was in the chemical room, checking the water, pumps and everything else and doofus opens the door and walks in. Mike half turned around to see who was there and doofus immediately started swearing at him and yelling and said he was going to throw Mike in the pit where the pumps were (doofus is about 60, I doubt he could move Mike 6 inches). Mike said he just very calmly kept saying, "please leave, please leave". Doofus then said that Mike better not write any more letters complaining about the early watering, blah blah blah" (Apparently someone wrote a letter, not Mike, complaining about the same things we were complaining about). At one point when Mike said, "please leave" doofus said, "you just threatened me. I'm filing charges."

What? You gotta be kidding me!

Mike finally said, "if you're not going to leave, then I am."

That's when doofus decided to leave.

As he went out the door, doofus turned around and said,

(I still can't believe this)

"Do you want me to shut the door, Mike?"

Uhhhhhh, did I miss something here? Weren't you just threatening my husband with bodily harm and now you are being all Mr. Politeness?

The more I think about it the more convinced I am that Mr. idiot park supervisor sent doofus to try and engage Mike in a fight so that he could charge Mike with assault. Mike is strong and healthy and doofus is a tottering old doofus. I'm so glad Mike refused to rise to the bait.

Still, it's very disturbing. I really hope Mike quits working for the city. It's just so unpredictable now and I can't see it getting any better.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Excuse Me????

One last post on our trip to Utah. We had an awesome motel.
The minute we pulled into the parking lot and saw all the construction going on in the room next to ours we knew it was going to be a great place. As soon as we opened the door and saw all the wild prints, (in the carpet, on the bedspread, on the walls) that absolutely did not relate to each other in any way shape or form in those awesome '70's colors we knew we were going to love it there.

There was only one tiny concern.

We saw this sign not far from our room.

"We reserve the right to refuse POO area priviledges to nyone."

That one had us worried a bit. Thank heavens we were never singled out.

Monday, August 25, 2008

A Day to Myself.......

After I dropped the girls off at Lagoon I headed straight for the Layton Mall. When you're from Idaho you have to grab shopping opportunities when they arise. There are just not too many choices in Idaho. I cleaned out my closet a couple of weeks ago, so I knew exactly what I needed. My quest was on.

I felt like the muses were with me. One store after another I went into and found exactly what was on my list.

New jeans - check
Charcoal grey business pants suit - check
Denim skirt, long, straight, not flared - check

I was so happy with the way things went that I also picked up a very cool jacket, a beautiful sweater and 2 blouses that go fetchingly well with my new charcoal grey suit. I was a happy girl.

I looked at the clock and discovered I had almost 4 hours before picking up the girls so I headed to Salt Lake City and the Hoagle Zoo. I had one destination there......the elephants.

I love elephants. I was so happy to be going by myself to the Zoo so that I could just sit and watch the elephants as long as I wanted. I had my camera with me and got some shots. I also had my sketch book with me and did some drawing. I checked out a few other animals, too, but always came back to the elephants.

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Utah Trip continued.......

Since Joni finished with her test so quickly I suggested that the three girls spend the day at Lagoon.

They were good girls and didn't want to desert their mother, but I managed to make them understand that I WANTED them to all go to Lagoon and let me do my own thing! I was really looking forward to spending the day the way I wanted to. We went to Utah in Lisa's car, and so they all agreed to go without me and I would be free until 5:00 pm. We got on the freeway to drive the 30 miles to Lagoon. As we're driving down the freeway at 75 or so miles an hour we were all sitting kind of quietly. Joni was in the back seat directly behind the driver, Lisa. Joni was gazing out the window, probably reliving the test in her head and she noticed that we were next to a semi-truck. She started musing about the semi right next to us and thought,

"this is just like that movie where a car is surrounded by semis on the freeway and they start to squeeze in on the car."

" fact that semi is getting awfully close."


So, Joni very calmly said to Lisa, "Lisa, that semi is going to hit us."

We all immediately looked over and saw that it was mere INCHES away from hitting us. Joni could have reached out her window and touched it! We all screamed and Lisa very smoothly inched her car away from contact with that big beast. I was quite impressed that she didn't jerk the steering wheel trying to avoid contact. If she had we probably would have rolled. Thank you Lisa!

When we were a safe distance away from the truck Lisa said she's sure that blasting her horn at the truck really put him in his place. I didn't believe her.

"You honked your horn? I didn't hear anything."

She got a sheepish look on her face and confessed that her horn wasn't exactly the loudest thing on the road. I wanted to hear it, so she gave me a demo.

I'm sure that semi-truck driver was properly chastized once he heard Lisa's "toot toot" - NOT. It sounded like a toy. We all had a pretty good laugh over Lisa's wicked-awesome scary-sounding horn.

Friday, August 22, 2008


The reason for our trip to Utah was so that Joni could take her NCLEX-RN: "The National Council Licensure Examination for Registered Nurses"
All nurses have to pass this test before being hired as a nurse. This test lasts anywhere from an hour to 6 hours. You must pass with a certain percentage. If you get a few right, then a few wrong and so on you will have to keep doing questions until you either miss so many there is no way you can pass, or, you get so many right that you will pass no matter how many questions you get wrong afterwards. The test just shuts down once one of those criteria are reached. You don't know which group you are in, the passers or the failers. And to throw a little variety in the mix once in a while a random test taker has to take all 265 questions which takes the entire 6 hours. You don't know if you have missed so many that you had to keep taking questions, or if you were one of the random lucky ones that had to take the entire test.

Joni's test time was 8:00 am. She was pretty nervous and anxious going in to it. They had her empty her pockets, spit out her gum, show her authorization form that she was cleared to take the test and her photo ID. Then they photographed her and took her fingerprints. She went in and started taking the test. 75 questions in the minimum number of questions that can be taken before the test shuts down. If that happens you either aced them all or flunked them all, you don't know which. And that's what happened to Joni. 75 questions and the test ended. On her way out of the test they took her photo and fingerprinted her again. It's kind of comforting to know that security is that tight. I don't ever want to get stuck with a nurse that cheated to pass her NCLEX.

Joni had to wait a couple of days before she found out whether she passed or not. I was biting my fingernails right along with her. We knew the results would be posted this morning and they were.

She passed.


The Great Salt Valley

Last night my three daughters and I just returned home from a 2 day trip to Salt Lake City.

A lot happened. It will take me a few posts to tell it all, but it involves
~ playing bumper cars with a semi on the freeway doing 75.
~ Lisa, Joni and Abby being thrown upside down multiple times.
~ Joni being fingerprinted.
~ Elephants

I would explain more in detail right now, but I found out right before I went to Utah that our secretary in the Geology department is gone for 6 weeks starting 2 days ago and now I get to do both her and my jobs until she gets back. So I have to go to work now.

Don't worry, no one got hurt, Mom.

hmmmmm, maybe I'd better call my mom and explain before she reads this and has a heart attack. ha ha ha

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Happy Birthday Joisey!

She's smart.
She's funny.
She's kind and generous to a fault.
She's my friend and today is her birthday. Please go over and wish her a good one.
Click here to visit her space.

Monday, August 18, 2008

The New Me

August was supposed to be my month off from work.


There's a reason I'm still working, but I don't really want to get into it right now.

Let's just say that I've been feeling a bit picked on. I haven't been anywhere, I haven't hiked, the summer's hot, money's tight, blah blah blah.

One day last week I woke up and thought to myself,
"Self, what do you want to do today?"

and I answered,
"I'd really like to sew up a skirt that's been cut out and sitting in a box for a year."

I asked,
"Well, why don't you do it today?"

and I answered,
"because there are so many other things that should be done."

So, I very wisely told myself,
"Those things are also things you chose for yourself to do. You don't need to do everything at once. Just think about today and choose something that you want to do today."

Wow, I had a little epiphany right then. I was right! All those things that have been causing me stress because I haven't been getting to them are just items on my list. And I can edit it at anytime.

So, I did some quick housekeeping chores and then I sewed up my skirt. Joni said it was "BEE-UTE-IFUL". (I'm still trying to decide if she had a sarcastic tone to her voice when she said it.)

And you know what? The next day I CHOSE to shell some peas out of my garden, and play with the pumpkin vines.

The next day I CHOSE to start a counted cross stitch. (It was so relaxing! I can't believe I thought I was too busy to do it.)

And today, I chose to do another illustration. I'm excited. I worked on it this morning before work, and I'm headed off to finish it up in a few minutes. And I'm killing two birds with one stone because this illustration works for both Watercolor Wednesday and Illustration Friday.

I'm getting so smart I don't know if I can stand myself. Ha ha

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Getting Ready for School

In answer to some of the inquiries about Andy posing for the camera......

Yes I had to bribe him. I promised him some playing time on his online game if he willingly got dressed nicely, went with me and Abby and did what we told him to do, including smiling and looking pleasant. He actually worked with us pretty well. I was proud of him.

Now, for the main event today........
Tomorrow is Mike's first day of school. Andy starts on Wednesday, but the teachers go tomorrow.

Years ago when Andy was in kindergarten he was so excited he layed out his clothes the night before. It was hilarious. We still laugh about how he did it. Tonight Mike layed out his clothes the same way. I had to capture the moment.

Notice the socks IN the shoes?

It's nice to see that Mike's excited about his first day of school.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Worse than Chinese Water Torture........

Memo sent to the physical facilities office here on campus:

There is a fan or some other kind of motor in the ceiling that keeps trying to start. It sputters for a few seconds and then rests, sputters and rests. Then it grinds and strains for 20-30 seconds and then gives up and we have a few moments of blessed silence before it starts all over again. We are being driven slowly insane. Please come and put us out of our misery (by fixing the fan).
Thank you.

This is my third request for the stupid thing to be silenced. I'm tired of going home with a headache. I think I may bring my hammer to work tomorrow.......

Friday, August 8, 2008

Closet Overhaul

I read a little book called "Nothing to Wear?" Then I decided to go through my clothes and edit. It suggests you get a moveable closet rod to hang the clothes on so that you can not get too overcrowded and lose your way while going through everything systematically. I didn't see the point in purchasing another closet when the one I have has so much room in it, so I just scooted Mike's clothes way over to his side and placed all my clothes on his side also.
Sad to say that with both our clothes hanging on one half of our closet they were not that crowded. And it's a small closet.

I think some serious clothes shopping is in order.

I did have a lot of boxed up clothes that I have been hanging onto that I am now ready to toss. It's very liberating.