Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Final Results Are In

If you are a regular blog reader, then you know that I recently sat down and took a good long look at my finances. I decided that I really needed to get a handle on my spending habits. I have decided that it is very difficult to make it in the modern world on one income. Even if you go to college. For three years. I am not ashamed to talk about this because I make good money. I don't make wonderful money. But it could be worse. About a year and a half ago, I got a big raise. A two hundred dollar a week raise. Even though I hadn't gotten my degree yet. My employer knew I was working on it. We didn't dramatically upgrade our standard of living as a good deal of people do when they get a raise. I didn't buy a new car. I didn't add 200 channels to our cable. I didn't change anything.

At that time, I really thought this big raise was going to be life changing. However, when it was all said and done it didn't. It allowed me to do a few more things than I had been doing before. Since that time, the walls have slowly started closing in on me. Gas prices went up, my daughter started driving, you know, life happens.

I have been on a mission for about a month now to spend my money more wisely. I saw a rerun of 'Jon & Kate Plus Eight'. In this episode, Kate revealed that she is able to feed her family of ten for around 150 bucks per week. INSANITY I tell you. I am spending about 100 bucks a week to FEED THREE PEOPLE!!!!!! What is wrong with this picture? I thought to myself that I really need to see if there is any way I could save some money on food. Why? She is a nurse after all. While I have a friggin accounting degree! Also because unfortunately, my contacts at the oil companies are not returning any of my phone calls requesting that they lower gas prices. I find myself unable to ditch the cable or internet either. If I let those go, then what do I have I ask you? They are the poor man's entertainment. (Or woman)

I had never really gotten serious about saving on groceries before. I have gotten better at it in the last month. See, I don't think it ever occurred to my mom to teach us kids about saving money. I am not casting blame, just stating facts. Which means I have had to teach myself. I started by getting a Sunday paper and clipping coupons for anything that I use. I am smart enough not use coupons just because I have one. If I see a coupon for something I don't use, I don't clip it. I started making a grocery list and planning meals. These might seem like simple things to some of you pros out there, but keep in mind my humble background and complete ignorance. Then I took it a step further and even began including the snacks that I will purchase for any given week. Will I buy yogurt this week? Fruit? Snack cakes? You get the idea. I also try not to buy the exact same things every week. This way, we won't get burnt out on our favorite snacks.

I make a game out of trying to stick to my list and stay within the budget. My original plan was to try to shave 10 bucks off our grocery bill. A couple of weeks I had to shave even more. By giving myself a realistic goal, I wouldn't be disappointed. I actually discovered that sometimes the coupons are not worthwhile. I had a coupon for one product and when I got to the store, another company had the same product for less. Even with the coupon. I didn't use the coupon, I bought the other brand and saved even more money. I have been going through this process for about 4 weeks now. Imagine my horror when last Sunday there were NO coupons in the paper. I was so upset I marched right back to the store where I purchased the newspaper. I went in and yanked a paper from the rack, went completely through the newspaper and realized that none of the papers had any coupons in them. I was devastated. This from a woman who until a few weeks ago, had NEVER clipped a coupon in her life!

This week I had a coupon for my beloved Scrubbing Bubbles(I used an entire can between the two bathrooms this week) some frozen veggies, hand soap, body wash, yogurt. I was so excited. Clipping coupons is really starting to make a difference. Every Sunday I buy a paper, go home and make my list. Then I clip my new coupons and pull the ones from previous weeks that I haven't used yet. I pull out all the coupons that I will be able to use for the current week. The final result as of this week is that I am averaging about 75 per week on groceries! That is even better than my original goal. That includes healthy foods and snacks and the items needed for me to pack my lunch and Melissa's. We are not having to go without anything. Since I started really paying attention to the cost of things, I notice when there is a price increase. I noticed this week that milk was 20 cents higher this week than it was last week. Now the only remaining question is......what to do with my savings?

Saturday, March 29, 2008


My sister recently gave birth to her third son. As I spend time holding and rocking the new baby, I think to myself how wonderful it would be to have another baby. They are so tiny and precious. So sweet and cuddly. Little Taylor looks just like a little baby doll. He has the sweetest little newborn cry. Every time I go over there, I make a fool out of myself by talking nonsense to the baby. I say things like, "Who is the sweetest little baby boy? Aren't you Aunt Susie's sweet little boy? You just love your Aunt Susie don't you?". That kind of thing. I need to get on with the business of remarrying and maybe have another baby. After all, I am only 32, not too old yet.

Fast forward to a day or so later I am talking to my closest friend who has a 2 1/2 year old. The thing with me is that I had my girls pretty young. I was 16 when Melissa was born, and 23 when Keri came along. Many people my age are just starting out as parents. So while I am dealing with 4th grade drama and high school, my friends and family are dealing with poopy diapers and midnight feedings. I digress. I am talking to my friend and she is trying to entertain her little one. I told her that seeing my new nephew really made me want another baby, but talking to her was the most effective form of birth control I can think of. Her child is not bad or anything, she is just a typical 2 1/2 year old. She tells me how her little girl got on her bed and threw all her folded clothes in the floor. I listen to her take away a toy baseball bat her daughter just hit her with. I listen to her try to convince her daughter that yes, she will eat the snack that was prepared for her, she asked for it after all.

Yes, it's fun to have small children. They are cute and they say and do really cute things. Now I am having flashbacks of when Keri was a baby. A colicky baby. A baby that for the first four months of her life, cried ALL the time. Everyday. All day long. The only time she didn't cry was when she was eating or sleeping. I walked the floor day in and day out. Some nights I would be falling asleep sitting upright on the couch. At 7pm. Thankfully she outgrew it after a few months. Then she was so much fun! For a while. She didn't really have the "Terrible Two" syndrome. She had the "Terrible Three Through Four" syndrome. She threw fits like I had never seen. She would throw herself in the floor kicking and screaming. It was quite a sight to behold. I have never been the kind of parent to cave when a fit is thrown. Let me tell you I was sorely tempted. Especially that one she threw at Chuck E. Cheese. At first, I would spank her. This only made her scream louder. Eventually I came up with a new idea. Every time she would throw a fit, so would I. I would get on the floor and kick and scream just like she was doing. The first time I did that, she looked at me like I had just landed on Earth from another planet. But she stopped throwing a fit. After I did this for a while she stopped throwing fits all together. I think when she saw how silly it was, and that it was not going to get her what she wanted, she just gave up.

I am skipping around my story telling but that's OK. After all it's my blog. Mine.Mine.Mine. When she was two, I let her go on a trip to Michigan with her dad to visit relatives. Up until this point, she slept in her crib, by herself. No rocking, or anything. I even shut the bedroom door. I think her dad must have had her sleep with him on this trip. When she came back, she would NOT go back in her crib. I let her sleep with me. I pick and choose my battles. At that time, it just wasn't worth it to me to have her scream for hours on end. I was a single mother and I was working very hard.

This lead to her sleeping with me from the ages of 2-5. Part of the reason I had so much trouble getting her to sleep was because she was in daycare. Daycare requirements in NC mandate that children must lay down for two hours. She would sleep for the two hours, and not be able to sleep at night. Also, I was single, so her sleeping with me was not really a big deal.

Right before she started Kindergarten, I began telling her that she was a big girl, and when she started school, she would not be able to sleep with me anymore. She would have to sleep in her own room, in her own bed. I prepped her for several weeks before school started. I knew that the two hour late afternoon naps would be a thing of the past when she started school. It worked like a charm. The very first day of school, I put her to bed in her room. She was so exhausted, she fell asleep immediately. That ended her sleeping with me. School wore her out so much, she didn't have the energy to pitch a fit about having to sleep in her room. She would usually be asleep within ten minutes.

Melissa was such a good baby, it never dawned on me that my next baby might have colick. I knew Keri was going to be a handful when I was pregnant with her. I could just feel it. I just thought she would be into everything. I guess the point of the story is this question-Do I REALLY want to go through all that again? The answer to the question is no. H-E double hockey sticks no!!!!! After all, who would entertain my two readers if I had a baby to chase after?

I will enjoy the thrill of being able to hold and cuddle and play with the little babies, and then go home. AAAHHHHH.......the thrill of just being an aunt!

Thursday, March 27, 2008

More Exciting Vacation Adventures

OK-What should one do on one's fourth day of vacation? Be awakened by a freakin flippin cat at 6:30 am. Go back to sleep and wake up at a more reasonable hour of 9 am. Drink coffee, check email, then tackle teenage daughter's bathroom. Now that took stamina. Discover while in teenager's bathroom that eye seems to be pretty red, and burns too. Go to own bathroom, remove contacts immediately, put on glasses that are practically worthless, resume attacking teenager's bathroom. Which takes hours. I am not kidding. Not to say that Melissa NEVER cleans her bathroom, well-she just doesn't have my mad skills.

Eat a ham and cheese sandwich with Extreme Dill Pringles for lunch. Finally around 2pm in the afternoon, take a shower. I really feel it defeats the purpose to take a shower, then clean a nasty bathroom. Completely backwards if you ask me.

Go vacuum out car as Thursday has been dubbed "vacuum out car day". Return home, sit on couch and do nothing except type this here blog. Whether or not I get anything else done remains to be seen. I have really enjoyed this week off. I thought I would get bored, but I have so many things that have been neglected that I have been able to keep busy. I can lay around for a little while, but I have discovered that I am not one to sit around doing nothing for very long.

Keri got to go to the Ripley's Aquarium with one of her friend's overnight. She came home this morning and is already planning her weekend activities. I miss the little squirt. Melissa had one of her friends over here for a couple of days, but I made her take the girl home yesterday. She must not have realized that she was ready for a break. When she got home, she went to her room and stayed there for a couple of hours. None of this really has a point other than for it to be recorded. I wish blogs would have been around when the girls were smaller.

I have left my poor sister Dejah alone for the last couple of days. She has three boys now since she brought the baby home from the hospital, and I don't want to wear out my welcome so to speak. I do hope that she calls me today. I do so love going over there and holding that sweet little boy. I lived in another state when the older boys were born, so it's a real treat to have a new baby who just lives a few miles away.

I went to the IRS website to get some info on this whole stimulus payment deal. I have some interesting information. If had your 2007 tax refund direct deposited, your stimulus payment will also be direct deposited. The direct deposit dates are based on the last two digits of your SSN. The payments begin May 2 and the last round of direct deposits will be processed on May 16th. If you opted for a paper check for your 07 refund, you will receive a paper check for the stimulus payment. Payment amounts vary based your 07 tax return. There is a calculator on the IRS website that will guesstimate how much your payment will be. Beware of the rumor mill. Based on the official IRS website, married couples will receive between 600-1200 dollars plus 300 for each qualifying child. You will not automatically receive 1200 dollars, it's based on your tax return.

Check out the IRS website for further details. Here's the link.

Wednesday, March 26, 2008

Day Three of Continuous Thrills

Prepare yourself for the most exciting blog of the week. If you have a heart condition, read at your own risk. It may be too much excitement for you. Fasten your seatbelts and hang on.

Having rid myself of all children for the moment, I tried to think of something relaxing for me to do. After pondering this for minutes on end, I decided that soap scum is the project of the day. What could be more relaxing, yet exciting for me to do? I have confessed on previous blogs about how I let things slide while I was in school. Not to say that I NEVER cleaned anything, but well sometimes I had to put certain chores on the back burner. Like cleaning the soap scum from my shower.

Little did I realize that by letting the soap scum slip under my radar, that it would be twice as hard for me to clean. I scrubbed and scrubbed until I was breathless, heaving, and hot. I still don't think I quite got it all, but I couldn't take it anymore. I think I was getting high from the cleaning fumes. Note to my fellow bloggers: If you let the soap scum build up, it is darn near impossible to get it off. I used a various assortment of cleaners. Scrubbing Bubbles first. I think this is a good product. If you don't wait weeks months to clean.

Next on my list of ever-so-exciting things to do on vacation is getting all the laundry caught up and begin sorting through outgrown clothes and begin the spring transitioning. My huge master closet is filled to the brim with an assortment of summer/winter clothes. A few months ago, my sister Marlette came over and cleaned Keri's room for me. It was that bad. She washed all the clothes and hung them up in the closet. I have yet to sort through them. So there are sweaters mixed in with short sleeved shirts, that kind of thing.

The weather patterns are pretty crazy in Tennessee. Monday it was 44 degrees, and yesterday it was 63 degrees. You see what I mean. What I like to do is pack up most of the winter clothes but leave a few warm articles unpacked. This way if there is an unusually cool day, Keri and I will both have something appropriate to wear. I promise you, if you pack up all your winter things prematurely, there will be chilly weather just to spite you.

I usually donate all of Keri's outgrown clothes to Goodwill or someone I know who might be able to use them. This year, she denounced all sweaters. She WILL NOT wear them. She has some brand new sweaters that she never wore. I am thinking of taking them to a consignment shop and trying to get a few bucks for them. I could use the money to help update her spring wardrobe. Or add it to my TV fund. (We need a new TV because when you press the volume button, it makes the TV cut off. I fear it is on it's last legs)

Speaking of which, has anyone gotten their letter from the IRS yet? If so, what are you planning to do with your money? Save it or "boost the economy". If I have any of mine left after taking care of a bill, I am adding it to my TV fund.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

The Second Day of Vacation

What should one do on one's second day of vacation? Have your nephews come spend the night. What is more relaxing that entertaining a 6 and 8 year old boy after all? After returning from Nashville yesterday and taking Keri shopping, I went and picked up the boys. When I got home, I had a total of SIX children in my home. Only two belong to me. This actually worked to my advantage because they had each other for entertainment. They played hide and seek in the house. Then they played computer games. Eventually Keri and her friend left and I was down to four kids.

Of course Melissa is sixteen so it's not like I have to really entertain her. As it got later, the boys were content to watch TV in Keri's room. They fell asleep on their own when they were tired. They let me sleep in this morning until 9:30. It was heavenly. We watched a movie then the boys went out in the backyard to play.

I tackled Keri's room because it was shameful. For a girl, she is really messy. I can clean her room and she will trash it in ten minutes. When it was time for lunch the boys wanted salad. Which I let them make by themselves.

After lunch they went by outside to play. If you want to be a good aunt, you should be sure to give them red soda with their snack. This makes for great photo opportunities.

Stayed tuned for more exciting escapades of my fabulous vacation.

Monday, March 24, 2008

The First Day of Vacation

Today is the first weekday of my vacation. I planned my vacation around spring break for the girls, and me finishing up my last set of classes. What should one do on their first day of vacation? Set up an appointment to have keyless entry installed on one's vehicle at 9 am in another city so one can get up early even on vacation.

I knew in advance it was going to take 3 1/2 hours to install the keyless entry, remote start, and alarm system(I'll get to that later). I packed a couple of snacks. A snack size bag of Extreme Dill Pringles, and some "100 Calorie" snack packs.

The reason I didn't have someone follow me and just go home is because I drove to Nashville. Which is 30-45 minutes from where I live. It seemed wasteful to drive to Nashville, drive home, drive back to Nashville, then drive home again. Everyone who knows me knows that I am very concerned about gas conservation....especially mine. So, I packed a few snacks, my Ipod and made sure to bring extra change for the the drink machine. All in all, it was not a bad morning. I got to listen to music, read, and watch "The Young and The Restless", and munch a little.

One of the ideas of "spring" break is that the weather is SUPPOSED to be nice. Oh no, not on my spring break. As I was leaving CarMax, I saw snowflakes. And it was cold. And windy. I was right across the street from the 100 Oaks Mall (which I always want to call 100 Acre know, from Winnie The Pooh and The Hundred Acre Woods).

Anyway, I had never been to this particular mall so I went over to check it out. And blew my budget. I did not have any purchases budgeted for this week. I decided that I simply had to have some new shirts for spring. I needed them for work and around the house. I have to say that I made out pretty well. I bought 4 shirts, 1 tank top, and a pair of shorts for 50 bucks. On my way home I remembered that I had promised Keri that I would take her shopping to spend her Easter money. She really needs clothes and so off we went. Keri found 2 shirts and 2 pairs of shorts for 36 dollars. She is her mother's child. A bargain hunter by nature.

Keri a.k.a. The DQ on the left, her friend "E" on the right. So I get home and start looking at all this paperwork that came with my keyless entry. Apparently I have all these flippin' alarms(and I'm not sure I was supposed get all that fancy stuff) and valet parking settings on my keyless entry. Which I have NO idea how to operate......oh well I have the rest of the week to figure it out.

Saturday, March 22, 2008

Let's Review, Shall We?

This week has really passed by in a blur.

Monday: Sister gives birth to baby with no epidural or pain meds.
Tuesday: Work all day and then visit sister at hospital after work.
Wednesday: Feel guilty about being away from home Monday and Tuesday, stay home, make dinner, finish my final exam for my online class, deny my daughter's request to go on a spring break trip by herself
Thursday: Work all day, visit sister and baby at home, leave children to fend for themselves, daughter gets followed by a maniac on the way to same sister's house.
Friday: Work most of day, start cleaning yard, sweep front porch, do dishes, clean bathroom, then do nothing else for rest of evening except talk on phone and watch TV.

I really need to revisit a couple of the above mentioned items. Let's see, we'll start with Wednesday. Melissa wanted to go on a trip to our home state, North Carolina to visit some friends. Even though it has been almost four years since we moved, she still talks to her friends from there ALL the time. Most days, tying up the phone line most of the evening. I denied her request based on the following reasons:

1. She is too young/inexperienced to make a trip like that by herself.
2. She barely had enough gas money to get down there. She had no extra emergency money.
3. There are too many crazy people unsavory characters in the world. What if she got a flat tire, pulled over to the side of the interstate where some seemingly friendly person stops to help her, then throws her in the trunk of their car and takes off with her?

Yes-I do realize that I am paranoid about kidnappers and murderers. Which plays into her being followed by someone on Thursday. She was on her way to my sister's house and some man was motioning for her to pull over. He followed her for a while and at one point stopped his car and got out. Of course she didn't stop or pull over(Thank God). It scared her really bad. But it did bring home my point that there are people in the world who are nuts. I told her, "See I told you there are crazy people in the world". "What would you do if something like that happened and you were far away from home?".

I also told her that if anything like that ever happened when she was on her way home that she should not stop at our house. If she did then, whoever was following her would know where she lives. She has not said anything else about taking a trip by herself. I know that when I tell her that there are people in the world who are not so nice, she thinks I am the crazy one. I think she believes me now. I think she also knows that me not allowing her to make a trip like this is not some twisted desire to see her miserable or to be mean to her. Obviously it's because I love her and I don't want anything to happen to her. I would rather her be angry with me for a while then to be dead. When I first told her she couldn't go she said I was being "ridiculous".

Now on to Friday. I spent the better part of the evening talking on the phone to one of my friends, and two of my sisters Alicia and Marlette. Have you ever given much thought to call waiting? Neither had I until I heard it said that call waiting is nothing but a popularity contest. So I am talking on the phone to my friend and her phone beeps for call waiting. She says that she doesn't recognize the number and can she call me back. I got kicked to the curb for someone she doesn't even know!!! My sister calls and does the same thing. She tells me she has a beep and can she call me back. If I was basing my self worth on call waiting, I would not be feeling very good about myself. So here's the basis for the popularity contest. You are on the phone with a friend or family member and they tell you that have another call coming in and they need to take it. Which really says, "Whoever is beeping in is more interesting than you so I am going to talk to them instead".

What if you are like me and want to talk to every person that calls? How do you choose? Your sister who has been a part of your life forever or your best friend who put up with you when you were going through a nasty divorce and listened to you whine and cry ALL the time? I don't need that kind of pressure. Maybe I should just do away with call waiting. Then no one feels left out or not important. Of course that won't stop people from calling my cell phone if the landline is busy. You just can't win I'm telling you.

To all my southern friends: I have a special request. I have a blog friend who recently visited Nashville. While in a restaurant, a server brought her a black napkin . When she asked what the black napkin was for, she was told it was because she was wearing black pants. If anyone knows what the purpose of this is, please let me know. For more details, please visit this blog. Any information would be appreciated.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

More Baby Pictures

Dejah and Taylor

My mom and Baby Isaiah

More of Taylor Austin

Wednesday, March 19, 2008

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

You know how you think you are prepared for something? You thought of everything. Everything is in order and everything is prepared. WRONG. My sister Dejah, (Pronounced Dee a-short a sound) started having contractions yesterday morning. She had contractions all throughout the day. Finally in the afternoon, she went by her doctor's office to have him check her.

She was dilated to a 4 and he told her to go straight to the hospital and not to stop anywhere. She called me and told me everything. I told her that I would be up there when I got off from work. My other sister Marlette called me to see if I knew that Dejah was going to the hospital. She suggested that I not wait until I got off from work. I should just go ahead and leave. The more I thought about it, the more I became convinced that I should get to the hospital.

Problem #1 I had a presentation and a report due for one of my classes. It was to be my final class....ever.

Problem #2 I also needed to drop off the check for my graduation fees.

Problem #3 What if she had the baby without me?

Not happening. I started cleaning up my desk and preparing an email to my professor. I wanted her to know that I was not making up some lame excuse for not showing up to class. I included my sister's name and I was trying to include the name of the hospital, just in case she wanted to check it out. My mind went blank. I couldn't for the life of me remember the name of the hospital. I am starting to get a little panicky now. I need to get to the hospital, quickly. Finally someone in the office very calmly gave me the name of the hospital. I sent my email and was on my way.

Of course I got behind every single slow person that was out driving on the roads. I got behind a fender bender holding up traffic, I got lost, I almost wrecked, I couldn't find a place to park, my nerves were a little frayed.

I find her room easily enough. When I got there she was dilated to about a 7. Everything seemed to happen really fast after that. Dejah kept asking for her epidural. The nurse said she was on her way. She left the room. Dejah said she felt something, so we called the nurse back into the room. She was dilated to a 9 1/2. Which meant, NO EPIDURAL. I had realized a few minutes earlier that she wasn't going to get the epidural. Dejah stated several times that she couldn't believe she wasn't getting an epidural. It was her worst nightmare come true.

One of the reasons she had been leaning towards being induced was because she was afraid if she went into labor on her own that she wouldn't make it to the hospital in time to get the epidural. I told her several times that there was no way that would happen. Of course she would know when she was in labor.

One of the reasons she didn't realize it was because her contractions never seemed get on any set pattern. Anyway, I digress. At this time myself, Melissa, Marlette, Dad, the baby's dad, and one of Dejah's close friends were in the room. We all got to be there when the baby was born. It was really upsetting to see her in so much pain and to know that she wasn't getting any pain medicine. There wasn't time for her to get ANYTHING. She was so great. Yes, she screamed. Loud. I believe her exact words were, "GET IT OUT!!!!! GET IT OUT RIGHT NOW!!!!. The next thing I saw was the baby coming out. It amazes me how fast a baby comes after the head comes out. The crowning of the head was when she screamed. The rest of the baby almost seemed to shoot out of her.

So far, she is the only one of us girls in the family to ever have a child with no medication. Now as long as she lives, no matter what her and her boyfriend argue about, she can always say, "You're not the one who had a baby with no pain medication". I began using this phrase myself immediately. The baby's dad, (we'll call him "L" to protect his identity in the event he doesn't want his name mentioned on this blog) made a statement about having to sleep in the uncomfortable hospital chair. I said, "Yeah, and you are not the one who had a baby with no drugs". He laughed and said that no he didn't give birth with no drugs.

I have to take a moment to give props to L for being in the room when the baby was born. Anyone who knows my sister knows that she can be pretty vicious when she's mad. To be brave enough to stay in the room with her during all that was pretty brave(or stupid). Personally, I was a little scared myself. I didn't get close to the bed. I mean, she could have knocked someone out or something.

I also have to give props to Marlette who snuck and turned on the video camera during the birth. At this hospital, you are not supposed to begin taping until after the baby is born. Marlette was slick. She turned the camera on, and no one even knew. Now, to tell you how demented my family is, after it was all over with, we watched the video of Dejah screaming and laughed. Even Dejah laughed.

So what we got on St. Patrick's Day was a little more than we bargained for. But it was worth it. Taylor Austin was born at 5:16 pm weighing in at 6 lbs, 1 oz. Approximately 1 1/2 hours after Dejah got to the hospital. Thank goodness I left work early or I would have missed it. Thank goodness Marlette is EXTREMELY excitable and me worked up enough to leave early. There is no way I could have made it to the hospital in 16 minutes.

I started working on this blog yesterday at lunch but I didn't get to finish it. Mom and baby got to go home today. Everyone is doing well. I couldn't seem to get a picture of him not crying, but I tried.

Taylor Austin

Saturday, March 15, 2008

See My Living Room In It's Glory!

The painting in the living room is finished. There is only one small hallway left. My sister is such a great painter. She gave me a fabulous discount. Which I very much appreciate. She treated my walls just like they were the walls of her highest paying customer.

Here is a "before" picture.

I have to say that my energy level has been through the roof lately. Not only did I get my living room back in order, I did several loads of laundry, mopped the kitchen floor, made dinner, washed dishes and cleaned out my entire refrigerator. There is a certain satisfaction in having a clean frig. Especially if it hasn't been cleaned out in a really long time. I mean a REALLY long time. I almost posted a picture of it but I thought that might be too much. I still have many projects that I am excited about. Only one more week until my whole week off from work. I have thought of several more projects to add to my list. I just don't have the energy right now to deal with it. All my energy for the day has been used up and I feel pretty good about it. Dejah, I don't know if are reading any of my blogs now, but if you happen to............ THANK YOU!!! Thank you soooooo very much. It looks beautiful.

I'm Not One To Complain Part II

Everyone knows that I am not one to complain. I handle all life's difficulties with poise and dignity. I never go on and on about my problems. If you don't believe me just check out this blog. So I will not begin this blog talking about the phone call I got yesterday afternoon from my school. Mere hours after I surmised that my finances need serious work. Mere hours after I surmised that there is NO room in my budget to take on any extra bills right now. I will not complain about how the university informed me that my financial aid for the semester is only covering one of my classes. Which leaves me to figure out how I will pay for the remaining class. I will not complain about how I was informed that if I could not figure something out, they would be happy to set up payment arrangements.

That was pretty funny. Sort of. Nor will I complain about how two young men knocked on my door last night to try to sell me magazines. Of course they had no way of knowing that I had pulled my budget together and need a second job. Because if they had known that, they would have simply walked past my house pointing and snickering at the woman who can't afford magazines. Nope I had the pleasure of telling these young men that I had just that very day, worked on a budget and NO I don't care to sign up for a magazine subscription so they can go on a cruise. I am just not that generous.

For some reason, they think that if they tell you that if they get so many magazine subscriptions, they win a cruise. UUmmm, that's nice and everything but if I can't go on a cruise why in the world would I want to fund a cruise for two young punks kids who probably won't appreciate something as wonderful as a cruise anyway? They are too young to be tired, or burnt out. Why do they need to go on a cruise anyway?

I politely refused and even warned them to be careful walking around after dark. They could be hit by a car or something.

I will not complain about how the doctor's office called and told me I have an outstanding balance of about 200 bucks. Apparently the insurance company has not paid a couple of claims filed for Melissa. (Sissy to fellow bloggers and blog readers)

Apparently since I have been made aware of my true financial situation, everyone is coming out of the strangest places with demands for money. I just don't get it.

Nor will I complain that my furniture is still in the middle of the living room floor because my sister is not finished painting yet.

No sir, I will not complain. I will keep all these problems inside and deal with them gracefully, as I am known to do. No one will hear a word about any of this stuff from me. I will deal with it all silently and courageously. That's how I roll.

Friday, March 14, 2008

I'm Really Bummed

As a woman with an accounting degree (well, almost) I decided to put together a working budget for my family. I had a master budget, it just didn't seem to be working. A working budget is one that will reflect actual money spent. My master budget was pretty much a rough guesstimate. What I found out is shocking. We are broke! We have nothing. I have spent 500 more dollars this month than was on the budget. 500 D-O-L-L-A-R-S!!!!!! At this rate I will never have enough to add money to my TV fund.

I can pinpoint exactly where the money was spent. The breakdown looks something like this:
Bills=50% of income
Children=50% of income
Susan=0% of income

OK, OK, that's not exactly right. But it's pretty darn close. After carefully reviewing my budget, unless we cut off all cable, internet, and cell phone services, and the children stop eating lunch and driving, I really need to get a part time job. Just to have some spending money. I mean, I make decent money, unfortunately it cost money to live. After I realized why I seemingly never have any extra cash, I got really bummed. Depressed even. I thought I was in much better shape than this.

So if anyone knows any way I can earn some extra bucks, preferably from home, let me know. If not, you just might see me around town. With a tin cup. Asking for lunch money. Or gas money.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

The Serious Issues

As a regular blogger, I like to make sure I address the really serious issues. I have been known to blog about such issues as weather, traffic, school, car buying, house cleaning, all that really important stuff. Tonight I want to talk about food. Or the lack thereof.

We were late getting around to dinner tonight. The DQ played at her friend's house and then we had to run out and pick up a birthday present for one of her friends. I decided that we should just grab something quick while we were out. We waited in line forever at the Taco Hell Bell. We get home and The DQ starts complaining that her tacos barely have anything on them. She doesn't like lettuce so we always order them that way. I was thinking that it probably seemed like they didn't have a lot on them because of the no lettuce thing. Sissy tells her she shouldn't make a big deal about it. Until The DQ showed us the taco. It had a very small amount of meat and cheese and that was it. Not only did they leave off the lettuce, they didn't put any tomatoes or sour cream on them either.

I don't understand what is so hard about the words "no lettuce". Two little words. We didn't order anything else special. The ONLY special instructions were "no lettuce". Not, "Leave everything off the taco except for meat and cheese, and then only a small amount of that".

A couple of weeks ago I ordered a burger and my special instructions were, "no ketchup". I went through the drive thru on my lunch hour. I forgot to check the bag and when I got back to the office, the only thing on my burger was meat and pickles. No cheese, no onion, no nothing.

It's almost like my special instructions are so simple that they are mind boggling. I can picture alarm bells going off, employees running in every directions shouting, "She asked for no ketchup, what do we do now"? Then someone else yells out frantically, "I don't know, I don't know. I've never heard anything like that before".

Now I know that it's not a big deal. But it is annoying. Especially to a child who LOVES to eat. Food is like oxygen to this child. She eats a lot. All the time. Sissy is giving her a hard time telling her just to get over it and eat them. After she witnessed those pitiful excuse for tacos, Sissy offered her little sister her own taco. The DQ didn't want it because it had lettuce on it.

I watched my sixteen year old daughter set her own food down, and then proceed to pick ALL the lettuce off the taco for her little sister. How sweet is that I ask you?

Sissy is forever more saying that I need to be tougher on DQ. She says I am too soft on her. Yet I am not the one who picked.Every.Single.Shred of lettuce off that taco. Who's the soft one now I ask you?

A Work In Progress

The painting is almost finished. I can't wait until I can move all my furniture back and clean up(again).

The first picture is the best.

Here are my "blizzard" photos I couldn't get to download a few days ago. I am especially posting these for HW.

It's hard to believe that we got a whopping 2-3 inches just a short while ago. Today, the high reached 75 degrees.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

The Down Side

There is definitely a down side to getting on your blog and bragging about the cleaning you accomplished.............when your sister is coming to paint the next day. I took this picture last night.

Here are the ones I took when I got home today.

The hideous gray color will soon be little more than a distant memory. You can tell by the mess that I was not prepared for this. I should have waited to clean AFTER she finishes painting. Oh well, live and learn.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Susie Cleans Again!!!!!

Dear Brethren(HW, my last remaining reader from the looks of things),

We are gathered here tonight this 11th day of March in the year 2008 to share my epiphany. Tonight I made dinner, loaded the dishwasher, did three loads of laundry including folding and putting away, swept and mopped the kitchen floor, cleaned my living room, vacuumed, and cleaned the hideous wood/glass tables. Not once during all these activities was I plagued with feelings of guilt. Guilt because of some homework or assignment or test that needs to be taken. For the first time in three years, I was able to clean and not feel guilty that I should be doing something else.

I have one paper that I am almost finished with. It was supposed to be turned in on Monday, but the professor decided to give us an extra week. She used class time last night to over these papers individually and offer pointers and suggestions. So, my paper needs a couple of modifications, and it will be complete. Which means that even when I decide to sit down and finish it up, I will not be plagued with guilt about house work that I should be doing.

Let's go back in time for a minute (or two). Three years ago when I started school, I had the misguided belief that I would be able to go to school and continue doing all the things I did before. Was I ever wrong. Wrong, wrong, wrong. Several weeks after I started school, I called my mother on the verge of a nervous breakdown. I whined about how I didn't have time to keep the house as clean as I did before. Nothing was getting done. Nothing, nothing, nothing. My house was in a shambles.

I started blowing up at my children. I would come from school, late at night I might add, and there would be a sink full of dishes. The living room would be messy. I would rant and rave at the girls. I finally had a talk with them and told them that we were in this together. It was going to take all of us working together for me to be able to go to college and work full time. Everyone was going to have to do their part. Everyone would eventually reap the benefits when I graduated and was able to earn more money.

My little talk helped. Sissy took over taking care of the kitchen. The DQ sort of took over the living room. Things were still messy and not as clean as I would have liked. OK, OK, the place has looked like crap poo for the last three years. (They are kids, of course they don't clean as well as I would)

Brethren(HW) that is not the case anymore. This last semester has not been as tough on me as some semesters were. There were times when, due to the nature of the classes I was taking that I spent A LOT of time studying and doing homework. Anyway, my house is starting to resemble what a house is supposed to look like. Things are getting putting away. Furniture is being dusted. Floors are being vacuumed, swept, and mopped. Oh the joy! Rapture even! I am not saying it's perfect, but it's getting better.

I have had to let a lot of things slide over the last three years. There was no way around it. Everything that needed to get done, didn't. I learned to be OK with that. I learned that stressing out over my house was not doing me any good. I decided that this was my opportunity to further my education, and to make a better life for myself and my girls. The house work would still be there, ever faithful-when I finished school.

As much I hate to admit it, I got used to a messy house. It didn't really bother me. I had a "whatever" mentality. Even so, somewhere in the back of mind I always felt guilty. Like I SHOULD be able to do it all. I have even felt lazy. During my free time I didn't want to spend it cleaning house, so I didn't.

I said all that to say that I finally feel like my old self again. The me who keeps a clean house, raises children, and holds down a full time job. The me who will have time do all these things, and blog for my one reader. I can't remember when I have felt this good. It was really hard for me to blog about the fact that I couldn't and didn't do EVERYTHING. You see, I have always done it all. Since I was sixteen years old. It was really hard for me say that my house has been perpetually messy for the last freakin' three years. But another part of me wanted to. I want to remember that I am human and not perfect. And unfortunately, not capable of doing everything on my own. (Boy, that last one was really hard)

After next week, my time will be mine again. I will be free to be the clean freak I used to be. I will be able to fix up my yard. (I forgot to mention that my landscaping has been really hideous, and I haven't pulled a weed in two years)

So brethren (HW) join me as I celebrate graduating college next week. I didn't think I would make it. Frankly, there were a few times when I wanted to quit. The only reason I didn't was because then I would have to start paying back all those student loans which I wouldn't have been able to do because I wouldn't have been able to get a promotion without a degree Maybe I should change my name from susiewrsthepants to susiecleansthehouseanddoeswhatevershewantstodo.

Mad Monday

Have you had a week that got off to an annoying start? Not really a bad start, just sort of a pain the butt neck. Yesterday started off with me over sleeping because I forgot to "spring forward" the alarm clock. I was tired because I was jacked up the night before on allergy medicine, and didn't sleep well. The DQ is complaining that she has nothing to wear because I didn't get any laundry done over the weekend.

Due to my recent fear of the car being stolen, I didn't warm the car-(carjackaphobia?) which resulted in me not being able to see as I was driving down the road. You know, because of that frosty stuff on the windshield. Plus The DQ and I froze to death.

Then in the afternoon, Sissy and I had a disagreement over her blowing her lunch money on other things. She says its quote "No big deal". Maybe it's not a big deal. To her. It was a big deal to me. I gave her that money....SO SHE COULD EAT. Of course....what was I thinking???? I will just go pick some more money off that tree in the backyard. I forgot all about it! It's really easy to be inconsiderate about money when you don't have a job.

Then I had to work late to help my boss make copies. Yes-I did say make copies. At first I thought it was just a few copies. I was in for a rude awakening. I was brought a stack of stuff to be copied. Normally, working late would not be a big deal. I did however, have class last night and a paper to turn in. A paper that I worked very hard at the last minute to complete. No one even I asked if I had somewhere else I was supposed to be. It was just assumed that I was available.

This morning started off with me over sleeping (AGAIN). The DQ whining that she needs a note to be excused from PE because her knee is sore. She fell down yesterday. I HAD to take the time to make my lunch before we left the house. I have taken a solemn oath that I will try to not spend so much money on eating out. The DQ can't find her house key. I just had that key made for her. It is her second replacement key. I need her house key to leave for my sister. Who MAY be painting my living room this week.

Because I overslept, I was running late. Does anyone know what the Goldren Rule for driving is when you are running late? Good.....I will share. The Golden Rule states that if you are running late, you will get behind every slow S.O.B. person on the freeway. You will then get stuck behind a couple of 18 wheelers, who move slowly. I am not going to rag on 18 wheelers. After all, they can't help that it takes an hour for them to get up to 30 MPH.

Anyway, none of it is REALLY a big deal, it's know, a pain in the the neck. Yep-cool, calm, and collected........that's me.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

I'm Not One To Complain........

I'm not one to complain....but, I waited till the last minute to finish my online class work. While I was working I felt my allergies starting to bother me. I took some of my allergy medicine. Now I am all jacked up at ten thirty at night. Which means I will not be able to get to sleep tonight. Not that I am one to complain. I got a card with some money in it from a family member for my graduation. I decided that the money is all for me. Me, me, me. I tucked it away in separate compartment in my wallet. I WAS going to put the money in my TV fund.

I have decided that I want to upgrade my TV. Which I will be paying cash for. So, I must save up the money. Sissy went off with one of her friend's this weekend. She didn't drive her car. That's fine. She calls me on her way home and asks me if I have any money. Now.....I just put gas in her car, and gave her some cash. The only cash I have on me is of course, the money I got in my card. She needs to give her ride some gas money. I was livid. Not because I mind to give money to my children. Because they usually end up getting my money anyway.....not that I am one to complain. I especially decided that this money was all for me.

I can't send her friend away with no gas money as Sissy stated that said friend was on empty. Plus, they did give her a ride home. Why didn't she just take her own car. WHICH HAS GAS IN IT. I gave her gas money on Friday. I have decided that it will be up to me to keep gas in her car until she gets a job. At which point I will hopefully be relieving myself of the title of "Gas Fairy". Not to mention that she called while I was in the middle of finishing a paper that is due tomorrow.

Which brings me to point out that my phone rang no less than four times while I was trying to finish the aforementioned paper. No ever calls me. My phone never rings. Unless I am in the middle of a paper that is due in less than 24 hours. Not that I am one to complain.

Now...The DQ decided that the best time to talk to me is of course, while I am trying to finish my paper. So, not only am I dealing with my phone blowing up, but also with a nine year old who wants my attention. I think she eventually picked up on my frustration, and left me alone. She actually tried to give me a back rub while I was typing. Which was really sweet. Hard to believe this is the same child who complained that her burger from Wendy's was too small last night.
Guess I need to write a strongly worded letter to the corporate executives at Wendy's who decided to make the Jr. cheeseburger so small, as I am sure this is somehow my fault. Not that I am one to complain about my children either. No sir.

The paper I am writing is an argumentative paper. Which means I must argue a point. During my research, I found evidence which goes against my argument. What should I do? At this point I can't very well change the topic of my paper. I am hoping that I will be graded on the paper itself and not so much the argument. Of course I had to leave out the opposing information from my paper. I DID NOT lie. I just used different facts and statistics. Had I done my research a little sooner, I would have had a chance to make the necessary changes. As everyone knows, I work better under pressure. It is so much easier to stay focused when you KNOW something has to be completed in a short amount of time. Had I started my paper earlier, I know I would have found many distractions to sway my attention from the project at hand.

I have been trying ALL day to post pictures from the blizzard, with no luck. Which I will not complain about. Yep, that's me. Just an easy going chick......that's how I roll.

The Tennesse Blizzard

I would like to talk about my new trauma. I love sleep. I love getting eight full hours of sleep. On the weekends, I love to sleep late. To me, this is getting up between 8:30 and 9:30. Now that my girls are older, I can do this. They both know better than to wake me up. Here in the last three weeks, something dreadful has begun happening to me. I am waking up around 7:30.....ON SATURDAY. This is not like when you wake up, squint your eyes at the clock, and go back to sleep. This is the deal where your eyes pop open and you are instantly wide awake. At.7:30.AM.

One of the girls I work with gets up at 5:30 on the weekends. The horror!!!!! She is a little older and I have heard that as you get older, you tend to wake up earlier. I don't want to wake up earlier. I am not so much concerned with the getting older part. One of the thrills of the weekend, besides not having to work, is knowing that I can get up when I feel like it. I am not on board for my eyeballs popping open so early on the weekends.

Our winter blizzard came in sometime after I went to bed Friday night. This morning all the snow is melted. It's hard to believe that it looked like this just yesterday.

The DQ had a friend stay over Friday night. When the girls woke up and saw the snow, they wanted to bundle up and go outside. They each donned two pairs of pants, a couple of pairs of socks, a couple of jackets and headed outside. I peeked out the front window and saw my neighbors across the street. I watched the kids having a snowball fight. I noticed that the kids were dressed in puffy coats, toboggans, gloves, scarves, and snow boots. I thought about what The DQ had on. She left her good winter coat at school, so she layered herself in a couple of lighter coats. N0 toboggan, and her gloves were a pair of socks over her hands, no snow boots, or scarf either. She did have a hat attached to one of her jackets.

I felt bad for a minute that she wasn't dressed like an Alaskan Eskimo. I thought to myself that she looked like an orphan child. The truth of the matter is, that we are LUCKY to get any snow. The weather in Tennessee is very up and down. One day the high might be 50 degrees. The next day it could be 35 degrees. Ya just never know. Our lack of snow makes it seem like such a waste of money to buy her new snow boots, and all this other gear that she MIGHT really need one day out of the entire winter. Not to mention that it's kinda hard to find snow boots in these here parts. Or sleds either.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Sissy, Snow Panic, and Car Paranoia

I have reached a new chapter in parenthood. Sissy is now driving herself to and from school. She brought one of her friends home with her today. When I got home, she wanted to know if she could spend the night at her friend's house. I had no problem with this. Her friend's mother is pretty strict so I felt comfortable for her to go. However, I did ask her to call me from her friend's house phone to check in. The reason being that if she calls me from her cell phone, she could be anywhere. NOT that I think she is up to mischief. I just feel it's necessary to implement boundaries from the start.

If she knows she is accountable for checking in, it will be harder for her get into to trouble. She couldn't for example, tell me she is at her friend's house but really be somewhere else. She wanted to go stay with another friend for the weekend. They were going to pick her up. I told her she could go IF the weather wasn't bad. The weather center is predicting a whopping 3-6 inches of snow here. She thinks I am being ridiculous. I explained to her that with new privileges, comes new responsibilities. Which means, checking in. At MY discretion. I am after all, The Enforcer. I have a reputation to maintain.

I don't want her traveling with some inexperienced driver in the snow. It could be dangerous. As I stated in a previous blog, we don't get enough snow here for ANYONE to really know how to maneuver in bad weather.

She later confessed to me that she is feeling moody. NO WAY! I never would have guessed. (Insert sarcasm here). We are still only experiencing rain right now. It's supposed to change over to snow later tonight. The high for tomorrow is 26 degrees. Here's the kicker. I am out of bread and milk. Really. So I will have to go out and purchase said items. Not because I am suffering from snow panic, but because everyone knows you can't be out of bread and milk with kids in the house. That's absurd. So I am off to join the masses of other citizens who are suffering from snow panic.

While I resist the whole snow panic, I find myself getting paranoid about the new SUV. (If you call it that) I am scared to warm it up in the mornings. I am afraid someone will steal it. Funny, I never worried about anyone stealing the Dodge. Maybe I secretly wanted them to. Anyway, I also decided that if the roads are even slightly hazardous, I don't want to drive the new car. What if I wrecked? Or someone hit me? I also don't want to take long trips in the new car. I don't want to put the extra miles on it. I even vacuumed it out already. After owning it less than a week. Sometimes I would go two months without vacuuming out the Dodge. (Shudder)

My sister went to the doctor today. Her blood pressure is high. The doctor says if her blood pressure is high next week, he wants to schedule her to be induced.

Sissy is still maintaining her 4.0 GPA. I am so proud of her. If she keeps it up, maybe she can get a full scholarship. Well I am off to stock up on bread milk. NOT BECAUSE I HAVE SNOW PANIC. I just need it.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Da Rules

Ya know how something in your house gets to be a problem and you make "a rule"? The "rule" is devised to deal with whatever problem has arisen. For example, one of my rules is-No talking on the cell phone to non Verizon customers before 9 pm during the week. I also have a rule that says-No friends are allowed to call the house phone after 9 pm. These two rules I remember easily. The first one I remember because it has to do with money. The second one I remember because it has to do with my sanity.

I have several rules I have implemented that have, over time fallen by the wayside.

1. If you leave your stuff out, I will throw it away. (I find myself unable to throw out stuff that I have paid good money for.)

2. Bed time. (I am really struggling with this one because my schedule has been so crazy for the last three years. There have been many nights when I haven't been home at bedtime.)

3. No TV past 9pm. (This one I started because The DQ was not going to sleep. It's one of those that got flashed with the memory remover stick like the one from Men In Black)

4. No eating or drinking in the bedroom. (I have not had this one removed from my memory, however I did find Doritos in The DQ's room recently.)

I think there may be more of them, but I believe the memory remover stick (flashy thing) has been used on me. Sissy is pretty good about Da Rules, so I am sure The DQ is the culprit. Sissy has always had sort of an independent nature. She goes to bed on her own, and she gets up on her own. EVERY. SINGLE.DAY. I have only had to wake her up once in the last three years.

The DQ tends to be the rebel of the family. I think it's in her genes. You know, the ones she got from her father. I am looking forward taking the upper hand again with some of the aforementioned rules as my college experience is drawing to a close. I REALLY believe that bedtime is extremely important. Children need sleep. Luckily for my precious child, I will now be home EVERY night to ensure that she in bed at the proper time(Insert evil laugh here)

I also need to catalog some of the projects I would like to tackle once I am finished with school. If I don't make a note of them, I am afraid the flashy memory remover could be used on me. So this more for my benefit than anyone else's.

1. Go through clothes and take old clothes to Goodwill.

2. Clean ALL the drawers in the entire house i.e. computer desk, night stand, entertainment center, bathroom drawers.

3. Clean yard and pull weeds.

4. Redecorate a little.

5. Spend more time on my blog amusing the masses.

6. Organize all my pictures.

7. Get down cobwebs in rooms with vaulted ceilings.

8. Give house a thorough spring cleaning.

For entertainment only. This list is at the discretion of the author and may be deleted or edited at any time with no prior warning. This list in no way implies any written contract. It is merely a list of things that should be done. This list is not subject to change by outside parties. Only the original author retains any rights to "The List".

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Ten, Nine, Eight, Seven.........

The final countdown has begun. Only two more weeks until I graduate from college. (Technically three, but I have no intention of going to class on the last night). Only two more weeks until I am on vacation for a whole week. I have never taken a whole week of vacation at once in my entire adult life. What will it be like? I have no clue. I haven't decided yet whether or not we will be doing any traveling. I would like to take The DQ down to Chattanooga so we can go to the Ripley's Aquarium.

My car is not equipped with keyless entry. I decided to spend the extra money and have it installed. I am also having the remote start feature added. I feel like I am being spoiled, but I played out this little scenario in my head. Here it is:

I am leaving Wal-Mart. It's getting late and dark. As I walk, I hear footsteps behind me. I glance around and notice that I am being followed. I walk a little faster and here the footsteps behind me begin to walk faster also. Quickly becoming afraid I break out into a full run. So does the mysterious murderer. As I reach my vehicle, my hands are shaking and I struggle to unlock the car door. I jump into the car and drop the keys. I pick them up and I am unable to find the right key. As I struggle, the murderer closes in on me and kills me.

Now, if I have a clicker and a murderer is chasing me, I at least have a sporting chance of being able to get into the car and get away.

Speaking of keys, poor Sissy. Poor, poor Sissy. Yesterday was the first day that she got to drive her car to school. I am sure it must have been exciting for her. Until she got to school. The black plastic casing with the micro chip in it broke off from the key. The key stayed in the ignition and she couldn't get it out. She called me and I told her to go ahead and lock the door and use her code to get back in. She has the number pad on the driver door to get in the car.

She did the same thing when she got home from school yesterday. This morning, she came in the bathroom while I was in the shower and told me the car wouldn't start. After I got dressed, I went outside to see if I could help her. I quickly deduced that the car wouldn't start because the black casing with the micro chip was not on the key. When the black casing comes off of your car key, your car thinks it is being stolen. So this meant that Sissy could start the car and it would start for about three seconds and then cut off. Thus we now know that the anti theft system REALLY works. Unfortunately, this means I will be forced to go the dealership and have another key made for her. I figure this will cost anywhere from 50 to 100 bucks. For one key. Need I say more? No. I think not. So Sissy will have to be ghetto and use pliers if she can't get the keys to her car.

As my final semester in school draws to a close, I find myself returning to my pre-college habits. Which translates into actually doing work in my house and not shoving it all off on Sissy and The DQ. After all there are certain things a mother just does better. School was called off last night because the professor was sick. I had started chicken and dumplings in the crock pot, so dinner was ready when I got home. I actually did several loads of laundry and cleaned the master bathroom. On a week night. Tonight I have made dinner, folded laundry, started a new load, and tackled the mess in The DQ's room.

Which brings me to my next subject matter. Guess what I found in The DQ's room? Give up? A bag of half eaten Doritos. Some of the Doritos were on the floor. In another mood, I would have snapped, my head would have spun around three times and my eyes would have turned red. Then I would have begun speaking in a language even foreign to me. However, because of my mellow state (which I believe to be brought on by the car issues being resolved) I simply got out the Dustbuster and sucked up all the Doritos.

I recently heard a couple of radio personalities dissing the Dustbuster, saying it was a piece of crap that didn't work. I beg to differ. The Dustbuster has come a long way. Mine will suck up pennies, screws, marbles and a various assortment of other items. My favorite use for the Dustbuster is to attach the little wand and clean all the cracks that the vacuum cleaner won't reach. The new model Dustbuster even has a cleanable and replaceable filter. Shame on you radio people, shame!

In typical southern fashion, the weather has gone crazy. When I left for work this morning, it was sixty degrees. When I left the office to go home, it was 38 degrees. We MAY have more snow tonight. So get your milk and bread ready.

Monday, March 3, 2008

The Short Version Of The Story

I wrote an entire blog about my car buying experience. Then I posted the pictures and accidentally deleted almost the entire blog. Which means I have to start all over again. Let's pick up where I left off. I am going to shorten the story. My appointment was for 6:30 in the evening. I didn't end up needing the cancelled check. I don't know why. I think they must have let it slide. We sat at the dealership for about three hours. We spent most of that time waiting. Waiting. Waiting. Waiting. By the time it was time to actually sign the paperwork, I was so tired and befuddled that I could hardly think straight. I feebly signed the papers that were shoved in front of me without even looking at them. I am pretty sure I signed over one of my children, I'm just not sure which one. Just when I thought we were getting ready to leave, they send us into a waiting room so they could wash the car and fill it up with gas. I feel as though I deserve AT LEAST a tank of gas after sitting up there all that time. I just don't understand why they couldn't have been doing that while the paperwork was being signed. We left at 9:30 ish that night. The sad part is that everything was so hectic on Sunday that I really didn't even get a day to just enjoy the Rav4. My Sunday consisted of helping my sister a little, taking her shopping for party supplies, dropping her off, going back to my house, taking a shower, going back to my sister's house for a birthday party, loading up kids and taking them to Chuck E Cheese, loading up kids again and taking them home. So......that's the abbreviated version of the story, and here are some pictures. They look bad because it was almost dark when I took them. Sorry about that.


Sunday, March 2, 2008

Short and Sweet

After much suffering and gnashing of teeth, I have my new car! It has been a crazy weekend and I am going to bed now. More details to follow later.

Saturday, March 1, 2008

Hell And All It's Fury Has Been Unleashed On Me

(Maybe the title is a little dramatic)I am in the fifth dimension of hell. Maybe the sixth, or seventh. I'm not sure. I THOUGHT I was going to be driving home last night in my new Toyota Rav4. Oh no. I was wrong. Once again. Everything happened really fast yesterday. CarMax called and the car that I had shipped from Mississippi had arrived. I had to pull everything together really quickly. I had to make arrangements to have my broken car towed to Nashville. From Murfreesboro. Which cost me 100 bucks. I paid 250 bucks to have the car transferred.

So. I did a Mapquest to get directions to CarMax. I called my friend to get the number of the towing company, then I called the towing company. I explained that I needed to have the car towed to Nashville blah blah blah. I asked him if he needed directions. He said, "Oh no, I have a GPS system". Great.

After work I head to Nashville. I get lost. I pass the street I am supposed to turn on. I turn around and go back the other way. Passing my street once again. I call for help. I turn back around again and find my street.

Now, I called the towing company around 4 pm. I arrive at CarMax at approximately 6 pm. My car is still not there. We can't begin the paperwork for the new car until my old car gets there. I sit. I wait. The salesman calls the towing company to see where my car is. The guy says, "I'm not sure where I'm at". Let's recap. I offered to give the guys directions, which he turned down because he has a GPS system. So much for your GPS buddy.

Now I go through all the usual crap that is involved in buying a car. Now because I have negative equity on my car, I must agree to give up my next child should I have one. Which translates into the bank is requiring all sorts of documentation. WHICH I WAS NOT TOLD BEFORE I ARRIVED. So I drove all the way to Nashville on a Friday night for basically nothing. I come home and begin gathering all the paperwork I need. I am short one document. The bank wants a cancelled check for my rent. Because I rent from a family friend, I usually pay cash.

I go online to see if I can find any checks I may have written for the rent. I find one from back in October which MAY be a rent check. I can't tell for sure because I can't actually see who the check was written to. I go to the bank and ask for a copy of the check. The teller tells me it will be 45 minutes. I go home and then go back to the bank. I get the copy of the check. Lo and behold, it's not the right check. I can't find any record within the last six months of me writing a check for the rent.

So. Maybe they will let me slide without it. Maybe not. That's not all. I haven't even seen the car yet. No test drive. No sitting in it. No walking around it. Nothing. The more I thought about it this morning, the more it ticked me off. I paid to have that car transferred. And I don't even get to see it? I think not.

I would like to go on the record as saying that the price of the vehicle is fair. The contract is very straight forward with no hidden fees or extra costs. I have not been jerked around. However, I will not sign a darn thing until I get to drive the darn car. I have been in touch with another salesman who I wanted to work with anyway. He is the father of one of The DQ's friends. He is going to do what he can to help. So as of 12:22 pm central standard time, no car yet.