Honey-Do-List

Yesterday was spent putting.  Putting to Walmart with Mad..putting around the house with Hal & Mark, putting to the park with the kids.  It was gorgeous and sunny and no one was in any hurry to do much of anything.  Mark is getting busier and busier at work as we come into stove season mainestoveguy.com and his 6 day work week will soon move into 7.  I try to keep my “Honey-Do” list to a minimum for him, since he has so little free time, but yesterday he took a few minutes to hang the blinds he found for the front door a while back.  And lest you think I’m the only one in this family who knows how to find a good deal, he found a Levelor blind that matches the others in the house for less than $5 on clearance at Lowe’s.  I like to think I’m a pretty good helper for these projects and while he worked, I laid myself out on the staircase and along with throwing out lots of helpful tidbits..”Those jeans look cute on you!”  ”Brackets alongside or over the window frame?  I don’t care.”  I took lots of pictures.  Without him knowing.  Because you guys know how much he loves that.

Here we go!  Look at me sprawled here on the stairs!  I question how he got along for 42 years without me.

Here we go! Look at me sprawled here on the stairs! I question how he got along for 42 years without me.

 

Yes, start over there.  I was totally going to suggest that to you.

Yes, start over there. I was totally going to suggest that to you.

Hand you what?  I'm sorry, I was texting Robyn.  Here, I kicked it down by your foot.

Hand you what? I’m sorry, I was texting Robyn. Here, I kicked it down by your foot.

Yeah, yeah..looks good.  Mmhm...hahaha, Robyn is so funny.  Did you see this picture of her dog in a birthday hat?

Yeah, yeah..looks good. Mmhm…hahaha, Robyn is so funny. Did you see this picture of her dog in a birthday hat?  And no, I’m not sitting her taking pictures with the shutter sound turned off.  Jeeze.  Have a little faith, dude.

 

Oops.  Busted.  He'll be glad for all of these pictures someday.  See that look on his face?  I get that a lot from him.  I like to think it says, "Man, am I ever lucky to have such a hot and helpful girlfriend."  Isn't that what it looks like to you guys?

Oops. Busted. He’ll be glad for all of these pictures someday. See that look on his face? I get that a lot from him. I like to think it says, “Man, am I ever lucky to have such a hot and helpful girlfriend.” Isn’t that what it looks like to you guys?

Thanks to all of my help, he got this job done lickity-split.  He’s awfully handy around the house and cute to boot.  Here’s the finished job looking up.

Ta-da!  What project do we tackle next, Honey?

Ta-da! What project do we tackle next, Honey?

 

 

 

 

 

 

12 Years.

Photo courtesy of Routers

Photo courtesy of Routers

Every year on this date, I start watching the clock as soon as I get up.  I can’t help it.  I feel driven to re-live it, to not forget. The first plane with hit Tower 1 in an hour.  In half an hour.  In 15 minutes..10….5….8:46 am, tower 1 was hit.  9:03 am, plane number 2 hits Tower 2. 9:37 am, the Pentagon is hit by plane number 3. 9:58 am, the South Tower, or Tower 2 collapses. 10:03 am, United Airlines flight 93 is crashed into a field in Pennsylvania.  Passengers tried to force the cockpit door, forcing the hijackers to down the plane rather than their hit their target, which was thought to be either the Capitol Building or the White House. 10:28 am, the North Tower collapses. It’s safe to say that none of us will forget the things we saw and heard that day.  The way we felt.  Helpless, scared, heartbroken and furious.

September 11, 2001 was a gorgeous, crisp, sunny early fall day for us here in Maine.  Hallee and I had just moved back to Maine less than a year before.  My workday at MBNA in Belfast started at 9 that morning and at about quarter of, I was pulling into the daycare parking lot at work.  The radio announcer said, “I don’t know if this is a joke or not, but if it is, it’s not funny.  I’m getting a report of a plane hitting one of the towers at the World Trade Center in New York City.  I don’t know if it’s a big plane or a tourist plane..I’ll tell you what I find out.”    Thinking it must have been one of the little tourist planes flying too low, I thought to myself, “God, watch over them” and got Hallee out of the car and took her inside.  As I was signing us in, I asked the security guard on duty if he had heard anything about a plane hitting the towers in New York.  He hadn’t and reached for his radio.  I left Hal and went next door to work.  We hadn’t been at our desks for more than half an hour and we knew something was wrong, but we were all hearing different things, some true, some not.  A floor manager stood up on a desk and made an announcement.  The Twin Towers had been hit by jetliners.  They say it’s a terrorist attack.  Go home and be safe, a manager will call you and we’ll go from there.  We don’t know more.  I don’t remember getting to the car, I remember signing Hallee out of daycare and then I remember standing in front of our tv in our sun-filled 3rd floor living room.  I called my father at Emergency Management in Atlantic City.  What do we do?  Do we stay here?  Do we come home?  What’s going on?  He told me it was a terrorist attack.  It was bad.  Go to my sister’s house and stay there until we heard from him.  I will never in my life forget that drive from Belfast to Blue Hill.  One of the most scenic drives in the state on one of the most beautiful days we had seen and it was a nightmare come to life.  Listening to the radio news announcers, driving with my hand over my mouth and seeing so clearly the faces of drivers coming towards me with their hands over their mouths as well.  ”Oh my God, oh no.  Those poor people” went over and over in my head.  I made it to Rob’s a little after 10 and we sat side by side on her couch holding hands and crying.  ”They’re jumping, oh my God they’re jumping”.  And we watched, as those poor souls made the choice to jump to their deaths rather than wait for the fire to take them. We all have stories..where we were, what we were doing, who we were with.  And because all of those many, many people lost their lives, I will remember.  I will remember them and honor them, each and every one.  I pray for them, for their families and for their friends left behind.  I thank them for their sacrifice and tell them that I will not forget.

I was coming off 395 into Brewer this morning (Brewer is our beautiful sister city across the river) after taking the kids to school and saw the Brewer Fire Department putting our flag up on their ladder truck.  It touched my heart to see it there, hanging against the gray sky and so I turned left instead of right and got out to look.

Brewer Fire Department ladder truck.

Brewer Fire Department ladder truck.

There were some firemen by the truck and I went over and asked if they minded me taking a picture.  One gentleman, a firefighter named Jason Gross told me to look behind me in the truck bays, that they had a piece of steel from the Twin Towers.  I looked up at it and my heart skipped.  I have never seen anything in person from the Towers, and there it was.  Huge.  And bent and twisted like a ribbon.

Steel from the Twin Towers at the Brewer Fire Department.

Steel from the Twin Towers at the Brewer Fire Department.

Jason told me that they also had another piece upstairs in their museum, and would I like to see it?  I felt so honored and also clueless.  How is this here and I didn’t know?  They have a museum (for both the fire department as well as the police department) that’s open to everyone  each day with no admission.  We went upstairs and in their beautiful little museum was the second piece of steel.  Jason said it was OK to touch it and with gentle fingers, I did.  What a sense of reverence and honor.  And loss.  And anger.  Still.

Steel beam from the World Trade Center.

Steel beam from the World Trade Center.

Jason got called away but told me I could stay for a bit and I was glad to do so.

Fire fighter Jason Gross, of the Brewer Fire Department, thank you for your time!

Firefighter Jason Gross, of the Brewer Fire Department, thank you for your time!

If like me, you weren’t aware that we have this amazing piece of history right in our own back yards, please make the time to go and see for yourselves.  Not only do these amazing folks put their own lives on the line for us each and every day, but they are the keepers of these pieces of the Towers, and the keepers of the memories of so many of their brothers that were lost to us all on that awful day.  The Brewer Public Safety building is at 151 Parkway South in Brewer.

Brewer Public Safety Building.

Brewer Public Safety Building.

It was an honor for me to see these pieces today and I am grateful I got the chance.  I hope you all took some time today to remember 9/11.  And I hope you’ll hug your sweetheart, give your kids an extra kiss and please…never forget.

Let’s Talk Common Cents. (I know, I know…just go with it)

So the couponing thing.  I thought I’d be better at it by now, to tell you the truth.  I’ve never been a details person, so maybe this is causing me some grief and in couponing, details are key.  Expiration dates, fine print, each store’s coupon policy, sale dates.  I’ve gotten tripped up by each of these things at least once, sometimes more.  Example..I’ve taken a shine to ordering my coupons online rather than paying a few bucks for each weekend paper that I need to get the inserts.  As I’ve mentioned earlier..there will be no dumpster diving for me.  I am a germophobe of the highest order and the idea of touching a lid, let alone crawling in a dumpster, or barrel, or whatever the hell they’re thrown into gives me violent diarrhea.  So I’ve become a big fan of ordering online, which for a pretty good number of coupons including shipping, is less than I would spend on two papers.  This past weekend we got an awesome q from Renuzit for adjustable air fresheners, b3/g3.  Which means buy 3 and get 3 free.  Since they’re usually on sale for about .90 just about anywhere, for less than 3 bucks you get 6 air fresheners, which I love, especially with the fall scents coming out right now.  I went online and ordered several from Klip2save.com.  Only later and because my online friend and couponing cohort Lindsay pointed it out to me did I realize that the ones I ordered were for Dollar General only.  We don’t have Dollar General here.  Sigh.  Luckily it was only about 75 cents lost, but still.  I need that 75 cents to feed the bottomless pits I call children.  See, they say God is in the details and right now God is laughing at my stupid ass. I also tend to get overwhelmed easily and need to break things down into small groups to accomplish tasks.  I’ll go online to compare sales and coupon matchups and one page leads to two leads to 8 and then I’ve got a dozen windows open and am trying to remember which site listed which sales, which coupons matched what sales..until after sitting there for 2 hours of my life that I’ll never get back I get up and walk away and say, “Screw it..I’ll come back to it later” with nothing accomplished.  Maybe I’m being hard on myself, but it’s frustrating.  I have scored several really good deals and I’ve learned a ton in the last two months about sales and stocking up, but by no means am I a pro yet.  Having the attention span of a gnat and OCD combined kind of sucks.  Remind me to tell you how much fun school was sometime.  Not.    

My little stockpile table in the garage is building slowly.  Most items here were free or close to it.  The Head & Shoulders was b1/g2.

My little stockpile table in the garage is building slowly. Most items here were free or close to it. The Head & Shoulders was b1/g2.

Items for the home and health and beauty items are way easier for me still than grocery items.  I’m taking little steps with the groceries..one bunch of coupons at a time.  As one good deal comes up, I order a bunch of coupons, stock up on that one item and move on to the next. Shaw’s and Walmart are my go-to stores.  Shaw’s for any coupon up to $1.00, because Shaw’s doubles coupons up to 99 cents, the rest I take to Walmart.   Baby steps.  Shaw’s has some awesome sales starting on Friday this week and my coupons have been shipped!  Need to make room!

Kitchen pantry..getting there.  On order for this weekend, 30 cans of Progresso, 20 cans of Chef Boyardee and 20 boxes of Betty Crocker.

Kitchen pantry..getting there. On order for this weekend, 30 cans of Progresso, 20 cans of Chef Boyardee and 20 boxes of Betty Crocker.

This week I found a ton of steals, and none of them required coupons.  Walgreen’s has awesome clearance enders if you look often enough, you can score some serious loot.  Same for Rite Aid.

Bring on the pandemic.

Bring on the pandemic.

The Halo I was thrilled about, considering my thing with germs.  Rite Aid, $18 marked down to $12.99 then $3.24..adults and kids both.  Cleared the shelves of those.  Emergen-C, my favorite..adult box 10 count  marked down to $2.99 and kids 30 count box marked down to $6.49 with a $2 off peelie on the box.  From Walgreen’s I got several full sized bags of Halls Defense with vitamin C for 35 cents each (clearance) several packs of regular Halls for the same and a bag of C drops for 79 cents. And, while at Walgreen’s, I got my flu shot. Ha!   Cold and flu season can kiss my ass.

Today I am waiting on my first bulk shipment of tp from Amazon.  I got 36 double rolls of Quilted Northern Ultra Plush for $16.06 including shipping and set it up to ship every 3 months.  Ya..between my overactive bladder (what..like you don’t pee a lot) and the two girls, we go thru some tp, y’all.  Gah…is this what my life has come to?  Blogging about toilet paper prices.  Oh, how the mighty have fallen.   Anyway…

I also am a champion thrift store shopper.  I know on any given day of the week what is on sale at Goodwill or Salvation Army and can tell you where any yard sale within a 5 mile radius will be.  Look at these!  I found them this morning at Goodwill..brand new!

LL Bean, with tiny moose on them!  Gah!  Love!

LL Bean, with tiny moose on them! Gah! Love!

I also got some super cute tops and bottoms for Hallee and a cute table for Mimi’s room all for under $10.  I buy a Goodwill customer card for $10 every year that takes 10% off each purchase as well.  As much as I shop there, I get that back in just a few trips.  I’ve gotten a ton of really cute fall and Halloween decorations at Salvation Army and yard sales the past couple of weeks as well.

So there you have my couponing life so far.  Not where I’d like it to be…I’d like to be at the point where I’m getting overages or just paying tax, but it looks like that’s still a good ways off for me.  But I am saving a good deal of money on what my family needs, and that is just fine with me.  For now.

 

 

 

Big Al..by Little Al.

Heeeeeey!  You guys!!  Look who has a birthday today…Big Al!  My Dad!

Big Pop.  So handsome.

Big Pop. So handsome.

Big Al is someone you should know.  I wish he were here in Maine so more of you could meet him.  If you haven’t already, you’re missing out.  If you’re from Atlantic City, you probably know him.   Great big, scary looking guy, USMC (there is no “former” in the corps..oorah!) someone you definitely don’t want pissed off at you.  Has zero tolerance for assholes,  isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and will end anyone that messes with his family.   Now that being said…here’s a secret, you guys…he’s the nicest, sweetest, most loving guy in the world.  He would give someone in need the shirt off his back.  He’s got a big, old marshmallow heart and a laugh that shakes the house.  (I can mimic it exactly..this took years of practice)

Dad and my sweet nephew in June.

Dad and my sweet nephew in June.

He has worked for the city of Atlantic City almost as long as I’ve been alive.  Shout out to the office of Emergency Management!  Woot!  I wanted to be exactly like him when I was little.  We both have the initials ACS and were born in AC..this, I thought, must be a sign.  I will grow up to be like him.  And in a lot of ways, I did.  I have his temper, his black sense of humor, his nose and his ears.  (Thanks, Dad)

This the man who…

Stayed with me in the hospital and let me puke down his back over and over and over during any number of childhood illnesses and surgeries, of which I had many.  (Thanks, Dad…and sorry)

Taught us how to shoot by sitting us in his lap and aiming at Mad magazines hanging on the clothes line.

Taught us to yell at traffic lights, “It doesn’t get any greener, asshole!”

Got me un-stuck from trees (upside down) more times than I care to admit.

Got a stuck green Tic Tac out of my baby Joey’s mouth (remember the baby Joey dolls from All in The Family?)  by putting a turkey baster on baby Joey’s tiny little penis and smacking the bulb of the baster between his two hands.  That Tic Tac FLEW across the room!  Yay!  *I was distraught*

Painted our bedroom Pepto pink for years so we could have a pretty room.

Took us shark fishing.

Would let me get out of bed in the middle of the night and watch television with him while we ate summer sausage with horseradish on Ritz crackers.

Let us run amok and call the numbers at our PopPop’s Plinko hall on the boardwalk.

Armed me with mace, a buck knife and key chain baton and made sure I knew how to use them when I started dating and driving.

When the shit hit the fan, no matter how many states were between us and no matter how old I was…he said, “I can be there tonight, do you want me to get in the car?”  And  when I really needed him..he did.

Dad and Mimi back in the day.

Dad and Mimi back in the day.

I could go on, but you get the idea.  He’s a pretty amazing guy and today is his birthday.  I just saw him in June when I went home for Mom’s surprise birthday party in AC, but I miss them both so much.  I wish I could give him a huge birthday hug in person..but in lieu of being able to do that..I will post this here so all of you will know how great he is and can wish him a happy birthday, too.  Happy Birthday, Pop..I love you so much.

Back to School (or) Thank You Baby Jesus.

Oh my God, you guys.  No.  No.  Just listen.  How did I do that?  How did I get thru 3 months of summer vacation with an unbelievably busy 10 year old who wants to do everything, see everything, try everything, go everywhere and HALLEE who hates all of the above?  Plus moving?  Plus taking care of all of us?  Now that I’ve had a couple of days to decompress from being ON ALL THE DAMNED TIME EVERY MINUTE OF EVERY DAY OH MY GOD WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU’RE HUNGRY/BORED/WANT TO GO TO THE POOL AGAIN??  I was pretty near the end of my rope, guys.  I didn’t realize it until they went back and I kind of went….manic, for lack of a better word.

Hal, first day of sophomore year!

Hal, first day of sophomore year!

Mad..first day of 5th grade!

Mad..first day of 5th grade!

Aren’t they the most beautiful kids?  Augh..love them so much it hurts.  Which makes it even weirder to me that the moment I got Hallee on the bus and Mad dropped off at school that first day,  I pretty much lost my damned mind. I hadn’t planned on going anywhere..but instead of going home to shower and get on with my day…I ran and shopped and drove and listened to my 80′s rock with the bass thumping and the sunroof open.  I shopped more.  I drove more.  I turned up Def Leppard.   I went into drive-thru’s and ordered only iced coffee.  No Happy Meals.  I got home moments before the bus and the next day did it all again.  Today I tried to curb myself.  After dropping Mad off, I drove slowly and purposefully towards Target, my one errand that I really needed to do. Yeah..maybe not so much.   After that it’s all a blur.  I ended up here at about noon, in a Volvo filled with empty iced coffee cups from McDonald’s, Goodwill bags, a coupon binder that looks like it exploded and bags from a yard sale that I thought I had imagined, but guess was real.   I took a shower (I’ve been doing my OH MY GOD I’M OUT AND ALONE thing in yoga pants and whatever tshirt of Mark’s I slept in the night before.  Really.  Got dressed, did hair and makeup, gave myself a pat on back for making it thru another summer and pulled my shit together.  I cleaned the house, hung up all of the fall decorations, (including the mailbox…cute!) baked a cake and got dinner ready for tonight.

Long, trippy story short.  I was burning the candle at both ends those last couple of weeks of summer vacation.  I was tired.  I was stressed.  I was pulled in a lot of different directions and like every Mom I know…you take care of everything else in the world first and forget about yourself.  Apparently I needed a little bit of me time.  A little Def Leppard/Van Halen/Coolio (don’t you judge me.) time.  I think I’ve gotten the yips out now and am ready to settle back into our school year routine.  But do me a favor?  If you see a crazed looking, pajama wearing, iced coffee-sucking chick racing  up and down the clearance aisles at Target leaving a trail of coupons…please call Mark at work and tell him to come and get me, OK?

 

Off to the Blue Hill Fair.

Yesterday Mad and I had a very rare and blissful day all to ourselves.  Mark had an equally rare day off and offered to stay at home with Hal so Mad and I could go to the Blue Hill Fair.

Photo courtesy of mainememory.net

Photo courtesy of mainememory.net

Growing up with a special needs sibling, Mad has lost out on a lot of fun-time with Mom and over the last several years she has gone to the fair, but with her Dad.  And while that’s all great and good, it always hurt my heart a bit that she couldn’t go with me.  Hallee and the fair…oy.  It would be awful for her, so Mad went with her father.  BUT!  This year!  This year, Mark, bless him a million times over, gave us his day off and set us loose. The fair was a yearly staple for us as kids and teens,  since that’s where we all lived and went to school, but the last time I went was when Mad was about 9 months old.  The fair started back in 1891 and has always been touted as a “Country Fair” with emphasis on livestock, crafts, music..kind of an earthy vibe.  Well…not so much today.  Today it’s pretty much like any other big fair.  Smokey’s Greater Shows does all of the midway rides and such, dozens of fried food booths, the kind of crap toys and prizes that parents cringe at because oh my God..$5 per game for a tiny stuffed animal the size of my palm or a felt flower.  Gah.  But since the goal was to let Mad be a kid without restrictions, I grinned and shelled out (Mark’s) money and let her have at it.  $6 to park, $8 to get in (kids under 12 are free) and $25 for a sheet of ride tickets.  Oh.  My. God.  Really?  Anyway…..The weather was still overcast when we got there at about 11:00 and not too hot.  Yet.  We hit the rides that Mad and I weren’t too concerned about.  (Yes, she is a worrier like Mom.  Hey, I can’t help it if the kid watches the news.)

Ferris wheel view of the fairgrounds.

Ferris wheel view of the fairgrounds.

She loved this and had a running commentary on the fashion choices we could see wandering around below us.  Can’t imagine where she gets this stuff….

So cute.  Her, not me.  Well, OK..yeah, me too.

So cute. Her, not me. Well, OK..yeah, me too.

We hit the old favorite, the merry-go-round and I had some very melancholy moments watching her ride around and around.  Que tinkley piano music, shots of Mad as a baby, the years spinning away from us and her getting older and more independent with each turn of the carousel…Oh Gah.  I’m PMSing within an inch of my life.  Very maudlin…moving on.  Look, here she is!  Wheeeee!  Happy, happy, happy!

*sniff*

*sniff*

We ate the obligatory elephant ear, had the frozen lemonade and tried to keep it together as Maddy wigged out about the probable health implications of eating off of the picnic table we were at.  So like me.  We had been waiting for the frisbee dog show to start at one and headed over that way with the throngs.  Now by this time it is getting hot.  It’s already almost 100 percent humidity and the few times the sun has broken thru the cloud cover, we’ve nearly fallen over with the heat.  She and I and Hallee as well all HATE being hot.  HATE IT.  Moving along.

Disc Connected K9 frisbee show.

Disc Connected K9 frisbee show.

These awesome folks had 16 rescue dogs that they had adopted and trained and each one was better than the last.  I can’t say enough good things about them.  The dogs looked very healthy, very loved and obviously loved every second of their shows.  About halfway thru the show..the sun came out for real.  It was about a bajillion degrees and we were packed into the bleachers like sardines and Mad and I thru silent communication said, “Screw this”.  We went and got a Hawaiian ice to share, rode a couple more rides and decided we had had enough.  It was PACKED at this point, Mad had to hold on to the back of my shorts as I plowed us a path.  Our clothes were soaked, we were filthy, sticky and the mingled smell of livestock, hot grease, body odor, etc. was just too much.  We made a beeline for the parking lot and just sat in dazed silence for awhile with the a/c blasting us in the face.  Holy, Mary, Mother of God..the heat.  After recovering our wits a bit, I took her into town for lunch at the Fishnet.   Mad and I hit the bathroom first, since neither one of us can do a port-a-potty.  My clothes were so sweat soaked that I couldn’t get my shorts off.  Too much information?  Deal with it.  We stood there running our hands under the cold water for a good 3 minutes just reveling in the feeling of clean and cool.  We ordered lunch, sat in the truck with the a/c still going full-bore and my God that kid can make me laugh.  Dry, dark humor and spot-on observations..coming from such a girly looking little thing..cracks me up.

Fish and chips for Mad, burger and fries for me and we drank about a gallon of water and soda a piece...so very thirsty.

Fish and chips for Mad, burger and fries for me and we drank about a gallon of water and soda a piece…so very thirsty.

We ate like jackals and then cruised the Ellsworth road towards home.  We stopped in Ellsworth to visit with Mark’s parents for a bit and toodled along back towards Bangor.  All in all, a wonderful, wonderful day with my growing-too-fast kiddo that we really needed to have together.  Another Labor Day weekend coming to an end and OHMYFREAKINGJESUS they go to school tomorrow.  That will be an interesting post.  And for no reason, I made this cake.

Hello there.

Hello there.

Cattle Rustling.

Let me preface this post by saying I have wanted a chicken as a pet for years and years.  Mark is not so keen.  As a matter of fact, if you were to really listen and had a better attention span than I do, you’d almost think he didn’t want me to have a chicken at all.  But that would be ridiculous, because a chicken would make me so happy, and Mark says he wants me to be happy, right?  So why wouldn’t he want me to have one?  OK, onward. Mark is doing his shift at his business’s booth/trailer thing at the Blue Hill Fair tonight.  A little while ago I sent him a text to ask how he was fairing.  Hahahahaha…see that?  FAIR-ING? Fairing at the fair?   Hahahaha!  Here is the conversation.

Me:  Are you doing OK?  Did you eat?

Crusher of Dreams:  I’m good, had a burger at the 4H booth.

Me:  Can’t beat that for freshness!  (Hahaha..get it?  The cows are all right there?  Smack a blue ribbon on it and then kill it and serve it up?  Hahahaha)  I don’t think he got it.

Crusher of Dreams:  I bought a ticket to win a steer!  I will call him Hamburger.

Me:  (Peeing myself with glee)  I will call him Fluffy.  He will live in our garage.

Crusher of Dreams:  Yes…specifically in the section with our freezer in it.

Me:  No, I will love him forever and ride him to Hannaford.

Crusher of Dreams:  He comes pre-packaged…but I guess you could try to ride him…he’s going to be really slow though…

God damn it.  You go to a country fair and win critters!  Baby pigs!  Goldfish in baggies!  Why not a steer?

Me:  You didn’t say it was dead already.  Way to crush my life-long Little House on the Prairie dream.

Crusher of Dreams:  New dream….professional bbq circuit.

Me:  I’m not talking to you.  Go get me a steer.

Crusher of Dreams:  You can have a chicken, how about that…

Me:

courtesy equineink.com

courtesy equineink.com

Crusher of Dreams:  God I wish I had a picture of someone riding a chicken…(now you realize he was just trying to distract me from my real goal, right?  That goal bringing home a cow to ride around town.)

Me:

courtesy of Photobucket user Nikizmon.

courtesy of Photobucket user Nikizmon.

No answer from Mark yet.  He’d better be out loading Fluffy into his work van.

Almost There.

When Hallee started school in 2002,  high school seemed a million miles and a million years away.  Light years.  Eons.  It’s so hard to look ahead with special needs kids, because you are so focused on Just. Getting.  Through.  Today.  Just get through one more IEP.  One more OT session.  One more PT session.  One more clinic, hospital, doctor’s visit.  Add into the mix a newborn…I was 7 months pregnant when Hal started kindergarten, and I look back now and wonder how I did it.  The years have literally sped by.  I have very few memories of specific events.  First days of new grades, achievements.  I know they happened, but I can’t see them clearly.  I never had the time to sit back and rejoice in the moment at that moment.  It’s all been a bit of a blur right up until a few years ago when some inner switch got flipped in Hallee.  After years and years of HATING school..HATING IT..something clicked.  I don’t know if it was brought about by hormones, finally having the maturity to deal..I just don’t know.  But I went from having to physically carry her into school flailing and crying, no small feat since she is now bigger than I am…to having her feeling bereft and adrift when she’s not there.  She has friends now.  Not just kids whose name she knows, but friends that she looks for and interacts with voluntarily.  She has a purpose now.  At her high school, there is a student kitchen that she works in, shopping trips she must take, a school store that the special needs kids run.  She has her weight-lifting friends (She will letter in weight-lifting this year.  Really.)  She has been ready to go back to school since early July.  At this late date, she is sick of me, sick of her sister, sick of vacation.  She has been making me show her the calendar and crossing off days for weeks now and she knows that in a few days the bus...her bus,  will come to get her and take her back to her friends, her routine.

I really feel a bit gypped here.  Now that she finally, finally loves school and is thriving, she only has 3 years left.  Then what?  A new program?  A new bus?  Will there be funding for any kind of program for young adults in 3 years?  Right now it sure doesn’t look that way, not where we live.  How do you explain to a kid who doesn’t understand that school is over forever?  When she knows the school is there, sees the buses every day, in her mind of course she can go to school.   Well, that’s a worry for another time.  One I will certainly have to plan for, but just not this morning.  This morning when the girls wake up, we are going to lay out first day of school outfits, make sure we have enough socks, matching hair elastics, lunch boxes and all that good stuff.  Mad has open house tonight where we will meet her new 5th grade teacher and see which friends she’ll be together with.  5th grade.  I’m not sure how that happened, either.  She’s growing up so much and so fast.  I want to remember this.  Today, I am going to live in the moment and remember it.  Today I will be grateful for what we have achieved.  Me as a mom, the girls as individuals and us together as a family.

Little Mad, back in the day.

Little Mad, back in the day.

Tall, skinny, gorgeous girl.  I used to tell her I was going to put her in a pickle jar so she couldn't grow anymore.

Mad this summer.  Tall, skinny, gorgeous girl. I used to tell her I was going to put her in a pickle jar so she couldn’t grow anymore.

Little Hal.

Little Hal.

Hal this summer.

Hal this summer.

Most precious loves together, back in the day.

Most precious loves together, back in the day.

Most precious loves last fall.

Most precious loves last fall.

 

 

 

 

What’s the Buzz?

So a few weeks ago I saw a post on FB about a company called BzzAgent.   Here’s the About Us info from their website, www.bzzagent.com.

“Connecting people and their favorite brands since 2001, BzzAgent is the leading social marketing company. What’s that mean to you? We put products in the hands of hundreds of thousands of real consumers and help them share their opinions about them with friends and family via reviews, Facebook posts, photos and videos, blog posts and more. We wouldn’t call ourselves heroes, but it’s okay if you want to.”

Hmm.  Interesting.  I went to the site, signed up (free), filled out a bunch of quick and easy surveys to give them a good idea of our family size, ages, hobbies, etc.  With that information, they match you up with future campaigns that you qualify for.  There are toy campaigns, food, health and beauty, all kinds of things.  There’s no guarantee you ‘ll get approved for a specific campaign, but if you fit the needed criteria/demographic, you’re in.  What they do is send you the product they want opinions…BUZZ…spread around on.  You get the product for free and in exchange, you share your opinions, hopefully favorable, with social media that you’re hooked into.  Facebook, Twitter, blogs (hello).  You gain points on your BzzAgent account by sharing socially and completing reports back to BzzAgent.  I almost immediately got notified that I had been chosen to participate in the Quaker Back to School campaign.  I was tickled.  I love Quaker, always have, and they were sending us a snack basket full of Quaker goodies to try out.  Well it came today and we were ready for it!

Yay, Mail Lady!

Yay, Mail Lady!

We were excited to see so many things to try..some old favorites that had been revamped as well as some new products that looked divine.

Photo courtesy of bzzagent.com

Photo courtesy of bzzagent.com

  • Box of Quaker Real Medleys® Bars
  • Bag of Quaker® Popped Cheddar Rice Snacks
  • Box of Brown Sugar Quaker® Oatmeal Squares Cereal
  • Box of Quaker® Crispy Oatmeal Peanut Butter Cookies

Coupons for $1 off Quaker® Real Medleys® Oatmeal+, Quaker® Perfect Portions Instant Oatmeal, Quaker® Big Chewy Bars and Quaker® Popped Rice Snacks.j

Some items were off the table for Hallee immediately as she is allergic to peanuts..the cookies and the medley bars..both have nuts, but I can put them in Mad’s lunchbox and she will enjoy them.

The Quaker Oats Squares cereal has been a favorite of mine for years and years and both Mark and Mad love the Popped Rice Cheddar snacks.  The nut items I will have to wait and try after Hal is in bed, but try them I will.  Sigh.. I do it in the name of sharing my opinion with all of you.  There are so many awesome items here that offer healthy eating alternatives to crap.  Do you remember the big box of Quaker Oats in your grandmother’s kitchen?  I sure do, and while my oatmeal has never tasted as good as my Grammie’s..I’m happy to keep trying.

I have already been chosen for a second campaign, tooth whitening!  That I really am excited to try, too!  Too many years of coffee adoration and while my teeth aren’t discolored, they sure aren’t as white as they used to be, and my dentist charges $700…um….maybe not.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Oh, Miley.

Jeebus Christmas with the Miley Cyrus downward spiral…here is my helpful letter to the former Hannah Montana star gone very, very awry.

Dear Ms. Cyrus,

One.  Yes. You have a tongue. Put it back in your mouth or I will smack it with a ruler every time I see it.
Two. You’re built like my 10 year old, cover that shit up.
Three. I’m sorry that whatever team of stylists and hairdressers you have on your payroll lie to you like that

.
Four. Come to Maine, let me put you in some J. Crew and LL Bean and flip-flops. You will be happier, I promise you. Leave your frigging hair alone, let it grow out a little, maybe a nice headband so we can see your pretty face.
Five. Get a real education. College of the Atlantic. Study whales. Do something..God..just something so in 5 years we’re not getting reports of porno flicks being released and seeing your mug shots on TMZ.
Six. Get a nice, hard-working boy from Maine to take you sailing, or 4 wheeling, or out on his lobster boat. Fall in love. Live in a 100 year old cape by the sea.

You’re still so young and still have plenty of chances to get it right. I’m pretty sure that Hollyweird is a spinning vortex straight to hell…you need to bail on that mess. And leave your family there.

Very Sincerely,
Somebody Else’s Mom, since yours doesn’t seem to have the sense that God gave a goose.