Monday, December 5, 2011

100 Things...

I recently stumbled upon a blog called 100 Things (http://100things.com.au/). I love it. This guy made a list of 100 things he'd like to do during his lifetime and is spending time checking off each one. One of my big mantras in life is to never look back and say "I should have..." Life is for living and we need to make decisions every day that should be the best decisions we can make. Why should we ever look back and say "I wish I had..." Why not just go ahead and do it? We weigh our actions all the time. There is no reason not to make the right decision at the time. Sure, sometimes hindsight is 20/20, but still - we do what we can and we should be proud of the decisions we make.

Anyway, we all have our bucket list...some of the things we've already checked off, some of the things may be slightly unrealistic, others may linger on the list a little longer than we like. I challenge you to make your list of 100 things...Or even just start with 25...here's my first 25...some I've already checked off...they are in no particular order but I'm sticking to those that are fairly realistic.

1. Have more than one child. Check.
2-8. See the 7 natural wonders of the world. According to thesevennaturalwonders.org, these are: the
2. The aurora borealis
3. The Grand Canyon. Check.
4. Paricutin
5. Victoria Falls. Check.
6. Mount Everest.
7. Great Barrier Reef.
8. Harbor of Rio de Janeiro
9-15. See the 7 man-made wonders of the world. These are:
9. The Great Wall of China.
10. Petra in Jordan
11. Christ the Redeemer in Brazil.
12. Machu Picchu in Peru.
13. Chichen Itza in Mexico.
14. The colosseum in Italy.
15. The Taj Mahal in India.
15.5. The Pyramds in Giza. Check. (the Pyramids were kept as an honorary member according to Wikipedia).
16. See the monarch butterfly migration in Mexico
17. Go on Safari. Check.
18. Live with a tribe.
19. Try hang gliding or para-gliding
20. Go scuba diving. Check.
21. Become PADI certified.
22. Learn to play an instrument.
23. Go to Marrakesh. Check.
24. Go to Timbuktu.
25. Go cage diving with sharks.
26. Swim with a whale shark
27. See crab migration on Christmas Island.
28. Ride a camel in the dessert...while I've already done this, I'm not checking it off...I'd like to do a more substantial ride!
29. Get a pilot's license. Check.
30. Get a motorcycle license. Check.
31. Visit every continent.
32. Swim in biolumenescent water.
33. Experience zero gravity.
34. Meet Richard Branson - he's my idol.

Okay, so there is my first 34...I'm sure I could come up with more, but this should do for now! What's your top 100 (or 25)?

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Our Latest Trip



We just returned from the Maldives...a group of islands located just southwest of India in the Indian Ocean. It was spectacular! I had a conference there, so I took the kids for about a week. Our hotel was on a small island with nothing else on it...it took about 20 minutes to walk around the entire island. No cars, just sand everywhere. The water was as clear as it could be and the sand just melted under our feet.

We went snorkeling, I went scuba diving - something I've always wanted to do. Everything I read said that this was the best place in the world for scuba diving. Of course, now that I've tried it, everywhere else will pale in comparison! I took a short lesson and was able to go down about 30 meters. It was amazing - hundreds of fish in as many different colors. The anemones were full of bright colors, as well, and we managed to spot a black tip reef shark (harmless - this one was about four feet long, I'd say) and an eagle ray (I'd guess it had about a four foot wingspan).

The kids had the time of their lives playing on the beach and at the pool. It was a REALLY long trip to get there (about 30 hours travel time there and about 36 on the way back!), but the kids did great and really enjoyed themselves. Here are some pix!








video

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Sticks and Stones (warning - a lot of detail!)

may break my bones....and, damn do they hurt! Stones of the internal kind and sticks of the needle kind! Last Wednesday I started to have some abdominal pain...I thought it was just lunch taking awhile to digest or something...well, it just got worse. By evening, I was doubled over in pain. I took some heavy duty prescription pain medication I had lying around and it did almost nothing. I knew I was having a gall bladder attack and, in the past, when I've spoken to the doctor about these, there's nothing they can really do about them. They tell me that they are just going to get more frequent and worse until I finally have to get my gall bladder taken out. Well, I finally was able to get to sleep around 4 am.

The next day I was still in pain, so I called the doctor to see how long this should last. I got scheduled for an ultrasound the next day and got some blood tests to make sure it hadn't affected my pancreas or liver. Fortunately, the blood tests came out fine. Thursday night I was in agony. Way worse than the night before. Five doses of oxycodone brought the pain level down to about an 8 and I was afraid to take anymore. Finally got to sleep again around 4 am. The ultrasound showed stones and sludge but no blockages. Also a swelled gall bladder and a distended tube coming out of the kidney.

By Sunday, I was still in pain so decided to go to the ER. They took some more tests and pretty much said that I just needed to wait for the swelling in my gall bladder to go down and that they really didn't know what the problem was. Apparently, when it comes to abdominal pain, they can diagnose only about half the time. To come to this conclusion, they put an iv in and took more blood. I'm a REALLY tough stick...small veins are something I definitely inherited from my mother. The iv lady was able to get in the first try but the blood lady took two and had to go in through my hand. The worst blood draw I've ever had since she was moving that damn needle all over the place. ouch.

Then the pain medication got me constipated. So, thinking that at least some of the pain might now be related to constipation, I stopped the pain meds yesterday and started loading up on laxatives. I can't tell you how much fun I'm having. Still in some pain but at least I can poop now.

Monday, October 31, 2011

SNOW!

This past weekend we went to RI for my niece's bat mitzvah. H even came along. Since he is not Jewish and had not met any of my family, this was really trial by fire for him! My sister really went all out on the bat mitzvah planning. Everything was perfect and beautiful for the 100 or so guests. The luncheon and party afterwards was a lot of fun, complete with a DJ, a kid handler (to make sure all those 13 year olds had the time of their lives) and lots of loud partying and dancing. H got to meet my siblings and several cousins. H was such a sport. Even though I don't think he was feeling great (he had a terrible cold), he was helpful and patient with all the goings on. I think this one is a keeper.

The bat mitzvah was on Saturday. By the time we got there, it had started to rain a little. By mid- afternoon, the snow started and the nor' easter started heading in. The timing was good - the party was already starting to break up anyway - so we headed back to CT to stay at my sister's house before we were to leave to come back home the following morning. By the time we got to my sister's house, the snow was in full force and there was already several inches on the ground.

We made it up the hill to her house. At the end of the cul-de-sac, my sister had just pulled in as well and ran out to tell us to go to a hotel because it was too dangerous. Trees had started to fall all over the place. She didn't have any power. As we sat in the car and listened, about every minute we would hear craaaack, craaaaack....trees and branches breaking. Some were already resting on power lines. It was REALLY spooky. The kids got very scared and e even started to cry a little.

H, the trooper that he is, ran inside the house and got all our stuff (thank goodness because we would have had a very difficult time getting it the next day!) and we went and stayed at my brother's house instead. Even though he lives less than a mile away, he did have power. We all camped out there for the night. He lost his power, too, around 2 am but since he has gas on his stove, we were all able to have a nice breakfast. Throughout the night, the snow got heavier and the situation worsened. I've never seen anything like it. By morning, there was about a foot of snow and hundreds of trees and branches down. Across the street, one large branch was straddling a power line...it was pulled taut, but had not snapped yet. Apparently, the cul-de-sac where my sister lives was full of trees and branches. If we had stayed, I'm sure our car would have been hit. H went out to help clean up the driveway and cars so we could get out and E and e, of course, went out to play in the snow.

We finally got on the road around 10:30 am. As we drove out, we went down several streets that we could just barely get through, with all the trees and branches down. We saw a few power lines down and even ran over a couple (dead, of course). It was unbelievable. Every single yard was full of large branches and trees. We didn't see any houses that were hit, but did see one car that got a little crushed. As we drove home, it was well over an hour before we could find an exit where the restaurants had power. The highway crews must have been out in full force all night because there were lots of trees on the side of the highway - many of which had been cut to make travel safe.

All in all, a very interesting weekend!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Pets


The baby bunnies in their nest

So, last month we found some baby bunnies in our yard. The mom had built the nest just a few feet from our driveway, so when I saw all the dead grass all over and didn't remember the patch being there before, I moved it aside to reveal five, very cute, baby bunnies. At the time, I'm guessing they were just 3-5 days old. I did a lot of reading about them and learned that you can, in fact, handle them and the mother will still come back. She only comes back about once a night to feed them and leaves them alone the rest of the time so she doesn't attract attention to them. So, the kids had a great time visiting with the bunnies every day. And, boy, were they cute.
Holding the baby bunnies

Then the rains came. The nest got flooded out. I came out to find some of them sitting in a cold puddle in the nest, not knowing where to go. Everything I read online said that the nest could be moved to about ten feet away and the mom would still find it. So, we moved the nest up the hill a little bit, out of where the water was gathering. I also put a box over the hole to help keep them dry since all the grass that was covering them was now wet and/or gone. The mom apparently was coming back and the babies were doing fine. Their eyes all opened and they were getting lots of fur and starting to jump around. Then two died with all the rain....Very sad to see them out there, but we got rain and cool weather for about a week and they just couldn't make it. I had also read that only about 10% of the wild bunnies survive because there is so much going against them. Another one died a couple days later and another one ran away (at least that's what I told the kids...it was very active and I'm guessing it just attracted attention to itself). The kids had been pleading and pleading to keep them, so when it came down the the last one, we took it in. Thumper did well for a few days, but then died - unfortunately while under the care of a girl next door (and her party pals - I'm hoping we didn't create any psychological scars!) while we were away....
Thumper in the fire engine

After that ordeal, and seeing how well the kids handled the bunnies and the whole lifespan thing, I figured they were ready for a pet. After doing a ton of research, I decided to get E a couple dwarf hamsters for his birthday. I don't have any pictures of them yet, but they really are fun to watch and are very cute. I told him that we needed to figure out a way to tell them apart. He put them next to each other and said that one was fat and one was skinny. So, guess what he decided to name them? Fatty and Skinny. I know, very creative. He is a really happy camper with them.

His birthday party was a huge success. I LOVED the place where we had it. All I had to do was show up. Unfortunately, it was a really windy day, but not too, too cold, so it wasn't too bad. We had the party at one of the local farms. The kids played in the hay barn, went on the slide, and in the corn maze the whole time. I didn't have to lift a finger. I had 13 kids there and they supplied 40 hotdogs with buns, 20 cupcakes, two huge bags of chips, lemonade, and tons of supplies to make s'mores. They built the fire for us and tended it. LOVE that. The kids had a great time cooking their hotdogs on the fire, making s'mores and running around in the corn maze for three hours. I want to have a party there every year!


After E's party, we went to a Halloween party at a friend's house. The mom gets the hostess with the mostess award from me, that's for sure! She had a dozen kids in her basement, she had decorated the place with Halloween stuff all over, had plenty for them to eat, and a list of probably a dozen games that they played throughout the afternoon. This was one of my favorites where they had to try to eat a donut on the end of string without touching it. Of course, E won for the boys.


Yesterday, we joined some friends to see a local reptile exhibit. We really love this place, too. The dinosaurs move and roar, and one of them even spits at you! I loved how they put a fake arm in the T-Rex!

Thursday, October 13, 2011

October Happenings

It's hard to believe that my little boy will be eight years old tomorrow! Where the heck does all the time go? I have a party planned for him over the weekend at one of the local farms. Lots of fall stuff to do there like the corn maze, slide, pumpkins, hotdog roast. All fun stuff. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it will be a nice day. So far, the forecast says we will be cool, but no rain. Phew!


Last weekend, the kids had a great time at Sunday school decorating the Succah and making their own candy Succot. This is really a fun holiday for them.

And, did I mention we did the artificial skydiving again last month? WHAT fun! e still wasn't up for it, but she watched as E and I pretended we were superheroes!


Friday, September 23, 2011

I Really Need to Stay on Top of This Better....

The whole reason for starting this blog was so I could remember all the great things the kids and I do together...well, that doesn't help, if I don't keep up with things! So, a brief update on what we've been up to. Before school started back we went camping at the family camp near Pittsburgh for a week. I always enjoy that time. It's SO relaxing for me and the kids have a blast. E took horseback riding lessons and e and I did a lot of kayaking. I did the zipline, too, but got stuck! They had to come rescue me because I didn't make it all the way to the end. Oh well. Still a lot of fun. The kids and I took long bike rides in the woods almost every night after dinner, too. Great bonding time with them.

We've been busy doing a lot of other things, but of course I don't remember a whole lot right now! So, I'll give you an update on the man situation. I'd love to get your thoughts. I really like this guy. We've been seeing each other for about seven months now. He's wonderful with the kids and he's great around the house. I enjoy spending time with him. Neither of us have uttered the "L" word, but I think the feelings are there. A couple weeks ago we spent the day together (just he and I) at a football game. The kids spent the night at a friend's house so H was able to spend the night at my house for the first time. About a week earlier I had mentioned to him that I wanted to take the relationship kind of to the next step - meaning have him stay over once in awhile. I'm not really sure how to make this transition with the kids, so it worked out well that the kids went on a sleepover that night. Anyway, when I said "next step" he thought I meant marriage! Well, I'm in no way ready to get married, but I thought I'd want to work towards that.

So, on the way home from the football game, we had a long talk and he said he never wanted to get married again (burned badly in his previous marriage of 20 years). I told him at that time that I did want to work towards that and that I would have to move on. Now, I don't know...I mean, what is really the purpose of getting married? I'm already established financially, I have my own kids, if we did get married, we probably wouldn't live together for awhile since he built his house himself and I would never ask him to sell it...besides he loves it there and he's close to his own work (about 40 minutes away from where I live). And, I live a mile away from my office in a great neighborhood for the kids that is about a quarter of a mile from all the schools they will attend through high school. So, what really is the purpose of getting married? Especially at my age (47)? Is it just so we can say we're married and have some financial benefits that go along with that? But then we are totally entwined...financially and otherwise. And things get complicated....now I'm thinking why can't we just have a committed relationship without getting married? I don't know...I always thought I'd like to get married someday, but now I'm just not sure what the benefit is. I'm not even sure the kids need a "dad" so much as a father figure...H is great with them and a wonderful role model...isn't that really what we all want? Is that enough? Chime in at any time....


Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Summer Vacation #2

Last week we made our annual trip to New England to visit my siblings. While I understand that it's nice that I can go there and visit everyone in one shot (and do so every year), it still perturbs me to some extent that my siblings rarely make the trip to visit us. It's about a five hour car ride to get there and we usually end up spending a week visiting everyone and doing some touristy stuff.

Every year we stay at my sister's house. She has the biggest house and two of her three children are now living away from home, so there's lots of room. My brother lives just a mile away and my other sister lives about an hour and a half away. My sister is always after me to come visit and stay with her but when we get there, I always feel like I'm intruding. I don't think she really likes having little kids around....I'm not even sure she likes to have company for extended periods of time! Yet, I don't really have an option. So, whenever we visit, I do my best to stay out of her hair. We always spend some time with her, but most of the time I try to get out of the house early and return after dinner sometime so we're out of her hair. I'm am also constantly trying to make myself useful while there -- cleaning up the kitchen and doing whatever laundry I see that needs to be done...I never get a thank you for any of this, which makes me feel like I'm almost expected to work while staying there....I don't know, maybe she just doesn't know that I'm doing all that work around her house.

Anyway, we spent a day with my sister on her new sailboat. Lots of fun going out, but no wind. Still, it was a nice day. The next day we went on my brother's boat...actually it was not a great day, weather-wise, so we ended up just going up and down the river near his yacht club on his dinghy. The kids had a great time swimming and scooting around on the little boat. So did I. We then spent a few days with sister #2 at her house. She's a lot more laid back and the kids had a lot of fun. Then back to sister #1's house (with a day at Mystic in between!) followed by another day of fun on my brother's boat. This time, a perfect day with lots of swimming, crabbing, and walking on the beach. E even got to do some tubing on the back of the boat.

The last few days were spent in upstate NY for an aunt's funeral. She actually died in March but the ground was too frozen to bury her back then. So, the family decided to wait until the weather got warmer...Where has she been for the last four months, you ask? Well, I wasn't sure either! I thought maybe she was on ice or in a drawer somewhere...but she was on my cousin's mantle. I guess this whole process was good for closure for her (her mom was well into her 90s when she died but lived with my cousin and her husband for the last several years...if not almost my cousin's whole life!). It was also good to see some other cousins that I haven't seen in probably forty years.

After all the driving, though, I'm really glad to be home. Vacation #3 coming up in a couple weeks....then school is back in session!

Monday, July 18, 2011

NO TRAINING WHEELS!

The kids have been avoiding their bikes forever. I bought E a bike a couple years ago or so and I don't think he ever rode it. He asked me to take the training wheels off it last year but was still too afraid. e also has had a really girlie bike for a couple years or so and has never ridden it. Maybe a couple times with the training wheels, but the two of them usually opt for their Razor scooters, instead. They are certainly experts at using those!

Last week, for some reason, one of them (I think E, but I can't remember) asked me to get the bikes out without training wheels. e, of course, had to have hers without the training wheels, too. So, off the wheels went. In the past, I've always kind of pushed them along and held on. Well, I took a new approach this time. Our driveway has a little bit of a hill to it. So, I told them to just go down the hill and lift their feet off the ground, and once they felt comfortable with the balance to try to pedal. It worked! Literally, within a few minutes they were both riding great! Now, every night when we get home, they want to ride on their "two wheel bikes." I haven't had a bike in years, so I'm looking to buy one so I can keep up with them! I also had to get E a new bike because his was too small. I gave his old one to a neighbor and we went out right away for a new bike for E (I didn't want to lose the excitement of the moment!).

The new man has been working on my house lately....last week, he put up lattice work around my back deck...the next project is to redo the railings on the deck so it looks completely redone. I'm excited about how it's looking! And, what a great guy to be doing all of it for me. He really seems to enjoy helping me around the house. Usually by now I'm trying to figure out what is wrong with a guy...I haven't figured out anything about this one yet. He has a really laid back attitude and likes doing all the kid stuff with us. Maybe we just haven't spent enough time together! No arguments yet, though...we'll see how things go once we have one!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Back to it!

Well, I've neglected this spot for way too long! I got really busy during the end of the semester trying to plan our Italy trip. Putting together all the details for two weeks there was a LOT of work! But, we ended up having a great time. We took 12 students along and fun was had by all. Most of it went pretty smoothly, surprisingly enough, since for many of the days I planned, I wasn't totally sure how long it would take to get to our destination, or even how we'd get there, and if we could fit everything into the day as planned. My kids were also great. Given that we were climbing and hiking much of the day on most days, they didn't complain much and seemed to love the trip. I'm posting some of my favorite shots (if anyone knows how to flip some of these the correct way, please let me know!).

E and e with the gelati...which we consumed just about every day!
This lake really is that blue!One of my favorite spots on top of a mountain by the lake
That was in May. The weather while we were there couldn't have been more perfect....low to mid 80s everyday and very little rain. I got to spend some time with a couple of my friends who live over there, too, so that was a lot of fun.

We also went to our local family camp for Mother's Day weekend. As you might remember, I'm making this a family tradition -- this was our third year. In August, we will go for a whole week - another family tradition that I have started. It was a little cold while we were there, but we had a great time. E and I tried the high ropes course. He fell off several times, but I think that's only because he wasn't afraid to fall! I really did NOT want to fall and trust my harness. I have a brand new appreciation for tight rope walkers. I have no idea how they do it.

The guy I was going out with last year and into the first part of this year is completely out of the picture now. He finally got the hint that I just wasn't interested anymore. We're still friends, but it was very clear to me that we were in completely different places in our lives...he just seemed very "old" to me...watched a lot of black and white movies, sat on his butt most of the day (that REALLY drove me crazy), and after a while seemed to be bothered by having little kids around (HUGE red flag). There were other things, too...he seemed to live in the past...always reminding people of his military service (over 40 years ago!) and his corporate accomplishments (he's now retired, so who cares what he did back then?). There was more, but I won't go into it too much -- maybe I've already bored you with what I've said so far! I guess the good thing is that no bridges were burned and we'll still be friends.

So, back to M*tch.com I went. AND there's a new guy now...I met him on M*tch and we corresponded for about a month before actually meeting for lunch. His correspondence was always very casual and unassuming, which I really liked. To be honest, I was actually just lukewarm about him for awhile. Good looking guy, but wasn't corporate or anything. For some reason, I had it in my head that I had to find a man that made a ton of money, was very driven and successful. I know, I CAN be pretty shallow at times.

Back in the beginning of March, we met for lunch. It was a very nice time, I found him attractive and the conversation was easy, but I was still lukewarm. Besides, his profile said he wasn't really looking for a relationship right now - just friends (but he clearly was not on the friends with benefits search). We went out again a couple weeks later. During that dinner, he did something kind of stupid. I didn't think a whole lot about it, but I was still lukewarm about him. Nothing was persuading me NOT to go out with him...I enjoyed his company, but I think the fact that I knew he wasn't looking for a relationship made me not look towards him...So, back to the stupid thing he did...again, I didn't think a whole lot about it, except that it kind of verified my lukewarm feeling towards him. BUT, the next day he sent this incredible flower arrangement to my office with an apology. Well, that got my attention! And, it made me think that maybe he IS interested in something more.

Anyway, to make a long story short, he just kept coming back...it was also clear to me that he's actually a pretty smart guy and very driven (built his own house and built a very cool car)...he starts projects and actually finishes them, he's really great with my kids (sometimes I think he likes playing with them more than he likes playing with me!), he fixes stuff around my house (major bonus there) practically every time he comes over. He didn't even try to kiss me until we had been going out for about three months. So, he kept growing on me with all the little things he kept doing. And, he had a lot of patience for me to figure out whether I wanted to be in a relationship with him. He is now at my house usually three or four times a week. It's nice to have the company. He also really likes to work on my Honey-do list! He doesn't sit on his butt at all - he constantly stays active helping me around the house or with the kids. We'll see where it goes, but so far, so good!

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Funny Names

I have a couple students, this semester, that have unusual names...
NoWay Jose (first name is not spelled that way, but pronounced No Way)
Spencer Spencer (His first name is actually spelled a little different from his last name)

I grew up with a girl named Gay Person...of course, she was given her name before the word gay had its current meaning...I'm pretty sure she changed it so she would go by her middle name.

Okay, your turn...what interesting names have you heard?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Borrowed Time

E playing with his gum

e at ballet class

e and E going snow tubing

Does anyone ever feel like they are on borrowed time sometimes? I swear there are times when I cheat death. Last week I had to go to Pittsburgh for a board meeting. I go there four times a year for this meeting. It's about a 4 to 4 1/2 hour drive. The other months of the year are never bad, but the January meeting is always questionable weather-wise. I used to leave my house early and spend the day working with my friend there, then I have the board meeting the next morning until 2:00 pm...after the meeting, I have plenty of time to drive home and get the kids to bed. Now that my friend has been killed, I have no reason to go early, so I left my office around 3:00. It was also snowing a little and I wanted to wait it out for awhile.

Anyway, the highway was a little slushier than I thought and I was probably driving a little faster than I should have been. At one point, I was passing a truck and I started to plane...almost right into the side of the truck. VERY scary.

THEN, on the way back home the next day, it was just past dark and I think my depth perception was not so great...add to that the fact that my windshield was filthy. Anyway, there I am passing a truck again. I could see some red lights in front of me but couldn't figure out what they were....until I was right on top of them. They were flares in the road trying to move the traffic off the lane of an accident. Well, thank God the truck next to me gave me room, because I didn't even have time to look before I saw the flares and had to move over into his lane. If he didn't give me room, I would have either plowed into him, or into the several people who were at the scene of the accident in front of me. Also, VERY scary.

I hugged my kids a LOT this weekend. I can't even fathom the thought of what they would do without me...or what I would do without them.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Bad Luck Comes in Threes....Right?

1. Last Saturday night we had sub-zero temperatures at night. I woke up Sunday morning to find that there was no water...in the whole house. I thought for a minute that maybe I forgot to pay my water bill, but that wasn't it. The pipes were frozen. The plumber came out fairly quickly and found the problem. Apparently, when I had my basement refinished this past summer, when they put in the Bilco door (new door to the outside), they left a little bit of the water pipe exposed to the outside. The plumber thawed it out and suggested that I leave the ceiling tile open so the pipe could get more warm air. I also left the heat on downstairs that night since we were to get sub-zero temps again.
2. Monday morning I get up and again, no water. This time, I know exactly what the problem is, so I go to the basement with my hairdryer and thaw out the pipe. e stood in the bathroom to tell me when the water started to flow. About 20 minutes later, she comes running in to tell me that the water was flowing! I was very proud of myself for not having to call the plumber and fixing the problem myself! About two seconds later, water came spraying out of the ceiling. The pipe had burst. So much for my feelings of pride! Fortunately, I was close to the water main and could shut the water off quickly. The damage was very well contained. The plumber came back and made his best attempt to seal off the pipe from the outdoor exposure and insulate it. Next time we have sub-zero weather, I'll know whether it worked!
3. When I got home yesterday, there was a message on my machine from one of my neighbors saying that they had noticed that the faucet outside was on and they turned it off for me. I know the plumber was out there on Sunday...not sure if he was out there yesterday. So, that water may have been on for a full two days. Ugh. I can't wait to get my water bill. I suppose it could have been much worse...the water could have been on longer, the damage from the burst pipe could have been much worse....

Then, I got my bill from Virginia on a speeding ticket that I got...Here's the story on that one...when I went to NC to visit P for Thanksgiving, I got a speeding ticket. That highway goes on for hundreds of miles and the speed limit is always 65 or 70...except in this one 30 mile stretch in Virginia where it is 55...and not well marked (of course I saw the 55 sign twenty feet before I saw the cop...too late). I was going 77. So, they don't give you a speeding ticket, they give you a SUMMONS! Of course, I can't come back to go to a court that is a 10 hour drive from my house, so I had to hire a lawyer to represent me (apparently, a very common thing since I got several solicitations from lawyers to use their services once I got home). To make a long story short, the court date was last week...total cost about $600...but no points on my license. Sigh. I think I need to win the lottery.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Back to Dating

Okay, so I've taken the initiative to get back into the online dating scene. I've reactivated my profiles on two of the dating sites and even tried a third - which I quickly canceled because the ick factor was too high....Hey, since I live in the middle of nowhere, I have to be very proactive! So, here's my question...what is it about these guys and their profile pictures? A large portion of them post pictures of themselves with their dogs...many of those pictures have been taken professionally! There are also a LOT of pictures of JUST the dog(s). Quite often the number of pictures of the dog outnumbers the number of pictures of the guy. Also, a lot of pictures are of the guys taking pictures of themselves in the mirror with their cell phone...sometimes they are flexing their muscles, sometimes just trying to look normal. Many of them post pictures of places and things...beaches, homes, places they've been, their car, etc...just the places, not them in them. Isn't the whole point to see what they look like and not the surroundings? I just don't get it. Some of them even talk about the fact that they like to have sex on a regular basis. Okay, that rates pretty high on the ick scale, too. Sorry, but I don't even want to think about sex with a guy until I get to know him! Maybe they're just looking for someone to jump in the sack with them right away. I'm sure there are other women out there who want that. I guess.

Meanwhile, I'm still not sure P gets the message that I'm cooling things off. He still calls me "sweetie" on the phone, although we are talking much less often. Also, we have not made any plans to see each other again anytime soon. I guess I'll just have to take it as it comes and see what happens.

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

THE Conversation

E and e with Santa!

So I had a conversation with P the other day. He called when he got home and I said that I didn't think the weekend went very well. Oooooh? He says. I told him that I thought he was bored the whole weekend and that I felt like I was being criticized. He said that he is often sarcastic and that maybe that comes off as being critical...I thought it was more than that. Anyway, he totally didn't get it. I still think I need someone who is going to be a little more active. It's kind of nice that he is so far away...that way I can just kind of move forward and if I meet someone in the meantime, I'll just cross that bridge when I get to it. I'm still convinced that he's not the one for me, but I don't know how to break it off. This is always the most difficult part, isn't it? He is a very nice man and I want to stay friends with him...I just don't think there is a romantic future for us. I suppose there will be more conversations in the future when I can get more to the point.

I digitized some old photos last week. I had some slides that my mom left -- I have been trying to figure out, for years, how to get a good look at them (Mom passed away in '98 and Dad passed away in '03 when I was just 3 months pregnant with E - he never knew). For Christmas, P gave me a device that digitizes old slides. It was really great to see these pictures of my parents without having to hold the slides up to the light. The pictures of my parents were taken shortly after they got married...must have been within one to three years since my sisters are in some of them....Here are some of my favorites.
Mom and Dad...not sure if any kids have been born yet...

I think Mom looks so elegant here with her fur collar and faux pearls!

I think my mom was in her 20s here.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Dating and Co-Sleeping

Thanks for all the great input on the dating and co-sleeping. When P visited this past weekend, I did my usual thing of laying down with them until they fell asleep, then I went into my room with P and locked the door. I left the kids with the understanding that if the door is closed, they cannot come in. They did great. But I was still getting a little bit of a hard time from P...

So, the dating...first of all, P arrived last Thursday and did not say how long we was going to stay...I just think that needs to be defined ahead of time. I didn't have anything planned for us for the weekend, except a party at a neighbor's house New Year's eve. The rest of the weekend, I was just going to play it by ear and enjoy some time at home with the kids and P. So, Friday morning we get up, I make a cake, I make another dessert, I make a cheese ball for the party, I make dinner, I empty the dishwasher, clean the dishes, clean up the kitchen, pick things up around the house, then I go outside to put the jumpy inflatable thing up for the kids to burn off some energy (it's big and heavy, but I often do it by myself), stack the wood that had blown over in a storm earlier in the week, put the jumpy thing away (the girl next door helped me put it away) and generally just keep moving, moving, moving, getting things done. What did P do? He sat on the couch the whole day. Never once asked if he could help...Okay, I didn't ask him to help, either, but I have also made it fairly clear to him that I really DON'T ask for help...that doesn't mean he shouldn't offer! The next day was a lot of the same...when it came to dinner, I cooked up something nice, set the table, got everything on it, etc. When we were done, I cleared the table, did the dishes and cleaned up the kitchen. What did he do? Well he stood next to me and offered to put the dishes in the dishwasher...I have to say, it's just as easy for me to put the dishes inside the dishwasher as it is for me to hand them to him right next to me. I guess the point is that he tried to help...I guess.

He also watches black and white movies all the time. Sorry, but I like to watch something from the 21st century sometimes! And for some reason, he only wanted to watch things that were in HD. He didn't even want to search for things that weren't in HD. When I had control of the remote, I said that I pay for ALL the channels and I want to see what is on all of them. After watching The Twilight Zone for about three hours (his choice. I, of course, was doing other things), I asked if it was okay if we watched something else. I put it on a medical show on TLC or Discovery that I thought was interesting. He said "do you really want to watch that? That's geek of the week stuff!" Okay, look who's talking about geek of the week, Mr. I only watch black and white or HD! I didn't say anything about what he was watching, but now all of a sudden he's criticizing what I want to watch, how I raise my children (he made a few comments here and there about the fact that I let E try some champagne on New Year's and that they don't go to sleep on their own...other things, too), what my house looks like, etc.

I also felt like he complained a lot. I think I've mentioned before about how he's always talking about the news business, but he's always complaining about how no one can do the news well, what is wrong with every program on tv, and of course, how everything else in the world is so ridiculously out to get everyone. Of course, he did everything perfectly when he was in the business. GET OVER IT! You are RETIRED! Things change! You are NOT the expert anymore! And, they must be doing something right because they are making a lot of money at it and people are watching it. Waaah, waaah, waaah, waaah, waaah! Oh, and did I mention that during the Vietnam war, he was stationed in Germany for awhile...never fought, just did stuff in Germany...not sure what. He told me once that he could always tell who the Vietnam Vets were within the first five minutes of speaking to them...well, that's because HE always brings it up within the first five minutes of speaking to someone! And then uses it as an excuse for things! Okay, I am all for being positive about our vets. I think they should be proud of what they did and we should support them. BUT, he was in the Army over 40 YEARS ago! That doesn't make him any better than anyone else. I think he is living WAY too much in the past...

And the cigar smoking! YUCK! I said something to him about it over the phone, that he can't kiss me after smoking unless he's had a mint or something. Okay, so he addressed that, I think, but HE still smells! It's all over his clothes, and in his skin. I just really couldn't stand it!

Okay, I'm done ranting and venting....I guess this relationship isn't going to work, eh? Add to that the fact that E woke up this morning, got into bed with me (P left yesterday) and said that he had had a nightmare that he and I were separated for a few days and couldn't find each other. We finally found each other, but it was very scary. I'd be scared, too! That's a pretty strong signal, if you ask me.

I think it's time to have a conversation with P...maybe just say that I think the two of us are in different stages of our lives and they are too different. Nice guy, just not for me. Oh well. It was nice while it lasted!