Sunday, November 26, 2006

"It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!"

We had a lovely, uneventful Thanksgiving dinner with my parents. No political or religious arguments....AND...after 2 years of bullying, my parent's dog decided to be friends with Hairry. Will wonders never cease?

We took advantage of 4 days off from work, to put up our Christmas decorations. Z was thrilled to discover that he can now reach the top of the tree without a stool! He recently surpassed L in height and feels giddy with the power. Look out SME; this means Z is taller than you too! I'm sure he'll rag you about it next summer. God knows how tall he'll be by then!

This is my favorite time of year! I LOVE all the preparations for Christmas. I have most of my shopping done, the package for SME's family is on its way to Edmonton, and the house is sparkling with festive decorations. I'm still in a bit of a funk though. Maybe it has something to do with the weather. I shouldn't complain...BUT...I'm sick of the sun shining on all the bare trees and brown ground! I'm sick of +50F weather! I want some cloudy, SNOWY days! I want snow NOW, not in March! I would welcome this weather in March, but now I want the appropriate weather for the season.

Oh well, next week we'll start the Christmas baking. Maybe the smell of Christmas goodies will dispel the gloom around here. In the meantime, I'll close the curtains, turn on the Christmas lights, light the pine scented candles, play my Christmas music and videos, and wait for the spirit to overtake me.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Happy Thanksgiving!

for the love of God, family and friends.
that my family is healthy and happy.
that L and I have jobs that enable us to provide for our needs.
that we have a warm, cozy place to live.
that we have a freezer full of food.
that we have CLEAN hot and cold running water.
that my family lives in countries where we're free to live and speak as we choose.
that the serenity of nature is as close as my back door.

We are truly blessed!

I Couldn't Resist!

This is sooo much better than MY ass!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

My Ass

There's been a bit of speculating on the web, as to the size of my ass.
Well, here it is world! No, this does NOT mean that I will be participating in HNT!
Those are a pair of size 14 jeans I'm wearing. I'm 5'8" and 50 yrs old. I don't think that's too bad, for an old hag.

Those are my husband's hands on my butt. That's his favorite part of my anatomy. Personally I think my legs are my best feature, but who can argue with an ass-man?
Are there any other vital statistics that need to be shared with the world?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Credit Cards

Just a thought for the holiday shopping season. Spread the love this season, and let a little thoughtfulness guide your buying habits.

I know that a lot of you love the convenience of credit card shopping, but please think twice when you whip out your card in small, locally owned businesses. BTW, bank/debit cards are credit cards!
Did you know :
That credit card machines cost at least $900, and must be replaced every 2-4 years?
The business is charged at least $35/month to run the machine?
Each credit card transaction you make, costs the business at least 10% of your bill?
Corporate cards have an additional $1/transaction fee, in addition to the 10%?

AND my all time favorite. Do you know why we don't get new credit cards every year anymore? Because the magnetic strips wear out on your card, forcing cashiers to manually type in your credit card number. The devious credit card companies charge the business $1 every time a number is typed in. Please request a new card from your credit card company when your card will no longer scan.

Mom and Pop operations can't afford these charges. Most small businesses only accept credit cards because they have a few corporate customers, who shop big and can only pay by card. Credit card companies have become insidious in their quest to get people to use their cards. They offer thousands of different perks such as airline miles and cash back bonuses. Perks are paid for by the businesses, not the credit card companies. Thank the businesses, who accept your card, for your next trip to Aruba, or the down payment on your GM or Ford product! Feel free to screw over big businesses like Walmart by using your card, but think about these charges the next time you whip out your card in a locally owned small business.

Credit card companies won't allow businesses to add a surchage to credit card purchases, but I have come up with a plan for my boss to almost break even on her credit card transactions. I suggested that she raise all her menu prices by 10%. Then offer a 10% discount for cash transactions. All this would require is to program one of the extra buttons on our cash register as a -10% key. This would also defray the costs my boss incurs on all the checks she accepts. Our local banks charge business accounts a $1/check fee on all the checks she deposits in her account. I don't understand this policy. Why can I deposit unlimited checks into my personal account, but she gets charged $1/check? We have customers that write checks for $2.29 for a roll and coffee. After the check fee, my boss gets $1.29. Anyone can see that we just lost money on that customer!

My boss agrees that my plan would solve her problem. She even said that if we advertised a 10% discount for cash, we'd probably attract some new customers. BUT...she refuses to implement my plan. She says that the 2 afternoon waittresses won't be able to figure out this system. Whatever!

While I'm on the subject, I have one more axe to grind. PLEASE, don't insult your waiter/waittress by asking for your credit card receipt back, so you can put a zero in the tip column! We don't mind if you do this when you sign your receipt. But if you forget, just let it slide. I realize that you've heard horror stories about servers filling in outrageous tip amounts, but most people are honest and would NEVER risk losing their jobs over a few extra bucks in tips. Every credit card machine that we've had won't allow a tip to be entered that's larger than the bill. Keep track of your receipts; if there's a discrepancy, report it to your credit card company.

Feel free to follow these suggestions YEAR 'ROUND! Small businesses everywhere will thank you.

Sunday, November 12, 2006


What is it with Obsessive Compulsive Disorder(OCD) and personal hygiene? It seems that people with OCD fall into two categories. They either scrub themselves until they bleed, or they become another Howard Hughes, by shunning bathing, hair cutting, and nail-cutting.

I realize that Z is a teenaged boy, who will avoid changing clothes or showering until nagged into submission. We know that when Z starts bathing voluntarily, there will be a girl involved. However, OCD has raised him to a higher level of filth. Z's scalp is overly sensitive. Hair washing and combing has been a lifelong battle with him. A lot of TS kids suffer from overly sensitive nerve endings in different areas of their bodies. Many parents battle with finding clothing that doesn't bind or itch. Right now, I'd love to shave his head, so we wouldn't have to deal with greasy, matted hair. In addition, the oil from his hair is causing an eruption of pimples on Z's forehead.

At the moment, Z's fingernails are all over an inch long. Some of the nails are broken. I'm sure they snag on everything, but this doesn't seem to bother him. Z is too independent to let me cut his nails. His OCD fear of cutting his skin, prevents him from cutting his own nails. Tomorrow is the day for nail and hair cutting. Let the battles begin!

When you factor in the forgetfullness of ADD, Z's hygiene becomes a nightmare! He gets sidetracked and forgets to brush his teeth or comb his hair. I have printed out a poster of a daily hygiene routine for Z. He never gets through the list without getting sidetracked. We now realize that we have to supervise EVERY item on his list, until it becomes ingrained in his head as a daily habit. Time consuming, but necessary. No wonder we're getting behind in his schooling!

Toilet flushing is another OCD battle we're fighting. Z has a constant fear that the toilet will overflow, which prevents him from flushing. We're currently making him flush, while standing behind him. The more times he flushes, without overflowing the toilet, the more confident he becomes. We're also teaching him how the toilet works and that the plunger is our friend. Another 'plumbing issue' Z has, is filling the bathtub. Even as a small child, Z refused to be in the bathroom while I filled the tub. Running water, except in the sink, freaks him out. Needless to say, showers have always been out of the question for Z. Maybe Plumbing 101 should be on his list of classes?

This semester, Z's health classes will focus on personal hygiene. We have to tread lightly, as the mention of germs may tip him into hyper-clean mode. We will focus on the comfort of being clean, and how much cleanliness improves his appearance.

On the bright side, as seen in my 'clutter' posts, Z is starting to overcome his OCD hoarding behavior. He has been struggling with cleaning his room for the last couple of months. Once again, Mr. Independent refuses to let us help. The motivation for Z's cleaning binge has been his desire to have his new computer in his room. The processor died on the computer that Z built last summer, so L ordered himself a new computer so Z could have his old one. We won't let him put the 'new' computer in his room, until the room is clean and organized. Z has become ruthless while sorting through his unused toys, many of which are 10 years old.

Z has Executive Dysfunction, which makes organizing anything extremely difficult for him. We're quite proud of the progress he's made in his room. L and I will need to fine tune a few things today, but we should be able to move his computer in by nightfall. Then we need to box up the discarded toys and make a trip to the Salvation Army. This will eliminate most of the clutter remaining in our house. Just in the nick of time too. We want to put up Christmas decorations Thanksgiving weekend.

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Let's All Kiss MNCARE Goodbye!

I know that a lot of you are pretty psyched about the results of yesterday's election. I've got mixed feelings about the nat'l elections. It appears that the people have been heard in their disapproval of the Bush administration. I'm fine with that; the people have spoken. BUT, will anything in Congress change, or will it continue to be a pissing contest between the Republicans and Democrats? Will they keep their campaign promises and work for their constituents? Time will tell.

The Minnesota and local elections were a HUGE disappointment to me! Tim Pawlenty was re-elected, by a narrow margin, as governor. Last year Pawlenty stole money from the MNCARE fund, so he could balance his budget without raising taxes. I'm sure he'll do the same this year. Another budget cutting ploy was to reduce state aid to communities and schools. Most local governments in the state were forced to drastically raise property taxes, so they could maintain their fire and police departments, and schools. College tuition, in Minnesota, has risen 50%, as a result of Pawlenty's cuts. Pawlenty proudly claims that HE didn't raise any taxes, local gov'ts did.

Pawlenty was thrilled when his 2 pet projects were passed by the legislature last year. The first project is construction of a commuter rail from the Twin Cities to St Cloud. I did the math when the figures came out on this project. It will cost the taxpayers $350,000 per potential rider of this railroad. For that price, we could build each of these commuters a beautiful new house that's closer to their workplace. Pawlenty's second pet project will bring us THREE new football stadiums! Yeppir, I'll gladly sacrifice my health insurance for football.

I pretty much voted anti-incumbent all the way. My only winner was Amy Klobuchar. James Oberstar will continue to stuff his pockets, after being re-elected to Congress, while selling his constituents down the river.

I've only got one thing to say to Pawlenty and the people who voted for him: BITE ME!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Cake From Scrubs and Shines

In appreciation for all of your kind birthday wishes, our son-in-law, the "Artist" drew us a cake to share. Now, if Miranda would just bring the hot chocolate, we'd be set.

Monday, November 06, 2006

HAPPY BIRTHDAY to Our Favorite Artist!

We are so honored to have you in our crazy family! Our families have melded into one big, loving family. It just doesn't get any better than this!
Much MUCH LOVE from all of us!
Scrunch, Z-kid, Hairry, and of course, Me

BTW, I'm glad you decided not to have your teeth pulled today.
SME better make you a CAKE!

Friday, November 03, 2006

Men Gone Wild

In a fit of bravery, I'm posting pictures of what the inside of our house looked like 3 weeks ago. As I've said before, I HATE clutter!! My guys don't seem to mind it. It's a good thing winter hit early, or the guys would have stuff stacked to the ceiling by now. Ordinarily, our kitchen table is off limits to clutter. Well, the world can now see that I was too tired to nag the guys about that rule.

My guys have yet to figure out that dirty dishes go IN the dishwasher, NOT on the counter right next to the dishwasher. The guys had a tough time finding a place to stack their dirty dishes, during our construction projects. The rest of the dishwasher countertop was occupied by drying paintbrushes, and the battery chargers for the drilldrivers.

"Don't THIS look like the inside of a goat's stomach?"

Over the summer, Z's projects managed to take over our living room. His computer building project found a home on the endtable pictured above.
THEN, we have Z's room cleaning project. He finally overcame one of his OCD issues enough to eliminate some of the 10-year-old toys in his room. They became a lovely centerpiece in our living room.

Fortunately, L and Z decluttered our living room just in the nick of time. We had an unexpected visit from L's family last week. I can tolerate their unexpected visits on the weekend, BUT I wish they wouldn't show up on our doorstep at 8 p.m. on a Tuesday night! We're trying to get our household back on schedule, after a hectic summer. Plus we work and homeschool. We don't have time for overnight guests during the week! These people NEED to get a JOB!

Now that the living room is back to normal, we're hoping to put up our Thanksgiving decorations this weekend.

In All Fairness...

The above picture is MY share of our mess. My sewing desk became the dumping spot for all the stuff I didn't know what to do with. Notice that the vibrating dolphin is the crowning jewel on this stack.

I think it's safe to put the fan away for the winter now. The deer antlers will be hung in the garage this weekend. The rest of the stack? After 10 months, I haven't found a use for it, so into the garbage it goes.

The other side of our bedroom contains the crown jewel of my guys' mess. Computer games, user's manuals, blank CDs and DVDs NEVER make it back to where they belong. I drew the line, and had a minor tantrum when their mess overflowed the computer desk and took over my antique dresser. The desk and dresser are now clutter free. Let's hear it for tantrums!