Monday, December 17, 2012

The one where I'm mistaken for a fugitive on my birthday...

So, as many of you know, Saturday was my birthday. I'd flown out to California on Monday to return my grandbaby to his parents and visit their new home. The baby was a good traveler, he seemed to like riding on the airplanes and it was a good experience. We had a lot of fun in California. We visited fisherman's wharf in San Francisco, Old Sac Town in Sacramento, toured the base, saw the home they'll be moving into on December 27th (so much nicer than any base house my family lived in and definitely nicer than the apartments Mike & I started out in), ate good food, hung out and generally had a great time.

It was hard to leave. It was hard to say goodbye to my baby and her baby. Dylan has lived with us since he was born and it was like leaving two pieces of my soul out there. Mo and Boo. So I cried. But then I bucked up and Sean and I made our way through TSA and to our gate. Where we found out our flight would be delayed an hour because of a storm in Ontario (where the flight was coming from). Ugh. No one likes flight delays. I approached the desk to let them know that I had a connecting flight in Las Vegas and would be cutting it short on time. They assured me I'd make my connecting flight, but I might not get to board with my "A" pass, meaning that Sean and I might not get to sit next to each other. Fab.

Sean, not being the experienced world traveller that I am, was not happy. So we decided to tour the airport gift shops, where we bought trashy magazines and sour patch kids. These helped pass the time and take care of his crankies. Finally, we boarded our aircraft. They'd oversold the flight, so every seat was taken. Including the one next to me in our row. And, has everyone forgotten airplane etiquette? Is it not rude to promptly put both of your elbows on the armrests so you can text on your phone? Excuse me, sir, I might have wanted to use that armrest. You could have at least asked.

Also, there's turbulence. A lot of it. This doesn't bother Sean and I at all, but it does slow the plane somewhat. And then we land. And sit on the airplane, on the tarmac, because they haven't got a free gate for us. The time before my connecting flight leaves is ticking away. I'm beginning to get annoyed.

So what should have been a lovely hour and a half lay over in Vegas (plenty of time to have a drink and drop some money on the slots) has turned into a mad dash to our connecting flight ten gates away. We bob and weave through the crush of other travelers to arrive at our gate, sweaty and out of breath, only to find that they are delaying the flight for twenty minutes. So I get us a place and Sean runs to the sandwich shop (we haven't eaten in 8 hours and no, I don't count airline peanuts). He returns in the nick of time with two turkey sandwiches, a coke, and a look of sheer surprise. Turns out he didn't realize that two sandwiches and a coke could cost $24. Haha.

So we're lining up to board, while a harassed and frazzled looking airline worker is helping those in wheelchairs on board. I notice one little old lady sitting neglected (and surrounded by other travelers) in a wheelchair some distance from the desk. I asked her if she'd like me to wheel her closer so the attendant wouldn't forget her. At her nod, I did. Turns out, when the attendant checked her ticket, she was on the next flight. Oops.

We get on board, and once again the plane is full. The guy who sits next to me this time also commandeers my arm rest. WTF? And his bony elbow happens to be digging into my side for most of the ride. Not cool. But we get there. And Mike is waiting for us and he has roses.

He seems really alert and chipper so he gets to drive and after a brief stop for sodas, we're finally on our way home from St. Louis. We talk about the trip and Boo. But after an hour and a half, I can tell he's getting sleepy. So I suggest he pull over and I'll drive. So on the outskirts of Hannibal, Mo, he pulls into a closed gas station and we play Chinese fire drill.

Back in the car, I drive through Hannibal and I'm nearly to the turn off for the bridge to Illinois, when a cop in the oncoming lane flashes his lights at me. Huh? Then he pulls a u-turn and turns on his lights. So, slightly bewildered, I pull over. He comes to the car and I hand him my license and registration.

Cop: What are you doing in town tonight?

Me: Travelling home from St. Louis.

Cop: So you're just passing through? You didn't stop anywhere?

Me: Um, well, we stopped at a gas station to change drivers because he was sleepy.

Cop: Shining his light in and looking at Mike & Sean: Did you see anything at that gas station?

Me: No. They were closed.

He asks for Mike & Sean's IDs too. WTH? I can tell he's suspicious but can't figure out why.

Cop: Well, ma'am, you were speeding. You were doing 52 in a 35.

Me: Was I? I'm sorry. I should have been paying more attention. Shit. I haven't had a speeding ticket in 18 years!

Cop: Well, that's better than me. But the fact is you were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We got a call about a fight at the gas station you passed and everyone scattered when the police showed up. When I saw you speeding, I thought you might be one of the people fleeing the scene.

*Seriously? I have a suit jacket on. Do I look like the kind of person who flees the scene of a fight at a gas station?!*

He takes our IDs back to his car and I burst into tears. Mike and Sean kind of chuckle.

Me: Remember the birthday where we were driving home and the tire fell off the van?

Mike: Yeah, it hit a barn.

Sean: See? It's not the worst birthday ever!

Me: Not by a longshot. But I'm so tired and I just want to go home.

I mop up the tears and the cop comes back.

Cop: I'm so sorry about this. You were just speeding in the wrong place at the wrong time. You've got a great driving record, you've been very pleasant, and I noticed it was your birthday. I feel like a jerk giving you this ticket, but once I write it, it's set in stone. I'm really sorry.

Me: It's not your fault. But do you have to keep my driver's license? I'm going to Florida on Friday...

Cop: Oh, no, we don't do that in Missouri. Man, then I'd really feel bad, keeping your license when you were going on vacation.

And so he gave me my ticket and we drove off. $125 dollars poorer. And the end of my safe driver's discount. And as we drive off~

Mike: Just so you know, we do have a shotgun in the trunk.

Me: WTH??!! You mean I was riding dirty?

Mike: It's Porky's. We're going hunting in the morning and he forgot it. I stopped by and picked it up for him. It's not illegal to have an unloaded gun in the trunk.

Me: Oh. Well at least they didn't bring out the drug dogs.

Sean: That would have been funny as hell, sitting on the sidewalk while the drug dogs searched your car after the day we've had. At least you have a story to tell.

Me: Yeah. And you're welcome fugitives who really were fleeing the scene. F*ckers. They probably all got away while the cop was busy with me.

Sean: let's just pretend tomorrow is your birthday.

And so we did. I slept til 10 and then I talked to my Dad and to Molly. Then Sean and I watched four movies in a row. And a documentary on Doomsday Cults. And we ate take out. So it worked. We kind of figured out that I only have good birthdays every five years anyway. So I'm anticipating 45, that's when the next one is due.

Happy Travels, everyone. I'm off to Florida on Friday. Wonder what kind of trouble I'll get into along the way...


Sunday, October 14, 2012

The one where I share a funny story...

I'm not going to apologize for my absence (although, I am sorry), I'm just going to relate a funny story. Please note that names have been changed to protect the guilty. Because, well, really, the innocent never do anything they need protecting from, do they? But I didn't change Sean's name, because let's face it, you'd know it was him anyway.

Sean has a friend, we'll call him Jethro. And Jethro has just begun seeing a new girl (no, I don't know her name). Well, once upon a time (a few weeks ago) in a land far far away (or 30 minutes anyway) new girlfriend's evil (or slightly misguided) ex-boyfriend comes to her house and begins making an ass of himself (as young boys often do). New girlfriend calls Jethro in tears. Unfortunately, Jethro is stuck in a land farther away, running errands with his father. What to do? Jethro calls in other heroes to save new girlfriend. Namely, Sean. Sean agrees that this is a problem and since another friend, we'll call him Roscoe (yes, I do know it's a silly name. pay attention, would you?), is already on his way to Sean's house, he phones him up and tells him they have a fair maiden to save so he should drive "double time." (Honestly, I don't know what driving "double time" means and I'm pretty sure I don't want to know.) But apparently, Roscoe is some kind of stunt driver akin to those in the Fast & Furious movies and he gets to our house much more quickly then normal (but, thankfully, all in one piece).

Now, we have two back up heroes who speed to the damsel in distress' house. They walk around the house and notice  two groups of people. One group includes our fair lady, her friends, and possibly siblings (these details are a little thin) and the other group includes young men set on douchebaggery, the evil ex and his minions. Our heroes assess the situation and then:

Sean: Are you Jethro's fair maiden?

Fair Maiden: Yes (this may or may not have been said with tearful hopefulness)

Sean: Okay. Then which one of you jerkwads (this may not be the exact wording) is starting trouble?

*No reply*

Sean: We can do this the easy way or we can do this the hard way.

*Evil ex is pushed forward by now uncomfortable henchmen*

Roscoe: We need to have a talk with you.

*Sean and Roscoe approach Evil ex*

Roscoe: Now this can go down one of two ways. The first way is you apologize and leave quietly. The second is much more violent and doesn't end well for you, except that you still apologize and leave.

*Evil ex blusters for a minute*
*Sean pulls Roscoe aside*

Sean: *speaking in very loud whisper intentionally trying to be overheard* I think we're going to have to bash some skulls.

Roscoe: I was hoping you'd say that...

Evil ex: Yeah, okay, whatever, we're leaving. Mumbled apology. *The villain and his minions retreat*

Fair Maiden's brother: Wow. Jethro really did send his friends.

*Our heroes begin walking back around the house to their vehicle*

Someone in crowd: Wait, good sirs, what are your names?

Sean: *thrown casually over his shoulder* Starsky and Hutch.

And that, dear friends, was your story for today. I'll try to be more frequent with my postings.


Wednesday, July 25, 2012

The one where I get interviewed...

You guys are not going to believe this, but I'm going to be interviewed and featured on this site: Mommy Page. I know, you're all wondering if they actually read my blog before picking me. That was my initial thought too. Then I thought maybe I was being punked. Because, I hear you all saying, "But, Spot, you're more like the anti-Mommy." I know, right? But they must have read my blog because the interview questions actually pertain to a post or two. And those questions? Man, they're hard. I'm freaking out just a little. But don't tell anyone, it would ruin my image.

So I'm definitely going to do the interview and I will let you all know when it is up; hopefully, you'll find a minute or two to sneak over and check it out, leave me a little comment love, and generally promote a site that apparently doesn't want to be preachy or "cookie cutter"ish. Let's face it, if they did, they wouldn't touch my blog with a ten foot pole. I mean I've openly admitted to not knowing where my children were every minute of every single day; letting them endanger their health by climbing tall trees, handling snakes (okay, so I totally did not encourage that, quite the opposite), riding without pads or helmets; and snarking at them. But, hey, they survived and became mostly functioning members of society (provided you don't ask Lu where any European countries are located or think that plans for total world domination is an odd life plan for a guy).

I've also stated numerous times that I'm looking forward to my children vacating the premises. I get really funny looks for that one sometimes. And it makes me wonder if people think they want their kids to live with them forever. And if they do, what kind of accident was it that caused the head injury that knocked your screw loose? Because, let's face it, no matter how close you are to your offspring (and anyone reading this blog knows that I'm nearly super glued to mine), there comes a time when you want some space. And I'm not talking about locking yourself in the bathroom for ten minutes with your fingers in your ears, refusing to converse with anyone standing outside the door. (You know you've been there, don't try to deny it.) And after raising them up, I deserve some "me" time. Or better yet, some "me & mike" time. So while I love them dearly, and will cry copiously the day they move out, I will also do a secret (okay, now that I've put it in writing maybe not-so-secret) happy dance.

They need the chance to blossom. Lu needs her own house so that two adult women with different ways of doing things aren't trying to survive in the same kitchen. Sean needs to not have me cook for him, clean his room, balance his checkbook, and amuse him on a routine basis. They need to flaunt their independence, make some mistakes, and become fully adult. Do I wish they weren't both moving half a continent away? Definitely. But I also know that there's nothing much around this area for them. We've always raised our children to want to get out of dodge and find their own niche in the world. I'll miss them like crazy (especially my adorable grandson) but there are cell phones, skype, and air travel. I'll make use of them all. Frequently.

And Mike & I? Well, I need time to devote to work and not feel guilty about neglecting the family. We both need a little less stress and a little more downtime. And we need more couple time.

And guess what? Lu & Sean took baby Dylan to visit his dad in Texas. So the next six days are a practice run at being empty- nesters. I'm only 8 hours in, Lu's called once already, but I'm kind of liking this silence thing. Just me and six sleeping cats. I'll let you know how it goes...


Wednesday, June 13, 2012

The one where I have a nighttime visitor...

Okay, so remember the last post where I had to interrupt my movie and walk through the dark, scary woods dodging werewolves? Well, you'd think a girl would get a break after that, wouldn't you? Nope.

I finally make it back to the couch and turn my movie back on. I get settled in all comfy and start enjoying the movie. Then the weird noises start. Let's remember I'm already on edge. Well, a couple of times I thought I heard a door open, like one of the inside doors, maybe to Mike's office, and I figure it's just Sean getting home from Scouts. Except  I didn't hear his car pull up or the outer door open. And each time I get up to check-- no one is there. So I tell myself it's just the cats pawing at the door to the downstairs because they don't like being shut down there at night.

Then I hear a scratching at the back door. And I figure it's just our outside cat, wanting to come in. So I try to ignore it. Then it becomes a frantic, scratching, loud noise. So I get off the couch and walk to the back door. The kitchen is pretty dark, only the light over the stove is on and it's dark outside. It sounds like the stupid cat got itself stuck between the screen and the door. So I open the door. (You were all screaming at your screens, yelling, "DON'T OPEN THE DOOR!" weren't you?)

 Well, I did. I looked down at the animal at my feet and, in the time it took me to realize that it was not my black and white cat, it took my measure and darted between my legs, racing through the kitchen.

"Holy shit! There's a raccoon in my house." That's what came out of my mouth. Luckily, the raccoon had pretty much trapped itself in the hallway. The outside door was shut, the downstairs door was shut, Mike's office door was shut, and I threw the baby gate up to keep it out of the kitchen. So I hop the baby gate, walk into the dark hallway and flip on the lights. The raccoon has climbed the door frame so it's eye level with me and I'm only a foot away from it. I'm not sure who was more freaked out, me or the raccoon.

Me: Shhh. It's okay little guy (little guy? This thing was bigger than my biggest cat and he's huge.) I'm not going to hurt you, okay? Let's just figure out how we can get you back inside.

So I run to the phone.

Sean: Hello?

Me: Where are you?

Sean: On the gravel, almost home. Why?

Me: There's a raccoon in the house!

Him: Shit! Okay. I'm almost there. Stay away from it, those things are vicious.

Me: I've got it trapped in the hallway.

So he hangs up. I go into the kitchen to look for some food and grab a piece of cheese. (Don't even ask why that was what I grabbed) And I take the cheese to the raccoon and kind of wave it in front of him. Then I tear it into pieces and make a trail from where he is around the corner and to Mike's office, thinking if I get him that far I can open the door and shoo him out. Then I climb up on Mike's desk to wait. No movement from the raccoon.

Sean comes busting through the door and says,

Sean: Where is it?

Me: around the corner on top of the door frame.

Sean: Do you know how it got in?

Me: Um. Well, yeah. It knocked and I let it in.

Sean: *giving me his patented "you're the stupidest person on the face of the planet look"* You let it in?

Me: Um. Yeah. I thought it was the cat.

Sean: It doesn't look anything like the cat.

Me: It was dark!

So he starts to walk around the corner.

Sean: Holy hell, what happened to your cheese? It's all over the place!

Me: I was trying to lure the raccoon.

Sean: With cheese?

Me: It's in the rodent family, right?

*again with the look*

Sean: Get in the kitchen.

He opens both doors to Mike's office. And gets a broom from my pantry. I hop the baby gate into the kitchen.

Me: What are you going to do?

Sean: I'm going to knock it off the door frame and chase it outside.

Me: You can't knock it down! It'll get hurt.

Sean: No it won't. They're like cats, it'll land on it's feet.

And then he yells, "HUZZAH!" And he knocks down the raccoon, chases it through Mike's office with the broom, hitting it in the butt, and onto the steps, where he does some crazy victory dance.

Me: Well, I don't think we have to worry about him coming back. He's probably telling all his buddies not to go to the big house. That crazy lady tried to feed him cheese.

Sean: No. Now it's going to be like a right of passage for all the teenage raccoons. Dare you to go up to the house and scratch at the door! And then they'll run away.

Me: F*ck. I'll constantly be opening the door and nothing will be there.

The movie? Oh yeah. I finished it the next day. And while this happening was hilarious, the raccoon party on my deck the next night was not. They dug through all of my pots and threw dirt everywhere. Thankfully, I'm such a procrastinator that I hadn't even planted anything yet. (Go me!) They also managed to knock over a garbage can and get the garbage everywhere. So I had to go get a tough one, with a strong lid and bungee cords to hold it down. And I'll fix their "pot" parties. I've got a topsy turvy planter. Take that, raccoons!

Moral of the story? That's not always opportunity knocking on your door. Sometimes it's local wildlife.


Friday, June 8, 2012

The one about werewolves and corndogs...

<----These kind of werewolves. Not these kind of werewolves--->

I know. Right now you're sitting there wondering what the french toast werewolves and corn dogs have to do with each other. Don't get ahead of yourself. All shall be revealed.

So Mike left Sunday night for Camp Eastman. They're doing a new joint crew week this year and he and Phil ended up being the crew weeks two deep leadership. In non-Scout speak: Mike had to go hang out with the ranger at the other camp and watch over the 8 boys who had come up for crew week. They'd spend half their week up there and half their week down here, doing projects for both camps and then having some fun time too. I'm used to Mike being gone a lot so I didn't figure it was a big deal. Except that, inevitably, the weird shit always happens when he's not here to deal with it. Like the time the limescale remover that he told me to put in my dishwasher actually ate the dishwasher and turned my kitchen into a lake. Or how he left me the first week we moved out here and being a city girl, I'd never heard coyotes. I nearly wet myself in fear. But it's whatevs. He's got a job to do.

So I'm sitting alone Monday evening. Sean is at a scout meeting and Mo & Dylan have just gone to bed. I fire up the DVR to watch a Lifetime movie (don't judge, it was about an artist who talked to an imaginary friend), and I'm maybe twenty minutes in when the phone rings. It's Mike.

Mike: Sorry. I know the baby is in bed. But is Sean there?

Me: It's Monday night. He's never home on Monday nights. (you'd think the man could get this schedule down. Sean's only had scouts on Monday nights for the last like 9 years.)

Mike: Shit.

Me: What do you need?

Mike: I needed him to go down and unlock the Cook's Cabin.

Me: Why?

Mike: The DE who was going to move in last week just called to see if I'd unlock it, but I told him I was up here. So he said he'd stay in Polar Bear as originally planned, but I think I locked it when NYLT left this weekend.

Me: Okay. I'll go down and unlock it. Which key is it?

Mike: You'll have to check that yellow sheet and find it.

Me: What yellow sheet?

Mike: The one on my desk. Or maybe the other desk. It's there somewhere.

Me: It's on top the printer. Alright, got the key. Do you have a flashlight somewhere? It's hella dark out there.

Mike: Um, somewhere. But the outside lights on the cabin and dining  hall are on so you should be okay.

So I go out and get in the car and drive down to the parking lot, where I find the gate closed and locked. At this point, I have two options. I can drive back to the house, call Mike and try to find the key to the gate, or I can just walk the rest of the way to the Cook's Cabin and unlock the door. I figure walking will be faster. Its about five feet into my walk that I realize it really is hella dark out. And I'm alone in camp. And there are dark woods everywhere. First, I start to wonder if coyotes or raccoons ever attack people. Then I start to worry about snakes. Then, as I'm passing the health lodge, there's a large commotion behind it, and I can make out the bushes shaking fiercely. Then I start to think about werewolves (again, no judging! I watched Teen Wolf that night). Then I speed up my pace and keep glancing over my shoulder. Then it dawns on me that is EXACTLY what people in horror movies do just before something really bad happens to them! CRAP. So I hurry to the safety of the lights of the dining hall, cross to cook's cabin to find...the damn door is already unlocked. WTF?

So I turn around and start the trip back to my car. I'm still uneasy and glancing around nervously. I mean, I have to walk right past the health lodge again. And by now, it's dawned on me that if a werewolf sees me, I probably look like a corn dog to him. I'm plump, juicy, awkward and slow. Might as well be meat on a stick. Yep, I'm the fair food of the werewolf diet. Fabulous.

I'm now also slightly pissed off. I made a wasted trek through the scary, dark woods at night. I get home and call Mike back.

Me: So the gate's locked.

Mike: No it's not. It's just dummy locked to make it look locked.

Me: Well I couldn't get it open.

Mike: Yeah you have to blah...blah...blah.

Me: Don't you think that would have been pertinent information to give me before I went down there?

Mike: oh, um, yeah?

Me: *Dramatic pause for effect* The damn cabin was already unlocked! I walked, WALKED through the dark to the cabin for you and it was already unlocked. You're lucky werewolves didn't eat me.

Mike: I was afraid of that. Wait? What? Werewolves?

Me: You thought the cabin might be unlocked and you didn't even tell me that? Do you know what I look like to a werewolf?? A corn dog, that's what!!

Mike: *laughing* A corn dog? *more laughter*

Me: You owe me big time, mister!

Mike: *still laughing* Okay,  pumpkin. I love you.

And the best part? That was only the beginning of the night of weird shit. I'll write about the rest of my evening later. And no, I never did get to finish the damn movie.

Stay away from werewolves and dark woods,

Sunday, June 3, 2012

The one where I set the toaster on fire...

So I was going to go with Lu's plan to save the economy, but then we had a toaster catastrophe. And me blogging about it might save lives. Which would make me a hero. And heroes are awesome. Which makes me = awesome.

It started out like a typical Friday morning. I got up, stumbled to the kitchen for some coffee. I decided to eat some raspberry pop-tarts. I'd actually bought them for CJ's visit because he really likes raspberry pop-tarts, but then he didn't eat any while he was here, so I thought I would. Well, turns out they were the last two in the box. Who ate them, you ask. I'll give you two guesses and his name starts with "M" and ends with "ike." I was glad I was going to at least get these ones since after that they'd be all gone.

So I put the pop-tarts in the toaster and pushed down the little knob thingy that drops them down in there and causes the wires to heat up. (Does anyone even know what that knob thingy is called??) And then I went into the living room to talk to Sean because he'd gotten home after I fell asleep the night before. I figured I'd hear the toaster pop back up. So we talked. And after a while I realized that the toaster was taking a really long time to warm up two pop-tarts, so I walked around the corner into the kitchen.

There was smoke rolling out of the toaster. I knew my pop-tarts were probably black and I was slightly annoyed. But as I got closer to the counter, flames started to shoot out of the toaster. Did I mention that the toaster was sitting under my wooden cabinets?! I'm not going to lie- I started freaking out. I rushed over. I knew I couldn't just dump water on it (because toasters are electrical appliances, duh). So I wanted to unplug it, but I couldn't remember which cord went to the toaster and which went to the coffee pot beside it. So I freaked a little. And then I hollered.

Me: Sean!! The toaster is on fire! Help!

Lu: *walking down the hallway, sees the kitchen* Holy shit! The toaster's really on fire!

Me: That's what I said!

Sean: *strolling leisurely (and I do mean leisurely) into the kitchen* Wow. The toaster is on fire.

Me: Did you think I was making it up?!

Sean: Unplug it.

Me: *yanking out both plugs, because really, why does it matter if I unplug the coffee pot too?*

Sean: *picks up the flaming toaster* I'm gonna need you to get the door. *I open the door and he walks out onto the deck, down the stairs and sets the flaming toaster in the wet grass calm as can be* I'm going to need a glass of water.

Me: *running back inside for water. I come back out and he's casually lighting his cigarette off the flames still pouring out of the toaster* Here!

End of story: He dumps water on the toaster and the fire is put out. My poor pop-tarts (the last ones of their kind) are lumps of charcoal, not to mention soaking wet.

When I asked both kids about their startling lack of urgency when I shouted, "the toaster's on fire," they told me they figured maybe a crumb in the bottom was smoking, but that they didn't really expect flames. Apparently, the panic in my voice wasn't enough of a clue.

In case you're wondering, the cabinets were fine. Not even a burn mark or anything on the underside. Sean's calm demeanor and quick thinking saved the day. And the smoke wasn't that hard to get out of the house.

And we do have a fire extinguisher in our house. It was conveniently located about two feet from the flaming toaster, in the pantry. If the cabinets had caught fire we would have been forced to use it, but those things are messy and slightly toxic. I'm glad it didn't come to that.

Did I mention my house has wooden siding? Did I mention that I'm petrified of fire? (I'm going to blame villagers with flaming torches and pitchforks in a past life for that one.) So it was a mere toaster catastrophe, but it could have been worse.

Do you know what it says on the Pop-Tarts website in big bold red letters? This:
Due to possible risk of fire, never leave your toasting appliance or microwave unattended

Who knew?! Well, now we all do.


Thursday, May 31, 2012

The one where I get a cool catch phrase

Wow. There's some serious cleaning up to do in here. Cobwebs, dust, a stray spider or two. And nothing but a lonely echo when I speak. I know, I know, my fault. And I've made my excuses before so I won't rehash old ones. But I miss this blog. I miss the fun and the friendship from the readers. I miss chronicling the daily BS that my family puts out. And all of my oldest readers know- that's a lot of BS. So I'll try to be more regular, catch you up, and go from there.

To get us started, here's an excerpt from a conversation Sean and I had at midnight the other night. (Don't ask why we were talking at midnight- it's because even as adults, my children feel the need to tell me about their night when they come home. Never mind that it's midnight and I'm exhausted and the only reason I'm still up is because I can't sleep when they're not home.)

Sean: You need a catch phrase. Like mine- "You cannot defeat me!" (said in a loud and carnival barker like voice, with one hand raised in the air and one leg propped up on my bed. Think the "Captain Morgan" pose).

Me: Why?

Sean: Everyone has a catch phrase. Even CW.

Me: CW has a catch phrase? What is it?

Sean: CW, slayer of Elk.

Me: Why Elk? We don't even have elk around here.

Sean: It's from some online game he plays. I guess he had a sword and ran around killing the elk in the game.

Me: Your friends are strange.

Sean: Duh.

Me: How about Stacey Turner, Head of Awesomeness?

Sean: That's a title not a catch phrase.

Me: How about Stacey Turner, Slayer of Gnomes. I hate freakin garden gnomes. They creep me out. Who knows what they're plotting while they are out in your yard at night. *involuntary shiver*

Sean: I like it. You should buy some garden gnomes and take a picture of you and the shattered pieces. You can borrow my sword.

Me: No. It would be better to kill them with random objects. Like a cheese grater.

Sean: You could pose in every room in the house.

Me: Like in the kitchen I could be shoving one upside down in the blender. Or menacing one with one of those old egg beaters that you crank.

Sean: And strangling one with the shower hose in the bathroom.

Me: That would probably make a great blog: Defeating the Gnomes. If you posted a picture a day, people would tune in just to see them.

Sean: So we need to put Garden Gnomes on the shopping list.

Me: But they have to stay locked in the garage until we slay them. I'm not taking any chances.

Sean: This is great. It's good to see you being creative again. Sometimes now, you're just a little too grown up for your own good. All business, no play.

Me: Um, maybe that's because I'm running my own company. It's kind of a lot of work.

Sean: "In a world full of cheerios, be a fruit loop." Do you know who said that?

Me: Yes, Spot said that. God, I love Spot.

Sean: You said that. You are Spot.

Me: I know, right? I think I'm going to get  a t-shirt that says "I ♥ Spot" and wear it to KillerCon in Vegas. It will be like wearing a shirt that says "I ♥ Me," only cooler. When people ask me, "what's Spot?" I'll say, "exactly."

Sean: Maybe you need to get some sleep.

Me: So get out of my room.

And that's how we came up with my new catch phrase. "I am Spot, slayer of Gnomes!"

It's good to be back. Tune in next time for more ridiculousness and how Lu's going to save the economy.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

The one where he now belongs to the USMC

I don't even know what to call this post. That's how my whole week has rolled. Tuesday I couldn't even tell you what day of the week it was. First I thought it was Monday and then I thought it was Thursday. WTF, me? And then Tuesday night- the bomb dropped. I was making supper and Sean and Mike had just walked in.

Sean- I heard from the recruiter today. He called and said he had good news.

Me- Oh yeah? What?

Sean- I have to go to MEPS tomorrow, I'm swearing in on Thursday.

Me- *sputtering* But...what...all your waivers?*He had to get a waiver for his wrist tattoo because it wasn't an inch from his wrist. He had to get a waiver for his home school diploma. It's been nothing but a pain from the beginning.*

Sean- All went through. I'm in.

Me-*mouth hanging open, still stuttering* but...but...

Sean- No buts! All I need now is for my job assignment and ship out date to come down.

And then he went off to take a shower.

Lu- Why do you sound so surprised? You knew this was coming.

Me- Well, I mean, they kept jerking him around, and the Air Force tried to steal him, and he had a plan B and it was a good plan. And now he's leaving!

Lu- Again, you knew this was coming.

Me- You don't get it yet, but you will in eighteen years. *Pointing at baby Dylan* He's my baby. And now he's leaving home. And you should know that after you leave things are never the same. And he's joining the service, the Marines no less, and he could get sent to Afghanistan and die.

Let me first say that I have nothing against the Marines. Except that they are the first in. They lose more military personnel every year. Sean knows this. Sean doesn't care. And despite an IQ and test scores that qualify him for Intelligence jobs, Special Ops, or millions of other things, Sean wants to be Infantry. First in. He's wanted this since he was six. Seriously, six. And while I admire the determination and his fire, as a Mom, I'd like him to have a nice behind the scenes job. Like, stateside. But I know that isn't his dream and I have to support his dream, regardless of what my dreams for him might have been.

Also, I was raised in an Air Force family, so it's hard to switch loyalty. Which only military people will understand.

I'm not sure anyone in the family gets it. Sean thinks I'm not proud of him. And that is far from the truth. Sean is amazing. I couldn't be more proud of him. And I am proud that he wants to serve his country. And I'm proud that he's confident and independent and nothing I say would talk him out of this. I'm glad he's going for his dreams. But I can be proud and glad and happy for him and still be sad for me.

Don't get me wrong-- I'm totally looking forward to all of my chicks leaving the nest. I know that the house will be cleaner, quieter and easier to take care of. Mike and I will have some quality time together and I won't have so many distractions from writing. I'm not one of those people who are scared to death of what they'll do when they have an empty nest. Not anymore. I have a career and outside interests. I have friends and hobbies. Mike and I have plenty to talk about besides the kids. Our trip to New Orleans proved that we can still be "just Mike & Stacey" and enjoy it.

But I will miss my chicks like nobody's business. I will miss the loud chaotic craziness of five adults and a baby living in the same house. I will miss talking out a story line with the kids or insane dinner conversations. I will miss having partners in crime. I will miss sarcastic banter (Mike's not so big on the sarcasm). Who will explain quantum physics to me, for gosh sakes?

I'm excited for the kids to start their lives. I know, living at home, they both feel like they are kind of in limbo and waiting for "their real lives to begin". And I understand that. And I'm excited for "the rest of my life" to begin. I'm excited for the next stage in Mike & I's relationship to begin. I'm excited to lay on the couch, after a long day working, and not have to keep turning the TV up, in order to hear it.

But I'm sad too. I'll miss those chicks. They are my kids, my chicks, my spawn. But they are also some of my best friends. So sending them off is bittersweet. It's the culmination of my life's best work. Nothing I achieve from here on out, can ever compare to raising confident, intelligent, responsible adults. I devoted the last 21 years of my life to it and seeing it come to fruition is supremely gratifying. And terrifying. But mostly, gratifying.

So I'm going to have a glass of wine at dinner tonight. And I'm going to toast- Sean on the beginning of his journey, and to me- in the next phase of mine.


Tuesday, January 10, 2012

The one where we wrap up the year...

Hello? *peers anxiously out at the audience* Anyone out there? *taps microphone* Is this thing on? Oh! Wait, there you are! Shout out to my stalker, Michigan. Didn't think I knew your name, did you? Yeah, I have mad stalker skills of my own. Or, well, ok, Sean told me. Anywho, for anyone still out there reading my rambling, few and far between posts, Happy New Year (a few days late).

I know I don't post as often as I should, but I've got my reasons.  Mostly, I'm super busy and distracted. And it's not that funny shit doesn't still happen all the time at my house, I just forget it before I can blog it. Sad, but true. And then there's the fact that so many people that know me (in real life) read my blog that it's kind of awkward to put some stuff on here. And mostly, they're pretty awesome peeps but some just look for gossip. (You know who you are and you should probably get a more interesting life of your own so you don't have to try to ruin mine). Whew, I've been wanting to get that off my chest.

So, a whole 'nother year flew by. Seriously, it feels like it was whoosh and there went 2011. Why does time seem to go so much faster as you get older. Does it really speed up or is our perception skewed? The answer probably has something to do with quantum physics and the space time continuum. I'd ask Sean, but you know my eyes would glaze over and all I'd hear was "blah blah blah". I'm going to go with it actually does go faster, because to admit that it was my perception would be like admitting these lovely "silver" highlights in my hair were actually greys and that I'm aging. Which I think is totally unfair because most days I don't feel a day over 21. Well, mentally. Physically, some days I feel 100. Wait? Where was I?

Oh yeah, a new year. 2011 was eventful. I mean, like ginormously eventful. My oldest, CJ, graduated from his school and turned 21. Lu had a baby and got married!! And my baby, Sean, turned 18, travelled across the continent twice and joined the Marines. I don't have children anymore, I have adults. How weird is that? Mike was hospitalized, twice. I had gallbladder surgery (good riddance!), a skin cancer scare and started a whole new career. And Mike & I finally took a trip, all by ourselves. See what I mean? Last year was HUGE. And this year the world ends. I mean, if you believe all that "end of the world" stuff. Personally, I lean either way, depending on my level of optimism or pessimism. Although, if a cataclysmic apocalyptic event should happen, you know we're prepared out here. Sean even learned this year that I happen to be a pretty decent shot and won't be totally useless in the zombie apocalypse.

But I digress, the year in review: Wow. That's all I can say. I'm so grateful for last year. Don't get me wrong, there were some bad things. Mike's paternal grandmother lost her battle with cancer in November. She was an awesome lady and will be missed by our family. Mike's hospital ordeals were nerve wracking and not fun. My mother received a very grim medical diagnosis, although the second opinion is, so far, inconclusive. That will be a whole other post. But in the end, we came out stronger. My Mother's illness prompted my sister and I to take a weekend, just us and Mom & Dad. It was a weekend for healing old hurts and forgiveness. Watching my daughter give birth was one of the hardest, but most joyous, things I've ever witnessed. She was a champ. Her being a mother and wife has brought us even closer in fabulous ways. Mike's illnesses and our trip reminded us, again, to cherish each other while we can. (Sappy, right?)

And, as always, I am constantly reminded that we have met and continue to meet the most amazing people, both in person and online. Shout out to Peg at Square Peg in a Round Hole for the awesome white trash chex mix she sent me. It was delicious! Thanks to everyone who has sent notes, cards, emails, ect, whenever we've needed a "pick me up". And thanks, most, for continuing to share my life through this blog. I ♥ you, one and all.

And here's some highlights:
Our trip to Gulf Shores, Al in March with a pregnant Lu

CJ's prom in May

CJ's Graduation in late May

Counting down the weeks til Dylan's birth

The big day arrived, 07-18-11 Dylan James Flanagan, 7 lbs 10 oz

She's a beautiful Mama

Mike's Grandma Vera got to see the baby

The wedding: small but wonderful, in the place they met

Cutest family ever, Halloween

Mike in a New Orlean's coffee shop before the cemetery tour. How could you not love this guy?

May you all have a very blessed 2012!