What on earth have you been doing?!













We've entered Hallowbirthdaymas season so we are busy as hell.  I do try and keep downtime in our lives but, well, that doesn't always work out.  What have we been up to this October?  Here are the highlights, in no particular order:


  • Joined a new 4H club.  Meets once a month, on Sundays, at the Ranch.  Perfect time and location for us.  
  • Started dance with aforementioned 4H club for Stella.  They will practice weekly and perform in June (and perhaps other times but that's their county fair judging.)
  • Ended soccer for Sandis, but up until last week that was thrice weekly
  • Continue having pony lessons with our friend for Stella (lessons are in exchange for us watching their animals when they go out of town.)
  • Acquired our first rabbit.  We'll be raising rabbits to show and selling the extras for meat (or giving them back to Sue M. for meat.)
  • Knitting up a storm because my friend Shanna talked me into doing the Harry Potter Knitting House Cup.  One project/month minimum.  Started and completed within the month.  It's been fun.  Really, it is :)
  • Visited a corn maze.
  • Had a sick kid and husband
  • Had a friend's kids for the weekend.
  • Went to pumpkin carving night at church (one of the UU High Holy Days)
  • Saw Nancy Drew play that our friend was in
  • Worked (me)
  • Did school work (kids) - math, writing, chemistry, ancient civ and Options
  • Went to two birthday parties
  • Had a dog diagnosed with lymphoma
  • Lost half the power to our house and have been making due without washer/dryer and stove/oven. (they are coming FRIDAY to fix it, finally)
  • Started teaching 8th grade OWL again.
  • Cleaned the entire garage and the children's room (me)
  • Went to family fun night at church

I think that's about it.  I'm sure there's more that I've forgotten.  After all, I have children and therefore my brain is only half capacity on a GOOD day.  And you only get one good day a month.  It's in the Having Children Handbook.  I'd look up which day is the good day this month but I seem to have misplaced my Handbook....




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Why use scratch paper when figuring your math when you have perfectly good feet?





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Does this count?



I think that this counts as homeschooling, don't you?



After all, everyone should learn how to change a tire, and be able to do it safely and correctly. She took off the lug nuts (after I loosened them), took off the old tire, put on the donut tire, tightened the lug nuts in correct order and lowered the car.

And yes, she did want to change the tire.  More than that she was incredibly excited to change the tire.  She even got a little upset with me for loosening the lug nuts too much so they came off too easily for her.




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Homeschooling is hard



Homeschooling is hard on the kids.  After all, how many school kids have to say, "dog, get your head off my math!"  Not once but repeatedly over a morning?



Just one of the many hidden perils of homeschooling.




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Gargle



Sandis has been coughing her fool head off for a day now so I thought a trip to urgent care was a good idea.  Yes, I know it's a cold but I wanted good cough medicine.  Unfortunately, all they said was, "keep doing what you've been doing [robitussin and liquids] and also gargle with salt water."

I was telling this to Brian and Stella piped up.  "I want to gargle with salt water! Actually, I just want to gargle.  What is gargling?" 

To get the full Stella effect, read those three statements as quickly as possible. 





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Seriously, Sirius



Sirius is our old man dog.  He was adopted 6 years ago from the Humane Society and they said he was two.  He was probably 4 or 5.  He's getting old - eyes starting to cloud, losing his hearing, fatty tumors, and "old dog hairs" as the children lovingly refer to his graying fur.  Yes, he's gone from a black dog with white specks to a brindlish dog, black and white brindle.

Sirius led an interesting life before he got to us.  His first vet visit after being adopted we found out his leg had been broken and healed on its own.  He had to have his tail amputated due to "happy tail" (banging it around on his cage) and subsequent infection.   He has a front foot missing a toe, probably born that way.

Since he's been with us, the only thing that's happened is an ear infection.  Until a couple weeks ago when we discovered a lump on his neck.  Feeling it, I could tell there was a matching one on the other side of his neck, only smaller.  My thought was infection or tumor in a gland.

To the vet we go! Turns out it was a lymph node.  Could be infection, inflammation or lymphoma.  Decide to put him on antibiotics and benedryl.  If it is infection or inflammation, this will take care of it.  If not, then this won't hurt and we can do a biopsy then.

That didn't seem to help so on to the next step, biopsy.  This was just poking a needle several times into the lymph node to get some cells to be sent off for analysis.  Seems horrible right? He didn't even care.  What he whined about? Checking his temperature in his ear.  Dog, you do know the alternative temp taking spot, right?

Biopsy came back.  Negative for infection.  Probably lymphoma but we can't be sure. 

Options?
  • Another test.  This one if positive, would tell us it's lymphoma.  If negative, 70% chance it's not lymphoma.  Not really great odds of helping us figure stuff out, and it costs $110.
  • Don't do the test and move forward with prednisone.

If we think it's lymphoma or do the test and find out for sure, we have 3 options.
  • do nothing.  He would live weeks to a year if it is lymphoma.
  • Prednisone.  Improves quality of life and can help slow the spread of the cancer.  If it's not lymphoma, won't hurt him.  Not expensive.
  • Chemo.  Quality of life may or may not be improved.  Longer life than prednisone, but measured in months.  Very expensive.  Lots of tests and decisions.
So we're going with the prednisone and no further testing.  It makes the most sense since he's completely fine right now (you wouldn't know he's "sick" other than if you felt the fairly small lump on his neck.)  It also has very few side effects compared with chemo.  While they claim chemo is easier on dogs than people, I've seen what it does to people.  It's pretty horrible stuff.  And we're talking about extending his life months, not years.

It's sad that we have to make these decisions.  It's sad that he probably has cancer.  But the last 6 years have been great for him and us.  His next year(s) will be just as wonderful.  He's loved. He loves us (except Tonks, he's pretty sure we got her just to annoy him.)  It'll be good.

And maybe, just maybe, we're wrong.  And then the prednisone will take care of any residual inflammation and he'll live many more years.





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Oh, Nutella



Dear Nutella,

I do love your chocolatey goodness.  You can be a touch too sweet, but mixed with peanut butter on some hot toast, you are a lovely treat.

You are not, however, nutritious.  You know when you say you contain "hazelnuts, skim milk and a hint of cocoa?" That's just a damn lie.  That would be like there's a hint of salt in a serving of potato chips.  And guess what? Cocoa comes BEFORE skim milk in the ingredient list.  And what's first? Sugar. 

You also claim that when you "spread it on multigrain toast....add a glass of milk and a serving of fruit to turn a balanced breakfast into a tasty one."  Yes, that's true.  However, the breakfast was balanced before you entered the picture.

Please stop trying to be something that you are not.  You are a lovely, wonderful treat, but you aren't a nutrition staple.

Stick to what you know.

Thanks so much,
Shawn




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A New Record



You know how magazines are always trying to get you to renew waaaaay before the subscription is up? Like Brian got one the other day for a magazine that expires next June or July.  I think I set a new record today.  I got a renewal notice from Family Fun.  You know when it expires? February.  Of 2017. 

WTF?

I better send it now before I forget.  For five YEARS.





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Yes, I'm old, among other things.



Friday night I was at the grocery store at 8:30pm.  I went to the restroom where I was confronted by <insert ominous music here> my age.

Yes, there at the mirror was a 20- (or 30-) something.  She had her hair intricately piled on top of her head.  She was wearing those fancy/trendy/idiotic shoes that make your legs/feet look like horse hooves (similar to these but black and suede/furry.)  She was re-applying make-up to her already well made-up face.  She was ready for a night on the town with equally fabulous looking companions. 

I, on the other hand, had just come from family night at church.  I discovered I had gotten food on my crotch.  Not to worry, my oversize, long-sleeved Halloween shirt that screamed, "I am a mom and I don't care what I look like!" covered it right up.  I was there with my younger child to actually buy food.  Yes, grocery shopping on a Friday night.  My hair? I combed it that morning, I'm sure.  Make-up? Please see the 1990's.  I think that's the last time I used any.

Yes, I'm old.  And frumpy.  And boring.  But you know what? I don't want to trade with the fabulous bathroom girl.  I enjoyed those years but I'm also glad they are behind me.  That night I had a lovely little 8 year old girl who had a great time being at the store alone with her mommy.  That is where I am in life right now and it's a good place to be. 




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Worst Mother of the Day Award



I get the Worst Mother of the Day Award for not even getting out of my car at Sandis' soccer game today.

It was cold, windy, rainy.

Before the game when the coach asked the girls if they were ready for the game, they said they'd like to forfeit and go home.

The rain waxed and waned over the course of the two hours of game/warm-ups, but the wind and cold remained constant. I just wasn't up for another week of it. Last week I toughed out the whole game (no rain then.) This week, I didn't even try. Partially because Stella wore my winter coat in to the house from the car so I had no coat with me. Partially because I'm a horrible, no-good, very bad mom.

Yeah, I'm ok with it (and no, Sandis didn't care.)





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In Animalia class last week at quasi-school, the kids had a guest speaker.  Since they were studying birds, a man came in to talk about and show his homing pigeons.

Pigeon man showing how if they have a big thing over their beak it is better.

After chatting with the kids for awhile, he let each of them release a bird, which would then fly home. Of course.  HOMING pigeons.

Sandis assures us that her pigeon liked her. It doesn't look unhappy with the situation

Freedom!!!

Sandis, being a kid that totally hates animals (you can see the sarcasm dripping off those letters, right?), hated this part. 

And, she totally didn't take to heart when pigeon man said he could set up any of the kids with pigeons if they were in the country and their parents agreed. No, we don't live in the country, but we're outside city limits and zoned farm, so same thing, right?

Yes, she immediately started wanting pigeons.

Mom & Dad said it might be ok if 1) they are easy and 2) they can hang out with chickens.

What the hell are we going to do with pigeons?! I don't see us doing the homing pigeon clubs - which pigeon man with his 120 birds says he'll only have time for when he retires and gets serious about his homers.  We can't possibly eat them.  Or their tiny eggs.  Basically they'd be little feathered outdoor pets, the original pair of which cannot be let out for 3 months lest they return home.  Oy!

Let's hope there aren't guest speakers volunteering free pets for fish, amphibians, reptiles and mammals.

PS. Ms. Unrue, could we use the photo of Sandis in love with "her" bird as the photo for the yearbook? That instead of the cheesy smile and squinty eyes that she hammed up with that morning? Oh, and can we air brush on a decent shirt? I know I'm her mother and I should try and dress her better but for some reason, "put on a different shirt, you can't wear a beer shirt to school, even quasi-school" translated in her brain to "turn shirt inside out."  TIA!




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Why, oh why, am I always f*cked

 

It seems that I must have done something to offend the Universe.  Really, Universe, I'm sorry.  Whatever it was, I take it back.  I totally didn't mean it.  Please, please, pretty please?

You see, I can never, ever, EVER get ahead in life.  If it's not one thing, it's another.  And not just a small other, a great big fucking OTHER. 

Take for instance, January of 1994.  My jaw locked shut and wouldn't open.  Great.  Five years and about $10,000 later, I'm all better.  Yes, I did have insurance, good question.

A few uneventful years pass and then, BAM, another shitstorm.  Have a baby.  Get hospitalized a week later after some lovely PTSD creating episodes involving the health care community.  Heap onto that 1) a broken dryer, 2) a broken refrigerator, 3) a broken car, 4) a toilet leaking through to the basement ceiling, 5) a popped waterbed mattress and 6) a dead hot water heater. All of that, within three months of the baby's birth.  I have no idea why I had postpartum depression, do you?

It really doesn't end there.  I also had thyroid surgery a few months later.  A hysterectomy followed a few years after that.  Multiple crowns and root canals for the teeth that never had a cavity prior to the kids. 


Every time I get even slightly caught up, life comes along and bitch slaps me.  "What? You think you deserve money in savings? Regular oil changes? Who do you think you are?"

This year I thought that finally our tax returns could be used to pay for our bankruptcy.  Yes, bankruptcy - those medical and other bills don't pay for themselves.  But no, we can't pay that, we have to use $3,000 to fix my car. 

Just this month I was finally in an ok place.  The bills are all paid and we aren't scared that the old bank account will be overdrawn.  Maybe we could buy some holiday gifts and stash them away.  Start paying on that bankruptcy.  So what happens? Electrical outage. Yes somewhere between our house and our outdoor fuse box, somewhere in our backyard, a wire is messed up.  We have electricity randomly through our house, it's basically half working.  We have to get an electrician out here to find and repair the damage.

When will it ever end? When will I stop being fucked? Why can't I catch a break E-V-E-R?

FML


It's not strange is is?



It's not strange that when I see this photo caption contest from the Nature Conservancy Facebook page (photo credit Bob Gress)



that my thought is to caption it "My souffle is ruined", "Ruined!" ala the Bloggess and her lovely Juanita Weasel



Yeah, I'm going with not strange at all.


BTW, you can purchase lovely cards and/or aprons of Juanita and her friend Jefferson Peabody.  True. Motherfucking. Story.