Thursday, June 30, 2005

Chronicles from My Not-So-Exciting Life

I can't believe that a month of summer has already gone by, and I am not skinny, nor is my house perfectly clean and organized! I have managed to take a trip to Florida with my parents (it rained the whole time), clean out the pit that is Zach's room, kinda learn how to knit, read LOTS of books, get caught up on Zach's scrapbook, and serve the ever-changing whims of a three-year-old. Zach does go to school two days a week, and on those days, I cram in as much activity as possible. I clean the house, do the laundry, run errands, and try to fit in some reading time.

The goals that I still have for this summer (which means until I go back to work on August 11th) are: clean and organize our office, paint our bedroom and bathroom, and get lots of work done on the family heritage scrapbook that I am about to start. I think those goals are pretty reasonable, so we'll see...

We are taking our second "real" vacation next week, in the ten years that Darren and I have been married. The first one was last summer, and we went on a seven-day cruise from New Orleans to Jamaica, Grand Cayman, and Cozumel. It was absolute bliss! We ate and slept as much as possible, went to the shows every night, climbed a waterfall with every other tourist in Jamaica, went snorkeling with stingrays in Grand Cayman (along with thousands of other people), and visited the Mayan ruins at Tulum in Mexico. We wanted to go on another cruise this year, but it was not affordable. In a couple of years, I think we'll take Zach on a cruise out of Galveston.

On Monday, we are headed to Sin City for five days. Las Vegas is someplace I have wanted to visit for years, and I just want to go and gawk at the sights, as well as the tacky tourists who are sure to be in abundance. We won't be doing much gambling, since Zach will be joining us, but we are taking our own personal tour guide/chauffeur/baby-sitters (Mom and Dad). We have big plans to visit Red Rock Canyon, Valley of Fire State Park, Hoover Dam, and my personal goal, every hotel on the Strip. We are staying at the MGM Grand, which is the biggest hotel in the world, so I am sure that we will get hopelessly lost trying to find our room! I have four guidebooks from the library that I have been reading (I'm a nerd), and have been boring Darren with random facts. So, all I have left to do is clean the house, finish buying what we need, clean the extra bedroom, because Mom and Dad are spending the night on Sunday, and pack. Minor things, right?

Friday, June 24, 2005

Scrapbook Papers That Should Be in Existence

I know most people couldn't care less about scrapbooking, and think it's a waste of time, but I find it enjoyable. It's a good creative outlet for me, and my son enjoys looking at the pictures. (He probably doesn't care at all about the cute stickers and background paper, but I can lie to myself and think he does.) It makes me feel like I am getting my money's worth out of all those useful art classes in college, and I am able to justify numerous trips to Michael's. Plus, I am single-handedly keeping Snapfish in business, by uploading pictures and ordering prints of them. The only problem with that, is that you never finish. Every time you think you have finished your scrapbook, your son does something else that is cute or funny, and you have to document it. Then you have to upload the pictures to your computer, edit them, upload them to Snapfish, order prints, and wait for them to arrive in the mail.

Anyway, on my quest for the perfect background paper, there are several categories which are seriously lacking. I do live in Texas, and there is a plethora of Texas-themed paper to be found, along with those two big Texas universities that I will not mention, because I do not support either one of them. However, I cannot find:

1. Crawfish boil themed things--I had to use a lobster diecut and red-and-white gingham paper
2. Festival International--(okay, most people outside of Lafayette have never heard of this, but for us, it's a big deal) How am I going to show off my husband and his fraternity brothers in their annual drunken poses?
3. Washing the car with Dad

So far, those are the top three that I am having difficulty with. I'm not big on cutesy things, and that seems to be the majority of the market. I don't use chalk to shade paper, I don't use vellum, ribbon, pink, or hearts, and I'm not big on quotes, charms, or fibers. I like to use a nice background, stick some pictures on, write something about the pictures, and maybe add a couple of pictures. I won't be featured in a magazine anytime soon, but that's all right with me.

Thursday, June 23, 2005

Will Someone Hand Me a Shovel, Please?

I know there are times when all parents just want to disappear out of embarrassment, and I had my moment on Tuesday. As my mom would say, "God punished you!"

We had the air conditioner repairman here, and I was outside with him, learning how to clean it off for free, instead of for $400, and Zach was inside, watching Lots and Lots of Trucks. Apparently, the phone rang, and he came outside to tell me to answer it. When I refused to comply immediately with his demand, he became agitated, and said, "Go inside and answer the fuckin' damn phone!" From past experience, if there is anything that we ask Zach not to say, he will just repeat it over and over, to be annoying. So, I calmly tried to explain to him that I didn't need to answer the phone, and he'd better get inside before I lost it with him. In the meantime, the air conditioner guy and I are trying not to laugh.

When I called my husband to let him know what our precious darling did, his response was,"But I never use those words together. He did use them in the right context, though."

There you have it. My child will be the one who is expelled from day care for teaching the other students naughty words. Thankfully, he is usually a follower, rather than a leader. He can smell out bad kids from 50 feet away, perceive them as cool, and copy every single thing they are doing. Let's hope he doesn't suddenly decide to educate his classmates. That would be hard to explain...

Tuesday, June 21, 2005

Zach poses on Gammy's couch with his Garfield toy that Gammy bought him. Posted by Hello

When Living in the South Sucks!

We had a power outage last Wednesday night. The power faded in and out for a few minutes, which was really weird. I had a roast in the oven, and was worried that we would not be able to eat dinner that night. Being from South Louisiana, food is extremely important to me (hence, my ever-present weight problem). Anyway, it took about 15 minutes of going off and on, but the power finally stayed off. We decided to finish cooking dinner on the gas grill outside; we did mashed potatoes, peas, and garlic bread, and were pretty impressed with ourselves.

After listening to various news reports on the radio, going to get ice cream, and driving around for a while, we headed home and prepared for the worst. It was a main transmission line from a power plant about 20 miles north of us, and affected over 100,000 people in several counties. They had no idea when it would be repaired. I guess at this point, it helped that we live in a relatively affluent area, because our power was restored around 10:30 that night. We blew out our candles and went to bed.

Thursday morning, I started noticing how hot it was in our house. We have a programmable thermostat, so it is supposed to keep our house at a certain temperature, but it wasn't working. We have LOTS of windows and vaulted ceilings, so our house heats up quickly. I called our home warranty company to get someone to come and fix it, and they acted like someone would be coming that day. After the upstairs heating up to 97 degrees, I called them back, and they said there was no guarantee when someone would be coming. We finally got in touch with the air conditioning people, and they gave us an appointment for Saturday. We packed up that night and went to stay with friends. Friday, it was even hotter, but we decided to crank up the window unit that we have in our office, and all sleep in there. I went to scrapbook at a friend's house that night, and when I came home, it was nice and cool in the house. Apparently, we have a reset button on the thermostat, and pressing that made the unit outside come back on.

Saturday morning, we canceled our appointment, and feeling great about the money we had saved, decided to go shopping for a new light fixture to go over our kitchen table. We didn't find anything, but did stop at a store and pick up the ingredients to brew beer, something we enjoy but haven't done in six years.

Sunday morning, it became really hot in the house again, and after pressing the reset button numerous times, turning the circuit breakers on and off, and taking apart the thermostat, we realized that we were dummies for canceling our appointment for service. We placed another call, and an appointment was set for today.

I spent yesterday in this room, on the computer, and we have slept in here for two nights. I feel like a hippie in a commune, sleeping on the floor on an inflatable mattress! I haven't wanted to use the dishwasher, dryer or stove, for fear of adding any heat to the house. Consequently, it is dirty.

Anyway, the repair man came today, and informed us that our dryer vents outside about two feet from the air conditioner, which is sucking up lint like no tomorrow. Some piece needs to be replaced, and for $400, he needed to use a blowtorch and burn all the hardened lint off the coils. We have special spine coils, so they can't be brushed off. A call to the warranty company informed me that since it is a maintenance issue, they won't be covering it.

*********This is being written later**********

I called the company that we normally use for this sort of thing, and they informed me that the first guy was ripping me off. A technician showed up a couple of hours later, showed me how to use the garden hose to clean off the coilsl, and replaced the part. All of that for a grand total of $118.25. I called the warranty company back, and they informed me that I still owe the first company their $45 service fee, but may cover part of the repair. The air conditioner guy we ended up using informed me that air conditioner repairmen are bigger con artists than auto mechanics. and to be careful with warranty companies, because they will try to find a way to dismiss the claim. As my house is now cooling off, I feel that I have learned a valuable lesson!

Saturday, June 18, 2005

I Didn't Make the Mess

"Mommy, can you clean up the Play-Doh?"

"I didn't make the mess, so I'm not cleaning it up."

"Daddy, can you come clean up the purple circles?"

"Alana, why aren't you watching him?"

Thus goes the story of my life. During the school year, I'm paid to clean up after fifth-graders. The rest of my life is spent cleaning up after a three-year-old. It's not very satisfying, because inevitably, there will be a worse mess to clean up in the next few minutes. I just want the house to stay clean for one whole day! Is that too much to ask?

So, I come from a long line of anal women. We take pride in cleanliness, and have been known to clean up before the housekeepers come, so "they won't think we're messy people". We are also very blunt women. God skipped over me when He was passing out tact, and the things that are on my mind seem to come flying out of my mouth before I can edit them. It presents a sticky situation sometimes, considering I also am unable to lie. It would be so nice sometimes to be able to at least tell a harmless little white lie, but no, I come out with the plain, unvarnished truth. Perhaps that is why my careers in sales and in waitressing didn't exactly flourish?