Together again

Everybody is home.

*******

On Wednesday, Fritz and Billy and some other boys were on their way to the chapel at Scout camp.  A thunderstorm approached and lightening started striking close enough nearby that my boys stated praying Hail Marys.  It must have been quite frightening, because Fritz said they tried to teach George, a Protestant, the Hail Mary, too.

I’m thrilled that my boys: 1) were on their way to the chapel, 2) turned to the Blessed Mother in a time of need, 3) were comfortable expressing their faith publicly, and 4) were happy to share their faith with a non-Catholic.

Fritz reported that “it didn’t work.”  I’m not sure if he meant that he was unable to teach George the Hail Mary or that the lightening didn’t stop.  It was too late last night to get into a theological discussion about how having Mary pray for you “at the hour of your death” might actually be the answer to your prayer, rather than deliverance from a bad storm.

Happy that my boys weren’t on the nightly news, too.

*******

It was after dinner by the time they returned from camp last night.  I instructed them to leave their stuff in the car and I would deal with it on the morrow.  There was no way I was having stinky clothes dragged into my house to sit and wait for me to wash them.

Unfortunately, Katie had been complaining of an earache and I decided to take her to the walk-in appointments available at 9 am Sunday mornings.

Two footlockers full of a week’s dirty laundry sitting in a closed car overnight do not provide a pleasant aroma for the 30 minute drive into town.

*******

When the girls came home, they observed the work I had been doing all week: namely, cleaning out their bedroom and their brothers’ bedroom.  It is nice to come home to clean surroundings, although they haven’t figured out that if mom is in doubt about something being trash or treasure, mom leans heavily in favor of trash.

Jenny commented that “the upstairs is very clean, but the downstairs is very messy.” 

Anybody want to take my kids for a week so I can finish what I started?

In a swoon

My Google calendar page is one of my home pages.  I just happened to look at it and see NOTHING.  Well, nothing much:

A reminder to take out my garbage this morning and my recycling on Friday.

(Yes, I think it is pathetic that I have to have my calendar email me reminders to do basic household functions.)

Oh, and there’s a little note at the top of the days this week with the words “Summer Camp.”

Fritz and Billy left yesterday in the early morning.

Then my parents left a few hours later with Katie and Jenny.

My brother is here, so we are a family of 5 this week. 

With NOTHING to do.

The trouble with enunciation or lack thereof

I have Vonage, an online service, for my home phone hookup.  It works fine.  There are some minor disadvantages with the service, but the positive aspects tend to outweigh them.  One advantage is that Vonage has a voice mail service, and they will transcribe your messages and send them to your email.  I rarely listen to my voice mail.  I can see on my computer who called, when they called, and what they wanted.

One disadvantage is that the transcription service is only so good.  My girlfriend and I were planning a trip to the beach, and she left a message asking me if I thought her “coffee” would fit in my van.  At least that’s what Vonage said she said.  The funny thing was that it was just possible enough that this girlfriend would ask such a thing.  She actually asked if her carseats would fit in my van.

Because Fritz’s ballgame was postponed due to rain last night, my sister and I decided to go see a movie.  We left before Bill was home, and while our children ran amok, somebody called and left a message.  When we returned home at 9:45, my husband was on my computer.  I leaned over him and checked my email and read this incriminating message:

“Hey Michelle, Zach Kevin with the Douglas that he gonna stop by the bar around 930 or so if that works I’ll see you then. If not just call me 7XX-4XXX bye” 

Nice.

“Guess it didn’t go so well if you’re home already,” said my husband, placidly.

My sister’s comment: “Good thing we didn’t go to the 10 o’clock showing.”

This was a message from the exterminator saying he’d be here this morning for our monthly spraying.

The storm before the calm

While I will admit that I did have my fingers crossed in the hope that my son’s baseball team wouldn’t be able to turn around the one-run deficit they had in the sudden death tournament game last Thursday night, I was just kidding.  And I was very happy that they did pull off a win.  It only meant one more game.  Tonight.

And the skies just opened and the thunder is rolling.

{sigh}

I fear the season will never end.

*******

This week is a crazy one.  My sister is here.  She watched the kids this past weekend so Bill and I could spend 2 days and one night somewhere else.  Somewhere where there were no children calling to us.  We just went into Savannah.  It was lovely.

It was hot.  If you travel to Savannah, there are some rules for beating the heat. 

* Wear skimpy clothing.  If you wear a polo shirt, they will think you are a tourist.
* Walk slooooowly.  If your speed can be registered by a radar device, you are obviously a tourist or a transplant.  Think 1 block a quarter hour.
* Savannah has lovely city squares with old trees and plenty of shade.  Sit down and rest. 
* It’s too hot to go out during daylight hours.  Sleep late and go out late.  Some places don’t even open before 7 pm, and the downtown area is hopping at midnight. 
* Get a to-go cup of your favorite drink so you can stay cool between stops.

*******

More family is heading this way on Wednesday and Thursday.  Jenny is making her First Holy Communion on Friday.

My sister and I have the same conversations every time she comes: “We have to go here,” and “Why don’t we do this,” and “We still haven’t been to that place.”  So much to do, so little time. 

I still have 2 boys with assignments hanging over their heads.  And I want them done, because next week is Scout summer camp.  Both older boys will be gone.  My parents are taking the older girls to their house for the week.  Sunday afternoon will be very quiet here with just Bill, me, my brother and Peter and Mary. 

I can’t wait.

To everything, there is a season

A few weeks ago, I’d had it with my cordless phones.  They were fairly old (in terms of modern technology), and were no longer holding a charge.  I had replaced the chargers and the batteries to no avail.  I went to Amazon and found the best rated, cheapest phones they had and got rid of the old set.

I’m happy enough with the new ones, and some features are better than the old ones.  One thing I really miss, though, is that the new ringtones are rather boring, and I can’t assign them to different numbers.  With my old set, if I heard “Old McDonald” I knew it was my friend, Christie. 

I thought I’d be ok with the change until my caller ID identified my husband as the caller. 

No more “Let Me Call You Sweetheart.” 

Makes me sad.

************

Weeks ago, I was lying on the porch swing with my head in my husband’s lap.  He was watching the fish jump out of the lake in the back while I lightly dozed and just enjoyed relaxing with him.

“Would it traumatize you if, many many years from now, I died lying here like this?” I asked him.

He looked down at me.

“It’s just so pleasant, so peaceful.  I’d just like to lie here like this and fall asleep and not wake up.”

“You’re not allowed to die,” was his response.

On Saturday, Billy came into the house to report that the swing had broken.  I investigated and discovered that rust, and not rambuctious children, was the culprit.  When I told Bill the terrible news, he said that he had seen lots of rust the last time he put it together (when we moved here over a year ago), and knew it wouldn’t make it to the next house.

“But I was going to die in that swing,” I moaned.

“You are not allowed to die – ever,” he insisted.

Each of us, separately, decided that perhaps the swing did not need replacing.  Then all day yesterday, we each kept thinking, “Oh, I think I’ll go sit in the – oh, maaaan, I guess not!”

We agreed, we need to replace it with something.  Maybe not a swing, maybe just a couch.  We have plenty of seats, but we want to sit next to each other.  I want to lie down with my head in his lap.

Even if he won’t let me die, ever.

Circular savings

Twice in the last few weeks, I’ve tried to fill the 30 gallon tank of my 12 passenger van, and I’ve been cut off at $100, a few gallons shy of full.

I’m definitely avoiding unnecessary driving.

But today, I have a meeting on post, which is about a 25 mile trip.  After the meeting, I will head to the commissary (grocery store) which really does offer significant savings on many products.  They claim a 30% savings over the typical grocery store.  I believe them.  Even though they sell very few generic brands, often the brand name is cheaper than generic at the store.  Plus you can use coupons.  And meat is always cheaper, even cheaper than the sale prices I see locally.

But with the price of gas, I’m not sure if the drive is worth it.  Piggy-backing the trip because of the meeting, it is.

*******

Yesterday, the kids were distraught over the breakfast selections.  I was not making pancakes, and they were left with Cheerios.  There was moaning.  Resigning themselves to a lengthy fast, they thought ahead to lunch and discovered that we had no bread.  There was more moaning.

I dropped everything to bake bread.  Lunch was saved.

My kitchen was hot.

It’s been A/C weather for at least a month down here in GA. 

Bread is expensive, especially good bread, yummy bread, healthy bread.  I’d like to make my own all the time, but I wonder if, in the summer, the increased cost to cool my home is worth the savings. 

I thought about baking all the bread on one day, the old-fashioned way.  I would need to bake at least 8 loaves for the week.  I only have 2 loaf pans.  That’s all day baking.

I thought about buying 6 more loaf pans.  Loaf pans, new, cost $10-$12 at Amazon.  I could spend $60-$80 on loaf pans, so I could bake bread all at once, so that I could save on A/C costs, and so that I could save on bread costs. 

I’m not quite sure if spending $60 to “save” money is worth it.

I thought about hitting some thrift stores or yard sales to see if I could find any loaf pans.

That would use gas.

Spending money on gas to buy used loaf pans to save money on groceries and A/C costs doesn’t seem so brilliant either.

Since I’ll be on post, I’ll check out the P/X (which is like a department store) to see if they have any decent loaf pans for less than Amazon.  I’m not hopeful, since their selection is usually poor.

*******

My husband works not far from the commissary, and sending him to the store on a regular basis is another option for saving on groceries without spending money on gas.

I am loathe to lengthen his work day by another hour.

Then there’s the grocery shopping learning curve to deal with.  Buy this kind, not that kind.  Check to see if the coupon saves money over the usual brand.  Look to see what’s on sale and stock up.  Suddenly remember something not on the list.  Prioritize.

And not buy things that look yummy just because you are shopping at dinner time.  Right there, I think we’d lose any savings.

*******

Anybody else feeling the gas and grocery price pinch? 

pretty, happy, funny, real

round button chicken

I’m playing along with Leila today.

{pretty}

The girls performed their dance recital at a local Easter Egg hunt on Holy Saturday.  Pretty and graceful.

{happy}

I got this chaise lounge for free from friend and fellow blogger, Katherine.  It has spent the last 2 years in two garages awaiting re-covering.  When I found out that there was a woman in town who did re-upholstery, and she had reasonable prices, I asked my husband if it was OK to take it in. 

“Oh, you mean that thing in the garage I keep tripping over?  YES.  Please get it recovered.”

Happy husband AND happy wife.

{funny}

Alexander the Great

“Mom.  I’m gonna paint that guy.”

I consider that premeditation.

{real}

I bought two of those large bouncing balls at the store.  Cheap fun.

Well, not so cheap fun when they play indoors and break your favorite statue of the Blessed Mother.

Short and sweet

It takes about 90 minutes of brisk walking to work off the calories in 2 oz of chocolate.

Get moving.

******************

Thanks to Peter, we now know the opposite of “gooder” – meaning “more good than”.

Terribler.

My spell check is freaking out.

******************

Do your kids play the “Punch Buggy” game?

Mine do, but Mary is a little off. 

For her, it’s “Punch Billy.”

“Punch Billy, Yellow!” she’ll say.

My husband responds, “Punch Billy, Black!”

My line is “Punch Billy, Blue!”

******************

In New Jersey, road-side stands on Holy Saturday are filled with potted spring flowers: lillies, tulips, daffodils and hyacinths.  Every color imaginable.  Grocery stores compete.

I got very used to that when we lived there, but I’ve not seen it anywhere else since…at least not to that extent.  I had a hard time finding any spring flowers this past weekend, and I paid a boatload for the 4 plants I did purchase.

I don’t ever plan to live there again, but I can sure miss the state once a year.

********************

I managed to surprise my husband yesterday and gave him a small party in honor of his completing his Master’s degree.  Yesterday, I had a meeting on post, and I typically go out to lunch with him afterward.  I had planned the surprise with his administrative assistant to occur at lunchtime.  On Easter Sunday, I casually asked if we could have lunch on Tuesday.  He said, unfortunately, that he could not because of an urgent meeting that had been set up on Friday at the last minute.  A few more questions proved to me that this was no ruse by his coworkers to cover the surprise.  I had a few moments of panic, but decided that we would have to hold the party at 11 am whether I was there or not.  Fortunately, my meeting ended early and all was well.

*******************

Lastly, I have a prayer request.  My BIL is supposed to leave some foreign land to come home for R&R very soon.  Unfortunately, the timing is off on his travel, and he will likely be home and have to leave again just a few days before his son’s confirmation.  Poor weather, perfectly timed to delay just the right flights, would be very convenient.  His safety demands my vagueness, but God will know who you mean and what he needs.  Thanks!

Name that Drink

In honor of Laetare Sunday, we’re taking a bit of a break from our Lenten sacrifices. 

I had bacon for breakfast.  Yum.

And we had after dinner drinks.  Can you guess what?

All the ingredients are shown.  But the Triple Sec is slightly hidden.  And we only used one kind of rum.

Breakfast ideas

I’m going to the grocery store and making my list. 

Confession: we eat cereal here.  I know there are so many of you supermoms out there who make nice hot breakfasts (and lunches) for your deserving families.  You are wonderful people.  I do not do this.  Yes, sometimes, I feel guilty about it.  But generally, I just feel relieved that I have one less task to do.  And for most of my children, I don’t even serve them, breakfast or lunch.  And we don’t sit down as a family for those meals either.  Self-serve, eat when you are hungry (within reasonable parameters).

Dinner, though, is usually a family affair.  And yummy and hot.

So, back to grocery shopping.  And list making.  I usually buy cereal with coupons, because there are lots of cereal coupons every week in the paper.  I have a coupon for Frosted Mini Wheats.  But Katie doesn’t like FMW, the brand; she prefers the Malt-O-Meal equivalent.  Whatever.  With a coupon it’s probably the same price, or the MOM is cheaper anyway.

Peter, though, likes the flavored FMW.  The coupon reminds me that he had asked for that kind, so I asked him to confirm his request.

“What flavor?” I wanted to know.

“All of them,” he said.

“Well, the coupon is only for two, so that’s all I’m going to get.  What do you like best?”

“Coffee?” 

He is my son.  For the record, they don’t have that flavor (Peter was disappointed to learn this), but I’m wondering what Kellog’s thinks of that idea.  I’m wondering if they can include caffeine…