~my thoughts about life~

Monday, February 23, 2015

Potty Mouth

I feel like my blog is a bit of a complaining platform.  I hate that.  I apologize for that.  However, I feel like complaining here to the wide open world helps me handle life a little better.

Remember when I talked about the horrible sewer/plumbing situations we experienced a year ago?  Certainly you should because I just managed to hit "publish" a few days ago.  Almost exactly a year ago, we forked out $9,000 to repair indoor/outdoor plumbing issues.  Actually, we didn't fork it out because we didn't have it.  We borrowed it and still have not paid it off.  It's a constant thought in my mind....I HATE being in debt.

Anyway, we've been having more plumbing issues.  These issues involve the downstairs half bath.  The toilet has given us trouble for a while now and has been totally unusable for the past two weeks or so.  Do this math, please:  we have six people in this house and one working toilet.  Yeah, it's not pretty.  If it wasn't so snowy and freezing here, I would make the fellas relieve themselves outside.

Saturday, Hubby called the plumber to come take a look at our situation.  They said they would make us the last call of the day or be there Sunday morning from 9-11.  Well, they didn't show Saturday.  That meant Hubby had to miss church.  We don't miss church.  It's just how we are.  I drag myself (and the kids) to service even when we're sick.  It's mostly because I have a zillion jobs in the church and am always needed.  Going to church sick is easier than trying to find someone to take my place.  My parents raised me that way and it's in my blood.  So, Hubby missed church.  They didn't show again.  At 11:00, he called.  They said our appointment time was 11-4.  No....that's not what you said on the phone.  Oh well....we can deal with that.  At 4:00, they called and said they were running late.  Hubby had now missed church, the family dinner at Grandpa's house, and his coveted Sunday nap.  Irritating.  We also have service on Sunday nights.  I had to be there early for choir practice so the kids and I headed out, leaving Hubby at home.  Again.  They finally showed up at 6:45.  When I got home from church, they were still there, problem unresolved.  They scheduled to come back today between 10 & 11.

They actually arrived within that window, this time bringing more skilled equipment.  They sent a camera down my toilet hole (I say hole because the toilet was sitting in my living room).  They determined that the problem was under the bathroom floor.  They announced they were going to have to rip up the bathroom floor, replace the pipe, and tap it into the sewer that they fixed last year.  The damage?  $5500!!!!  My jaw nearly hit the floor and I had to fight to keep from crying.  I told them no way.  They discussed financing options with me, asked if I could borrow from my dad, and got a little too personal for my liking.  I simply said, "Dude, we don't have it.  We haven't paid off the last project yet and cannot finance any more."  They came down in price, which still didn't help.

So, to jump ahead....they packed up and left, doing nothing.  I paid $400 for nothing.  I cried.  We're struggling to make ends meet and we need to spend $14,000 on PLUMBING!!!!!  We're going to have to make things work with only one toilet from now on.  Someday, we'll be able to fix it, but that day is not today.

Then Hubby called me.  He got his shoulder x-rayed, which he injured last week playing basketball.  He's a great athlete but doesn't seem to understand that at age 40, he can't play with the same intensity he once could.  His shoulder isn't broken but extremely messed up.  They referred him to an orthopedic surgeon.  That was just the cherry on top of a bad day.  It's more than I can handle.  How can we survive if he needs surgery and is off work for six months?  I cried again.

That's all.  That's all I have to say today.  Like I said, I hate complaining.  But it's all I got right now.  (Excuse my bad grammar.)

I must move on.  I have a youth group meeting tonight and no plans.  Plus, I have a stress headache and I really need to use the bathroom.  Guess I'll trek all the way upstairs so I can "go."  Today's deep thoughts:  treasure your toilet.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Instagrammin' It

Here's the third and final draft that I wrote and never posted.  Things that were happening in my life last year...

Snow.  This is right out the window where my desk is.  Sometimes it's hard to work with scenery like this!

Being silly with Hubby. I actually posted this on Instagram for Valentine's Day when everyone else was posting their sappy, romantic photos of red roses and filet mignon.  I'd take this kind of a Valentine any day over one who takes me out for $200 meals!  (Thanks to the kids for the fabulous photography work!)

Sisters.  I walked into their room to check on them and this is how they were sleeping!  I absolutely love that!  (Yes, we actually have bedding that matches...I don't know exactly what was going on here.)

A sweet text from a very dear, older friend.  I greatly admire her and hope I can be like her some day.  I'm glad I saved this photo.

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Seasons Change

Written in September of 2014, I'm going to post this one too.  I actually had the pictures placed and everything....I'm not sure why I never actually hit the "Publish" button!  

It's been months since I've posted, and let me tell you, that break did me good!  I had a restful summer and really tried to enjoy each and every moment.  My urgent demands took a hiatus and I was a little bit lazy.  I really feel like my stress level declined and I think I've made a new vow.  I'm not going to allow myself to take on that much again.  I have always been a people-pleaser and I have a hard time telling someone no.  But at the rate I was going, I was going to eventually explode.  That's not good.  So I'm gonna chill a little and try to enjoy this thing called life.

Things that have changed since my last post:

~ I have thrown a couple great birthday parties.  Big Sis turned 10, a noteworthy milestone.  She had over a group of friends and I hosted her Mustache Bash!  I set up my photo booth, made some awesome decorations, and planned a scavenger hunt.  The worst part was that I got quite sick that morning and had a hard time pulling it all off.  She had a blast though!

~ Baby Girl turned 6 and had a Minecraft Birthday.  If you've never seen it, you won't appreciate it.  It's horribly ugly.  But she loved every pixelated image and enjoyed eating the grass, sand, and mushrooms.  She also broke her arm in late June and learned how to ride her bike just days after getting her cast off.  She is one neat chick!

~ Son #2's Destination Imagination team made it to Globals in Knoxville, TN.  It was an amazing trip and we has some awesome experiences!  The Chinese kicked our tails and we scored pretty low, but the kids had a blast!  If we ever make Globals again, I will make Hubby go with me.  Traveling and rooming with other DI moms was kind of difficult for me.  I was at the mercy of what everyone else wanted to do for a full week.  I missed my family!

~ I did get to travel with my family as we drove the SUV through 6 US States! My cousin got married in June.  I got to cross 3 new states off my bucket list!  We visited New Orleans while down in the deep south and saw all the Duck Dynasty stuff.  The weather was surprisingly chilly but the wedding was beautiful!

~ Two great friends had babies and I had a large part in those baby showers.  One of the showers was done in a moose theme and I slaved away decorating moose sugar cookies.  We ate chocolate "moose" and some of the best shower food I think I've ever had!

~ I bought a Silhouette Cameo.  Yeah, I'm trying to get crafty.  The funny part is, I have found the one crafty bone that is deep within my body.  Honestly, I actually bought it for the above mentioned shower.  We needed a moose cutout for the centerpieces and I had been wanting one anyhow.  (Boy, it sure would have made the mustache party easier....I cut out dozens of mustaches by hand!)  I had the photo booth buy it because I'm going to use it to make stick props (I paid $35 for the last set I bought!)  A friend of a friend was selling hers at a reduced rate because it was overwhelming for her.  Since then, I've been making some cards and I'm really enjoying it!

~ I now have 4 kids in school!  Baby Girl started Kindergarten a few weeks ago and all my kids are grown up.  If you must know, I did cry.  She did great though and hasn't given one objection!  All my other kids were very young (and small) in their classes.  It's kind of nice having a kid who is the oldest.  I'm thrilled that it's going so well!  I started a new tradition of taking her picture every morning on the front porch and texting it to Daddy and Grammy.  I'm kind of loving that.  Big Sis was accepted into the accelerated program in middle school!  She was right on the borderline, which means she's going to have to work very hard.  Because of that, we've decided to take a year off Bible Quizzing to focus on her studies.  Although both things are extremely important to me, I realize that getting her started on the right track in education will help her in the long run.  Plus, she's rubbing shoulders with the cream of the crop rather than the kids who only go to school because they have to.  I hope she can keep up!

~ 5 lbs. (well, maybe a little more).  That's about how much I've gained.  My skirts are getting a little tighter and I've got to nip this in the bud before it gets out of hand.  I worked way too hard to lose this weight and I'm not going to get fat again.  My 20 year class reunion (wowzers!) is this weekend, and I still look good enough.

~ I sort of got a new job!  Yes, I'm still running the photo booth.  I haven't had very many jobs lately, but I  haven't really been working it.  Hubby owns 6 rental units and, up to this point, has had them managed by an outside company.  The company was doing a horrible job and was quite dishonest at times.  We couldn't take it any more so we fired them.  I took over the management of the properties.  It was totally overwhelming at first because I didn't know what I was doing.  But I'm getting the hang of it now.  I just wish I could make these lousy tenants pay!  We've already had one eviction and had to clean horribly disgusting stuff out of someone's apartment.  I don't know how a person could move out and leave all their crap behind!  The last few tenants that the management company put it were hoodlums.  They weren't doing background checks.  We have two great new tenants and two bad ones that will probably be skipping town soon anyway.  People amaze me.

Things that have NOT changed since my last post:

~ People are still self-centered jerks.  I got confronted by someone who asked me why I stopped following them on Instagram.  Seriously.  Then this person proceeded to make snarky, vague comments about me on my friends' pictures.  Silly me, I thought MY Instagram was for MY enjoyment and pleasure.  I thought I had the right to stop following someone who posted 22 photos (the majority being selfies) in one day.  Next time I'll be sure and ask permission before managing my own social media.

~ Couponing and saving money.  My kids have even given me a new nickname, which is a combination of my actual name and the word "cheap."  I adore it!  My grocery stockpile is bigger than ever and my grocery receipts say I've saved over $2,800 in the past twelve months!  We got rid of our satellite provider and are really enjoying the $100 we save every month!  I've missed television very little.  We eat at home more often and have found little ways to cut costs.  It sure adds up when we start listing the ways we're saving!

~ Son #1's attitude.  He's still a bit of a punk.  I'm ready for this stage to pass, and I'm being as tough as ever to keep him on the right track.  Tell me my efforts will eventually pay off!  He's officially taller than his mom and he'll be able to get his temps next month!  Eek!  He's in such a hurry to grow up.  I wish he would just slow down.

~ I'm still trying to be Super Mom.  But my definition of Super Mom has altered slightly.  Super Mom is someone who is NOT always stressed.  Super Mom doesn't yell at her kids all the time (I'm really working hard on that one).  Super Mom doesn't have to impress all the other moms with her actions.  She simply has to do what is best for her family and herself.

I wish you all a Super Mom kind of day and urge you to regularly examine your priorities.  Too many people in this world have their priorities mixed up and they're living for the unimportant.  I'm trying really hard to make sure I'm living for what's important.  Keeping it real...

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

A Smelly Situation

Originally written in March of 2014, I'm going to go ahead and upload this post.  It's interesting to me to go back and read it again!

It's once again time to update all that's been going on around here.  Whew...was last week sure busy!

On Monday, 5 industrial-sized trucks crammed into my driveway (and on my tiny street) to dig up my yard and charge me a truckload of money.  The week before, Hubby and Son #1 had taken back-to-back showers.  As #1 was finishing up, I could hear Hubby yelling my name in a panic.  I flew down the stairs to find our downstairs toilet overflowing like a geyser!  It wasn't just leaking, it was pouring out in gallons.  I screamed for one kid to run to the basement for all the dirty towels while I ran upstairs to order #1 to plug up the drain.

We've had drain problems pretty much since we've moved into the house.  My kitchen sink has always gurgled when I wash laundry or when there's a heavy rain.  I don't even notice it now.  We've had the drain cleaned out a few times, trying to buy ourselves more time before replacing the sewer system.  We thought maybe we would have moved away by now.  Well, we've put a band-aid on the issue too many times and we had to get serious to correct the problem.  They dug from my back yard, around my patio, up the side yard, and all the way to the street.  They removed the old, broken pipes and replaced them.  They leveled the foundation with gravel first and mounded it all back up.  My lawn is destroyed.

I had burly men in and out of my house all day, tracking in Who Knows What.  They went into the uttermost parts of my basement (you know, the really messy parts), under my cluttered kitchen sink, and even upstairs into my main bathroom.  I asked the guy if he wanted to check out my disorganized sock drawer too.  It was an uncomfortable day as I talked to a stranger about sewage and human waste.  The job was supposed to take two days, but luckily, they finished around dinnertime.  It's a day that I would never want to relive.  The damage:  $9,000.  Goodbye everything we've been working toward.  It was a very difficult decision to make.

With Hubby's recent reduction of hours, things have been a little tight around here lately.  We were OK with that and were willing to adjust our lifestyle a bit.  I find saving money as sort of a game and I continue to look for ways to do so.  I will have to admit defeat at the game whenever I have to get a real job outside the home.  But a $9,000 bill was something we were not prepared for.  We don't do debt, but unfortunately didn't have a good savings.  We should have saved better while Hubby's salary was more comfortable.  Isn't it amazing how perfect hindsight is?  We were able to borrow the money from my grandfather and can pay back the loan at 4%.  We're quite thankful for that.

All that being said, I have been on a mission to save money.  I'm already a bit frazzled, grouchy, and stressed, but I've become like a drill sergeant around here.

Nearly a year later, the nine grand is still not paid back.  :(  But we're working hard to get rid of the debt as quickly as we can!!!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Missing this...

It's so sweet to receive emails from my blog followers when I've neglected them for so long now!  I've gotten a couple recently and they have meant so much to me!  I really, truly miss blogging, but I had to let something go.  Unfortunately, this release ended up being it.  Blogging is a stress release for me, but I needed to find time somewhere in my life and I couldn't justify the time writing this blog took.

The funny thing is, I've sat down to write a post here and there and have never completed them.  I think I'm going to post them anyway, after this post, even though they're quite outdated.  One talks about my summer, and one was from the end of last winter!  It's seriously amazing how much can happen in life in the course of half a year.  That's another reason why this blog was so good.  I can look back and remember the things I'd forgotten.

Right now, I'm sitting at Son #1's orchestra rehearsal.  This is his 4th year and I'm so glad he's stuck with it!  He started out as an overwhelmed little kid and now he's one of the older, more seasoned musicians.  In fact, he actually complains that the music is too easy for him!  This is kind of the only "bond" we have between us.  He DRIVES me here (yes, he has his temps already!) and we chat on the way.  I thoroughly enjoy both the rehearsals and the concerts.  This will likely be his last season because he starts taking college classes next year at high school.  If you don't know about that program, it's the greatest thing in the world!  He can take college courses FOR FREE, books, parking, and all!  With our financial situation and abundance of children, we are so excited to take advantage of this opportunity!  He's allowed to take 15 credit hours a semester, but I think that would be excessive.  I'm debating between 9 and 12, but I want to talk to his counselor about it first.  He won't have to take any more high school classes....these count as double credit!  Isn't that awesome!  I wish I'd had that opportunity back in my day!

Oh yes, and he's shaving now too.  Wowzers...he was JUST a baby!

I had a rough end to last year and a rough start to this one.  December was way too stressful for me.  I had a large quantity of family portraits to shoot (even though I tried to get everyone to get them done in November), I had multiple photo booth jobs, a funeral for a very close friend, a Christmas program at church, pictures with Santa (that I had to edit and distribute in less than a week), problems with the tenants at our apartments, and of course the regular hustle and bustle of shopping, wrapping, decorating, etc.  Then on top of that, Hubby had to go to another state for work.  They were so behind that they requested that the "superstar" come help out.  It was for 5 days and they were going to "make it worth his while."  Well, 5 days turned into 10. They paid for his hotel and food, but let me say that it was NOT worth his while.  He brought home a couple extra hundred dollars.  Meanwhile, I was trying to be mom and dad to 4 kids and do all the driving, fixing things, and chores that he helps out with.  I crashed.  I somehow got a pinched nerve in my neck which sent me into migraine headaches.  I ended up in bed and couldn't handle any light or sound.  I couldn't eat because it actually hurt and I threw up.  I couldn't open my eyes and used talk to text if I needed help.  By this time, Hubby was home and I couldn't even allow him to sleep in our bed.  It was horrible.  I went to ER twice, once for a CAT Scan and once for an X-Ray.  Thank God we recently got good insurance because the bills were $5,000!  I started on heavy doses of pain meds, which totally knocked me out.  The only relief I got was when I was sleeping.  I started PT several times a week and that actually helped a lot.

I totally missed Christmas.  I didn't bake anything.  And y'all know how much I love to bake!  I only wrapped about 1/3 of my presents and had to enlist Mama and Son #2 to finish for me.  Fortunately, I bought the last gift right before I went down.  I walked over to my mom's for the first time on Christmas Day (they live right next door) for a few minutes.  I was able to half-heartedly participate in New Year's Day.  I felt like crap most of the time, but I was there.

THEN- it came time for my scheduled hysterectomy!  I couldn't cancel because I had been waiting on the surgery date for 2 months!  I had to get off all meds a week prior to my surgery, which really scared me.  Somehow, God brought me through and I was able to handle it.  The recovery was rough the first couple of days but then I crossed a major hurdle!  In fact, I would say the hysterectomy was a cake walk compared to the headaches!  I had my 6-week post-op visit today and I'm healing so well. I feel about 90%.  I haven't had a return of the headaches...only a stiff, tight neck.  I can live like that.

So, I ended up with a relaxing break for a couple of months, which I ended up really needing.  Now, unfortunately, I'm back to my normal routine and starting to get a little stressed again.  I'm not going to take on any more though.  My New Year's Resolution was to move my family up higher on the list and let other things go.  I'm pretty much adhering to it.

I had my first photo booth since the chaos and it went really well.  I made some great contacts there and am hoping for follow up jobs.  Hubby's apartments are crazy right now, but that's a post for another day (hoping there is another day).  I actually could make time every Tuesday to blog...even though the orchestra season ends in late March.  I'll try.  I really do like it.  As long as I don't have to hunt for photos to cheer up my lengthy stories, I might post more often.  I really hate putting out a post with no photos.  But that's why I usually write them and never post them.  I guess I might start breaking all the rules!  :)

Well, it's been nice catching up!  Rehearsal is over soon and the time seemed to fly for me.  Thanks to anyone who is still out there.  I appreciate every comment, every email, and every one of you. I hope you all have a great, happy day and that those in my neck of the woods don't get snowed in!  (It was -22 here with the wind chill on Sunday.)  With love~