Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Maybe, just maybe I have a refrigerator

Maybe, hopefully, keep your fingers crossed. I may have a refrigerator that actually works right. I hope I don't jinx it.
Today Joe from A and E called and then got to the house right before lunch. He looks at the fridge and takes the temp of both the top and the bottom. Not good, he tells me that it is not cooling right. No? REALLY? Gee, here I was thinking that this was normal. DUH?
He pulls it away from the wall and he notices that there weren't any valves that gave him access to the gases. Not good. Ok, so then he asked about what was wrong with it, what needed to be replaced and what was done to it. You would figure that they had all this in the system and that they would know all of this already. Nope again!
He tested for freon, well low-and-behold, it was EMPTY. The repairman before him must have poked a hole in the hose somehow and it all leaked out over a period of 3 days. Oh gee, great!
He fixed that with the blow torch, set off the smoke alarm, scared the cat, smelled up the kitchen, cleaned up and left.
So, in the long run, he fixed a hole from the other man. And filled it back up with freon. Told us that it should be cooling in a few hours. Yep, he was right. But then again, so was the other guy.
This repairman thought that the sealed unit in this model of refrigerator was under warrenty for 5 years. Nope again, this particular model was not under that clause, ours is only 1 year.
We paid $700 for this refrigerator last year and the amount of work that has been put into it so far is about twice that much.
Keep those fingers crossed!

Just some updates on everything

Ok, A and E just called, they will be here soon to check out this hunk of junk that is a so called refrigerator. Yes, Johanna, I am about to call the BBB for the fact that they sold us a lemon. It is irritating that I can't use the refrigerator for more than 2 days.
Elaine, to answer your question. Grocery shopping is a challenge right now. I went shopping the other day and spent quite a bit since I haven't had the luxury of a real refrigerator for several days. So, of course thinking that I had a refrigerator, I bought things like eggs, lunch meats, bacon, milk, cream, you know the stuff that you need to have coffee and breakfast. But when I got home and I noticed that it wasn't right, I had to start unloading and put things in the freezer. So, my shopping has been interesting. I buy things that I know can be frozen, I buy things that are smaller so I can fit it in the cooler. Chuck provides the ice from work. The freezer part is keeping cool enough for the eggs to be in there. But what would take me 30 minutes is now taking my over an hour. I have to plan out meals that won't have any leftovers. And if they do have leftovers, will it freeze ok? is the next question. It has been very hard, and my patience is at wit's end right now.
I got home from work last night at 11:15, Chuck was up waiting on me. I told him I was tired. I am not tired from work, although I did scrub floors last night, I am tired of this refrigerator. I am tired of walking around coolers, rummaging through the coolers looking for my cream, or the mustard, or whatever else there is. This is a learning experience for all of us. No food goes to waste at all, which is very good. They boys get creative with their lunches. Thankfully fruit and veggies don't have to be kept cool, or there would be nothing in the house to eat. I am so grateful that we did buy the upright freezer. It is packed full, as is the pantry. So that way if they want applesauce, they can have it. It is frustrating, but we all have trials, and there are friends of mine that are going through harder times than I am, who am I to even think about complaining?
As for Eric and the bike, the boys have been sharing. How nice of PJ to let Eric ride his bike. Let's start with PJ, the other day he was having problems starting and keeping balance, well, he called us outside on Sunday, after this fiasco with the fridge, and said, "Watch what I can do!" He started his pedals where he wanted them, and off he took through the yard. Downhill through the back yard, 2 or 3 times before he crashed. While I was making dinner Chuck heard him crying. He crashed and crashed hard. The handlebars turned and nailed him in the chest, he had a good scrap down the front. But that didn't stop him from getting right back on. I got a text from Chuck when I was at work, they were out there in the front and the back riding the bike, taking turns and having a great time.
As for Eric, we will be buying him a bike this week. He picked one out at Wal-Mart. Same as PJ's, just a bit larger. Perfect for him, and then when he outgrows that one, PJ can have it. He started out slow, well, you know he never rode one, never showed an interest, so for him to get on one and try to ride it, I was proud of him. Well, he would get out there everyday and practice, would ride down the dead end and come back up. He gets on it like he has always known how to ride a bike. I am so proud of both of them. Eric has coordination problems and this is helping him big time.
So, life isn't all that bad for me. I am going on a field trip with PJ this week, and I am so excited about that. I am so blessed with life right now. My mom tells me I have a talent and to use it. If anything comes from my little story, wonderful, if not, it won't be a big deal.

Monday, September 29, 2008

"Hello, can you get me someone in customer service?"

Do you know where this one is going?

"Good morning, I need to speak to someone in Customer Service, please?"
"Thank you, please hold."

I did this first thing in the morning because I didn't want to be on hold for an hour like I was the last time I called Maytag. Yep, I have refrigerator issues again.

"Hello, how can I help you?

So, I proceed to give my phone number and then explain to her that the part that was installed on Thursday has given up and the refrigerator is worse than it was before.

She told me that I had to call A and E and then they will charge me for whatever is wrong with it this time, if it is not related to the original problem.

Ok, well, I have the number for A and E and I call them.

"How can I help you?"
"Well, I had you guys out last week and for that matter the week before and my refrigerator is not cooling right. It is worse than it was before and I need him to come out and see if this part is the problem."
"Ok, well, I see that we have been out, several times actually, and I see that they did replace the original part. Will you be home tomorrow between 8 - 12 or 1 - 5?"
Luckily I am working tonight and I will be home all day tomorrow.
"Yes, any time tomorrow will be just fine for me."
"Ok, we will have someone out there between 8 - 12, is there anything else I can do for you?"
"So glad you asked, I need a new refrigerator, can you provide that?"
" Um, no mam, sorry."
I was only kidding with her.

I have gotten used to living out of a cooler. It has been quite an adventure, really. You get rather creative with dinners and what goes in the cooler and what doesn't need to be in there. So, I am really learning a lot from this lovely experience.

Number 1, I will never, ever, EVER buy a Maytag piece of trash again. I meant EVER AGAIN!
Number 2, I won't buy from Mike's Maytag either. Since the owner sold out, the other owner has the personality of an irritating boil.
Number 3, it pays off being really nice to the people on the other end. If I started out yelling and fussing, I would have had a new refrigerator because I can't afford to put all that money into something that we paid $700 for.
Number 4, So glad that I have the upright freezer!
Number 5, So glad that I have the pantry full of food for such an emergency.

We are learning everyday. This is just another trial that we have been through the past few months. How much more of this can I take? I don't know. I don't know whether to laugh or cry. Is it worth it? No. Told Chuck just to buy a mini fridge, because really, this is getting very old.

More to be posted as I find out what is going on tomorrow.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Children's Book

A while back I mentioned that I thought about writing a children's book. I wasn't sure if I would go through with it or not. Still deciding whether to send to a publisher or not.

I have gotten a good part of it done and I am have an ending, just trying to get it all together to finish it up.

I have sent it to a select few people. I am not posting it on the internet, because someone will steal it. Now, the 2 that have read it so far have told me that it held their interest, one told me it was very descriptive, and the other was wondering what illustrations would go with it.

I have some ideas for illustrations, but I have one little problem, I DON'T DRAW! PJ does, and he would love to be the illustrater for the book, but his drawings are more abstract. I may let him chime in on some ideas, I should let him chime him, after all, PJ is the main character.

If you are interested in reading a portion of it, please let me know. I can email it to you. It is rather cute, if I do say so myself!

Eric and the bike

The other day PJ got his new bike. He was so excited that he wanted to ride it. Well, when he would take a break, Eric would be on it. He would adjust the seat and try to ride it.

Now, let me start from the beginning, Eric has had Big Wheels, tricycles, bikes with training wheels, he never grasped the concept of riding the bike. His coordination was so off that riding a bike was a struggle for him. After the last bike, he just had no interest in riding any bike. Until the other day.

PJ wanted the training wheels off his bike so that way he can go down the Greenway with our neighbor. I expected that. Once he found out that Papa P wants to take him and ride on the Greenway, they had to come off. But what I didn't expect was Eric showing an interest in riding too.

Eric got on the other day and came in with his shorts pulled up, "I fell off" And that he did. Both knees scraped up pretty nicely. I told him to clean them up with peroxide and he should be fine. Nothing major, you could see that he hit the pavement with a force. I thought that he was gonna give up.

Last night, after we got home, here is Eric, in the neighbor's driveway, trying to ride around. I wanted him in our yard so I can see what he could do. He had a problem getting it started, but then once he got going he did just fine. through the yard, around in front of the house, right before he crashed into the flower bed. My poor flowers aren't gonna survive them riding bikes into it!

When I was out there with him, he looked at me, "So when can I get a bike?" Ha! That is funny, he had no interest in it, but when he started, he loves it. Good for him. We will look into getting him one shortly.

This will be good for all of us. We can rent bikes when we are on vacation and ride together. I am happy that he is trying as hard as he is. No training wheels needed!

Chorus began today

I guess I have to say that PJ must take after me with his singing. Now, number one, the kid is just down right adorable, and I am not saying that because he is my son. He is a cutie, so that does help getting him on stage. Number two, he has a personality that goes along with his looks. Once again, not saying because he is my son. But those of you that know him, know that he can turn on the charm when needed, a good thing at times, but not all the time. Number three, he does love to sing. And this will be good to get him into drama and choir when he gets to middle school and high school.

He was so excited last night that he didn't want to make his lunch. "Oh I will be up early enough to make my lunch." Yep, he forgot! He told me that he had to be up early because chorus started today. He has to be at school at 7:40, so at 7:30 he walks out the door heading to school.

I am tickled for him. This is an opportunity for him. He will have a Christmas play coming up, and they have other things that they get to do. Due to gas prices, they will not be performing at the malls this year. I do know that he can try out for other choirs in the area, if he is interested. This is an opening for him to try out for the things that he wants to do.

It is Fixed! It is Fixed! IT IS FIXED!

Guess what??? I have a refrigerator now. It is fixed and I can't be happier about all of this.

We have gone 9 days living out of a cooler. Ok, that is 9 days straight, that doesn't count the days that we went about 2 weeks before all of this that we were living out of the cooler.

You all have read the blogs and seen the lovely pic of the cat fur that came out that one day. We all know that wasn't the problem, but it is fixed now.

Yesterday about 8:30 the repairman pulls up, now, he had quite a bit already done from the other day. He had the back off and the freon already out, so that was about 25 minutes done. He opens the box and it is packed with egg crate and snuggly in the box, no dents, no bows, straight like it was supposed to be the other day.

I was on the computer while he was working on that. What we thought was going to be a 2 1/2 hour job, turned out to be an hour. In and out the door.

Before he left, he said that it was already cooling, but didn't want us to put much in it until 24 hours. Of course when Eric got home from school, I had him check the temperature on both, they were both cooling very nicely. To be honest, I know that my freezer never did cool very well, but when it is down to 24 degrees, I am happy. And I see now that they sold us a piece of garbage! It is like a new refrigerator now. I had Eric put milk, mayo and cream in there when he got home from school.

I felt so bad for the boys. Lunches were either bought at school, which they don't like at all. Or just stuff thrown together. There were several days that I had to go to school and take PJ his lunch. It was an awful mess. But we are back on track.

I got to thinking that if I had to live without any appliance which one would it be???? The dryer. That is all, don't take anything else away from me. I need it all. We all are so dependant on our appliances, that we don't realize how much we miss them when they are gone.

Now, I have to unload the cooler and fill my working refrigerator back up.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

Persimmon Tree

We have been blessed with a huge backyard. There are so many houses that don't have any yard at all, we have one of the largest lots on the block. I have plenty of room for a full garden and more.

When we moved here 8 years ago, we were blessed with a Bradford Pear that is now about 40 years old. We also had 2 apple trees that eventually fell down. They were rotten and they needed to go. During 2 different storms, the wind took them down straight to the ground. And then we have this persimmon tree.

To be honest with you, I really don't know how old this tree is. But it is old, and we have lost a few limbs this year. But nothing to worry about.

Well, I noticed that this thing has a lot of fruit on it this year. And when I got close enough to it, I couldn't believe the amount of fruit on it.
The branches are weighted down with fruit! I was amazed how much is on this tree. Never in the years that we have been here has this tree produced this much fruit. I am so surprised to see what is on there. I know that I can't count what is on it.

Now, I don't know anything about persimmons. I do know that they are very, very bitter when you eat them now. But if you wait until the first frost, they are delicious. Right now the fruit is falling off the tree left and right. Not a problem, because I think that I will have more than enough on there after the first frost. I can reach some, but the ones at the top of the tree, they will have to fall to the ground. I am not that interested in getting all of them, but I would like to try some.

The older man at Bi-lo told me that they make a nice pie and very good pudding. And he told me that I can also can them too. Cool! Something else for me to can! I can also make persimmon chutney and jam. Yummy! How cool is that!!!!

PJ's new bike

PJ got a bike for his 6th birthday. Since then, it has sat there with training wheels on it. He did ride it for a while, but never really showed any interest in riding it very much. For one thing, he couldn't ride it in the yard. We live on a very busy street and didn't want him in the front. So, that meant that he had to ride it in the backyard. The tires weren't made for the terrain of a yard. He rode it some, but mostly it just sat there.

Yesterday he wanted to ride it more. Ok, so get a pump for the tires and pump them up and get him going on it. He got his helmet on, and off came the training wheels. He did ok, it was still very hard for him to ride in the yard. But he did try very hard to ride it alone. No broken bones, no scraps, no bruises. Not too bad.

Today, after Chuck and I got done with everything that needed to be done this morning, he thought that buying him a bike would be nice. They are good kids, they are kids too, and things like this make them happy. PJ's grades haven't been very good, so we thought that positive reinforcement would be the thing for him.

Chuck went over to school to check him out early and to take him up to Wal-Mart. Chuck texted me a few times about the whole process of size and everything, but in the end he found one that he really wanted. First of all, PJ is small, he always has been. So, getting him a bike that is a little too big for him is better than one that he fits on right now and won't be able to use in a year was out of the question. Secondly, we wanted him to have a bike that will last longer than a year.

They get home, "Mommy, I got a new bike!" And along with the new bike came elbow pads and knee pads. He is gonna need them! "Ok PJ, get your homework done, then you can ride your bike."

Now, if I had a video camera out I would have taped it for y'all to see this little bitty. PJ gets going really nicely on his bike, about to run into my car, swerves and misses it, down the hill, picking up speed as he is about to hit the neighbor's house, swerves and misses that, and ends up in his flowers. "Ok that was fun!" For him maybe, but for me, not really.

He is having a problem with steering and making it go in the direction that he should be going. So, when he was heading to the flower bed, he decided to lay it down so he wouldn't crash.

I was out there with him for a little while. Ran with him and held on to the bike when he needed it. He is, though, having issues with balancing it. It is more bike than he can handle right now, but this is good practice for him. He wants to ride the greenway with our neighbor. Sounds like fun to him. Now if we can just get Eric on a bike, we all can go biking together while on vacation.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Helping out at school

Today was the day that Chuck got to go to school with Eric and to his Engineering Tech class. Basically shop class, but to be more politically correct, Engineering Tech is the term used today.

This year the class got to design a dragster and use the table saw to cut it out. The teacher needed parents to volunteer to run one saw while he ran the other. So, Eric asked Chuck if he would go and help out. Sure, why not?

I wanted to go and take pics, but they said that it would be too much of a distraction, so I stayed home, alone (thank you Lord), and waited to find out how it went.

Chuck texted me a few times, "this is almost fun." and "I am using a saw that I have never seen before." Chuck is not the handy man of the house, I am. Granted growing up with a general contractor does help some, but still, I am the one that runs the saws and hooks up the electric. So, it would have been a kick for me to be there and to watch him run a table saw.

When he got home I asked him all about it. He was there for 2 classes and helped the kids or supervised the kids that needed the help on the saw. He had one girl that has been in school with Eric since kindergarten and he told her exactly what to do, "Just imagine that it is Eric's head!" And she zoomed on through, doing a pretty good job. I have watched that little girl grow up, and he knew exactly how to help her out.

I did get a message though stating that he broke the saw. Ok, well, it was just a blade. After so many dragsters the blade was dull and it just snapped in 2. Not a big deal, easy fix. Just goes to show how many he did help out with.

I wanted to go, but I didn't. I told my dad that would have been cool for him to go with him. But he was at the cannery making apple sauce and apple butter. We stopped there before going to get more ice for the coolers. He was fussy, I think it was more that he wanted out of there and that was all there was to it. He was grinding the apples, peels, meat and seeds into this grinder and out came all the pulp and juice leaving the rest behind. Pretty neat! But I do that stuff at home.

But with my dad being a contractor, he knows all that stuff. Of course being older than the teacher, I am sure that he would have gotten grouchy and told the teacher what to do. So, in turn, it was better that Chuck got to go with him. And he never really has the chance to go with him for anything like that, so this was good for both of them.

Finally! Well, we just thought FINALLY!

We have been without a refrigerator for just about a week now. Not too bad, not loving it either.

Yesterday the place called me, let me know that the part is on the truck and will be here sometime in the afternoon. Now, the repair man was supposed to be out in the morning, but because of the slowness of service, it would be later in the afternoon or Tuesday. Well, since I don't have a part, I can't get anything fixed.

On my way to the store, which is everyday right now, I get a call from the repair man.
"This is Adam from A and E. Did your part arrive?"
"Please tell me you are lying."
"Nope, from what I understand it is on the truck to be delivered today."
"Well, I guess we can get out there tomorrow"
"I have no other option right now, that will work."

I honestly thought that they would have shipped it overnight. But they didn't, no big deal, another day is another day.

Late yesterday afternoon I get the package. The box was all caved it, the tape was barely holding anything together. Now, this is a $900 part, you would think that they could ship it better. I decided to call him, let him know that the part was here and wait. I got an automated call that he would be at the house between 8-5. Great, another day where I wait for a repair man, with his buttcrack hanging out while he fixes my refrigerator.

Ok, so this morning I was up early. Make sure PJ got to school, made coffee and waited on Chuck to get home from doing paperwork. I get this call from the repairman, he is about to pull in the driveway to start working. Chuck is home, I am still in nightshirt, needed to get into the shower.

I come out, Chuck is somewhere by this point, sit down, drink another cup of coffee, and look up to see Adam holding my new part. " It is up to you, I can use this if you want to." This $900 part that was shipped in a box that wasn't meant for shipping, was bent and bowed up. Why waste his time to put that in? So, of course, since it is only guarenteed for 90 days, don't put it in.

He goes to the van, turns out that their warehouse sent it like that, orders another part, and proceeds to order another one after that. It won't be here until tomorrow at the earliest. If it gets here tomorrow, he will be here at 8 on Thursday morning to fix it. Now, this is a 2 hour job, I have to be at work at 11, so he needs to be done before then. But then he told us that they are licensed and bonded, and that he can lock up when he is done. I am not comfortable leaving some repair person here alone, but if anything is missing, I know where to turn.

Here I am, Tuesday afternoon, no refrigerator, living out of 2 coolers, and sitting on the computer. I am not happy right now, thankfully Chuck's work has an ice machine, we have used a lot of it the past few days. The boys aren't happy about all of this, and they don't know anything about what happened today. Lunches for them has been PB and J or something that won't spoil. They have to make them before they go to school, so they are up earlier for that. Granted we have a ton of stuff that I have canned, and it isn't too bad. Dinners are things that won't have any leftovers. I was looking forward to stuffed shells, that is not happening any time soon. But this is getting old, very fast!

Maybe, just maybe, we will have a refrigerator that works by Friday. Oh well, at least we have the coolers and the freezer which has come in handy. I will keep you updated on this ordeal!

Monday, September 22, 2008

My hands

My hands are a huge part of me. I use them everyday, just like everyone else does. But all of my hobbies are where I use my hands for everything.

I love to crochet, quilt, sew, needlework, can foods,and other things. This is such a huge part of my life. I love to do all of that stuff listed. It is something in my life that I would really miss if something was to happen. Plus blogging is one of my most favorite thing to do.

Here lately, I have been having some issues with my hands. I don't know what is going on, afraid to go to a Dr to have them checked out. They fall "asleep" when I do things, quickly. I was cutting apples today and lost the feeling in my fingers. I put down what I was doing, shook my hand, and got back to work. But it isn't only with that, it is with the quilting and mainly with my crocheting.

Cutting the pizzas at work does affect it too. Sometimes I can feel the tendon pop, and it does hurt. I am afraid that it is carpel tunnel and that surgery will be needed. Now, it is not like we need me to work right now, but there are days that are bad. Sleeping hurts, writing hurts, typing hurts (so far so good), cutting and cooking hurts. The crafts play such a big part in my life, I teach the boys the things that no one showed me. Cooking is a huge part of just being me, now I have to have Eric help me more and more in the kitchen. Not a bad thing for him, but for me, I miss out on getting my hands in it. For me to show him how things should be done, it hurts. Driving hurts. Everything hurts. Now I am the one that is missing out.

Yes, I should go see a Dr for this, but the end result is something I may not like. I will keep you updated on how I am progressing or not progressing.

Smells like fall in my house

I am off today, tomorrow and Weds, so I am looking forward to getting things done around the house and some very important alone time with Chuck.

Since I worked mostly nights the last week or so and he worked days, we are like ships passing in the night. We talk all the time, but haven't had the chance to spend time with each other. So, I am looking forward to relaxing some tomorrow too. And for about 2 hours, he and Eric will be at school. Eric is in engineering tech class and will be cutting his dragster on a table saw. I wish I could go and take pictures of this, but it would be a distraction and we want all digits to be intact when they leave the class. This is very important for Eric, because this is the first time that Chuck will be able to go and do something with him. And how fun is that!

Anyway, about 2 weeks ago, my dad took a trip to get some apples. I thought I would end up with a bushel. Nope, I got home and there was a crate full of apples. What in the world was I thinking???? I finally got around to doing something with them. Made 3 apple pies with crumb topping. I prefer this over the other crust on top. And this morning I made apple preserves. I have more than enough apples to make apple butter, apple sauce, apple pie filling, that I thought apple preserves would be very good. And I was right! DELICIOUS!

So as I type, I have a house that smells like fall. Eric already grabbed a slice of pie. As soon as he walked in the door, "Can I have a piece?" Of course I let him. He made one yesterday for Chuck's work, and I made one for my work, so that means that the boys missed out on apple pie. So, I gave in and made one for us too. That is fun for me.

I will be going on the field trip with PJ. I am so excited about it. I won't miss any work, and I will be able to have a day with him and his class. Plus it is a great time of year to be outside, hopefully the leaves will be changing.

So, let's see, I have apples everywhere. I have a house that smells like nutmeg, cinnamon and apples. I have my fall tablecloth and placemats already out. The halloween stuff will be up soon too. Thanks to the $ Tree, I have a ton of halloween decorations, and are the boys looking forward to putting things up around the house.

For the years that I worked at the Seminary, I was condemned because I let my kids go trick or treating, I was put down because I put up decorations, I was verbally abused for celebrating the devil's "holiday", I did it anyway and caught grief for it. This year, we are decorating, dipping apples, dressing up, and having a good time. We don't celebrate any form of the devil's holiday. Kids are kids and let them be kids. Childhood is such a short period in our lives. We rush through it, wanting to grow up, and when we do, we can't go back. I refuse to have my children rush through their childhood.

Fall is around the corner, raking leaves and jumping into them. Walking on the brisk mornings, and cuddling under the blankets. We all have different reasons for loving the different seasons. I love the fall for all that it offers, the colors,the tastes, and the dropping temps. And I can't wait to get the camera out and get on those back roads of town.

Friday, September 19, 2008


PJ came home from school the other day with a slip that said "Road Trip". Too cool. I am so excited about the field trips this year because I can schedule that day off, still work another day during the week, so I don't miss any hours and still be able to go to with the boys.

Now, this trip is also on a day that there is a manager's meeting, so I may have to schedule the time to go to Chuck's store for that meeting. If so, not a big deal. I will find out if I will be going next week or not. I think I am gonna be able to go. This stuff is very important to me. I don't like missing out on their lives. They are only this age once, and I want to be a part of it.

The field trip is to the Museum of Appalachia located in Norris TN. Norris is located about 20 miles north of Knoxville, so this is a huge trip for all of us to go on. It is about 2 1/2 hours away from home. Now, if you drive like me, well, I can make it to Knoxville in 1 hour. That is not supposed to happen. But when you are driving behind the school bus, well, make that 3 hours.

I tried to find the website for the museum, but the domain expired. So, thank you Wikipedia,
The Museum of Appalachia, located in Norris, Tennessee, 20 miles north of Knoxville, is a living history museum of pioneer, mountain, and early artifacts of the Southern Appalachian region of the United States.

Recently named an Affiliate of the Smithsonian Institution, the Museum is a collection of more than 30 historic log buildings rescued from neglect and decay and gathered onto 63 acres of picturesque pastures and fields. Thousands of relics in authentic settings and in two large exhibit halls, which house one of the nation's finest collections of folk art. One of the museum's buildings, the Arnwine Cabin, is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is a tiny one-room cabin built in the early 1800s and moved to the museum from its original site near the Clinch River.[1]

The Museum also seeks to preserve traditional art forms and music by providing performance and demonstration venues for artists and craftsmen. In addition to its Porch Musician Project, which features daily music performance from the porch of the Peters Homestead House, the Museum of Appalachia hosts the annual Tennessee Fall Homecoming, a four-day event featuring four stages of continuous performance of "old-time" music and dance. Hundreds of craftsmen, demonstrators, and cooks set up sales booths on the grounds.

The Museum of Appalachia's stated mission is to: (1) preserve both the physical heritage and daily experience of Appalachian life for future generations, and (2) develop, interpret, and present exhibits and programs that increase public awareness of and appreciation for our Appalachian roots.

In addition to thousands of photographs, the Museum's archives house collected oral histories and recollections, as well as donated mementos of the region.

The museum was established in the 1960s by John Rice Irwin. In May 2003 it was converted from private ownership to a non-profit foundation operating under the direction of a board of directors.

The museum employs a staff of 32 people, has an annual budget in excess of $1,000,000, and attracts about 100,000 visitors annually.

Living up in Knoxville, I always wanted to go there. But we were so broke that the trip there was almost impossible to afford. This is a chance for me to do this with him.

He told me he wants to ride with me, he is a mama's boy. But I think it would be good memories for him to go on the bus. You remember the field trips that you got to ride the big yellow bus. The fun that we all had when we did go on field trips.

This is actually a big trip for them. Usually the trips are to the pumpkin patch or to a bank, or to the battlefield (that is next year). I had trips that were to Statue of Libery, where my wrap around skirt fell off, of my trip to DC, where we had a pillow fight, and the feathers went everywhere. Or our trip to NYC, where I don't think anything happened, they were great trips, and I wish the boys had the chance to see the things that I got to see while I was growing up. But that is what happens when you want to raise them in a smaller area. I forget of all the history that is here in this area. Being raised in NJ, we learned of the Civil War and the part the North played. We didn't learn about the South and all that it held. I love learning this stuff now.

But this is cool, a ride on the bus all the way past Knoxville, not like he hasn't been there. He can tell the other kids all the stuff that is up there. Where he was born, where he lived, where the stadium is at, and the other fun things that are up there.

I will have to admit, life is good. Smile more, laugh more, joke around more, love all the time. Life is too short to miss out on anything!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Oh so good!

Ok, I am not Mr. Food, but I bet you I can give him a run for his money!

My dad and I took our monthly shopping trip to Sam's and Publix today. I guess you can say that is our date once a month. It is nice to go there with him. On the way down I was complaining about pork chops and that they have no flavor anymore. He mentioned that he went to Don's Meat Shop in Hixson and got some really nice pork chops. It has been so long since I bought any kind of pork like that, other than bacon or sausage.

We hit Sam's first and then Publix. I go in, find my little man and then hit the deli to find my little LadyBug friend. I love going there. Anyway, on the way down, I was thinking about dinners, and I am really stumped on meals here lately. I even brought my Rachael Ray books with me. Nada, no ideas, I am lost.

So, I look in the meat window and spot these thick center cut pork chops. I asked the man about them and if they were any good. And of course he said they were the best around, come to find out, he was right. I hand picked the 3 that I wanted, and he then asked me if I was going to freeze them. I told him that was dinner tonight, but he would have wrapped them in freezer paper if they were to be put in the freezer. Oh how nice they are!

My dad talked me into buying an acorn squash. I have never had one, never made one, don't like squash all that much. But I bought it anyways. So, now what do I do. Get my shopping done, head home.

I get on the internet and start looking around for recipes for the acorn squash. I find some that need brown sugar, but I don't have any. Maple syrup, but I don't have any, honey, I have that. Butter, cinnamon and sugar, salt and pepper. This is gonna be good.

I took the pork chops, covered them with EVOO, kosher salt, fresh ground pepper and summer savory (I love this herb), get the grill going, make some wild rice, and then decide that since I have a crate of apples, I was gonna make homemade fried apples. I had to get brown sugar from my neighbor for that.

I cut all the apples, and Eric measured everything and made the fried apples. Oh my goodness, they were so good!

So now for the acorn squash. I baked it in the oven for about an hour and took it out. It was tender and smelled so good. I tried some, I liked it, gave some to Eric, he liked it, and didn't tell PJ what it was until he tried it, he liked it. I am not a squash fan, I was force fed zucchini casserole when I was living with my aunt and uncle. So, that turned me off right there. Chuck only had yellow crook nect squash, fried, growing up, so I do buy that occasionally, but to try this, it was actually very good. I am willing to try anything new, as long as I can make it myself.

Get the chops off the grill, load up the plates and dig in.

"As the refrigerator dies" part 2

I swear this thing is driving me nuts. And I am about on complete edge with the refrigerator that we bought last year.

I got home from shopping with my dad today around 10:30, got everything unloaded and patiently waited for the repair man to show up between 1 and 5. I told my dad, "watch he show up at 5." I was so right.

I got dinner made, more on that yummy meal in another blog. And the repair truck pulls up in the driveway. Ok, I have plenty of food, he was just in time for dinner.

He checks the upper part, then to the freezer. He takes it all apart and while eating dinner we can hear the ice crash to the bottom of the freezer. Not good, not good at all.

Now, if you remember from the earlier post, I mentioned that last year, right after we got it, we had to call for repair because of the fact it wasn't cooling right. Ok, he comes out and thaws out what he needs to do and leaves. This guy comes in tonight, tells us that there is good news and bad news. Let's get it over with, the bad news first..... we will be without a refrigerator until next Tuesday morning. Apparently there is a part that is notorious for going bad and freezing up like it did on this one. UPS will deliver the part right to the house and then Monday he will be back out to fix it. The good news, it is all being paid for by Maytag. It is a $900 part, not counting the 2 hour labor. We paid $900 for this thing last year. The repair man from MIKE'S MAYTAG, didn't bother to look at that part, he just thawed it out and left.

So, now what? We cleaned out the refrigerator, emptied containers that had some leftovers in them, threw away some things that we didn't really need or things that weren't being touched.

In one cooler we have milk, surrounded by ice, along with all the jellies, jams, cream cheeses, lunch meats, bacon, and apple butter. In the other, eggs, and some leftovers from dinner tonight.

The repair man told us that this has all new parts in it. I am ok with that, but we went in there buying a refrigerator that we thought was brand new, no parts replaced, never been used. We were wrong, they hoodwinked us. Suckered us, or whatever else you want to call it. I thought about going down there tomorrow and giving them a piece of my mind, but that will get me arrested.

So, tune in again tomorrow, same place, same channel, same stupid refrigerator.

About the picture I have chosen

I love to take pictures. I have so many on CDs around the house that I need to get printed, so that way I have them. The past few vacations I have uploaded the pics to get them printed. I love looking at them and the memories are nice.

This year we took 9 glorious days to Florida. Oh how I enjoyed it! I wanted to go to St. Augustine. There were things there that I wanted to see, plus it being the oldest city in America, I thought the history would be neat for the boys to see. We went to the welcome center and then started our 2 hour walking tour of the town. It was awesome. The fort and the battery were great. I can't imagine not going now.

I wanted to see the lighthouse. I don't collect them, I don't have any interest in them. But I love seeing them. And if I am close enough, I want to get some pics of them while I am there.

Oh how I couldn't resist this shot. If I didn't get there, then I have this perfect picture. Everything was wonderful in this photo. I have a very nice camera and I am very thankful that I do have it.

But if I didn't get there, then I would have missed out on the oak tree that is in the picture of my blog.

Now to make a very long story short. I got to church the Sunday after I was terminated from my job. Yes, I was devastated, but my life had to go on. I got to church and they all were giving me condolences, like I lost a family member. I took my usual seat in the back and listened to the message.

Isaiah 61:3 To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness; that they might be called oaks of righteousness, the planting of the LORD, that He might be glorified.

Now, to you that may not mean much. But when I decided to go up for prayer, you see, I wasn't me. I my head was out of it, my life was falling apart around me, I didn't know what was in store for me. I didn't know how the bills were gonna get paid. I didn't know anything. All I knew is that I was a loser, not wanted, and a huge disappointment. All I saw was me letting my family down, letting Chuck down. I was a mess. I didn't want to get out of bed that day, I wanted to lay down and let it all go. I wasn't the wife and the mother, at that point in my life, it was dark and all I knew was that I was useless.

My beloved pastor is not only my pastor, but someone I worked with too. And he was shocked when I told him what had happened. Well, when he prayed for me, he told me I was a mighty oak. And that is where this picture comes into play.

If I didn't get to the lighthouse, I wouldn't have seen a true oak tree. You see the only oaks I have ever seen are the ones that grow straight up. A true oak tree spreads the limbs close to the ground, the trunk is huge. It has to support all the weight that it has to hold. It protects all that is underneath it. And then I got it, it all came to me. I am not useless, I am not a disappointment, I didn't let anyone down. Right there, all alone, Chuck and the boys were in the car, it hit me. I am a mighty oak. I have to have strong shoulders to hold all that comes my way, I am a mother, not a wimp! I protect the ground under me, my boys. I stretch out my arms in love to all that I love. I don't turn people away.

It is funny how a realization hits you. It can happen anywhere, but for me, I was right there in front of this amazing tree. A tree that has gone through countless number of storms, and it is still there. It may sway to and fro, but it doesn't move. I can't say that I am that strong, but I am a mighty oak.

And if it wasn't for that word that I needed to hear, this would be just another picture.

Missing out

Over the years, I haven't missed out on a whole lot in regards to the boys. I have been to every football practice, missed one game. Been to every play practice, everything that happened at school I was there. Field trips, if I could arrange it, I was there. Projects I helped on. Teaching them how to read, how to color, trick or treating with them, decorating for Christmas, teaching them how to make cookies, mix pudding or to sew. I have been there. So, I have been one of the very fortunate mothers that, although I have worked, I haven't missed out on anything in their life. I know what where that priority lies, and I knew what I needed to do.

There is a gentleman that works with me. I trained him in the delivery aspect of the job and then I coached him on the other things inside the store. Very nice man, a bit younger than me, but then again, so is everyone else there. He has 2 children, a daughter that is 7 and a son that is 2. They moved here not to long ago from Colorado, found a house, and really like the area. He, like me, lost a very well paying job, and needed to find another source of income. So, he started at Pizza Hut about a month ago, enjoys it, but then found another job during the day.

He told me, "I don't want my wife to work. I need to have another job that pays better than this." Number 1, don't knock the pay. Tips are good, and you can make good money at it. And he is a salesman, so he knows that you have to have good personality to get good tips. There are some there that are not very friendly and they don't get jack. Number 2, aren't YOU missing out on your children? I found out that he works 80 hours a week. He worked last night until 11 and got up this morning at 5:30. He isn't there when his kids get up, not there to have dinner with, and isn't there when they go to bed. What kind of life is that?

When PJ was very little, he would babble, he is a talker and we all know it. But when he was about 2, he would go on and on. It was annoying, but it was cute too. Chuck looked at my dad, "Ray, was she this way and this age?" My dad response, "I don't know, I wasn't around." And he wasn't. He never went to my plays, I couldn't be in any chorus or sports because of the fact that I didn't have a way to get there. He never went to a parent teacher conference. The only teacher that he knew was the one that he wanted to date, that went over like a fart in church. He didn't take the time to play board games or cards with me. The first board game I ever owned was one that I bought for Eric.

So, I look at this guy at work, and I understand why he is doing this. I understand that kids need to have one parent at home, and that is a good thing. But I make the effort with the boys to do the stuff that I do with them. I still go to lunch with PJ, I am going to go to the open house, even though I am very tired, I can't let that get in the way of something that he wants to do with me. I am still a mother, and I am still their friend. I want to be their friend, like my mom is my friend.

I don't like missing out on bedtimes. But this is a new phase in my life, Chuck had to pay the price to get to where he is at, and I will too, if I want the same. But working 80 hours a week, that just isn't in the cards for me. I love my boys way too much to miss out on any part of their lives.

Night Shift

Oh I am learning so much right now, and loving it as it goes along. There are some downfalls to the job, but every job has them, so I might as well accept them.

I closed the last 3 nights. I am doing well so far, check on me later, I may be passed out somewhere in a corner. But as for right now, not too bad.

Last night I worked 4 - 11. Chuck has inventory on Monday nights and I worked, so the boys were home for about 2 hours by themselves. Not too bad. Eric is 13, maturing rather nicely, so I wasn't too worried about it. Not until I got a phone call from PJ crying hysterically. "Mommy, I miss you." Ok, I have to admit, I started to cry.

This is the first time in their lives that I really haven't been home for bedtime. But to make it even harder on them, no one was home for them when they went to bed. Yes, I can see where that would upset them. Eric didn't let it show, because he knew that PJ was already upset and if he showed it, it would make matters worse.

My boss wanted me there last night to run the shift while she was working. So she can see how I do under pressure. There was one slight problem, no pressure, no business, no orders. Bad night last night for me to prove my worth. She had told me that if I need to go home to go on, it would be ok. No, they were fine, Chuck was due home quickly, and I was gonna stay. If it was an emergency or even if it was storming, I would have gone home. But they were fine, and I am needing to learn all that I can learn.

Well, I had 3 drivers and 2 cooks under me last night. I sent one driver home, he had been there all day and I didn't need him any longer. I started to clean the store before closing and told the one guy what he needed to do. He left the paper towels down in a spot where they didn't go, and I talked to him like I do the boys, "You done with the paper towels? Well, put them back where they go." Told one that there were dishes to be done, helped out in the other places and did all that I thought needed to be done. Of course, my boss was depending on the other managers to show me what to do, nope, they didn't. I know now what I need to do.

Anyway, we closed the store with bad sales, and she showed me what I need to do for the night shift, I will have to do more of that stuff to know how to do it. But she told me that she liked the way that I told them what to do, and that they did it. They didn't buck or fight me, just did what they were told. She told me that I have a command presence and that is something that store needs. Someone strong, not gonna back down.

Ok, so I did well last night. But I had a crew that is basically afraid of me. I am concerned about the 2 that won't do dishes, that won't answer the phone, that like to stand around and talk when they should be on a delivery. Those 2 are the ones that I have to show that I will not back down, I need to show that I do have a backbone and that they won't walk all over me like they do the others. And the one is always late, yep, that will stop on my shift.

"As the refrigerator leaks" The saga continues

Honestly, I feel as if I have an ongoing soap opera with my kitchen appliances. First the dishwasher gives up after just 3 years of faithful service, and I am still battling against the leaky refrigerator.

As you all know, we lived out of a cooler for a while because we thought that something was wrong with the refigerator, yes there was, it was leaking badly. Chuck thought that if we unplugged it, cleaned the cat fur out, and let it thaw that we would be back in business. All last week, we didn't have one problem with it. It kept the right temp in top and bottom, I heard the compressor kick on, so I thought it was ok.

Well, guess what??? It is not ok. Sunday morning I came around the corner to find the cat looking at the water running out from the bottom. As she would look, she would walk further and further away from it. This cat and water just don't mix well. So, I cleaned it up, left a towel there just in case, got the thermometer out and once again, took the temps. The top part was running an even 42 - 43. I can live with that, but when the freezer portion is running a close second, we have a problem somewhere.

When we first got the refrigerator, I noticed a short time after that it wasn't cooling right. Well, we had a year warrenty on it from the place where we bought it, Mike's Maytag. Same place we bought the piece of garbage dishwasher. So, Chuck called and they came out. It was froze solid around the part that cools the unit. Ok, he said it was from opening it up so much when we first got it. It happens all the time.

July 17, 2007 was the day that we purchased this refrigerator from Mike's Maytag, a scratch and dent store. But this wasn't supposed to be scratched or dented, turned out it was and I tried like hell to get him to throw in another year warrenty. Nope, no way, no how, nada. Couldn't get him to help out there. He actually told me that he didn't think that the dent on top would cause a problem. Ok, whatever.

I headed over there yesterday and spoke to a man I hadn't seen over there before. I explained to him in detail exactly what was going on and asked that since it is only 2 months out of warrenty if he could send someone out to look at it and determine what is going on. He told me, very bluntly, that he wasn't gonna do it, it would be $39.95 for a service call and then whatever it would be to fix it. I told him that we had problems with the crap that we bought here before. Once again, Mr Lack of Personality told me that we should have called. See, we have called, and called, and called. They work on it, then it breaks down, then one day after a year, you are out of luck. I told him that I will never buy from them again, and that I will make sure that all people I know, know exactly what kind of service you get from Mike's Maytag.

Oh, I was so upset. I was on the verge of tears right there, didn't give him the pleasure of seeing that. I hauled off to see Chuck, he wasn't happy about it either. But then I remember my friend worked for Whirlpool and she told me what to do. Call and explain to them what is going on, let them know that MIKE'S MAYTAG won't cover it and see what they can do.

I got home and made my phone call. Spoke to a really nice gentleman, Phillip. Now, before I go any further, let me explain this to you. Whirlpool customer service is based out of Cleveland. I drive by there all the time, I know people that work there and I am glad that it is here in town, because, if not, I wouldn't have gotten the treatment that I did receive.

I spoke to Phillip, explained everything to him. Told him that we bought this at MIKE'S MAYTAG, and they refused to honor the warrenty, albeit out of date. Car manufacturers do at times. But they wouldn't. Gave him all the info, all the #'s needed and maybe, just maybe, they could help. Well, we got to talking, turns out his wife taught Eric last year at the Middle School. And that there is a good possibilty that I have delivered pizza to his house. See, good thing they are in Cleveland. Whirlpool is picking up this service call. They are sending someone out today to come and fix my refrigerator.

I was so happy that I was about in tears. People don't do things like that anymore. They don't help out, like Mike's Maytag, they just don't know what customer service is, and then they expect you to go back and buy from them again. Well, this time I won't. I will buy from Lowe's or Home Depot or, if I have to, Sears. At least they know how to treat people. When we bought the freezer, the people from Lowes were great. Chuck bought the shed from there, because Home Depot refused to offer any other assistance. And then the manager from Lowe's called and asked if we needed anything else. That is service. That is what brings people back for more, plus the smell of lumber when you walk in.

So, as I sit at home, waiting between 1 and 5 for someone to show up, I am thankful that I did receive such wonderful service. And, well, since I closed 3 nights in a row, I am thankful that I am home alone right now.

Friday, September 12, 2008

Just wondering ...

I am thinking about writing a children's book. Yes, I know that is way, way out there, but what is the worst they can say? Um, no thanks. Hey, it would be worth the effort.

I have discovered that I love blogging, and I know that it is very different than writing a book. But I am not talking about a novel, I am talking on the lines of an illustrated children's book. You know, something fun.

I was trying to sleep the other night and with Chuck the way his arm is right now, sleep doesn't come easily to either one of us. Anyway, I flipped my pillow over, and it twisted and turned and I couldn't get it right. 'Bout drove me up a wall. Finally I got it done, but by that time I was awake and had a time falling back to sleep. I think it eventually came to me, and I woke up much later.

Ok, so while fighting with this twisted pillow, it came to me, no, not sleep. But a book about a little boy that, basically, does the same thing. He tries to flip the pillow, but he keeps twisting it. I have a lot to think about with it, I have it all in my head, but getting it on paper is a different story. Or getting it out of my head and into the computer is a different story.

Ok, people, I want your opinion on this. Elaine and Johanna especially. If you think that it is silly, let me know. But I think it would be fun to try.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Country Roads of Cleveland

A while back I commented about taking a road trip on the roads that I have discovered while delivering pizzas. And oh how I wish that I had my camera on me when I was out on these roads.

For a while I didn't know where I found these roads, I didn't know where I was going and I didn't rememeber where to go to get the shots that I was waiting so badly to take.

So, yesterday I decided that the boys and I would take a minor road trip around the county. It was a nice day, not too hot, and not too many people on the road, perfect, just perfect.

Cleveland has a lot of farm land, lots of old barns on the back roads, lots of great places to get pictures. Now, to be honest, if it wasn't for Johanna, I would look at this stuff and say "Oh big deal" But now I look for this stuff and it is fun. I wanted Eric to bring his camera, so that way he could practice seeing this stuff through the lens of a camera.

I delivered to a house across the street from this. A very small street, one lane, very secluded area. Ha, finding that in Cleveland is a rare thing now. But driving around like I have been doing has me discovering new locations. And I am loving it.

Eric was commenting that the people in the houses across the street were all looking at me taking the pics. Oh well, they get to look at this every day, most of them probably think it is an eyesore, me, I think it is a great place to go back to when the leaves are changing.

I am so glad that the boys went with me. I want them to see how some people in the country live. They need their tractors, they still use the barns, some are farmers, some get the hay for their horses.

Ok, this next one was an OOPS shot, I knew it didn't come out well when I took it, so I took it again and didn't delete it. I am glad that I didn't. Because when I got it on the computer, I got this. And the boys wanted pics of cows, not like they haven't ever seen one, but they wanted me to get some of the cows.

One more pic and I will let you go. I love this one too. Ok, ok, I really like all of them.

Oh I can't wait until the weather changes and the leaves change too. This is where I am gonna take a day, with my camera and get more pictures. I know where everyone of these places are. I know the roads that I took and the route that I went. And when the fall finally comes, I will be right there with my camera.

I will post more pics in my albums. Come by and comment, good or bad. Please let me know if I need to do something better to have better pictures.

Chuck's Shoulder

I haven't mentioned anything about Chuck and his shoulder because he kept telling me that there was nothing wrong.

A while back he thought he was being funny, pushed up on the counter at work and attempted to kick on of the giblet head girls in the head by swinging on his arms. Well, let me see, 41 years old, not too heavy, trying to playfully kick someone in the back of the head. Things like that never, ever have a good ending. And it doesn't.

The other day he tried to put a medium pan pizza in the oven, he dropped it. His shoulder gave out. He then decided that it is time for him to see a Dr. The only day off he had this week was yesterday. So, he got up and headed to the walk in that we generally go to. They have an xray machine there so they will be able to tell him what is going on. Only thing, the tech was out and he had to go back today.

He texts me to let me know that they were reading it and would get back to me. Yesterday the Dr said, without xrays that the shoulder was separated. Not good. He knew it wasn't the rotator cuff, but something else. Today they look at the xrays, yes it is separated, but they see a slight hairline fracture too. Oh man, how much pain has he been in?

They are setting him up for an appointment with a specialist and then go from there. Most likely surgery, but right now we are in a holding pattern. He is on a high power anti-inflammatory and a low dose darvacet. Take the anti-inflammatory once a day, but the darvact messed up his sleep. He moaned and groaned all night long last night. He took both this morning, and well, I'm loopy, I'm loopy, was all I heard in his voice.

Yes, he is still at work, can't afford to miss any work right now. Taking it easy, planning on more employees there than he really needs, but you have to do what you have to do. If I need to help him out, I can help out, I know what to do.

I will keep you updated on him. I don't think I can handle having him at home for too many weeks.

PJ and Chorus

Ok, most of you are personal friends and know my boys. You also know the personality of PJ. Very outgoing, very confident about himself, willing to try things, and he is downright cute too. No I am not bias at all.

Anyway, about 2 weeks ago he tried out for choir. She said, 'You have very good pitch' and he went on his way. Last week I kept asking if he had made it, nothing yet. The secretary at the school told me earlier this week we will hear something. Apparently there were so many that tried out that the music teacher needed another week of auditions.

I got a phone call today, "mommy, I made chorus!" Oh how happy I was to hear this. At this point in my life, I hate to say it, I don't have the time to run him around here and there, practice here, show there, you know how it is. Right now, I am so bogged down with work, that chorus will be great for him.

This is a big deal for him. They lost the 5th graders that were in there, and the ones that were in the 3rd and 4th grade automatically get into chorus. There are only a few open slots for the rest of the kids that try out. I know that there were about 75 children that tried out, and only about 25 made it. So, this is a big deal. PJ told me that there were a ton of 3rd graders that made it this year. She carefully selected the ones she wanted.

They aren't taking many field trips this year. Number one reason is because of the fact that there are more 3rd graders than there has been in the past, but gas prices do play a role in this too.

He told me that they do plays too, well, he is good for things like that. He is rather cute, I already said that. He learns lines well and works really hard at this kind of stuff. I am thrilled that he got in this because this can open the door for him in middle school and high school.

The only thing is, he needs to keep his grades up. He cannot get bad grades or we will pull him out of it. And if he is determined enough, well, he will keep his grades up.

So, there will be more to come about my little man. This should be fun!

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Getting back to the cooking way of life

Now that school is in session, I actually have time to do some cooking while the boys are in school. And let me tell you this, I have missed it.

Yesterday I decided that I was gonna take a trip to Publix, if you haven't figured it out yet, I love that store. And, yes, I know it is a 50 mile round trip. But the selection is great, some of the savings are so worth it, and they carry Boar's Head lunch meat. How much better can life get?

When I was wondering about the store, I noticed the Apron's area. Now, for those of you out there that don't have a Publix anywhere near you, you don't know what this is. For people like Lisa, you know where I am going with this. Apron's is basically Publix featured recipe for the day. There is someone there making the recipe of the day and then when they are done, you get to sample it. I didn't have time for this particular one, but I did hear that you can go on their website and get any recipe that they feature for the day. It is awesome.

So, upon checking out and getting home, here comes my dad. "Oh I just got back from Publix." "Why didn't you tell me, I would have gone with you." "I didn't think you wanted to go, so I just hopped in the car and went." "Man, I was planning on going next week. You going with me?" Of course I will go with him again. I love that store and as long as he is willing to go, I will go with him. I think yesterday I wanted time to shop alone.

The lady at the deli is a sweetheart. My first time there I gave her a worship CD, well, someone stole it. Ok, that is fine, someone else got blessed with it. Well, I had another one in the car and one from Dr Mc. And I thought that she would like it. One other lady was there, and I mentioned that I am blessed and highly favored, and that made her day. I gave the lovely lady the CD and she was so grateful, and she couldn't wait to burn them for her friend that was blessed and highly favored. People like that at the store are few and far between. And then there is Billy, the cart man. He helps you take your buggy out to the car. He is about 78, lives here in Cleveland, drives to Brainerd to work, and most likely the sweetest man I have ever met in my life. Married for 49 years, and going strong.

Anyway, the recipe yesterday was for pan fried fish, cabbage and radish slaw. Now no one in my house, but me would eat that. And the one on the video tape was Chicken Piccata, and that sounded great. But when I checked out the recipe, it was ground chicken. Not in this house, oh well.

Ok, so I have chicken out, and I don't want it fried, grilled, baked our anything like that. So, I found something that I had everything for. Tuscan Style Chicken with Sauteed Italian Beans. Yes, this was it, I found something different. www.publix.com. I love their recipes because they have things that you have at home, things that you have heard of, things you don't have to go to specialty stores for.

Tuscan-Style Chicken

1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 cup white wine
1 bag fresh baby spinach leaves (5–6 oz)
1 cup fresh pre-sliced mushrooms (rinsed)
1 (14.5-ounce) can Italian-style diced tomatoes (undrained)
4 ounces fresh mozzarella cheese


Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Season both sides of chicken with salt and pepper (wash hands).
Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Arrange chicken in pan (wash hands); cook 3–4 minutes on one side or until lightly browned.
Turn chicken and add remaining ingredients to pan (except cheese). Cover and cook 4–5 minutes or until internal temperature of chicken reaches 165°F. Use a meat thermometer to accurately ensure doneness. Meanwhile, slice mozzarella thinly.
Remove pan from heat. Top chicken with cheese slices; cover and let stand 2–3 minutes or until cheese melts. Serve.
My suggestion is, put the tomatoes and spinach on the bottom or around the pan, and put the cheese on the top to let it melt.

Italian Sautéed Beans

1/2 cup roasted red peppers
5 fresh garlic cloves
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 (19-ounce) cans cannellini beans (drained and rinsed)
1/4 cup white wine
1/2 teaspoon dried Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 fresh basil leaves (rinsed)


Cut peppers into 1/4-inch slices. Preheat large sauté pan on medium-high 2–3 minutes. Chop garlic coarsely.
Place oil in pan; swirl to coat. Add garlic, peppers, and remaining ingredients (except basil); cook 4–5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until beans are thoroughly heated. While beans cook, stack basil leaves and roll tightly; slice thinly into fine ribbons.
Stir in basil; cook 1–2 more minutes or until fragrant. Serve. (Makes 6 servings.)
Now, I was not gonna spend the $5 on the peppers, plus the boys won't eat it anyway, so I made this without it. These are so worth making.

And guess what the boys had for lunch today??? Leftovers again! Gone are the days of spam, liverwurst, deviled ham (eww), and whatever else Chuck and I had growing up. And welcome to gourmet lunches! Mom of the year is around the corner.

The primitive way of life

Ok, I know we all don't have to live primitively anymore. We have all the luxuries in home that we can ever really need. But when one of those luxuries are gone, you really miss it.

Last Thursday, Eric was walking through the kitchen, "Where is all this water coming from?" I thought that one of us left the freezer open again. Get up, clean all of it up, don't worry about it. Friday Chuck gets home, "I thought you cleaned up all the water in the freezer?", "I did, why?", "Well, it is leaking again." Great! Just what I don't need, another crappy refrigerator. I have been taking it's temperature on and off for about 2 days, something wasn't quite right, mmm, I don't know, when it is reading 47 degrees, and the freezer is reading, oh 42, there is a problem somewhere, don't ya think!

Anyway, Chuck was off early on Saturday and decided that we could put everything in the coolers and turn off the fridge. But before he did that, he cleaned the bottom, where the air intake hoses are, and well, low and behold, what did he find?

But the largest cat hair ball in the free world!

Yes, this is gross, but with fuzz ball living with us, we forget that she sheds, and she sheds a lot. This wasn't the problem though. Wished it was.

Load up the coolers, fill with ice, put what we can in the subzero freezer, so glad I have that thing. Leave the things that really don't need to be in the fridge, in there, you know ketchup, A1, leave the water in there, cokes and some other things. Buy another cooler and hope and pray that the thing froze up and will need to thaw out.

We bought this thing a little over a year ago. And we have had them out once to fix it, but the warrenty was up on the 1 yr buy date. As we all know, even with cars, you can go over a few miles and they will still honor the warrenty, as long as it isn't anything big. I also asked when we bought it, since it did have a dent in it, will this affect the unit? He told me no, I would have to buy another year of warrenty to cover anything that could happen for 2 years. We decided against it, this is before the dishwasher that we bought from there died in 3 years.

So, here we are, eggs, milk, cream, butter, mustards, lunch meats, cheese, cream cheese and whatever else we had, in 2 coolers. Not fun trying to find everything. Try getting to a gallon of milk without disturbing everything else.

So, while the fridge is unplugged, it started hemmoraging water, memories of our last unit. Ok, so, Chuck is home with the boys, and they keep towels there, keep everything dry, and it stays unplugged from Saturday afternoon to Sunday morning. I left for work and just left it alone. He gets home with a good thermometer and waits patiently. I get home and it is still not quite up to temp. Not good. But this morning, it was cold, so I loaded everything back up in it. Drain the one, load that up in the trunk, because I was heading to Publix for ice cream. And go on my way.

Now, I bought a cheap thermometer at Walmart this afternoon and it is still not right. So, I think I am gonna have to go to the local store where I bought it and ask, beg and plead with them to come out and look at it, like it is still under warrenty. I am hoping that the thing is ok and I won't have to deal with this again, but the way it is going, I think this will be another ordeal.

As for the air intake hoses, they will be cleaned every month!

Labor Day Fun

Sunday I was on delivery and on my way back I stopped at the Dollar Tree for a treat for the boys. Water balloons!

Since I haven't had the time or the energy to go to the Y's pool, I decided that water balloons would be nice for the boys.

I got home from work and brought them in for the boys and told them that since we are home on Monday, a water balloon fight will be appropriate. And they were all excited that they couldn't wait, they were out there as soon as the dishes were done.

But after our road trip on Monday, we came home and sorted out the balloons and they went for it. Oh it was funny to watch Eric bomb his brother, and to see PJ come running that Eric hurt him. He was throwing a little too close to him, but let them have fun.

This is what Chuck came home to. They didn't get very far, but they did get soaked. So, smarty Chuck decided to be funny and get the boys a little more than just wet.

He grabbed a balloon and filled it with shaving cream. It looked just like water when he brought it outside, and he got them both. PJ wasn't too happy about all of this because he got it in his mouth. I thought for sure that he was gonna lose his dinner, all I saw was him gagging. It wasn't pretty.

Yep and there goes Eric running for cover!

And here he is after he got nailed with more shaving cream.

Ok, so I may not be home a lot here lately, and I may be too tired to do somethings with the boys, but yesterday was fun. I should have gotten out there with them. I didn't, because I wanted to take pictures.

Fall is on the way, more pumpkins to carve, more leaves to play in, more pictures of the boys too.
I enjoyed this summer. I spent a month with the boys. We had a great vacation, I got to walk PJ to school on his first day, and tomorrow I will be having lunch with him.

I may have missed out on somethings, but I wanted the boys to have fun one last day.

Goodness, my family really is SPOILED!

Chuck was describing one of the pastas to a customer the other day. He was explaining that it feeds us and then there are leftovers for the boys for lunch. He mentioned that the bacon mac and cheese isn't quite as filling as the other two. He told the woman that he liked the meaty marinara, but doesn't eat it much because he likes the homemade marinara that I make. The woman looked at him, raised an eyebrow and he said, "yes, mam, I know I am spoiled. My wife makes the best marinara and it doesn't compare to this stuff here."

I finally had a chance to make dinner, for the first time in a long time. Not burgers, hotdogs or something thrown in a crockpot. I made dinner! Yipee for me.

Back around Mother's Day, Eric wanted to make this Chicken Burrito dish. I thought, eww... But it was from Martha Stewart, and you can't go wrong with her recipes. I found it and decided that was gonna be dinner.

It was chicken marinated in citrus juices, ancho chile, cajun seasoning, cilantro and tarragon. Let that sit for 2 hours and then grill, put the wraps on the grill, cut chicken into strips, serve with sour cream, romaine lettuce and mango salsa. Yes, I made my mango salsa, and it was outstanding! And then I made some Jasmine rice, cooked in chicken stock, sauteed garlic, and European butter.

Let me say this, dinner was a hit. Oh my goodness..... That is all there is to say there.
Anyway, there was enough for lunch the next day. And generally I will let the boys decide who will take the leftovers. This time there was enough for both to have a wrap and then some.
PJ made his up, Eric fixed up what he wanted. And then it hit me. My kids are going to school with citrus marinated chicken breast, mango salsa, PJ took some homemade salsa along too, and Jasmine rice. Are you gonna tell me that they aren't spoiled?

What did you have to have for lunch growing up? I didn't have a thermos, because the old ones were glass lined and we broke them all the time. I didn't take left overs, because no one wants beef tongue for lunch. And I know for a fact that I didn't have a blue icee for my paper bag, I never ever had a lunch box. It was peanut butter and jelly, or my favorite, cream cheese and jelly, tuna (but the mayo took a chance of going bad), maybe occasionally a turkey or ham sandwich. I never took tortellini with blush sauce accompanied by shredded Parmesan cheese. I don't recall my dad putting stew or lasagna in my paper bag either. Gee Whiz, they are spoiled.
Ok, it is my fault, I understand. But they love the leftovers, it gives them something healthy to eat, something that the kid next to them will look and say, "Whatcha got for lunch today? Can I try some?" And of course, Eric will share a little bit, PJ won't.

They are the only kids in school that go with natural peanut butter, homemade jellies and jams, homemade cookies and cakes, and leftovers that are so worth every bite. You know, like meatloaf and homemade mac and cheese.

Nope, they aren't spoiled. Just well fed, healthy kids. And as for Chuck, he is spoiled!

Just discovering that I really am a true GEEK!

Oh My Goodness! I just really realized that I am a geek. Yes, me, your ever-so-friendly blogger is a geek, dork or just maybe a domestic goddess. I don't know which one it is, but it is one of the three.

What made me realize that I am one of the above? Well, I am off today and I decided that I was gonna make my detergent that I haven't made in a while, because I have been too busy. And then I thought, hmmm.... let's make softener while I am at it. Ok, yes, it is true, I made my own fabric softener today. Why? Well, I hate buying the other stuff and I can make my own scents if I want to.

So, this morning I headed to Abundant Living to see what they have in Essential Oils. Some of this stuff is really, really expensive for just one little bottle. But you get a lot out of one bottle. I wanted the cinnamon, but they were out. How cool would that be if your clothes smelled like cinnamon? It isn't every one that can say they have cinnamon scented clothes. I looked at the spearmint, oh how I wanted that too. But I picked up the bottle and it was rosemary, I have enough rosemary in the yard, I really don't need any more around me. But the selection was wonderful, lavendar, very popular, orange, lemon, lime (that is what I bought), rose, cedar, pine, tree tea, and I can go on and on.

When I checked out, the woman told me that they have a booklet for the uses of all the different oils. So, when I got home, I checked it out. You can make your own body splash with just the oil and water. Facial cleansers, aids in digestion, spearming relaxes the muscles, lime aid in sleep, and then they do have the things to make aphrodisiac with too....... The booklet is rather interesting though. To see what you can do and make naturally comes out better for you and for the environment. And how neat is it that you can make your own body splash with the oils? You can be different, and make your very own scent.

Ok, now back to the fabric softener. I found two "recipes" that caught my eye. I am using this one now: 1 cup baking soda, 6 cups white vinegar, 8 cups water. Pour the baking soda in clean gallon jug via funnel. Add 1 cup water and then SLOWLY, and I mean it ladies, SLOWLY add the vinegar. Why??? It will fizz up on you if you don't do it SLOWLY. Then add the remaining water. Add 10 to 15 drops of the essential oil of your choice, shake, REMOVE the lid, or it will blow off, TRUST ME! I have learned from experience. Add one cup to your rinse cycle.

I have just done one load of wash. I added it and it is now in the dryer. I will have to fill you in on the results of it. I also used my own detergent too, if you want, you can all essential oil to your detergent too. Just a few drops, the stuff is strong.

I chose the lime because, well, I only had $6 on me, and I didn't want to use the debit card for that. The lime cost $5.19 for a small bottle. I wanted some of the others. But since I have the booklet, I can make all kinds of stuff now.

I will let y'all know how everything comes out in the wash.

Project time

I knew this was coming. I knew that PJ would come home and tell me that he had to make a plant or animal cell project. I was just trying to figure out what he could do.

Eric had the same project when he was in 4th grade. I let them decide on how to make their projects, I let them figure out the best way to do it. Eric decided on pizza dough, onions, sauce, green peppers and pepperoni. It was cool! We used a biscuit cutter to cut out the vacules and then we used the sauce as blood and filled the little circles with the other food. It was a great idea. Now we could have done it again this year, but PJ wanted something different.

We thought about it, he would throw ideas at me, I would bounce them off of him. Nothing came up that he really preferred. Except this, use jello in a plastic bag and then use things to make the nucleous, mitochondria, and the vacules. Ok, I can do that. Easy, takes no time, and we have everything at home for it.

I needed dried apricots for dinner that night, so I colored one green. We used raisins and John Deere gummies for the other stuff. The plastic bag was the cell wall, the jello was the cytoplasma and the apricot was the nucleous.

He used toothpicks with cardboard for the labeling of everything. Eric used the last of the tape for his project, so we had to staple everything to the toothpicks.

It wasn't the best project, but you can tell a kid did this one. There was one little boy that got a 0, why you may ask. Well, all he did was print a picture from the computer and turned it in for his project. Nope, not gonna work. He had fun with it. Constantly checking to see if he could add the stuff, trying to figure out what would go where, things like that. He had it all labeled right, he decided on the design and what was to be done. He can be proud that this one was all his.

Shopping with my dad

Ok, you may be thinking this is gonna be dull and boring. And to you it may be, but for me, it was a nice day.

A few weeks ago my dad mentioned about going to Sam's and Publix, both located in Chattanooga. I usually don't make trips like that for shopping because, 1 I drive for a living and I don't want to drive any further than I have to anymore and 2 gas is a killer, and I have enough miles on my car. But when my dad mentioned that he was going, I thought I would tag along.
So, last Monday he picks me up and off we go. I don't care for Sam's a whole lot, they have so much stuff and you really have to watch the prices. My dad takes off in his wheel chair cart and leaves me to fend for myself, not a big deal. I hit the stuff that I knew I would need. I priced things that I knew that I would be needing, taking my time, looking around. My dad, he needed 3 things, so he was done a lot quicker than I was.

I get the stuff I need and off to the register, and who pulls up behind me, dad. I don't know what he was doing, what he was looking at, where he was at, but he got done right when I got done.
Now, here we are, and he knew that we would be going to Sam's and Publix. He didn't unload his trunk. He had two 5 gallon water jugs, a cooler and tackle box. Where the heck am I supposed to put the paper towels, huge box of cheezit and bugles, don't forget the 8 lb bag of french fries, that hit the cooler. We loaded the trunk and the back seat of the car and now we needed to go shopping.

Now, if you don't have a Publix in your area, you are missing out. Publix is located in Lakeland Fl. They are the nicest grocery store I have ever been to. I love going there, the people are nice, they have the best selection of organic any chain store has, they have a great name brand items that I just love. Now, of course you have to watch the prices, but that is everywhere. I came out of there looking like I am a walking ad for Publix. Publix Spanish Rice, butter, cream cheese, colby cheese, sour cream (not a good choice), raisins, diced tomatoes, alphabet pasta, and bread. I love their Spanish Rice, I will put that up against Rice-a-Roni anyday. And everything else, except the sour cream, was quite good. It is better than Great Valu, but then again, what isn't. Even the black and white label cans are better than Great Valu.

The cashiers are sweet and there is one little man there that I just adore. He is from Cleveland and he is older. He drives everyday to Chattanooga, and then will be transferring to the Publix when they open in Collegedale, and eventually up to Cleveland. I am glad that within about 18 months there will be one here in Cleveland.

Ok, so what, I spent the day with my dad. That is something that we haven't had the chance to do. It isn't like we live in different states, it is just that we still have a rocky relationship and I still have to endure his wife. And I try to stay away from there all together.

My dad stops over for a cup of coffee, brings bread, brought Eric some homemade grape jelly, brings things over here for me to try, things like that. He is trying so hard to be a better parent, I will give him that. He is also a better grandparent than he was father.

Spending the day with him was nice. We will do this once a month, cool. Gives me some time out of the house, get the things that I need for the house, even do some Christmas shopping while I am at it too.

Another Edition of Letting Go.....

The other day I blogged about Eric getting on the bus for the first time. Yes, I was up that morning just making sure that he did get on the bus. And so far, so good. I did have to get him up this morning, but I did fall back to sleep for a while too.

Anyway, while we were relaxing after dinner, a gentle knock hit the door. Generally, I would assume that it is my neighbor, she and I are close and she does like to come over and see how things are going. Since I have been so busy, she doesn't come over that much. Ok, so I get up and here are 2 girls that Eric has been in school with for several years. She looked at Eric and asked if he wanted to go over and play ball with them, they were bored and invited him over. She lives over the hill, so it wasn't that far of a walk for them.

This is the first time that anyone has come over and invited Eric to go over their house, but being a girl, well, you all know, that is different. Chuck wandered around the corner to see if she was a cute little girl, winked, and went on his way. Eric came bolting around the corner with one shoe on and one shoe in his hand, and off they went.

Of course I didn't worry about him, he is a good kid and he knows right from wrong, it is very hard to be able to trust any child. There are so many temptations out there, and kids do get into things that the parents just don't know about or don't want to know about.

I called about 7:30 and told him to start hiking home. It is getting darker earlier and I didn't want him walking down the road and crossing the busy street in the dark. He didn't have a problem coming home, seemed like he was ready.

They walked around the neighborhood, played and that was about it. That is fine with me. I just like for him to keep his nose clean........

So, as he gets older, I have to turn lose a little more. I have to let go more, I have to understand that one day, he will be out more, with more friends, and the only consolation that I have is that we have raised him right.

Letting Go

I finally got Eric on a bus that will pick him up in the mornings. But you already know that.
Ok, in the 9 school years that Eric has been going to school, I have driven him most of the time. My dad occasionally, and Chuck would take him sometimes too. As he got older, he and PJ would walk to school. But yesterday morning I was up wondering if he got on the bus ok.
He is 13, I should not have to worry about that, but I did. I got up, looked out the window and didn't see him. Go outside and here he is, standing on the walkway in front of the house. I told him that he has to go to where the bus dropped him off in the afternoon.

He looked at me and I knew right then, he was scared. I felt like he was in Kindergarten again, starting this all over again, going through first day tears once more. Of course he did fine, I would hope so. But still, letting go is so very hard.

I got back in the house, crawled back in bed and I heard the bus stop and get him. Then about 25 minutes later here comes PJ, "Bye Mommy." He was walking to school for the first time, alone. I was a little concerend about that, he is just so small, but I have to, once again, let go. He called my cell when he got there to let me know he was there, and then he called again to let me know that he forgot his lunch box and that I needed to deliver it.

I was a little confused on what to do on Tuesday. I have never been home without the boys, only on the occasional day off that I would take. So, walking around the house on Tuesday and Wednesday felt a little strange. And until my schedule changes, it will be Monday - Wednesday that I will be home, waiting on them to get out of school.

Now, for some really cool news. We all know that all states require standardized testing. The boys take the TCAP in April of every year and eventually, we will get the results back. PJ brought his home yesterday. He scored well above average in reading, I should have known. And incredibly high in math, a subject he doesn't like. Science was average, nothing special there, but Social Studies, he scored a 207 out of 280 possible points. He was just a few points shy in every category to score above average in that too. He is smart, there is no doubt there at all. Just what is he gonna do with it?????

The Real First Day of School

Bittersweet is a good way for me to describe the first day of school. I am happy that they are back in school, and that I have had the pleasure of spending a good part of the summer with the boys. But it is a day that I realize how fast it goes when they enter school. Eric is now in the 7th grade, and I expect the year not to be as easy as last year. PJ started the 4th grade, this year won't be so hard on him. I will have to help him with EXTRA stuff this year, since there are way too many in his class, I might as well do some stuff with him.

As you all know that yesterday wasn't a good day. I argued with the bus barn, trying to get him on a bus. I called first thing this morning. Eric got up way too early, but that was his choice, the alarm clock is very loud, so you know that I was up too. I got out of bed about 6:40 and fixed my hair, here comes Eric around the corner, wanting to leave right then. I know, I know, he wanted to see his friends and he was excited about the first day. I told him that tomorrow, we will leave about 7, I was not planning on getting out of bed any earlier than I have to, considering I have to work that night.

I didn't bother getting dressed, wore my night shirt and my slippers.On the way to school, I called the bus barn again. I spoke to the supervisor, asked them about the bus that Eric was on last year. I was making sure that he would be on the bus, because that is what I read online. He told me that the schedule was righ and he was to be on the bus on the way home. Oh good, I didn't have to get him. I had to go in to work anyway. I had time to put batteries in the camera and take another picture on another first day of school.
One day, I won't be able to do that anymore. Not a pretty sight.... I noticed that there were so many parents at school today. Eric commented how the parents of the 6th grade students were walking them to the gymnasium. I asked Eric if I should do that, well, you all know the answer to that. Let me see, nightshirt, slippers, hair in a clip. UM NO MOM!

I didn't cry this year, give me until I drive him to school in the 9th grade, and how about the year that he drives to school. Yes, I am an emotional mom. I love my boys dearly and as the years go on, I am so very thankful for the time that we have had together. The things that I had the chance to do with them, and the stuff that I had a chance to teach them. I hope there is more time for that, but you never know what takes priority now.

Before I left to take Eric to school, I got PJ up. I told him that the Flintstones were on. He loves Boomerang and Pink Panther along with the Jetson's. And that was on at 7. Ok, so when I got home, he was watching Jetson's with waffles in the toaster. I was next to the toaster, got those ready for him and then hit the shower. I had to look acceptable to take him into his classroom.

Ok, I know that I was down about losing my job. Yes, it hurt, but as the time has gone on I realized how fortunate I have been. You see in all the years I have had the boys in school, I never, ever had the chance to walk either one of them to school. And living so close to school, I had the chance to do that with PJ this year. He wanted to leave early so that way he can see his friends. Ok, I understand all of this, but next year will be the last year that I can go into PJ's classroom. So, I wanted to get a picture of him at his desk. Usually, I have to have him at school before 8, and then I have to walk him into the gym. Last year, I got to the classroom with him. But this year, we walked hand-in-hand down the road. Yes, it was really bittersweet for me. But we crossed at the crossing guard and I went right to his class. We found his desk yesterday, so he knew exactly where to go.

Isn't he too cute??? I have a pic of him when he was in Kindergarten and the changes over the years, well, I am a mom and it is hard to accept to see them grow up so fast.

I got a phone call today, Eric was scheduled to be on this one bus to come home and to catch at 6:25. Well, I explained to her that he is on this one bus and that this was the one that he got to ride home on. She looked and saw that he was on that bus and I explained to her that he drives right by the house every morning. She told me that he is supposed to turn on this one street, but he goes up and then turns onto our street and drives right by the hous and that I can't understand why he can't stop right here and pick Eric up. She looked at that, and realized that he can do that. This is good news to me and to Eric. He is now to catch the bus at 6:40, he should be there at 6:35. It is right on the corner, in front of the house. The woman at the bus barn asked why I knew he would drive by the house, and I explained to her that I see him at the light. He misses all the lights and traffic from driving the main street. She was glad to hear that, and voila.... I have Eric on the bus that does drive right by the house and at a little later in the morning. I am glad that all of this is settled. Now, I did let Eric know that if he misses the bus to come and wake me up. This is a first for me, well, for him too. For the last 8 years I have driven him to school nearly everyday. There was a time that my dad did take him to school and every once-in-a-while Chuck would take him to school. Growing pains hurt.

Tomorrow, well, PJ will be walking to school alone. Do you realize how much that makes me see how much he is growing up? My boys are growing up, and I am right there with them, every step of the way. Yes, I am aging too, but I am happy that I have been there for them during the years that I needed to be there for them.