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Thursday, August 30, 2007

Thursday Thirteen #16: Thirteen things I still can't find post-move

Thirteen Things I still can't find post-move

1. Shoes other than my old, holey tennis shoes. I think I'm going to break down and buy new ones tomorrow.
2. A bra other than the one I'm wearing. I may break down and buy more of those too.
3. The bedroom TV. Really. We lost a TV.
4. My favorite tea cup.
5. The books for a class I'm teaching.
6. Part of my daughter's drawer.
7. The school calendar.
8. The Dog's second favorite toy (we just found his favorite).
9. A box of beach towels.
10. My bathing suit.
11. Hair things.
12. Our bike helmets.
13. My mind!!!!

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Better things come to those who wait

I started to post a whiney post, because today was just sort of a blah day. But I wasn't feeling it, so I decided not to post. Then, I had to make dinner, which meant my evening walk to the grocery store. On one hand, I feel like a slug for going to the store every day. But it's good exercise, and it's kind of fun to also feel like a responsible citizen, not wasting gas (except my own, which I need to do more of!) and polluting the air.

On the way home from the grocery store, I saw something very cool. My first ever crime scene! It was so cool. The liquor store in the shopette must've had a holdup or something, because it was all taped off with crime scene tape and the cops were everywhere. I've never seen a real life crime scene that actually used the tape. I thought that was mostly in movies. So I was pretty jazzed coming home.

Then, as I put the groceries away, someone knocked on my door. It was one of my neighbors. She'd baked cookies to welcome us to the neighborhood. I've always wanted to live in a place like that! I've got a lot of cool neighbors. The kids are having a blast because there are kids everywhere. I've been walking to and from the school pretty much every day with one of our neighbors and her kids. I just love being in such a friendly place. Of course, this could be Wisteria Lane in disguise, but I'm going to continue thinking it's nice. Which reminds me, I had a super cool murder mystery idea. I wish I could write decent suspense. I just get too excited about the whodunnit part that I ruin it.

Finally, I got a little more unpacked and my house is starting to look less like a bomb went off and more like a place where folks can relax. I can actually see the top of my kitchen counter, my tables (yes! I have tables! kitchen AND dining room), and most of my family room floor.

Do I sound like I'm on something? I read over this and think, whoa! someone is way too happy for the grumpy day she had. But you know, I just am so grateful right now. My FIL and his girlfriend had dinner with us tonight and while the guys did guy stuff, I showed her what we'd done to the house and talked about the plans I still have. I'm so excited, because there's so many things I've always dreamed of doing and now I finally get to do them. Maybe it's silly, but to me, having a nice dining room where I can lay out our china and have a nice dinner is a super cool thing. I like having something in my house that's an escape from the every day.

Oh, and I have to say that I REALLY love having a place to send the kids when they're driving me nuts that's out of the way and I can actually have some peace and quiet.

Monday, August 27, 2007

Perfect timing

It's funny, we've been in the house for over a week now, and I still keep pinching myself because I can't believe it's really mine. I feel such a peace in my new house that I honestly never felt before. I admit, the mess and boxes everywhere had been stressing me out. And, I was even more stressed to come home to an even bigger mess than I'd left. I had to remind myself that hubby can either keep the house clean or the kids alive and I would really miss my kids.

But today, I gained a different perspective on the mess. I just didn't care. I mean, I want my house clean, but I realized that *I* am more important than a clean house. So I cleaned a little. And I rested a little. And I worked a little. And I sat outside on the back patio with my little girl and listened to her singing songs. Not the usual "hurry up and finish so I can work some more," but deciding that the most important thing I could do in that moment was let my baby give me a concert. I also helped That Man put together my bistro set for the front porch, so I could sit in the chair, watch my kiddos play with the the neighborhood kiddos and *gasp* interact with the neighborhood. I've always wanted a front porch.

So my kitchen is half clean. My four bathrooms are all clean. I drank my requisite water. I went shopping and bought most of what I needed. I'm caught up on work (I think). And even though I don't feel 100% myself, I'm pretty content right now. I listen to the rain, thanking God for the unusually rainy summer, because our new house doesn't have a sprinkler system like the old one, and I forgot to buy a sprinkler for the hose. Although I think our hose is still packed somewhere, so I'm not sure it matters. I've met some of our neighbors, who are all really nice people. My kids are making friends in the neighborhood. My daughter loves her new school.

A friend of mine just posted a blog about how they were able to get their house sold and a new one bought in God's perfect timing. Funny, ours went the same way. And interestingly enough, the people we sold to had perfect timing in buying, and the people we bought from also experienced a God moment in selling this and buying their new dream home. Then today, I got an email from a friend who also did a God move- to another state. I remember before she left, we talked about some of the things she needed, and how God needed to make a few of those happen. In her email, she talked about how basically, it all happened, just like God said it would. Just like we prayed it would.

I was pretty mad that I got sick last week. I had a lot to do. I'm really behind now. But as I sit here in my perfect house, listening to the perfectly timed rainstorm, with my two little girls sleeping happily upstairs in the dream bedrooms, none of it really matters. It'll all keep.

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Slowly catching up

Well, I spent my birthday week sick as a dog, culminating in spending 3 days in the hospital. ICK. The short version is that my body wasn't totally healed from surgery, I caught a bug, and in my weakened state, I fell into a nasty tailspin and couldn't pull out of it on my own. The good news is, I'm home now, I can actually keep food and drink down, and I'm slowly climbing out of the pit.

Soooo.... bear with me. I've spent the past few days conversing about nothing but my health and that's hardly enlightening, funny, or entertaining. Unless you're really sick. Mentally sick. I'm still pretty tired and the whole upright thing isn't very fun for me yet. But I did want to give folks an update, since I knew a few were aware of my illness and the rest of you were probably wondering why I hadn't been chatting your eyes off.

So there ya go. I'll be my usual self soon. I hope.

Monday, August 20, 2007

The middle name game

Because I love Pammer, I'll play! And as you all know, I don't tag folks, because I have a few friends who get irritated with these things. So if you want to be tagged, you're it!

The Rules: (you knew there had to be some)

1. You have to post these rules before you give the facts.

2. Players, you must list one fact that is somehow relevant to your life for each letter of their middle name. If you don’t have a middle name, use the middle name you would have liked to have had.

3. When you are tagged you need to write your own blog-post containing your own middle name game facts.

4. At the end of your blog-post, you need to choose one person for each letter of your middle name to tag.

5. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

M- Meaty. I actually couldn't think of an "M" word that described me, but for some reason, meaty came to mind. Maybe because I have meaty posts. Yeah, that's it. :)
A- Angry. Well, I'm not really angry, either. But I don't have an "H" in my name, which would be perfect, since I'm typically homicidal. I guess angry is sort of homicidal, except that I think homicide is also fun, and has nothing really to do with anger. Oh well, at least I used "A".
R- Real. Finally a word that really describes me. And since living life openly, in a real way (huh, maybe I could have used "authentic" for "A"), is what I'm all about, I figure "real" is a good word for me. I like "real" better than authentic anyway. I'm more of a plain folks type anyway.
I- Inspirational. At least that's what I hope to be. I have to be taking up space on this planet for some reason, don't I? :)
E- Energetic. Well, that's what some folks think of me anyway. To be honest, I'm more exhausted than energetic. I think expending all the energy is exhausting. I think it's bedtime now, so maybe in the morning, I'll be less exhausted. :) At least until I start tackling these boxes.

That Jack needs some GAS!

I'm extremely depressed right now, so I thought I'd share the brightest spot of my weekend (besides taking possession of my new house, but that's not funny, so here's a funny).

I was trying to get to the store and home before all the guys did, since I had the key. And like a good little girl, I drove nicely through the parking lot going the RIGHT WAY. To reward me for following traffic rules, I see a parking spot, right up front. It's mine. YAY me. However, as I was pulling into said spot, another car comes tearing down the WRONG WAY, pulls in front of me, cutting me off, and takes the spot. And so, nice little Danica turned into gremlin Danica. Unlike my friend, Angela, who has been known to say, "Oh, Poor!" to jerks on the road, I am not a well-bred Canadian. Nope, I'm an ill-mannered American, tyvm. So I called the jerk a bad name.

As I'm driving past said jerk, angrily muttering about his driving skill, the baby yells, "That Jack needs some GAS!" God can be nice to me, even when I completely don't deserve it. Instead of my daughter sharing the obscenity that I called the man (which she has been known to do, since we're still working on curing Mommy of potty mouth), she spent the entire grocery trip, angrily talking about the Jack needing gas. And why did the Jack need gas? And obviously it was a bad thing since Mommy was so mad. Those Jacks!

So since I brought up being depressed, I should probably share and ask for prayer. During the last trailer load up at my FIL's yesterday, my dog disappeared. We'd thought he'd be safer over there since our fence was down at the new house. Well, he's gone now, and we have no idea where he is. We've posted flyers, asked neighbors, and pretty much searched everywhere. I've checked the animal control folks, and so far, they have nothing. The good news is, he does have a microchip, so if he's found by authorities, he'll be returned to us. But please, please, please! Keep him in your prayers. He's such an important member of our family and we are heartbroken. I don't think I've ever seen That Man so upset. Even though he's being all manly about it, you can tell he's really torn up by this.

In the meantime, get those Jacks some gas, because I'm in such a bad mood that I might just run them over!

(And I really apologize for not replying to posts yet, I'm just incredibly stressed with the move and now with my missing dog)

Thursday, August 16, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 15: Things I love about my new house

Thirteen Things I love about my new house

1. FOUR bathrooms. Yes, I know, my kids will still fight over the bathroom, but it's still a nice thought.
2. The backyard is HUGE.
3. I finally have a front porch. I'm envisioning having a nice chair to sit in and drink tea as I watch my kiddos play with the neighbor kids.
4. I can walk to Dairy Queen.
5. One of my neighbors is one of my dearest friends.
6. My kiddos can walk to school.
7. I can walk to Starbucks.
8. The kiddos will have their own rooms. And yes, I know, they're still going to terrorize each other. Just let me dream for a minute.
9. I just might get my own office (doubling as a guest room).
10. I'm going to have a formal living room with no TV. Just a nice, quiet place to sit and read or chat with friends. (I know, fantasy land again)
11. I finally have a formal dining room where we can set up That Man's grandmother's dining set.
12. The kids will have a playroom, so theoretically, most of their junk will all be in one place.
13. It's mine, all mine!!! (and the bank's, of course)

Links to other Thursday Thirteens!

Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others comments. It’s easy, and fun! Be sure to update your Thirteen with links that are left for you, as well! I will link to everyone who participates and leaves a link to their 13 things. Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Ten things you'll never hear me say...

I was tagged by Jan. If you read this and want to play consider yourself tagged. :)

Ten things you'll never hear me say:

1. I have too many books.
2. No, I would not like a free book (unless it's one I don't care to read or already have).
3. Here, honey, have some more beans.
4. Sure, kids, eat all the sugar and caffeine you want.
5. No, I don't want to travel. (wanting to and affording to are two different animals)
6. I think I'll pass on high tea.
7. Do you have that shirt in orange?
8. Make my steak rare- the bloodier, the better.
9. I don't want a massage.
10. I'd rather not publish my books, thanks.

Believe it or not, it's harder to think of these than it sounds. I have too many things that depend on the situation. I'm a never say never kind of girl, so it's hard to find things that would really be a "never."

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

The sticky mass in the middle

One of the personality traits I have that I've always been proud of is my loyalty. I'm a pretty loyal person. Once you're my friend, I stick by you through it all. Once you're my enemy, you're dead forever. But we're working on the enemy thing.

Over the past few days, I've become aware of a situation that will be testing my loyalties. Two parties, both of whom I've always been loyal to, are at war. And you know, I'm not sure what I'm going to do about it. Right now, I'm watching it continue to unfold, praying, carefully evaluating before making a decision. But ultimately, I'm going to have to make a choice.

As I sat, mulling over my choices, and thinking about the implications, I realized the real issue. For me, loyalty isn't just about being a good friend. It's not just about sticking to something I've started. No, the real issue is pride. If I'm disloyal, or if I change loyalties, it means I was wrong. Worse, it means I have to publicly admit to it. I've stayed on really bad courses for a long time, calling it loyalty, but the truth is, I didn't want to have to admit I'd made a bad choice. So I lived with a lot of negativity until my life was so miserable, I had to get out.

The last time I did that, about four years ago, I thought I'd learned my lesson. Don't stay on a sinking ship just because you were told the Titanic was unsinkable. But here I am, loyalties torn, and when I get to the guts of it, I'm not asking which is the best course, but which one means the least amount of crow eating. Oddly enough, the TV shows I've caught as I flipped through the channels to figure out how to work my FIL's DVD player all had "crow eating" as a theme. You think God was trying to tell me something?

With yet another sinking ship, I look back and see all that was wasted with my loyalty. So many of my decisions had been based on maintaining loyalty. And yet, had I not made the commitment to remain loyal, the decision would have been different. I chose wrong. Oddly enough, we're having a discussion about second chances and "do overs" on eHarlequin. So I've been asking myself as I weigh the decisions we'll eventually have to make... if I had to do it over, would I change my decision?

And that's a hard, complicated mass to unravel. It's easy to say, "no, because I learned so much from it." But the truth is... I don't know. I feel cheated. I made sacrifices I shouldn't have had to have made. I didn't pursue some important goals and dreams the way I should have. I gave up a lot to get...


As I look at this tangled mass, I realize that there is still the sticky mass in the middle. The thing I don't often face, yet is always there. The pride. I never wanted to admit that maybe, my decision was wrong. Which meant pursuing the wrong path led to even more wrong decisions.

In avoidance of looking at that dark mass, I caught up on email, and found myself deleting by name on some loops I'm on. Not a bad thing, because I honestly don't have time to read 200+ emails a day. What shamed me though, and where God wasn't going to give me a respite from my self examination, was WHY I'd deleted some of the names. One name is the name of a girl a friend of mine doesn't particularly get along with. I don't know her, have never met her, and yet, I completely obliterated her from my presence simply because a friend of mine doesn't like her. Misplaced loyalty to be sure. The saddest truth is that I do it all the time. I dismiss people for really dumb reasons. People who could have been a special part of my life. Or not. But I'll never know, will I?

I talked the other day about my enemy turned friend. You want to know the real reason she was my enemy? Misplaced loyalty. A friend had problems with her, so I had problems with her. And then it took forever for me to admit I'd been wrong. On a lot of levels.

It's so crazy... I've had this ministry in my heart for so long, and yet I've fought it because I've been terrified of being wrong. What if I hurt and mislead people? Even if my intentions are good, can I live with being wrong?

So here it is, all laid out for you to see. I share with you all my heart in hopes that it will encourage you on your journey. That somewhere in the mess of mistakes and small triumphs along the way, you'll find a nugget to cling to and and learn from. The reality of my life is that I am a complete and utter mess. For as much as I think I've figured out, I only realize how little I know. What I offer you is the very real possibility that I am completely wrong about everything I say. But I also offer the hope that if a crazy lady with a messed up life can reach out and touch the cloak of the One who can heal all, and slowly begin to unravel the darkness, allowing light to penetrate even the deepest crevices, you can too.

I'm not going to lie. The inner corridors of my heart are dark and ugly. Maybe yours aren't as bad as mine. Maybe yours are worse. But if we all hold hands and take the journey together, it's not nearly as scary.

Monday, August 13, 2007

I still don't have a title

Usually, when I start a blog, I start with a title, and oftentimes, the contents of the blog have nothing to do with the title. Sometimes, I change it, other times, I don't, and occasionally, I think it's so brilliant I wonder why no one dubs me the title queen of the universe. Today, however, I have no title. I have topics, but no title. And I'm not entirely sure what I'm blogging about, so flow with me for a while, will ya?

I took a nice, long bath tonight. I'm going to miss the tub at my old house. That Man installed a super deep tub, a super large hot water heater (with the water turned up to super hot), and well, I'm spoiled for it. This regular tub with a regular hot water heater turned to a regular temperature is for the birds. Note to Man who reads my blog daily: this will be the one of your first projects in the new house. (she says sweetly)

So, for my tub read, I chose a book that promised to be my kind of suspensy psychological thriller. ICK ICK ICK. It did not make my heart go pitter patter. It was so... blah... I hated that I wasted my reading time on it, and not Sherrilyn Kenyon's latest. But as we all know, my reading quirk is that I can't not finish a book. I MUST know what happens. And truly, with a suspense, you do need to read to the very end to make sure there isn't a twist. At least with a good one. Which I would've gotten with Sherri's book, except that she's more paranormal than suspense and I wasn't in the mood for paranormal. Moody, moody, moody.

Today, I got to see Sherri. She was in town for a signing as part of the book tour for her latest release. I came out of the afternoon inspired. I have to tell you a little about Sherri. We have a very unlikely friendship. Several years ago, I was in a phase I'm not proud of, don't talk about, and did some really dumb things. However, once I had some sense knocked into me, I realized I needed to make amends for what I'd done, and one of the people affected (in a bizarre way) was Sherri. I spent MONTHS gathering up the courage to meet her and basically apologize for being an idiot. But I finally did it. I was shaking so hard when I approached her that the friend with her was a little nervous, thinking I might be some sort of psycho or something. (I am, just don't tell her) But we talked. For hours. And after my initial apology and explanation, the conversation steered towards other things and out of it, we became friends.

I'm shocked I even just told this story, but I think it does illustrate something I'm trying to learn through my Enemy Prayer Blog. For a long time, she was my enemy, although entirely in my own mind. Most of it, I'd built up so huge in my imagination (with help from a friend who'd also done the same), that I couldn't see clearly who she was. The truth is, what I'd thought was such a huge deal and something she'd hate me over was absolutely nothing. I'd worried and worried over nothing. I think we do a lot of that. I know I certainly do.

So today, when I saw Sherri, and we hugged like long lost sisters (over and over- I wish this woman lived closer!), I kept thinking of how, if I'd hung on to my negative thoughts, I wouldn't have known the joy she's brought to my life. Maybe I should be doing this on the other blog. See, I told you I had no idea what I was doing when I started blogging tonight. :)

Today also brought another reminder of my unfounded fears. My friends joke around about how everyone knows me, blah blah blah, and I don't ever see it. Yet, there I was, at someone else's signing, recognized by a lot of folks I didn't think knew who I was. I realized something really powerful. So many of them believe in me far more than I believe in myself. I am overwhelmed by the level of encouragement people who've never read a word I've written have given me. Another author, Dianna Love Snell was with her to help out, and I have to say, Dianna is another one of those folks you just love to death. Or rather, she loves you to death. Nah, not to death. To life. Because she, too, inspires me.

The biggest thing I took out of today's signing (besides the fact that I aspire to have one as HUGE as Sherri's), is a reminder that we can't live our lives based on fear. Honestly, I have a huge issue with that. I'm afraid of a lot of things. Most of them will never come true. Sherri didn't tar and feather me five years ago. Even after all these years, she's still not come after me with a war party. She loves me, and I love that. Forgiveness and grace is so powerful. And I'm so thankful that she gave me that gift. I'm reminded to do the same.

I keep writing stuff and deleting, mostly because I'm so tired that it's all blurring and I can't remember what I was saying to begin with. I guess that means it's time for bed. As you drift off to sleep tonight, well, who am I kidding, you're all already asleep... but I digress... whatever the conversation you've been fearing, such as an overdue apology, have it. Maybe the person won't give you a big hug and shower you with love the way Sherri did for me, but it still won't be nearly as bad as your fear tells you to.

A while ago, I taught my kiddos a verse: Joshua 1:9 "Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be terrified; do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go." I'd intended it to help them with their nightmares, but you know, it seems to me it can help their mommy out a bit too. In commanding Joshua, the Lord is constantly telling him to be courageous. That tells me Joshua was scared. It's okay to be scared, but don't let the fear paralyze you.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Retail Rant

One of the things that go along with buying a new house is shopping. When you buy a new house right before school starts, this means double shopping, because you must do back to school shopping. Well, maybe you don't HAVE to, but I always like to get the kiddos an extra nice thing or two to bolster their moods to begin a new school year. Ugh. That sounded incredibly horrible. My kids feel crappy about going to school, so I buy them stuff. ICK ICK ICK.

Anyway, my plan is to do up the house nice. I want the girls to have decorated bedrooms. I want my house to look like a home, not just garbage thrown around in a disarray of sticking it where it fits. So I've been pricing things and waiting. Today, I put on my big girl sneakers (the ones with holes in them because I hate shopping and haven't gotten around to buying new ones) and hit the stores.

Maybe it's because I'm missing the female part of the brain that makes women enjoy shopping. But I honestly and truly hate to shop. But I went from store to store, looking at the things I'd seen online (being homeless makes it really hard to shop online. Plus, I like seeing things in person). I have three main gripes about shopping. Nothing I want fits me, the children's clothing is not appropriate, and they push you to charge it. So let's deal with those issues:

1. Nothing I want fits. I won't go in depth on this one, since I actually didn't look at anything for myself. Well, I looked at shoes, and they didn't have my size. I'm built funny, so nothing is ever the right size. And I can't sew, so I pretty much find that buying anything for me is irritating.

2. The children's clothing is not appropriate. I am HUGELY irritated with this one. My eldest is nearly 7, which means I need to start buying her size 7 if I have any hopes of her being able to wear it for more than a couple months. I've been looking in the 7-14 section, and frankly, I have to wonder if we're shopping in the adult entertainment department. WHY are we allowing our 7-14 year olds to dress like sluts? WHY? WHY? WHY? They are CHILDREN. Yet everything I see is something more appropriate for a grown woman (and even that I take issue with).

You know, we watch all this stuff about sexual predators and people targeting our children. Might part of the problem be that we are sexying up our little girls a little too much? Granted, I think a predator is a predator. But please, let's not entice them any more by letting our little girls look like prostitutes. Men are visual creatures. They are turned on by revealing clothing. Why are we dressing our kids in a way designed to turn on men?

I think the worst part is that I recently reviewed my daughter's school dress code. They don't wear uniforms, but I seriously have my doubts about finding clothes that actually meet the code. I hate that my daughter has to always wear jeans and t-shirts. (I ended up buying her 6 new t-shirts and a pair of capris. She has plenty of jeans) But I can't find decent outfits of any other style that are respectable and tasteful.

3. The stores push you to charge everything. No, worse, they push you to open up one of their store charge accounts. "But you'll save 10%." Our society is full of people in debt up to their eyeballs. Each year, I do more and more tax returns for people with an increasing level of bankruptcy and debt discharge because they can't afford to pay their bills. We have a negative savings level. And despite the horrific condition of the average American's finances, the stores keep asking you to charge it.

The sickest part is that most of these stores base their employee's performance levels on the amount of charge cards they open. So the only way to meet standards is to ask people to go into debt. I know this because I used to work retail. My friends all worked retail (some still do- they're in *shudder* management). They all say the same thing. If you don't open up enough charge accounts, you get written up. If that happens too many times, you either get demoted or fired. Basically, people who are dead broke (retail pays terribly) are asking others to go into debt so that they can keep getting their paycheck. Sick, sick, sick.

What has me ranting, though, is at Kohls, the sales clerks tag teamed the customer in front of me to open a charge card. They worked her for five minutes. She was very much opposed to it, but they pressured her so hard, she finally gave in. She's reading the terms of the agreement (21% interest!) and they're sitting there, trying to make it sound more palatable, to the point of LYING to her. As they're working on her transaction, she's still debating, but when she says she's changed her mind, the application has already gone through.

A few months ago, I had associates at this same store try to work me over. When I told them I would not open another charge card because I didn't want it to affect my credit rating so I could buy a new house, they told me it didn't matter. Besides, I could save $50 by opening the charge account, and it was worth it. No, bozos. It's not. We have one of the top credit ratings people can have, and it's because I've worked pretty darn hard to have and keep a good credit score.

I think it is hugely irresponsible to have people who are completely uneducated in the realm of consumer finance trying to get people to open up credit accounts. And yes, I know, the store has them do it because they make a lot of money off of those credit accounts. But at what price?

And honestly, I don't have good answers to any of my issues. Well, my own clothes, I've considered moving to a nudist colony, but I'm really not interested in letting others view my naked body or see theirs. But in terms of the kids clothes, how do I make my voice heard? Definitely, with my pocketbook. I don't buy things that are inappropriate. But how do I say, "look manufacturers. You need to make clothing that is appropriate for little girls." I don't know. And I don't know how to tell companies that they are making an incredible mistake by pressuring people who may not be able to afford it (which is what this woman's objection seemed to be- and none of the sales clerks suggested she just pay off the balance. They were too busy convincing her how "nice" the minimum payment of $25 is. So the $45 she would have saved would have ended up costing her upwards of $100 in interest).

I guess blogging about it is a start. When I've mentioned bad companies in my blogs before, I have had the corporate office contact me a time or two to say, "gee, we're really sorry." I just wish I could do more. While it feels nice to be validated by a corporate apology, the truth is people are still out there drowning. "I'm sorry Danica" doesn't help the poor little old lady who has a charge card she doesn't think she can afford. It doesn't help the other people who are duped into borrowing money they don't have (and all the retailers are guilty of this. The employees are required to ask you to charge it). It doesn't help the little girls who are growing up way too fast.

I keep thinking of Hosea 4:6 "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge." We lack so much knowledge in so many realms of life and it's eating us all alive. And maybe, whether or not my words get the attention of corporate America, it will get yours. And maybe, if we all start making more noise about the fact that the clothing choices are inappropriate for little girls and that the credit garbage out there is way too much, maybe corporate America would actually change. I think, though, many of us don't realize that we do have a voice. We just sit back complacently and watch as the little old lady opens a card she doesn't need because we want to get our cranky three year old home to bed. But we stew about it the whole way home and well into the night. And maybe what we should have done, what I should have done, is reassured the lady that if she didn't feel comfortable opening the charge card, she shouldn't let these barely above minimum wage workers who are only trying to keep their job, not watch out for her best interests, bully her. To the little old lady, I am so sorry. I should have spoken up.

I pray that the next time I see something like this, I have the courage to say something. I pray we all do.

And because there is that shallow side of me, I pray that the next time I do go shopping, I find new shoes in my size (at the right price of course), jeans that fit, and clothing that's appropriate for my little girls. I guess that last bit isn't so shallow. I do really pray, as she gets older, I can remain adamant about dressing appropriately and that she'll be able to hold fast against peer (and societal) pressure that demands she grow up much faster than she should. May our little girls remain little girls for as long as little girls should be. And may our materialistic society refocus on things that are important. Like not using buying stuff as a way to make ourselves feel better.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Thursday Thirteen # 14: Moving Tips from the trenches

ThirteenMoving tips from the trenches

1. Just say no. Seriously. It's just not worth the headache.
2. Do not have surgery a couple weeks prior to the move. The doctor might gleefully tell you it means you get out of work, but really, it just means more stress because it's not happening fast enough.
3. Resign yourself to staying in your current abode. You don't NEED to move. (unless you're evicted, then I guess you have no choice. But work it out. Seriously. It's the best option.)
4. Free boxes are like manna from heaven. Take as many as you need from fine establishments like the local liquor stores and grocery stores. Apple boxes and Jack Daniels boxes both are of excellent quality.
5. Reconsider moving. Your life will be upside down and inside out for a really long time.
6. Tape and markers are your friend. Be detailed in your box labels. For example, it might be handy to know which box of clothes contains your underwear.
7. Are you really sure you want to move? In the new house, you're going to have to find new places for everything that's had a home for seven years.
8. Get as much help as possible. You have more stuff than you think. Your husband has more stuff than you think. Your kids stuff- it breeds.
9. If you throw out a bunch of stuff, you'll have plenty of room, so no need to move!
10. Make sure you keep your spouse alive long enough to sign all the related legal documents. You really can nag a man to death, so I've been told.
11. A vacation is much cheaper, much less stressful, much more fun, and when it's over, you'll be grateful for whatever home you come to. So instead of moving, take a vacation.
12. So you're really set on moving? Okay, fine. As you lay awake in bed at night, wondering how it's all going to come together, remember that God really is in control and it will all work out perfectly.
13. While all the unhappy thoughts and worries plague you, focus on the good things you're going to. Yes, it is a tremendous hassle. Yes, your blood pressure has risen to extremely unhealthy levels. Yes, your family members have been threatened within millimeters of their lives. However, when it is all said and done, you will be in a beautiful, happy place that is all your own. So think on all the good and lovely things in your future and try not to let the horror of the moment kill you. (And it may)


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Wednesday, August 08, 2007

From the mountains to the valleys...

Yesterday, we closed on our old house. Wow. A very weird feeling, to be sure. We're still in the move out process, which is going slower than we'd planned, but more on that in a minute.

The coolest feeling in the world was depositing the check. I have never held that much money in my life. (MY money, anyway) I keep looking at the bank statement, and saying, "WOW!" Granted, I'll be spending it all next week when we put the down payment on the new house. It's still a great feeling to see that our hard work paid off.

Then, I talked to our broker and found out we have plenty of money to get the new house. When all is said and done, and we close on that house, we'll have a good deal of money to use on some much needed projects. Again, more than I've ever had. And to think that just a couple weeks ago, I was so worried about money that I was literally in tears. I love how God takes care of things.

So I hit midday feeling pretty good. That despite the fact that one of my employers forgot to pay me-AGAIN- we are fine. For the first time since the big layoff of '03, I can actually breathe easy. Something God and I have been wrestling over for months.

I went back to packing, and felt pretty happy that I had very little left to do. Just my spices and food in the cupboards. I'd even taken out some chicken to marinate, stuck it in the marinade, and was ready to grill. For once, my life was back in my control.

Then I went to get the kiddos from a friend's. The baby was crying, and as it turns out, she'd fallen and hurt herself. Well, more to the point, the bigger kids pushed her and she fell. I couldn't console her. When she finally cried herself to sleep, we started checking her arm to see how badly injured she was. She woke up and immediately started screaming. Despite my lifting limit, I carried her until we got her home. At the ER, the xrayed her (while she screamed) and didn't find a break, but because of the pain, they have her in a splint and they'll re-check her Friday.

Three hours. That's how long it took for everything flowing perfectly to go to a complete mess. The time we spent in the ER was time That Man needed to get some work done for a crew to come in and finish today. He skipped out on work today after his one important meeting to get everything done.

I have to admit, I've had an attitude over all this. With as much stress as we've been under, why couldn't I have just had one day be perfect? I have been stretched about as far as I can without exploding. I am exhausted. Another night of not sleeping, because I had a baby in pain sleeping next to me. I've done everything I can for her, and she is still in so much pain. I'm so mad. Why now? When we have literally had to fight to make everything work out okay? Why is there one more thing added to the list of impossibilities in our lives?

But when I look back at the success and happiness of yesterday, I realize that in our celebration, there was a lot of selfish pride. "WE" did it. "WE" are finally going to be okay. Considering it was God who'd brought us through all the negative circumstances, that's a little high-handed. Yes, our bank account is finally at a place where I can breathe easier. And yes, I'm on my way to living in the home of my dreams. But it is still God who has allowed us to do all of this. And it is still God who will continue to carry us, even if the seas don't seem as stormy.

Arrogance. It's a deep crevice on the way to the mountaintop.

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Why do we have so much stuff?

Just to give you an idea:

3/4 of our house was already in storage.

We've now filled my FIL's garage, his back patio, and while we have no furniture remaining in our house, I still have a TON of stuff to pack.

While I waited for That Man to hook The Mistress up to the Internet, I read an article in popular science. This family lived with the technology from the 1900s for a year. I've always thought that would be pretty cool. But today's events made me rethink:

1. My allergy meds didn't exist back then. The pollen and stuff, particularly with the recent rains, is making me miserable.
2. I'm depressed over having to use a cord to get online. Oh the horror of no Internet for a year.
3. I'm really enjoying air conditioning now.
4. Skillet meals: freezer to table in 15 minutes.
5. That whole indoor plumbing thing. I really, really like.

Still, I do think we have way too much stuff. Not only am I horrified at how much we have to move, I'm even more horrified at the thought of having to find a place for it all in the new house.

And yet, slug that I am, I refuse to part with my 50+ boxes of books.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Things that make me insane

Did I mention I hate this whole moving deal? I seriously never want to do this again.

Today, we had to be out of the house for the inspection, so I took the kiddos to the zoo. We had fun, despite the fact that I felt really guilty for not being home packing, which I couldn't have done anyway. And it was good, because they've been wanting to go to the zoo for a while now, and it's probably the chance to do before school starts. Next to the zoo is the museum, which has a cool outdoor water feature for the kiddos to play in, so when the zoo got too hot, I took the kiddos there. I scored mega mommy points today. :)

I'd hoped to pack in the evening, but I forgot that I'd agreed to go to a girls night out with some friends from work. You'd think I'd cancel, but you know, these guys, out of all of my friends here, have done the most for me in dealing with all of my health issues. Despite the fact that most of them are old enough to be my mothers, they are amazingly good friends. They don't just say, "oh I'll help you," but never get around to it, or wait around for me to ask for help, they jump in and do it. In many ways, they are some of the truest friends I have. Two of them are dealing with cancer right now, and the fact that they are more concerned with me than they are about their own health says a lot. I needed to go out and have fun tonight, because it's been a long time since I've done that. Just gone out to be with friends and have fun. Lousy timing, so I guess if I don't get anything done over the next few days, that's on me.

However, we did have a great time. We went to Happy Hour at Johnny C's (Italian Nachos, half price- we do it a lot during work) and then off to see Hairspray. I admit, I've been very skeptical of this movie. I LOVED LOVED LOVED the original. And to be honest, I have been disappointed with every remake of any movie I've ever seen. But morbid curiosity got the best of me, and I went with them to see it. WOW. The absolute BEST remake EVER. I honestly can't tell you which version I like best. They were both so different in good ways, and I very much enjoyed the new version, even if they did change a few plot points I liked from the first movie. But I think that added to the charm. Each had plot points I liked better, if that makes any sense.

The other thing I loved about the movie is that it reawakened something in me. I regained my love of character. I started looking at the depths of who the characters were, fell in love with them, and began to spin the writer's wheels of seeing how I could apply the characterization techniques to my own characters. I found myself itching to write, yet compelled to continue watching. Not that I have time for any of that in the near future.

Because, my friends, I won't be packing tomorrow either. I have a mandatory training for work lasting all day. And since I missed the last one due to the Dallas trip, I can't skip out. So my stress level is now approaching maximum capacity.

On top of that, I'm feeling frustrated by so many of the intricacies of moving. The inspection process is driving me insane. The pettiness of people is getting to me. And I'm getting really tired of being treated like I'm stupid. One of the parties acts like I'm the dumb little woman, incapable of rational thought and completely lacking in intelligence. Everyone else is treated with respect. Me, not so much. And sadly, I'm the one supposedly running the show. Although that one's driving me nuts too. I'm tired of being put in charge of certain tasks, doing all the necessary research, attempting to make all the arrangements, and then, after all of my work, having it completely dismissed as though I had the brains of a flea. But what do I know? Apparently, according to most of the people around me, absolutely nothing. And trust me, that is the quickest way to be added to the "must be killed soon" list. I am an educated woman with a slightly above average intelligence. I may not be the sharpest tack in the package, but I know enough to know that I can hold my own. But maybe we can add delusional to my list of faults. Gee, can you tell I'm more than slightly steamed?

So here I am, with d-day gaining on me, I can't sleep (BIG surprise, that one), and I'm so mad that I really want to hurt someone. Is it any wonder that I'm going insane? At this point, I'm seriously considering skipping the family fun bonding trip scheduled for next weekend, hiding in a cave somewhere, and biting the head off of anyone who disturbs me.

And you all thought I was a good little Christian girl...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Letting go

We move in less than a week. We are not packed. I've got to be out of the house most of the day tomorrow for inspection. I've had company the past two days who've had me running all over town. And I'm not allowed to lift more than ten pounds.

So could someone tell me why I'm watching a movie instead of working?

I promised the kiddos a movie, so when I got theirs, I saw one I wanted to watch, and got them both. I probably should have at least worked while the kiddos watched theirs, but really, who can resist Barbie in Fairytopia? Okay, so it's not a great literary achievement. However, when those two sets of big eyes look at me and say, "Mommy, please sit with us," Barbie in Fairytopia becomes the best use of my time.

I can't believe this will no longer be my house in less than a week. Worse, I'm going to be homeless. Okay, so maybe I'll only be homeless for a week. But a lot can happen in a week.

How fitting that I'm watching a depressing movie about letting go. I'm hoping it has a happy ending. It started out depressing, but since it's about her letting go, she'll let go and be happy, right?

It's odd, because I really hate this house. And while the new house is very much what I've always wanted, I still have this anxiety that I'm making a huge mistake.

I am really not ready for this.