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It’s official, I’m not an adventurer.

Even if, in the grand scheme of things, they are small, boring adventures.

Yesterday, about 7:30, I took the dogs out for a walk.  I had been fighting a migraine all day, and was feeling just good enough to take the dogs out long enough to pee, with the plans of  coming right back inside and laying down again.  The dogs had other plans.  Okay, fine.  I’d rather spend an extra ten minutes traipsing around outside than spend an hour scrubbing  my carpet.

Well, while we were out, my roommate left, locking the door behind her.  And my keys, cell phone, and wallet were all inside.

Crap.   Max, Lulu and I were stuck outside.  For three and a half hours.

I considered borrowing a phone and calling Sis to come and rescue me, but I couldn’t remember her number.  Usually, I don’t have to–my phone has at least three ways of calling someone without typing in a number.  I thought about calling my parents at their house, I know THAT number, and having them call Sis to come and rescue me, but I didn’t want to involve the whole family in my drama.

I thought about going to a friend’s apartment, and waiting there–but I still had that stupid migraine, and really needed peace and quiet and darkness.  I didn’t feel like I could burst into someone else’s home, and demand that they wait on me hand and foot because I was stupid enough to leave my house without keys.  Plus, all of my friends in the complex are renters, where as I own my unit, and I wasn’t sure about bringing my dogs into their homes for an extended period of time, no matter how well-trained and recently emptied they are.

Fortunately, my car was open (my security system is driving a 1997 Geo.  It’s a good little car, but it’s not worth stealing, and if I could afford anything worth stealing to keep in my car, I wouldn’t be driving a 1997 Geo.) so I was able to retrieve a few things to make my wait a little more comfortable–like a dish I could use for water for the dogs (again, feeling super-lucky that there are outside spigots on every building in my complex) a toy for Max, and a bottle of water and a book for me.

Even with these little things, I was, understandably in my opinion, pretty upset.  To the point of not only tears, but full-on sobbing.  It wasn’t until I realized that a big part of my headache was because I was upset, that I worked on calming myself down.  And I have to say, the Roommate was extremely lucky she didn’t come home while I was so upset.

Amazingly, I was able to  get myself settled down, and stuck it out for the long haul.  The dogs were just as unhappy about the situation as I was (perhaps more, I stole the doormat to sit on, and made them sit on the hard concrete.)  Lulu kept looking at me, then looking at the door.  When we’d take the time to wander downstairs, rather than running off the way she normally does, she’d run back upstairs to wait by the door.

Just as I was about to give up and spend the night in my car, the Roommate came home.  I’ve never been so happy to see another human being in my life.  Max and Lulu agreed–they’re never slow about going inside after our walks, but last night broke a record, I’m sure.

This morning, I woke up to the power flickering on and off before completely going out.  Which, admittedly, is an odd thing to wake a person up–it was the change in the sound my air purifier makes that awakened me.   I took that opportunity to take the dogs for a long walk, (being very careful to grab my keys) and took that opportunity to make sure it wasn’t just because I was late paying my power bill.  It wasn’t– power outages are fairly common, but they usually only last a minute or two.

Having returned from my walk, and finding the lights, and more importantly, the air conditioner and fans, weren’t on, and being unable to fall back asleep, I called Sis because I was bored, and I needed to tell her about my adventure the night before.  She was on her way down for the funeral, but, a while later she called me back saying that between her late start and the traffic, she wasn’t going to make it on time.  So, by chance, would she like to meet me at the Harley store?

Okay, back up a bit–Sis and her family were planning to take a long vacation when the B-I-L got his masters, but somewhere along the way, they decided that the B-I-L needed a motorcycle instead.  And, as part of getting that motorcycle, he’s been taking classes at the Harley dealership that’s about ten miles away from my house.  He liked (his last class was today) getting to class a bit early so he could wander around the showroom and store, and thought Sis and the boys would like to see it too.  Sis, knowing her children, wanted me to come along to help keep an eye on them.  Mostly G.

The Harley store is a-mazing, and it was fun to see all of the beautiful bikes and cool riding gear they had.  It was less fun trying to convince G not to touch anything.  When the Brother-in-Law’s class was on a break, his instructor took us all down to the basement to see the bikes.  And the store mascot, a man dressed like a Sasquatch.  Dave the instructor really didn’t understand G’s intense fear of costumed characters.  Not at first, anyway.

Sis had called Mom and told her that she wasn’t going to make it down in time, and Mom suggested that she meet us up here for a picnic.   So after the store, Sis, G, E and I headed back to my house.

I forgot exactly how destructive a four-year-old can be, especially those whose names start with ‘G’, and how un-baby proof my house is, because my little ones aren’t interested in things like the glass jar on the coffee table that’s full of pens, or finding out how the night-light in the hallway is connected to the wall.

Sis wanted to get E down for a nap, so I was left to entertain G–a child who is not content to be entertained simply by turning on the TV.  At one point, he decided he wanted to take the dogs for a walk, and so off we went.  I had to explain several times that when we take the dogs for a walk, it’s so they can use the potty, and so we need to let them stop when they want to stop.  Still, Max did AWESOME.

Backing up again, both of my nephews are fascinated by Max.  E is, I think, because Max is black and white, and therefore, easier for him to see than Lulu.  For G, I think it’s because he plays when Lulu doesn’t.  It’s more than a little frustrating, because Lulu is so much better with kids than Max.  On our walk, G insisted on holding Max’s leash.

Upon returning from our walk, G rang the doorbell, waking up both E, and my roommate who has apparently developed a head cold.  So, when Mom showed up, we had a hyperactive four-year-old (par for the course, really) a cranky baby who didn’t get a long enough nap, and a house that had been destroyed by the two of them.

We headed off to Nielsen’s Grove,  a beautiful park not far from my house.  After chasing G around, and successfully preventing him fromgoing into the pond to meet the ducks personally, and less successfully preventing him from dumping ice all over his baby brother, Mom decided that she needed to go to Wal-Mart and pick a few things up before she headed home.

Now, I always hate Wal-Mart.  Wal-Mart on a Saturday?  Ten times worse.  Wal-Mart on the Saturday before school starts?  Yeah…

And what Grandma can resist buying toys for her grandsons when she’s at Wal-Mart?

So one soaking baby, one big tantrum, and lots of tears (not all from the children) later, we all got packed up into our respective cars, and headed our separate ways.  Mom commented that G alone is more of handful than Sis and I were, combined.

I seriously love that kid, but I’m glad he doesn’t come home to my house.

Hopefully, my adventuring is done, at least until school starts on Wednesday.  I don’t think I can handle many more days like yesterday and today.

The hidden pitfalls of volunteering

When I was at the aquarium yesterday, I picked up an application to be a volunteer there.  Glancing at the front page, I could tell that it wouldn’t work; the schedules they had all conflict with my school–plus, the aquarium is a good half-hour or more away, depending on traffic.

Still, I’ve been amused by the application–I’ve filled out less-intense applications for jobs.  You know, where they’d actually pay me.   I was also amused by the variety of tasks they trust to volunteers–like husbandry and throwing birthday parties.  Which I guess explains the intense application, you’d be working with small children and delicate, expensive animals.

Even with the whole weirdness of the situation, I was kind of tempted to apply anyway for an education position.  I’m an insufferable know-it-all, I might as well be an official insufferable-know-it-all, right?

And, in a segway that is both seamless and unnoticeable, I somehow got talked into heading to my parent’s house tomorrow.  I’m still not 100% sure how that happened.

This is the situation–there is a guy I went to high school with–he was in the grade just above mine, who suddenly died of a massive heart-attack last Saturday.  His funeral is this Saturday.  Both Mom and Sis want to go to the funeral–and Mom chastened me when I told her I wasn’t planning on going, until I explained that I don’t think I’ve ever said two words to this guy, and I know I haven’t talked to his wife in the past 11 years.

And I’m still going.

Actually, it’s because G’s been a handful lately (Sis, you should appreciate the careful editing I did of the first word I used) and Mom wants me to help Dad watch he and E while she and Sis are at the funeral.

I don’t know what’s going to happen.  I don’t want to go, but, as I’ve already established, I can’t say ‘no’ to my family.  Which means I’ll end up going and resenting every minute I’m there.  Unless Mom reads this in the mean time, and calls and makes me feel guilty for agreeing to go when I don’t really want to…

And, I’m back.

So, the B-I-L wasn’t able to fix everything that was wrong with my computer, but fortunately, his friend Jon was.  And so, my computer has been returned to me, with instructions to be very careful with where the power cord plugs into the computer.

I’m a bit chagrined, I have to admit.  I missed the computer in the days I didn’t have it, but it wasn’t the internet or the word processor I missed–it was the stupid games.  I was suffering Sim withdrawal.

I did get a lot of reading done–but before I get any further, I need to share a clip.  This is Steven King talking to students at Yale in 2003:

I found that book that I put down and said “This really sucked.  I can write better than that.”  And not only had the book in question been published, it was an international best seller.

I guess I better back up a bit.  A month or so ago, I was wandering through the book section of a local thrift store.  I found a hardback copy of “The DaVinci Code” in nearly perfect condition for $2.  I hadn’t read it, I haven’t seen the movie, and decided to see what all the fuss was about.   Yes, I realize I’m a few years late to the party.

Long story short, Dan Brown can tell a story, and apparently, he is an amazing researcher, but the man can’t write.  The characters were flat and uninteresting.  The first scene Langdon looks in a mirror and describes what he sees–a huge no-no.  Superfluous adjectives abounded.  Brown wrote paragraphs like “Sophie quickly explained that her grandfather had made puzzles like this for her when she was a little girl” rather than “Sophie smiled. ‘My grandfather made puzzles like this for me when I was a little girl.’ she said.”

I’m glad that I didn’t waste more than one day of my life on “The DaVinici Code.”  But, the more I think about it, the angrier I get.   How did this man, this book get to be so popular and famous?

Okay, I’m done.  And I know not to read anything by Dan Brown ever again.  And that I’m a better writer than an international best-seller.  That’s a very good thing to know.

If it’s not one thing, it’s ten thousand others.

I feel like I’ve been doing a lot of complaining lately.  It just seems that right now, whenever something goes right for me, two other things go wrong.

My computer broke again.  I think it’s just the power supply, but I want the B-I-L to look at /fix it before I spend any money needlessly.  The problem is the timing–the B-I-L’s family is going camping tomorrow, and it’s my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary this weekend, so he’ll have no free time, then next weekend is G’s 4th birthday…yeah.

At least he’s through with school.

Speaking of school, I’m trying desperately to get a hold of my councilor.  I’ve gotten very familiar with her voice on the answering machine.  My goal was to go in and see her today before coming up to see Sis…except she’s out of the office again today.  After taking a 4 day weekend.  And being unreachable yesterday.

I’m so frustrated.

So, I don’t know when I’ll be able to blog again–I’m on my sister’s computer now, and I’ll be able to use Dad’s over the weekend…and maybe I’ll get lucky and whatever is wrong with my computer can be easily fixed and I’ll have it back tonight.

In the mean time, I’ll be trying desperately not to burst into tears too often.

Sisters

Okay, first the random, administrative stuff.  I don’t get tons of comments, but it kind of freaks me out when I see my picture next to a comment my mom made.  So, until I can get back down to my parent’s house, and tell their computer to log me out of every web browser, I’m turning off the avatars in the comments.

I know, you’re all crushed.  But it shouldn’t be for more than a week.

I guess I didn’t know how stressed these last two weeks had made me until this afternoon (er, yesterday afternoon.  I missed the midnight cut off to have this post on the 25th).  The Roommate had invited a bunch of friends over for dinner.  She did invite me to join them, but I was feeling a bit shaky from…everything.

So, you know how I don’t handle crowds?  Well, I found out today that it’s even worse when they’re all speaking a language I don’t understand.   I slipped out under the guise of taking the dogs for a walk, and headed up to Sis’s house to pick up some things that I managed to leave their last night.  Notably, my camera and my sanity.

I don’t know what I’d do without her.  Things were hectic when I got there–they had some family friends over–again, lots of kids running around, but after the company left, and after her kids went to bed, she and I had a good long talk, and she managed to calm me down, and ease some of my anxiety.

I really hope that when school starts, and I get into a routine, that life will get easier.  I don’t handle change well, and right now, I’m such a stage of flux.  And the last two weeks have been…emotionally difficult.

As horrible as depression is all around, I think the worst thing it does is make me doubt myself.  Even things that I know I can do well, I doubt my ability in.  I see the mistakes I make, but not the triumphs.   Depression sucks every bit of self confidence I have out, until I’m so convinced I’m going to fail, that I don’t even try.  And I guess that’s why I have a hard time telling my family “no”, because when I get into those bad ruts, they, especially Sis, are the ones that pull me out.  Sometimes, kicking and screaming, but no matter how I fight, thus far, it’s always turned out for the better.

Next time, though, you never know…

I’m not complaining. Really.

Dear Family:  Do you think you can work on spreading events and emergencies where you need Cori’s help out a little bit more?  Thanks.

After making it home from Mom’s house, and not getting nearly enough rest, I got a call from Sis, wondering why I wasn’t at her house.

See, the Bro-in-Law just received his Master’s degree–while working full-time and trying to raise a family.  Which calls for a celebration, right?

That happened yesterday.  And somehow, even though I hadn’t even given a firm “yes”, I ended up at their house 6 hours before the party started, helping watch the kids, bake and grocery shop.

Of course, this all let to a rather amusing conversation:

G: Why you here?

Me: Because your Mommy knows how to push my buttons, and I don’t know how to tell her no.

G: It’s easy.  You say “no”, just like that.

Ahh, to be four.  And male.  And not burdened with soul-crushing feelings of guilt and familial duty.

The party itself was fun, I guess.  I always feel out of place at gatherings.  But, there were lots of cute kids running around, and I had my dogs with me, which is always a help.  And, it’s not like there was anyone there that I didn’t like, but still…

One of the kids asked me where my kids were.   Yeah.

I’ve got at least two more weeks of this until things calm down a bit.  Next weekend is a family party celebrating my Grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary, and the weekend after that is a party for G’s  4th birthday.

Folks, I’m willing to help.  Really.  Just don’t ask me today.

Here we go again.

Yesterday, while I was complaining about not being able to sleep, my Mom found herself in the emergency room.

Yeah, that totally put me in my place.

Mom’s not going to like me telling the world this, but, here goes anyway…

Mom has hip dysplasia.  Or she did, before the hip replacement surgerys.  All three of them.  I inherited it–though my bad hip is in better shape than Mom’s good hip.

One of her new hips isn’t tight enough, and can pop out of joint.  That’s what happened yesterday.  She went first, to the emergency room local to her, but they weren’t comfortable popping it back into place, so they sent her to the closest big hospital–an hour and a half away.  Add in all the administrative stuff, and that makes it two hours away.

She’s okay–really sore, but okay.  I, however, have been recruited to come help take care of her, and clean house in preparation for the party that is being thrown for my grandparent’s 60th wedding anniversary.

So…yeah.  I’m at my parent’s house again, for a few days, at least.  We’ll see how it goes.  Max and Lulu aren’t to happy to be back here again, but at least this time, there are no little hands to pull ears and tails.

Which is good, because I do too much of that as it is.

I’m not very good at following directions.

You know, maybe I should change that title, just in case a future professor or employer reads this.

Or at the very least, explain.

So, Sis spent the week at Mom’s house, and, apparently, Sis can’t take the kids to Mom’s house unless I go along to help.  (I’m not complaining, Sis, at least not very much.)

I had bought a crochet book called “Crobots” a few days earlier, and Sis wanted me to bring it down so she, Mom and I could do some crocheting.  (I’m a little disgusted with that Amazon link–I didn’t pay full price for the book, but what I paid is closer to full price than what Amazon lists)

The ‘bot I chose to do is called Mechabot.  This is what he’s supposed to look like:

This is what mine looks like:

Yeah… you wouldn’t have been able to see the connection unless I told you it was there, right?

So, here’s the thing; the yarn and the hook I used was much bigger than the book recommended, and once I got the basic head made, I pulled out buttons for eyes, and, while choosing the sparkly blue ones, I just tossed them onto the head, and I liked the off-centered look. Once I had the eyes on, I decided that my robot needed antenna, and used them to balance out the off centered eyes.

While looking for eyes, I found a sparkly heart button, and decided that my robot needed a heart–and the springs and hardware didn’t look good with a pink sparkly heart.

And Sis stole the book to start working on her project–so I pretty much just winged the body.

Now, here’s the thing, when it comes to stuff like crocheting, or cooking, for that matter, I think that directions are more of guidelines.  I think you need to know what you are doing, but once you do, you can and should stray from the outlined path, and figure out something new.  That’s how I learn, anyway.

Right now, I’m just glad to be home–almost as glad as Max and Lulu are to be away from little hands.

G and the Best Toy Ever

Yesterday, Mom and G went on an adventure–Mom had promised to buy G a toy because his birthday is coming up.  I asked to go with them, because the toy store they were going to is close to my house, and I was worried that my plants needed water.

On the way up, we were talking to G about what toy he was going to pick–and made sure he knew that he had to choose the very best one.  Mom and I started talking about what we thought was the very best toy.  Mom thought she probably would have chosen a doll.

I remembered the toy I always wanted but never got.  See, growing up in the middle of nowhere, trips to the toy store was a rare treat.  Sis and I would memorize the toy section of the various catalogs that came home, choosing what we thought were the best toys ever.  Sometimes, we would get those toys, but most often, we did not.

I chose, as my Best Toy Ever, an artist set that was sold in the JC Penney catalog year after year.  I was happy to see they still sell it online.   I never got this art set–I think Mom used the very legitimate excuse that it would be too messy.

I think that half the reason I still remember this toy as the one that pinned after is that I never got it.

I’ve gathered all of the various art supplies included over the years, and kind of ironically, my favorite medium is watercolor pencil–which isn’t included here.

G was as serious as I’ve ever seen a three-year-old as he was wandering up and down the aisles of the toy store.  We finally had to remind him that he could choose something, then if he saw a better toy, he could put the one he already chose back.

First, he chose a firehouse play set, complete with fire truck, fire fighters, and noise.  Then, he announced  “AUNT CORI!  I WANT TO PUT THE FIRE STATION BACK!”  He then chose a dump truck, that would pick up the garbage can, make noise and talk.

But then, we found The Very Best Toy of All.  We found football players!

G ended up choosing four collectible football player figurines, which, of course, being three, he didn’t realize that they were supposed to be placed in their stands and put on the shelf to look at. They’re shaped like actual pro players, but me, being as sports deficient as I am didn’t recognize any of the names.  On the way back to Mom’s house, I had to sit in the back seat and play with him.  You know, until the motion sickness kicked in.

So, I was thinking about this last night, and I was wondering, if you, dear reader, were to choose your best toy ever, what would you choose?  What’s the one toy you wanted but never got, or what was/is your favorite toy?  I’d love to hear about it.

*Insert witty and aproprate title here*

I have a family reunion this weekend.

I RSVP’ed saying that I was coming, then changed my mind, then, upon finding out that it’s located in what is perhaps the most beautiful spot in Northern Utah, I changed my mind again.  So, sorry Shelly, I don’t know if I’m going to be there or not.  My parents, sister and nephews will be, though.

I’ve spent most of the day, er, yesterday (I just looked at the time and saw this would post for Wednesday, not Tuesday) composing a post in my head all about being an introvert.  But then, I’ve been seeing a lot of those around lately.  I guess I’ll save it for when I have access to my own computer (curse me for the conscious decision I made to not bring my computer!)

I guess, right now, I should just enjoy my family.

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