Happy Halloween!

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VERY Scary

My dad sent this image to me. It is not for the faint of heart, so if you scare easily, DON'T SCROLL DOWN!

No, really. Quite disturbing.

Okay, you asked for it!

Happy Halloween!


Why Now?

In true Rae Ann fashion, I put off the construction of Q's Halloween costume until the last possible moment. His school Halloween party was today and they got to wear their costumes to school. He is going as the flying monkey to Z's Wicked Witch of the West (her choice, not mine. The irony is free of charge.) I had turned the design over and over in my head, so I was confident that it would come together quickly and easily.

That was my first mistake.

It all went pretty well until I got to the head. If you recall (I didn't), the monkeys from The Wizard of Oz were blue and sported a kind of funky mohawk. I was determined to replicate this with the faux fur I was using to trick out Q's light blue sweat suit. It took a lot of time and came out looking somewhat like a tumor. Awesome.

By this time, it is past midnight and I just need to wrap things up. So I decided to chuck the hat and vest for the moment and concentrate on finishing the monkey part of the costume. He could just wear his wings by themselves. I did some pretty awesome soft sculpture ears and was left with just the tail. I pin it up and am zipping in the last seam when my bobbin ran out. Rats!

How inconvenient, I think to myself, as I mechanically remove the bobbin and set it up for winding. I was literally six inches away from my stopping point. I tap the pedal with my foot. Nothing. I tap a little harder. Still nothing. I move stuff around and flip switches, but even though I have disengaged the needle, the bobbin winder isn't winding. Arg!

Normally this wouldn't be a problem. I have a million bobbins. The problem is that I haven't unpacked them yet and have no idea where they are. Panic! The short term solution was safety pins. I pinned up the last six inches and pinned the tail to the costume. But I still have a LOT of sewing to do to wrap up both his and Z's costumes (hers needed hemming). Defeated, I trudge off to bed around 2:00 a.m.

Once I have the kids deposited at school, I start calling sewing machine repair places. We have two in Wester. The first one I called said he could fix it, but it wouldn't be ready until late tomorrow afternoon. The next one said that their repair department had a one week turnaround. More panic! Luckily, the gal at the second shop sensed my desperation and told me to come on in and wind my bobbins on their demo machines. Whee! Problem solved! Guess who will be getting my repair business?

All's well that ends well. I got Q off to school in his monkey costume. It turned out a little more roller-disco-king than I was anticipating, but was still pretty cute. (Pictures to follow once I get the vest and hat completed.) He looooooooves it. I got Z's dress hemmed so that she could wear her costume to Q's party. Whew!

Somehow I didn't feel up to sewing after we got home from the party. Guess I'll have to get on it tomorrow... And so the cycle of procrastination starts again. I never learn.


Lucky They Survived

I am a single parent again. T went off for more training in Austin yesterday, though luckily just until Thursday this time. So I was by myself for dinnertime this evening. We were having a pleasant meal (chicken in garlic sauce with pasta) that met with everyone's approval. As we were finishing up the meal, nature called.

I hustled off to the bathroom secure in the knowledge that Q was trapped, I mean strapped in his chair and could not do any harm to himself or others. Z has been so well behaved for the last several days that I was beginning to wonder where my daughter went.

Shows what I know. She's baaa-aack! Evil Z flew in on her broom with her sidekick Cruel Q close behind while I was on the pot. I heard them fussing at each other, but thought little of it. When I came around the corner to the kitchen, Z jumped back and couldn't start talking fast enough.


It took a second for my Evil-to-English translator to understand the meaning: Q stabbed the table with his fork and then scratched it up. Before the translation even had time to register, the proof was right there before my eyes.

When we moved to Wester, the kids started using regular utensils. (I figured it would improve their meat/veg stabbing abilities, which it did.) Unfortunately, the stabbing skill seems to also apply to antique Duncan Phyfe formal dining room tables that have been pressed into service as kitchen tables because we don't have a formal dining room in this house and the steel and glass breakfast table can go on the screen porch. (My brain was screaming, "See? See, T? This is why we needed a casual table for the dining area even though the formal one fits just fine. See?!?)

I scooped a very startled Q out of his seat, gave his rump a swat and deposited his crying self in his room with the instructions not to come out. Lather, rinse, repeat when I came back to the kitchen and further examined the damage. I saw that even though Z was quick to point the finger at her brother, there were stab wounds on parts of the table only she could reach. Off to her room with her.

At this point, I call T to simmer down and complain about the trials of parenting while flipping through the Yellow Pages looking for the local gypsies to come take my beasties children away. Once I had calmed down, I decided that even though bed time was hours away and it was full light outside, the children needed to go to bed NOW.

I didn't even let them come out to brush their teeth. I brought their toothbrushes to their rooms with no-fluoride toothpaste so they didn't have to spit or rinse. Brush, book, bed in ten minutes flat. No singing or tickle fights. I did tell them that even when I was mad - and I was MAD - I still loved them.

Sometimes it is just a little more difficult.


Weekend Wordles - Closet Construction Edition

Join the fun at The Asylum, aka Last Shreds Of Sanity, to participate in Shan's Week~End Wordles. She has Mr. Linky up and running. For instructions on how to participate, go here.



Say what you want about in-laws, but my in-laws ROCK! They are in town this weekend and not only did they kid-wrangle and build a play set, they threw me a surprise birthday party! With cake and presents and everything.

The kids were thrilled because I got to blow the candles out twice (our videographer {GanGan} wasn't ready the first time and the candles would have melted too much if we waited for him!). If I had done it one more time, it would have almost equalled the number of candles that should be on my cake. I will be celebrating the tenth anniversary of my 29th birthday next month.

They said they weren't going to see me until after my birthday, so they wanted to surprise me now. I won the in-law lotto.


Just Kill Me

When I picked Q up from Mother's Day Out today, his teacher asked me if I knew he, erm, played with himself. A lot. Clearly embarrassed, she was looking everywhere but at me. You could have started a bonfire from the flames I burst into.

Of course I know that he does it at home, but I hadn't thought about his doing it at school. We have tried everything from putting a onsie under his clothes to snapping a onsie on the outside of his pants, but he still always manages to get to the goods. We even have verbal shorthand to make him quit. When we see him digging in his pants, we say, "Hands up!" and he stops. For like a second. I swear, I have to say 'hands up' so often that it sounds like I'm holding up a convenience store!

Until he went to Mother's Day Out, he had hardly ever been out of my sight, so I know there hasn't been anything inappropriate going on. I even asked my doc about it and he said that some boys are just like that.

I don't want to give him shame issues where his parts are concerned, but I would like to get him to ease up on the joy stick thing. Any suggestions? Halp!


Best. Present. Ever.

Or at least I think it is. I don't actually have the gift yet, but I am anticipating that it will be the best thing since sliced bread.

Back in April, he totally dropped the ball on the whole anniversary/Mother's Day thing. He told me that he was researching Kindles vs. Sony E-readers, so I got all excited, but when the actual day arrived, he'd waited too long to get what I wanted and so gave me a resin chicken instead. Awesome. Don't get me wrong, I liked the chicken, but it was NO Kindle. It wasn't even a promise of a Kindle to come.

So my jaw hit the floor when T got back from his training and told me that he was getting me a Kindle for my birthday next month. He wanted to make sure I had it for my trip to Cali to see Sister K. Actually, he told me to order it for myself (he loses points for that) so that I would get exactly what I wanted. He made up for the points he lost, however, when he told me to go ahead and get all the accessories, too. Yippee!

He didn't have to ask me twice! Right away I ordered a Next Generation Kindle with a purple pebbled leather cover, matching book light and leopard print protective skin. Estimated arrival date: October 28. I can hardly stand it! I'm like a kid waiting for Christmas.

I have already ordered my first several books. I got the next two installments in MaryJanice Davidson's Queen Betsy vampire series. I can't wait!


I Could Be on TV!

You know in the decorating shows how there is always that last minute rush to get finished before the time is up? I totally did that in the master suite yesterday. I literally swept tools/hardware/old stuff I'd removed/extra parts from the new stuff I installed into a laundry basket and shoved it into the garage.

Let me back up. As I have mentioned, T has been in Austin for training. For three weeks. I thought it would be nice to surprise him with a completely new 'man's closet,' updated bathroom and finished master suite when he (finally) came home. So once I got over my close encounter with the flu bug, I really had to get my rear in gear.

I found these really cool closet systems by ClosetMaid at Lowe's. You start with a tower of shelves and add rods between the walls and the tower. You can add all sorts of accessories like shelves, drawers or shoe racks. I kept it 'simple' with just drawers and shelves. And hooks. LOTS of hooks. (My house would collapse with out 3M Command hooks.)

I constructed his closet in the strange little office off of the master bathroom. It was supposed to be my office, but it really wasn't practical for my office to be so far away from the hell spawn children. So I took one for the team and donated it to the Closet Cause.

For his closet, I used two towers, 16 and 25 inches wide. The way the room is set up, with a door on three walls, I could only put hanging rods on one side of each tower. But he ended up with something like 16 feet of hanging room. I put drawers in the wider tower to accommodate the man's ridiculous number of socks. (On average, T changes his socks three times per day and I don't do laundry quite as regularly as I should, so he has a LOT of socks.) He has nine shelves to contain his equally huge collection of t-shirts. (He has shirts dating back to the '80's. Think giant technicolor prints of wolves and elk and woodland scenes. Shudder.) I even put in a special shelf over the hanging rod to fit his cowboy hats.

There are hooks for every purpose, too. I put hooks on the back of the door for him to hang his sweaty running gear. I am so relieved not to have to look at his grungy, erm, support garments all day! There are hooks for his baseball hats, too. He has at least three in rotation at any given time: one for working in the yard (read: sweaty and gross); one for wearing around the house (to keep his shorn head warm); and a 'fancy' one for wearing out. Hooks for all! Plus one to spare. Also hooks for his lounging/pre-bedtime ensemble that doubles for the clothes he plans to wear again the next day. I think I covered all the bases!

In the bathroom, I hung the medicine cabinet, which I had embellished with clear glass pebbles to hide the fact that I had messed up the face when I was attaching the mirror. It hung in Small Town for five years with the tips of the screws showing. I also hung up the TP cabinet in the throne room. It is nice not to have to make the drippy dash for more paper if the person before you didn't change the roll! I also removed the dusty ivy/flower garlands that the previous owners left for our enjoyment over the bathroom mirror. I totally understand why they had them up there, but they are totally not our style.

It is funny how the smallest changes can make the biggest difference. I have complained about the pink porcelain in the bathroom. It extended to the pulls. 20 pink porcelain pulls. Blech. I removed them all and replaced them with some brushed nickel egg-shaped knobs and some simple arch handles. SO much better. It changes the whole feel of the bathroom! Ironically, T didn't even notice. Even with the obvious patches where the old holes had been. Men!

In the bedroom, I got rid of all the boxes, hung the curtains, added art work, and brought in plants. It looks like something out of a magazine (if I do say so myself)! All it lacks is the headboard I have been meaning to make since 2002. I have big plans for a totally cool piece of antique pressed tin. I have the design all made, but I just haven't ever gotten around to making it. Hopefully, it will happen before we move to our next house.

T was suitably impressed with my industry while he was away. He loved his new closet and was completely surprised. As for me, it is SO nice to have a retreat from the chaos that is the rest of the house. Someday the rest of the boxes will be vanquished, but until then I can retreat to my lovely bedroom and ignore the rest of the house.


Proud Parent

My sweet son has developed a swearing habit. (Hangs head in shame.) He uses it appropriately and not at all to get a reaction. He says it any time he gets frustrated or when things aren't going his way.

Deem it! (That is how is sounds, but I'm pretty sure that isn't what he is trying to say.) At first I tried to tell myself that he was aiming for 'dang it,' but that 'm' sound on the end is quite clear. Sigh.

I blame his father.


Moving Weirdness

  • I keep all of my holiday stuff in labeled boxes in the attic. After the movers had left the house in Small Town, I noticed that the box marked 'Easter' was empty and sitting in the middle of my bedroom. I guess that box didn't suit them because they unpacked it and repacked the contents into two smaller boxes and a catch-all wardrobe box. The stuff in the wardrobe box? Packed next to the poop shovel. Nice.
  • The new house has more cabinets but less storage.
  • There is not a good place to put the TV in the new living room. The fireplace sticks out into the room a little, so it is hard to see if you aren't sitting directly in front of the set.
  • The carpet absorbs stains out of the air. What were the previous owners thinking installing almost white Berber carpet in the land of blowing red dirt?
  • As a military brat, I have heard of/lived through lots of stories about the crazy things movers will pack. As a kid I remember unpacking a trash can complete with trash. My sister had a potted plant wrapped in paper and stuffed in a box. I did not escape this fate. I opened a box and noticed a smell. My first thought was to blame it on dog farts, but as soon as I picked up the offending item, I knew what had happened. Remember that little mouse problem I had a while back? After I caught the mice, I placed the traps under the sink. Apparently, one of them was set and caught a mouse. That was then wrapped up and placed in a box with my Tupperware. Yeah. I boiled every item in that box. Shudder.


Good News/Bad News

Good news: I'm back online!
Bad news: My old hard drive is completely trashed.

Good news: I hadn't downloaded any pictures off my husband's camera since last November.
Bad news: I lost all of the pictures from January through June from my camera. And every last scrap of work from The Button Box.

Good news: The sale on the Small Town house is complete!
Bad news: We found out halfway through the eight hour drive that the closing wasn't going to happen as scheduled. Even though she knew their loan wasn't supposed to fund until the end of the month, the buyer's realtor scheduled the closing for the 15th in an attempt to get the seller's bonus. Um, no. We were going to close by fax from Wester, but through a blunder on my part that didn't happen. Nothing says fun like 32 hours in the car with kids and dogs in one week.

Good news: The house was pristine when the new owners took possession.
Bad news: The 'friend' who cleaned the house for us didn't even take us to dinner before she screwed us. I could have bought a lot of granite counter tops for what she bilked us for. Yep, the house was really clean, but all we wanted was for her to vacuum, dust and haul off the boxes in the garage - not detail the entire freaking house. Lesson learned: do not let T make the cleaning arrangements.

Good news: Husband is gainfully employed at a job he enjoys.
Bad news: He has been in Austin for training for two weeks already and won't be home for another week. Single parenting sucks.

Good news: Z is a brilliant child who knows what she wants.
Bad news: What she wants is always diametrically opposed to what I want. She may not survive to adulthood. And now Q is picking up on her bad habits. Wah.

Good news: My normally susceptible husband managed to steer clear of the swine flu that is sweeping the academy (4+ confirmed cases).
Bad news: The kids and I did not. Z and Q started showing symptoms the Tuesday after T left for his training. Just about the time they had recovered enough to resent not being allowed to go outside or play with friends, I got it. Ugh.

Good news: The children are completely recovered.
Bad news: Just about the time I decided that I wasn't going to die from the flu, I stumbled across another germ that has me talking like I regularly gargle with Clorox as I reach for a never ending stream of Kleenex.

Good news: Blackie is back from Camp Grandma.
Bad news: Blackie is back from Camp Grandma. Since her arrival two weeks ago, she has destroyed Q's security object (a small plastic sword), strewn the bathroom trash across the house (mmmmm, feminine hygiene and diaper snacks!) multiple times, eaten a box of tissues, and put a hole in the screen door.

Good news: The boxes are about half unpacked.
Bad news: The other half are not.