Thursday, November 22, 2012

Give Thanks

Last year's list. This year's list:

1. My friends, old & new.
2. My animals. We lost Roxie this past year, and that crushed me...
3. My home; paid off completely five years ago, and almost done being upgraded (just gotta finish up the bathroom).
4. My career, the success I'm having with it, & the flexibility it gives me for home life.
5. My clients, old & new.
6. My SKs. Gamerboy has come a LONG way in the last year; he's mature, responsible, smart, and has plans for his life. Squeeks is still struggling with her mother; we just continue to offer support. Only six and a half months until she can get out from under the thumb of that woman.
7. My husband. We've been through some crap, I'll tell you. But, he's my rock, and he works very hard to make sure we're well taken care of. He's working today because he can. Holidays aren't necessarily celebrated on their designated days... and that's okay.
8. My daughter. In her 13 years of life (so far), she's had some terrible things happen to her; things no one should ever have to go through. In spite of everything, she is happy, healthy, and very loved; and she knows it.
9. Food on my table. There are a lot of people who go hungry. I am not one of them.
10. My health, and that of those around me.
11. My beautiful nieces, Bug & Firefly. Those two continue to amaze me. They are smart, and oh so sweet to each other, and adore their cousin!
12. My mother. She is way too nosey, smothers my daughter (& me) at times, & pisses me off on a regular basis... but life without her in it would never be the same.
13. My parents. My dad & smom are wonderful people. They raised us to be self-sufficient, independent, loving, & responsible people. We all have become successful because of their gentle pushes during our childhood.
14. The rest of my family -- "adopted", married-in, &/or birthed. MWAH!
15. Facebook -- for helping me to find lost friends and family I didn't even know existed.
16. Chocolate & coffee -- two things I wouldn't want to ever have to give up.

Friday, November 16, 2012


Many friends have told me lately that I have "the patience of a saint". I don't look at it that way, but I can see why they'd say that - we've been without a bathroom for many months. A few have even said something to the effect of "I would have hired a pro by now." Well, it's a good thing they aren't married to my husband.
Here's the thing: Would you REALLY have? Would you have called the pros in, essentially telling your husband that you don't have faith in his abilities to get the job done? Who cares if it takes longer doing it yourselves than it would take a pro? It also costs a LOT less. I'd rather take more time trying to get as much done as we can do ourselves, then when we've decided we can't or don't want to do any more, THAT'S when we call in the pros.
Which is where we're at now. After two failed attempts at laying down the leveling compound (I believe the manufacturers are in cahoots with flooring installers; the directions on the bags are NOT accurate), we called the company we bought our flooring from, and they sent out their installer to do it for us.
At this point, Ace started contemplating the oncoming winter weather, and his own skills, and decided it's time to call in the pros. However, we're NOT hiring a GC; we want specific small/local company(ies) who can finish the work. We're almost done. All that is left is: finish installing floor, install cabinets & toilet, install Hardibacker & tile, & finish the drywall/tape/mud/paint.... and the only things we want a pro to do is the floor, tile work, & tape/mud (maybe paint). The rest we can, & will, do ourselves.
So, now we are on the hunt... With the help of Angie's List, we will soon find a pro or two to finish our bathroom, knowing that we did most of it ourselves.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

I Have A Teenager

I've said it time and again... it's not my birthdays that make me feel old, it's hers. This year was no different, as far as that goes. However, this is the first year we didn't have some sort of party. Princess decided that, with our bathroom under construction (on hold at the moment), a sleepover wasn't a good idea... so she asked if I would mind taking her & a couple of her friends to a movie.

Monday of this past week, Ace & I went grocery shopping, and among necessities, grabbed steaks & asparagus for Princess' (requested) birthday dinner, which we ate on Tuesday. At this point, we had cards from some family members and a few packages.

Tuesday morning, a bunch of her friends had decorated her locker with cards, wrapping paper, ribbon, balloons, a big bow, and nice hand-written messages (awesome), but after 1st period, the Leadership kids took it down & put their own (boring one) up.

The girls got all upset & complained to Ms. M (the Leadership teacher). Apparently, the Leadership team wasn't supposed to tear down an existing one (they're only supposed to put something up if no one else did), so she was going to have a talk with them. She, of course, apologized, but it was too late at that point.

Anyway, I picked her up from school that afternoon, and we went back to the store for cake stuff. I also bought her some flowers to help make up for the balloons getting thrown away. We then made rainbow cupcakes, which turned out AWESOME!

She opened her gifts -- some cash/checks/college funds, neon clothing, Amazon gift card, brown fuzzy boots, and her favorite: her very own laptop -- then we set up her Facebook, which I promised she could have when she turned 13y. Now, for the record, she is only allowed to add people she truly knows AND LIKES; FB can be fun but it can also be problematic. I have full access to it and she runs everything she does past me.

Last week, I had posted (only half-joking), "I'm taking bets... Will **'s SD & the Wildebeest follow through with gifts for her birthday? Will they show up today or tomorrow... or next week... or never? If they do get her stuff, will any of it follow the guidelines I gave?" Many "close friends" (the only people who saw this status) put in their two cents. Most assumed there either wouldn't be gifts (oh, no... there are always birthday gifts; just not always Santamas gifts!) or they would be (a) late and (b) ill-fitting clothing.

On Wednesday, we found out... there was a gift bag on my porch. I have to be honest; it creeps me out knowing that they were here when no one else was. I am seriously considering a restraining order to keep them both away from my home, my work, Princess's school, me, & Princess. Next time, there could be a bomb in that bag...

So, I looked in it, to make sure it was safe, and brought it in the house. Then I texted the SD: "While I appreciate that you guys bought presents for M*******, please don't come over to my house again. In the future, gifts from you & your family can be mailed." I got: "Sorry but you stopped taking my calls so I had no way to communicate w her" in response. I said: "Mail is perfectly acceptable. And, I didn't stop taking your calls, M******* did."

Then, he got more irritating: "Yea sure she did. You had nothing to do with it right". I simply responded: "I'm not going to argue with you. Just don't show up to my house anymore." Having to get in the last word, he said: "Don't keep my kid from me anymore." At this point, I chose to ignore him. I find it so much easier these days to do that... and I know that it pisses him off when I do.

If he truly wanted to have parenting time again, he'd follow the court orders TO THE LETTER, but apparently, that's outside of his skill set... Five years after HE kidnapped our daughter, he's never apologized to her, and he still blames me for how she feels about him. Whatever. I know that someday, she will tell him face to face how she feels. He'll still blame me, but that's his problem, not mine.

Anyway, she opened the gifts in the car {they actually surprised me... a tee that fits, the rainboots I asked for in the correct (next up) size, a game from her Amazon list, a pair of mesh gloves (she has a long blue pair; these are a short black pair), a travel Truth or Dare game (an appropriate version), and her 7yo half-sister & 17yo step-sister wrote her nice notes.}, on our way to her first REAL massage appointment. Hallie at my salon offered to do a "teen" massage; 15m less time for $15 less than her one-hour fee.

After her massage, we went to Sushi Zen for dinner and Baskin Robbins for dessert... and today, she is getting a teen facial (from my esthetician/friend). She gave me a really squeezy hug this morning, and said, "This is the best birthday ever, mom. Thank you." THAT made it all worth it.