Thursday, November 27, 2014


Today was Thanksgiving in America, and as I do every year, I wanted to blog post a list of things I'm thankful for. This time, though, I'm doing it a bit differently. My family feast is actually on Friday every year -- my mother hosts (even though she's moved to a smaller place) -- so we spend the day doing a little prep cooking/baking for Friday's feast (I'm in charge of fudge and green bean casserole) and just relaxing. This morning, on Facebook, I decided that every post I made today would be something I was thankful for... Each post got quite a few comments & likes... This is that list:

1. This morning's "sleep in". I am usually awake by 630a or so, but this morning was able to sleep 'til 750a.
2. The laugh I get when the dogs & I wake Princess up. She growls at me, but I know she likes it; she's told me so.
3. That my daughter can, and loves to, cook. We did a bit of prepping for tomorrow's feast earlier today.
4. My daughter inherited my organization skills; we reorganized my nail art kit (which, if you must know, is a huge tackle box with lots of compartments).
5. I posted a photo of the four, 3-inch, 3-ing binders I've kept throughout the last 14+ years... Legal papers of all kinds. Today, I put them all in a box, & this weekend, I'll be burning them all. This post got all sorts of comments, some funny, but all supportive.
6. Being self employed (which allowed me to have today & tomorrow off), the incentives at Ace's work (allowing him to make more $$ & be fed on any major holiday he choses to work), & a relaxing day with my Princess.
7. Final one for this round: warm bed, under my own roof (debt-free, including the house, for almost 8 years now), & no need to get up early tomorrow either.

There are, of course, many more things I am thankful for, including the "usual suspects", but that list would be boring.

Friday, November 21, 2014

In Financial News

Seems MG has picked up all the paperwork, and sent it in to Child Support Enforcement --

* Back on Nov 6th, from MG to MB, "I hear the adoption is final. Do you have paperwork for me to send in to child support or are you sending it?" MB sent that to me and asked, "Should I tell him to come get them?" I told him to hold off; I wanted to chat with RP first to make sure were good to go.
* Nov 7th, RP responded to me with a short email, letting me know that she prepared a letter for CSE & would be sending it out that day. I got a copy of that Nov 8th.
* Nov 11th, MB sent him an email, noting that the Satisfactions are drafted, signed, and ready for him to pick up. MB will send a copy to CSE, and both original sets (child support satisfaction and attorney fees satisfaction) will be sent to the courthouse to be added to our records.
* Nov 20th, to RP, "I have received the satisfaction of judgment paperwork from D***'s attorney however, child support would like a copy of the adoption paperwork. Can I swing by today and pick up a copy so that I may fax it in?" (sic) RP told him that she already sent a copy to CSE, but attached a set for him to print out and fax in if he wanted to... Then, she gets "My case had been transferred to the district attorney's office, child support division on October 1st. They of course failed to forward your letter. I faxed it in." I had a little laugh at this one because it was like he was surprised it was at the DA's office... Dude, you're lucky the DA hasn't tossed your ass in jail (you can thank *me* for that, as I am the one that called them off while the adoption was processing)!!

Anyway, I just checked my online Child Support account, and it's still active (showing he still owes me over $6000, and there was a garnishment of just over $1300 (most likely from their Federal tax refund from this past year) on Sept 8th. Curious if everything will be zero'd out before or after CSE distributes some of it to me.


I also got a call yesterday from my accident attorney. After much back and forth, negotiations, multiple pictures and copies of doctor's records were shared, we finally got a GOOD settlement offer. I told him to accept. I will need to sign the consent form next week and I should have a check before Thanksgiving. My plan is to put a big chunk of it into my savings account (my plan is to buy a newer car within a year), and the rest into my personal checking, some of which will be used for Santamas gifts (including ones for the family we're sponsoring this year - as we do every year). The rest will just stay in there for my personal use.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Elvis Update

For reference, this was my original post about him. We've now had our furry boy for six months... and we are absolutely in love with him. He's come a long way since we first got him, too. Let's compare that first list:
1. He still follows us everywhere in the house and mostly outside, too. We did a lot of loose-leash training (in & out of class), and he has surpassed our expectations.
2. He seems to only follow *me* into the bathroom every time, not so much with Ace & Princess, and not with guests. I still recommend latching the door, though.
3. He's noticeably a lot less skittish these days. He still jumps back when you startle him, though.
4. He still nips/jumps when excited, but will respond to commands ("off", "no bite", etc). Izzy used to be like that, too, so we feel it's something he'll grow out of.
5. He still runs laps in the yard, but runs into his people less.
6. He now knows "bone", "ball", "rope", etc and will go find one if you ask him to (although he has a short attention span and gives up quickly if one is not readily visible).
7. It seems he no longer feels the need to bark or howl except when he wants outside & you are ignoring him, when he sees squirrels or birds outside & he is inside, or when someone he doesn't recognize knocks at the door. He loves the mail man, the neighbors, our friends, and just about everyone else... but will let you know when he doesn't.
8. Treats are no longer needed, but we do occasionally give them to him. If he's being stubborn, a stern look & repeating the command in a deeper voice usually does the trick. He's still testing us, I think... and he's still young.
9. He no longer howls/barks when left in the kennel during the day (although we don't leave them in there more than 4 hours, max; if we're going to be any longer than that and I take them to daycare). BUT, we did get woken up a couple times in the days after Daylight Savings with his quiet "arf" (if he had a voice, I believe this would be his way of saying, "Mom? Mom, are you awake? Mom, I have to pee... Please?"); both times were around 6am, so I just got up, let them out, used the restroom myself, then let them back in, and went back to bed for a little bit).

And, here are three more I feel the need to share:
10. He loves car rides and walks. He will go anywhere with us if we let him. He's excellent on the leash, but very hyper in the car. So much so that I bought him a seatbelt harness and a waterproof backseat cover. He's also very clever; he figured out how to unbuckle the seatbelt and how to roll down the window. I figured out how to stop him, though; I roll down the window about half way, then lock it there. Also, we bought a seatbelt cushion to attach over where the seat belt buckles in. He verbally grumbles at me because he can't get it undone.
11. He absolutely loves daycare... and they adore him there (they like both dogs, but Elvis has a special place in their hearts). They call him The Escape Artist; seems that because he's small & quick, he can get into & out of the door that goes between the outside fenced area and the inside hall before they can close the door behind themselves. He thinks it's a game, and as soon as he gets into or out of the door, he'll sit and look at them with a smile on his face (one of the attendants said he looked "very pleased" with himself... lol).
12. He no longer pees in the house. This took quite a bit of trial & error and consistency. We also had the help of a professional trainer. I won't tell you what ended up working because I truly feel there are things we got from Sandy that we never would have figured out on our own. There are a lot of training items regular people can do on their own, but when you have a specific issue, when you are considering returning that dog you promised a FURever home to, that's when you need to call in a pro. Dogs are very much like children; when you adopt one, you rarely know their prior situation and it is not fair to the dog if you just give up because you can't figure something out. We were prepared to have him wear diapers everywhere we went if need be... thankfully it didn't come to that.


Birthday Week Fun

We started the week by giving Princess the Oregon Duck boots she's been asking for, because she wanted to take them to the coast. My good friend, BHF, asked months ago if Princess & a friend could accompany her, her bf, & their young daughter to one of our coastal towns; BHF had a pool tournament out there. So, I talked to KP's mom and all was set. The girls were happy they got to miss two days of school, and get paid for it. Judging by the pics she posted online, they had a lot of fun hanging out with the 2yo...

I spent part of yesterday wrapping all her gifts (along with other chores & errands we had to do). They returned last night, just in time for Princess to see Ace making dinner (steaks) and her cake (chocolate zucchini, per her request). After dinner, she unwrapped all of her presents (pics on my FB page), we had cake, and then watched OUAT & played cards.

Tonight, we're going out to dinner at one of her favorite places. Tomorrow, she's coming with me to work so I can take her to get her brows waxed (her request; Amanda is happy to do it for her), then she's off to lunch with my mother to celebrate both her adoption as well as her birthday. On our way home, we will head to the bank (to deposit birthday money) and Michael's (for some craft items she wants). Oh, and she's having her friends over next weekend, as well.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

It's Only Fitting...

This is my 200th blog post. I know that because within this blog system, I have a bunch of stats available to me. This includes:
(1) Overview -- This one gives me a stats overview; including but not limited to number of page views, comments awaiting post, traffic sources, etc. If I want specific details, I can click on any of the other options below it, and those go into more detail.
(2) Posts -- This one tells me the name of my post, gives me the option of "view", "edit", "preview", or "delete". It also tells me how many people have viewed my post.
(3) Pages -- I don't use this one, so I'm not sure what it's for.
(4) Comments -- Shows me all my Published, Awaiting Moderation (since I have it set to approve comments before posting), and Spam.
(5) Google + -- gives me more options for connecting.
(6) Stats -- This one's my favorite. It shows me how many page views I have every day/week/year/all time, exactly where my page views are coming from (traffic sources -- by browser, country, and operating system), audience, a graph of views, and which specific posts were recently looked at). This is how I know Wildebeest is still reading my blog...
(7) Earnings -- I don't use this, either.
(8) Campaigns -- I don't use this...
(9) Layout -- This one is fun; change where all your info boxes are, plus boxes to free-write info.
(10) Template -- Changes the look of your blog; I use this one seasonally-ish.
(11) Settings -- I could change it to private view, or by invite only... but that's no fun, is it?

I know a lot of people are very private about stuff, but that's not me. I'm open & honest; if you want to know something, I'll generally tell you (unless I've been sworn to secrecy or something). I blog because writing old-school hurts my hand... and I like to share. I have a good life, a great husband, cool kids & animals, and a career I wouldn't give up unless I had to. If reading about my life bothers you, you have the option to stop reading. But, I'm not going to stop writing.

Saturday, November 1, 2014


The Monday after we got the adoption papers in the mail, I sent Princess's school's office staff a message about it. Of course, ALL of her records needed to be changed, and she needed a new email/password & ID card. Tuesday, I sent a copy of the court order and she dropped it off to the registrar, Sarah. Princess said the her first period (that day)'s teacher was "the only one that noticed" her name change (as a memo was sent to all her teachers, the librarian, her counselor, etc). She went up to his desk after class to get her test grade, and he couldn't find her... He finally did, and asked, "Did you change your name?" She said, "Yes." He asked, "Why?" And, with a smile, she said, "My stepdad adopted me."

He congratulated her, gave her her grade, and she went to her next class. I have a feeling her other teachers *did* notice, but for whatever reason, didn't say anything. It took her a couple days to say something to her friends, too, as she was waiting to see if they noticed. Anyway, Sarah & I went back and forth a few times, trying to get everything changed over, but it is now done. One of her friends just yesterday said, "It's still weird to see you write your new name on your papers..."

Tuesday, while she was in school, Ace & I had a bunch of errands to run; one of which was our credit union. While there, I got Princess's bank account information changed over (good thing she didn't need to be there to do that). I also decided to change her deposit-only ATM card to a both-directions ATM card (can't get her a debit, as that is "credit", and you can't have "credit" accounts until age 18y). I haven't told her about that, as it is one of her birthday presents.

I also called DMV's hotline to ask what I need to bring for her to get her permit, since we don't get her new birth certificate for a while. Not a problem; I just need her old one, her school ID with her new name, the paperwork from court, her permit application, and my own ID... perfect! She's so excited; she's been studying her guide & taking practice tests for months!

Ace also took care of changing over her records at his work, my mother is in the process of changing her college fund & settlement money, and I got new address labels (with old-school Mickey & Minnie Mouse!) & business cards (monkeys on these) for her. I also called USAA (as that's who we have our home & car insurance through) to change her name on those records. There is still the matter of her social security card & passport, but those have to wait until her new birth certificate comes.

She's never been the type to get super-animated/excited about stuff; at least, not in a traditional manner. And, she doesn't really like to talk about her feelings much. I knew she was happy about this & wanted this to happen, but didn't have any outward sign of it until a couple days ago. We had carved & painted our pumpkins Wednesday night, and that morning, she said to me, "Mom, next year, we should really have the older kids join us for carving. Then we'd have more pumpkin seeds." (She really likes the roasted seeds Ace makes, but we only carved two pumpkins worth.) I said, "Older kids? You mean your brother & sister?" We've always referred to them as such, so I wasn't sure what she was getting at. Then, with a huge smile on her face, she goes, "Yes, but since I'm officially & LEGALLY part of the family, now, they're *the older kids* and I'm *the younger kid*."