Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Baby You Can Drive My Car

As some of you may be aware, this week Chicago will be flooded with bloggers from all over as they flock to attend BlogHer 2009. I will be one of those flocking to the conference, though I am fortunate enough to be a Chicago(land) native.

A couple months back, attendees received an email about a special event taking place on Thursday before the conference begins. Ford is hosting a "What Women Want Vehicle Tech and Quality Event" and invited a number of bloggers to join in. I responded with interest and was selected to participate! From what the welcome kit indicates, we will be touring the Ford Chicago Assembly Plant, learning about manufacturing quality (specifically focusing on the 2010 Taurus), getting behind the wheel of the 2010 Ford Fusion and learning about fuel efficiency, learning more about the latest technologies, discussing vehicle quality, and participating in a roundtable about 'What Women Want' with a variety of Ford experts.

It all sounds like a blast. I'm particularly intrigued by the technology part of the program. Here are some of the things the welcome kit mentions:

*Look, no hands! Test our new Active Park Assist system that helps drivers parallel park simply by touching a button and letting go of the steering wheel.

*Stay connected with SYNC, Ford's fully integrated in-car communications and entertainment system that allows customers to operate mobile phones music players by voice commands, which is safer than manual operation of these devices.

*Parents love it, teens not so much… MyKey is a new Ford safety technology – launching this summer as standard equipment on the 2010 Focus, Taurus and other popular models – that allows owners to program a key that can limit the vehicle’s top speed and audio volume to encourage teens to drive safer.

That all sounds pretty awesome, but the Active Park Assist? That's like some space-age shit right there! I'm ridiculously excited about it and I hope it's as cool as it sounds.

I'm also excited about the roundtable. A little nervous too, because I have never given much thought to what I want in a vehicle. I love to drive and I have definite opinions about what I DO and DO NOT like in a car, but it's usually only something we deal with when we're car shopping. I'm not sure what I want is anything groundbreaking or earthshattering...but I suppose we'll find out in the round table, eh? :) I like a car that drives smooth, and fast, and handles well. I like a variety of safety features, especially for my children. I like having entertainment options at hand for car trips...and I LOVE to take road trips. In-car DVD is one of the best things to ever happen for road trips. I'd love more built in features for iPods/media players so we could hook right in. I like a lot of storage space. I like comfort. I love voice activated commands. I know that bluetooth-enabled radios and stuff are a big deal these days but I honestly don't love that feature because everyone in the damn car has to listen to your conversation. And you know what? My husband loves to talk on the phone in the car. I like to listen to music. I don't like to talk on the phone pretty much ever. I don't particularly enjoy listening to his conversations through the radio, especially when they interrupt a good song; I'd much rather he had a headset and did his own thing. I appreciate fuel efficiency and I'd love to do more for the environment.

I'm not sure I could even FATHOM cars that can do things like parallel park themselves. That is still blowing my mind!

One of the things Ford has asked us to do is discuss what women want before the event and bring opinions with us to the roundtable. So I'm opening this up to everyone who likes to share their opinion! What do YOU want in a vehicle? And if it's not readily apparent in your name, please let me know if you're male or female so I can bring that info with me to the roundtable. :)

Thanks everyone! I'm really excited about this event and am looking forward to blogging about it!

Monday, July 20, 2009

south beach

in lieu of actual content...

This is the only picture I took as we were driving through South Beach in Miami. As a matter of fact, we were driving through and I made my husband turn the car around and go BACK so I could get this picture. Not because I'm a 12 year old boy or anything.

Yes, I AM also that person who inserts (heh heh heh) the following comments into as many conversations as possible:
"liquor in the front, poker in the rear!"
"rectum? It damn near killed 'em!"

I'm pretty sure the folks at the Pleasure Emporium share my sense of humor, as we drove down the side alley and I don't recall seeing ACTUAL parking in the rear. hmmm.

It probably goes without saying that the In The Butt blog is one of my favorite 'guilty pleasures'. Because everything IS funnier in the butt. My husband won't let me order the stickers yet though, so I haven't been able to deface public property. Yet.

(As a side, yet somewhat related, note - I have been chortling for days because Google Analytics has assured me that someone googled the phrase "dirty old mom" and found this blog. That's me all right!)

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Garbage In, Garbage Out

I have been stuck in a bit of a rut these past couple weeks, since returning from vacation. Everything in the house around me is a mess and I can't seem to get up the motivation to tackle it. On the days I work, I get home and take care of the kids and I am exhausted. I barely feel like making dinner, let alone tackling chores. On my off days, obviously we've done some social things but I've had time to clean and tackle projects too, I'll be honest. I just haven't, for the most part.

The much-anticipated garage sale is this weekend and, while I know it's going to be something of a hassle and I still have much to do in order to prepare for it, I am really looking forward to just getting a bunch of that stuff OUT of my house.

Sometimes I get stuck in these ruts, you see, and I've spent many hours thinking about WHY and also thinking about how to get out of them, or stop them from happening. Here's my theories so far:

1) I become overwhelmed by the mess and clutter around me and I find it really hard to function. (Seriously, sometimes I just sit there and stare at the room I'm in and think that I have to get up and tackle it, but I know there's a bunch of other stuff I need to get done too, and I can't even mentally get to the point where I can make a to-do list because I can't get over the fact that I need to organize my space first, and my brain sort of explodes from trying to deal with it all, and I end up doing nothing but sitting and staring at the mess.)

2) Lack of energy and/or a general feeling of slight illness / sluggishness. Sometimes this is my blood sugar, sometimes not. (I'm diabetic.) And I contribute THIS to: lack of exercise, not eating right, not getting enough sleep.

Those are the things I believe are at the roots of these occasional slumps; it seems when all of those factors are on the 'bad' side, nothing gets done. If I'm doing better in even one of those areas, I generally feel better and can get more done. And of course, the better I'm doing in all of those areas, the more functional and efficient I am.

None of this should really be surprising information to anyone. Especially item two; that's kind of basic biology. I'm writing about it because sometimes I feel like I struggle with staying on the 'up' side of these factors more than most people do. Or when I catch myself on the 'down' side, doing negative things to myself and falling into a slump again, it is sometimes really hard for me to start reversing those trends and get back on the 'up' side. I am also writing this because I start individual therapy tonight to work on why some of these things are so difficult for me, and I am working out what I'll be discussing I suppose. Blogging has always been a form of therapy for me, though lately I haven't been all that introspective. I started this blog to share my journey in accomplishing my dreams. As I've mentioned before, I believe I have a number of roadblocks to overcome in order to accomplish all the things I've set out to do. I hold myself back. Figuring out why, and overcoming it all, is the first step in accomplishing those dreams. So I'm trying to be open and honest and share the good, bad and the ugly. Even when it's a less-than-flattering picture of myself.

When I start to feel overwhelmed by something I try to accomplish, often I will set my sights on a particular event: 'once X happens, I'll be able to accomplish Y'. Then my life becomes a waiting game, waiting for X, while I get very little else accomplished. In this case, X=the garage sale and Y=organzing the house again. What's frustrating to me is that I have thought of a number of ways I could work around the garage sale stuff and keep up with areas of the house, but I just haven't, because I'm waiting for X. That's another thing I've got to work on - staying in the present. I still want to plan for the future, but I don't like that I let opportunities pass me by while I wait for the future to be NOW.

My three main roadblocks, as I've mentioned before, are clutter, weight and finances. About the only one I've been any good at ltely is finances. Good in the sense that we've been trying to be much more conscientious about our spending, and I'm still using mint.com and tracking everything and trying to be more mindful of our budget. Unfortunately, we're in a very tight period right now and somehow we still catch ourselves overspending and making things worse from time to time. I'm struggling with this a bit because it's really frustrating and we've just never seemed to find a really good method that works to keep our heads above water for very long, and I don't see us accomplishing our financial goals if we don't stop living paycheck to paycheck. Then I add in extra stress to my mind by trying to come up with ways to make more money, and suddenly I've added about 50 extra projects to my plate, and I'm totally overwhelmed again.

A few months ago when I started this blog I told myself I was going to stop overwhelming myself with projects and just focus on one thing at a time, until I finished it. I did that successfully for a month, maybe a little longer; made a lot of progress on my house. But that was taking too long so I agreed to add in one more project: eating healthy. A few weeks after that, I started letting other things creep back in and before you know it, my project list is huge again.

Perhaps this is partially why I'm in a slump again. I'm trying to do too many things at once, once again. Getting back to the basics really was working for me before. You've seen the videos, and a few folks were even at my house and can testify that it was looking pretty good. I just started to panic because I could see all these others goals of mine flying past me and I get really impatient; I want everything to happen for me NOW. This is why I try to tackle everything at once, because I want it all NOW. But then I try to do it all right away and look what happens - nothing. I accomplish nothing at all.

So perhaps, tonight, we will talk about my impatience and the feeling of panic I get when I see time flying past me and I think about how long it's going to take to get all of these things done, and how I can work on changing that aspect of myself so I really CAN just tackle one thing at a time.

I'm afraid that if I stick to just one thing at a time, I'll get stuck on that one thing and never move past it. Cleaning, for example, is a never-ending thing. Even when I've got it all decluttered, the upkeep is a daily thing. Will I ever have time to keep up with it AND add new projects? Logically I know the answer is yes, at least one day, once it's decluttered and it's become routine. But emotionally, I feel like I'll never be able to juggle more than one thing at a time and I get a little panicked at the idea that even if I accomplish a goal and move on, I'll never be able to keep up with goal one when I'm working on goal two. I know not all goals will require upkeep once they're accomplished, but the main three: clutter, weight, finances - they will all require constant maintenance, for the rest of my life. I worry I won't be able to do it all. I think that's holding me back too.

So there's my introspection for the week. I keep tripping myself up. Here's hoping I can find ways to work past all this.

Monday, July 13, 2009

"And prehistoric creatures may come flying out of my butt!" OR, how I spent my weekend.

"Do you think if you stuck one of these up your butt it would work?"

"Well, probably. I mean, your butt isn't necessarily WET, but it's warm, and I bet the coating would melt given enough time."

"I will totally buy you a drink if you stick one of those up your butt."


"AND, if at the end of the night you produce a prehistoric creature, I will buy you ANOTHER drink."

I'm not sure if I should admit that I'm actually considering it."

No prehistoric creatures were injured, killed or even produced last weekend. But my offer still stands.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Being Held Liable For Being Neighborly

The neighbor kids keep coming over and driving us crazy and I'm not sure what to do about it.

The three kids are, I'm guessing, about 12, 8 and 6. Eldest is a boy, the others are girls. When we moved into the house four years ago, as we were unloading things, they (along with a few other neighborhood kids) came over with cookies and welcomed us. The KIDS did. NOT the parents. As a matter of fact, I've never actually MET my adult neighbors. At this point, that's just as much of a failing on my part as it is on theirs, but when we first moved in - your kids come over, but you don't? Bizarre.

Then, a month or so after we moved in, we were having a party. BBQ in the yard, possibly for Drake's first birthday, I'm not sure. That or a housewarming. At any rate, the neighbor kids came over (then they would have been about 2, 4 and 8, mind you) BY THEMSELVES to see if they could play at the party. We told them to ask their parents and to tell their parents they were welcome to come over for a burger or something, figured it would be a good time to meet them. The kids ran home, then came back - still parentless - and said they could come to the party but their cousins were over, could the cousins come too? I said sure, thinking one or two more kids wouldn't be a big deal, right? They come back with like FOURTEEN KIDS or something ridiculous. Ages ranging from 2 years to about 14 years old. STILL NO ADULTS. And the neighbor kids were polite but their cousins? Rude as HELL. I was, frankly, shocked. And had no idea how to handle it. Who sends a swarm of kids to the new neighbor's house when they've never even come over to meet them or welcome them to the neighborhood? (And who lets their 2 and 4 year olds play outside alone unsupervised all the time??)

Then for a while I was convinced they were living in a drug house because there were tons of people coming in and out at all hours of the night and day, and cars leaving for short periods of time and then coming back off and on all day. But that died down after a year or two.

The kids have always been nice and polite. Aside from the party incident, they've come over a time or two for random things (school sales and such) over the years. When we see the parents out front they will wave and say hi, but that's it.

Now, for some reason this summer, the kids are coming over all the time.

It started in the late spring when the two girls started coming over and asking if they could play in our yard. We have a small yard with a small swingset and a couple toddler slides. We also have two dogs and we're not always diligent about cleaning up the poop, and we tend to leave yard toys out (like our toddler wagon and the plastic outdoor cars and the sandbox with no sand and so on) because we're lazy.

When they first asked, I was torn because I don't want to be the mean neighbor who gets her house egged and TP'd...but I also don't want to be the one who is held liable or sued if one of the kids gets hurt. (And then I am saddened that we live in a world where you can't just be NICE, you have to worry about being sued for being nice, but that's a whole other rant I think.) I wasn't sure I wanted to set a precedent for it, but at the same time I wasn't sure exactly how to say no or if I wanted to be the type of person who says no to letting kids have fun. Their yard is even smaller than ours (it's full of a deck and an oversized garage, and what little 'yard' is left seems to be just a dirt pit). So I let them. And they would come over every week or so, ask to play, play for a little bit, and then go home.

Then, naturally, my kids started wanting to go outside and play with the neighbors. And regardless of whether or not the neighbors let THEIR kids play unsupervised outside at 2 and 4...I DON'T let my kids play outside unsupervised. So then I'd have to drop whatever I was doing to go out and play with my kids too, or have to deal with two tantrummy kids if I made them stay inside.

Then the older neighbor kid started asking to cut our grass. And I know this is something that kids DO for money and I don't begrudge the kid, but he'll ask us like three times a week. And we have had him cut the grass sometimes, don't get me wrong. We give him $20 every now and then to do it. But we don't always have the $20 to give him and it's sometimes a big pain. Also, the grass doesn't need to be cut three times a week, hello.

Then they started asking to borrow stuff, like the wagon. Which, even if I leave it out in the rain, cost us over $100 and it is NOT a toy for them. Besides, they're too big for the damn thing. It's for my TODDLERS. And they beg and plead when I tell them no, just like they're my own damn kids.

We had a garage sale last year and the girls came over and bought some old car seats for their dolls. I had like four at the sale, and two of them were cheapy ones WE had bought at garage sales, that we used in my parents' cars just a few times when the kids were babies. So I didn't mind selling the cheapy ones to the girls for a couple bucks. But then we had some nice newer infant car seats that we were selling for considerably more and the girls, of course, wanted the nice ones. But they only had $5. And I was NOT letting them go for $5, so I told them no, I'd sell them the two cheap ones for $5 for their dolls but the other ones were much more expensive.

A couple weeks ago, they were building a rabbit cage in their backyard. They asked OJ to come over and help them. He came back and said it was a disaster of epic proportions and asked me if I minded if he offered them our old dog crate (which we no longer use) in exchange for three grass cuttings. I said sure (and then worried about the fate of this poor rabbit). I don't know what exactly happened with the rabbit, but last week the eldest kid was back over to tell us that he had to give the rabbit to his aunt or something, and had to go back on our deal. Then he came over a couple days later to see if he could bring the cage back. I told him sure, we'd be home all day. Then he came back TWO DAYS LATER with the cage. I emphasize this not because I missed the cage, but because I want you to realize that he came over THREE TIMES over the course of a week just to return a damn cage.

Is people coming to my house a big deal? It sort of is to me. I value my alone time. I don't really feel the need to strike up conversations with the neighborhood kids. I don't like being interrupted fifty times when I'm in the middle of something. And the worst part is, I can't hide. Not only do the kids see our cars so they know if we're home...we also have a big glass front door, so they can see inside. And even if I don't answer the door, my kids go running pell-mell for the door as soon as they hear a knock. If I'm in the bathroom, they answer the damn door. (Even though I've told them a hundred times NOT to...it's really hard for a 2 and 4 year old to not answer the door, especially when it's the neighbor kids knocking.) And I'm sure you can imagine how much fun it is for me to hear my kids telling the neighbors "Mommy can't come to the door right now, she's pooping". All the dignities of motherhood.

Then the girls started leaving the gate open when they played in our yard. So now I have to check both gates before letting my dogs out, so the dogs don't run away. I also started lecturing the kids on latching the gate and was on the verge of banning them from the yard, but they seem to have fixed this problem. (They're very defensive about it too, always blaming each other for being the one to leave the gate open.)

And another thing along that line that I have to worry about: what if my dogs are out with the kids and one of them gets bitten?? So now I don't let my dogs out when the kids are in the yard just to make sure this doesn't happen. They're good dogs, but they're still young (a year) and they're from the same litter and they're shelties, herding dogs...sometimes they nip.

It just makes me crazy that the kids come over ALL THE TIME when we're home now. On Sunday, Oksana was sick and napping; Drake and I were in the basement. The eldest comes over and knocks. And knocks some more. And knocks louder. Constant knocking while I'm walking up the stairs. Waking up my daughter, who is napping. Interrupting me and Drake, who were playing together. He tells me OJ said he could cut the grass today. Of course OJ isn't home, and I tell him I don't know anything about that and I'll have to talk to OJ later in the afternoon when he comes home. Over the course of the next hour I talk to OJ on the phone, who tells me that he said nothing of the sort; however, we agree that we will let him cut the grass if he wants to and that OJ will pay him when he gets home. About an hour later, the kid comes knocking AGAIN. Same scenario, wakes up my daughter, interrupts the game Drake and I are playing. He wants to know if OJ is home yet. No, but fine, cut the grass; he won't be home until late to pay you though. So he starts cutting the grass and I've just gone downstairs when I hear knocking AGAIN. It's his sisters this time, wanting to play in the damn yard. I tell them fine. I look out the window a few minutes later and THEY HAVE A BABY IN MY YARD. So now we have a 6 year old and an 8 year old watching a BABY in my yard. Putting him in the dirty old baby swing that we don't use and I really should take down. Now I'm seeing accidents and liability dance in my head for sure. How do I revoke this permission to play in my yard??
Then, the lawn mower stops and...ANOTHER knock on my door. The eldest, telling me he's done (I don't care, I told you I don't have your money kid!), that our grass was really long, and how come my kids aren't playing outside? None of YOUR business kid. I remind him (as I told him earlier) that my daughter is SICK ('and you keep waking her up with your damn knocking' is implied there as well). Then the girls knock again, a little later, asking to borrow my wagon (again) to take the baby around the block (HELL NO).
OJ comes home around dinnertime and he's barely walked through the door when the eldest is back over, knocking, for his money.

Every damn day of my life is turning into that scenario. Yesterday evening, in the space of 5:30 pm to 7:30pm, they were over a bunch of times again.
1)The girls, to ask if they could play in the yard.
2)The boy, to tell me that the babysitter left the gate open earlier that day and our dogs got out and he had to chase them down and put them back in our yard.
3)I noticed that the older (8ish) girl was SITTING IN THE BABY SWING HERSELF when I was making dinner, and had to stop and go out and tell her not to go in there. (Picturing the whole damn swingset coming down on these kids, and that giant liability issue again.)
4)The boy, asking (and here I'm on the phone too, which he can clearly see, yet he keeps talking to me anyway) if have any kind of baby walker he can buy. I mention we're selling a bunch of baby stuff at the garage sale in two weeks, but no, he wants something tonight. Can he just borrow it? I tell him all the stuff is in the garage somewhere and I have to finish my phone call.
5)The girls, half an hour later, to see if we've found the baby stuff yet. (The baby is still over, I guess; I think they said it's their nephew.) This time I'm making dinner and told them we wouldn't have time to look for anything.

If you've made it this far in my rant without falling asleep, you've probably noticed a very conspicuous lack of something in all of these stories: PARENTS. Where the fuck are their parents??

And I guess this is what I'm really bothered by. The kids, after all, are just being kids. As I mentioned, they're nice, they're polite. Kids don't think about the fact that they're interrupting whatever you're doing when they knock on your door five times in a row. In their mind, grown-ups live to serve kids, after all. If anything, this has given me surprising insight into MY childhood; I picture so many things we did that probably annoyed the shit out of people in our neighborhood, and this is probably payback for that. Kids just don't think about that stuff.

But where are the PARENTS? And we extended invites to them (via their kids, since we never see the parents) to our first couple BBQ's when we lived here. They never came over, never said thanks but no thanks, nothing. But they'll let their kids come over and bother us constantly? Play in our yard? Let us help them build a freaking RABBIT CAGE in THEIR yard? Borrow stuff (or ASK to borrow stuff) from us all the time? I know they have to be aware of it too, because they're often out on their deck grilling, and they can see into our yard. And I've heard them call the kids home from our yard, and I've seen them peeking their heads out and looking over when their kids are at our door.

As a parent and a neighbor, first of all, if I caught my kids knocking at the neighbor's, my kids would get a big lecture about not bothering people. Second, I myself would march my butt over to the neighbors and talk to them about my kids coming over, see if they were bothered by any of it, and make an effort to BE NEIGHBORLY. I'd feel a lot better about it if they came over and talked to me about their kids playing in my yard. It would be a lot easier to explain to the adults that I can't be watching their kids in my yard and I'm worried someone is going to get hurt. Kids care nothing for the POSSIBILITY of injury, for insurance and liability.

I'm concerned that if I go over there and tell them (nicely) that their kids are driving us crazy by knocking all the time and that we're worried about them playing in the yard, I'm afraid that it will come off as confrontational, no matter how nice I am.

I'm trying to come up with something I can tell the kids that will ban them from our yard without being labelled the MEAN neighbors, and end up with a TP'd and egged house.

There's probably nothing I can do to stop them from knocking on my door fifty times a day, but I wish that would stop too.

So, to my neighbors: just because it was once said that it takes a village to raise a child, doesn't mean I want to raise yours. Please absorb this blog post psychically and keep your kids in check. Thank you.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Florida, Day One

In retrospect, it is probably not a wise idea to go to work the day you're set to fly out on vacation with your family of four for a week. However, given that we were going to be gone for a solid week, OJ and I felt it financially prudent to get in as much work time as possible, so we both DID go to work Wednesday morning. I did most of the packing beforehand, but you know there's always those last minute items...toiletries, sleeping buddies for the kids, food, and so on. There's always last minute home details to take care of, too. So I spent most of my day at work worrying about all the details; never mind the fact that I had made lists to cover all the eventualities. My mind just won't shut off and I kept going over the lists, trying to make sure I didn't forget something; all with one eye on the clock, worrying about whether I'd have enough time to get everything done. In the end, I left work half an hour earlier than planned. And in the end, I would have had enough time even if I hadn't done that. But then I'd have felt even more rushed, so I'm glad I did.

OJ was meeting us at the airport direct from work, so my dad very graciously drove me and the kids to Midway. I lugged two toddlers, three backpacks, and two carseats into the airport, where a very nice Delta agent helped me print out our boarding passes as she simultaneously entertained my children. My husband joined me a few minutes into the process, providing much relief and a most welcome set of extra arms.

I'm not a huge fan of flying, truthfully; it just feels unnatural to me. And plummeting to my death is pretty high on my list of ways I DON'T want to die. Having my entire family on the plane with me ups my anxiety exponentially. Once we're in the air I can manage to relax, but going up and coming down leave me pretty tense.

Thankfully, the two flights to Fort Lauderdale were easy and uneventful. We had forty minutes between the flights, but really, by the time we de-planed the first flight, it was time to walk to the next one (the two gates were, luckily, right next to each other; we connected in Atlanta and I did not get to appreciate how very HUGE the Atlanta airport is. The flight home, however, definitely gave me that chance. But that's a whole week away still!) and immediately get on the plane. So it really didn't seem like much of a delay.

Also, laptops and iPods have COMPLETELY changed the face of traveling with children. COMPLETELY. When we take road trips, we spend a good amount of time watching movies (rather, the kids do), but I still try to resurrect some of the good old road trip games in between flicks. In the air, the travel games don't work so well at this age, but the movies sure do! Both kids were enthralled by Pixar films and old episodes (new to them) of Tiny Toons and Pee Wee's Playhouse. (Mom and Dad don't mind watching along, either.)

(I do have this great airport card game called Flying Rubberneckers that helped us kill some time in the terminals. It's basically a card version of I Spy...my kids are still too young to hold their own hand of cards and play for points, but we had a grand time going through the cards as a family and spotting the different items and people.)

We landed in Fort Lauderdale around 11pm (their time; they are an hour ahead of us), and my father in law was waiting eagerly to pick us up and take us to the boat, which was to be our home for the week. We were starving and he was happy to oblige, so we had a very late dinner at a tasty diner on the way to the marina. It was a decent walk down the marina to the boat, but everyone was fueled by excitement. Good thing too, because we were carrying all our luggage and couldn't have managed to carry the kids too! The inky black midnight water was beautiful, but it has that an eerie quality as well; my son was most sensitive to it and immediately began imagining monsters in the deep. On the walk, he was pretty much dead set that no way, no how was he getting on a boat, were we CRAZY? But once we got there and lifted him on, and he was able to see that it's like a little house, all fear was gone and excitement kicked in full force.

By the time we got to the boat, got the lessons on operating everything, figured out where the light switches were, and got the beds made up, it was close to 1:30AM. We put the kids to sleep on the table-that-turns-into-a-bed, and conked out!

The table-that-turns-into-a-bed.

OJ and the kids in the living room area, near the TV. You can see the table-bed down the stairs there.

The kitchen. On the right is a fridge, freezer, and lift-off stovetop. There is also a microwave hidden in one of the cabinets. On the left is a sink, toaster, coffee percolator, and a bar top to eat upon.

The kitchen view from atop the bar (my back is to the sliding glass entry doorway; I'm standing in the living room).

The bedroom, aka "the cave". It's pretty much just a huge bed with a surprising amount of storage hidden all around (and under!) it. There's also another TV in here.

The bathroom. Small, but functional! I even showered there once, and it wasn't nearly as bad as I'd been thinking it might be. (I did shower more than once that week; we just did the majority of our bathing at my in-laws house.)

Barnacles on the pier at low tide. When we arrived the night before, I asked my father in law if we'd be in any danger if we were clumsy and fell off the pier when trying to get on or off the boat (I was thinking more of myself than the kids; we fully planned on keeping a death grip on all children when passing them to or from the boat!). He told me there were loads of barnacles all over the pier and you could get cut up pretty badly. He wasn't kidding! (Side note: I can't think of barnacles anymore without picturing Isabella Rossellini in her Green Porno series. Thanks to her, I know that barnacles have the longest penis to body ratio of any animal.)

What a great note on which to end a post.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

Christmas In July

This month, Heritage Makers is running a Christmas In July special. Most of our products are 'buy 3, get the 4th free'. This is the perfect time to get a jump start on holiday gifts AND holiday cards for those folks on your Christmas list!

Here are some ideas for holiday gifts:

1) Create custom storybooks for all those folks on your list - or create one fantastic family storybook and give a copy to everyone in the family!

2) Make a Favorite Family Holiday Recipes cookbook and give it to everyone for the holiday season.

3) Make personalized day planners or calendars for 2010 and give them as gifts.

4) Use Heritage Makers for all your holiday cards this year! Did you know that Heritage Makers will not only allow you to design your own personalized cards; they will also MAIL those cards directly to the recipients for you? You can send your beautiful, heartfelt cards directly from the comfort of your computer! Just import everyone's information into your Heritage Makers address book and send. No more addressing 100's of envelopes...no more stamps...no more long lines at the post office.

This month, Heritage Makers makes it easy and affordable to do all of these things, and more. Don't miss this great special! Talk to me for additional details.

Ad flier is here: http://www.heritagemakers.com/go/christmasJuly2009/
My website is: http://www.scrapyourbooks.com for more information on Heritage Makers.


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