Thursday, August 28, 2008

I'm a glutton for punishment

(Note: all interviews went well - I'm waiting to hear back if I get second interviews now. I have an interview to be a substitute teacher on Tuesday. I'll update you when there is news!!)

My friend Danielle loaned me a book called Beautiful Boy. Many of you are nodding in recognition, because apparently I am the ONLY human on the face of the earth who hadn't heard of it. I stayed up nights reading this thing. I read it in absolute horror, but like a nasty car accident where you just have to stay in the lane so you can see the dead body in the street, no matter how much you don't really wanna. Ya know what I mean? This book was AWFUL. It was beautifully written. The characters were compelling and believable. The storyline was amazing. So what, pray tell, made it awful? It was about a perfectly normal family who loved their wonderful, brilliant, well-adjusted son, gave him every possible advantage, and he became a meth addict anyway.

WHAAAAT? I'm sorry, I think I misunderstood. Perfectly normal, healthy, brilliant, talented, well-adjusted children do NOT become meth addicts. Sorry, it's just not true.

Meth addict children happen to people who beat their kids, or neglect them, do meth WITH them or leave them alone and unsupervised for days on end while they go sell heroin or something, right? They don't happen to Mr. and Mrs. Normal America (like me), right?

The worst part about this book is that it is a true story.


So, just because I wasn't tortured enough about the possibility of my sweet, innocent, darling son or daughter becoming a meth addict during THIS book, I am now reading a book written by the son telling the story from his point of view.

I must be insane. (Remember the illustration about the car wreck? Craning my neck to see? Yep, that's me.)

Tuesday, August 26, 2008


I have two job interviews tomorrow and one on Thursday! Hang on a sec... (dancing a little jig) ok, I'm back. One of the interviews is at Borders bookstore. I'm kinda excited about that one because, I mean, who doesn't want to work at a bookstore?? As you, my 4 loyal readers know, I am a reader, man. I loooooove to read. When I was a kid, I would read the back of the cereal box at breakfast. I'll read anything. But, with anything, there are pluses and minuses of working at Borders.

PLUS: Very flexible hours

MINUS: Very sad pay

PLUS: They loan their employees books, so I can read brand new bestsellers without buying them!!

MINUS: It's retail - hours on my feet and did I mention the very sad pay??

PLUS: I am always recommending books to people at Borders anyway, they may as well pay me for it!

MINUS: Did I mention the very sad pay??

So, the question is, do the pluses outweigh the minuses? I dunno. We'll have to see when I have my interview!

I also have an interview at a Spa (oooh, ahhh). If they give employee discounts, I'm probably in trouble... "You want to pay me in free facials, manicures, pedicures and massages? OK!" It's a very high-end spa, so that might be fun. I'd probably meet some celebs, which is ALWAYS fun...but I know nothing about the hours or the pay.

My third interview is at Wells Fargo to be a teller. 30 hours a week. That might be interesting, and the pay will probably be good. I dunno if I'm cut out to be a teller...but ya never know.

I am also applying to be a substitute teacher at the public schools around here. I figure with 80 gazillion schools, they could probably keep me working all day every day if I wanna. AND I won't have to work holidays, AND I'll be off Spring Break, AND if I need a day off, I just refuse a job. Seems like a good plan to me. I think it might be combat pay, especially in the High Schools, but I suspect it will be interesting.

So, my options are wide open and it looks like I can be whatever I want when I grow up. It's exciting to have opportunities, and it will be fun having these interviews over the next couple of days. Stay tuned, sportsfans!!

Monday, August 25, 2008

Value Statement

Here in the STQ family, we have a problem (at least for me). The boys (2, or 3 if you count the dog) outnumber the girls (1). Since Megan is off at college, it leaves me all by my lonesome with these crazy, wrestling-loving boys. Don't get me wrong - I love the time Chase and divine hubby spend together throwing each other around, and they love it too. It is wonderful bonding time and I really do appreciate the testosterone that is exuded while the wrestling is going on.

What I hate is the arguing. The bickering. The constant complaining to and about each other. Did I say I hate it? Well, I absolutely do. Of course, they love it. Drives me nuts.

So, last night I came up with a plan. I have told the darling men in my life that for dinner tonight I want each of us to tell the others the one thing that is most important to them about our family. No, I don't mean the pool...I mean one characteristic that they either already love or wish there was more of in our family. Then, we're going to talk about ways to achieve that for each of us.

I know I'm outnumbered. I know males love the art of the fight. I do not want to take that away and only have frilly little tea parties here in the STQ family. I am not trying to emasculate my divine hubby or Chase. I just think there can be some lines drawn and some attitude adjustments made in order to give another member of the family what (ahem) she wants too.

I also think there is some value in talking about what's important to each of us as individuals. I may be very surprised what divine hubby and Chase come up with. I don't think they will be surprised at what I come up with, but I think there are ways to give us all what we need. I'm going to create a value statement for the STQ family!

Saturday, August 23, 2008


One thing our constant relocations have taught me is the value of friendship. When we lived in Austin, honestly, I took friends for granted. They were everywhere! We knew almost everyone at church, we never sat in a pew alone, at school, Chase had good friends as well as acquaintances to hang out with on the weekends, and we just were blessed with good people around us.

When you move, you don't have that luxury. Everyone is a new friend. No one here knows that I have bug dreams (or what they are even if I tell them), and certainly no one has experienced them with me at a conference somewhere! No one here knows that we are Packer fans, or why. No one here knows that I used to watch the snow plows with fascination from my living room window or that I am chronically early for everything. Every story, every personality quirk, every preference is new and requires explanation. Not necessarily a bad thing, but kind of a lonely thing.

I am certainly not discounting the long-distance relationships I have maintained. In Austin, in Green Bay, in Denver, I have wonderful friends who love me and have continued to live my life with me, even after I have constantly relocated again. And I know that in a year, I will have wonderful friends here about whom I can say the same. I just don't right now. I have made friends with a woman from karate, who has loaned me her two boys for the afternoon today. Her name is Danielle, and we have a lot in common. I enjoy her company a lot, and we have even started trading books, as we are both readers. So, my whining will eventually come to an end, I know, when more time has passed and more friends have been made.

It's just funny that before I became a gypsy, I would have said I only had a few close friends, and not a big group of them. As I think of it, the word friend has many meanings. Some friends, I only saw at book club or sat next to at church sometimes. Some friends, I only saw a couple of times a year for a birthday celebration or an occasional lunch. Some friends I saw nearly every day when our kids played "Annie I Over" in the neighborhood or to have dinner together. All of my friends have made an impact on my life and I cherish those memories. I truly hope we live here long enough to have those kinds of friendships again.

Friday, August 22, 2008

Plain Truth

As many of you know, I am a voracious reader. I love all things literary, but mostly, I love fiction. Good, page-turning fiction. Truth be told, I'm more into the NY Times Bestsellers than the classics, but I do love me some Steinbeck when I'm in the mood...

I have recently read several books by Jodi Picoult. Who? Some of you are asking, but I think you'll recognize her more easily when the movie adaptation of her book My Sister's Keeper comes out soon. She writes books about terrible subjects. Like kidnapping, molestation, infantacide, school shootings, etc. But, the great thing about her books is that she writes chapters from each of the characters' points of view. So, although we all condemn a Columbine-esque type of school shooting, when you get to the chapter written from the teenaged shooter's point of view, you find out that he's not necessarily a demon - troubled, certainly, but not inherently evil.

I guess, before reading her book 19 Minutes, which is about that very subject, I kind of thought Dylan Klebold and Eric Harris were always monsters. Probably killed small animals and tortured their uncaring parents on the weekends, you know the type. But, in all likelihood, they were normal kids for the first part of their lives. I think that's what scares us so about these crimes. It scares me - you expect monsters to look like monsters. Not like my kid, or the kid down the street.

I just read her book Plain Truth about an Amish teenager who secretly has a baby out of wedlock and it turns up dead in the family's barn before anyone knew about its existence. And about a murder trial, and how difficult that is for an Amish family to handle. About simplicity. About black and white. About love and loss. About judgment, ignorance and understanding.

I love to read a book that teaches me something. I love books that you finish with a little bit more understanding of something you either were ignorant of in the first place, or you had an incorrect opinion of. If only my physics teacher could have spun me a tale of murder and intrigue or love or terror to teach me about vectors, we would have all been better off!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Summer is officially over

Chase heads to his new school today. Last night we were talking before bed, and he said he was a little bit nervous, but then he said (putting a sympathetic hand on my shoulder), "Mommy, I'm going to be fine. Remember Green Bay and Denver? I was just fine there, and this is going to be fine too. I promise. You don't have to worry about me." sniff sniff

What a great kiddo I have. He has absolutely rolled with every punch, and we've had a few punches in the past four years. He's right - he will be just fine. We have worked hard to make sure his school is safe and challenging, and I know his very best friend in the world is waiting for him in the 5th grade classroom.

So, now it's my turn. I gotta get myself gainfully employed! I've applied for several jobs I found online, but I really think that may not do it. The unemployment rate is high here, and the kinds of jobs I'm applying for are likely to draw a lot of interest (part-time, school-year only). I think I'm going to have to hit the road, Jack.

On the bright side - the Packers/Broncos game is being broadcast live this weekend! We're hoping for the best from our first post-Favre season.

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Old Friends

I chatted (electronically, of course) with a good friend this morning. Made me remember all of the things we used to do together and all of the fun we had. She started the world's most successful playgroup, and Chase and I were charter members. At our church, we were known to be joined at the hip. We would chat on the phone for hours, and our very favorite phrase of all was, "You know it's all about me. Unless it's about you." It was always all about ONE of us, that is for sure. And we went through A LOT together.

Our boys were the very best of friends, or at least as good a friends as one can be when one is 3. They played together, fought together, made up together, got mullet haircuts together (ok, no, mine had the bowl cut, but hers had a mullet, for sure!!), and nearly lived together for several years.

Then, life happened. She moved about an hour out of town and began to homeschool her boys. Homeschooling takes a lot of time, and her life was no longer her own. And I worked part time while Chase was in school and with soccer, church, etc, driving an hour out of town on a regular basis was out of the question. But, we still talked on the phone often, and met to go to the Women of Faith conference and to celebrate our birthdays.

Then, I became a gypsy and began my constant relocation. Now, I am lucky to see her once a year when I visit Texas. We talk on the phone only occasionally. She is no longer my constant companion, but it doesn't take much to make me think of her.

Old friends weave themselves into our lives and become part of us in a permanent way. There are so many times I find myself thinking of her or hearing something that reminds me of her. Even when we haven't seen each other in months and months, if we chat on the phone, we are both in hysterics and could talk forever. I cherish my memories of her, and of so many of the friends I have left behind in my wanderings. I'm feeling nostalgic today, can you tell??

Monday, August 18, 2008

The countdown begins

School starts in two days! Now, those of you who don't know me, but are just kinda checking in may think (gasp) she doesn't love her sweet little Chase. Hopefully those of you who DO know me know that this has been one long, hot, lonely summer for this blonde. And while I do love Chase beyond all reason, and would happily throw myself in front of a car to protect him, I'm SO VERY ready for him to go to school. And not really for the reasons you may think.

1. I'll admit it - I miss my alone time.
2. Chase wil meet some new kids (hopefully there is at least one morally-grounded 10-yr-old at a private religious school, for heaven's sake!).
3. There will be daily activities.
4. I can get a job.

Life has absolutely stopped for us these past couple of months, and while that kind of "nothing-ness" may be great for some people, and even was great for us...for awhile, months of such "nothingness" is not my cup of tea. I prefer a schedule. I like it when most days are planned, and we can spend the weekends just hanging out together. In the summer, it's hard to distinguish one day from another, and by the weekend, I'm so ready to do something that when divine hubby wants to just hang out, I am frustrated. Let's face it - I'm ready for activity to begin again. (Remind me I said that when I'm complaining about projects, tests, reading assigments, karate, etc etc etc.)

So, two days and counting. School begins at 8:30 on Wednesday morning, and we are all ready for our new adventure to begin.

Saturday, August 16, 2008

All alone when the lights went out...

Divine hubby and Chase were chomping at the bit to see the new Star Wars Clone thingie today. Frankly, that's the LAST thing I would spend money to see, but, I wasn't going to be left out of all the fun! So, I went with them and saw a different movie.

All by myself.

And when I say "all by myself," I really mean it.
Well, that's silly, I know you are thinking, of course you meant it.
No, I mean ALL.BY.MY.SELF.
As in, there was absolutely not one other living, breathing soul in the theater with me (except potentially bugs or vermin of some sort, but let's not think about that).

It was kinda creepy - I kept wondering if someone had snuck in and was secretly sitting behind me. I also felt a little self-conscious because when I laughed...I truly WAS the only one laughing. I'm such a rebel, I didn't silence my cell phone either. (gasp)

The usher (who knew they had those anymore?) came in twice with his flashlight, and both times, I waved and said (out loud) "It's still just me!" I know, I'm a dork.

It was fun - I highly recommend it if you've never experienced such a thing. Made me wonder, though, if I hadn't given them my $6 (matinee, ya know), would they have run the movie anyway to an empty house? Kinda like the whole tree falling in the forest with no one to hear it...nah, it's really not.

In my defense, I did state that I was a dork earlier in the post.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

We've got a cute new pool boy

Remember how I told you I was afraid of the pool guy? Well, today, there is a new one. He is tall, tan, handsome, a little bit scrawny and 10-going-on-11. He is a real cutie!!

My philosophy on house cleaning is, why should Mom have all the fun? So, every year since Kindergarten, I have added a new chore to Chase's life. Kindergarten, he started making his bed every day. 1st grade, he set the table for dinner and made his bed every day. 2nd grade he became responsible for taking out the trash every week, setting the table and making his bed every day. And so on. It has worked really well - he has learned how to do all kinds of things. He even changes his own sheets every Monday! I'm thinking that his wife will thank me for that someday...
So, since we have moved here, and since we have a pool, Chase's new job is to skim the pool. Luckily, he likes to do it as long as there aren't yucky bugs. Usually, there are yucky leaves, but no bugs. He's gotten pretty good at it! It's nice to have a kiddo who is (mostly) resigned to the fact that he has to do work around the house. The only chore he really fights me on is taking out the trash. I sure have a great kid!

Friday, August 8, 2008

The pool guy

Ok, I admit it. I'm afraid of the pool guy. Luckily for us, our rent came with weekly pool service included, but I'm currently closing all blinds and hiding under the table so he won't know we're here when he comes in about an hour.

Why, you ask, am I afraid of the pool guy?

Does he wear a ski mask while cleaning leaves and goo off of the bottom of the pool?
Is he obviously packing heat?
Does he float threatening notes in the hot tub?
Do I think he's behind the obscene phone calls we're getting (just kidding mom, don't worry, our phone doesn't ring at all)?


I am afraid of him because the pool guy has told me more than once that the pool pump needs to run most of the afternoon to keep algae (eww) growth down in the heat. And divine hubby keeps changing it to run in the evening to cut down on the bill. So, two of the men in my life are at odds. AND I think the pool guy is going to come knock on my door when he sees the timer has been changed again.

Oops, there he is - Chase and I are going to hide under the bed!! :)

Thursday, August 7, 2008

Oh how the mighty has fallen

If you ask me to define myself, I'll give you a laundry list:

Rabid emailer
Good daughter
Armchair quarterback
Rabid Packer fan (Go Pack)
Etcetera, etcetera

One of the most recent additions to that list is the last one. The first of my constant relocations was from Austin, TX to Green Bay, WI. We really embraced small-town USA; we loved the people (Hi Kim!!), we enjoyed the snow, we bought the world's best house on a great street, we had a great church and we grew to love,love,love those wonderful Packers.

We also loved Brett (as any good Packer fan should). He is an icon, a role model and just an all-around great guy. Or I guess I should say he WAS all of those things. If you have been living under a rock (or if you just don't care about sports), I'll tell you that Brett "the fink" Favre has forced the Packers to trade him to the Jets. Trade him. What a schmo. And he is blaming it on the Packers General Manager, Ted Thompson (who went to high school with divine hubby, by the way). Um, did you NOT retire all by yourself, Fav-re? Um, did you NOT cry on national TV and say you were done? Um, did you think, in your ultimate selfishness, that they wouldn't REPLACE you? Um, you thought that when you decided to come back AGAIN a month after the last possible second, they would just kick Aaron Rodgers to the curb and throw a parade? Um, NO!!! I guess he thought the Pack would just play without a QB if the almighty Brett wasn't going to play. What an arrogant, childish, selfish schmuck he has turned out to be.

I hope the Packers don't retire his number. Give it to the 4th string QB, since that is what Brett has turned out to be. 4th rate. We expected more from ya, Brett.

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Stalkers, jobs, schools, etc

I met Shelly, the woman I stalked (refer to earlier post), at Starbucks last night, and no, dad, she wasn't a Pakistani terrorist, she didn't try to get me to run away with her to become a 40-something-woman adult movie star (is there such a thing??), nor did she hold up a bank with me as her hostage. We recognized each other immediately, and enjoyed a nice evening chatting. It was fun to have a quiet adult evening out with a girlfriend - haven't had that in awhile!

As far as jobs go, it's gotten more complicated. The 1st job is still deciding if there IS in fact a job after all and will let me know, oh, sometime before school starts. There is now a 2nd possible job. It's at yet another school. So, the long and the short of it is that we still don't know where I will work and we still don't know where Chase will be in school. (sigh) Hey, it's still 2 whole weeks away, why the heck am I rushing this? :( Those who know me know that it just drives me crazy not to have a plan, and to have things up in the air. I'm nowhere NEAR Type A (you should see the mound of dishes in the sink), but when it comes to planning my life, I like to have it...planned. And more than 5 seconds in advance. BUT, God seems to think I need to work on that, since He keeps changing things on me, so I guess it's good for me. It's driving me nuts, though...

So, life in Vegas is what it is. I've met some people, Chase has a couple of acquaintances he can play with if push comes to shove, and we're muddling through. Say a prayer for stability, if you're the praying sort. I'm really struggling with all of this change, and then more change, oh, and now you think you know something about your life? Let's change it some more.

I gotta load the dishwasher so we can eat breakfast...have a great day!

Monday, August 4, 2008

I can one-up ya

I was reading some random blogs and ran across one whose topic was seeing spiders and freaking out. Ain't nobody gonna one-up ME when it comes to seeing vermin and the accompanying freak out, my friend!

I lived for two years in a house in Austin, TX affectionately called "The Bug House." Every one of you who has known me since those times (or lived with me in that lovely abode) is smiling and remembering ALL of the stories of ALL of the bugs I lived through. There was the time that I saw a couple of big black ants (with wings, no less) on the kitchen cabinets. White kitchen cabinets that went all the way up to the very dark wood 10-ft ceiling. My very favorite way to kill bugs is to spray them with wasp spray (20-foot spray, so I don't have to get close) until they stop moving, and then put a cup over them to await divine boyfriend's visit. (This is when divine hubby was divine boyfriend, obviously.) When I sprayed wasp spray on these yucky ants, I got some on the ceiling. Apparently, the dark ceiling was hiding the yucky ants' families and friends, as I unleashed an Exorcist-level swarm down my lovely white cabinets and onto my countertop. I slept in my car for a few days.

But, my very favorite (and trust me, I could go on for days) is the very last one. All of my roomies had left town and it was up to me to do the final walk through and clean of the house before the lucky new tenants could move in. I walked into the house and automatically reached for the light switch and turned it on. The lights came on. I was not happy about that, as the electricity was supposed to be off by then, but I realized that if the power was still on, maybe the water was still on too. AND I had to go!

So, I went into the bathroom.

I noticed the lid was down on the toilet, but honestly didn't think much of it at the time.

I raised said lid.

I noticed the water was very dark brown and felt slightly disgusted.

Yes, all of this happened in slow motion...

I raised the lid all the way up and realized that there was something in the toilet with the brown water.

I realized it had eyes and a furry head.

I realized it was standing on the bottom of the toilet bowl and its head and feet (shudder) were above the brown water.

I screamed, dropped the lid, ran out of the house and drove like mad to divine boyfriend's house with a MAJOR case of the heebie-jeebies (no cell phones, ya know)!

Divine boyfriend went with me back to the house (can you believe I went back??) and confirmed that there WAS, in fact, a large mammal in the toilet, but that it was NOT a rat as I had been screaming since he answered the door. It was a possum.

All I can say is that every time I think of this event, I thank God that the possum was dead when I raised that lid. If it had been alive and jumped out at me, I am sure I would STILL be curled up in the fetal position at some insane asylum. Can you IMAGINE?? Makes me shudder just to think about it.

Good times...

Friday, August 1, 2008

So now I'm a stalker...

Today, I was reading some random blogs at blogspot, and happened upon one by a woman who lives in (gasp) LAS VEGAS! :) AND, she has kids that look like they might be Chase's age. Are they morally-grounded? Time will tell.

Her blog was funny, intelligent and seemed like she felt strongly about family. SO, I commented on her most recent blog and told her a little about my story. And I've been running to the computer every, oh 10 seconds or so, to see if she has written me back, suggested a playdate, invited me to her book club, or asked if she can pop over with some freshly-baked blueberry muffins to chat.

I kinda feel like a stalker. I am putting myself in her shoes and wondering if I would consider her a stalker if the situation was reversed, and I've come to the conclusion that I don't think I would. Especially knowing just exactly how difficult this move has been for me. I think, knowing what I know, that I would be baking those blueberry muffins and packing the kids up for a day at her house even as we speak (no, dad, I did not give her my phone number, address or even my name...I know she could actually be a terrorist in Qatar somewhere), or at least writing her back to make sure SHE'S not some nutcase ready to steal my kids and sell them into slavery.

I got a new book - it's called After the Boxes are Unpacked: Moving on After Moving in and it has helped me a lot. It was written by a woman who moved 13 times in 10 years (not military either!!). Their last move was from Atlanta to Phoenix. She said even though they moved all of the time, it was always in the south, so there was at least some continuity in that. When they moved to Phoenix, she said she thought she was going to die. I CAN RELATE! Phoenix is one of the few places in the US that is hotter and more arid than Vegas. She said it took some time to get used to (I really wish people would stop saying that), but that she can honestly say she absolutely loves Phoenix now.

The book has been good for me - I keep having to look at the cover and make sure I didn't write it! She has made me cry more than once, but mostly she has made me think and realize I'm not the only person in the world who feels like I do. Apparently in any given summer, 20% of all people in the US move. I guess mostly, she has made me realize that this phase is just that, a phase. I'll look back on this as a very difficult but hopefully brief moment in time when I've settled into life here. I've been really surprised how much more difficult this move has been for me than the other 2 moves. I've been even more surprised to realize that I am the one who is suffering the most. Divine hubby and Chase seem very sanguine about the whole shebang. While I'm certainly better than I was a month ago, I can't quite say I'm anything like sanguine.

So, in my quest for adult companionship, I've ventured into the realm of stalker-dom. Shelly, if you're reading this, I hope you'll respond and I'll be the first to bring the muffins over.