Saturday, April 26, 2008

Sweet Sixteen

No, not hers, but she attended a friend's Sweet 16 party last night. Her birthday was about three weeks ago, although since we just got her the car over the weekend, it seems more like she actually had a 16th birthday now. On her actual birthday, there really wasn't much. There was some money, and lunch and shopping with my mom, per tradition. A homemade cake, and dinner at a restaurant. There was no party though. Am I a horrible mom for not throwing her a Sweet 16 party, or are our expectations just so overblown by stupid crap like My Super Sweet Sixteen (which should be illegal, in my opinion, it's so disgusting). It's not like she asked for a big party, or any party at all for that matter. I'm just feeling a bit guilty that there was no party. I mean, 16 is a big deal, right?

It's over now, and she did get a car that she's quite happy with, so I guess I should just let it go. Why is guilt such a big part of being a mom? You always wonder if you're not doing enough, or if you're doing too much. Am I doing it right, or am I getting it totally wrong? What is she really doing when she's "out with her friends?" I mean, you hope they're making good choices, but you never really know for sure. Everything seems this point, my 16 year-old and I are getting along wonderfully. I really enjoy her most of the time. So why is there always this nagging feeling? Am I the only one that drives myself crazy thinking of the ifs and the buts and the whats?

Oh, and I still say that 13 year-olds should be locked away from the rest of society. We should put them all together by themselves and just let them snot fight it out. The attitude...oh Lord, the attitude. This too shall pass, right? Right??

Here's Danni dressed up to go to her friend's party last night. I may be a tiny bit biased, but I think she looked beautiful.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The New Car

Presenting, our newest member of the family. A 1993 Dodge Intrepid. I just finished the last detail today, by getting it registered. Happily, we did stay under budget with the fix-ups, including the registration! We spent about $275, and the A/C now works perfectly. I have to say that Uncle Ken probably saved us about $2000 in labor, so thanks Ken!

I really like driving this...I wonder if Danni would trade and let me drive this and she can have my van? Yeah, probably not.

The interior looks nice, doesn't it? I was really surprised at what good condition it was in. We got lucky...found someone on Craig's List that was leaving the state, badly needed money and was desperate to unload the car.

Edited to Add, July 2008 - Yeah, badly needed money and wanted to unload a car that had a slight tendency to OVERHEAT. Like, if you were going more than 5 blocks, or if you had to sit at a red light, or if you dared to try and run the air-conditioner. Skeevy bastards. They knew about the problem too, because of the ungodly amounts of antifreeze with sealant that they used to try and fix a non-existant leak. I'm thanking God, again, that Ken is an electrician and loves Dodge cars. Because with a lot of his help, and not too much money, after a new water pump, new thermostat, new heat-sensor indicator thingy, a radiator and cooling system flush, and a serious bit of re-wiring....NOW the damn thing works. Phew. Caveat emptor, indeed.

My absolute favorite part of the car is something that Kylie discovered. We didn't even know about it when we bought it. Here is the back seat...

And here is the surprise fold-out child seat that's in the middle of the back seat! Kylie found this while she was just climbing around back there, the owner never even mentioned it! Did anyone know that these had even been thought of in 1993? I sure didn't! This solved a big problem for me, because I wanted Danni to be able to take Kylie around if I need her to, but she didn't want to have a car seat in her car. Kylie really still needs to be in a seat, because she's so small. Perfect solution!

I crack myself up sometimes. I've been using this car to run around during the day instead of my van. Hee!

Well, it's road-worthy and ready to go. I'm glad she's going to get practice driving it before she goes for her license. Also, my parents have offered to pay for a teen defensive driving clinic, which we will be signing her up for very soon.

In the meantime, I still get to drive the car. :)

Wordless Wednesday

Monday, April 21, 2008

Pictures From Shannon's Game Today

I took a few pictures at Shannon's game today. She plays for her jr high team, 7th grade.

Warming up to pitch before the game...

Hey, throw it back...I'm not gettin' any younger over here.

Yep, that's a good one. Good pitch, I mean. Yeah, the picture's decent too!

Pitching in the game. They brought her in the game with the bases loaded and no outs. Thanks coach! But no pressure.

Ok, that's a pretty damn good shot for a point and shoot digital camera.

Atta girl, Lefty!

And then she came up to bat...

And I really didn't see what happened, because I was taking pictures. I think she took a swing here. They lost the game though. Better luck next time Jags!

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Weekend Wrap-Up

Sunday at work again, woohoo. At least today, it's only a six-hour shift, and I'll be out of here at 2pm. Last weekend I was covering my shift plus someone else's.

While I'm sitting here, I thought I'd hit the highlights of the weekend and post some pictures. The biggest news is that Friday we got Danni a car. Yes, I know she doesn't have her license yet, but she is 16 and she'll be getting it soon. She's also looking for a job, and she's going to help pay for the car when she gets a job. I mean, the car is paid for, but she will be making small payments to us. Ok, in reality she will be making small payments to Mimi and Grandad, who loaned us the money (at 0% interest, thanks Mom and Dad!) to buy the car. Whew.

The nice thing about those loans from Mimi and Grandad is that there's not a real strict repayment schedule. We've got some stuff up on eBay right now that should cover at least half of it.

Anyway, we found a 1993 Dodge Intrepid on Craig's List for $1000. It only has 128,000 miles on it, and I say only because my van has half that many miles on it, and it's only 3 years old! So I'm thinking for a 15 year-old car, that's not too shabby. It's in really good shape, and just needed some minor work. Dad and Uncle Ken (who has owned only Dodge vehicles, God Bless America, and is somewhat of an expert on them) spent the day working on it yesterday. What they did sounded like this to me: Blah blah gasket cover blah blah small leak blah blah blah brake pads, yada yada oil change blah blah blah blah freon charge. I'm not too car savvy, obviously. We also bought her a stereo for the car, because at some point the stereo was stolen out of this car. We knew that before we bought it, though.

We have a $300 budget for fixing the car up, and we're still under that. Uncle Ken is coming back over today to install the stereo and run an electronic diagnostic. (?) It was awfully nice of Steve's sister to marry an electrician/mechanic who likes to do things like this, wasn't it? We just buy him lunch and call it good. The car is white with a light gray interior. No pictures yet, but soon, I'm sure. I'm going to wait until it's all spiffied up and clean, and then take a picture of my daughter next to her lovely new instrument of death car. I'm going to the DMV to register it tomorrow. Hopefully I can get that done in the three-hour window that Kylie is in preschool in the morning. Am I being overly optimistic that I can do that in under three hours? I'll probably want to take a book along.

A wonderful co-worker of mine pointed out to me that the word "intrepid" means: "Characterized by resolute fearlessness, fortitude, and endurance." Fabulous. Just what a brand new driver needs is resolute fearlessness. Thanks, buddy.

On Saturday, while Dad and Uncle Ken were working on the car, I took my littlest punk (yeah, I totally stole that from Pioneer Woman) to her roller-skating class. When we got her the roller blades for Christmas, I signed her up for some skating classes at a place that is literally right across the street from our neighborhood. $20 for four lessons, not bad, right? Well, I signed up for the four lessons back in January. They just give you a punch card, and mark it off each time you go. Yesterday we just took the fourth lesson, so obviously we didn't quite make it every week. Actually, it was more like once a month. That's ok, because she's really getting the hang of it now. She's skating more than she's falling, so I think that's good. I took some pictures yesterday:

Before you skate, you have to stretch. As you can see, this is an all-ages beginners class. The people in the class range from about 3 years old to adults. Watching adults try to learn to skate is kind funny. Is that mean?

See, she's totally getting it! Well, all except that part about looking up and not looking at your feet.

Lots of concentration here...I hope that's what it is, anyway.

Clearly, this picture is blurry because of the velocity at which she is moving. It has nothing to do with my substandard photography equipment or my skills as a photographer. No, she was just going really fast.

After the lesson is over, they all get to go out to the middle of the skating floor and do the Hokey Pokey. On skates.

Here we go...
"You put your left elbow in, you put your left elbow out,
You put your left elbow in, and you shake it all about,
You do the Hokey Pokey and you turn yourself around..."

Oops...still gotta work on that turning around thing...

"That's what it's all about!"

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Working a 12-Hour Shift On a Sunday

I've been here in this cubicle since 8am. Well, mostly in this cubicle. I've been to the restroom down the hall several times, and to the kitchen a couple of times. But mostly I've been right here at the desk.

It's 4:45pm. After almost 9 hours alone in an office, your mind can start to wander. A bit.

4:45pm - The air-conditioner sure does make a strange noise down there. Wow, I'm so glad there's air-conditioning. Mostly I take a/c for granted, but there was this one time when we first moved into this office a couple of years ago that the a/c was out one weekend while they were doing some wiring. It only got up to about 95 degrees in here, no biggie. Cuz it was 110 outside. I think I nearly died.

4:47pm - I wonder if anyone on my blogroll has updated. No? Wow, because it's been like 35 minutes since I checked last. Why yes, I do know what Google reader is. Why don't I use it? Um...I have no idea. I should probably look into that.

4:48pm - *BUZZ* What the hell was that? Oh, it's the phone...
"Customer Support, this is Shelley..." work work work, blah blah blah.

4:55pm - Hmmm, I should probably check the customer support inbox. Nope, nothing there. You mean people don't sit around emailing customer support on Sundays? Huh.

4:56pm - Going back to Pioneer Woman's blog. That chicken spaghetti sure does look tasty. Gonna try making that this week. *adding onions to the grocery list* That woman makes some yummy-looking food. I wonder why she doesn't weigh 400 lbs? She's totally normal weight-looking, and she cooks all that awesome food. I want to start calling my kids "punks." Would everyone call me a copycat if I did?

4:59pm - Ohh, I should check my own email. Haven't done that for at least 15 minutes. Oh hey, someone finally commented on that video of Kylie whacking herself in the head and laughing. Hi Kirsten!

5:00pm - I wonder what my family is doing. I work a 12-hour shift, and no one even calls me. They were going to make homemade pizza for dinner. Wonder if that will get done? Wonder if Kylie is driving everyone nuts? I wonder what time Danni finally got out of bed?

5:02pm - Tried to call home, got no answer. Tried Steve's cell phone. Apparently he took D over to Pizza Place to drop off a job application, then she wants to go to Payless. Oh, she has her own money still? Ok, then. The shoe gene must be recessive. It didn't show up in me, but I guess I must have passed it along. Come to think of it, that holds true for the shopping gene, the makeup gene, and the clothes gene too. Maybe all that stuff is grouped together on one gene. And don't tell me it's on the second "X" chromosome either. I am female. I think. Three babies came out of me, anyway. On the other hand, that may no longer be a defining factor.

5:07pm - I should check the CVS ad again, to make sure there's nothing I missed. Nope, there's really nothing this week, unless you use Benefiber or Gas X. Hmmm. Maybe we should use Gas X. Hey, Walgreen's has Crest for $1.50 this week, and I have $1 coupons. 50 cent tubes of Crest, yay.

5:08pm - I'm really kind of lame.

5:08:30 - Hey, I just remembered that I was in the middle of watching Kite Runner on a movie/tv link website. The audio was lagging behind the video though, and it was getting annoying. Perhaps that's why I forgot I was watching it.

5:11pm - Hey, a new email! Oh...spam.

5:15pm - Ooooo, new post on one of my favorite blogs. These two chicks crack me up.

5:20pm - Have you ever thought about walking around to other people's cubicles and just say...moving one thing on their desk, just to see if they'd notice? No, I haven't either.

5:23pm - Hey, I wonder if Manic Mommy has posted anything new? Nah, she's still upset about her boyfriend, Michael Johns.

5:24pm - We had our bowling league last night. Steve and I bowl with another couple that we are friends with. We bowl every other Saturday. You know, because every Saturday would just be too taxing. My games were 186, 183, and 195. Yeah, I'm a decent bowler, for a girl. Just one of my many two talents.

5:28pm - Wow, I just killed a whole 45 minutes with my random ramblings. If I did that a few more times, it'd be time to go home. Don't worry though...I wouldn't do that to ya.

Edited to add: Look at the time stamp, it says I posted at 4:43pm. That's dumb. That's not when I posted the entry, that's when I started writing it. Why doesn't the post time say the time you actually posted? Weird.

Saturday, April 12, 2008


This morning Kylie was smacking herself in the head with a Curious George DVD box. I have no idea why she does this, but I think it might be Monty Python-related. Anyway, I was laughing, and then Danni says,

"Hey Mom, I have a whole video of Kylie smacking herself, want to see it?"


Turns out the video is on her cell phone, so it's kind of dark and the quality is poor, but it still makes me laugh like crazy. Make sure you have your sound on...

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

My Baby Is No Longer A Baby

My baby turned 16 today. Here's a picture of her when she actually was a baby:

I think she was about three weeks old here. I still can't believe it's her, born with all that dark hair. It didn't last long...that baby hair fell out, and she was a blond toddler. Please forgive the picture quality...back in 1992, we didn't have all this new-fangled digital technology. In fact, I don't have a scanner, so I took a picture of a picture with my digital camera. Look at me...24 years old, and scared to death. I look like I'm thinking, "Ok, what the hell do I do now?" And I pretty much was.

Fast forward 16 years, and we have this:

And I do mean fast. Unbelieveably fast.

I'm not freaked out about the driving thing anymore. She does pretty well, and because we waited until Christmas break to get her permit, she's not eligible to get her license until May 21st. Which is gives us a little longer to figure out how we're going to find something for her to drive. Because really...what's the point of a third driver if there's no third car? How is that helpful to me? And we all know, this is all about me. :)

I know I should be happy, and I am...for her. It's such an exciting time, to be 16, a little newfound freedom. Suddenly, today, the city curfew of 10pm for those under 16 no longer applies to her. As soon as softball is over, she wants to get a job. At 16, a lot more possibilites have opened up for that. She won't have to settle for scooping ice cream at a Mom and Pop shop, like she did last summer.

While I'm happy for her, I'm also sad. I didn't think it would hit me this hard. That she's almost grown up. She's such a good kid. Involved at, softball, flagline, friends. We had our rough moments when she was 13/14, but she's morphed into this young woman that I really like. She's witty, smart, sarcastic, impatient, independent, strong and outspoken. We've made it to 16 with no major problems. I am so lucky to have her as my daughter. I love this kid so much, and I am so very proud of her.

Happy Birthday, baby.

Saturday, April 5, 2008

I'm Off The Hook!

As instructed, I called the phone number on my jury summons today. Listened to the instructions, punched in my juror number, and waited. The mysterious court phone voice said,

"There is no jury service scheduled for the dates of April 7th through April 11th. You are not required to report or call again. This concludes your service. Thank you."

! I was supposed to be on call for the whole week, so what I expected was for the voice to tell me that I didn't have to report on Monday, but that I needed to call on Monday after a specific time to see if I had to report Tuesday, and so on. But no, one call and I'm done. Thank GOD.

Now maybe I'll have time to read and catch up on friends' blogs, on which I am so very far behind.

In other news, we went out for Danni's birthday tonight. Her birthday isn't actually until Tuesday, but since I work evenings during the week, we decided to celebrate tonight. We went to Dos Gringos, and the food was great! Danni got a dessert called Muerta Por Chocolate (Death by Chocolate) that was served in a chocolate tortilla shell, filled with mini chocolate chimis that were filled with...chocolate, of course, surrounded by chocolate ice cream and whipped cream. I can't believe I didn't think to take a picture of it. It took all four of us to eat it (Kylie just had her little scoop of vanilla), but finish it we did. YUM.

This dinner was significant for me. Not only is my baby turning 16 on Tuesday (SNIFF!), but this is the first time that I can remember that all five of us went out to a restaurant, and I actually enjoyed myself. Everyone (read: Kylie) actually behaved themselves! It was a fun, relaxing, yummy meal. Even Kylie said, "Mommy, that was the best dinner ever!" I had to agree.

Finally, at the age of 5 1/2, we can take her to a restaurant without me getting furious? Finally? It's about stinking time.

Here's a huge change from earlier in the day, when Shannon was having one of those adolescent-snotty-attitude kind of afternoons. It's amazing how taking her cell phone away brings about an attitude adjustment right quick. I kind of love having that little weapon in my arsenal.

I couldn't get a good picture of Danni, but I'll wait until Tuesday for that. I can't believe she's turning 16. It's gone by so quickly.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

I Am Totally Not Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader

So, anyone that knows me knows that I think I'm kind

I'm sitting here at work, doing absolutely nothing, so I have the TV on. ( I know, you wish you had my job.) Anyway, there's nothing good on (Lost, how I miss thee!), so I'm watching Are You Smarter Than a Fifth-Grader. And since I'm totally smarter than a fifth-grader, this show just perpetuates my "I'm smart" thinking.

Question: "True or False - Christopher Columbus was born in Spain."

Ha! I know this. Chris took off on his famous voyage from Spain, but he was born in Italy. One of the kids showed her answer, and she said true. And the answer is...False! Columbus was born in Italy. I am totally smarter than that 10 year-old girl. Take that, kid, and your Hello Kitty purse, too!

Next Question: "According to the U.S. Constitution, what is the maximum number of consecutive years that a person can serve as President?"

Ok, that's too easy, has to be a trick question. The answer is clearly eight. Two terms, four years each...after FDR, there was this amendment, limiting the president to two terms. Hmmm...are the amendments part of the Constitution? Yes, of course they are. Well, this is fourth-grade social studies, so maybe the answer is just eight. The contestant seems pretty sure of himself, so we're locking in - the answer is eight.

Except it's not. The answer, it seems, is ten. If the vice-president has to take over for the president, he or she can still run for the next two terms, provided the time that he or she served finishing out the previous president's term did not exceed two years. Huh. Seems like I should have known that, except I didn't even think of it.

The best part? All four of the kids in the class got it right. Oh yeah, go me! Me and my stunning intellect. *slinks away*

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

More Softball and ... Jury Duty?

Danni was pitching yesterday and got hit in the shin with a ball hit directly back at her. Great, another bruise for her collection. At this rate, that girl's going to be more black and blue than anything else.

In happier news, Shannon made her jr high 7th grade softball team! Not only did she make it, but it looks like she is going to be their #1 pitcher. We bought her a mouth guard yesterday, so she might get bruised, but at least she'll keep her teeth. Always look on the bright side, I say.

Well, except for this: I've been called for jury duty. Again. A little background explanation is in order. About a year and a half ago, I got called for jury duty for U.S. District Court, and my lovely letter said I would be on-call for a month. I had to call at the beginning of each week to see if I needed to report that week.

A while later, I got another letter that said that I had been specifically chosen for a jury pool for some certain trial that was going to begin in October and last for about 5 months. Yes, FIVE months. It gave me a date to report.

I reported on that date, and there were 127 people in my group. I remember this, because when they started handing out numbers, I was number 27. Fantastic. So we were led into a courtroom, and they sat numbers 1-45, the first 16 in the jury box, then 17-45 in the spectator seats. The rest of the people stood in the back or sat on the other side. So remember, I'm number 27.

The judge came out, introduced herself, then introduced the prosecuting team. Anytime she introduced people, you were supposed to raise your hand if you knew any of the people. No one knows any of the attorneys? Fine, moving along.

Then she introduces the FIVE different defendants and their respective legal teams. You see, this was a tax fraud case, and apparently these people were all indicted. Tax fraud. Good Lord, could anything be more boring? Not even a good murder case? Sheesh. Ok, anyone know any of the defendants or their lawyers? No? Ok, moving on.

Now this is the fun part. The judge starts reading a list of possible witnesses. Like four pages worth of names. Some of the names are like, John Smith. Well hell, almost everyone knows a John Smith. I'm only half listening, but one of the names, Phil Lyon*, catches my attention. I know that name.

She gets done reading the list, and then we start with the laborious process of, "Hey, I know a John Smith." They would then ask what the person did for a living, and the person would say something like, "He's a construction worker." The judge would then ask the prosecutor what this particular John Smith did for a living, and the attorney would say "John Smith is a bank president," or some such thing. Ok, not the same guy, you can sit down. Next!

So they get to the lady two seats ahead of me, number 25. She says she knows a Wendy Turner*. Judge asks how she knows her. Number 25 says she worked with her at Local Electric Company. Turns out it's the same lady. So they start asking her a lot of questions. Did you work in the same department, how well did you know her, how long did you work with her, did you consider her a friend, blah blah blah. They finally finish with their questions and tell her she can sit down.

Then they come to me. I stand up and tell them that a man named Phil Lyon owns the company through which we rent our house, so he's my landlord. He's actually a pretty well-known name in real estate in my city. Judge asks the prosecutor what Phil Lyon does for a living. Prosecutor says yes, Phil Lyon is in real estate, he does new homes as well as rentals. Judge says I can sit. No grilling, no questions, nada.

They get through the rest of the first 45 people, then all legal teams approach the bench to discuss. When they are finished with their little confab, the judge says,

"Numbers 25 and 27, you are excused. Thank you for your service."

The other lady and I stand up, pick up our stuff and quickly leave the courtroom. Once we're outside, we both look at each other and go, "YES!" Heh.

Which brings me to today. Since I never actually served on a jury, even though it's been less than two years, I was called for U.S. District Court (federal) again. However, this time I'm on call for one week, beginning Monday April 7th. I have to call on Saturday to see if I'm supposed to report Monday or not. Then if I don't have to go Monday, I guess I call later on Monday to see if I go on Tuesday. Rinse, repeat. *sigh*

The thing that irks me, is that since I've been married, which is over 16 years now, this is like the 5th time I've been called. My husband? NOT ONCE. Never. He told me that's why he doesn't register to vote, because that's where they get the names. I didn't believe that, so I did a Google search, and it turns out in Arizona they use voter registration AND driver's licenses or state-issued ID cards. Ha. So it's not even that I'm a good citizen and registered voter, it's just that they must really like me a lot. Either that, or totally random bad luck. I'm going with the theory that they really like me.

Oh well, maybe it will be like traffic school, and at least I'll get a good story out of it. Or maybe I'll call each day and never have to go. I'm kind of hoping for that. But I'm not really counting on it.

*Names changed to protect the allegedly innocent.