Side Effects May Include…


As jammed as my days are, you might wonder how the house and yard stay maintained. Well, a lot of the time, they don’t! I’ve already had one neighbor comment on the dead grass :/ I can’t blame her – it does look bad and she’s newer to the area so never saw the dirt hillside I had when I bought the place.

Still, I do sometimes lean on the boys to help out.

This is not a worry free thing to do. I have to take into account the potential side effects of requesting help.
It’s either the delayed, exaggerated, dramatically done & MUST BE ACKNOWLEDGED efforts of the oldest. Or, it’s the eye rolling, utterly lazy, must be guided at every step “efforts” of the teen.
Oldest will eventually do an excellent job on his own once he gets around to starting. He will also make sure I see and hear him do it so that he can fish for the praise early & often.
Youngest will do a decent job once he stops grumbling. He will also follow instructions on how to do things (oldest does things his own way always). He doesn’t need follow up praise, but would rather we all just forget that he IS capable of helping :) Still, if he can half-ass a task & get away with it, he most certainly will!

Of course, I’m always relieved/happy at the end to have the chores done, no matter what grief I may have to experience to get there. But, there are days, when I do think twice or three times about it!

Merry Go Round



It’s a tree ornament AND a state of life!

Another old classic, though not as old as the mouse. This one has been around ever since we started using white lights in a tree – which I think is pretty much when my parents bought the first fake tree we owned and my mom and I perfected the art of “wrapping” the branches with over a 1000 lights. Yeah, really. It was pretty obnoxious – and very very bright!

This ornament is almost more entertaining in the daylight. What you do is remove one light from a strand and plug in the merry go round instead. And then, it spins. Hence the slight blurring of the black horse. The mirrored bottom and top accents reflect the lights all around it. But, when positioned properly on the side of the tree nearest a window that gets direct sunlight at certain points of the day…it also catches THAT reflection and then bounces light all around the surrounding wall.

Given that the ornament is at least 25+ years old, I am quite impressed that it is still going strong!

Me this week? Not so much :( Started out feeling a bounce back from the cold and other stuff on Monday & Tuesday. Even baked a batch of chocolate cookies to follow up on the first jello spritz batch. But then the whole car sharing with 27 got a little complicated this week and started weighing on me Wednesday. As did the news that my dad had chest pains and was in the hospital. That meant spending Thursday with my mom while we waited for those tests though still with lingering transportation issues covering 27’s work day. He got a ride into work at the last minute, but I still had to muddle through worse than ever evening traffic to pick him up after a long day of sitting around.

Thankfully my dad is OK. Nothing major to fix or surgery needed. Just some new medications he should take to help his heart work more efficiently. It’s not working at 100%, but after bypass surgery and at his age, they don’t expect it to do that. It’s a relief that nothing more invasive than the tests had to be done, that’s for sure!

But yeah, it was a long, out of sorts week and I was very happy to know that today I could have a ‘normal’ day and have my car the whole time.

Yes, I am a super independent control freak who needs to keep certain things in order so that I keep a grip on sanity. Sue me. It works :-)

Oct 23 – All My Children!


Day one of vacation was filled with many errands and accomplishments. There was also a final debate.

But none of that matters.

Because this happened:


Right to left: 16, 27 and 27’s older sister (same dad) and her adorable baby girl. While I have been keeping up with her through Facebook for awhile now, being able to see her in person has been a little more complicated. But in a rare moment in time not only could she stop by for a minute, but 16 was still here too so I could get a picture for 27 with his two siblings. And I have a photo of all my kids who I have parented at one time or another. She even got to say a quick hello to 16’s dad who came by at the same time to pick him up. At one point in all of our somewhat complicated lives, she lived with ex-dh and I for a summer. This was before 16 was born.

I swear I could stare at this picture all night long :-)

Party Pics!


Here’s my Facebook status from Sunday night:

“Collapsing into bed having managed to pull off a movie and bbq birthday celebration despite the grill master being out of commission. Thank gawd for substitute grilling experts (oh, it was just a *little* fire!) and super easy going friends and family and that last burst of energy (beer) that got me through a complete clean up inside and out. It was a total Triumph of the Single Parent day.” :-)

27 woke up sick on Saturday and it continued into Sunday. Having never worked a grill in my life I was a tad panicked. Then I remembered that one of 16’s (that’s gonna take awhile to write!) friends is also a grill master in training. So then the bigger issue was that I had agreed to drop off the boys to a movie and then pick them up after because I thought 27 would be able to help with shopping/cleaning/setup. Thankfully I cleaned on Saturday. But after dropping off the boys I had to then shop (improvising items along the way), fill up the propane tank and then prep and toss a whole chicken in the crock pot before heading back out to pick them up.

The substitute grill master in training had never done beef ribs before however, the sauce/seasoning that he threw together to coat them must have been good. The slight issue with the lack of beef rib experience is that he didn’t anticipate the amount of fat on the ribs. We also (oopsie) didn’t properly clean the grill from the prior meal cooked on it. So……there was a wee bit of a FIRE while the second batch was cooking. In front of the brand new fence (memo to self – pull the grill away from that a little more!) and some low hanging tree branches.

Oh, another memo to self (and anyone else in the vicinity): a garden hose provides a ready stream of water for dousing a fire. There is one just five feet away from the grill. Perhaps that would be faster than running inside to get the jug of drinking water? Sheesh!

Anyhoo – no harm (other than the crispy black ribs!) no foul and there was still plenty of food and great conversation – mostly directed by the teen boys and their tales of mis-adventure. The beer didn’t hurt :-)

Ribs before charring :->

Chowing down #1

Chowing Down #2

Attempting to hide the evidence of BBQ sauce all over his face….

Nope – can’t hide it kiddo!

Birthday BBQ crew.