Friday, December 26, 2008

The Evil Weatherman And How He Corrupts

We had a nice Christmas. A real, nice, Christmas. All the family was home too. Though not for long.

We are petitioning the general public to actively pursue the opportunity to sue the Weatherman. Yes, the evil, lying, deceiving Weatherman. HE wrecked what could've been a perfect Christmas. He corrupted our celebration. Our family time. He left a dark shadow on what was supposed to be a perfect evening.

See, we had certain family members that had to travel the day after Christmas. The Weatherman (like the devil) wanted to interfere in our goodness in life and in the blessing of family and in the close togetherness that Christmas is intended to produce. He was like Santa Clause -- you know how Santa distracts from the real meaning of Christmas? Well, the Weatherman did that as well.

He slammed the weather site that certain family members visited with an evil scary looking weather alert. Snow, ice, rain, cold, etc. Pretty much everything but a tornado. Although, had it been summertime he probably would've used a tornado warning instead.

So, he alerts the area with a Winter Storm Advisory all the way from our house to the front door of the home the certain family members needed to get to, 3 1/2 hours away. As if that wasn't a sign right there. I mean, how often does weather effect the ENTIRE width of one state? Not often. Unless the Weatherman is up to his evil deeds in twisting his tactics into a close family's Christmas.

Instead of saying goodbye the day after Christmas, we said goodbye to the certain family members the day OF Christmas. How sad. Christmas is not the time to say goodbyes. Especially not to one family member we won't see until after his tour to Iraq for a whole year. We bid them a Merry Christmas and watched a few flakes of snow fall from the sky.

The Weatherman was happy. He had deceived us thoroughly. But, the snow and ice and rain and cold only lasted long enough until right after they left. evil Weatherman.

Anyway, not to complain after having such a sweet Christmas but seriously, if it's not the devil, it's the Weatherman. The evil, conspiring, jealous Weatherman.

I hope you all had a Merry Christmas (unless you're the evil Weatherman) and are looking forward to a New Year ahead. Oh and in case you're wondering, we're not just dreaming about a white Christmas; we are walking in a winter wonderland around here.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

On Jogging Babies, A Pregnant Cat and Christmastime

I really should not be blogging. My kids are sleeping, the house is quiet, the phone is not ringing and the sun is shining. This is a bad time for blogging: I really should be doing laundry. Or cleaning. Or packing. Or something productive.

But, since the Christmas season is heavily upon us (though our home has been decluttered of Christmas decor as of last Saturday), I assumed I should do my best to create a festive ado to the old year and prepare with diligence for the new year. At least on my blog.

Christmas season is over at our house because 1) we celebrated it twice already here and 2) we will be gone the entire Christmas week while celebrating with family else where. So, not to give myself more to get done in the New Year, I put all our stuff away already. It seems strange to plan for Christmas but yet already have the stockings taken down, the candles put away and the trees undecorated.

We are in the midst of the FUN part of our basement remodel. Janae's room has been heavily decorated with flowers, butterflies and clouds and has caused a spirit of covetousness in her older brother's heart. He really wants pink and purple and yellow flowers and butterflies in his room. If he only knew what was in store for his new room, he'd not waste time on frivolous matters of dreaming of butterflies. (hint: it involves a train.)

Alex has evolved into a creature of insanity and impulsive, irreparable cranial discoveries unbelievable climbing performance. If it's above the floor, out of his reach and right where he wants to go, he'll get there. No matter how high. He has sustained a goodly amount of cuts, bumps and bruises and even some possible spine misalignment. But, all that to say that his favorite place to go for a jog is around and around the top of the dining room table. While I make supper.

I am secretly coveting cultures where the family sits on the floor while they eat -- a table is unheard of. Oh, and the people that eat with their fingers... my kids would feel right at home. Just think of the ease life would be. That whole dining-room-table-less-culture means I could seriously cook supper without rescuing my baby off the top of the table 5 times while I attempt to put whipped topping on the dessert. (not that it's ever happened or anything...)

Janae is doing well. She is convinced the real name for Christmas is "April 5th" since that is her birthday. This gift giving and celebration with family and friends is all too confusing and synonymous with her birthday. We have told the Christmas story several times to the kids and never took time to mention that Jesus was probably born in April or March, according to history. Nonetheless, Janae calls it April 5th and maybe someday she'll realize that Christmas and Birthdays are two very different holidays, even though her and Jesus just might share the same birthday. The bundle of energy, giggles and tears that Janae is continues to prove over and over that she is definitely all girl.

Landon. He's a boy. He shovels snow. And shovels snow. And shovels snow. Then, he comes inside with his new shovel and washes it in the sink to get all the dirty snow and mud off. Every time too. Weird kid. I wish he was as particular about his room. The Christmas story has him perplexed: "Why did that lady have her baby in a barn?" Makes me realize that the "Christmas story" really was more than just a story; it was reality for that lonely baby and his rejected mother. Do we really understand the Christmas story the way a child can???

Toby is well. All the teeth left in his head from the last dentist assignment appointment are also well. When it rains it pours so we are happily supporting the financial fund for our dentist. A pocket of infection left Toby looking like half a chipmunk on his face but he endured it happily and painted the kids' new rooms while healing from the ordeal his teeth gave him for 3 days. Since then, he's been enjoying life at home since our subzero weather has shut most construction workers up for awhile. Bookwork and remodeling keep him busy and when he gets ornery, he'll just come upstairs and shoot rubber bands at his wife or make fun of the way she complains about her sore knee.

Rasputia (our cat) is about to give birth at pretty much any given moment. We are hoping she waits until after Christmas so we can be home to enjoy the new kittens and watch with amazement at the wonderment of our house becoming infested with cats.

We built a redneck-looking-hay-igloo outside for the dog. Any of you wondering about how she's fairing in this subzero weather, don't worry. The only thing she lacks is a kerosene heater and Christmas lights around her "house." But we thought that would be more dangerous than helpful so she just gets food and water everyday.

Oh and the guinea pig is still out on her foreign exchange student trip. She is residing for part of the school year at a local grade 6-12 school house. We are enjoying not having guinea pig poop to sweep up but think when she comes home, she'll like the basement better than when she left. The added cats to our home will also help in making her feel comfortable here as well.

As for me, I'm really supposed to be doing laundry, packing and getting ready for the trip. I'm trying to size down the number of items we bring take (properly expressed grammer) but since Wisconsin has so much more cold and so much more snow and so much more ice than we do, it's hard to eliminate layers when you really should be adding more. Not to mention all the gifts and items that we usually haul up there.

While I get back to my day here and make a better mess of the pile of laundry and junk waiting to be packed, I hope you all have a very, Merry Christmas!

Friday, December 12, 2008

When Life Dictates Your Blog

So I haven't posted in a week and a half. I know. You try raising 3 kids during the Christmas season and keeping up on laundry while you remodel your basement at the same time and then let me know how much time you have for blogging.

Seriously though, in all factual honesty, the basement has little to do with my life right now. Except for the pile of paint samples sitting in the van I mean hanging in a Menards bag actually they're now stacked on the piano bench oh, I guess they're on the table. (My kids keep moving them around, in case you couldn't tell.)

The phase of work we're on right now with our basement has been hired out to a professional. Judging by the "technique" my husband, Mr. Roofer, naturally has for mudding and taping, our drywall would've ended up looking like something between stucco and a earth quake survival test. So, we changed our budget to accommodate a more professional wall finish and skipped the kitchen remodel altogether. For now.

And that's fine with me actually because the kitchen was supposed to be remodeled a year ago so if I can wait all this time and still be content, who cares if it's another 10 years before the kitchen gets a little extra counter space? If we can have a basement finished in the meantime, I'll take that offer gladly, Mr. Roofer. Anything is better than nothing.

Oh, and not to expound on all the exciting details of my life, Mr. Drywall-guy guarantees that he'll have the mudding and taping and sanding done in four days. That's FOUR literal, 24 hour days. I seriously can NOT believe that.

Mr. Drywall assured me he was not that impressive. He said that if he tried roofing his house, it would take a whole year. I know a Mr. Roofer who could probably get it done in a day. So yeah. Mr. Drywall really isn't as good as I thought in the first place... or so I say in order to not become delusional into thinking that he must work magic in order to complete a drywall job in 4 days.

Honestly folks, do you know how long Mr. Roofer would've ended up taking drywalling our basement because his method is so much more lengthy? Yeah. We won't even go there right now.

Not to change topics or anything but since a mighty eighteen-month-old is playing catch with me and seeming to soundly hit my computer with everything he tosses at me, I'm going to have to rapidly move on to other topics in order to actually finish this post tonight before my computer screen becomes punctured by flying objects being hurled in the air by a fat baby and then my computer will have to go back to Best Buy where the Geek Squad will take 3 months in order to finally write on our repair list that the screen on this computer was punctured but is now fixed.

They say honesty is the best policy so I'm shooting for the best policy right now and going to be blunt and straight to the point: I have not felt like blogging. at. all. How's that for an excuse?

Let's just say that nothing in my life or brain have been conducive for a mentally sound blog post. I am not a mental person at least I don't want you to think I am and I know that's hard to believe but I do know when and how to keep my mouth shut. Seriously, I do. Just look at the history of posts on this blog in the last week.

And if I had blogged, it would've been chaotic too. Kinda like the football that keeps hitting my arm as I type right now. (It's that eighteen-month-old harassing me again.)

So, as I focus on the Christmas season and the reality that my offspring have woken up to the wonders this season brings, I am reminded at the brevity of life. (And a small plastic plate is hurled up at the computer while I try to re-live the Christmas spirit. I love that eighteen-month old.)

To think that for only a few more short years, my kids will understand Christmas the way they do now. The wonder of a baby born in a barn. The irony that angels came to earth. The mystery of the wise men riding "wumps" to see the baby Jesus. (Thank you Dr. Suess for permanently altering my child's ability to recognize a camel.)

As I hurl the football into the other room in order to give me a few lines of peace and quiet while that eighteen-month-old runs for the ball, I am gathering my thoughts quickly in order to remember where my train of thought was originally headed.

Bummer. The football wasn't as interesting as the foam dry eraser he has now decided to entertain my life with. The bad thing about that is no matter how hard I throw this little piece of foam, it doesn't go nearly as far as that football did. So basically, he picks it up and throws it back and pants and squeals in anticipation for me to throw it back to him.

Before I put my arm out of socket from wildly swinging futilely throwing a small foam object 27" from my foot, I should just say that with all due respect, I am not dead, dying, sick or gone. I am just not in a blogging mood. Actually, I was sick and even went to the doctor but that probably has something to do with the fact that when I merely enter the bathroom, my children's small world falls apart. Literally, I shut the door and it seems like the Gestapo is beating down the door demanding to enter the premises in order to search for illegal documents in the bathroom. And all I'm doing is trying to... oh, never mind.

So, I avoid that tiny cubicle like the plague since it tends to cause my children to re-in act Gestapo raids catastrophe where civilization inhabits. Did you know that not going to the bathroom when you need to, you know, go will actually make your UTI worse? Yeah, it's a proven fact. But, some people seem to forget that.

Maybe I am mental?

Monday, December 01, 2008

Random Trip Update

It's that day-after-trip-day. Everything is in limbo.

The kids are napping off schedule which is never fun. The baby got up just before the older kids laid down. The baby was fussy so went back to bed when the older kids laid down. The oldest kid is now singing in his bed. The middle kid is sleeping (I think) and the youngest kid is playing (I think) or else sleeping. Oops, now he's crying.

Grandma is in town for 10 days.

Suitcases sit in a stack in the dining room but hey, at least they're empty.

Supper needs to be made.

Everyone is tired.

Daddy is working in the frigid cold.

But, we had a wonderful time in Colorado and enjoyed every minute. Being with friends, mountains and food all at the same time was an experience beyond what Nebraska has -- I mean, those mountains really make the experience monumental. Just kidding.

Seriously, I was reminded again that having a good time is not contingent on surroundings or familiarity; it's on God's love being shared mutually by friends. And we definitely had that. It was a very encouraging trip and the fun and blessings we had couldn't have been any greater.

It was fun to be at the place where "it" all began. And by "it" I mean our relationship. A lot of things have changed in 6 years and "it" definitely has changed since then. Adding 3 kids and lots of love is a sure way to change "it" in 6 years time. Instead of saying, "It sure was nice to meet you," as Toby walked away from the table that fateful sweet day, he sits at the table that I serve everyday now. We both think that's nice.

The front step of the Church also has sweet memories. That was the place I made the decision to follow Christ. The place I made the first stake in my walk with God. I was glad to see that with all that's changed in 8 years, that step hasn't changed at all. It was a stark reminder to me that just like my heart has stayed in close communion with God, that step still sits rooted, and grounded into the entrance of the Church. For some reason I found the similarity profound.

Our traveling was uneventful, which we were thankful for. We heard of several friends and family members traveling yesterday that were stranded in motels because of weather. We were fortunate to travel safely and quickly... except for all the tumbleweeds that hit our van. Thankfully, they don't do much damage except make your vehicle look like you drove through a dried flower factory.

We were glad to come home and know our dear Grandma was coming into town on a brief visit. The kids were sad to leave Colorado but when we told them Grandma would be in Nebraska, they readily got in the van. I'm sure we'll have several fun days ahead until she heads back to her home in a couple weeks.

Now to get back into the swing of things, enjoy some family time, gear up for our Wisconsin Christmas Trip in a few weeks and settle into December weather.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

The Tale of the Grapes and Trucks

My kids are starting a raisin factory. And it's all my fault. Here is what you can do to insure that you never have this happen at your home:

Do not serve grapes at the same time that you give your kids small semi trucks and trailers.

You don't think that would happen at your house? Don't fool yourself: I thought the same thing until it happened to me. You know, it's one of those things that you think always happens to the other guy. And then it happens to you and you understand at last what it feels like to be the "other guy."

One delightful day, I found two of the cutest little matchbox semi trucks at a thrift store. I decided to buy them and use them as a prize for the kids.

After helping and obeying cheerfully while preparing for supper and picking up the house, I set the little trucks next to the kids' plates. Within inches of their plates sat a bowl of juicy, purple grapes.

Landon and Janae both were tickled pink: the trucks were a big hit. So were the grapes -- my kids LOVE grapes and we seem to rarely have them.

Unfortunately, over the next few days, the semi trailers were opened and the contents were revealed. Each trailer could fit about 3-4 grapes comfortably but I can imagine that if the grape paid well, they could fit close to 9 or 10 fugitive refugee grapes.

These foreign little grapes were then trucked all over the house and examined and ate at random times in random places. The rest of the grapes... well, I have yet to find those.

The funny thing is: my kids have always disliked raisins. Why they embarked on their own entrepreneur raisin factory, is beyond me.

The moral of the story: do a content check on all small vehicles, all closed compartments and tally all food coming into your home. And never say, "that couldn't happen to me."

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Keeping Perspective on Motherhood

So much of my day, my life, my world, revolves around mundane busy-ness. Like unfinished laundry, messy house, smelly messes, naughty kids, tiredness, unfinished projects, etc.

But, when I think about the family who's blog I visited that had just lost their second child a few months ago and are now close to losing their first daughter due to pregnancy complications, I really don't have it bad. I mean, I'm living the dream that expecting mom has: to be a busy wife and happy mother of children.

I read stories about families who have genetic problems. All their future children are at a high risk of developing health problems that will likely not allow them to survive infancy. I know that mom would give anything to have toys strewn all over her house, thanks to the fact that she has a house full of healthy children. Instead, she brings flowers to a grave while I bring a hungry baby to a high chair.

What about the mom just down the street that lost her son a couple months ago to a tragic car accident? She worked hard to bring him through infancy and then childhood and he was just working on getting his driver's license. Now he's dead. She would give anything to have extra laundry, a full school schedule and the opportunity to wrap her entire existence around her boy. But, it's over because he's gone.

Does it really matter that I have a never ending pile of laundry? That my house never stays clean? That I no longer get one meal done and it's time to plan another? That I have lists of shopping to do but no way to get out of the house because of my kids? No. It doesn't matter. As long as I keep my perspective and remember that I will experience this season in my life and my children's lives for a very short time.

And then it'll be over and I'd give all the world to have them little again. To have that messy house again. To wash the dirty jeans of that kid who was told to stay out of the mud. To wash the sticky face of the girl that was told to stay out of the candy. To vacuum handfuls of cracker crumbs from the van. To comfort that wailing baby. I'll wonder how I ever lost perspective while living the life I always dreamed of living.

But, it's not over. I am living that life. And I'm going to enjoy the reality of each one of those dreams. Crumbs, mud and tears will never daunt me. They are only the dross of the gold hidden deep within each one of the children I call my own.

And those are little things compared to the reality of the dream I'm living called, motherhood. When I look back in time, I don't want to see the distractions of life; I want to see a happy child, a joyful mom and a loving home. Yet in the busy-ness of life, I never want to lose focus on the fact that we're making those memories today.

"Time doth softly sweetly glide, when there's love at home!"

Sunday, November 23, 2008

An Engaging Story

Once again, it is that time of year. Our engagement anniversary is tomorrow and since I tend to be a remember-significant-dates type of person, tomorrow is a significant date I remember.

A couple years ago, I collected our thoughts and "story" here. Since it all has stayed the same, I guess I figured utilizing the hyperlink system on blogger is probably the most efficient. Plus, none of those details have changed. Our story is timeless, of course.

Adding to the nostalgia this time of year brings, we just happen to be heading (for Thankgiving) to the place where we met. Loveland, Colorado is definitely the place to be when you fall in love.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Questions I Should Probaby Only Ask My Therapist

Please take notes while reading the following post. I need all the advice I can get.

I understand that children typically survive childhood but do their moms survive it too?

How do moms with more than one child learn how to take individual time with just one child at a time and not cause sibling rivalry?

Sometimes, we have a girls go with girls policy and a boys go with boys (just ask Janae). But, doing a little bit of mixing takes creativity and effort that sometimes is lost and forgotten in the shuffle of car seats, diaper bags, potty stops and crying. How do you learn how to manage bonding times better without going crazy?

Is it normal for moms to distract their kids and then sneak to the bathroom for 20 seconds?

Is it normal to run into the bathroom like a mad man is chasing you and then lock it fast behind you? Of course it's only 6 little feet trying to catch your apron strings but still, am I a bad mom?

Can the world really fall apart in the 20 seconds Mom is using the bathroom?

If a child is happy with the yogurt he is smearing in his hair, on his face, in his clothes, on the wall and all over the high chair, is it safe to let him do that for as long as he's happy? Not that it ever happens or anything, I was just wondering.

When kids won't stop fighting and the baby is crying and dad is late coming home from work, is it commendable defensible excusable ideal okay to put them in the van, strap them in their car seats and drive around your itty bitty small town for like an hour? (I do realize you'd have to go down some of the same streets twice in order to drive for a whole hour but really, there's nothing illegal strange about that, is there?)

Even though my dream has always been to have lots of cute kids and a warm house in which to raise them, why do I feel like I'm going crazy now that I have both?

If your kids have it in their heads that they must go outside and play and they honestly have no desire to put on a coat even though it is 40 degrees out, is it okay for them to do that? I would hate to see this happen at our house but in case it does, I just want to know if it's okay. Will my kids survive?

What if you see your little girl digging dog poop out of her sandal and she's using her finger. Should I de-worm her? Disinfect her? Or is washing hands with hand soap enough to get rid of any toxic waste?

What about wearing underwear for more than one day. Is my child going to catch a weird illness if I realize that his favorite pair of underwear have been worn, re-worn and worn again without washings in between? I've heard of kids doing this and I just wonder if it's okay.

When my child seems to enjoy the taste of baking powder, should I assume she has an aluminum deficiency?

How do you teach your kids not to assume that every time they see a police officer, the COP is not about ready to pull his gun out and shoot? What if your daughter is anxiously waiting for the shoot out? Should I give her a warm bath, read to her some gentle bed time stories and have her sip chamomile tea until she forgets about how badly she wanted to see the COP pull a gun out and start shooting? I mean, she is only 3. Is this normal?

If you look outside on a cold, autumn day and you see your children playing with the hose and spraying water on the dog, themselves and each other, should I just call the vet or should I contact our pediatrician too? Is it that easy to contract pneumonia?

Is it ever my husband's fault that my kids are so naughty are so cute?

Should I assume that having reoccurring bladder infections just might be related to the fact that I put off going to the bathroom because everything falls apart when I'm in the bathroom? Is this perhaps a health issue I should address above and beyond the risk it might be to my child to climb the pantry shelves while I'm in the bathroom?

Is my voice really that quiet that I must repeat things several times in order to be heard?

How normal is it to put a kid in the bathtub just so you can load the dishwasher without them taking everything out that you just put in?

Why do kids always find everything you hide? Is their sense of smell that great?

If your 3-year-old daughter catches crickets and gently plays with them, does that bother you? Does it bother you when she smears their guts with her own fingers 20 minutes later simply because she was "done playing with them?"

What about a 4-year-old that slices the couch open with a utility knife. Should he be expected and required to go out and get a job in order to replace the couch? If a kid thinks he's big enough to play with a knife, isn't he big enough to have a job then?

Not all of these questions are hyperbole and yet not all of them are serious either. Unfortunately, all have happened at least once several times. If you have had experience in any way, shape or form, you are qualified to give advice.

Please use the comment box and feel free to give personal experience. Our moderator is waiting to moderate your unmoderated comments involving a blog post lacking in moderation.

Friday, November 21, 2008

The Technicalization of Civilization

I'm beginning to think that with all the mumble jumble computer talk, my toddlers really aren't that far off from reaching the success of having learned the English language.

Take Google for instance. What a funny name. It's like what you say to a baby, "Goo-goo-ga-ga..." (or maybe that's supposed to be what they say to you.)

Or a nano. I don't have one of these. I have never downloaded one of these. I don't listen to one of these. I have never seen one of these. What is a nano?

Or Blog, even. When I first heard the word 'blog' I thought it referred to some marshy styled website that computer savvy people had.

Or Widget. That is so far from anything English, I can't compare it's sound to anything familiar. Except for a witch crossed with a gadget maybe.

Or Digsby. What a name. And how do you pronounce it? Dig-z-by or Dig-z-bee?? And how on earth does it's name indicate at all what it's definition might be?

Or Digg This. What is this?? Some universal gang-banger-street-talk-made-trendy because a guy in a suit and tie certified the term 'digg it' and made it into a universal hyperlink found on pretty much every web page. If you say it fast, it sounds like a bad word. I just don't dig 'digg it.'

Then there's the iPod. The problem I see with the iPod is that it's spelled funny. When I was a kid in school, we were taught to capitalize the FIRST letter of every word, not the second letter. It should really be spelled Ipod. There.

Or Facebook??? The very thing I teach my kids NOT to do... "Don't throw that book in your brother's face!" But Mom! YOU have a 'Facebook.' (Okay, that was lame...)

Really, Facebook has more weird terms than a person could ever come up with. It's like they must've taken a whole basket full of goodies to a little kid and said, "Kiddo, what do you call this thing?" and then the first sounds that came out of the kid's mouth, were made into Facebook lingo.

Okay, so you can 'poke' people. You can throw sheep at them. You can wrap them in bubble wrap. You can send them 'flair.' You can 'tag' them in pictures. You can comment on their status message. Try explaining to someone that doesn't have Facebook what a status message is and why anyone would need to comment on it. Getting updates on your news feed (on Facebook, of course) that your friends who had a wedding 10 years ago are "now married" is a huge relief. I guess because Facebook makes it look "official" after all these years, it's somewhat of a comic relief.

And the best thing about Facebook is that you can even write on people's wall. It's like a whole society committing themselves to the greatest form of illegal communication: graffiti. But, it's all legal of course.

Moving out of the topic of Facebook, the internet (and just the computer in general) still has tons of things to consider. Even simple things like 'docking a page.' Is that the same as docking a boat? Or are they referring to a medical type of thing as in "doctoring?" Or maybe it's something entirely different.

And does anybody know what AIM actually stands for? Even though I can't remember what it stands for, the letters AIM automatically make me think of "aiming" an instant message at a friend. And of course that is the purpose of AIM: instant messaging people. But the acronyms I don't know their definition for sure. Does the "A" stand for "automated," the "I" for "instant" and the "M" for "message?"

Oh and 'Google Talk' does not mean you sit and talk googly. It's a phone system connected via internet and you use your computer's built in speakers and microphone in which to communicate with people. It's like a computer based speaker phone system. And you can talk about whatever you want, not just goo-goo-ga-ga stuff.

Same goes for 'Google Chat' but of course you must not forget that in the twenty-first-century, "chat" indicates a type of communication done with typing, not an audible voice type of communication. Thankfully, you CAN chat about anything, not just goo-goo stuff... though I know the name is confusing: Google Chat.

Blogger has it's own unique terms as well. Does anybody know what all a blogger "Dashboard" is capable of? One little tip: it does not have a steering wheel so don't be disappointed when you can't find one.

Then there's blogger "Feeds" but don't expect it to ever have chili. Or anything else pertaining to physical sustenance.

About the time you think you have a basic grasp on modern internet lingo, terminology and other such technical details, don't get too comfy: in our day and age, a thing like a tinyurl can definitely shorten a link but man, how on earth does that make sense? What is the point?

I think there can come a point where we technicalize (how's that for a techy-made-up word?) everything to the point that we must simplify in order to retain pertinent information. But then when we do that, it only complicates the situation even more because ultimately, we must add more information in order to keep what we have and yet change it to something more "simple."

Seriously, I shouldn't be talking. Do you know how many times I have had to look up my blog address just to make sure I was spelling "Coeur d' Court" right?

Yeah, all I can say is that I'm thankful for my favorites list and a hard drive that works as long as my computer is on.

Oh, and the reason I'm not replacing my new made up word "technicalize" to something more technically accurate in spelling is because the following words were also not accepted by my spell check:

Tiny Url.

How pathetic is it when my internet based spell check doesn't even know it's own component's correct spelling? So, maybe technicalize really IS a word...?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Poisionous Barbs, Asthma and Honeymoons

So far, the Otterson girls have a 100% guarantee that they will become unusually and extraordinarily ill or injured on their honeymoons. Brittney had 24 barbs jabbed into her foot by some cranky sea creature and Courtney had an asthma attack.

That was Britt's first dip into the ocean and Court's first experience with asthma.

Britt's new husband spent 3 hours poking and pulling 2 of the barbs out -- hours they were supposed to be spending snorkeling.

Court's new husband spent 3 hours bent over a gasping, dying woman he had just pledged his life to 4 days earlier.

I'm not sure if men just have that effect on these girls or if it has to do with being on a honeymoon. Either way, I'm thinking that any man that attempts marriage with the other 2 sisters, should be forewarned of the impending tradition that the Ott girls follow for their honeymoons.

It's like they like to live their vows to the hilt ... "In sickness and in health..." and they get that 'in sickness' part over with right up front so we all know for sure the guy is in this for the long haul.

And so far, the guys are sticking with them and proving they're committed to this whole marriage thing for life not only in sickness but also in health. That's a really good thing.

It's also quite reassuring because life always has a pretty even balance of both sickness and health. And sickness and health is seen simply as the salt and pepper of marriage: it adds spice and flavor.

I guess it shouldn't ever be a surprise when marrying the one you love, usually leads to loving the one you marry. And ironically enough, that is what happened when these two couples fell in love: they got married.

Now they live happily ever after enjoying sickness and health over and over and over.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

When a Bathroom Lock Is All You Need

Some people need a vacation. Or a walk in the park. Or even a cruise. Just give me a bathroom door lock and I'll be good for the rest of the day.

It only takes 2 minutes too. Or even less if catastrophe happens on the other side of the Lock and Door but truly, the mere seconds to breath without talking is like breathing a breath of fresh air.

There's the times too when you're taking a shower and while the children sit at the breakfast table, you hear a screech that you can't quite decipher. It was either, "The house is on fire." Or it's, "Alex has a pacifier."

And then when you ask for clarification, you find out the real question was, "Are there more muffins than this?" and you know that life is never quite as serious as a 4-year-old makes it out to be.

Certainly, it can be intimidating to be in a bathroom and have the door locked only to hear picking and prying on the other side. Seriously guys, your mom is only "gone" for two minutes, what emergency can't wait two minutes?

But, when you go out the door you learn quite quickly that the only thing the child needed was to have his tool pouch tied back on to his waist. And you wonder as you tie it what it must be like to have the whole world revolved around you, your life, your tools and your tool pouch now wrapped snugly around your waist.

As you go about your day and chase kids, make meals and wash laundry, a quick dash to the RESTroom is always a welcomed reprieve. Unless of course, the kids jam every piece of metal imaginable into the door lock and your bathroom doorknob takes on an "antique" look.

But hey, at least they haven't learned how to actually pick the lock, release the spring that keeps you sane and enter into the habitation of your brief oasis.

Of course when you come out all of two minutes later, don't be surprised if you find the kids got into the hidden Christmas gifts, laid a large mirror on the top of your bed and then walked on your feet with cowboy boots as you intervened in their exploration of a new discovery.

I'm not saying that ever happened or anything, just thought I'd warn you because I have a pretty good idea it could happen.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

When Desperation Overtakes Dignity

You know your having a chaotic day busy day when your 4-year-old tries out your new hammer on the edge of the kitchen counter while your 17-month-old runs out of the kitchen with your knife he just grabbed off of the out-of-reach counter and your 3-year-old is dumping rearranging combining organizing her entire collection of shoes all over her bedroom floor that is supposed to be clean.

And then one of the kids attempts to lock themselves in the fridge while the baby dumps most of the contents of a kitchen drawer all over the freshly swept kitchen floor.

To top it off, a child that is rather hesitant resistant stubborn disliking the idea of cleaning their room, has become perpetually disturbed about a sibling that was helping them clean their room. So, being the fair and generous mother I am and not wanting to give a vengeful child opportunity to avenge wrath upon a sibling that was kindly and thoughtfully assisting in a task that was not their own, I removed the kind child from the angry child's room. The angry child suddenly became quite upset lonely.

And then the home became a habitation of distress and alarm, thanks to a pile of toys on the floor that simply needed to be put in the toy box.

About that time, somebody used the bathroom, left the lid up and forgot to shut the bathroom door. I came around the corner just in time to see the baby shaking pee off his hands, thanks to a negligent bathroom participant.

Reality is, I was only trying to make lunch and then chaos ensued. Seriously, it was just left overs too. Nothing fancy. I mean, my family has to eat, right? So making lunch is entirely necessary, right? But, considering how it seemed to change the entire course of the day as soon as I was in the kitchen long enough to put left overs in a pan, maybe lunch IS a bad idea.

I think a time of fasting, sack cloth and ashes will eliminate meal preparation chaos, over abundance of laundry and the eternal fighting over who has to clean up a mealtime/playtime mess.

Don't worry; I won't impart upon the children of my youth an Old Testament practice used to bring about repentance and change but I think I finally understand why it was used so often. And if I ever succumb to such a ritual, you'll know why.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A Monster in the House

So it's that time of year month week to do the unthinkable. To just get it done. To write it on a list and cross it off. To just set your mind to it and do it. Even if you don't feel like it. Even if it just doesn't seem right. Even if you want to do something else instead but you don't know what that something else is. Still, it's time to just do it.

I'm not talking about blogging either. Although, that is something that needs to get done soon. *goes to jot that down on imaginary to-do list.*

As I was saying, it was time to do it.

And it looked like it too. Although, I think a few more weeks days hours probably would've been okay to wait, it was likely to not be okay. That risk was too great to take.

See, I was noticing a huge monster growing in the middle of my house. And my house is much too small to allow growing monsters to inhabit it. The brainy-let's-figure-out-how-to-resolve-this-issue-me came up with a great idea: I stuffed the monster in an out-of-site-out-of-mind place. Brilliant plan, wouldn't you say?

Unfortunately, that place soon had begun to expand since the monster continued to grow. So, I opened the top, allowing for more space. Eventually the opened top was not helping at all helping minimally so I began a pyramid technique that Egyptians used eons ago. Basically, you start it out wide at the bottom and peak it at the top. Kinda like a triangle. Gradually I was shaping my monster like an ancient Egyptian used to shape things. I felt adventurous, ancient and arrogant able bodied.

I was envisioning selling tickets so people could see my Pyramid Monster and thought getting a parka would be a good way to help advertise for my monster.

Unfortunately, floor space allowed for minimal width at the base so our monster had assumed a rather freaky tower shape. And by freaky it looked like it was liable to tumble at the slightest vibration. So much for the pyramid.

I then became desperate virtuous and came up with an ingenious plan of Disectation (is that a word?) of the Monster. But, not wanting to have Monster entrails all over my house, I knew I had to get rid of the kids first. So, I stuffed some of them away, put some others up on shelves and gave the rest away put them to bed. Then, I got to work.

Slowly the Monster took shape of something entirely different and my eyes were completely opened to a whole new concept. The concept I speak of is quite disturbing: I had laundry that when stacked and piled just right, was taller than me. A monster in my house bigger than me.

As I sit here blogging instead of laundering I must ask myself the question that I know you all must be asking: If I have laundry so bad why am I blogging?

The only answer I can come up with that makes a lot of sense is that I must be scared of monsters.

(Shhhh, don't tell my kids.)

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

When a 'Working Sign' Would Be Nice

Yesterday I was driving down a vacant gravel road and while going through a vacant gravel intersection, I noticed down another vacant gravel road, a sign.

Yes, a sign.

It wasn't a sign from God either but an actual, literal sign.

I saw no people. Or trucks. Or any other signs. Basically, that vacant gravel road seemed every bit as empty as vacant can be and every bit as gravelly as gravel can be.

But the sign indicated otherwise.

The sign said: Men Working.

Now, I never know what to do when I see a sign like that.

Instinctively I look to see what kind of work the men are doing. And then when I look beyond the sign and see men working, I want to say, "Well duh, even a woman can see he's working without the sign informing her of that."

Then I look at the sign and wonder if I'm supposed to stand reverently, put my hand over my heart and sing the National Anthem.

Or do I say a prayer?

Do I stop my vehicle and observe a moment of silence?

Do I tread reverently past the working men with a look of admiration on my face?

Am I supposed to honk and cheer and wave out my open window while praising the working men.... "Good job! Keep it up! It's lookin' great!!"

Maybe the sign is actually printed in braille as well so that blind people driving by that can't see the men working, will know they actually are because the sign will tell them that.

Or maybe the sign is indicating that the men are indeed working and summarizes this message:

In case there is any doubt in any one person's mind about the piles of dirt, large construction equipment, and the dirty orange hard hats bobbing around the vicinity of the construction site, these men are in deed and in fact WORKING; they aren't just playing with dirt.

Or better yet, maybe it's because men have such a one track mind that they can't work AND watch for traffic at the same time. So basically a "Men Working" sign is similar to a "Children at Play" sign. It's your responsibility not to run over any of the Men Working.

Perhaps because the men took so long to get to the job, they put the sign up so that anyone that was pressuring them to get the job done will see they don't need to say anymore. The Men are Working. Finally. And the sign says that.

Maybe yesterday was actually an indication that the men were working on getting the work done but hadn't shown up yet. Kinda like a yeah-we'll-be-right-on-it-so-here's-a-sign-to-prove-that and then you can quit bugging them and wondering if that road will ever be completed.

And then I had to count how many times I've seen a "Women Working" sign. I couldn't even use one finger and I had 10 waiting to be counted. Is it because women never work? That men are doing all the work? That would be pathetic to make the men do all our work, even if they did get to use a sign while they worked.

It suddenly dawned on me that women work too. It's not that they work harder than men or that men work harder then the women either. They both just do their jobs.

So, I decided to patten a "Women Working" sign for all the hard working women I know. Next time you wash dishes, do laundry, clean your house, sweep the front porch, paint a room, make a meal or fill the van with gas, you can set out your sign.

Because I mean really, men are supposed to build roads and do their work; women are supposed to do all their jobs too. But, why don't women get any signs?

If you tell me it's because men use dangerous equipment and powerful tools, I'll ask * you what a women does that isn't dangerous.

To prove my point, the little * above indicates the exact time that my baby dropped a stack of Corelle bowls on his bare little feet and had shattered glass spread in a vicinity 5 feet around him. His mother (a woman) bravely dove barefoot into the midst of the shards and rescued the curious little boy from the slivers of pain intending to inject their sharpness into the fatness of his tender feet.

Tell me what isn't dangerous about that.

And the worse part is, the whole time that mother cleaned up the mess and used loud equipment to suck up the barbed needles embedded in the carpet, she also made sure the other children were safe. Not only was she doing a disaster relief project but she was also protecting the citizens in the destruction zone. While enforcing the law, she also defended the innocent that had actually caused the predicament of the day.

And, of course, there were no signs. No tangible pieces of proof that decreed loud and clear that "Women Working" was going on.

Then again, women are usually too busy and too distracted too responsible to make a point to get a sign out, set it up and let everyone read it while they work. They usually just get the job done and wish they had a sign that proved they were working and actually don't even think about a sign. Because, in the time it would take to get a sign out and set it up where everyone could read it, she'd first have to teach the kids what the letters "W-o-m-e-n-W-o-r-k-i-n-g" sounds like and how to read it and give the proper definition of what it means. By the time that was done, it would be time to clean up another disaster start another project.

So, if men have time to set up "Men Working" signs, then maybe they aren't quite as busy as women? And maybe they know that but they don't want the women to feel unequal with them so they compensate for the uneven balance by putting up a sign.

Then again, maybe OSHA mandates it and the reason they don't mandate it in my house is because this still is the land of the free and the home of the brave mothers who walk on shards of glass in order to rescue innocent children.

But, I'm still thinking of making that sign...

Thursday, October 30, 2008

How Big Is Your God?

You know, it's hard sometimes to hit those points in life where it feels like every where you look, go and see, you are surrounded by leaves. And I'm not talking about Autumn or literally as in "tree leaves" but figuratively speaking, of course. (I am waxing quite poetic here... bear with me.)

The truth is, they are actually more real and more life impacting than the maple leaves laying in my backyard tonight that should be raked and stuffed into a scare crow sometime tomorrow since the weather is supposed to be nice.

Despite trying to ignore these leaves, I feel like each one is being turned over and a new side is showing. Some turn with grief. Others with practical change. Still others with joy.

Yet in the past few months, I have been so amazed at the ways God has answered prayers. Prayers I never thought could ever have answers. It's almost as if I hope to pray about something but don't know how to really ask God or tell God or convey to God any of what I'm thinking, and then He hears my heart and then answers... as in, literally answering an impossible prayer!

Even down to the exact words. Like tonight I was thinking about a situation Toby and I are facing. "Lord, I really want to get in touch with my husband," I prayed honestly in desperation. (If you think I'm honest and open on my blog, I'm even more honest and open with God. If you don't believe me, just ask God.) Not 20 minutes later, my husband came to me and through the course of conversation said, "Honey, we just really need to get in touch again." (deja vu anyone?) And not only did he say it but he laid out a practical way to actually make that idea more than just a "oh that's a nice thing to say to your spouse" kind of thing.

The first plan of action? We set a coffee date. And coffee dates always makes us both talk, not just the one of us.

Dealing with parenting 3 toddlers and running a business that often keeps Toby gone 14 hours a day and then feeling the need to have friends and socialize on top of the effort we as a couple make to keep our marriage strong, is a juggling act more complicated than any circus act you'll see.

(Even writing that is complicated: I just spent 10 minutes trying to figure out how to word the above paragraph so it wouldn't look entirely confusing and then I'd be admitted to a mental institution because of the concern of my dear readers here that you'd have to spend the next 10 minutes trying to figure out what I meant by describing a 4 piece juggling act called 'my life.')

Okay, if that doesn't make sense, you are now qualified expected to move on to the next paragraph, please.

Knowing that the God who ordained the universe in a set motion and plan that was meant to incorporate even the craziest of my days, is an awesome comprehension... especially when your prayers are answered, your storms are ceased and your anxiety melts to peace.

And that same God who controls the universe, sees fit to lay on your husband's heart a prayer you just prayed not an hour before, all makes you wonder if you really know how big your God is.

It could all end right there and I'd still be impressed. But it's just like God to compile the most ironic bonus package when I least expect it, and He followed the prayer up by an unexpected early morning coffee date all uninfluenced by me.

No wonder I can't sleep tonight.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

She Perceiveth That Her Merchandise is Good

Part of the mid-life crisis era I'm in right now, has influenced an idea called: "Save Money." Ever heard of it? I had heard of it but I thought it was for people that were setting aside money to buy something expensive. Or people with big families and lots of mouths to feed. Or people that *liked* clipping coupons. I guess I didn't know that saving money was an option everyone should think about. And choose.

Toby had mentioned a couple times that we needed a budget. Being the wife that I'm striving to be, I agreed. "Oh yes honey, a budget is what we need." Although in the back of my mind I was thinking, what in the world is a budget for??? What is a budget???

So, as I thought about saving money, I thought it was great idea. I mean, who doesn't like to put more money in their savings account, right? But I just kept grocery shopping like the food was going out of style. The only improvement I made was I quit shopping weekly and started only grocery shopping twice a month. I also cut back on my "run to Lincoln and go shopping" sprints. But, nothing was really helping.

Until a friend mentioned in passing she was going into town to get some awesome sales at a grocery store in Lincoln. And then I remembered what "saving money" meant.

It was the last day of the sale so I quickly wrapped up everything I was going to do for the day but hadn't done yet and jumped in the van and ran into town. Thankfully it was a rain day (Toby was home) and thankfully I left at nap time so I was alone, by myself. My brain was not functioning on high that day though because I was extremely tired and the rain on my windshield was droning my thoughts. If I would've been sharper, I may have made better sale choices at the store but even with my gray-and-cloudy-thanks-to-the-rain brain, I still got some amazing deals.

Before I got married, I did most of my family's grocery shopping. The method I aimed for and actually was pretty good at keeping was 'only buy what's on sale and stock up.' Then I got married. And I didn't have much storage for food. And I was still learning what Toby's favorite dishes were. And what foods he didn't like. And I was realizing that buying for 9 people and buying for 2 was a huge difference in your budget. And then I forgot what "saving money" meant when it comes to food.

Until the other day. Finding dirt cheap prices on chicken breasts, canned foods, flour and frozen veggies amazed me. I was so excited to be buying all that stuff and not spending THAT much! I am officially addicted to sale prices now.

Not to mention the fact that on the same trip (which means I was saving fuel as well), I was able to sell a few baby items to a baby store and I made the exact amount of money on them that I had tried to make on them at my garage sale. Another amazing-money-saving-money-making-deal was that I had bought one item for $4 at Goodwill. We used it for as long as we needed to and then I sold it to this store for $8 because Goodwill had way underpriced it. The cool thing is, I didn't set the price either; the store owner looks over the merchandise and then prints up what she'll give you for each item. I was stoked.

The same friend who told me about the grocery sales is also a CVS shopper, which is something I've wanted to get into for a long time but didn't know anyone personally in my area that was doing it. The whole ECB point thing and coupon clipping made NO sense to me but I grilled my friend on what to do, where to start and what not to do. The only thing I felt guilty for when we were done talking was the fact that I had thrown out the Sunday newspaper coupons that week. (Actually, I've done that for a long time...) Seeing the way the system really is, made me realize how fun it would be to shop this way and how much it made sense.

So, I guess I'm getting into a "frugal knack" which is something I've always admired in many of the blogs I read but I didn't know where to start. I'm really aiming for the whole Proverbs 31 Woman thing and think it's amazing how God has brought people into my life that are exactly the encouragement and influence I need to have wisdom in knowing how to LIVE the P31 way. My next plan is to write up a detailed menu, stay up to date on sale flyer's and even store food in rubber maid bins in my basement if that's the only place I have to put my good deals.

Unless it's frozen or refrigerated... "The heart of her husband doth safely trust in her, so that he shall have no need of spoil. She will do him good and not evil all the days of her life..." Proverbs 31:11-12

Just think of how clean my fridge will have to get to be now. Nice.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Dream Come True Post

I had a dream last night that I blogged like, twice in one day. Or maybe it was two days in a row that I blogged. I can't remember for sure. Either way, I thought I'd make my dream come true and blog again today.

I really have nothing significant to say. Other than the fact that I was just supervising putting silverware away and again noticed the handy hooks I adhered to the inside of my cupboard doors in order to locate some type of convenience in my kitchen.

It also helps to have the scissors handy BUT out of the kids reach at the same time. It was definitely worth the $0.97 the scissors hook cost.

Not to mention that it pleased my husband (almost as much as it does when I scratch his back) when he saw that I hung an entire set of our measuring cups up. He likes to make pancakes and waffles with the kids every once in a while and thinks that the places I have stuff in our kitchen are so inconvenient. I always tell him that he's free to find a better place for things but when you only have one cupboard in the kitchen to put all your baking stuff in, there's really not a lot of options. He was impressed with the new hook system.

The rest of the hooks hold small nails, a handy tool, flashlight, tape, wire whisk, vegetable peeler, electric mixer beaters and another two pairs of small scissors. My favorite nail holds a darling little 2009 calender that I plan to use as a prayer calender to remind me to pray for some of my single friends. Each day of the week is allotted to a friend. I can't wait for the new year to start because it's high time these girls get married.

Speaking of supervising 'putting silverware away' (referring to the second paragraph in this post... in case you're wondering how I'm possibly following a train-of-thought), I have finally decided that in order for Janae to have something productive to do in the morning that requires minimal supervision on my part so I can blog instead so I can make breakfast instead, I must run the dishwasher the night before. That way, there is always a dishwasher to empty in the morning.

Today was a little rough for her to accept her "put silverware away" Chore Card. At first she couldn't stand up and get to the kitchen. Then she couldn't find her stool. Then she went under the rug in the dining room and said I couldn't find her. Then she said she didn't want to paint when her work was done after all so she figured she just didn't have to work now. When she finally took the card and got it done, she was on a roll. Just now I watched her remember where to put the ice cream scoop and went out of her way to put it away. It gave me a flashahead (opposite of flashback) to what she'll be capable of doing in a couple years.

Anyway, not sure how that signifies a significant blog post subject but hey, at least my dream of blogging two days in a row is finally a reality.

Thursday, October 23, 2008

On Gnat Traps, Chore Cards and a Sister-in-love

So it was one of those days that started before the night had even ended. A screaming, crying baby on the other side of the wall, brutally jerked me from dreamland and into the shaky world of just-opened-my-eyes-what's-going-on-in-here.

As I laid in my warm, soft bed next to my nice, strong husband, I listened to the baby cry. I was listening but yet I wasn't, you know. Finally, Toby made me aware of reality and said something like, "You know, I think he was sick last night when I put him to bed." Then I was awake.

And boy, was Toby right.

A 101.8 fever and a sopping wet diaper and pajamas, definitely had put this baby over the edge. A clean diaper, a cool onesie, a drop or two of ear drops in each ear (wasn't sure if he had an ear ache or not) and some Motrine, made his little world a lot better. Topped off with a cuddle from mommy and daddy and then getting some warm milk, he thought life was pretty good again. It's always nice to know you make a good difference in someone's life.

I came back to bed after putting Alex back in his and laid on my pillow and immediately noticed Toby had instinctively turned the radio on apparently when he woke up. All kinds of cool topics were being discussed and then the news came on.

I get completely distracted from being able to sleep when the radio is on. Toby turns the radio on and then goes to sleep. It's like his little signal to the whole world that he is sleeping... "I'm sleeping! Can't you hear my radio is on?!"

Tossing and turning and trying to zone out the radio, did not make it easy for me to get back to sleep. Finally, I asked my husband to turn the radio down which he did in a rather fumbling, sleepy way.

A while later, Toby got up to leave for work and Landon came in our room and informed me he would put his DRY pull-up away when he got home from work with Dad. I thought it was cute that he made a point to let me know he wasn't neglecting his work for me to do.

As I was trying to pull myself together from the sleepiness that had invaded me, thanks to the early morning interruption of the sick baby, Janae came in right after Landon. She had a bowl of left over grape fruit peels somebody had left on the counter and she wondered if she could have some.

I told her she could have a grapfruit and then I started getting up to get ready for my day as well as Janae's. She came in shortly after carrying a pint jar and she wondered if she could eat cereal in it. She said she thought it would be fun. "Oh child..." I mused in my half working head.

Slipping out of bed made me suddenly aware that something wet and cold had been spilled on my bed and on my clean sheets! It was pink in color and looked like juice but smelled like pickles.

As I investigated the kitchen, Janae and my bedroom, it all came clear.

Step 1: I had made a gnat trap with red wine vinegar and soap. I had used a banana peel as a lure into my trap which was in a bowl in the kitchen on the counter.

Step 2: Somebody saw the fermenting banana peel and decided to add to my newly acquired compost endeavors so they put their grapefruit peels in it. (like I would be making compost...?!)

Step 3: Somebody else saw the grapefruit peels and got hungry and used the bowl as an identification tool to explain to somebody else what they wanted to eat.

In the process of Step 3, the gnat trap was spilled on my bed.

And now somebody has 2 loads of laundry, thanks to all the bedding that will get washed today.

After I got Janae her breakfast, I checked on Alex and noticed Landon's pajama stuff on the living room floor. I also noticed the "dry" pull-up laying on the carpet. I picked it up: it wasn't dry. Not. at. all.

My kids have no concept of wet or dry. Seriously. They think something is wet or dry based on what you want it to be. If you send them to wash their hands and they come back with completely dry hands, they say they got their hands wet with water if you asked them if they used water. If they do use water and they come out with sopping wet hands, they say they dried them on the towel.

And if you ask them if their pull-up is dry in the morning, their answer is completely relative to what they think you want to hear.

Moving right along to post breakfast time, I looked over to a very quiet Janae and found her heavily licking the sugar shaker. Thinking I was just going to have to wash the lid, I was a little disgusted to find that she had heavily saturated some of the sugar inside. What is it with this girl? She is a sugar addict. She definitely has a sweet tooth.

So, after the 2 loads of laundry she created for me this morning and the contents of a sugar bowl wasted, I think she's ready to do her fair share of work today in order to make up for the extra work she created for me.

Which brings to something I've been wanting to post about lately...

Toby woke up one morning with a profound thought and immediately stated to his sleeping wife, "Honey, chore cards; that's what you need for the kids!" I was still dreaming of sleep and wondering what time of night it was so the topic of "chore cards" was as far away from my mind as the desire to get out of bed was.

Not Toby.

He was as ambitious and excited as Toby gets... which on a scale of 1-10 and 10 being the greatest, he was at a 2+, maybe.

After the fog cleared and my mind grasped the statement he had said to me while I was still sleeping, I set out to make these "Chore Cards."

First of all, I wrote a list of jobs my kids are capable of doing: tidy room, unload dishwasher, set the table, etc.

Then I wrote each job on a recipe card.

Next, I decorated each card with stickers that somehow correlated with the chore. I didn't have a sticker of a puppy so for the "feed and water dog" card, I used a sippy cup sticker, a cookie and a ball. It was tacky; not creative, but it worked.

Finally, I had them laminated and they are sturdy and kid-proof!

The lamination part is what made them so wonderful and easy to use and I was so glad my sister-in-love did it for me. She often uses an over-night service plan that she has for basically everyone she knows. She's the kind of person that if you need it tomorrow, she'll stay up all night and get it done for you. She's determined and stubborn and always gets the job done right. Most people know us as sister-in-'laws' but 'law' makes it sound so legalized and like we're only connected through the law. Or like some certified paper is what makes us sisters. When in reality, a sister is someone who basically shares your life with you and is in your heart at night when you go to bed and then in the morning when you wake up, they're still there. Just like your sister always was when you were a kid. Life's ups and downs, pursuits and set backs, successes and failures are all shared best with a sister. Because only a sister will stick with you through all that. Needless to say, I am very blessed to have a sister like that who even was capable of laminating my Chore Cards.

Using these cards has definitely given me a better perspective on my day. I don't have to think, "okay, what job can I give Landon to do right now?" I can just look at my stack of "Chore Cards" and give him a task. The kids immediately picked up on the "Chore Cards" idea and wouldn't do the job unless I gave them a card. That's why the lamination part is so nice because I don't have to worry about stickers getting peeled off, or cards bending or tearing. I can hand them their card and know they'll give it back in the same shape I gave it to them in.

My brain is randomly picking topics to blog about this morning and before you wonder how in the world this train wreck of thoughts was ever an official train-of-thoughts, I'll assure you that I just have a lot on my mind that I'm sorting through. I can literally be thinking of one bright and vivid revelation and suddenly, poof! it's gone and I totally forget what was just an important topic.

So, I'll close by saying my world is still a little crazy and my thoughts are still piled on a table somewhere and there are many pieces to the puzzle that I think are still missing.

I wonder if the kids took off with them just like they took off with my gnat trap?

Monday, October 20, 2008

Mid-life Crisis

For the sake of the readers that haven't given up on my blog, this is an update to let you know that a blog post will be coming soon.

I have been in a whirlwind of activity life lately and have finally realized that life is just that: a whirlwind. I need to quit calling this lifestyle of activity I live anything else besides life.

At the beginning of the month, I got a phone call from my sister saying that she was bored and having a strange urge. She just felt like sitting in her car for 10 hours all by herself and thought she'd make it productive by actually driving that entire time. We both thought and thought of a location that would just happen to be all of 10 hours from where her car was sitting and ironically, just like sisters do, unanimously came up at the same time with the same idea that she should come to our house. Voila.

Seriously, she was all alone with no husband (he had to go to training in another state) and wanted to replace that loneliness with quality time with her niece and nephews. We were very happy to accommodate her plans of visiting us although we almost said no because we knew it would be sad to see her go.

We had so much fun together. I often marvel at how well siblings connect throughout childhood and before marriage but I was even more amazed at how strong that connection stays even after one or both leave home and marry far and distant men. (So if any of you are holding out on getting married for this reason, I have proof that you really don't need to worry about sibling relationships. Now, go get married.)

One day Britt and I were playing a duet on the piano that we had never played together before. It was a rather bouncy rendition of Yankee Doodle, a song I had never played until Britt was plunking it out that day and making me follow suit. As we jammed along, suddenly at the same time and just after the line about the macaroni in his hat, we both got the urge to modulate the key up a half a step. Without missing a beat (or saying a word), we both suddenly, without warning, landed on the key of D. We do stuff like that all the time. It's almost freaky.

My husband thinks it's weird too and gets uncomfortable when we do freaky things like that. I think he just wants in the loop he just wants to concentrate on the book he's reading instead of having to hear us giggling uncontrollably every time we share a look, stay speechless and bust out laughing.

So, as you can see, I have been rather distracted and unable to blog. A blog post will be coming soon though since I do have a lot on my mind.

Until this blog is updated, another reason why I haven't posted lately is because I think I am going through a mid-life crisis. Now, how's that for an excuse for not blogging? I bet you've never heard that one before. (I should really copyright that one.)

If you've gone through a mid-life crisis, you would know how complicated and complex deep thoughts in the back of a mid-life crisis brain can be. There is just so much there to be sorted out that I'm thinking about calling for a cease fire. It can get rather exhausting to have one deep thought after another fire away in your head. It's like my brain has set up a firing range with a target on one end and several cases of bullets and a loud gun on the other. I'm not quite sure what kind of gun it is so when I get that figured out, I'll let you know. Regardless of the gun's make and model, it definitely has a precise and accurate barrel because it keeps hitting the bull's eye. And it's really loud.

I am not a public speaker at all so to write my whole heart out to all of you right now, is just not anywhere in my mental capability. Especially considering how much of my brain is being taken up as a target right now. And also because I do not know all who read my blog or where they're at in life and how or if they'll understand true honesty and forthrightness.

Truth is, I may actually know them but don't know they're reading here. I have noticed that often people flee the truth and hold on to ideals and then are shocked when you finally make it clear to them what the truth really is. And I don't like to find out after the fact that what I said was just too honest and open for someone to handle.

Yesterday in Church, a part in the sermon jumped out at me in the midst of juggling two very squirmy toddlers. The preacher was reading about the armour of God. My heart latched on to the part about truth. "Loins girded about with truth." It dawned on me just then that truth must be very important since the only thing girding and protecting the loins of a soldier of Christ is, truth.

But, why do people constantly shy away from the truth and instead grasp ideals, traditions, desires and facades?

Besides publicly bearing my soul here, another option would be to sit down and talk to each one of you individually. That sounds a lot more appealing. But, since I can't do that with everyone here because I don't know everyone that reads this and it's physcially impossible to make a point to talk to someone that you don't even know exists, I'll sort my thoughts, collect my thinking and endeavor to get to the bottom of the pile of bullets yet to be shot at that target.

It seems as though what makes this a "crisis" is the fact that it's like a "at a cross roads" experience of life. Yet at the same time, I could drop the gun, walk away from the firing range and send am atom bomb in to wipe out the thoughts that seem to have created the world that is my brain. That may be an easy way out actually and it is quite tempting. But, to do that would mean I gave in and gave up. I would essentially cease to think.

And that would be a tragedy.

So, I said all that to say I plan to update my blog soon. Which I guess by saying that here on my blog right now, I am basically doing NOW what I said I would do: update my blog.

I guess this blog now has a new post.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

A Four Year Old's Email Account

The other morning shortly after Landon got up, he declared that he needed to check his email.

He was going to check his email.

He had to check his email.

He really needed to be on his email.

(Each space above identifies the part of the conversation where Landon's father explained in detail that Landon indeed did not have any email. None at all. There was no email for Landon to check. Basically, Landon had no email account.)

The younger Nelson insisted otherwise.

Later that day, I went to my computer to check it and found a whole newly designed home page.
Even my Google set up had changed.

New features.

A desktop weather program.


News feed.



Even a "How To" section about making wallets out of duct tape.

I'm thinking we need to teach our computer savvy son that actually checking your email isn't quite as much fun as what he did. Although, I am enjoying all these new found features on my computer now.

(Don't tell him I just said that.)

Friday, October 03, 2008

A House Mouse

So I was up late last night. Who cares? I mean, what's new about being up late? I do it all the time.

But this time was for reasons other than the usual.

I have a entrepreneur child. He goes to work with his dad and comes home with broken cool tools, stale sweet pop, junk food a special treat... you name it; he's got it. He's always filthy dirty and tired and not hungry. He claims he doesn't need supper because he already ate. Upon further inspection, I learn that it's lunch he's referring to when he says he "already ate."

Anyway, the point is, usually his treasures and immediate post-work-upkeep are quite minimal yet indeed exciting.

Until yesterday.

I went out to the truck to meet them. It was dark. Landon was just getting out but he was chattering and excited about his latest treasure.

"Hey mom! Look at what I have!" he held out a small plastic cup. I could see two dark shapes but didn't think they were anything more than, well, I didn't know for sure.

Then he reached inside and pulled one out.

"Look, it's a baby mouse," and the thing perched comfortably in his hand.

Either these rodents were just too tired and exhausted from their day of child's play or this thing was actually adopting Landon as it's new mommy.

I glanced at Toby. He seemed completely natural and an unaffected by the two baby mice that just rode 50 miles in his truck LOOSE all the way home.

"We need to feed them some bread," Landon said. "They're hungry."

And that's what we did. Finding a nice warm spot on the stove in a nice little empty wipes container (that I had almost thrown out that day but thought I should save it for the "just perfect" need) and a nice little piece of bread made soggy by powdered goats milk and reverse osmosis water, the little mice settled right in.

At bedtime, I wondered if the now cool stove was going to be a good place for these tiny creatures and I racked my brain thinking of a warming device that wouldn't be a fire hazard.

I thought of a lamp. But I couldn't figure out how to hang a lamp upside down without drilling a hole in the ceiling or some other obvious spot.

I thought of a heating pad. But those aren't advised for small animals.

I thought of the guinea pig. But she could get mice lice from these babies.

I thought of the oven. But it had a butter spill in it that wouldn't be good to leave exposed to heat while we sleep.

I thought of the furnace. But we hadn't turned that on yet this season and I didn't think it was technically cold enough to do so.

I thought of getting up and turning the stove on throughout the night. But I didn't really want to lose that much sleep.

And then I thought of this laptop that seems to emit as much heat out of the vent thingy on the side as the low setting on our stove does. A perfect solution.

The baby mice snuggled in warmly next to their new heat. Just before I finally fell asleep, I slipped out to check on the baby mice and make sure they weren't too hot/cold.

And then I went to sleep wondering how many of them would be dead by morning.

Thankfully, it was only one who died but Landon didn't seem too concerned...

"I'll just have to find another one, I guess."

I guess he's starting a new business. Perhaps he can figure out how to get rid of sell off the filthy mice living freely in the basement???

Wednesday, October 01, 2008

Disturbing News

With pirates sailing the high seas in little row boats and taking over war ships, and the government talking about bail-outs when frankly, it's impossible to bail out of an already sunk ship, we are doing a little bit of our own survival experiments here on the home front.

Ever tell a small child to wash their hands and called after them, "Remember to use water"? I said that the other day. AFTER finding slimy soap dripping off of small hands eager to help with a kitchen project.

Have you ever opened your freezer only to have a heavy, sopping, you-got-your-money's-worth-out-that Pull up fall off the top of the fridge where a small child had obviously thrown it when you told them to throw it in the trash? Making a mental note: "Smart Intelligent Bright Genius Child, please throw your icky diaper in the garbage -- remember, the trash can is not the fridge, honey!" Maybe this is a normal thing to have happen in American homes but it was the first time that type of thing happened here.

And then as you wander around your home, aimlessly making supper, folding laundry, vacuuming, baking bread and wiping up continual messes in the bathroom, your Mother Radar Instinct kicks in and you are alerted through closed doors and tight walls that your child is in distress. Serious distress: the dog is chewing the diaper right off your baby's butt through a fence.

So, you rescue the child, send him back to his play only to notice that he intentionally makes himself available for the dog to chew his butt. It's like saving innocent people only to watch them run right back into the hands of wicked men.

Then while enjoying a nice little chat with your neighbor in her front yard, you give your whining baby a "toy" to play with: his sister's Croc. It's not like he was going to chew on it or anything; maybe just play catch or something. You notice that the shoe is wet inside. But, you chalk it up to the dew left over from the morning -- even though the ground is exceptionally dry where you're standing. When you arrive home 20 minutes later, you learn quite quickly that the sister who owns the Crocs had indeed had an 'accident' in the neighbor's front lawn. "And that's all I'm going to say about that."

But what tops it all was my inability to cope with life for two days.

For two whole days (and believe me, TWO days is a lot of time for a kid to figure a few things out about pulling strings and cutting corners on rules) I had a fever and aches in places I didn't know existed. Plus, I had a headache, leaky nose that kept me connected to a Kleenex box like a scuba diver under water is connected to his oxygen tank, fatigue as in drop-where-ever-you-are-and-sleep, and a bladder infection that made me feel like I was in a perpetual state of internal fire which basically makes one feel every bit of half dead. Topped off with the virus that made me feel half dead as well, I knew for sure I was a goner.

But the kids didn't.

They continued their lively banter through out the day, knocking the baby down so they could sit on him playing with the baby, feeding the baby raw bread dough helping me make bread, peeing everywhere but in the toilet building my character about laundry, demanding pie for breakfast teaching me to mean no when I say no and just overall being lively, energetic healthy kids.

And now that my energy is back up to normal, I think I can handle it from here quite easily... as long as no body else gets sick!

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Magic, Mold and Markers

I really have no reason to blog today. No subject to talk about. Nothing to expound on.


I am still reeling from the stench of cleaning a disgusting, slimy, moldy, brown, black, gooey floor drain in the basement. While smelling the mouse pee wafting on the stale breeze in the basement. While stuffing 3 rotting mops (that sat too close to the fermenting drain) into a garbage pale with a cloud of flies swarming the air.

After pouring straight bleach on the drain and the floor near the vicinity of the drain and mentally complimenting my kids for their kindness to one another while I worked on such an awful job and thanking the Lord for such sweet children and thinking how wonderful it was going to be to have one of those "extra and unexpected jobs" done for the day.

Yeah, it was after all that, that I came upstairs for a few more cleaning supplies to find:

2 kids

A black magic marker

Art work


My hope chest. (the design resembled a gun. A very science fiction-post modern design.)

The white tray on Janae's doll high chair. (a 3-year-old's attempt at a star. It had about 6 cool points.)

A pale pink Little Tykes chair. (the design was similar to one of those activity book mazes and/or the way an electric stove's coil is shaped.)

Did you know they call it Permanent Black Magic Marker for a reason? I'm still trying to figure the magic part out because it was anything but magical. Definitely Permanent. Definitely Black. Definitely Markered. But definitely no Magic.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Directional Dialogue

In The Good Life state of Nebraska, I seem to be directionally deprived. I can take the winding, hilly, swampy, wooded roads of Wisconsin that make absolutely no sense (what's the difference between County Rd. S and County Rd. SS?) but when it comes to the square mile grid road system of Nebraska, I need a GPS and a compass and a cell phone.

Today was no different.

Toby asked me if I wanted to go out for supper tonight with him. That was not even a question in my book. But since he seemed to be waiting for an answer, I said yes. He said I'd have to pick him up from work. And since I'd be skipping the entire hassle of making supper just to pick my husband up from work, no big deal, right?


There are two things Toby and I do not agree on or see eye to eye on.

Number 1: (we have the next 60 years to figure out what this one is.)

Number 2: Directions.

We just don't agree on directions. When he gives me driving directions, they make no sense. When I tell him that he is not making sense, he doesn't agree with me.

I asked him for the directions to his work site today. Suddenly, peeling potatoes and making fresh french bread and stuffing a chicken seemed so much easier than they normally do.

He told me he was working in Bennett. And, thanks to, I know where Bennett is. Our backyard fire pit comes from Bennett, NE.

So, if he is working in Bennett, this should be easy, right? Wrong.

"The road that goes through Bennett, take that straight south out of town," he said.

Okay, that was a mistake right there. We have no compass in our van. I do not know which direction south-out-of-Bennett is.

"Would that be hwy 2?" I asked him, trying to verify the correct road.

"No," he said. "Here's what you do..." he began his directions. "Take Hwy 77 to Roka Road which it actually has an exit off the highway. Take that road until it "t's" -- it should be just a short way down. Turn right and then turn left on that road and go six or seven miles. Then there's a high way -- we're not sure if it's 43 or 143 but it's a paved road and you turn east there. Your goal is to keep going east. There's a road... uh... 148th street and the highway is a mile past there. Just stay on the paved road. Watch for the Douglas sign which will tell you to turn left but turn right towards Stagecoach. The house number is xxxxx -- which actually honey, if you look up Google maps, you can see a picture of the guy's house."

"Um, yeah.... uh, okay, uh, well...ummmm..." I said, trying to decipher the ink I had just transcribed from the telephone onto a piece of paper.

"That's it. That's how you get here," he told me, as if that clarified everything on my scribbled piece of paper.

"Okay, so when I turn off hwy 77," I began the direction re-run, "Which way do I turn?"

"The road "t's" a short way down and you turn right there," he replied, completely not answering my question.

I tried again, "Yeah, but off of Hwy 77, which way do I t...."

He cut me off and answered, "Oh, you go east there -- you want to keep going east."

"Yeah, but east is which direction?" I needed clarification.

"Uh, that would be left, honey," he answered, in a tone that said I should know that already.

"Okay so then after I turn on Roka road and I go left, the road t's and I turn right, which road am I turning on when I turn left again and how far down is that?" I asked, trying to make as much understandable sense as I could.

"Well, you just stay on Roka road and follow that," was his answer.

"So that road I turn left on shortly after the Roka road "t's" is actually Roka road again?" I clarified.

"Yeah, I think so. Something like that. It's like a quarter-of-a-mile or a half-a-mile down that road before you turn left," he answered.

(Meanwhile I'm creating a mental image in my head trying to get a aerial view of the road system at this intersection.)

"Okay, gotcha," I responded.

"Now this highway," I began into another chapter of this complicated directional dialogue, "is it highway 43 or highway 143 or highway 148?"

"I. Don't. Know. Honey," he answered, enunciating every word.

"Okay so then where does this 148 number come in?" I asked, wondering if this was another one of his land marks.

"The Unknown Highway is a mile past 148th street," he explained. "Just stay on the paved roads," he repeated again.

And then I remembered that when Toby gives directions, he uses more land marks than street intersections. He uses land marks found 2 miles down the road behind a paint peeling barn sitting on a rusty tractor. He uses houses 3 blocks over to give you a reference point to the house he is working on that day. He uses everything as landmarks. And he always says north, south east and west instead of left or right..."That tractor west of the barn is facing south of where the house on the east side of the street sits."

I looked again at my directions, trying to make sense of them.

"You know honey," Toby began, "If you would just write it down as I tell you, then you'd have the directions." (as if I hadn't thought of that already...)

I almost choked. "Uh, honey? I write them down completely as you tell me but that doesn't help at all... believe me."

As I hung up, I was trying to figure out what Bennett Nebraska had to do with this job site since it was never mentioned in the directions and how much driving time should be allowed to get to this place and how would I know if I was on the right road that he had no name for but I was supposed to drive it for 6-7 miles. I noticed the screen on my phone and saw that it took him 10 minutes to tell me how to get to this place and I still had no clue how to get there.

And then I decided that since we agree on pretty much everything besides directions, I would do my part and eliminate that one thing. Of course I can't technically agree with him on this because if I don't understand how to get to a place he is directing me to, no amount of agreeableness will get me to his job site, unfortunately.

I'll eliminate the problem altogether, I decided. I came up with two solutions:

Number 1: Never go to the job site

Number 2: Get a GPS

Number 1 is really not an option. I mean, I am a loving wife, he is a loving husband. We like to see each other and spend time together like loving couples do. Especially if it involves eating supper out.

Now, if I get the GPS, I will not tell him I have it because I want him to still give me directions. I'll write them down, say, "Yeah, Yeah, Yeah, Okay perfect. Those directions are great. We should have no problem getting there. You are so smart honey" the whole way through his complicated directional dialogue.

So, yeah. This GPS will be an investment in our marriage. A tool to keep communication open. A program to unify our direction conversations. A practical system to keep us on the same road (pun). A time saving technique because he won't have to spend 10 minutes telling me how to get to a job site that will take probably only 20 minutes to drive. A way to help us understand each other better.

And we will never have to disagree again because there won't be anything to argue about since the GPS will be responsible for me getting lost. Not my charming, loving, smart husband who I trust with all my heart and who was so kind to take me on a date... if I can find him sitting on a roof out in the middle of a cornfield somewhere in Nebraska.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

What Roofers Can't Do, Plumbers Can

We had this pipe in our basement. And it leaked more weeks than I wish to count for days. Dripping in our basement making a gigantic puddle causing some condensation, this pipe continued to drip. And drip. And drip. You know how pipes do that every once in awhile just to let a little pressure off because they're old?

Well, this pipe started dripping and like most pipes do, it continued dripping. For some reason, it is not a self correcting/sealing pipe.

So, considering the plumping expertise of the people that live in this house, we began utilizing an amazing feature. I mean seriously folks, I can't believe this plumbing repair option is not marketed yet. A person could really make a lot of money off advertising this, not to mention doing seminars, classes and home demonstrations.

What this Amazing Plumbing Repairs For Dummies involves is a strategically placed bucket that is positioned exactly in the precise angle and latitude and longitude of the impending drips coming from the invisible leak in the pipe. It takes quite a bit of concentration and investigating and calculating but once you do it a time or two, it is worth the effort.

My well experienced recommendation (and believe me, I have a lot of experience with this) would be to get several buckets and place them in the general vicinity of the drips. Although one bucket is better than none, several are better than one.

As mentioned already, this leak had been going on for several weeks a few days and the man of the house determined after some encouragement from his wife on his own that it was probably a good time to contact some professional help. AKA: plumber.

Of course, you can always hope that a leaky pipe will fix itself and I am pleased to say that we definitely gave this pipe time to heal his leak. We are such patient people, in fact, that we waited for a really long time. The Automated Reseal in the pipe just didn't happen.

Amazingly, the leak got worse. Instead of dumping the bucket a couple times a week, we were dumping it several times a day.

So the plumber came on Thursday and in no time flat, he has conquered the leaky pipe that was rotting the floor joists, growing mold up above it in the bathroom and sopping the basement floor with it's continual dripping.

Now, I hate to succumb to the "I told you so" mentality that often befalls those of us that "Told them so" but when "they" didn't listen and then it turns up that "I told you so" was right... well, the only thing you can say is, "I told you so."

What makes me refer to this is that prior to calling the plumber and prior to the plumber getting to our house and prior to finding mold in the bathroom, I had mentioned to the man of the house that perhaps he should just double check and make sure this wasn't a homeowner repair job. Toby had already decided on that and thought it would be wise to personally investigate the leak because you know how a person hates to pay an unnecessary plumbing bill, right?

My dear, brave husband checked it out one day and diagnosed the problem as an Overspilling Copper Dilemma (OCD). Considering he does not have the tools for OCD (such as a torch and other copper repairing tools), he deemed the plumber invasion a wise idea.

"You know how I am with plumbing, honey," he said. To which I calculated in my head: Toby + Plumbing = Disaster. This mental picture had built so vividly above my head that Toby could see it too so I had to immediately delete that explicit picture and say, "Leaky Roofs + Toby = Paradise." He breathed a sigh of relief to know that I am still the cheerleader for the team he's on.

Bob the Plumber is a really nice guy. He really is. Once he took pity on me and our snake filled yard and he told me how he had hit a snake with his own lawn mower and never had snakes in his yard again. I took his advice. It worked. This guy knows his stuff. And Thursday was no exception.

He had a truck full of copper fittings and copper pipes and copper this and copper that so he was ready. Entering the house armed with a flashlight, he went right downstairs to the problem. Within no time, he was upstairs and in the bathroom.

His diagnosis?

Well, you know that pipe-tube-thingy that attaches your toilet to the water supply right behind the toilet? Yeah, go look in your bathroom and you'll see what I mean. That gray/silver (depending on the year it was made) pipe-tube-thingy had malfunctioned. So as the water entered the toilet, some of it slipped out and ran down the OUTSIDE of the tube-pipe-thingy and followed down through the narrow hole in the floor drilled just for accommodating that tube-pipe-thingy and then it dripped downstairs into our Bucket Invention right past that OCD copper pipe.

The repair plan?

Unscrew the tube-pipe-thingy
Toss in bathroom trash can
Screw in new tube-pipe-thingy
And then empty that bucket in the basement one last time.

I looked at Toby and smirked smiled gleefully lovingly but didn't say a thing. I could tell what he was thinking.

The mold is gone. The basement is dry. The pipe-tube-thingy gleams a bright shiny silver behind the toilet. So pretty. It feels good to have such a modern upgrade in our old house.