Tuesday, December 30, 2008

End of the Year Meme. I’m Entitled.

I found this meme at Posh Totty’s. Her blog is one that I have found through Entrecard and I really enjoy reading it. Plus, she gave me a meme and you know how I love memes.

1. What did you do in 2008 that you’d never done before? Rented a vacation house and invited my parents to go on vacation with us.


2. Did you keep your new years’ resolutions, and will you make more for next year? I don’t “do” New Years and that would include resolutions. If you want to do something, make up your mind to do it. The time of year shouldn’t matter.


3. Did anyone close to you give birth? ... Not that I can think of.


4. Did anyone close to you die? ... I lost a friend this year.


5. What countries did you visit? ... Just the United States for me but I did a bit of travelling this year. We visited the Outer Banks and I flew out to California. I also drove out to Asheville, NC which was neat.


6. What would you like to have in 2009 that you lacked in 2008? ... Peace of mind. I’m tired of being stressed out about everything.


7. What date from 2008 will remain etched upon your memory, and why? ... I’m not good with dates. My trip to California and my Outer Banks vacation are very fond memories and the high points of my year.


8. What was your biggest achievement of the year? ... I got a job and found out that I’m good at more than just cooking and cleaning.

9. What was your biggest failure? ... The whole VT house thing.


10. Did you suffer illness or injury? ... Nope. I had a touch of some sort of flu but that only lasted a couple days. No biggie.

11. What was the best thing you bought? ... Probably the Scion. We needed a second car and I love driving it.

Where’d 12 and 13 go??


14. Where did most of your money go? ... Bills.


15. What did you get really, really, really excited about? ... My trip to California. I think I was probably more excited about that then our Outer Banks vacation. I miss California and Jennifer so much.

16. What song will always remind you of 2008? ... Probably Hot and Cold by Kate Perry because they play it so much on the radio these days.

17. This one was missing so I’m making up my own question:  Do you have a plan of attack for 2009?  Yes. As a matter of fact we do! ;)


18. Compared to this time last year, are you richer or poorer? ... Definitely poorer, lol. All of our spare cash has been sunk into the VT house and the soap business. We’re lucky to be able to pay bills at the rate we’re going. You gotta spend money to make it though, right?


19. What do you wish you’d done more of? ... I wish that I had gone to the beach more. I never relax and I relax best at the beach.


20. What do you wish you’d done less of? ... Stressing out and whining about my stress.


21. How did you spend Christmas? ... We spent a very quiet Christmas at home with just the four of us. It was nice, peaceful, and we had a good time. Have I mentioned yet that the Mister got me a new iPod Touch for Christmas??? I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!


22. Did you fall in love in 2008? ... Nah. I’m still in love with the same man I’ve been in love with for 13 years. He’s the best.

23. Is gone too. Hmm. I’ll fill in:  What’s your biggest regret of 2008? Moving. By far. We should have stayed put in our other house. A nicer house doesn’t make everything better and our other house was in a better neighborhood with better neighbors and it was sans a Home Owners Butt-Into-Your-Business-and-Then-Publicize-it-on-the-Internet Association.


24. What was your favourite TV program? ... Grey’s, Dexter, The Tudors, The Shield, Psych, The Big Bang Theory, BSG, Californication, Two and a Half Men, and tons others.


25. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year? ... Not really. You would think that I’d say the VT renters, but I hated them this time last year too. I really don’t care for the people that the Mister works with and for, but I wouldn’t say that I hate them. I’d like to beat on them a little though and maybe give them instructions on how to pull their heads out of their asses.


26. What was the best book you read? ... My Marie Antoinette book. Gosh! I really loved that book. I’m still in the middle of reading her biography.


27. What was your greatest musical discovery? ... Rehab I suppose and the new Alanis Morissette CD.


28. What did you want and get? ... An iPod Touch, a job, a new digital camera, a family vacation, to see California and Jennifer again, to have one more year with my dad, to be healthy and for the hubs and the girls to be healthy.


29. What did you want and not get? ... I want for the VT house to go away. I want for the Marine Corps to not be so stupid. I want to find a decent school for the youngest child. What did I get instead? Stupid people.


30. What was your favourite film of this year? ... I have no idea. I wasn’t in the mood to watch movies this year. I think the only movie I saw this year that I hadn’t already seen was 30 Days and Nights which was pretty good. It didn’t follow the regular formula for a horror flick.


31. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you? ... I was 31 on my birthday and we didn’t do a whole lot for it. Dinner out I think.


32. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? ... To be able to tell all the stupid people in my life exactly how stupid they are. Unfortunately, the Mister won’t let me go into work with him to do that, heheh. I did get to tell the VT idiots what I thought about them though which was pretty darn cool.

33. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2008? ... Ha!! I haven’t had a fashion concept my entire life unless you count comfy jeans, t-shirts, and sandals.

34. What kept you sane? ... Blogging. Truly. I can only imagine how many readers I’ve lost due to my rotten year and my constant griping about it. ::shrug:: That’s life.


35. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most? ... Nobody. They’re all insane too.


36. What political issue stirred you the most? ... I don’t mix well with politics. I can’t really think of an issue that I was passionate about this year even with the elections.


37. Who did you miss? ... My dad, my sister,the girls when they were in Ohio, Jennifer, Josh, Dana. I’m sure there are others that I’m forgetting considering that all my friends and family live somewhere else.


38. Who was the best new  person you met? ... Peggy. She got me my job and has thrown new ones my way. I wish nothing but the best for her.


39. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2008: ... I don’t think I learned anything new so much as I had lessons reaffirmed and beat into me:  Stick to your guns, don’t let people take advantage of you, there’s a such thing as being too nice, the size of your town doesn’t matter because there are idiots everywhere.

40. Quote a song lyric that sums up your year:
... I’m drawing a blank. The only thing that comes to mind is, “Cuz it’s a bitch to grow up.” While I believe that, it doesn’t sum up the year. Or, “Bring on the tequila,” but I don’t think I had one drop of tequila this whole year. Those are both Alanis songs just so ya know.  How about, “You PMS like a bitch. I would know.” That doesn’t apply either but I like it.

Monday, December 29, 2008

I Have a Story to Tell

I’ve been saving this story for a few days. I thought it’d be a great after Christmas tale for everyone to enjoy.

Let me take you back to December 23rd. The setting is a dingy office on a Marine Corps base in North Carolina. We have a bunch of Marines and their wives and children gathered for their shop Christmas party. Everybody has brought a dish to share (They were required to do so. Remember the bread I stayed up until 2 am baking??), and there are toys and games for the kids. It’s a pretty good time overall despite the fact that it is “mandatory fun”.

In the midst of the kids running around and all of the joking, a certain Staff Sergeant suggested to a Corporal that he shoot the Warrant Officer with a Nerf gun. It’s the type kids have been playing with for generations where the “arrows” have suction cups on the ends. You all know what I’m talking about, I’m sure. Anyway, the Corporal takes aim at the Warrant Officer and misses. Not so sure what his poor aim says about him as a Marine, lol. Upon his failure with the “gun” the Corporal takes an arrow and sticks it to the Warrant Officer’s forehead. This embarrasses the Warrant Officer due to the fact that his audience is family members and he berates the younger Marine as is his right. In all fairness, the Corporal stepped over the line when he physically put the arrow on the Warrant Officers person. The incident puts a damper on the afternoon, but everyone goes home early for the day which is a nice privilege during the holiday season.

Christmas Eve: All the Marines have to check out for their holiday leave at 0800 the next morning. They dutifully arrive as ordered however, all is not as it seems. Apparently, the Warrant Officer’s pride was injured more than everyone thought and he has now decided to bring the Corporal up on charges for the Nerf incident at the Christmas party. This means that the Staff Sergeant is also in trouble for putting the Corporal up to the prank in the first place. Additionally, because none of the other Staff Sergeants present stepped up to stop the Corporal, they are potentially looking at a negative report in their files as well. Marines are mind readers in case you didn’t know. Comes in real handy in a war zone.

To sum it up, a Corporal’s career is going to be ruined because of a toy at a Christmas party and all the Staff Sergeants are looking at formal reprimands in their permanent records as well. Because…of…a…toy. True story. I can’t say, “The End” because it’s not over yet. We’re still waiting to see how much trouble everyone is going to be in.

It’s such bull. If they want a professional atmosphere where everyone can hide behind their ranks, they shouldn’t have Christmas parties at the shop. Work should be work and play should be play. I really can’t believe that this is an issue at all. This guy is making such a big deal over a toy, making himself look like a whiny baby, he put a damper on everyone’s Christmas, and he beat the crap out of the shop morale so there isn’t any. All because of a toy. A TOY!! A child’s toy. I can’t wrap my head around it. It’s pure stupidity and it lacks any common sense that an adult should possess. It would totally be a different story if the Marine had stuck the arrow on the Warrant Officer’s head out of the blue, in the middle of a normal workday. He didn’t though! This was at a Christmas PARTY where there were kids running around and toys and food everywhere. Get a grip.

Now it may be a bit clearer as to why the decision to walk away after 12 years and a $26,000 reenlistment bonus has been so hard to make and no, the decision hasn’t officially been made yet.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Soap Making. It’s a Business

The Mister and I are very enthusiastic and excited about our new business venture. Aside from running my consulting business, which I sort of fell into, we’ve never tried this and it has turned into quite an adventure. I’d like to take you all on an excursion into what it has been like for us so far.

This idea was born from somebody else’s tragedy. Jennifer had bought handmade soaps for me as a birthday gift a couple years ago and I immediately fell in love. Handmade, natural soaps have a thicker, richer lather, they smell better, and they moisturize better. Plus, they are made from ingredients that you can pronounce and oftentimes find in your own kitchen. Unfortunately, the woman that Jennifer bought the soaps from, her business burned to the ground in the California wildfires of early 2008. Sadly, she decided to sell off the last of her stock (I was fortunate enough to be in California at the time and scoop myself up a few bars, heheh) and close up shop for good. I tried to find somebody else to buy soaps from but they were either too expensive or I didn’t like them for their smell and their ingredients. I figured that if I couldn’t find what I wanted, I should try making it myself. Thus, our journey began.

The Mister thought it was an excellent idea as well and we proceeded to buy every soap making and small business book we could find. This led to extensive research into oils, colorants, scents, additives, and the steps necessary to start a home-based business. I recently posted about how my weekends are pretty much like my weekdays because we don’t get a break anymore. The soap business is why. We have devoted the majority of our spare time and money into getting ready. With the VT house drama, we’ve had a tougher time getting started than we might have otherwise, but it’s been something positive to focus on and probably what has kept the paddy wagon at bay, lol.

We’ve had a few setbacks with botched recipes and experiments but it has been a learning process and even the setbacks have been positive lessons learned. Most of all, it’s FUN! Once you put aside the fear of working with sodium hydroxide, mixing ingredients and experimenting with different scents and additives is exciting.

Here are a few pictures from our most recent batch. I won’t include everything that goes into our process so as to not give away our secrets, heheh, but you’ll get the general idea of what it’s like and how much work goes into it. This is a eucalyptus/spearment bar colored with spirulina which is what gives the soap it’s green color. Without colorants, our soap tends to be a butter-yellow color which is nice, but we don’t want all our soap looking the same.

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This is the lye mixture. It’s made from sodium hydroxide and distilled water. What’s really cool about this is that when the sodium hydroxide reacts with the water, it heats up to over 200 degrees Fahrenheit. It’s very important to use cold water because hot water would make the reaction even hotter and dangerous. It’s also important to wear an apron, long sleeves, gloves, and eye protectors because this solution will burn your skin pretty severely.

After the lye solution cools to between 90 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit, we combine it with our choice oils and butters which have also been melted and heated to between 90 and 130 degrees Fahrenheit.

 

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Some batches we use one or two oils and others three, four, or even more. Which oils and butters you use and in which quantities determine the hardness, the quality of lather, and the moisturizing effects it has on the skin.

 

 

 

After mixing the lye and oil to what is called trace, we add in scents, colorants, and other additives such as ground flower petals, oatmeal, or even coffee. So many different things can be added to a cold process (that’s the way we make our soap) soap batter that the possibilities are limited only by our imagination. Well, that and our bank account, heheh. Essential oils that we use to scent our soaps can be really expensive.

After adding in the last ingredients, the soap batter is then poured into molds. Again, the shape of molds and the materials used (as long as they can withstand high temperatures without melting) provide many different opportunities for your imagination. We, however, have chosen to use wooden molds and to cut our soap into bars. I like the rustic, natural look of them rather than shaped molds such as seashells or flowers, etc.

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This is a simple, wooden box mold that the Mister made for us to use. It is big enough to hold two batches of our soap. Each batch makes 30 bars. The soap batter has to be left to harden for 24 hours before being removed from the mold. This also allows for the saponification process to complete which is the process the lye and oils go through to become soap. After 24 hours, we remove the soap from the mold in one flat bar and then cut it into smaller bars to package and sell.

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We have chosen to use a drywall putty knife thingy that we bought at a hardware store. It probably has an actual name but I can’t think of what it is at the moment. All I know is that it works wonders when cutting soap. We tried using an actual knife but this gives better control and also makes it so that I cut the bars straight, heheh.

 

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As you can see, they are a little rough looking. In about four weeks after the soap has gone through its curing process, we will take a block planer to them and make them prettier. Not too much though because I don’t want them to lose their rustic naturalness. We just want to give them a little uniformity.

 

And there you have it. From start to finish, the whole process takes about four weeks which is why we are constantly trying out new recipes and making new batches. It takes a while to build up our stock.

We will be open for business shortly. We need to take care of a few technical details and wait for our stock to cure and then we’ll be set to take orders. It’s scary but it’s a good scary. What’s life without a few risks?

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

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Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from my family to you and your loved ones.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Back to Normal (Updated with Pictures)

I’m done Christmas shopping!! Woot! Shopping crowds weren’t that bad but traffic was horrible. People have no brains sometimes. I think I did okay for the Mister. The girls seem happy with what we picked out.

We did some holiday baking last night. The girls and I made cookies with Hershey Kisses in the middle. I’m not sure what they are called but my grandma used to make them every year and they make me feel good to see them. Plus, they’re just yummy. The Mister decided to bake wheat rolls which are also a holiday tradition in my family. He has his shop Christmas party today and that was his contribution. HOWEVER!!! He didn’t estimate the baking time correctly so I ended up staying up until 2 in the morning baking bread that I didn’t even get to eat.

It is COLD here. And I mean normal people cold. It’s been getting down in the 20’s overnight. Sunday, I had my air conditioning running in the morning and then the heat on at night. Craziness.

Plans for the day include wrapping presents and more baking. We have to make buckeyes and turtles. Besides gaining 500 pounds, we’re going to be in a sugar coma, lol. Buckeyes are traditional though. If you’re from Ohio, you make buckeyes. If you’re from Ohio and you don’t make buckeyes, it’s just wrong and you should be tied up and dropped off in Michigan. Turtles are a new Christmas tradition for us. The Mister and I saw the recipe on the back of a package of caramel swirl chips and have been making them for several years now. They are YUMMY! I can only stand to eat about a 1” x 1” piece at a time though they’re so rich.

We’re also probably going to make a batch of soap today too. The UPS man delivered a bunch of new additives yesterday and we’re anxious to try them out.

Okay. I’m off to do one of the things I said that I need to do today, heheh.

**Updates**

Pam asked what buckeyes are so I thought I’d post pictures. It occurred to me that most people don’t know what they are unless you’re from Ohio, heheh.

buckeyes

These are buckeyes, the candy, that you can purchase from The Party Shop should you desire to do so. They really are very yummy. Much like a peanut butter cup.

 

 

 

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This is an actual buckeye nut from the tree. See the similarity to the candy?

Monday, December 22, 2008

Down to the Wire

Counting today, we only have three shopping days left until Christmas. This is not helpful information to me. I still haven’t shopped for the Mister yet. Remember how I said he’s hard to shop for? Well, he is!! When I ask him what he wants, he replies that he doesn’t want anything. Is that helpful or what? I only have two things in mind as of right now. Grr! Ugh! Phhft!! I’m hoping I’ll be inspired when I’m fighting the crowds today

As for the girls, I’m completely done shopping for them. I think they’re going to make out pretty good this year. Their gifts from my dad haven’t even arrived yet so they’ll be getting more presents on top of what they’ve already gotten from us and their other grandparents.

Okay. Now I’m anxious to get out there and get this over with. I’m gonna jet. Short post for you all today.

Wait a minute, wait a minute. This post was on topic too. I need to be careful before I start making this a trend.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Opinions

I have been an Entrecard dropper, off and on, for some time now. It generates a lot of traffic (yeah, I realize these are meaningless stats), but more importantly, I have found a lot of awesome blogs to read. Probably 50% or more of my RSS subscriptions have come from Entrecard discoveries.

I also realize that the general opinion of this medium is mixed. I figure it’s about 50/50 from what I’ve read around the Net. Some people think that the traffic generated by dropping is empty, pointless clicking. People don’t actually visit your blog to read it, they simple do so to drop their card. Others think that it generates legitimate traffic and is worth the effort. My opinion? I think Entrecard has it’s place, but don’t put too much stock in your inflated statistics. I also think that if the only reason you blog is so that you can be giddy about the number of hits you get a day, you’re blogging for the wrong reason and will eventually get burned out and quit at some point.

I make it a point to read something off of every blog on which I drop a card. Okay. Maybe I skim a little faster on the blogs that are political, but I at least glance around. Like I said, I have found many great new blogs to read through dropping. I also think that actually reading the blogs is a way to make Entrecard work for you. If you read someone’s blog and leave comments, they are more likely to reciprocate. Blogging friendships are formed in this way.

Card dropping is also an excellent time waster. I spend many a morning zoning out while dropping cards. It’s therapeutic. It’s something to think about rather than contemplating how much weight the ceiling fan will hold. Ha. Just joking. It really is a good way to while away the time though.

Anyway, I hope people aren’t too judgmental about Entrecard. It’s fun, it’s harmless, and you get to meet fabulous bloggers along the way. And no. This isn’t a paid advertisement. It’s merely my opinion such as it is.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Feeling Pretty Good

No. Things are still far from settled with the VT house. We got bad news about it Monday and more bad news today. It never seems to stop. However, I’ve pushed it to the backburner in my mind. Maybe not the healthiest or wisest thing to do, but at least I get through the day without crying and I’m now looking forward to Christmas. Call it a defense mechanism. I don’t really care.

One reason I’m feeling pretty good is that FedEx delivered my new digital camcorder yesterday. It’s the one that I won in that contest. It is SO SMALL. I mean, it’s just slightly bigger than my digital camera. I need to take some video that I can share so you guys can see what it can do but I have no idea what to shoot. Maybe I’ll record the dogs playing or something.

Another reason I’m jolly is that we got a bunch of new soap additives yesterday. We started out buying stuff commercially from local stores but these ingredients we bought wholesale from suppliers. It really makes you feel like you’re in business when you can by wholesale, plus it’s way cheaper. It was another exciting step in our business venture. Also, I found someone that would be willing to design our website at a discount from his normal $50/hour corporate rate. Now I need to figure out how I want it to look and what elements I want on it. I’ve never designed a for real website before so I’m a bit intimidated.

Another reason I’m in such a good mood is that the Mister and I just about finished up our Christmas shopping for the girls last night. I still have a few odds and ends that I want to pick up, but the major gifts are bought. Yay!! That’s relatively early for us, lol. We are very much the last minute shoppers. As it is, I’ll be up late wrapping gifts on Xmas Eve. I know me. I will.

My last bit of feel goodness is that tomorrow is my last day of work for two weeks. That’s right. I’m taking vacation. I have a feeling that I’ll start missing it after a few days, but I’ll survive, heheh.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Today is the Day

I’m wondering how observant my readers are. I updated my blogger profile so that it better reflects what I’m all about these days. Did anyone notice a very interesting (at least I think it is) addition? Take a look to the left and pay special attention to the “running a soap business” part. Yup. The Mister and I are starting up a handmade, all natural soap making business. It’s been in the works for some time and it’s been really hard keeping it a secret, lol. We wanted to wait until we were just about ready to open shop before we said anything. I didn’t want to jinx it.

Last night we popped out our first bit of inventory out of our soap mold. It was a very exciting moment. We’ve been experimenting with recipes, additives, scents, etc., for a while so it wasn’t our first batch but it is our first batch that is sellable. It still has to cure for four weeks so we’re not “open for business” just yet. But we’re SO CLOSE!! Jennifer S. is going in on our business with us because she has a lot of experience operating a business and buying and selling. She’s going to distribute our soap out on the west coast. She also has a lot of great ideas.

I’ve reserved our blog space, both on Blogger and on WordPress, and I’ve also reserved our domain space and e-mail address. Our company’s name, Coastal Natural Soap was born out of the search for an available domain name, lol. Plus, “Coastal” is a good word considering that we live on the coast and so does Jennifer (basically). Coming up with the name was, by far, the hardest part. In the beginning, I was afraid of working with the sodium hydroxide, which is necessary to make lye. Turns out, that was easier than figuring out what to call ourselves, heheh.

Anyway, other than a very select few people that are closest to us, you guys are the first to know. We’ll be giving out samples once the soap has cured. Just a heads up. ;) Everything in our soap is all natural including scents, colorants, and all additives. We’ll be using everything from cocoa powder to kelp and algae to color our soap and we only use essential oils for scents.

Our blog addresses are:

http://coastalnaturalsoaps.blogspot.com/

http://coastalnaturalsoaps.wordpress.com/

Our website is www.coastalnaturalsoap.com

There isn’t anything at any of these sites, YET, except for “coming soon” messages but you should bookmark them and subscribe to our RSS feeds so you can be kept up to date.

It’s been really fun and exciting getting to this point and I hope you will all read along and be a part of our newest adventure. Hopefully, you’ll also become loyal customers, heheh!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Where I’m At

One of these days, I’ll post an entire post that’s about just one thing. Today is not that day.

We found out something yesterday that made us laugh. We still know one recruiter up in Vermont that the Mister worked with while we lived there. Interestingly enough, this Marine’s grandparents live at the end of our road and are acquainted with The Tenants. He and the Mister talk about once a week so he’s all up to date on our drama. He told the Mister yesterday on the phone that The Tenants have been telling his grandparents that we all of a sudden, out of the blue decided to kick them out a month before Christmas. LMAO!! I seriously got a good laugh over that. He also told the Mister that Peter, one of the tenants, used to work for his grandpa at a maple syrup factory in Vermont. He had to fire him after a week because Peter was lazy. Fine, upstanding people, aren’t they?

Another funny:  That picture in my post from the other day, well, it was the notice I received from the youngest child’s school about her attendance. I thought it was an 8 in the tardy slot and really flipped my lid. I called the school and after they did some investigating, was informed it was a zero with a line through it. Either I can’t read or they can’t write on top of not being able to spell or use proper grammar.

I finished up my work with my new client. It was just a temporary thing where I helped her put together a holiday gift guide for her blog. It was very satisfying to help out another mom and to have the project completed. It was also a little bit strange to have access to someone else’s blog and to get paid for blogging, lol. Strange but good.

If you need gift ideas for girls or women, specifically moms, I highly recommend that you check out her guide. It has lots of fabulous ideas. She also runs MANY giveaways. Here are the links:

Gift Guide Button pink_givbutton

Monday, December 15, 2008

Turn That Frown Upside Down

I used to look forward to weekends. Saturday and Sunday were days to sleep in, relax, and be lazy. Recently, well I suppose it’s been since we’ve moved, weekends are pretty much like any other day of the week. Other than sleeping in a bit, we are busy every moment of both days. This past weekend went by so fast that it was a blur. Maybe things will slow down after the holidays. One can hope.

The Mister told me this morning that he’s putting in for his pre-deployment leave. Up until he said that, it didn’t seem real. Now it surely does. With pre-deployment workups and then the actual time that he’ll be gone, he’s going to miss both of the girls’ birthdays, my birthday, our 13th anniversary, and possibly Thanksgiving. He’ll be gone for some other holidays as well, but those are the big ones. Out of all of that, I’ll be really upset if he misses Thanksgiving. In all the time that we’ve been together, through his training, Japan, and other stuff, we’ve only missed having Thanksgiving together one time and that was while he was in boot camp. It’s our favorite holiday. But, I know we’ve been lucky so I’m only whispering my whine just a little bit.

I got my first spam comment in a long time over the weekend. If it becomes a trend, I’ll be turning the word verification back on. Why do people have to spam? They’re bigger lowlifes than telemarketers and collections agencies.

Gosh. I’ve just been a barrel of laughs lately. I just sat here for ten minutes staring at the screen trying to come up with something frivolous and lighthearted to say and nothing came to mind. I suck.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Totally Random Hodgepodge

I just read Pam’s meme at her blog, 30 Something, and realized that I did know the names of all the reindeer. For some reason, I thought there were 12. When I realized I was right about the names and wrong about the number, it made me lol.

I turned my phone off this morning for about three hours. I don’t like to turn my phone off during the day with the kids in school, but I needed the quiet. That’s the longest I’ve gone without hearing my phone ring for weeks. I felt tranquil. SEE WHAT I MEAN!! My phone rang in the middle of that sentence and it was the VT plumber. He couldn’t find the road, lol.

Does anyone else watch Private Practice? I started watching it last year because I’m a big Grey’s Anatomy fan. I was really lukewarm about it last year too. I didn’t hate it. It had funny stuff and medical stuff and I liked the characters, but it wasn’t a “must see” show for me at all. This year, I’m much more into it. I love the Charlotte character. She’s spunky. It’s still not up there with my most favorite shows, but I’d miss it if it got cancelled.

Check this out:

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What is the written number on the line? Take a guess. I’m curious to see what you guys think it is.

After feeling blasé about almost all of my recent reads, I have finally found a novel that I don’t want it to be over. I posted a little about it the other day, the Marie Antoinette book. I am so in love with this book and this story. When I finish it, I’m going to read a biography that I have on Marie Antoinette. There was a movie made based on the biography. I caught a snippet of it on TV a while back and turned it after less than five minutes. They played that song, “I Want Candy” in a period film. Am I the only one that thinks modern music in a period film sounds terribly out of place and ruins the mood? 

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Get in the Freaking Spirit

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags?
Wrapping paper.
2. Real tree or Artificial?
I prefer a real tree for the smell and I think it makes the holiday more special. However, it would be much easier and cleaner to have an artificial tree.
3. When do you put up the tree?
Because we get a real tree, we get one in mid-December so that it doesn’t dry up and will last until January.
4. When do you take the tree down?
I prefer to take stuff down New Years Day, but don’t sweat it as long as it’s down by the end of January, lol.
5. Do you like eggnog?
I haven’t had eggnog for years. I’m not sure if I like it or not anymore.
6. Favorite gift received as a child?
Geez. I don’t remember. I really liked getting my first Cabbage Patch Kid. That’s about all I can think of.
7. Hardest person to buy for?
The Mister. He never wants anything and when he does it’s things like airplanes and I’m not talking the model variety.
8. Easiest person to buy for?
The youngest child. She’s happy and appreciative of anything you get for her.
9. Do you have a nativity scene?
Nope.
10. Mail or email Christmas cards?
If I send them out at all (this is a year I’ll probably skip. Sorry.) I send them in the mail. As much as I am an advocate for technology, e-mail is not the mode to send Christmas cards.
11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received?
A Bart Simpson doll when I was a teenager. 1.) I was too old for that kind of gift. 2.) I hate The Simpsons. (Sorry Jennifer)
12. Favorite Christmas Movie?
I like A Christmas Story, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, The Santa Clause, Home Alone 1, and a White Christmas.
13. When do you start shopping for Christmas?
December. I’m sucky at shopping early.
14. Have you ever recycled a Christmas present?
Nope.
15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas?
Ham and gravy. YUMMO!!!
16. Lights on the tree?
White.
17. Favorite Xmas song?
I like them all except for Little Drummer Boy and Silent Night.
18. Travel at Christmas or stay home?
We stay home.
19. Can you name all of Santa’s reindeer?
I can only think of eight, nine if you count Rudolph.
20. Angel on the tree top or a star?
Star.
21. Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning?
Christmas morning.
22. Most annoying thing about this time of the year?
The crowds. At a time of year when everyone is supposed to be nice, people seem to be their most discourteous.
23. Favorite ornament theme or color?
I like all of our special ornaments like the girls’ first Christmas, etc. The ones that have meaning.
24. Favorite memory of Christmas?
Any of the Christmases spent at my grandparents with all of my cousins.
25. What do you want for Christmas this year?

For my kids to have a good Christmas.

I Try

I try not to post obsessively about this house thing, but stuff keeps happening and this is my outlet. Every time I think things are calming down, something new crops up and it’s never something good. The latest?

The pipes burst in the VT house yesterday. Yuppers. That’s my life. I’ve been desperately trying to get oil delivered since…I don’t remember when. Sometime last week. The Tenants completely drained the tank to the point where the furnace shut off. If you’re not familiar with heating with oil, you’re not supposed to let the tank get that low because sediment settles in the tank and it’s not good for that to get in the fuel line which is why we never let it get below a 1/4 of a tank. Anyway, after a couple scheduling snafus, the oil company was finally able to get out to the house yesterday to deliver oil. They were the ones that found water in the basement when they got there. Just lovely. And to top it off, my homeowners insurance won’t pay for any of it. Not the tenant damage, not the water damage. Nothing. I really need someone to explain to me why I pay for homeowners insurance at all. I honestly don’t get it. Oh. And that oil that came one day too late cost me $350.00 for 125 gallons that didn’t even fill my 275 gallon tank up. Why didn’t the price of oil go down with the price of gas?

People may be under the impression that because we own a house in Vermont and live in N.C. that we have money. Let me assure you, we don’t. Under normal circumstances, we have enough money to pay our bills, buy some extra stuff, and sock away what’s left in savings. Under normal circumstances, I enjoy our life and the things that we have. Since this house thing, money in savings is a distant memory, I’m paying utilities at two houses, I’m employing people to help out that I can’t afford, and my attorney’s bill increases on a daily basis. The situation is bleak and I’m angry and crying all the time. At least nobody has told me not to worry. At this point, that’d be the most pointless and useless advice that someone could give me.

The VT house has just about completely taken over my life. I’m constantly on the phone, on the Internet, sending e-mails, leaving messages, making appointments, and filling out paperwork. It’s almost become a full time job. This is the pie of my life:

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That purple piece takes place in during the 25 minutes I’m sitting in carpool and for maybe an hour in the evening after the kids go to bed. It’s depressing. I’m depressing. I just want it to be over. However it plays out, house in foreclosure, credit ruined, house successfully sold, whatever. I don’t really care so long as it’s done.

::Sigh:: Now I get to get off of here and call the youngest child’s school to see why she has 8 tardies. I have no freaking idea how she could be late to school when she rides the bus.

There are no comments for this post. Thanks anyway.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Hold on to Your Ears

Last night the oldest child had her first band concert. They sounded really good and I was such the proud parent. I had heard her class play in an informal concert some weeks ago and I could hear a definite improvement. What amazes me the most is that she wasn’t even the least bit nervous. Those are the times that I wonder if she’s really my daughter.

The Christmas Spirit is struggling to be found at my house this year. I don’t even have all my decorations up. I think this is the latest I’ve ever decorated for the holiday my entire life. Growing up, we always decorated on the Friday following Thanksgiving and I continued that tradition once I was married. Here it is, the 10th of December and I’m only about halfway done. We’re getting our Christmas tree this weekend, which is our usual time so that it will last until the end of the holiday season. I’m hoping that will bring about  a more festive mood.

I’m reading a new book that really helps with my mood. It’s titled Abundance:  A Novel of Marie Antoinette and it’s written by Sena Jeter Naslund. I love it! I was hooked after the very first chapter. I stayed up reading in bed until midnight last night, for which I paid the price this morning but it was totally worth it. Naslund has written several other books which I’m going to have to read when I’ve finished this one.

Happy Hump Day. ;)

Oh. And it’s 70 degrees in December. I’m loving that!

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

Being Ultra Picky and Snobby

I admit that I’m looking down my nose at this, but come on! This letter was sent home with the youngest from her teachers at school. Shouldn’t school teachers be able to spell????????

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Freaky!

Is this not the freakiest picture of the sky you have ever seen?

SkyPic1

I took this on the way to the oldest child’s school this morning.

And then this one:

SkyPic2

I took this one on the way home.

Isn’t it weird? I don’t think I’ve ever seen a weather system move in like that before. It literally blanketed the sky. It’s also bringing warmer temps with it strangely enough. We’re supposed to have highs in the 60’s today and the 70’s tomorrow.

Just thought I’d share.

Random Meme

I’ve had this saved in my “drafts” for weeks. I have no idea where I got it. Sorry.

What are your nicknames? I don’t have any nicknames unless you count Trish.

What TV gameshow or reality show would you like to be on? None that I can think of. I’m not a big reality show person.

What was the first movie you bought in VHS or DVD? My first VHS was Top Gun. I don’t remember what my first DVD was.

What is your favorite scent? I love Ralph Lauren’s Hot and Valentino.

If you had one million dollars to spend only on yourself, what would you spend it on? Just on myself? Books, sandals, makeup, gadgets. I don’t know what other frivolous stuff I’d buy myself with that much money.

What is one place you’ve visited, can’t forget and want to go back to?
NYC

Do you trust easily? I think I give people the benefit of the doubt more often than not. I really need to change that policy.

Do you generally think before you act, or act before you think?
I think before I act. I’m too analytical.

Is there anything that has made you unhappy these days?
I think this is obvious:  The VT house issues and miserable is more the word.

Do you have a good body image?
No.

What is your favorite fruit?
Apples, nectarines, raspberries, oranges, strawberries. I think it would be easier to list the fruits I don’t like.

What websites do you visit daily?
Twitter, iGoogle, Google Reader.

What have you been seriously addicted to lately? Nothing really. I haven’t had much of an appetite lately.

What’s the last song that got stuck in your head?
 I’m Yours by Jason Mraz and 1980 by Rehab. They’re ringtones on my phone and get stuck in my head all the time.

What is your favorite thing to wear? Lipgloss and my moonstone necklace.


Do you think Rice Krispies are yummy? They’re okay. I like them better as Rice Krispies Treats, lol.

What would you do if you saw $100 lying on the ground? See if I could fine the owner. If not, I’d spend it on Christmas presents.

What items couldn’t you go without during the day?
My computer, something to drink, the bathroom, clothes, my cell phones.

What should you be doing right now?
Checking to make sure the kids are actually getting ready for school and not vegging out in front of the tv instead.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Get Your Briefs On

I have a brief update for you all.

First of all, after I received that rather interesting voicemail from those people, I worried a little bit about the last e-mail that I sent them. So, I forwarded the whole conversation to my attorney and she assured me that I had done nothing illegal. That’s what I thought, but in situations like this, you can never be too sure.

Secondly, our property management guy, Ed, was able to get into the house through a window this morning. He reported that there was no major damage to the interior of the house. He said it needed a major cleaning, minor repairs, and paint throughout though. He also said that the yard is still a massive mess. They even left either a snow mobile or a 4 wheeler (can’t remember what Ed said it was) there. It also turns out that those people have a weird idea of what “vacated” means because Ed said that there was still wood smoldering in the fireplace this morning. Whatever. I’m waiting to hear back from my attorney about what I can do with their property that they left at the house and how soon I can have the locks changed. I’m hoping that she says today because Ed is on standby. If not, he’ll do it first thing in the morning.

Cleaning, repairs, and trash hauling isn’t cheap. You’re allowed to sue for up to $5,000 in small claims court and with court and legal fees, we’ll be pushing, if not exceeding, that max. I’ve never been to court before. I wonder if I can add a new outfit to their list of expenses, lol.

Now that I have a more complete idea of what I’m dealing with, I’m in a much better frame of mind. I haven’t cried since Saturday, lol.

Now, I’m off for lunch and then back to work. Oh. Did I mention that I’ve taken on a third client over the weekend? YUP! I was pretty excited about that and it’s wonderful to have something positive to focus on.

Friday, December 05, 2008

Again, I Spoke Too Soon

I spoke too soon, yes, but I was trying to be positive and optimistic. See what optimism gets you? A swift kick in the ass that you didn’t really see coming.

Our realtor sent us pictures of the outside of our house that he took yesterday. He didn’t take any interior pictures because the key that I sent him wouldn’t work. I’ve spent the last hour crying like that solves anything. What I’d really like to do is go and beat the crap out of something…or someone.

The front of our house when we lived there:

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The picture from yesterday:

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The end of the driveway:

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The backyard when we lived there:

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Backyard pictures taken yesterday:

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Dsc06146 (3)

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If this is how they left the outside, I can only imagine what the inside is going to look like when we can finally get in to see it. And I have no idea what those wooden structure things are in the backyard. It’s no wonder they needed a dumpster. How much CRAP did these people have?!?!

There’s no way we can show the house in this condition. At this point, we are trying to sell a piece of crap and in today’s market, nobody wants to fix up houses.'

UGH!!!

Away from the Sun

Pam at 30 Something tagged me for this meme. You know how I can’t resist a meme and I needed a break from putting up Christmas lights before I send them down the garbage disposal.

  • Put your iTunes/Other music device on shuffle.
  • For each question, press the next button to get your answer.
  • YOU MUST WRITE THAT SONG NAME DOWN NO MATTER HOW SILLY IT SOUNDS!
  • Tag friends who might enjoy doing this.
  1. IF SOMEONE SAYS “IS THIS OKAY” YOU SAY? The Chain
  2. WHAT WOULD BEST DESCRIBE YOUR PERSONALITY? Want You Bad
  3. WHAT DO YOU LIKE IN A GUY/GIRL? Still Waiting
  4. HOW DO YOU FEEL TODAY? Love Hurts
  5. WHAT IS YOUR LIFE’S PURPOSE? Hold Up
  6. WHAT IS YOUR MOTTO? I Stand Alone
  7. WHAT DO YOUR FRIENDS THINK OF YOU? Torch
  8. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR PARENTS? I’m Like a Bird
  9. WHAT DO YOU THINK ABOUT VERY OFTEN? Evil Woman
  10. WHAT IS 2+2? Bow Down
  11. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR BEST FRIEND? Rhyme the Rhyme Well
  12. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THE PERSON YOU LIKE? The Way I Are
  13. WHAT DO YOUR PARENTS THINK OF YOU? Gonna Give It To Ya (I’m sure this is something they thought when I was a teenager)
  14. WHAT WILL YOU DANCE TO AT YOUR WEDDING? Stare at the Sun
  15. WHAT WILL THEY PLAY AT YOUR FUNERAL? Think About It
  16. WHAT IS YOUR HOBBY/INTEREST? So Far Away
  17. WHAT IS YOUR BIGGEST SECRET? Let it Be
  18. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF YOUR FRIENDS? Over the Hills and Far Away (This is so true that it’s eerie.)
  19. WHAT’S THE WORST THING THAT COULD HAPPEN? Bossy
  20. HOW WILL YOU DIE? Days Go By
  21. DOES ANYONE LIKE YOU? Whisper Your Name
  22. IF YOU COULD GO BACK IN TIME, WHAT WOULD YOU CHANGE? AM Radio (This one is eerie too because of what this song is about.)
  23. WHAT HURTS RIGHT NOW? Serenity
  24. HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT YOUR DAY? Behind Blue Eyes
  25. HOW’S YOUR LOVE LIFE? Go Your Own Way
  26. IF YOUR LIFE WAS A TV SHOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE CALLED? Everyday
  27. WHAT’S YOUR PARTY SONG? In the Ghetto (from South Park, heheh)
  28. WHAT WILL YOU DO FOR A LIVING? Hard Days Night
  29. WHAT WAS THE WEATHER LIKE TODAY? Rag Doll
  30. WHAT WAS/WILL GRADUATION (BE) LIKE FOR YOU? Wanted Dead of Alive
  31. WHAT WERE YOUR DREAMS LIKE LAST NIGHT? Shoot the Moon
  32. WHAT WILL YOU POST THIS AS? Away from the Sun

18 and 22 were strangely accurate. I’m tagging anyone that hasn’t done this but wants to, specifically, Dana.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

I Got My Letter!!

I don’t know where to begin. I was such a different person then. It turns out I was 15 and not 16 at the time I wrote it, btw. The first page was dated March 12, 1993 and the final page was dated May 28, 2003. TWENTY-SEVEN pages front and back, lmao. Oh. And it was for World History class not Sociology.

It’s amazing the amount of stuff that I had forgotten about. I forgot how religious I used to be. That’s right. From the way I sounded in my letter, I was a holy roller, bible thumper. I don’t remember being so over-the-top religious. I remember going to church and my church friends, of course, but I had forgotten that there was a time that I liked it and it was important to me. Very weird.

I also talked about all the people in my class. Wow. I had changed my opinion of most of them before I graduated. One person I called, “a wicked, wicked, child”. LMAO!! Another I mentioned how they had, “morbid” thoughts. Both, I ended up liking before we graduated.

I mentioned how I liked to read a lot. That’s something that never changed. Something else that I mentioned was that I hoped I would grow out of PMS, lmao. That certainly didn’t change either. Turns out that PMS sticks around. I’ll probably still have PMS when I’m 80 if I live that long. I think death is the only thing that will stop it for me. Menopause doesn’t have a chance.

27 pages. To be completely honest, I was a bit disappointed. It was almost like reading something that someone else had written. I had a hard time recognizing myself in the pages. I’ve changed a lot in 15 years and I would like to think I’ve changed for the better. I said that I wanted to read my letter with my future husband but I’m not sure how much of it I want to share with anyone else. It was quite personal.

All in all, I’m glad that I read it. I laughed at more of than I didn’t and it made me remember crazy stuff that I had forgotten. I was a really dumb teenager, lol. :P

More Business Tips

I’ve been cold-calling plumbers, cleaners, and property management companies trying to get some help with the house in Vermont. I’m using a two year old phone book and you wouldn’t believe the amount of businesses that are no longer in business. It’s really sad.

Anyway, these types of businesses are often sole proprietorships or partnerships and/or they are run out of the home. That’s great. I do that myself. I can relate. These are the things that I have learned and what has been bugging me the last couple of days. It’s just my opinion but I also think it’s a lot of common sense.

  1. If you run your business out of the home, don’t talk to your children (or anyone else for that matter) while on a business call. I understand that it’s sometimes impossible to do, but don’t play games with them either. I had a woman do that on the phone yesterday while I was forced to sit and listen. And not just for a couple seconds either. That is very unprofessional and I made up my mind before I even heard their prices that they weren’t getting my business.
  2. A landline is great, but if you’re often out of your office on business, have a cell phone. A missed phone call during business hours is probably going to end up being a missed business opportunity if they are anything like me. I hang up and move on to the next name in the book.
  3. While we’re on the subject of phones, HAVE AN ANSWERING SERVICE OF SOME KIND!!! Nowadays, voicemail is a way of life. Use it. Also make sure that your outgoing message CONTAINS YOUR BUSINESS NAME. I can’t tell you how many people’s outgoing message was one of those distorted, automated voice things with no freaking name. How am I to know that I dialed the right number or that the number wasn’t changed?
  4. Still on phones…When you answer your business line, don’t answer, “Hello?” HELLO!! Say your name and the name of your business. It sounds so much more professional when you introduce your business plus it lets the person know they called the correct number.
  5. If you’re listed online in any capacity, have a website to go with that listing. It’s not hard and if you use Blogger or WordPress, it’s freaking FREE!! All you would need is the name of your business, a contact name and number, a mailing address, and possibly an e-mail address (which is also free and easy to set up), plus a description of the services that you offer. A few lines and you’re done. Hell, I’ll do it for you if you’d like. Of course, I don’t work for free, heheh.
  6. Oh. And another thing about phone calls, return messages. Do you want to make money or not? I don’t understand businesses that don’t return messages from customers seeking their services.
  7. Don’t miss appointments and if you do, don’t blame your customer. I had an appointment set up with a property management company while we still lived in Vermont. They missed their appointment and then told me that I should have called them to remind them. Huh? What? Excuse me? Am I your secretary?? How was I supposed to trust someone with my property when they couldn’t even manage to show up for the interview?
  8. In general, be a professional. Just because you are a small business and/or you run your business out of your home does not mean you are not a professional business person. Act like it. Use professional language, speak clearly, answer your phone correctly, keep appointments, and appreciate that your customer is trusting you with their business.

Wednesday, December 03, 2008

The Straw That Broke The Camel’s Back

I think we’re pretty close to a finale with the VT house drama. Well, at least where the tenants are concerned. Throughout the entire thing, I have not addressed any of the accusations that our tenants have made against us. Not to them anyway. You poor people have had to “listen” to quite a bit of it. ;) After the e-mail I received last night, I could no longer keep my mouth shut. I do believe that I showed herculean restraint up to this point. I drafted a response last night, sat on it all day, and finally (after reading it to the Mister over the phone) hit send just a few minutes ago. I feel amazingly better. Holding that much anger and bitterness inside just isn’t good for one’s mental health. I am so proud of my e-mail, that I decided to share it with you all. You’ll have to take me at my word, but I assure you and promise that I copied and pasted our e-mails word for word. Like I have the imagination to make this crud up anyway.

Jenn and Peter,                                    11/18/08

According to my lawyer, you are not legally able to use your security deposit to pay November's rent. The purpose of the security deposit is to ensure that all rents and utilities are paid and to ensure that there is no damage to the property and to pay to have the house cleaned upon your vacating the property. If you'll refer to your original lease, it states that the $1300 you paid in February 2007 was a security deposit and not last month's rent. I also have a letter from Morningstar Properties that defines that payment as a security deposit that I can scan and e-mail to you if you'd like. Furthermore, you would be responsible for not only paying the $500 that you still owe for November but a prorated amount for the eight days of December that would get you to the end of your 30 days notice which would total $335.00 ($1300/31 = $41.94 x 8 days = $335.52).

By December 8, 2008, which  is the last day of your 30 days notice, you will owe the following:

Sewer/Water:  $704.39

Returned Check Fee for October:  $20.00

Late Payment Fee for October:  $25.00

My Bank’s Returned Item Fee for October's Returned Check:  $5.00

Balance of November's Rent:  $500.00

Late Payment Fee November:  $25.00

December's Prorated Rent:  $335.00

Total Due by December 8, 2008:  $1614.39

This amount does not include any cleaning or repair charges that will be deducted from the $1300.00 security deposit.

Sincerely,

~

Trisha

 

Trisha,                                        12/2/08

Just letting you know that the house is vacant.  There are some things that are in the yard that will be picked up this week.  When we moved in there was hardly any oil in the tank and we had to have an emergency delivery made, therefore you should know that there is very little oil in there now and you should probably arrange for a delivery so that you don't have problems with the pipes.

According to my attorney the $1300.00 security deposit should be in an interest bearing account until such time as the tenant vacates the premises.  The money should be available to you to pay the utilities of $704.39.  When we reported to you the loss of our belongings that were in the "dry" cellar, you never responded back to us.  We didn't pursue it because we thought you had enough on your plate and we could address it at the end of the lease.  The house is in the same condition it was when we moved in so instead of returning the balance of the $1300.00 which equals $595.61, please apply it to the balance of the $910.00 you claim we owe and the $314.39 left doesn't come anywhere near the loss of personal property and the cost of dumpster to clear the damaged property.  I'm really sorry it has come down to this.  I had hoped that we would be able to end this relationship amicably.

Sincerely,

Peter and Jennifer

 

Jenn,                                12/3/08

I suppose after all these months the things you say and do should no longer surprise me but wonders never cease. You continue to pass blame and not take responsibility for your actions to the point where it is laughable. I will never understand how your bouncing four rent checks and paying your rent late consistently and habitually is my fault. If you are honest about this situation, you will admit that out of the 21 months that you bothered to pay your rent at all, we could probably count on one hand how many of those months you paid on time and with good funds.

You would be wrong if you think that I don’t accept responsibility for my role in this soap opera. I allowed you and Peter to weave stories, make excuses, and take advantage. That was my fault. I was too trusting, too kind, and allowed for you to get away with too much. Something else that we should be honest about here is that if you had pulled the stunts that you did on any other landlord, you would have been evicted many months before my husband and I evicted you. However, if you were an honest and forthright person, you would pay the money that you owe me and stop making excuses which you clearly aren’t capable of doing. Instead, you will most likely turn tail and leave my husband and I to clean up after you and sink further into debt without the least bit of regard for what you have done. Maybe it was easier for you to take advantage of us because you don’t have a face to put with the name, but let me assure you, we are real people, with real children, and real problems, a good portion of which you have caused. It would be a small thing if you could acknowledge that.

As for the “damage”, your selective memory continues to amaze me. I repeatedly asked you to send pictures of the supposed “damage” which you never did even though you said you would. I’m not sure how you expected me to take you at your word when you couldn’t manage to pay your rent on time. Even so, you never once implied that the “damage” was hundreds of dollars. Furthermore, as I told you before, repair requests were supposed to be made in writing which is something else  you never did. This is just one more thing that you’ve dragged out of the muck to muddy the situation in your favor. One more thing to pass blame on, one more thing to lessen your guilt. I have to shake my head that you would try and say that I’m responsible for your renting a dumpster. There is nothing in your lease that states that you had to rent a dumpster in order to vacate the premises not that you ever read your lease, apparently. If you had read any of the three leases that were given to you, two of which you signed, you wouldn’t have been able to try and accuse me of slipping things in on you. I specifically remember urging you to read the things before signing them.

This whole ordeal has tired me and I am as done with it as I can be. I expect you to mail all keys to me within a week. If you do not, I will bill you to change the locks which is just one more thing you will run from, I am sure. Your concern for the pipes was touching, by the way, and you can save your insincere apologies for the next poor schmuck you rent from.

~

Trisha

And there you have it. I doubt she’ll have the courage to reply and even if she does, like I said, I’m done. I’m, as I type this (I’m actually on hold with the oil company, heheh), making arrangements to winterize the house until we can get it sold. The last thing I need at this point is frozen, burst pipes. Luckily, I’ve been told that the winter up there has been mild up to this point. Since it’s looking like we won’t be able to get an oil delivery until January, I hope the weather holds out. I sure picked a bad time of the year to put my foot down.

I’m off to nurse my killer headache.

Tuesday, December 02, 2008

Making Up

I just got done saying how I haven’t updated the way that I should be updating and here I am with two posts in one day. I’m in a reflective mood now.

You know the saying that if you have no regrets then you really haven’t lived your life? Or something to that effect. I think that I agree but I have to wonder…Is that just an excuse or an explanation for saying or doing something that you shouldn’t have or not doing or saying something that you should have? Do regrets come in any other form than actions or words?

15 years ago I was a sophomore in high school. I was 16. Thinking about being 16 makes me want to cry, lol. Anyway, I had this teacher who made our class (I believe it was Sociology but I can’t remember) write letters to ourselves to be delivered sometime after graduation. The purpose of this exercise was to see how our perceptions would change with time and life’s experiences. I recently found out that when Mr. Hoying tried sending me my letter, it was returned as undeliverable. Big surprise. How many times have I moved since graduation?? I can’t decide if I really want to read that letter or not. I have little memory of the things that I wrote but I wrote pages. It ended up being sort of a diary. How dumb is this letter going to make me feel? After being urged to do so, I e-mailed my former teacher and gave him my current mailing address. He responded this morning saying my letter will be here in a few days. Wow. The Mister says that I’m making too much of this, but I know myself and I know who I was 15 years ago and I’m pretty sure that my letter is going to make me feel like a complete idiot, lol. How would you feel about receiving your 15 year old thoughts in the mail?

Anyway, I know that a few people that I went to high school with read my blog and I’m sure they are in contact with others in our class as well. Mr. Hoying said that he has numerous letters that were returned to him. If you want yours or know how to get a hold of someone who would, let him know. His e-mail address can be found at Lehman Catholic’s website.

Few and Far Between

That’s how I would describe my blog updates lately. I haven’t been in a blogging kind of mood.

Anyway, I won the contest for the digital camcorder. I never win anything, especially something this big, so I was pretty thrilled. My video was a recording of the girls. The oldest played her flute while the youngest sang along. The dogs were in the video too. Hannah laid beside the girls nicely while Bailey breathed into the microphone, lol. This is a once in a lifetime opportunity since I very, very rarely put images on my kids on the Internet. If you would like to view the video, here is the link: 

http://uk.youtube.com/watch?v=7QbujZ1KfWk

In other news…

My monitor is fine. The cables just needed to be tightened down. Thankfully. I really didn’t want to buy a new monitor.This one is nice and relatively new.

The Vermont house is officially for sale. Our realtor drove by to check it out for us on 11/25/08 and The Tenants were still living there. It’s a good thing because it means I can put off figuring out what I’m going to do about it sitting empty for a few more days. They have to be out by 12/8 though so I’m very quickly running out of time. This is mean, petty, vile, vindictive, and small of me, but I hope I ruined their Thanksgiving and maybe even their Christmas. I realize that’s bad karma for me, but I accept it.

I finished a book yesterday. Woot! My reading has really been taking a backseat to everything else lately. The book was Kiss of Shadows by Laurell K. Hamilton. I was looking for something different and I sure as heck found it. This was a fantasy-type book with lots of blood, sex, and other worldly stuff in it. I like all that, but I think this book was a bit much for me. I liked the synopsis of an elf princess living as a human private investigator. I thought it would mostly be this chic who was a kickass P.I. who just happened not to be totally human. There was very little investigating and lots of faerie action instead. It wasn’t bad and LKH has an imagination that won’t quit, but it was a little over the top at times. It’s the first in LKH’s "Merry” series. We’ll see if I read any more of them.

Now I’m four minutes late getting the kids up for school. Must run. I’ll try and be better about my blog. It’s been neglected, I know.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Enjoying Our Weekend

When’s the last time I posted? It’s been a few days, huh?

We had a fabulous Thanksgiving. Nice and quiet. LOVELY! All the food turned out great. The turkey was juicy, the gravy was flavorful, and the pumpkin cheesecake was light and creamy.

Yesterday we didn’t do any Black Friday shopping. We got the bill from our lawyer in the mail which put a damper on the day. It must be pretty great to be a lawyer and to charge $25.00 to read an e-mail. In all, she spent 2 hours and 40 minutes on our case at $125.00 an hour. You do the math. AND, we’re not even done with her yet. Oh well. She was a necessary evil because without her, our tenants would have gotten away with even more than they already have.

Today, the Mister and I are going to check out a health food store we’ve never been to. No, we’re not health food nuts, but I like those stores nonetheless. They sell offbeat stuff you can’t find other places.

Oh. And I think my monitor is going out on me. I have these very faint bouncy lines that move down the screen and everything has a little shadow-like trail to the right of it. It’s annoying but not enough to where I’m going to spring for a new one yet. I’m going to do my best to deal with it until after Christmas. The weirdness is only a little hard on the eyes. I’ll have to make sure and wear my contacts or glasses whenever I’m working to minimize the eye strain but I think it’ll be okay. If anyone has any suggestions as to what could be causing this or how to fix it, I’d kiss your feet in gratitude. See?

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You can click on the picture to make it bigger. The lines are at the top over the tool bar and the shadow trails are pretty obvious.

Anyway, I gotsta get ready to check out that store. Yes. That’s right. It’s 12:28 pm and I’m still in my pajamas. Deal with it.

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

Feelin’ the Love

Jennifer tagged my blog as one she loves. Awww! Now I have to give one word answers to the questions below and then tag five more blogs as ones that I love to read.

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01. Where is your cell phone? Desk
02. Where is your significant other? Nearby
03. Your hair color? Blondeish
04. Your mother? Ohio
05. Your father? Fabulous
06. Your favorite thing? Computer
07. Your dream last night? Scary
08. Your dream/goal? Success
09. The room you’re in? FROG 
10. Your hobby? Blogging
11. Your fear? Foreclosure
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? San Diego
13. Where were you last night? Gaming
14. What you’re not? Content
15. One of your wish-list items? Homebuyer
16. Where you grew up? Ohio
17. The last thing you did? Sleep
18. What are you wearing? J’s
19. Your TV? Big
20. Your pet? Boxers
21. Your computer? Newish
22. Your mood? Excited
23. Missing someone? Jennifer
24. Your car? Awesome
25. Something you’re not wearing? Bra
26. Favorite store? B&N
27. Your summer? Unknown
28. Love someone? Hubby
29. Your favorite color? Green
30. When is the last time you laughed? Today
31. Last time you cried? Yesterday

Blogs I love:

1. Dana

2. Pam

3. Wendy

4. Josette

5. Angel

I would tag more but some have already been tagged for this. You know who you are anyway. ;)

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Free Stuff’s Good, Right?

I heard about this contest from Peggy. Peggy is the wonderful person that hired me for my job. She is a freelance marketing consultant among other things and she is running a contest for one of her clients. It’s pretty simple and the prize is pretty mag.

DXG-580V HD Digital Camcorder (a $180 value) that isn’t even for sale yet. You win, you get to have a digital camcorder that nobody else has. Cool, right!!

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So, visit Peggy’s page for a more complete description of the contest, the rules, and how to enter. I am going to have the girls make a video for their grandparents for Christmas. I thought it was a great idea since they won’t get to see any of their grandparents for the holidays this year.

DXG-580V HD Digital Camcorder Contest

Hurry up though because the contest ends November 30th. You only have a few days to come up with an idea, record it, and upload your video to be judged.

Our Vacation Revisited

I said a while back that I had more vacation pictures to share and then I forgot to share them. A little late, but here they are.

The next two pictures are views from the top of the Currituck Beach Lighthouse. The Mister, the oldest child, and my stepmom climbed it:

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The next two pictures are looking down:

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This next picture is looking down the spiral staircase inside the lighthouse.

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The next two pictures are of a blue heron that we saw on a nature hike. I thought it was neat. I don’t think I’ve ever seen one that close before.

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The next set of pictures are of the beach in Corolla. This stretch of beach is only accessible by four wheel drive. People live out there and there are beach houses for rent as you can see in the last picture. Definitely not where you would want to be during a hurricane I wouldn’t think.

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The next picture is of the most fabulous crab cake sandwich on the earth that I had for lunch from a deli. It was delicious.

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This was our view as we ate our lunch:

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Nice, right?

I think that’s it.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Holiday Prep (Added a Pic)

Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday of the year. I really enjoy cooking all the food and then, of course, eating it. I like being able to eat leftovers for days. I like the low to no pressure that goes along with it as well. No presents to buy and wrap. Love it. I also can’t think of a Thanksgiving that has any bad memories attached to it.

The first Thanksgiving dinner that I cooked by myself for the Mister, the girls, and I was in 1999. We were living in our base housing in Lakeside, CA and it was just the four of us. I was extremely nervous about cooking a turkey and the stuffing too. Turns out that turkeys are hard to screw up and the stuffing was sensational since it was a family recipe. I also made green bean casserole, scalloped corn, rolls, mashed potatoes and gravy, a fresh veggie plate, deviled eggs, and pumpkin pies for desert. Everything tasted great and the Mister and I ended up in the typical tryptophan coma afterwards. The oldest child was three at the time. Gosh!! Three years old. I miss those days sometimes. The youngest child was only 9 months old and harmless. The oldest child, not so much. When the Mister and I came out of our coma, we discovered that the oldest child had aerated the pumpkin pie, lmao!! She had taken her fingers and poked holes in the entire thing. Luckily, I had made two so we still had pie for desert. We still laugh about that to this day. It’s one of my favorite Thanksgiving memories.

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The infamous pie is in the back.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

A Dash of This, A Pinch of That

We’ve had a pretty busy weekend for us.

Saturday, the Mister and I bought game food for the Big Game and then watched OSU kick the crap out of Michigan. KICKED THE CRAP out of them. It was almost sad but not really. After the game, the Mister built me a box out of wood and then we played at being a chemist. It was fun and we learned stuff.

Today we had to go to the commissary. It’s been so long, I don’t even remember the last time we went. We bought us a fine looking turkey and most of the fixings. They were out of some stuff that I’m going to have to buy out in town. We also went to Bed Bath and Beyond to buy a handheld immersion blender. I burned out our other one. Did you know that you’re only supposed to run them in 50 second intervals? I didn’t. I ran mine for almost fifteen minutes before something popped and then a really nasty smell came out of it. Lesson learned. I was also shopping for a casserole dish because I accidentally left one of mine at the beach house and now I don’t have enough dishes to cook Thanksgiving dinner. They didn’t have what I was looking for and neither did the Exchange on base. Target and Walmart are next on my list.

After shopping, we came home for an hour and then had to take the oldest child to volleyball. All the girls are getting better at the game. Most had never had much experience outside of what little bit you get in school. It’s been fun to watch them learn.

Now, I’m getting ready to cook dinner. Chili is on the menu because it’s been so cold lately. I need comfort food.

Despite this not being such a relaxing weekend, it’s been pretty great. I hope everyone else had fabulous weekends and are looking forward to the short week ahead.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Something to Consider

I forgot to mention earlier the research that I’ve been conducting into junior and senior high schools. I’ve been visiting dozens of school websites and some of them are so NEAT! They have online newsletters, sections for parents to view their students’ grades, homework assignments, and other stuff. Some even have links for the students to take tests ONLINE!! How cool is that? My school was lucky to have had computers let alone any of that other stuff. My kids’ schools don’t have websites like that either. Sometimes I wish that I could have been a teenager now when there’s cell phones and texting, the Internet, taking tests ONLINE, iPods, and all that other neato technology that didn’t exist when I was younger. Not that I would ever give teenagerhooddom another go. Nah.

Another Day of Randomness

It flurried here again today. I hope this isn’t a trend because I don’t like it. It doesn’t make me feel all cozy and nostalgic because it’s the holiday season. I hate the snow and I’m tired of being freaking cold. Ugh.

Tomorrow is the Ohio State/Michigan game. I didn’t print up any banners this year because I’m about out of colored ink in my printer. We may or may not be having people over to watch the game. Someone said in an off-handed way that they’d be over but they weren’t invited and I’m not sure if they were serious. How dumb is that? I’m not really in the mood for company so I hope they weren’t serious.

I have my office upstairs but I leave the TV on downstairs so I don’t feel so isolated. Is that weird, pathetic, or both? Speaking of work, it is piling up around me. My boss surprised me with a phone call last night and we had a pretty lengthy phone call. He wanted me to make a spreadsheet for my spreadsheet, lol. I’ve made so many spreadsheets that have a hard time keeping them straight. I also utilized Microsoft OneNote which has been an invaluable resource to me in my work. I love it. He wanted me to e-mail him my OneNote workbook but he doesn’t have that program so it wouldn’t have done him a lot of good. He sounded like a kid who unwrapped socks for Christmas when I told him that, lol.

I got a package from the FedEx man this afternoon which is calling my name and making it hard to be productive. Nope. It’s not books but something just as exciting. I can’t wait to tear into it.

Did I ever mention what a hard time the oldest child’s school gave us about her missing four days of school for our vacation? I sent a note ahead of time to let them know, requested her homework so she could do it while we were gone, and sent in another note when we got back. They actually called me three times (twice in one day) about it preaching at me that the parents are supposed to set the example to their kids that attending school is important.These are the only days she’s missed all year since I rarely let my kids stay home from school. She was at school yesterday with no voice and she’s had a cough all week. HELLO!! I don’t willy nilly take my kids out of school. Back off. I’m just a bit miffed and the Mister was even more twisted up about it than I was. Why don’t they address the reasons as to why they have to have a cop present all day at the school and call those parents several times a day while they’re trying to work??

The Exchange on base is having a sale on Clinique and Estee Lauder makeup today only and I don’t have the time to go all the way to base to shop. I said that in my loudest, whiniest voice just so you know. Clinique has my most favorite lip glosses and I’m almost out of my favorite color. I’m sad. :(

Okay. I think that’s about it. That’s my Friday and most of my weekend. I’m looking forward to sleeping in tomorrow like it’s nobody’s business. Yay!!