Search This Blog

Sunday, January 31, 2010

Chatty Cathy

Okay, so having kids makes us all get used to our life being an open book as soon as they learn to talk. If Mama says (accidentaly) that a teacher is a quack, before you know it- the teacher knows you think they are a quack. If you think the lady taking your order was very rude and she happens to be the same one at the register the next time you go- "Look Mommy, it is the rude lady again!" will more than likely come from your party, even before the order; so therefore, you are afraid to place an order at all.

I have been there. It took me well into my third child (I'm evidentally a slow learner) to figure out what wasn't complimentary, needed to be spelled out- and best to it fast at that.

The one thing that I thought might get a bit easier as my kids got older was having a bit of privacy changing, going to the restroom, taking a bath or even talking on the phone.

My youngest child is now 10. She has figured out how to spell so I had to instill in her that what is said in our home, stays in our home, unless we say it is okay to share. She is good with that. The problem (well, not for her- only me) is that she follows me around everywhere going on and on like a "Chatty Cathy". Sometimes it is fun. I love to talk to her about how to wear her hair the next day for school or discuss her birthday presents she wants next go around but while I am trying to wash, shampoo and repeat; well- it gets a little overbearing. It never fails that while I am changing into my lounge clothes after we get home for the evening, the bedroom door will fly open and anyone in the hall can catch a glimpse of my winter white legs (and more).

The worst thing is trying to carry on a conversation with others. If I am on the phone with a friend, or one of her older siblings, she listens carefully. If she happens to miss a word or two, she is sure to ask what we were talking about. Sometimes it is cute. Other times, I am forced to run the saying "Patience is a Virtue" through my head several times before answering.

For now, I am just going to enjoy my nosey little 5th grader. I know all too well, that in a few short years, she won't listen to a word I say. She will care less about what I think she should wear. She won't give me the time of day because I just "won't understand a thing". She will be the wise one. She will be a teenager. Yeah, my little "Chatty Cathy" is looking pretty good right about now. One day, my big eyed, nosey, chatty, little girl will be just like the doll- a thing of the past. A beautiful, driver's licensed high school student that thinks she understands all the works of the world will stand in her place. That will be okay too though; I know how to pull their strings too- I have a couple of those in my collection as well.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Doing what we do...and doing it well

As I prepare for my upcoming week and all the excitement that comes with it, I am wishing that I could step forward about two weeks, to when my business will be open.

Every single thing of substance, that has happened over the past couple of weeks and not been reported on, I think to myself,"this is a story". It is very difficult for me to step out of the reporter mode and not analyze every single event.

When I was little, my mom was a seamstress. I remember so well, her folding our laundry and looking at the seam of each pair of jeans, each shirt, and analyzing the way they were sewn together. She would mutter about how poorly many of the items were crafted together, speaking out loud, and asking no one in particular how in the world that ever got through inspectors. My sisters and I would just laugh at her and we never quite understood how working at the sewing plant was a craft, until we were much older and tried to sew on our first button, or better yet, tried to hem a pair of pants.

Four children later, I still can't do either one worth a flitter.

I believe I have a bit of my Mama in me (although everyone says I am like my Daddy, the hot headed, stubborn one). I believe I have just enough of Mama to care about what I do. It may or may not be the most fluent career in the world but I believe it is the one that suits me best. I believe that taking what you do and being the very best, will always set you apart from the rest. That is what I am after.

I may not be able to properly hem a pair of pants, or choose to just throw out a pair that develops a hole in the knee but I can see a "must grab on and hold" story a mile away. I can't wait to hang on and go for the ride.

Friday, January 29, 2010

Missing my girls

At my house, it is a pretty fair to say, the women have always ruled the roost. It was pretty obvious for the guys to give up on having the upper hand years ago. I mean with it being 4 versus 3, it was tight but we girls tend to be louder (although the boys are messier), especially my youngest daughter.

Tonight, my girls are spread out all over the place. Madison is spending the night with my sister and her kids (and she is always home), Whitley is at a friend's house and Chelsea is at her boyfriend's house (like usual). Now, that the weather has turned bad out, with snow and ice covering the roads, I told the older two girls just to stay put, so now I am the only female in the house with 3 males.

The night has been filled with X-box, Fox News Channel (instead of Lifetime) and "mooning" all the cars at a local BBQ restaurant we ate at, thanks to my son (he really needs to work on etiquette but hey, I give up). Yep, the boys are not at all a mannered bunch. I miss my girls.

Usually, I am faced with an on-going battle getting in the bathroom, Hannah Montana either on the tv or blaring from my daughter's room and "Mom, braid my hair." I often wish for a little peace but tonight, I am missing listening to my little rock star babble on and on about all the latest fifth grade happenings or having to look over every page of the Justice catalog at every single thing that has been circled with a bright colored Sharpie.

My husband often grumbles about the lop-sided works of our household, especially when my step-son is at his mom's because then it is just 2 against 4. He blames the girls for the constant water temperature only being luke warm although the boys take longer in the bathroom than the girls. He rolls his eyes every time they snatch up the laptop to connect with their FB friends as he walks over to pick it up. Although he grumbles, I know he misses the girls too.

I personally have had enough of the "testosterone tide". I want the "estrogen ocean" back. I like it when things are lop-sided, after all, that is the way our family functions.

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Rude Brokers, Laughing at Pelosi and Getting Manicured

Okay, so I just wrapped up watching part of the State of the Union Address (In between reading Hank the Cowdog with my daughter). I'm not sure which was more entertaining, watching the people present for the speech, or Hank the Cowdog. I think I would vote for watching Pelosi jumping up and down every few seconds.

Honestly, I am not a Pelosi fan, so every time she jumped up, I was hoping she would take a spill. So much about her irritates me but I won't go into all that political stuff but I will say there is not much to jump up and down about concerning the state of the economy.

I am a firm believer that during hard times, when businesses are suffering, everyone has to step up their game in order to survive. Today, I was shocked at the way one company acted while I was trying to give them my business.

As you all know, I am in the process of opening up a new business. I have looked for the best available spot, for the best price, for a while. I thought I had found that so I called the Broker in charge of the property. There was so much red tape to run through to get moved into the office unit that I have given up on that one.

To sum it up- my husband works in Gainesville so I asked for them to meet us either after 5p.m. or on a Saturday so we could both look. That was only possible with an appointment that the owner obviously didn't want to do since I was told to go look at it by myself. I went to get the key. I had to leave a credit card to run 3 minutes down the road to look it over. Keep in mind that we live in a county of less than 10,000 and the Broker knows me (but obviously doesn't like me). Then, when I came back 10 minutes later and told them that I would talk it over with my husband and email with terms that would work for us, I was told they were not negotiable and I would have to fill out an application that may or may not be accepted and there was a $40 fee to submit said application.

I honestly wanted to take my lengthy nails and claw out the Broker's eyes. They were making this process much harder than it had to be, not to mention, the property has been vacant for more than a year. After drawing a mental picture of me clawing out the lady's eyes, I smiled and then went for a manicure because seeing my nails in my mind made me actually look at them. Yuck! They would have looked much better in my visual image with a nice French Manicure.

Tonight I have simmered down and I will continue the hunt tomorrow. At least if I have to imagine using my nails again, I can do it in style.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Doctor Mom

Tonight, I am undergoing one of the job descriptions that is at the bottom of my "like"

My fifteen year old daughter has a terrible stomach virus. It all developed very quickly after my teams' final basketball game this evening. On our way home, she told me that she felt nauseous and tired. I immediately thought uh-oh because one of her BFF's, Lauren, was out of school today with a stomach virus.

As soon as we got home, we were cleaning up-chuck- next it was the other end.

Now, you would think as a kid gets older, the sickness thing would get easier..well, I am here to tell doesn't, at least not with my daughter.

I have ran back and forth from her bedroom at least a dozen times, emptying "the pot" that we keep near a sick child's bed. I have brought her Sprite, bottled water, a wash cloth for her head and repeated hugs and sympathy. She felt "nasty" due to the sickness, so I even had to bring her jammies to the bathroom when she decided to shower.

I am honestly about to scream. I am surprised that I have managed to even get this written without a "MOOOOMMMM" coming from her room. She is really a terrible patient. About an hour ago, she even "fell" in the hallway between her bedroom and the bathroom (it's about 6 feet between the two) because she felt weak. I tried to help her up but since she wasn't trying herself, I just let her lay there until she decided to muster the strength to get up.

Being a doctor stinks. If I have to risk the germs, experience the gross side effects and wait hand and foot on my patient, shouldn't I at least get the office fee and the priveledge of making her wait around in agony for at least an hour?

Monday, January 25, 2010

Sweats versus Blouses

As the days go by since I left my job, I wonder how difficult it is going to be for me to get back in the swing of things.

For the past couple of weeks, I have become the queen of hoodies, jeans and sneakers. Not to mention, I have become very used to just pulling my hair back in a pony tail, no make-up and taking my kids to school. Don't get me wrong- I still get up just a hair after 6:00, just like before but I don't spend that time preparing myself for a long day at the office. I just throw on clothes (I wouldn't do that except fear of a flat tire) and go. I spend the time now, preparing pancakes for my youngest daughter (her favorite food) and allowing the teenagers to consume the bathrooms for the next hour and a half before we hit the road.

This leads me to my next thought- maybe they will be the real ones having a hard time adjusting- my family.

Right now, the kids are aware that Mom can just jump in the shower when I get back home, so they aren't very concerned with sharing. My husband used to feed the animals of the morning, before he left for work. That was our system- I took hold of getting the kids fed and off to school and he went out and fed the horses and dogs. Well, he now only worries with that on weekends.

Supper used to be his responsibility on Monday nights, the longest day of the week in the newspaper business. Needless to say, he no longer has to dread Monday nights. There are always clean towels, we never run out of toilet paper anymore and supper is on the table just before 6:00 every night, instead of possibly 7 or even 8 at night.

The house is also staying much tidier than it used to. It is still very difficult with 5 kids running around (who think the word chore is a form of punishment). I guess before too long, we will be stepping over bookbags and shoes once again.

Being at home definately has its ups but so does working. I miss seeing a lot of people I used to see almost daily. I miss feeling like I have done something other than clean all day. I miss the incredible feeling of seeing the finished product Wednesday mornings and knowing that I did all that, top to bottom. Sometimes I actually miss putting my make-up on first thing in the morning. And of course, I miss the extra income. It was fun to go out every now and then and get my hair highlighted or a manicure and not feel guilty about it because I knew that it wasn't going to kill us on the upcoming week's bills.

Oh well, I think that being the sole bathtub cleaner, clothes washer and school carpool driver entitles me to a mani-pedi every now and then- in fact- I might just go get a manicure tomorrow. ; )

Sunday, January 24, 2010

God doesn't make mistakes

Despite the ugly, dreary weather that has hung over everyone's head today, this has been one of the best days of my life.

As most of you know, my eighteen year old daughter announced to me in December that she just found out she was pregnant. Chelsea is my oldest daughter, so raising a teenager was new to me as she got older. Since I was only eighteen myself when I had her, I sort of lacked the wisdom or experience to always make the best decisions but I allowed God to guide me with all the important stuff.

When she made her announcement to me, with tear-filled eyes, all I could do was hug her and cry with her.

For those of you that don't know her, I am telling you that she is a beautiful, smart, kind hearted young lady with loads of promise for a very successful future. All I could think of was the changes she was about to endure. She isn't married but has been in a long standing relationship with her boyfriend for about three years, aside from the typical on and off stuff that teenagers do. I hate to admit it, but I was worried about how others would think of her. It broke my heart to think that others wouldn't see what she is and only look at her as a "could have been". As her mother, that thought made me want to fight the world when the world hadn't done anything to us.

Over the past couple of months, I have prayed and came to a realization that God doesn't make mistakes. If he trusted my first born with such a gift, I knew in my soul that she would do it and do it well.

Today, she proved that point.

We all went to church, as a family. Something we hadn't done in a few months.

The service today was like it was sent from God, straight to Chelsea. It was about the sanctity of life and about the value of all of God's children, including those that are not born yet. About how every living soul has made mistakes and those mistakes are ours to make right with God, not anyone else.

At the end of the service, my daughter, although scared and trembling, stood before our congregation and re-dedicated her life to God. She admitted to her mistakes and announced that God and her were good. He knew her heart. She then announced she was having a child of her own and to be a good parent and raise her child with God's help, she had to live by example. She is doing that.

I stood in front of my pew and wept. I was so proud that a young woman of her age, had the strength and courage to do that. I was proud that she knew what was important in life. I was even prouder when my husband walked the isle and hugged my daughter and stood by her and showed the total support of her family.
I must be doing something right.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Time with family..Priceless (except for the bowling shoes)

Finally, my computer is fixed. I missed updating my column last night because our PC somehow developed a virus, despite the fact that we have active anti-viral software installed, go figure. My husband spent 4 hours last night working on it but he managed to get it back in working order. Yay! It sure makes me wonder how our household ever ran without one.

Over the past few weeks, my family has really cut back on our spending due to my job situation and trying to save to open our new business. As a reward for not going to the movies or stopping for extras after school near as much as we used to, we took the kids for a game of bowling tonight. Yep, it was just one game. After shoe rental and 5 bowlers, we are $35 poorer but my kids had a ball. They were laughing at one another and goofing around the entire game. It was nice to do something a little bit different. Now we are back at home and all the kids are once again fighting over the television, computer and the last bowl of Fruit Loops. I honestly think they look for things to fight over.

Tomorrow will be church and then our weekly trip to my see Nannie and Papaw. My parents are the main reason I didn't move away years ago. Well, them and my sisters. Now, I am so glad I didn't go anywhere. This is home. This is where all of my friends are and my family. This is where I can walk through the high school to bring my daughter a binder and know where the classroom is because I walked those very same halls when I was a know-it-all sophomore. This is where I watched my children each get baptised by the same preacher that baptised me all those years ago.

Those things are priceless.

There will always be obstacles and annoyances living in such a small community but I believe there are problems everywhere. In fact, I know there are. We may not be able to frequent a mall or a Starbucks but in exchange, I can frequent my Mom and Dad's house. I think I can give up a latte' for that. They're worth it.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

A good kind of tired

As I sit down tonight to gather my thoughts, I throw myself down in the chair to realize that I sure hope I don't have to get up anytime soon because I just don't know if I could muster the energy. Needless to say, I am tired. Very tired.

This is a good kind of tired though. The kind you feel when you are satisfied with your day and all the accomplishments reached. I feel relaxed within.

My life often gets crazy hectic, although it has been a little less hectic than it was before my job "change". Almost all of those days were hectic and more often than not, it was the kind of hectic where the top of my head felt like it was literally going to separate from my body. Like I was really going to "blow my top".

I managed to gain some big steps today toward the opening of our newspaper office. The financing seems to be working itself out and I am excited to get started. (It is much easier to step forward with a hand full of cash!) Although this was good, my day continued and was topped off with the performance of my girls' recreation basketball team that I coach.

This team consisting of seven girls all age ten or under, came into the season with only two of the members ever playing on a basketball team before. They have worked so hard and listened so well that with only one game left to go- they are undefeated. Although that is great, I am more genuinely proud of the way they present themselves. Even through intentional fouls (kicks or hits) they continue to hold their heads high and exhibit an exceptional amount of moral character. My prayer for these girls is that they hold that trait throughout their lives, despite the fact that so many people lose it along the way.

Let's all remember that I have teenagers. At times, I worry about their choices and wonder if they ever listened to me at all. I wonder where their standard of morals are when they lie or do things they know isn't right. I have always told them God gives them a conscious for a reason- it is their road map to right and wrong- they need to follow it. Whenever they deter and ignore their map, I just remind myself that I was once a teen too. I didn't always make the best choices either but I always managed to get back on track at some point. They do too.

I sit here now and go through my day in my head and realize that I managed a lot of good today. Steps toward my new business, a clean (well, cleaner) house and most importantly, I feel happy because seven little girls have shown me that being a winner comes from within, not on the scoreboard. Who knew that they would end up teaching me?

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Home sweet home

Today, as I drove through town on my way to pick up my children from school, I noticed several more small businesses that were closed. I am not sure if this was for the winter months, or for good. I certainly hope it isn't the latter.

The economy has been this unrelenting force for the past couple of years that is quickly driving out small business. It is just too hard to compete against bigger stores that can carry a larger variety of items, for a cheaper price.

Where I live, we have two local grocery stores. One is a larger chain food store and the other is a small, independently owned one. There have been so many times I have wished for a Kroger or a Publix to be close by, especially after I see an ad on television advertising milk for $2 a gallon. I am used to paying around $4. When you are spending an average of $200 per week on groceries for a household of six or seven, you tend to cut corners wherever possible. I clip coupons and watch for sales. I have to. Even with what I consider to be a large amount each week on food items, we never have steak or seafood or any other "high end" item. For us, it is often cubesteak and fish sticks instead and believe me, I am thankful each night that my children are able to go to bed with a full belly because I know there are so many that don't.

Although I have spent a great deal of time in the past wishing for more choices to shop, I am at a point where I am thankful we don't have more. If there were more, that small town grocery store that I frequent, would never be able to keep their doors open, at least not in this economy.

This all brings me to my next point. Some must think I am crazy to be investing what little savings my husband and I have into a new business, especially a newspaper, where we hear of so many failing daily.

To me, this is the golden opportunity for us to start our new business. Yes, newspapers are failing all over the country but so are a lot of other things. Most of those are the bigger papers that employ hundreds of people. They have a large payroll to meet. The paper I worked at up until a couple of weeks ago, had dwindled the staff in our office to only me and one part time helper. I am used to doing it on my own, from ground up. I know I can because I have.

This brings me back to another fact. Just like the grocery store list, I am thankful there isn't more competition where I live. I know that I can bring a paper that the locals desire. So many of the residents where I reside are retired. We don't often get covered by any newstations and the Atlanta paper don't even circulate daily in the mountains anymore. There is a demand for a good local news source. I am going to meet that demand.

My point is, I believe in guidance from God. I believe with all the circumstances surrounding my recent job loss and the will-power I have pulled from within, I can do this; and do it well. I hate change, so this is a big step for me but instead of being scared of the challenges to come, I am excited. I can't wait to get back to the "grindstone", only this time, for myself, my family and my community.

I will continue to support small town business as much as I can because I feel that is the backbone of our great nation. Those willing to step forward and believe in themselves. I don't know when the economy will start to look up but I do believe we can all pull together and help one another out until then. That is another benefit of living in a small town. A place where everyone "knows everyone elses business" but also a place where we know our friends... and can count on them.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

I'm going to miss this

Tonight, I sat down to watch my weekly 2 hours of Biggest Loser. That is by far, one of my favorite shows on t.v. I love to watch how dramatic the changes can be or how much weight can be lost in a single week. Well, any of you that follow this show knows that this season, the teams came in as pairs; either a father and daughter, husband and wife, friends, brothers or a mother and son, or daughter. Every week, someone goes home. For the past couple of weeks, it has been a member of either a mother/ daughter team or this week, a mother/ son team. When pleading their case, the team asks the others to vote off one or the other for various reasons. Of course, the past couple of weeks, it has been the mothers pleading to keep their children on the show so they can continue to lose weight. Not suprising. That is what gets me, the trainers and other contestants go on and on about how "giving" these mothers are to want it more for their children. My question is, don't all mothers think like that? At least the ones I know do.

Seriously, what mother would not want her 400lb. child to continue to lose weight in place of themselves? What mother wouldn't give up her spot immediately for her child? I know I would. I know all my friends with children would. We have. Maybe not on a prime time television show but in everyday life.

I know that many times I have given my last 10 bucks to my daughter for gas money or sat at home and did nothing so my other children could go to the movies with their friends. I know my friends have done the same for their own.

I honestly think that just giving all you've got is all a mother knows. We give and give and sometimes lose sight of what we are really all about. And the thing is, we really don't mind. That is just how God created most mothers.

I know that one day my children will be out of the nest. They will be on their own and won't need me to give them gas money or run them here or there. I will wake up and have no children at home to get off to school. I'm not sure what hobbies I will have because I don't have time or really even a desire for any now. I just know that building a home filled with love, compassion, discipline and giving is what I have been programmed to do since I had my first at the age of eighteen.

A friend of mine and I joke all the time about how we will pull out our leathers and ride our Harleys when the day comes because we were both so young when we devoted our lives to cooking, cleaning, wiping noses (and bottoms) and making "emergency" trips to the school for a binder that got left at home and has that day's homework inside.

I'm still uncertain about the Harley and leathers but one thing is for sure; for the next few years; I will continue to step aside so my children can benefit. After all, I'm going to miss this when they are grown.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Trying to play catch up

Whew! I finally have about 20 or so minutes to sit down and write my column.
See, my kids are out of school today (yet again). It makes me wonder how I ever accomplished anything when they were small and I was trying to work and maintain a clean house; and by that I mean reasonably clean; laundry that isn't piled up so bad we have to dig our way out and floors that don't turn white socks black.

As most of you know, I am working on starting another weekly paper in Towns County. Let me give you a few details:
We are aiming for our first issue to be published the first week in March. We are hoping to have an office set up and running (reasonably) smooth mid February. Currently, we are working on the name registration, web site and gaining advertising clients. Most of this, I can do from home. It just slows the process a bit when you are amist tying shoes and breaking up fights at the same time.

I am not any different than other working mothers or really mothers in general. I used to long for the days when I would be able to stay home, clean my house spotless (yeah, right) and not flop into the bed at midnight from total exhaustion. After being home for the past couple of weeks, I have learned that none of that is realistic. I have managed to keep the house cleaner but not quite as clean as I imagined. I am still flopping in bed at night from exhaustion and now, I have a ting of guilt to go with all of the above.

It made me feel guilty when my husband rose from the bed at 5a.m. to go to work and I knew that I could sleep longer. It bothered me when we had to stay home a lot more this weekend instead of taking in a movie or go bowling because I didn't bring home my paycheck. But, in the end, I know it will all be worthwhile for all of us. Very soon, I will be able to sling that guilt to the side and rise every morning and get back to doing what I love.

Let me just give you an example of what my weekend has been like:
Saturday, we got up and went to my daughter's and then my son's basketball games (We won one and lost one by the way), so we were only gone about 4 hours. During that time, the two little dogs we keep inside, decided for whatever reason, to chew holes in two different pieces of our living room furniture. That furniture was relatively new, we had only had it paid off for about 6 months. Now, it is all covered with slip covers until we can buy more. Then, last night, I went to write this column and discovered the battery was dead in my laptop, which I got for my birthday in September. I went to plug it in to the charger, to discover that too, had been chewed. Now, I am awaiting a new charger. (Although I am thankful we have a desktop as well). Needless to say, a lot has been going on and not all of it good.

Until the day comes when we open the door to our new business, I will continue to tie shoes and vaccum a little more often than I once did. That title is being a mom and I love that job too.

Saturday, January 16, 2010

Getting along with others, especially if you are married to them

As I was sitting here tonight, thinking about what to write, my husband made a very good point.

Ever since I have been doing my column on-line versus when I did it weekly for the paper, I have been much nicer when writing about him than I did then.

I was actually leaning to writing about the old saying "When it Rains it Pours". It seemed fitting due to the rain pounding against the windows right now in addition to my dogs eating (yes, eating) my living room furniture today. On top of all that, my daughter's car is making a 'sound', the fire wood we worked into the budget last minute was wet and hard to burn, the electric bill jumped up over a hundred bucks and the dryer has decided to take 2 hours to dry a load of laundry. You know, typical stuff. Anyway, this conversation is depressing so let's get back to my hubby.

The difference as far as I can figure, has to be that he has straightened out lately. I mean, it can't be me. I am never wrong. (yeah, right)

Honestly, I think I have been so focused on moving forward with my future business plans, cleaning the house, running after my children, clipping coupons and coaching my girls' basketball team (we are undefeated, yay girls!) that I haven't had time to sweat the small stuff. I mean, I am at the point that I appreciate him running to the grocery store so much more, that I don't mind if every item is wrong (yep, this has happened) or if he cooks dinner every now and then and burns it (again, this has happened) or if he just initials my daughter's homework so poorly that the teacher thinks she forgot to have it signed and did it herself (yep, this too).

I think I will lay off him for a while and just focus on the dogs that insist on making trouble or my son's filthy room. Or, maybe I just covered enough to please my ego for a while. Or possibly, I really do appreciate him; I can handle black pork chops every now and then, especially being if I don't have to cook them myself.

Friday, January 15, 2010

In flannel or in lace

Whoever invented the rules is not at all fair. I am talking about the unspoken, unwritten rules, pertaining to the looks of women versus men.

I was watching Hot Topics or TMZ or one of those shows last night. A popular model was being featured, right along with her new boob job. Honestly, with the devastation going on all over the world, such as in Haiti, couldn't they think of something better to occupy airtime, other than boobs?

The fact remains that it may be Heidi's boobs tonight or an actress that was spotted with an extra bit of pudge tomorrow; but the interest in the looks of women will forever take up too much time, energy and money.

Even us "regular" women have to keep up to a certain expectation. We spend hundreds (per person) each year on hair dye, beauty supplies, wrinkle cream and the latest fashions, just to keep up with what we "should" look like. We even have to splurge now and then on those little undies that tend to crawl everywhere they shouldn't. I personally, never look lady-like when I sport anything other than traditional essentials.

We have Estee Lauder, Victoria's Secret, Maybelline, Cover Girl and many, many more to assist us in our endeavors. Men on the other hand, well- they have Hanes. (And they even make women's garmets, I know because I own them.)

I put on my flannels at night and pull my hair up any way that feels comfortable. I don't polish my nails near as often as I should and we all know how I feel about the crawling undies. I know that I don't fit the image of beauty and poise most of the time, but that's just me. The thing is, my husband sees me this way almost daily but I would faint much of the time if a visitor showed up at the door. (Or hide in the room one). My husband assures me often that he loves my messy, flannel jammy look. I believe he thinks he has to say that. Truth is- he doesn't have to, but I sure am glad he does. Vogue surely would have me on their "don't" list, along with all the black panties under white skirts and fish nets with cut off shorts but that's okay with me. I didn't promise "For better or worse" aka "In flannels and/or lace" to them. I don't owe them a thing.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

What others think

I think in general, it is a fair statement to say that most of us care to some degree, about what others think of us. I mean, I try to be all cool and collected and act like I don't, but deep down, I do. At least for the most part. It is like there is an imaginary gage present that measures the type of person you are by the way others perceive you.

I have the most amazing friends. There have been so many changes going on in my life over the past month or so, and I am not a big fan of change. It scares me to death. Even before the whole loss of my job thing, I found out that I was going to have a grandchild at the ripe old age of 36. Those two things, in additon to the typical day to day challenges are enough to scare the be-jeebies out of about anyone.

When I first made my announcement that I was thinking about publishing my own paper, my friends were there to an amazing extent. My family's reaction was mixed. I announced it at a family get together this past weekend. I pretty much didn't get a reaction at all. That kind of scared me. Tonight, I talked with one of my sisters about it. She made me feel much better.

Anyone locally knows that we have an anonymous forum that gets posts from all sorts of people. I didn't have a problem before with anything like that, until I saw so many people get hurt over some of the remarks written on there. I have been featured on that forum many times myself. I didn't have a thick skin when I first started my job at the paper but over time, I have developed a layer or two. Well, it turns out, I am featured on there once again. (Surprise, surprise)

I first looked yesterday. My oldest daughter had a friend over to visit and she told me that I should look because I had some really nice comments written on there about me, so naturally, I looked. There were some of the sweetest comments of encouragement from my readers and friends wishing me well in my future endeavors. Then, there was the last post. Someone (who apparently despises me) had written a comment calling me a "princess". They went on to say that I should not have left my job, that "some money is better than no money".

Since I don't post on anything that I will not sign my name to, I am going to reply to them here and hope since they have such a vested interest in me and what I should and should not do- that they read this.

First off, I am a firm believer in what goes around, comes around. I sure hope their paycheck is there come payday. If not, just keep in mind that "some money is better than no money". Seriously, there are laws against this type of thinking. That is why there is a minimum wage implemented and overtime pay requirements. If employers could get by with paying what they wanted, when they wanted to, then there would be unpaid workers everywhere. There would be no workforce as we know it. Secondly, if this person wanted to spend one single day dealing with all I did and then wanted to call me a princess, they would be crazy. Others lives and their struggles will never appear in entirety to any of us because we don't live it.

I am happy to report that things are on track for the opening of our new paper the first week in March. In the meantime, I am working toward that objective every day and cleaning (a lot), running errands, picking up kids, coaching my girls' basketball team, cooking dinner and paying bills on the side. Not too shabby for a "princess", huh? I wonder if Cinderella's back hurts at night too?

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Whew...I tackled THAT room

Okay, so I swore I wouldn't do it, yet I did, again. I have argued and threatened until I am blue in the face and it does no good. Tonight, I broke down and did it myself... I tackled my son's room.

I know this doesn't sound like much of a feat, but I assure you it is. The process of cleaning up his room usually just comes short of a trip to the hardware store to pick up supplies such as a mask, gloves, extra tough garbage bags and Lysol.

He will be fourteen next month and I swear I think I found birthday cake in there that was left over from his thirteenth party. I have no idea how he prefers to live like that but he does. I didn't even get a thank you.

It all got drudged up tonight when I went in there to put away his laundry. Usually, I just reach inside the door and stick his clean clothes on the edge of his bed and expect him to pick them up. Tonight, I made the mistake of flipping the light on since he was upstairs watching American Idol. (Yes, we put his room in the basement so it is safely tucked away from visitors.) Oh man, was I ticked. See, I had asked him to clean it yesterday, before I agreed to let him go to the varsity basketball game. He assured me he would and for some reason, I believed he did. I mean, my kids have been out of school since lunchtime last Thursday due to snow, until they went back today.

Anyway, I was pretty furious. I stomped upstairs and grabbed a couple of large garbage bags and told myself that I was going to throw everything in the floor away. The problem is, once I started digging in, I found all sorts of stuff that money from mine and my husband's pockets had bought. I would pick up an item and remember how much it costed, felt sick, and then proceed to put it where it went.

I ended up filling one garbage bag and you guessed it- it was all garbage. (I am weak, what can I say?) The most irritating thing about the whole process was my teen son knew I was in his room cleaning and he just kept yelling for me to hold off until American Idol went off and he would help. Get real! Did he really believe I could just forget the scene I witnessed when I opened his door?

Well, it is done so I am exhausted. I threatened him and told him if it ever got to looking like that again, I would take his cell phone, video games and he wouldn't set foot out of the house until it was clean. We shall see if he believes me.

By the way, his carpet is green. Hmmm, it had been so long, I had forgotten. Now, I remember what color his curtains are supposed to be, maybe I will tackle them tomorrow.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Patience is a virtue- Really?

Today has been somewhat depressing and I don't really even know why. Do you ever get in one of those feel sorry for yourself moods for no real reason? I know we all do. That is why I'm not going to feel so bad about it. I know the same as most all of you do, that life is just hard. Even though I am blessed beyond words, sometimes just the day to day struggles can get you down.

I had a day like most others; got up, fixed breakfast, spent time with my kids, cleaned the house, ran errands in town and then went to the high school basketball game. The problem is, I am thinking the entire time I am doing any of the above about what I can do to move forward.

I am an impatient person. I expect everything to just happen right away. The sensible part of me knows that "all good things come to those who wait" but the other part screams, "make it happen, NOW!" I just tend to get aggravated when road blocks seem to pop up.

The kids go back to school tomorrow (finally) so maybe I can get a few phone calls made that really need to be made. Maybe I can feel like tomorrow has been productive this time tomorrow night. If not, is it really the end of the world?

It's the typical winter blues- I hit them every year. I feel so much better when I can just go out on the porch of the evenings and listen to the crickets when I feel a bit overwhelmed. I feel better about myself when I can peel all the layers of clothes off and feel air on my skin or let my hair down without it sticking out at all ends from static. (I hate that)

Until the weather warms a bit and my mood changes to "sunny", I will continue to remind myself of all the blessings in my life. My beautiful, healthy kids and husband, a nice warm bed to sleep in and a full gut (often too full). I challenge all of you to do the same. Together, we can lean on one another until we have some fantastic news to share; and I know that will come because I am going to make it happen. My goal is to open my own paper within the next six weeks. That impatient Becky is hard to put a lid on; so let's bet she makes it happen!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Another Snow day.... Ugh!

Okay, so I got the call a few hours ago that the kids are out of school due to "inclement weather" for another day. I love my children but I feel like pulling my hair out. Seriously, I am on the verge of renting a Bobcat or whatever I need and scrapping the backroads myself around here. We get around 3 inches of snow last Thursday and that holds up the day to day operations of our county for what, 6 days now? Really, enough is enough.

With all of this "cabin fever" we are experiencing around my house, it makes me wonder how we ever survived past summer breaks. Number 1: I was working. Since I quit my job last Monday, my kids have only been to school 2 full days. What kind of luck is that? Talk about not being able to get things done. Number 2: During the summer, the kids can go outside. It's certainly not feasible to send them out to play when it is 30 degrees outside (although I am seriously considering it).

According to all of my mom friends on Facebook, I am not the only one feeling "over-whelmed". This fact alone at least gives me hope that my kids aren't all that bad (or at least out-of-the-ordinary).

I honestly think as parents, we need just a pinch here and there of alone time. It gets a little over bearing to take a shower with an audience or if you are really lucky, you will just need to scream "Quit fighting" once or twice while lathering, rinsing and repeating.

If I hear, "I'm bored" one more time, I think I will scream. I mean, there is a house full of computers, televisions (with expensive channel packages), game systems and cell phones. Shouldn't that take up at least an hour or two at a time?

Now, last but not least, the food issue. I have 4 teenage kids in the house, 2 of them boys and they can eat! Not just three square meals a day but enough to feed a small army. They can make the $1.60 I pay every day for school lunch look like the greatest deal since McDonald's came out with their dollar menu.

Hopefully, tomorrow will go well and the kids will head back to class on Wednesday. Until then, pray for sanity for all parents at home dealing with the "I'm bored(s) and "I'm hungry(s)" all around the area. Seriously, this time really makes that "spare the rod, spoil the child" thing seem like it should be outlined in gold.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Riding out the storm

So much is happening for and/or to so many people right now. Sometimes I wonder why it seems that way.

Most all of you know my position of moving forward with opening my own paper in the weeks to come. (A huge step for me) Athough this is a very big step to take in my own life, there are many of my friends that are going through their own trials. It makes one sit back and wonder why bad things happen to good people?

I have come to the conclusion that we all have to face obstacles. These obstacles often bring some of the greatest blessings although we can't see them at the time.

For example, my oldest daughter is eighteen years old. She celebrated her 18th birthday days ago, just after finding out that she is expecting a baby.

It was so hard for me to accept the fact that my baby was going to have a baby of her own. I had such dreams for her. She has always been an over-achiever, super bright in school and she catches on to things so easily. I imagined her going to a big college campus someday. When she told me the news, I was in a state of shock for days. Then, it came to me. I can still dream big for her. There is no reason that every desire she wants for her life can't come true. The only difference is now we will have an additional blessing. A precious child, a new addition to our family. I know this child will be one of the greatest gifts that God has ever blessed her, or I with.

My Dad and Mom mean the world to me. Although I am 36 years old, I rely on their wisdom and advice. A world without either of them would scare me to death. They have always been there for me and my sisters. There is just a feeling of comfort in knowing that my daddy is there to defend me if I called him. He would. In a heartbeat. He got sick about a week ago and ended up in the hospital. While there, they discovered a bigger problem that he needed to address. If it weren't for him getting sick in the first place, I don't think he would have ever known the other problem. Now, he is on his way to being well.

My point is that God knows what He is doing. He answers prayers in due time in His own way. Although things may seem hard or we may not understand why, we don't need to. Sometimes the sunniest days come after the storm has passed. Just grab your parka and faith and hold on until the ride is over.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Ending today, prepared for tomorrow

As I sit here sipping my coffee and pondering over what to write about, I realize that another day has gone by.

I am one of those type of people that feels a need to do something productive with each day. In the week since I left my job, this has been the hardest part for me. Don't get me wrong, I love being at home and I have actually had the time to get a lot of things done around here that I haven't been able to do in a very long time. I mean, in an ordinary day while I was working, I would manage to go to work, pick up my kids, run to practice or a game with my kids and then fly home, cook dinner, help my daughter with homework, manage a load of laundry, then collapse into bed about midnight to get up the next morning and do it all over again. I never had the time to do things like wash the curtains or knock down the cob webs (how embarassing to discover how many there actually were). This week, I managed both those things and I probably would have gotten even more done but my kids were out of school the end of the week due to snow.

In fact, I believe being a stay at home mom and housewife is the hardest and most thankless job in the world. It is hard to feel like a maid and caregiver all the time and not a whole lot more. It is difficult to be at home battling those cobwebs and scrubbing the tub and all the while, feeling like the rest of the world is moving along without you.

My household has always been a two income household. My husband tells me constantly not to worry, let him be the only wage earner in our home and we will manage but still, there is a part of me that feels like I am letting my family down if suddenly we have to pinch pennies and maybe not go to that movie on Friday night because Mom didn't get to work this week.

Today though, I moved a step closer to what I feel is the best solution for me, my family and my community in general. I took one step closer to my goal of owning my own newspaper. If plans go as my husband and I hope, it will be a reality in the very near future.

In the meantime, I will continue to pray that this decision is the best one. I will pray for the Lord's guidance in every step we take. Starting Monday, I will start my day with a prayer, take my kids to school (if they have it), come home and knock down those pesky cob webs and move forward with my goal. If I have an extra minute, I may even get the whim to dust at least some of the furniture. : )

Friday, January 8, 2010

Life's little uh-ohs

Today was a snow day here in the mountains. About 2" of the white fluffy stuff fell at my house. Just enough to close the schools, pack the grocery stores and cause havoc on side roads. Gotta love those snow days!

Okay, so everyone knows by now that I hate cold weather but I am a mother and my youngest daughter loves the snow, so I got swindled into going out by a cute 10 year old with big, blue eyes. It all started last night...

My husband arrived home from work and got more excited about the snow that was falling than the kids did. He decided he wanted to go out and have some fun in it AND he wanted not only the kids but me to join him. Me, the must-be-near-a-heater at all times, me. Anyway, last night, he was unsuccessful at getting me out of my cozy little house into the frigid outdoors, so he came up with his own fun wih the kids. Let's just say it involved the kids, a 4-wheeler and a clothes basket. No way was I going for that, so he settled for just the 4-wheeler and the dotting 10 year old girl that loves going out in it as much as he does.

Upon their return, my daughter made me feel guilty (by accident I'm sure) about not being a part of their fun so I promised to go out with her the following day. It seemed so far off at the time but it all came so suddenly this morning. I had to head outside in 14 degree temperatures to "play" in the snow.

I bundled in my layers, to where only my nose was showing. We headed out with a skim board in hand to try out the hill. It was actually a lot of fun. On about the third attempt to gracefully place my 36 year old body on the skim board, it happened. I ripped my pants.

Yep! It wasn't just a little tiny tear either. It turns out the "old" jeans that I had picked out to play outside in were a whole lot older than I thought.

It all happened so quickly. The sound...then...the bone piercing cold that I felt crawl up my thigh. (And keep in mind- we live on a highway). I "gracefully" headed inside with my rear to the house as my husband and children pointed and laughed.

I knew I should have kept my hinny inside. At least then it would have been warm and whole lot more personal.

Oh well, at least my daughter got me outside, in the snow; and in the process she got a good laugh too.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

The finer things are free.... really?

For the past week, the temperature here in the North Georgia Mountains has topped out in the upper 20's. Today, I think we are really lucky, it is around 32. School was let out at noon today with the threat of snow approaching.

My house is a traditional brick ranch, built in the late 70's, with a full basement. Since we have so many children at home (5 when my step son is at home, which is every other week), we partially finished our basement into additional bedrooms and a small computer area. There is a bathroom too but it is a work in progress. (Literally)

Needless to say, since we have two levels to heat, it can get expensive if you don't get creative.

We have a wood heater in the basement and we use central heat for upstairs.

After opening numerous electric bills that were in the $300-$400 range over the years, everyone knows they better not touch the thermostat, unless they want to "draw back a nub" as my mother would say. It is to stay on 68 degrees, flat out.

As you all know, I have recently became unemployed, so over the past 3 or 4 days, I have given lectures until I am blue in the face to the kids about cutting back our extras. They seem to think if they can't stop every day after school to get $10 worth of snacks or on a whim, ask for $20 for the movies and not get it, that we are on the brink of disaster.

When I walked upstairs from doing laundry a few minutes ago, you can imagine my shock when the thermostat was up above 70 degrees and the little blue light that signals it is running on "overtime" was on. I (halfway) calmly turned it down and grilled each child on who did it.

Deny, deny, deny. Did I expect any less?

Well, since no one will admit to being the thermostat culprit, I decided to threaten taking the difference that is sure to pop on the electric bill from allowances. Now, one child stomped off, while the other rushes to her room, clinging to her cell phone for dear life, afraid that at any moment it might be gone. Ha, ha! The joys of parenthood.

One thing is for sure, the kids are all praying that mom returns to work soon, before life becomes somewhat of a disaster. You know, no cell phones, no eating out twice a week, no extra channels on dish or the "good" kind of shampoo.

Humm, I might just torture them and stay home for a while. : )

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Where to go from here

Mondays are always rough for me. There are a few things I despise; winter, freezing and Mondays. This past Monday had all three elements.

I have been at my (now past) job for more than five years.

It was with a small, weekly newspaper in my hometown. I started out delivering newspapers and covering some sports and council meetings. Over two years ago, I got promoted to editor. Well, since that time, I have had more and more obligations placed on my lap with no additional money.

I understand how tough times are. I lasted through my hours being cut, benefits (all benefits) being taken away and constantly being out of supplies (including toilet paper) at the office. Those are the necessary adjustments to fit the economy that many companies are having to make.

Over the past few months, getting paid has gotten more and more difficult to do. Checks would be late or we would be asked to "hold" them. This past Monday was my breaking point.

With a paycheck that was already overdue being promised for that morning, you can imagine my anger when it was not there and in it's place, excuses.

I simply refuse to go around broke while my money is owned to me, while the boss goes on vacation. I managed to hang up my job for good on that note.

Now, I am at home. I have all sorts of ideas and strategies to put to work. Who knows; I may even open my own paper.

The point is, the future is mine just as your future is yours. I know that God will guide me as I make decisions on where to go from here. In the meantime, I will continue to freeze (the high is only mid 20's today), hate winter and despise Mondays. The only difference is I will do that from home, at least for now.

Until tomorrow, keep your head high and your attitude positive- despite weathering Mondays and below freezing temps.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Grown Ups? I think not....

Right and Wrong
Sometimes, I think we, as adults, can act more like children than our actual children. There have been two separate issues this week that have brought this to the forefront of my thoughts.

First off, we all know how I feel about slander. I live by the belief that if you have some kind of personal attack to make on a person, you need to do as my daddy always told me and "man-up" or "woman up" and confront them.

We all know what the elephant in the room is that I am speaking of so I will just say it; mainly internet trash sites, but really, any kind of pointless, hurtful and untruthful gossip. Where I live, there is a fairly popular site. Honestly, I think the popularity is fading and I couldn't be happier. On that particular "forum", anonymous posters get on board and post untruths and exaggerations about members of the community. Some of it gets downright vicious.

If it were a larger town (of more than 10,000), it probably wouldn't be such a big deal but when you go to the grocery store and half the town is there, and they have all read that garbage, it can hurt. Bad.

I have personally been hurt by this type of behavior and a number of my friends and acquaintances have also. The point is, that this is grade school behavior if not worse.

I have literally gotten to the point that I don't even look at the filth that is written on that trash site. I think it should be illegal. Anyone can put whatever they want out there for the world to see and have no backing at all to it, and to make matters worse, they use a "screen" name to do it. Juvenile? You bet. The way to fix it? The way I see it, we have two options, either pray for people to grow up and develop some sort of a conscious, or just stop even looking at the exaggerations and lies. If we don't pay any attention, the site will not get any more advertisers because it will lose any popularity that it once had. With popularity should come vadility, which that site severly lacks.

There will always be "gossip mongers" that exaggerate the truth but doing it the old fashioned way, over the phone or in person, at least leads to an eventual source to sometimes confront or disbelieve.

While I am on a roll, let's go to the second example of child like behavior, favortisim.

Living in a small town, I know it is often done, but that doesn't make it right. This week, I personally encountered an act of it. The sad part was it involved children. One got what they wanted, and the other didn't. Hmmm, may be a good idea for a story in up-coming weeks. Let's just see how it all plays out. Until next week, let's all try to live in a manner that improves the world, if not, someone needs to put in a giant "adults only" playground to give a stomping ground for a bunch of over-grown second graders.