Saturday, February 28, 2009
We are very pleased! We chose the bedroom in the back corner that had two windows. Ned has a lot of Carolina and Clemson things in his room at home so we'll move those along with whatever else he wants to take. He will be able to walk over and see mother anytime he wants but we are going to discourage her going over to his house too much...can't have her trying to take charge or contridicting what the caregivers tell the guys. It's Ned's house...mother can't think of him as anything other than her baby but I'm convinced that he is going to blossom and grow and surprise the heck out of everybody with what he is capable of doing on his own. Enjoy the photos...
Friday, February 27, 2009
In week one, I called our local telephone/internet/cable TV provider and bundled our services, saving between $40 and $50 a month. Good start, don't you think?
This week, I bought a new car. Before you holler FOUL...let me explain. I was driving a leased vehicle...a 2006 Land Rover LR3 and it was time to either buy it or turn it in. Talk about a gas guzzler...oh my WORD! Not to mention that 99% of the time, I was driving that tank around with not another living soul riding along....just little ol' me.
I had several objectives as Hank and I set out to shop for a new car. I wanted to buy and not lease, with the lowest possible payment. We needed to be able to get all of our tailgating paraphernalia in for football season. I had to have an IPOD jack. I preferred leather seats as I drink a lot of coffee and SPILL a lot of coffee, but that wasn't a deal breaker. Last but not least I will NOT buy a car if the car salesperson doesn't make a good first impression. I will walk right off that lot and not look back. I'm a tough customer...
After checking out several options, including the Toyota Highlander and their new crossover (can't remember its name) we stopped in the visit the Saturn folks. I liked them...no pressure and no dickering over price. A couple of hours later we drove away in a new Saturn Vue that met all of my needs with a payment that is $200 lower than the LR lease per month plus it gets about 26 miles per gallon on the highway plus PLUS it will be mine in the end...not like that dadgummed leased vehicle. I know we could have been even MORE conscientious but for us, this was REAL progress in a better direction. We ain't perfect...
Stay tuned for FF-Week 3. Here's a hint...our kids aren't going to like it one bit!
There was one little glitch that almost caused me to back out of the purchase. There weren't many customers that day but at least one couple purchased something and as they walked out of the showroom to drive away, all of the salespeople and service people stood at the door and did some kind of cheer with a whole bunch of whooping and hollering. I looked at our salesman and said in my sweetest voice...If those people stand at that door and whoop and holler at us when we go to leave so help me I will turn right around and give you these keys back and you will lose this sale before you know what hit you.
Ten minutes later, we departed in peace and quiet.
Wednesday, February 25, 2009
I don't know why we like what we like, but we're generally compatible TV watchers. We mourned the end of West Wing and The Sopranos...neither of us gets Survivor or most of the other reality shows with the exception of American Idol, and my dirty little secret, Celebrity Apprentice. We laugh our heads off at Big Bang Theory...and then there's LOST!!
Incidentally...we're watching American Idol now and tonight's twelve are VERY disappointing thus far. Some of the girls are over-performing to the point of looking "affected" somehow.
This kid, Kai, is pretty cute though...He loves his mother very much! He also reminds me of Sayid from LOST so that definitely gives him an edge in my book.
Guess what I'm doing on Saturday morning...Hot Rocks Massage. Hank gave me a gift certificate in my Christmas stocking. Ninety minutes of BLISS...I could use some bliss. How about you?
Tell us...what brings you bliss??
Oh wait...the last kid, Adam. He's quite the talent...WOW. Randy compared him to Edward Cullen...oh my goodness! Hank has no idea who Edward Cullen is...that's another of my dirty little secrets...I might be in love with a vampire.
I rambled through this one pretty well, didn't I?
Told ya! You didn't doubt me, did you?
Tuesday, February 24, 2009
I'm having a moment....or perhaps a series of moments... I'll also say that, goodness knows, there are so many people out there with much worse things happening in their lives. I count my blessings everyday but this is what is causing me stress and if I can't vent about it here...well...there aren't many places I can vent about it.
I'm feeling edgy. For those of you who are familiar with my mother and my brother Ned, you know that they're quite a pair. Ned is 40 years old and has Downs Syndrome. Mother is almost 81 and suffers from an Alzheimer's-like dementia. They've rarely ever been apart (not at all save ONE night in the last ten years) so you can imagine the dependence they have on each other. About a year ago, we had to find someone to help them at home because mother refused to move to assisted living unless Ned was with her. We've tried so hard to reason with her (it isn't possible) and accommodate them but it's been hard...and tiring...a real BIG stress in our lives for several years.
About four years ago, we discovered that a non-profit faith-based group (Aldersgate Special Needs Mission) was endeavoring to build homes for developmentally disabled adults around the state. As God's grace would have it, they were planning to build one of the homes on the property of The Oaks, a Methodist Church supported Life Care Community, less than ten miles from our farm where mother grew up. We were excited and encouraged, believing that this was our answered prayer.
Aldersgate is a group of good solid very well meaning people who were not well-equipped to accomplish the task at hand...good hearted, I have to believe, but TERRIBLE communicators. All we asked was that somebody touch base with us by e-mail every few weeks...even if the message was "no progress" at least we would know that the whole thing hadn't folded up. We wanted to assist but they didn't take us up on our many many offers. Hank is the most patient man in the world and even HE got frustrated. They were going to be ready to take residents in 2006....then in the spring of 2007....then March of 2008....NOW they're saying that the doors will open in approximately 30 days.
We've been up and down and up and down. Mother doesn't want to move but says she's going to do what she has to do because Ned needs to get settled and she "doesn't want him to wake up one morning and find her dead in her bed." (ARRRGGGHHHHHHH....thank you for allowing me to scream!) We don't want him to wake up and find her dead in her bed either BUT she keeps saying this in front of him...over and over.
It is time....past time. Mother needs to be in assisted living and Ned needs a chance to live his life to the fullest extent possible...he's been sitting at home with her these past few years and doesn't have any friends his own age. He just hangs around with old people. The situation has been extremely complicated to manage....we couldn't just go in and take him away even though we've always believed that Ned needed to be out in a good group home with friends and activities and maybe a job. Mother just wouldn't let him go. We couldn't talk her into it and we tried plenty!
Hank and I went over to pick out Mother's room on Sunday afternoon. She will have a sitting room and a bedroom and can look out the door and see the front door of the house Ned will be living in. They can walk over to see each other any time they want.
I guess I'm a coward...I want to snap my fingers and have this all over and done with. Packing them up and driving them away from their house is just going to be AWFUL! (How in the WORLD are we going to move them both at one time...she refuses to go before him and won't let him go before her...AAARRRGGGGHHHH...I think I was due a second scream!)
I know...I'm being a big baby. Thanks for letting me have a moment. I'll buck up and in true Southern Belle fashion will get them organized, packed up and moved as soon as we get the good word. It will be a tough few weeks though...mother doesn't deal well with stress, and this is going to be MEGASTRESS for her. She will call us seven or eight times a day from the moment we tell her that the move is scheduled and we'll have to go round and round and round with the details over and over and over. At some point she'll say she's not going at all and will have quite a few VERY unkind things to say about me as this will ALL be my fault in her eyes. I'm prepared for it but I never enjoy it, and even though I know it's "the dementia talking" it will still hurt my feelings. I may need to get a refill on my flying pills.
Keep us all in your prayers. BIG PRAYERS!
Sunday, February 22, 2009
We've been talking to our kids about being a little more thrifty. Neither likes to talk about it and each can come up with 1000 reasons why they desperately need whatever it is that they purchase. Lorelai can spend more money than one can imagine at Walmart or Target. When questioned it's always "shampoo and conditioner." She must have the cleanest most well-conditioned hair in the world. Generally Legare doesn't do too bad, but as a full-time grad student, he starts to feel a little pinch toward the end of each month.
Last week when I did my Frugal Friday post I received the following comment:
I think Legare needs a bailout!
Friday, 20 February, 2009
I was talking with Legare on the phone while reading my comments so I asked...
Me: Legare, did you by chance make an anonymous comment on my blog?
Legare: Me? No...well....maybe...OK...well....yes, I did. LEGARE NEEDS A BAILOUT!!!
Me: Good luck with that pal...let me know it works out for you...
Oh heck...who am I kidding. Let me introduce myself...I am Belle, wife, mother, educator and ECONOMIC STIMULUS PACKAGE for my kids!
Where is my checkbook?
Friday, February 20, 2009
Here is what I did this week. I called our local telephone company. They provide our cable TV, telephone service and internet service. Did you know that you can "bundle" services and adjust long distance calling plans? I adjusted a couple of things and we're going to save between $40 and $50 every month, depending on our long distance minutes. Who'd a thunk it???
I'm feeling pretty good about this...
Do you have any ideas or tips to share??
Thursday, February 19, 2009
Oh my stars....would that we could sometimes just WHACK the people over the head instead of merely whacking the point!!
I object to people running down the future. I am going to live all the rest of my life there.
Charles F Kettering
Don't you just wonder how some folks get through the day? I know at least ten people who should be walking around carrying hand baskets as they are convinced that civilization is getting ready to go to "H E double toothpicks" in a hand basket. COME ON...lighten up. Sing a song...dance a dance...hug somebody...eat an ice cream cone...BE JOYFUL...it can't hurt now, can it??
A sense of humor... is needed armor. Joy in one's heart and some laughter on one's lips is a sign that the person down deep has a pretty good grasp of life. Hugh Sidey
And that's all that I have to say about THAT!
Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Let me just say that a southern belle knows how to wear her signature scent properly. The gal I'm getting ready to tell you about is NO southern belle. I was scheduled for a meeting this afternoon with someone I'd not ever met before. I walked to the lobby to greet her and at about five feet from my "hello, how are you" and handshake I ran into nothing short of a FORCE FIELD of scent. She had not just applied her perfume/cologne liberally...it was like she had bathed in it, washed her hair in it, dipped her clothing into it and THEN sprayed some more on for good measure. I like nice smells and am a big fan of aromatherapy but this was brutal....nevertheless, I put on my most professional facial expression and off we went to the conference room where two others were waiting.
After the introductions, we sat down to chat and within two minutes my colleague Lola, who was sitting next to me, started to cough. We had closed the conference room door and the smell was about to overwhelm us. Lola got up and moved down to the other end of the table as tactfully as she could, all the while asking questions and talking to our guest. At about the six minute mark, Lola started to WHEEZE....she has asthma issues. I left the room a moment to adjust the thermostat, hoping that things might be more bearable if the air wasn't so still. At about eight minutes, Lola excused herself to go get her inhaler from the car and my head was beginning to throb. My other colleague in the room, our fearless leader, Robert, was holding up the best but I took note that, as the chief of the little powwow, he did not tarry in wrapping up the meeting in record speed. I don't believe our visitor had ANY idea...she must have a defective sense of smell. (and so must the people who live with her)
After she left we actually had to MOVE the chair she sat in out of the room and now at home even after changing my clothes and some six hours later, I can STILL smell it. I think I'll go wash my hair.
Sunday, February 15, 2009
Tom and Ann hadn't seen THE BEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME, The Big Chill, in a long time so we moved to the den with our dessert and coffee and enjoyed the movie while was also enjoyed a nice fire. It was a nice relaxing night...What did you do?
That amazing candy from Kathy
Up close of the glass paperweight from Kathy
Friday, February 13, 2009
I hosted a swap for Valentine's Day and we had a pretty good turnout of folks who wanted to participate. There were a couple of glitches, but I think everything turned out alright. I haven't had any complaints...
I ended up with THREE swap partners because we had trouble locating a couple of folks ended up not participating after the fact and it was easier just to grab those folks for myself (more for me MORE MORE MORE).
My original partner was Michelle at Doublewide Dreamer . Look at what she sent (darn blogger if the pictures would upload you could see)...candles, fun decorations, scrapbooking supplies, coffee...WOW. There was enough loot to decorate around my house and at the office. Come to find out that Michelle is a middle school teacher and a church musician and piano teacher...just like I used to be.
Then I partnered up with Kathy from Emptynester...She send some things from her favorite hometown shops in Georgetown, Texas. Coffee, a musical pin, a beautiful glass heart paperweight, chocolate truffles...look how big the truffles were! I say "were" because the one I'm holding in my hand (it's a good picture of a white chocolate coated truffle in the palm of my hand)was the last one left by the time I took the photos. YUMMY!
Finally...Sara...From the Desk of Sara. She lives in Canada and the guy at our local yokel shipping shop didn't know how to "send something to a foreign country" so the good old USPS had to do the job...it took them a long time, but the package did eventually get to Sara. More cute things for me...an XOXO pillow (I did some of my best photo taking in this picture that WILL NOT load for love nor money), cute fleece throw, candy, a yummy topping for ice cream or toast...the packaging is in French so I don't exactly know what it says but it is delicious.
I hope that everybody enjoyed the swap...We'll have to do it again sometime! I'll keep trying with the photos....
Wednesday, February 11, 2009
Well...when I went to my sixth picture in my sixth folder, I discovered that I'd already used that one in a tag so I went to the seventh picture in the seventh folder. I might have used this one in a post but here goes anyhow...
This lovely pig stands outside a stellar BBQ restaurant in Walterboro, SC. DUKES BBQ is pretty darn good. Give it try if you're over that direction sometimes...it's about, oh I don't know, seven or eight miles off of I95 in the lower part of the state.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009
I'm a big believer and a FIRM believer that while big things are important, it's the sum total of the little things that really make a difference. Things like putting a shopping cart in the parking lot area designated for shopping carts rather than leaving it in a parking place or letting the person with just a few items get in front of you in a checkout line if you have a buggy full. Holding a door for someone or smiling at them when you pass...even if they are strangers. How about letting someone turn or merge into traffic on a busy day and NOT giving in to road rage?
I guess we could call those things "small graces" but they are graces nonetheless. Most mornings at work, the custodian fills our coffee pot up with water and puts a nice clean filter in for us. It might take her five minutes and doesn't cost a dime but oh my stars...what a blessing.
The economy is in a fix right now but grace and kindness don't cost a thing, yet can help improve the feelings of the recipient AND the giver immeasurably.
Has anybody shown grace and/or kindness to you lately?
HERE IS THE CHALLENGE...Write a post about it and please let me know so that I can read it. LET'S START A MOVEMENT...OK, so I don't know what to call our movement BUT LET'S DO IT ANYWAY!!!
ARE YOU WITH ME???
Monday, February 9, 2009
It's one of those days...I got nothin', but I promise better things to come...like photos of our trip to the farm yesterday with Mother and Ned AND photos of my swap packages AND a picture tag...AND...well, you get my drift...
- I'm planning a special Valentine's Day "dinner and a movie" at our house.
- I've lost five pounds in the past month...did not; however, get the exercise piece of the plan under control.
- I'm feeling the need for a Gilmore Girls marathon.
- I observed a co-worker behave in a most unprofessional manner in front of a group of people the other day...it was painful to watch.
- I just finished reading Tori Spelling's autobiography...DON'T JUDGE ME.
- I'm trying a new skin care regimen that includes this night cream...the smell is quite relaxing...
- Hank's 50th birthday is coming up in April. I've got to make plans!!
OH....and I don't want to go to work. I want to stay home and catch up on my blog reading.
Saturday, February 7, 2009
Ordinarily, I'd go bouncing out there too, but I'm letting him have his moment. I had my moment last night. Hank had fallen asleep by the fireplace and I was upstairs in bed reading when Lor came in, climbed in, and snuggled up by me. After a few minutes she said, Did you know that you have a smell? Not QUITE knowing how to take that, I replied, Well goodness, I TOOK a bath just a couple of hours ago. NO...she replied, It's a MOMMY smell. And with that, she took a deep breath, smiled, snuggled in a little closer and fell asleep.
Oh yes...The Sweet Moments...they really keep us going, don't they??
Friday, February 6, 2009
Her laundry bag must have weighed 40 pounds and I can barely get in the laundry room now that they're sorted all over the floor...I've got to go put clean sheets and towels in her room and plan decent meals for the rest of the weekend.
I am SO SO SO HAPPY that she's home for the weekend!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Thursday, February 5, 2009
Thanks so much for listing Lemuria as a shopping link on your blog! We really appreciate it! Lemuria also has a blog... check it out sometime: http://blog.lemuriabooks.com/
Also keep an eye out for Gayden Metcalfe and Charlotte Hayes' new book:
Some Day You'll Thank Me for This:
The Official Southern Ladies' Guide to Being a Perfect Mother
I can hardly wait! All southern belle mothers and daughters of mothers (LOL LOL LOL, I really just DO amuse myself sometimes!!) need to read this one. Maybe I"ll get a couple and do a giveaway!!!! That would be fun, wouldn't it??
Tuesday, February 3, 2009
Anyhow...we took a couple of days away last weekend to have perfectly delightful time at the home of fellow Rowdy Girl Meg and her husband Will. If you weren't on board with my blog back in the fall, we had a grand Rowdy Girl Weekend down at the summer house in Beaufort. You can read about it here, here, and here.
We were going back to Beaufort but at the last minute Sue and Lewis couldn't come so Meg and Will graciously offered to host Hank and me in their beautiful home. We arrived Friday night and enjoyed a delicious chili supper, had a beautiful brunch on Saturday morning, and then headed to Charlotte to spend the day at South Park Mall. Our wonderful wonderful husbands followed us around for five hours, then we ate dinner at Cheesecake Factory and THEN spent another two hours backtracking to pick up a few things that we'd pondered about purchasing all day. There were some very good deals to be had so we did what we could to contribute to stimulating the economy...at least in North Carolina. That's what SOUTH Carolina gets for not have a really fabulous mall!!!
I got quite a deal on a Michael Kors bag and found the cutest Juicy Couture dress for Lorelai at a deep discount. Hank found a pair of jeans and a sweater. It sounds like we didn't think about Legare but as he called me on Friday afternoon to report that he had found several deals at the Nordstrom and Neiman Marcus near him...and charged them to MY Visa card...we didn't feel compelled to send him any surprises.
We missed Sue and Lewis....SUE...we didn't talk about you one bit...not a single time. We didn't talk about Lewis either. We'd NEVER talk about y'all when you aren't with us, just as I know that you and Meg would never EVER talk about me when I'm not around.
The Rowdy Girls ROCK!
Monday, February 2, 2009
Just because they make those tights and that shirt in your size...well...that doesn't mean that you should wear them. EVER!!
Sunday, February 1, 2009
One day last week I had my cholesterol checked (it's DOWN!!!!) Since I didn't get my morning coffee and decided afterwards to have chai tea instead, I developed a humdinger of a headache that I just couldn't kick. I ended up going to bed before Lost and Damages (so you KNOW I really felt bad). The next morning Hank asked if I was feeling better and I indicated that I did, and felt like it was all about the caffeine. He laughed and laughed at me....a wicked sort of laugh. WHY, you ask, did he do that??? Well...
A year or so ago when Lorelai was still at home and we were running all over creation with her and her activities, days would go by and Hank and I would realize that we hadn't really had a meaningful conversation. I noticed, though, that work had him a little edgy and knew that his cholesterol was up...so...I made an executive decision to cut back his caffeine. My understanding was that he had two or three cups of coffee every morning after he got to work and a diet coke later in the day. My reckoning was that if he had decaf at home in the morning at least he'd be cutting back a little.
Now...I didn't tell him that I had replaced his regular coffee with decaf. If I had, he would have declared up and down that it didn't taste good and blah blah blah. After the second day, he mentioned in passing that he had a headache. Another day or so passed and he didn't say anything so I figured things were OK. The fifth day, he informed me that he was going to the doctor because something was REALLY wrong. He was having excruciatingly painful headaches...not like sinus...something was WRONG!
My facial expressions quite often give me away. One look and he asked emphatically...WHAT DID YOU DO??? I had to confess...and come to find out that lately he hardly had time when he got to work to drink even one cup of coffee and had given up the diet coke entirely in an effort to drink more water. WHO KNEW!!!?? So, we made a pot of coffee right then and an hour later life was back to normal, or as normal as it gets around our house.
So...his evil laugh was directed at me and my pain. That wasn't very kind, was it? I was just trying to help!! As we ended our conversation this morning, Hank observed that the decaf incident was one of the more tricky things I'd tried to pull on him over the years.
My reply...Oh Honey...you have NO idea...No idea whatsoever about the true nature of my bag of tricks. Actually, I think he probably does know...he just prefers to live in denial.