Friday, April 21, 2006

Money woes

I'm going to turn into one of those old people who worry constantly about running out of money while having $40,000 or so in the checkbook.

I'm not there yet, but in another 30-40 years, I'll be there.

We spend our earnings pretty well right now, but every time I buy something, I worry about it costing too much, if I really need it, can I make it unti next payday, etc.

Here's an example. Miss Kat needed new shoes. So I bought some. And then, I worried about if she R.E.A.L.L.Y. needed them. I mean, duct tape can hold her old ones together, right? And, the Chinese figured it out centuries ago--just bind those feet and they'll stop growing. She could get by--I might need that money. Pay day is 3 days away. We've only got $400 in the account. What if I need that $15 that I spent on her shoes!

It's a sickness.

Payday was yesterday. I paid bills last night. We will go 2 more weeks till another pay day. And, I'm worried. All the bills are paid. But I might need to spend some money on an upcoming emergency. I don't want to go to the store and buy food. We might need to buy something more important. What the heck's more important than food???

Can't express my fear to Kev--he'll just rooollll his eyes and tell me to stop worrying. After all, we've got money in savings. If we have to, we'll pull some out temporarily. Logical? Yes. Calming? sorta. Shuts me up? Every time. Until next pay day.

Oh, yeah, Kel? You were right. I should have bought myself those crocs. I'm kicking myself now. But....what if I had needed that money? Then where would I be???

Wednesday, April 19, 2006

Today was Job Shadowing day. Miss Kat came to work with me today. I wasn't sure what I'd do with her. It's not unusual for her to come to work. She comes here frequently after school. Granted, 4 p.m. is a very quiet time at a college library. Classes are primarily finished for the day, students are often working, or are relaxing. They do not generally come to the library at 4 p.m.

So, this morning, no studnets until after 10 a.m. Usually, I have several in between 8 and 10. Not today. But, I found plenty to keep her busy and maybe showed her how much work we usually do accomplish.

Kat got to open--turn on lights, computers, copiers, etc. I taught Kat how to cover new books. She covered a couple herself. Then she got to check in a couple of books and even reshelve. She realized how important that call number is, and she realized that she's too short to shelve books on our top shelf! She counted circulated items, and re-shelved magazines. She learned what microfiche is and what syllabbi are. She then got a short tour of the Math/Science building. It's the only one she wasn't familiar with. We were lucky--Pic was in the Chemistry lab and he showed her how to turn water into wine. That was probably the highlight of her morning.

I think Kat learned a lot. I know that I have a greater appreciation of the work I do every day and take for granted. I know I'm tired, from thinking of all the things to show her. It's habit, and takes a lot of energy to explain it all to a 10 year old. I think it was good for both of us. I'm glad it's over.

Thursday, April 13, 2006


I found this on Cowtown Stacy's blog. She's split evenly on the issues. I guessed that I wouldn't be...and I was right. The only problem with these quizzes is that they are so black and white and never really fit me completely. Like the question on owning guns--no hunting options given. So, it didn't really fit. Here's me--Politically in a nutshell.

Your Political Profile

Overall: 30% Conservative, 70% Liberal
Social Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Personal Responsibility: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal
Fiscal Issues: 25% Conservative, 75% Liberal
Ethics: 0% Conservative, 100% Liberal
Defense and Crime: 50% Conservative, 50% Liberal

How Liberal / Conservative Are You?

Morning chores

There's something special and fulfilling about doing chores. I fed the animals this morning, as Kev is off watching turkey and Andy didn't have school. Andy usually does the morning chores, as he is quicker about getting ready for school than his mother. I often do chores on the weekend, and share in the evening chores. I find I'm rather picky in how my young chicks are cared for, and just feel better when doing it myself.

But, this morning, I did all the chores. I got up earlier than normal, let the dogs out, then got myself ready for the day.

The first critters who get fed are the pesky cats. The outside cats. They have an instinctive knowledge of when you will exit the house, and all gather for breakfast. They all gather at the door and send a chorus of "meows" that isn't quite melodic or soothing. As I step outside the door, they twine their supple bodies around my feet, practically tripping me. That is probably their true intent--to trip me, causing me to spill their food, and in doing so, fill their hungry bellies. I perform my Pied Piper impression, shaking the feed can, enticing them all to follow me to the shop where I disperse their meal. While walking towards the shop, they continue twining themselves around my feet. It's a constant obstacle course.

Once the cats are cared for, it's off to the goats. Winter is a true Nubian. She is loud and can be annoying as she announces her hunger. Grabbing her grain, I quickly enter the pen. She rubs against me, encouraging me to hurry up and deposit her meal into the trough. She weighs around 130 lbs, and it's not necessarily easy to get around her to the trough. Once accomplished, I have another goat who now demands my attention by butting my legs. Miss Monkey quickly grabs her bottle and finishes it rapidly, while her siblings sniff me, nibble on my clothes, check out the bottle, etc. Then they decide to investigate what Mom is eating and maybe sneak in a drink while she's distracted.

The pigs are next on the list. Walking toward their pen, I scare up a pheasant who takes off to the west. No sign of the pigs as I enter the pen. They are snuggled up together inside the shed, sleeping in late this morning. But once they hear my voice, they come to investigate. No need to feed them, as they have a self feeder. I just check feed levels and water then exit the pen. Of course while checking, the pigs bless me by pressing their noses against my pant legs. Four pigs, pressing around one human. It's a very similar feeling to that of walking amidst the cats.

The only remaining animals are the chickens. Upon opening the door to the coop, I'm greeted by the 5 adult critters who dash into the clear morning sun. The chicks are cheeping in their brooder. It always surprises me to witness their panic every time I remove the "lid" on the brooder. I do it twice a day. In my mind, they should expect it. After all, I bring fresh water and food which they attack with ravish attention. I note that they are outgrowing their home and wonder when I can introduce them to the adult population. Today, I turn off the heat lamp for the first time. The temperature is forecasted to be 88. They are big enough, that a day without the heat lamp will do them good. And, soon, they will have to learn how to deal with the dark. As I leave the coop, I toss the adults some grain and take a few indulgent seconds to watch them scratch.

On the way back to the house, I take time to look around. The grass is greening up, weeds are popping out of the ground. The dew is heavy on the grass. There's wisps of fog sliding down the valleys of our gentle hills. The lilacs are budding. It looks, smells and sounds like spring. It's peaceful. It's beautiful. It's home.

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

random thoughts

Today's weather is what I wanted for our wedding 11 years ago.

It's a beautiful spring day, the crabapple trees are starting to bud, the blowering pear trees are budding. Lilacs are leafing out and will bloom in a few short weeks. No wind. It's just bright, sunny, and beautiful. It even smells like spring.

Our wedding day wasn't this nice. It was cool, cloudy, and windy. I so wanted a beautiful spring day for my wedding. But instead, I got a beautiful wedding on a spring day.


Kev is just about packed for his Spring Turkey Hunt. He leaves tonight. He'll be gone until Sunday. He'll miss our anniversery. I'm ok with that. We don't wait to celebrate our marriage on just our anniversery. We both work at finding time to do things together. We've decided to try to go on a weekend get-away sometime "soon." I think we've narrowed it down to two spots. Just need to decide when. We haven't gone somewhere alone since...well, since our overnight stay at the hotel on our 5th anniversery. It's time.


I decided over the weekend that Kev must really love me--I mentioned that I'd love to figure out how to fence the north pasture for the goats. We've got lots of weeds there, and they are natural weed eliminators. So, he sat down, and tried to figure it out--just fencing a portion of it. We bought wire and T-posts. But when we got home, realized the logistics just weren't there right now. So, we improvised and put up a small fence in the south pasture since the electric fence that we used for over 2 years quit. Now, how many guys will do something on a whim like that? What should have been an hour project took over 3. And, I know he had other projects he wanted to do. I'd have waited, but he thought it was important.


While my "men-folk" are off hunting this weekend, I'm going to pamper myself. Kat and I are going to see family in Colo Springs. And I'm planning on shopping (with little money)...and eating Chinese at the mall...and talking and spending lots of time with Kel. Kel is probably the closest thing I have to a sister. We haven't spent time doing things alone in several years. We're due.

And yet, I'm worried about being gone from home for 3 days. I worry about not seeing, and maybe not talking to Kev. I'm worried my animals will need me--especially the chicks and Miss Monkey. My neighbors can care for them, but will they be able to do it as well as I can? Will they give Miss Monkey some lovin after her bottle? Will they remember to change the chick's water twice a day? I'm sure they will, but I can't stop worrying...

Friday, April 07, 2006


Mark Twain once said, "The coldest winter I've experienced was a summer spent in San Francisco."

Mark should have spent a spring in Northwest Kansas.

Monday was a beautiful day. No breeze at all, and warm...Almost hot. Beautiful day that begged you to stay outside.

Today, Friday, the wind is blowing. And not a gentle breeze, but 40 mph winds with gusts up to 60 mph. And, it's raining--with a slight mixture of snow. Rain, which is moving at 40 mph horizontally hurts when is slaps you up-side the head. It pounds into your chest like bullets. You can hear each drop as it smacks into your body and anywhere else it hits.

If it's not raining, then being out in winds like this, requires your full concentration on standing up, on moving forward, on maintaining your balance. And, if it's dry, you have to concentrate on seeing where you want to go. If it's dry, there's so much dust in the air that at times, that you simply cannot see where you are going. That is very scary.

Two weeks ago, on the first day of spring, we had a blizzard. Nasty blizzard. The kids and I were home for Spring Break, but Kev was supposed to work. He chose to stay at home. Visibility was extremely low and the drifting across the highways made driving unsafe. The irony is that not one ounce of snow fell all winter. We had snow in the late fall, but once it was officially winter, no moisture until the first day of spring. Typical weather in Kansas.

Spring also brings track season and baseball season. Today is a perfectly typical track meet day. Miserable, wet, cold and windy. Baseball games get cancelled due to high winds and rain. Track meets do not.

I'd venture to bet that Mark Twain's summer in San Francisco was much nicer than spring in Northwest Kansas.

Thursday, April 06, 2006

Lost books

I'm a librarian. I take care of books. I work with books, I let people read these books, use these books. And I expect people to take care of the books they borrow. Yet, I realize that things happen, and a book might get water damage, or pages fall out, or sometimes, they get lost. I can deal with that, I understand.

Except when it happens to my kids. I get so annoyed when my kids lose library books, or when they have overdue library books. Maybe because we librarians are a small group--we know each other. And, I expect the behavior of my kids to reflect on me. And when my kids lose library books, well, then, somehow, I've failed.

Miss Kat has lost a book. It's not a library book, but it's one she's reading in her reading class. It's important that she have this book. I saw it one night this week, but it was in her trapper, so I didn't worry.

Last night, she was in tears because she cant find the book. She wasn't in tears because she lost the book, but because she'd get an "F" on her assignment. She looked in her room, she looked in the living room. She looked downstairs. No book. She asked me what I did with it. As if I were responsible for her book.

I didn't help her look. I told her where to look, but I refused to help her. After all, I didn't lose it. She thinks she lost it at school. I suggested she check lost and found and the library.

But, I forgot, I am the stupidest Mother in the world. Miss Kat quickly reminded me that it wasn't a library book and no one would ever think to return it there. O yeah, I forgot. After all, I only work in a library. We get all kinds of lost books returned to us, whether they are ours or not. But, hey, I'm stupid. I forgot that my 10-year-old daughter knows more than I do.

I hope she finds her book. I really really hope somebody turned it into the library. Then I can say "I told you so."

Drivers Education

Andy passed his written Drivers Ed. test yesterday. Now, he just has to drive with the instructor in early June, and then he'll have his restricted license.

I have mixed emotions. I'll be glad when I don't have to rearrange my schedule to take him somewhere. But I'll worry about him driving alone. I was so worried that he wouldn't pass the test.

He's been coming to the college for the past month, taking the daily quizzes online to prepare for this test. You see, they don't actually TEACH the kids anymore, the kids read the book, take their quizzes, then take their final test. All the teacher does is post the grades and drive with the kids. Andy had lots of trouble with his quizzes; for some reason, the teacher wasn't receiving them. So, with 2 days to go, we got a phone call from his teacher telling him that he had 15 quizzes to take.

Now, my son never defends himself. He said "ok, I'll get it done." Then he hung up the phone. Relaying the conversation to Mom, well, Mom got hot. "What? You have to taken all your tests, why didn't you tell him you've taken all the tests? Why haven't they gone through?"

Hot Mom took cool Andy to town immediately. We were on a mission.

We logged on at the college, and it showed that Andy had indeed taken his tests. Hot Mom made Andy print all those quizzes off--to prove he'd taken them. We did discover he had skipped chapters 4 and 5, so he took those quickly and we printed them all off. We then emailed his teacher, just to let her know what was happening.

They finally got all his tests sometime the next day. Mom cooled down a little. But, it all ended well, he took his final and passed. Hurdle one cleared.

Andy's been driving frequently. In fact, I seldom get to drive to work anymore. But driving with a teen, a not-the-most-observant-teen, is an experience. Last night, right after passing his driving test, we had to go to Gem to get pig feed. Andy drove.

He scared the c.r.a.p. out of me! We were tooling down the road at 65 mph, rapidly gaining ground on a truck pulling a tractor on a trailer. MY foot was pressing into the floor, trying to get that imaginary brake to grab. Andy, was not. I gently reminded him to pay attention to how fast we were coming upon that big tractor. Andy wasn't concerned. I mentioned the brakes--a little less gently this time. Then I frantically squealed something about hitting them hard.

We didn't hit the tractor, but I sure wish Andy had slowed down a little quicker. He was really annoyed at me. I have no idea why.

You know, I blame all my gray hair on my daughter. But, I'm starting to rethink it--I know I got a few more last night.

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

You can justify just about anything

This morning I stopped at Loves to get a bottle of pop in the 1 liter size. I've pretty much given up pop, I might have one once a week now when 4 months ago, I HAD to have a Diet Dr. Pepper every morning. And I often had to have two to get me through the day. So, I quit. Cold Turkey. I was miserable. My family was miserable. Caffeine headaches are nothing to laugh at. Mine lasted two solid weeks. And I was grumpy enough that everyone at home and at work told me to go get one and drink it!

We survived. But, I've learned that I no longer can tolerate much caffeine. If I have a glass of tea for supper, I can't sleep. If I have a can of pop in the evening, I can't sleep. So, I've learned to just drink water.

But this morning, I stopped to get the 1 liter size of Dr Pepper. Why? Well, I needed a bottle in that size.

Yes, I need the bottle.

Miss Monkey has not rejected me completely. Her momma isn't giving her quite enough milk and she was hungry last night!

She's a little bigger now and needs more that my Mike's Hard Cranberry bottle will hold. So, you see, I needed that liter bottle!

Anything for a good cause. And, I'm not the only one who can justify just about anything.

Kev and Andy can as well.

They are running around my house, morning and night, with turkey calls in their mouths. Yes, I have a chorus of turkeys serenading me, annoying me, making my hair stand on end...You see, turkey season starts soon, and they have to practice.

Yeah. Right. Sure.

See? You can justify just about anything.

Monday, April 03, 2006

I've been rejected

Remember that feeling--that feeling you get the first time your baby recognizes you, and his little face lights up with a big old grin, just because he recognizes you and knows you are his momma. Remember?

I had that feeling again. Except it was caused by Miss Monkey, the goat. I put Monkey in a dog kennel at night with one of her siblings, then Saturday morning, I went out and let them out and gave Monkey her bottle. She drank it down, then ran off to play with her siblings. At 11:00, I went out again with her "mid-day" bottle. I walked into the barn, called her. She stopped playing, looked at me, and her little tail just started swinging. She had her tail moving so fast, her entire back end was just wiggling. She ran over to me and started in on her bottle, finishing it lickity-split. Then, she let me cuddle her, and she ran off to play.

At 4:00, I brought out her last bottle of the day. But this time, she didn't run to me. She stopped, looked at me, jumped in the air and took off. So, I grabbed her, showed her the bottle, and she wouldn't open her mouth. Since I was holding her, I could feel that her tummy was full. She'd betrayed me and the bottle for her Mother's milk. What's up with that?

I stayed in the pen for probably 1/2 an hour, hoping she'd really come over for her bottle. And that little ...MONKEY...she just ran over to her Momma and started nursing. And her mother never once pushed her away. Not once. She just sniffed, and let her nurse. And, that was that. It's monday. She's still nursing her Momma.

I feel so betrayed. I've been a goat.