Friday, December 14, 2007

merry christmas and all that...

This will most likely be my last post until after Jan 1. Today is the last day of school at DC3 and hopefully, I'm headed north, to Colby. Snow is in the forecast, in fact, DC got a trace of snow last night. In Big E, all we had was heavy heavy dense thick pea-soup fog. I drove in that fog until I came up out of the Big Basin. Then, it was hazy and slight fog, but not the heavy stuff where you are afraid to drive very fast cause you can't see a foot in front of your headlights. (Remember, I told you the Basin was a weather line...) Come to think of it, I'll bet what I thought was frost on the grass, north of the basin, was probably snow.

I told Kev, on the phone last night, that I was coming home come hell or high water...or high snowdrifts; whichever is more appropriate. I need my family. It's become a physical need, I ache to see them, to hug them, to just visit with them. While I've spoken to Kev about 3 times each day, and Kat at least once, I haven't been able to talk to Andy. He's been at practice or school every time I've called home, so I need to talk to him and see him.

What's made this whole separation work as well as it has is the simple fact that I've had my parents so close. When I've gotten lonely for a loving face, I've had them to go to. They have been my lifeline these past six weeks. They really have.

Last night, Dad and I made supper. He was hungry for scrambled eggs and bacon, so I took over my eggs and bacon and cheese to use, since I'm leaving today. We cooked together and ate and visited. Then, after supper, Mom and I made bath bombs. They are a Christmas gift for her girlfriends, the gals in her local "red hat" group. I had the fixins, cause I made these a couple times each year for myself and for my friends. I didn't have my recipe last night, so we winged it. And, we got it right! We made rain scented bombs and cranberry bombs and lemon bombs. We colored them green, red and yellow. They looked and smelled wonderful. The best part was the fun Mom and I had mixing them, trying to find pans to set them on to dry, keeping our hands away from our faces...

You see, bath bombs are made of citric acid and baking soda. Citric acid is what candy makers use to make those sour candies like sour straws and warheads. Citric acid is that powder that is on the outside of all these candies that makes you pucker. So, we'd have citric acid AND baking soda on our hands, wipe our faces, or touch our mouths and, whoo whee, was that ever tangy and sour! And we'd laugh, and talk and laugh and talk. It was wonderful.

But, today, today I am going home. Home to my children and to my better half and I'll feel and be complete again. Weather permitting, we'll get a truck next Friday and will pull into Bucklin that afternoon, our new home. Hopefully, this move will be a good move for us, changes for all of us and i hope and pray that these changes make us all stronger and better people, together as a family, and individually.

See you all in January!

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

the joy of hotel beds

I've spent the last two nights in hotels. Monday night, it was sleeting and icing. We winded up with an inch of ice on everything. While the roads in town weren't bad, I think I made the right decision. I spent last night in a hotel because...well, while the storm stopped, the streets and roads were very icy and slick. The temperature last night got down to 16 degrees and that meant that highways which were wet during the daytime, would freeze overnight.

On Monday night, I stayed at a new hotel in town, not far from the college. I picked it because of it's location to the school--less driving in hazardous conditions for me. And, since the college was uphill, I wanted as little driving as possible. This hotel was so comfortable and nice, wonderful soft bed, nice pillows--4 to a bed. It had a fleece blanket and very soft sheets. The tub was long enough for me to stretch out and the plug actually held the water in the tub, so I filled it up, and relaxed in a nice hot bath. I had an alarm clock that I set and I slept pretty well, waking up at 6 a.m. just like normal.

Last night, I opted for a cheaper hotel. I went cheaper primarily because Kev went ballistic when I told him my room the night before was $100. He went on and on about how, whenever he stays in a hotel, it never costs any more than $75.00. I pointed out that he doesn't usually stay in a touristy town, but stayed in small towns with only one or 2 hotels.

He didn't buy it.

So, being the kind and considerate wife I am, I went cheaper. I went to an older hotel and got a room. This hotel is a "convention" center.'s seen happier days. My room, while ok, was in the back 40. The desk clerk told me to drive around to the back and to enter door #4. So, I drove around back, but door #4 wasn't marked and I noted that the parking lot was higher than the hotel and all steps leading to the building were ice covered. Not a good sign.

I drove back around front and decided to go through the lobby. My room number was 840. But I wasn't on the 8th floor, there are only 2 floors. I was on the main floor. I found the odd numbers of the 800's, but no even numbers. So, I went up a short flight of stairs and down a hallway, where I found another hallway. I trudged down this second hallway and found the even numbered rooms. Yep, the back 40. My heater had one setting, high. The tub wouldn't hold water. The pillows were thin, worn, and flat. I used three to sleep on, that's how thin they were. The bed...well, the bed wasn't a new mattress and sagged. I woke up at 3:30 and 4:30 and 5:00 and gave up at 5:44.

Today, I'm tired and I hurt. I have a kink in my neck and back. I'm going home tonight though--come hell or ice, I'm going to sleep in a bed that's comfortable. No more hotels for me.

Monday, December 10, 2007

"weather" or "weather" not

I'm trying to decide what to do.

You see, the weather forecast isn't good. We're supposed to have freezing rain and snow starting this afternoon and on through the night. Tomorrow's forecast is for snow.

I can:
  • drive to Big E tonight and hope and pray that I can get here tomorrow.
  • stay in a hotel room tonight here in DC, ensuring I can be at work by 7:30 a.m.
  • drive to Big E and get stuck there tomorrow, which would leave no one to work at the library.

Then there's tomorrow...

  • I can plan to drive home tomorrow night on slick and icy roads.
  • I can plan on spending the night again in a hotel.
  • I can be stuck in Big E till Wednesday.

I just don't know what to do. I have to decide though before I leave here tonight. I'm guessing that I'll get a hotel tonight, but...well, we all know weather. It might not DO anything at all, and then I'd be out $80 for a hotel room that I didn't need. But, I'd save $30 on gas too. And, then tomorrow, do I plan for the worst and go ahead and get a room, or risk it and drive. I'll wait till tomorrow, because...well, you never know when it comes to weather.


I didn't get to go home to see my family this past weekend--because of weather. I stayed in Big E, alone and lonely. Well, sort-a.

Mom and I drove to DC on Saturday and I ordered my new refrigerator. We did a small amount of shopping, but not much. Then we drove home. I'd stopped at Blockbusters and rented some movies to watch, so when we got home, I watched one. Then I got ready for Big E's Christmas potluck. Mom told me to walk over to their house around 6 and I could ride up to the school house with Daddy. (The school house is now the community center. The school closed in 1970 when Englewood consolidated with Ashland.) So, around 6, I drove over to Mom and Dad's house--no one was home. They'd already gone up to the school house--without me!

I got myself there just fine. Because the weather was nasty, the numbers of people at the party was pretty small. I think we counted 32 people. And, I was the youngest adult there. There were 3 kids there, but they came with their grandparents. I was surprised at the number of people who I didn't know! I mean, the total population of Englewood is 60 people--not counting those who live in the country, so add another 30 to the area population. But, I'd guess there were 10 people I did not know. (Some drove over from Ashland and some are recent "emigrants" to town.) Unbelievable! That's 1/3 of the total group! But, I had a nice time visiting with those I did know. But...most of them are getting old and are looking old. They should still be in their 40's - 70's; just like they were when I lived there!

On Sunday, I watched more movies and went to Mom and Dad's to do my laundry and just hung out with them for the afternoon. I feel just like a college student again.

So, while I missed my kids and my husband terribly, it wasn't a bad weekend at all...

Friday, December 07, 2007

The Big Basin

While I'm really getting tired of my 53 mile and 1 hour drive one way each day, I always look forward to driving through the Big Basin.
The Basin is a large sink hole. It's a mile in diameter and about 100 feet deep. The walls are very steep. The State owns 2/3 of the Big Basin and have a prairie preserve on it with a herd of buffalo. The buffalo don't spend a lot of time down in the basin, and it's always a treat to see them. I've seen them in the bowl of the basin twice in the 6 weeks I've been driving. Yesterday, some of the bachelor bulls were in the basin grazing. They are huge!
I like the Basin. It's beautiful. When I was a little girl, I used to imagine seeing the Indians swoop down the hills into the basin to attack a wagon train. Something about that terrain just always make me think of the Indians and horses and buffalo. I also used to imagine building a house on the north east side of the basin. The house would be down on the side of one of the hills facing the basin. I imagined sitting and looking out southwest facing windows watching the sun set, overlooking the basin itself. I'd still like to live there...if the State didn't own it and if I could own it.
Legend has it, that when they built the original highway through the basin, that some of the large equipment fell further down in more sinkholes. I don't know if that's true, but that's the story we all heard as kids. It could be true, as there is a small wetlands area on the west side, and since this is one big sinkhole, it could still sink.
The basin is kind of a weather changing area. By that, I mean the weather on the north side of the basin might be better or worse than it is on the south side. And, during the winter, the road through the basin can be pretty nasty. I don't know why, but the weather from the beginning of that mile across the bottom of the basin can be completely different than the weather at the end of that mile.
Yes, there is a "Little Basin". It's south east of the Big Basin and is the home of St. Jacob's Well, a natural spring that was used by the cowboys during cattle drives. They'd leave the Cimarron River in the morning and drive cattle up to the Well then on up to Dodge the next day. St. Jacob's Well has never gone dry. Never. We went down there one summer several years ago. You drive on the Preserve around the Big Basin and park and walk down to the Well. It's not an easy walk. Personally, I didn't think I'd want to drink the water was covered in cottonwood leaves and cotton pods and was rather nasty looking to my mind. But, I'm sure to cattle and cowboys, it looked wonderful. It's fenced off from the Buffalo now, to keep the water "clean" and to protect those hikers who venture down. Buffalo are tempermental and very dangerous.
Anyway, I digressed a little. The Basin is my favorite part of my drive and probably the only part I'll miss. I'll be driving one more week, then we'll move into our new house and I'll have a much shorter drive, and more importantly, my family will be with me again.

(The attached photo is of the basin It's taken from the highway looking southeast. I borrowed it from And, a note. For some reason, my formatting didn't come out right on this. I left blank lines between the paragraphs, I swear I did...Someone doesn't like me today...)

Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Things about Christmas...

1. Wrapping paper or gift bags? Both. I don't mind wrapping nice neat boxes, but anything else, gimme a bag.

2. Real tree or Artificial? Artificial. But I might think about a real one next year since we'll be close to the farm and can just cut a ceder tree...we'll see, haven't run that by Kev yet. On the other hand, Mom offered me her tree--6.5 foot with fiber optic lights...

3. When do you put up the tree? I usually do it Thanksgiving weekend. But with the move and all, we didn't put anything up. I did bring our tree to the College Library cause their tree fell down when we tried to set it up.

4. When do you take the tree down? January 1. The 6th at the latest.

5. Do you like egg nog? Yes, I do. I made some last year, but put to much rum into it. Undrinkable. Kev and Andy like that store bought stuff.

6. Favorite gift received as a child? I really can't think of one gift that stands out. So, I'm going to go with all the homemade gifts that Grandma W. made me over the years. She'd embroidery pillowcases or tea towels or she's crochet pillows or blankets or rugs. Always something different, but always special.

7. Do you have a nativity scene? Yes. I have at least 2, maybe more. One is Miss Kat's, one is one that I made in High School.

8. Hardest person to buy for? Kevin's folks and my folks and the grandparents.

9. Easiest person to buy for? This year, it was the menfolk. But usually it's Miss Kat. It's becoming harder to buy for Andy too. I like to get special gifts, something that you wouldn't normally buy, but also something that you need. I have to be practical!

10. Mail or email Christmas cards? What are these? Are they something I should be sending out to people? Really? I like getting them, but hate sending them. This year, well, don't be lookin' for one, cause it just ain't happenin!

11. Worst Christmas gift you ever received? Gosh, maybe those crotchless pantyhose? Yeah, that's it. (You can read about it in the January 06 archive if you missed the crotchless pantyhose story.

12 . Favorite Christmas movie? It's a Wonderful Life.

13. When do you start shopping for Christmas? No particular time, I usually start thinking about it in September. This year, it's haphazard at best. I'm thinkin' that everyone will be getting jars of pickles, jelly or salsa. So don't be disappointed gang!

14 . Have you ever recycled a Christmas present? Nope, don't think so. Can't remember doing so anyway!

15. Favorite thing to eat at Christmas? Mom's pecan pie. It's not as sweet as most pecan pies.

16 . Clear lights or colored on the tree? Colored

17. Favorite Christmas song? Little Drummer Boy

18. Travel at Christmas or stay home? Whichever. I like having family come to our house, and I like going to their house. I just really like being with family.

19. Can you name all of Santa's reindeer? Yes.

20. Angel on the tree top or a star? Neither. I usually don't put anything on top. Mainly because most of my ornaments are Garfield ones and...well, I haven't found a star that I like and an angle surrounded by a fat orange cat seems...wrong.

21 . Open the presents Christmas Eve or morning? I think Kev and I both grew up with the tradition to open the presents on Christmas morning. We let the kids open one on Christmas eve though. But, we usually have 3 different Christmas celebrations, so it's often the week before, the week after, and Christmas day.

22 . Most annoying thing about this time of year? The mass of people shopping every weekend.

23. Favorite Christmas ornament? I think all my Garfield ornaments are special. Guess I don't have a favorite one.

24. Favorite thing for Christmas dinner? Dessert

Concerts and responsibility

I got a phone call at work yesterday at 4:00 in the afternoon.

It was Miss Kat, who was in the middle of a crisis.

"Mom, where's our ribbon? I need ribbon for the concert tonight."

Confusion ruled for me, being a Mom, I mentally had many thoughts run quickly through my head--what's the ribbon for...Crap, where is the ribbon...Can't she use something else... Maybe I gave the ribbon to Kim...Wonder if that box is still downstairs...what kind of ribbon...she'll probably hate any ribbon I have...didn't all my ribbon have wire in it packed I want her going through the Christmas boxes...

Miss Kat evidently needed ribbon to "decorate her flute" for the concert. It was their Christmas concert and they were given permission to decorate their instruments with tinsel or garland or ribbon.

I reminded her of her Santa hat and suggested she wear that. I also told her to look in one of the Christmas boxes--in the store room for some garland.

She didn't call back, so I'd guess she found what she needed. My hope is she put it all back and away.

This is the first concert I've ever missed. The sad part is Kev missed it too. My excuse is I'm 150 miles away. Kev's excuse is, it's his last night of bowling, and he couldn't find a substitute. We are probably being called bad parents by those in the community who noticed that Miss Kat was watched only by her big brother (who absolutely refused to take my camera to get pictures.)

I'm sure there are lots of rumors, I probably just up and left Kevin and left him the kids. Our divorce will probably soon be announced. I'm sure I left him for another man...or maybe another woman. My poor children, stuck with such parents. After all, their Mother just up and left and their father, the wretch, is sitting at the bowling alley probably drunk as a skunk instead of supporting his child and her concert. (Maybe someone will think he's drunk as a skunk at the bowling alley because I broke his heart...yeah, that's it...I broke his heart by leaving him with those poor children to raise while I ran off to Bermuda with my Latin-lesbian-lover. yeah.) OK, back to reality...

The interesting thing is, Kat was fine with neither of us being able to attend. She understood our other commitments. Oh, she didn't necessarily like the fact that we couldn't be there, but she understood. She didn't throw a fit, she didn't pout. She just accepted reality and went her merry little way. Andy stepped in and offered to drive her, watch the concert, and bring her home. My kids are growing up.

I find it interesting...that society now demands that we parents put our whole lives on hold for our children and their activities. Yes, being a part of our children's lives is important. Showing them our faith, confidence, support and pride is important. But, I think that by putting all our needs and responsibilities behind those of our kids is making our society a much more selfish society. It's all about me, me, me...and you have to be there for me, me, me and if you're not there for me, me, me...then you are bad, bad, bad.

The fact that my child understood why her parents couldn't attend, and the fact that she accepted it, tells me that Kev and I are doing something right. That not only do we give our time to our children, but that at times, it's important for them to give something back to us. And this time, it was time for Kat to realize that while we might want to be there for everything, in reality we can't. And, we weren't there because we didn't care, but because we couldn't. And even though we weren't there, she still had to be there herself. She was fulfilling her responsibility just as we were fulfilling our responsibility.

I think that's a good thing.

Tuesday, December 04, 2007


Kev and I packed quite a bit this past weekend. We packed the store room which was mainly in totes and boxes except for my pantry area. That primarily consists of pickles, green beans, tomato products, jams and jellies, and some basic staples that I keep stocked up on. Most of the veggies and jellies are items that I've canned myself--using products from our garden or from produce or fruit that friends have shared. Glass jars. Fragile glass jars.

But, Kev and I figured out a good system. We (he) got a box that had gotten wet and cut it into strips. Those strips were placed between the jars to cushion and protect the jars. It worked really well, and we both liked finding a use for those boxes that were unusable otherwise. As long as no one drops any box, we'll be fine.

After finishing up the store room, we moved into the basement family room. We started boxing my CM albums and supplies. Do you have any guesses as to the number of boxes that are labeled "CM stuff"? Yeah, it was scary.

I was a consultant for 10 years. When I deactivated last year, I still had lots of supplies. I have enough circle punches to last me, and 8 other people, a life time. Let's just say they didn't sell well. Last time I had counted, which was a few years ago, I had 15 full photo albums. I know I have more than that now, because I had started two new ones for the kids right before I quit, one for Andy's High School years and Kat needed a new album too. I haven't worked on any albums for a year now. I just haven't been motivated. Maybe, when I unpack my CM stuff at the new house, I'll feel more motivated again and work on them and get caught up. Maybe. We'll see.

But, we packed something. We talked about packing more, but neither of us wants to pack items that we see and use daily. Kevin wants the house to feel like home until we leave. I feel the same way, so most will wait until after the 14th of December. That's my last day for the semester and we can finish packing that next week. We'll take possession of the new house on the 20th of the month. The kids are out of school on the 21st. The Berends family Christmas is the 22nd. Yeah, I know. Good planning on my part. But hey, we packed...something!

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Bus passes

I had to send a note to school for a bus pass for Miss Kat recently. Since I'm gone, on dance lesson days, she's now going home with her BFF, Miss Jenna, and I had to send the note so she could ride the bus. (I also gave Miss Kat a check for her lessons, but she still hasn't taken it. The check was dated Nov do the math.)

I hate having to send a note to the school for every cotton pickin' thing, but I know that notes from parents regarding their children's after school plans are important. I am the child who caused the "needing of notes."

One day, when I was in First Grade, I rode the bus from school in Ashland to Grandma and Grandpa B's house, in Big E. I thought that Mom had told me to go there. She'd evidently had me do it before, as I knew which bus to ride and I knew the bus driver, Fritz.

On this day, I remember marching out and getting on the bus; so grown up, so big, so confident and sure of myself. Fritz looked at me and said, "Why are you riding the bus today?" I replied confidently, "I'm going to Grandmas." He just shrugged his shoulders and I sat down, midway back by my friends.

We then traveled on to the High School, where my Aunt Sandy got on. She saw me and asked "Why are you here?" I replied just as confidently as before, "I'm going home with you."

When we got to Big E, the country kids got off the big bus and on to the little bus to go home. Grandpa drove the little bus. I too, got on the Country bus.

"What are you doing here?" He asked.

I remember being really tired of this question by now. After all, just what did they think I was doing? "I'm supposed to go to your house." By now, my confidence was slightly less, and I was beginning to wonder if I'd messed up, again.

So, he took me home, where we discovered I wasn't supposed to be there. Mom had already called Grandma and I was in trouble.

I don't remember a spanking, I don't remember the scolding that I probably, most definitely got from every single adult available, I don't remember any of that. I do remember feeling bad about making Mom drive all the way over to pick me up. But, I honestly felt like I was supposed to go to Grandma's.

I never did it again. But I'm pretty sure that I'm the reason all schools all over the country now require notes from parents for bus passes.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

what I want for Christmas...

I thought this might be a good place to put my Christmas "wish list". I can refer folks to this site and help us all out by putting my Christmas list in writing. I'm really bad about not remembering any ideas for Christmas gifts for me, so if they are in writing somewhere, I can always pull it up and share it.

  • A subscription to Mother Earth News. I usually buy a copy at the grocery store and that's silly. So, I'd like a subscription.
  • Crocs. Size 10. Some for winter, either Mammoth or just even some without holes in them. Color? Black, Tan, Navy, or Chocolate Brown.
  • Sweaters. I love cable knit sweaters (v-neck, no turtlenecks please, I don't have a neck long enough for them not to choke me.) The last one I had wore out years ago. None in purple folks, it appears that most of my winter wardrobe consists of purple shirts.
  • A subscription to Hobby Farms Home, or even just some issues, because I'm not sure you can subscribe to it yet. I've bought a few issues online, but that gets really expensive.
  • A new chicken house. Since the property we bought doesn't have one, I don't get to bring my chickens with me. I'm going to miss fresh eggs, so I need a new chicken house.
  • A Kitchen Aid Mixer. One on a stand that can handle bread dough. I've never had a really nice mixer and I've never had one with a stand, so I'd love a really good one.
  • Lilac bushes. Our new property doesn't have any lilacs. I've got to have lilacs.
  • Someone to help me unpack. We'll be in our new house by Christmas, and I'd really like to have it organized, and I'd like to be settled.
  • Someone to help me pack. I had 4 days at home over Thanksgiving. We packed...not one single box. Not one.
  • A new refrigerator. The new house doesn't have a fridge, so I need one. I've got it all picked out already, I just need someone to pay for it so I don't have to!
  • New furniture for a living room. Kev and I bought some used furniture for our basement. It was a steal, but we hate the furniture. We've talked about some new for the new house. So, if someone would love to buy us new furniture, we'd be so very grateful, just let us pick it out!

I guess that's enough to help any of my family members. Now, if you want ideas for Kev or for the kids, well...

Kev would like, and will need, a chainsaw. I have no idea what one costs, but we will have a wood burning fireplace in the new house, so he'll need a chainsaw to cut wood for our fireplace. In the past, when he's needed one, he's borrowed one from Lynn or Bob, but since we can't convince either one to move with us, well, he needs his very own. Kev could also use some new work pants in Black and Navy. Call if you want to get those, I'll give the brand and the size. He'd also like that new furniture and the refrigerator...

Andy keeps telling me he wants a down payment on a car. Yeah, that's exactly what we said too. He could use shirts for school, Men's size large. The kid's shoulders are ridiculously wide. He listens to rock music now, but I have no idea who he likes, so can't help with CD's and such.

Miss Kat is the hardest person to buy for. She likes jewelry, art supplies, stuffed animals, books, etc. But, she's at that awkward age, she's not a teenager, but she's not a child either. She likes country music and would probably love any CD's of any female artist. She also likes Hanna Montana.

There, Christmas ideas for all of us, in writing, someplace that's relatively easy to locate...if you are online.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007


I think I've adjusted to the new routine. I think this, because last night, after 3 weeks here, I actually cooked a meal for myself. Yes, I cooked for the first time in 3 weeks using a stove. Up till now, I've nuked some brats and a bag or two or popcorn and toasted some bread for a PB & J, but, last night, I cooked.

I boiled some noodles and then dumped some shrimp scampi over those freshly cooked noodles. Of course, the scampi was nuked, but not the noodles! I'm just so stinkin' proud of myself. Everyone, give me a round of applause and a pat on the back. Cause, I deserve it. I cooked.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

the real estate business

Before I start, Happy Thanksgiving everyone. I'm headed home today to spend 4 wonderful days with my family. Stay safe and don't eat too much.

We made an offer on the house in Bucklin. Kevin and I cussed and discussed at length about it and about another house we looked at that was a possibility. We went over all the pros and cons of each, we went over each of my reservations on the Bucklin house. I had some on the other house, I just didn't get as emotional about it, because to me, it wasn't a real contender. So, we agreed on a price to offer.

I called the realtor and told her what we wanted to offer...and I told her it was low, but I wanted to test the waters. Then, I got a shock, she wanted to put the offer in writing. What! Ok, this is a new one for me...anytime we've made an offer on a house, and any time an offers been made on our houses, we do lots of negotiating verbally and then, and only then do we issue contracts. So, on our house in Colby, we went back and forth 3 times before anything was ever put in writing! Here, all offers are in writing. Holy cow, what a waste of paper!

So, our realtor decided to call the sellers realtor and ask if this offer was even worth putting on paper. He said yes, so I had to do paperwork yesterday and, I had to come up with earnest money. Oh, we have the money, that wasn't an issue, see, I'm here without a checkbook. I've been using our debit card for all my purchases. And, the amount of earnest money I needed was over my daily limit.

Fortunately, I got my first paycheck from the new job yesterday, so I thought I could just use it to open a local account and write a check for the earnest money. But, the bank I went to said they wouldn't have checks for me till today. And they wouldn't cash my check and just sell me a money order. So, I had to go to the bank where the college banks. They'd cash the check, but wouldn't sell me a money order. Yeah, didn't make sense to me either. So, I cashed the check, felt nervous about carrying around that much cash, and ran to Wally world to get a money order. Then back to the Realtors office.

We went over the contract, I signed it, got a copy for Kev to sign and then we'll fax it in to the sellers realtor tomorrow, or Friday, probably Friday. And, I'm sure they'll counter, and we'll probably counter again. But all will require more signatures and more paper. Sheesh. What a nightmare and waste.

We've been pre-approved for a considerable amount of money. I filled out two online loan applications, one for approximately the price of this house, and one for much more, trying to see what our price range was (since no one would tell me....) Anyway, once the bank saw the higher amount that was "pre-approved" by the system, their whole demeanor changed. I find that rather interesting, when we were applying for a modest loan, we were treated one way, but when we applied for a significantly higher amount, and then approved, well, we were treated with much more respect. Interesting. Very Interesting.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

My Daddy loves me...

Remember that house I posted about a few days ago--the one I lust after, and I've only seen photos online. Well, I asked my Daddy if he'd give me an advance on my inheritance so I could pay enough down to finance it. I only need, oh, $100,000 or so. I could probably make it work with, a measly $50,000. It would be a stretch, but I could do it. So, I asked Daddy for an advance. After all, I'm his favorite daughter. I'm his baby girl. I'm the child who will take care of him in his old age.

He said, "sure," and handed me a check he'd received that day. It was his final settlement check from a local CoOp that had gone out of business. They finally made their final payment to the shareholders. Daddy's share was a whopping 16 cents.

Isn't he a wonderful dad, he just handed over that entire check. Wow, that will do so much for me. Now I can buy a piece of bubblegum. Maybe a sucker. I can call and make a bid on that house today!

I guess I should appreciate his willingness to share his cash cow with me, his only daughter. And, since it's a gift NOW, I won't have to split it with my brother. I'm sure he'd be heartbroken not to get his 8 cents. But after all, I'm Dad's favorite...daughter.

Aren't Daddys great?

Monday, November 19, 2007


Along with searching for a house, Kev and I have also been considering maybe finding some land and putting a modular house on it. We (me) ordered a catalog and have gone through the floor plans and have picked out our two favorite plans. (Miss Kat and I picked out about twenty floor plans that we liked, but Dad nixed most of them.)

While dream shopping, we set up certain criteria....

  • The master bedroom and master bath would be on the main floor. (so we could live here well into our twilight years and not have to go up and down stairs.)
  • The children's rooms would be at the opposite end of the house. (mainly to give us parents privacy.)
  • The floor plan would be open, meaning, while I was cooking in the kitchen, I could see the family, talk to the family, order family members around, etc, all in one open area.

Well, the house we looked at in Bucklin was much appreciated by Kevin, Andy, Kat...but not me. Oh, it's a nice house and all, and it has a large shower and master bath (with jacuzzi tub), it has a wood burning fireplace, nice sized rooms, finished basement, 2 car garage, but...

Those three criteria listed above? None of them were applied to this house. The kitchen opens to the dining room, but no other room. The Living room is small. The bedrooms are smaller than our bedrooms. The house is sitting on the edge of a hill and they built a walkout basement, and use that basement entrance as the main entrance of the house. To go upstairs, the main floor, you HAVE to go "up...stairs." All bedrooms are at the same end of the house. The garage is in the basement. This is a house where you have to live on both levels. And, a huge concern for me is...the house is entirely electric.

Electric furnace, electric water heater, electric stove. How on earth am I supposed to can, to preserve our garden if I can't use a pressure cooker? (Yes, I know someone is saying "I can on my electric stove, what's the deal?" Well, the deal is the stove has a flat, ceramic top. Those don't sustain the high temperatures and the weight. And, I've done the research, if your water bath pot is not flat on the bottom, well, it won't work either.)

So, I have reservations. No one else does, but I do. My poor husband, he doesn't know what to do with me. He's trying to be understanding and supportive, but doesn't understand my reservations. This is the best one we looked at, and I'm the one with the big reservations. He doesn't have any, he's being so adaptable and is looking at what he could do with this place, and thinking and planning. But, I'm dragging my feet and stalling. And...and...and, sigh, we'll probably buy the darn house and I'll just have to adapt. But it's hard, being the odd man out. It's hard because we are usually in accord, we usually agree and have the same concerns, the same ideas, the same vision. And this time, we don't. It is my fault that we are looking at a new house, and moving anyway. So, I'll probably give on this, not willingly, but I probably will give.

Friday, November 16, 2007

desperately searching for susan--I mean, a home.

We're house shopping this weekend. I've called 2 Realtors, emailed 3 or 4 others, and looked at every website that I could find. Right now, we are scheduled to look at 5 houses and I am supposed to call another realtor this afternoon about another property to hopefully look at this afternoon.

We will be driving to Bucklin, Dodge, and Cimarron. It will take most of the day. Which means that I won't have to go to the Berends Thanksgiving. I have mixed feelings about that...

Right now, all I can think about is finding someplace to live. I have all these pro's and con's of different locations, schools, etc. rolling through my head. It's enough to drive me mad.

I looked at the house in Bucklin looks like US. But, do I want to live in Bucklin? It's an hour away from my folks, an hour away from where we'd like to hunt, but it's a small town, good schools, etc.

I looked at a house in Cimarron online. We aren't looking at this one tomorrow simply because it's about, oh, $100,000 above our price limit. But, it's drop dead gorgeous. It says "Shell, you need to live in me, look at my hickory cabinets, my rough paneling, my rustic feel...I love you Shell, come live with me..." I, on the other hand, keep drooling at the pictures and lusting after the gourmet kitchen with it's granite countertops and hickory cabinets and its fireplace, and I fight off the temptation of this house saying, "no, no, beautiful dream house, you are much to expensive. If I buy you, I'll have to pawn off at least one of my children, and maybe have to sell my body, maybe I'd better rob a bank, but I can't afford you beautiful house, leave me alone. I'm not even going to ask to look at you!" But I really want to. If we looked at this house, I'd have to ask for an advance on my inheritance, but since my folks and Kev's folks are spending it, well, I don't think either would come up with the money to help us buy this house.

Two houses we're looking at were just listed this week. One North of Dodge, one South (I think, mapquest can't find it's address.) So, maybe, out of these 6-7 houses we can find one that will be ours. Maybe one of these houses will make me lusty, just like that expensive place in Cimarron. Maybe...

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

What color are you?

you are lightcyan

Your dominant hues are green and blue. You're smart and you know it, and want to use your power to help people and relate to others. Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well.

Your saturation level is very low - you have better things to do than jump headfirst into every little project. You make sure your actions are going to really accomplish something before you start because you hate wasting energy making everyone else think you're working.

Your outlook on life is very bright. You are sunny and optimistic about life and others find it very encouraging, but remember to tone it down if you sense irritation.
the html color quiz
Ok, let's look at these quiz results.
You are smart and you know it. Well, I can't argue with that! Kev would, but I won't!
Even though you tend to battle with yourself, you solve other people's conflicts well. Yes, I battle with myself constantly. I'm very conscious of that now, with all these life changes I've made that affect me and my family. As to solving other people's conflicts, well, I'd really rather stay out of them. Granted, if they ask my advise, I'll be blunt with my opinion...(right Jody!)
You have better things to do than to jump headfirst into every little project. True, so true. Right now, every time I walk into a different room or area at work, I see more work to do, lots and lots of BIG projects...I'm not starting them, they'd be too overwhelming right now.
You make sure your actions are going to really accomplish something...because you hate wasting energy making everyone else think you're working. Nuff said. Yep, Yep, Yep, this is so me.
You are sunny and sure to tone it down. HA! Kev, see this, I'm not negative, I'm so dang sunny and optimistic that people can't STAND me! Ha! I'm Miss Suzy Sunshine!
Yeah, whatever!

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Deer Chicken

Every day, I see deer while driving either to work, or home from work. Yesterday morning, I only saw one deer, but last night, I saw at least 10. Those ten were all in two bunches, going across the highway in front of me. Mule deer, or Muleys. (Is it Muleys, or Mulies? Muleys looks better, but grammatically...?)

It was right at 6 p.m., almost dark. Those stupid deer were being typical deer, and were playing Chicken across the highway. Several crossed the road in front of me, but one didn't make it across. She stood there waiting for me to get closer. I, however, had figured her little strategy out. I slowed down, so when she tried to play chicken with me, and ran out in front of me, well, it wasn't much of a contest, because I didn't even come close to hitting her. I'll bet she lost points for that one. She ran across to all the other deer, and then, right behind me, they went back across the highway; probably waiting for the next driver behind me. Stupid deer.

About a mile down the road, there were more Muleys, but they crossed sedately and calmly and headed out to the field for supper. These must have been the adults, much too sophisticated and too mature to play a silly game like Chicken. Of course, this group included a nice big daddy buck, so maybe all the girls were toeing the line and behaving themselves, not wanting to get in trouble. Maybe. I was grateful. While I've hit deer with a car before, it's not a pleasant experience and one I'm hoping to avoid as long as possible.

But, I'll admit, I enjoy spotting them during my drives.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Quick action

We listed our house in Colby on October 29th. We signed a contract, in essence, selling our home yesterday. It was on the market less than 2 weeks. Phenomenal in a market where the average house in Colby is sitting for 6 months. Now, lets all pray that everything goes smoothly. We turn over possession on Jan 2. We hope to be out of there before then, but now the pressure is on to find a place HERE.

Mom and Daddy drove me out to a potential place last night. It has potential, but needs a tremendous amount of work and no basement. It's a manufactured home, which is a drawback, but it's cheap, cheap, cheap. It's farther from the highway than I'd like, but it's cheap, cheap, cheap. It has an old barn that might be salvageable and an old house on it too which needs to be torn down. It has a view of pasture and not just fields. There are neighbors within 2 miles, but it's real isolated. Kev and I need to look at it. Of course, it's in foreclosure and we can't see the interior yet, so will have to wait a couple of weeks.

I've also got a call into a realtor today. His speciality is rural properties. Hope he has one for us.
I drove home this weekend. Seems like weekends go quickly. I got home around 8 p.m. Friday night and got up before 5 a.m. on Saturday to go hunting with Kev and "the boys", meaning Lynn and Gene. I can't hunt, as I didn't get a permit this year, but I took my camera, hoping to see some action. It is rut, so I wanted to see something!

At 5 till 8, I watched Kev shoot a nice buck. A nice big bodied buck, who happened to be following a doe and her fawn. I saw Kev shoot, I saw the buck fall, less than 30 yards away from where he was shot. The "girls" weren't concerned or frightened off and came across the river and down in front of me. I hope I got some great shots, lighting might have been an issue, but they messed around a long time before running off. Heck, Kev and I even talked across the river while they were there! If I had been able to hunt, we'd have had two deer in the freezer.

After helping Kev start to gut his buck, I drove back to pick up Lynn and Gene. I walked in to meet Lynn and scared up a covey of quail. They were right at my feet. Scared me half to death! In fact, they scared me so badly, I had to check to see if I'd wet my pants. Then, I scared up a bunch of pheasant. Lynn and I figured that the covey of quail probably had 30 birds in it and we guessed that we scared up that many pheasant. I know I counted over 7 cock pheasants.... at least they didn't scare me as badly as those stinkin' quail!
Miss Kat went to a friends birthday party, Andy had to work, so Kev and I had lots of alone time. We even went out to supper alone, just the two of us! Went home, for some snuggle time on the couch, and I was asleep by 8:30. Some date I am! I slept until after 7 the next morning. That is so unlike me!

Sunday, I did laundry, we cooked lunch, I helped Miss Kat with her rabbits, then we signed papers and I drove back down.

Every activity was quick, and over all to soon.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

family connections

One change I'm noticing that's related to my new location is all related to family.

In Colby, we weren't related to anyone. No cousins, in-laws, no nothin'. It was just us.

But here, it's going to be different, we are close to MY family and we will be related to people in the various communities surrounding Dodge.

I got a glimmer of what might be in store when Kev had his interview, and his potential boss pointed to a picture on the wall at the hospital and asked Kev if she was a relative. "She" happens to be one of my cousins, who is a Dr. in town. "She" is also the one cousin who looks the most like me, except she's probably 50 lbs lighter, and 8 years younger...but, we both have the Woodruff red hair (even IF mine comes from a bottle now...)and we both resemble Grandma W the most, but I don't think we look THAT much alike, that someone would know we were related!

It started sinking in more last week, on day 2 of my new job...I got a call from a friend, who used to live in Colby. She invited me to lunch and then said, "Your cousin is so excited that you're here, so do you care if she comes to lunch."

My initial reaction was astonishment and some confusion. Astonishment at my thoughts, which were "Holy cow, I have family here." Then confusion, as I tried to figure out which cousin she was talking about...Tonya? who else? Then she cleared it up by saying "I work with Stacy."

Oh, THAT cousin! I mean, i have over 20 first cousins and oodles and oodles of others, at least this narrowed that one down.

Then today, day 5 on the job, I met one of the ladies in the Business Office, who asked: "So are you the one who's related to Woody?"

Gulp! "Yes, he's my Dad." Her husband is friends with my Dad. Scary! Weird! I'm-gonna-have-to-watch-my-step!

Now, In Colby, I got used to asking friends, who were natives, just who was related to whom and tried to keep that all straight, now, I'm one of those who's related to several people and families in the's gonna take some getting used to.


It's bow hunting season. I'm not hunting this year simply because I figured I'd be too busy and have too much to do to hunt. I miss it.

Kev and Lynn and Andy have been going out. Kev's shot a couple of deer, but not good shots, so he hasn't recovered either deer. He's not happy with himself, because he IS a better shot than that, so he's promised to practice and check out to see if his bow was knocked out of alignment.

Andy wants to shoot with his recurve bow this year, but he can't find it. "Dad" (Kev) borrowed his bowcase for the big Elk trip, so Andy had to empty it, and now, he can't find his bow. He accused me of giving it to Gregg, my co-instructor for 4-H archery, when I gave him all the 4-H stuff. My feeling is Andy needs to look, and if he thinks Gregg might have it, then he can call Gregg and ask! I don't think it was in that group of bows, but what do I know?

Daddy asked my opinion on letting the Virginia hunter hunt the farm and The Hill. He offered to pay Daddy $750, if he got a big buck on either property. Nice to be asked, but it also made me sad to think that I'm not hunting!

We've hunted at the farm, but never on The Hill. I think The Hill would be a great spot, cause we've found lots of rubs and tracks there, so I know it would be a great spot to hunt, and I want to hunt it. We plan on putting in some food plots since we will be hunting here in the future. I hope to spend more time out there, scouting and cleaning up both areas some. We'll see, cause I know how life sometimes gets in the way of what we "want" to do!


the farm= my Granddad Woodruff's place in rural Meade County. It's a beautiful spot on a creek with lots of hills and trees and it's remote and is very special to me. My Great-grandfather, Harvey Woodruff settled there in 1890, survived some fencing disputes and feuds. I'll blog about it sometime. Grandma and Grandad moved in the house in the 1930's and lived there till 1973, when a tornado struck. Daddy inherited that quarter section, so we call it "the farm". (It's really not a farm, cause it's all pasture.)

The Hill= My Grandpa Berend's place in rural Clark County. Locals call it "Starvation Hill;" we've always just called it "the Hill." Cause it's on a high point in that area. Looks over pasture ground and you can see Oklahoma from there (not really a big deal, cause it's only a mile from the border!) I don't remember them living on the Hill, but I remember my Great Uncle living there. The house needs to come down, but it's a great hunting spot, with the tree rows for shelter and the gullys and valleys surrounding it.

the drive

Surprisingly, I don't mind my hour long drive--in the mornings. Since the time change, I'm leaving in the daylight, so I can see the scenery better. I've seen deer every single morning and there's even a hunter who is sitting in a tree row north of Big E every morning. I know he doesn't have a deer yet because if he did, he wouldn't still be there every morning. He's from Virginia and I wonder how long he will be here hunting...

But that morning drive is actually nice--not sure how it will be in nasty weather, but for now, it's rather nice.

I really dislike the evening drive home tho. I'm tired and just want to get home and relax, but I have to fill the pickup up with gas every evening and then, by the time I get home, it's dark. But I'm not enjoying that evening drive at all. As I drive, I think that I need to be looking for some property, maybe drive by one or two that Mom and Dad have mentioned, but it's getting dark, and I'm tired. I'm more lonely then too. So, that's when I call home to talk to my family. It's still not long enough, and we don't have really good conversations, but that's when we can talk.

So, other than the cost of fuel, the drive isn't too bad.

Monday, November 05, 2007

The worst part...

A quick post. I can't post about the new job--cause I promised that I'd never talk about my JOB or place of employment or other employees. But I can say that I have lots of work to do and I hate the layout of my office. I'm working on the latter.

Now, I can blog about living away from my family, about looking for a new home, about getting up at the ungodly hour of 6 a.m. and leaving for work at 7 a.m. to be there by 8 a.m. And, i can blog about "living" in my grandparents almost-empty house without TV and good radio reception with a neurotic cat. And, i can blog about missing my family. Cause I do miss them.

The worst part of this new job/new home is being away from my family. I don't have a phone--other than my cell phone, and it doesn't work in the big town of Englewood, so when I'm "at home," I can't talk to anyone on the phone. And there are at least 2 dead spots between Dodge and "Big E", so talking then is disappointing. So, Mom has offered my her cell phone if I want to call home in the evenings, since, as she put it, Kev and I are "attached at the hip" and have to talk to each other daily. I have yet taken her up on her offer. Ha! So there Mom!

The second worst part is, I'm lonely. Yeah, my folks are 1.5 blocks away, but I get up in the dark and get home in the dark, and so far, I've been tired, so haven't felt like barging in on them at night, and then there's the cat, who is adjusting at this new house, but isn't necessarily enjoying all her alone time either, so I go home to her and silence. But, this weekend, I brought back a TV and stereo and some DVD's and CD's. The stereo doesn't get any radio reception and I wonder how long I'll be happy with watching or listening to DVD's at night. I keep telling myself that I'll clean the house, cause it NEEDS cleaning, but haven't done any of that yet...

The third worst part is about Grandma's house. It's old and it stinks. The grandparent's hadn't been good about keeping on top of cleaning. I washed out one cabinet in the kitchen and cleaned off the counters, but there is lots and lots of mouse poop in that kitchen. I need to empty everything, wash all the dishes they left behind and scrub cabinets. I need to do that in every room. It's not a big house, but it's not a small house. I'm not real comfortable going over everything that's still there. And, I don't feel like I can make it "my" home, even if it is for a short term.

The absolute worst part is, I miss my family. I miss seeing them, talking to them, even yelling at them :) I miss them terribly. And, I keep telling myself that other folks do this separation thing all the time, we will get through this! But I still miss them.

Friday, October 26, 2007

Last day

Today is the day. My last day at CCC. Most of my office is packed and it looks very lonely in here. It's so empty that I think if I yelled, I'd get echos bouncing off the walls. Hopefully, I'll leave the way I want to, and quietly walk out with no fanfare. Not sure I could take fanfare. This is much more emotional than I thought it would be. But, CCC has been a part of my life for 20 years as a professional and 2 as a student. It's been my home for many, many years. Yes, I've grown to hate many things about it, but it's still a part of who I am.

Enough of this dribble.

Ok, today, I'm turning in my keys, I'm finishing up my office packing. I'm wiping off my computer, (and that will take a huge portion of the day. My lord, why did I install some of this...stuff...)

Jody and I are NOT crying. Nope, nope, nope.

So, importantly for you all, I don't know when I'll have time to blog again. I hope to "borrow" son Andy's laptop and then "borrow" my Mother's neighbor's wireless connection and post some stuff to sell on e-bay. Maybe I'll get to blog next week while I'm doing that...lets all hope that the emotional dribble stops today and you, my poor 6 readers, can read something fun and funny and irreverent. I'm much better at the irreverent and stupid than I am the emotional and sentimental.

Thursday, October 25, 2007


I've known that I'm leaving for a month now and it's been cool, refreshing, comfortable. I've been able to brush off lots of politics and troublesome issues just by thinking "It's not my problem, I'm out of here." And yet, as I've worked on various committees and various projects, I have kept saying "We," and "our," and "I," and "my."

Until yesterday. I'm not sure what happened, but yesterday, it hit me hard. I'm really leaving, I've crossed the point-of-no-return, what the heck am I doing? So, being me, I got weepy. And, I was weepy and crying all damn day.

I hate being weepy. I hate being an "emotional woman." Hate it, hate it, hate it.

I couldn't talk to Monica, cause I was weepy. Couldn't talk to Jody, cause I was weepy. Pat said it was good for me to be weepy, cause I'm letting out all my stress and anxiety. (She was probably just grateful that she didn't have give me another massage and try to loosen up my tight, tight neck and shoulder muscles...)

But it still doesn't mean that I have to like it. Resolution for today and tomorrow, No more crying.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

A place to call home

Yesterday, I went with Kev to a job interview in Dodge. While he was interviewing, I was finding a realtor and trying to find some places to look at--a place which we want to call home.

I've been looking at realty websites, at houses online in the area. There's not much that I want to consider, and I'm really afraid that we won't be able to find anything of the caliber of the place we have now...

We want a place in the country, preferably south or west of Dodge. I want 4 or more bedrooms, 3 at a minimum. We want a nice sized kitchen with ample storage. We need 2 or more bathrooms and a laundry/mudroom area. We'd like some outbuildings, some trees, a view, good water, a place easy to get to in all kinds of weather. We want a basement.

What we looked at yesterday was rather disappointing. And, when we got home, I was so grateful for the beautiful home we have.

House A is 10 miles west of Dodge. It used to belong to a family that owned several grain elevators. In fact, it's right across the street from a large grain elevator. It's an old house that has been added on to over and over and over. You can track the additions by 1. carpet, and 2. style and 3. holes in walls, often called doorways. The only original rooms are two small bedrooms, probably 10 x 10 and the dining room, which was the most beautiful room in the house. It still had it's arts and crafts styling. If I could take that room and gut the rest, it could work, but it would have to be gutted and I'm not sure it could be gutted, because when they would add on, they'd cut a hole in the wall--the structural wall and then add another room(s) on. No fooling, it took us 10 minutes to find the front door from the inside (we came in the back door.) And the outbuildings were cobbled together just as badly as the house was.

Then the train went by, and so did we. We could live with trucks and harvest season at an elevator, we could slowly remodel, but we can't live right on the train tracks.

House B was also an old farmhouse that had been idiots. It had 4 acres, but was surrounded by wheat fields. Few trees, no yard to speak of, odd roof line and bathrooms. It had potential, but was rather icky and Kev found lots of evidence of water leaks. Nope, not going to deal with that. Good bye house B.

I also looked at a couple of lots that we maybe could build on. Only problem was they were out east of town by the meat packing plants. No thanks.

So we didn't find anything we would even consider buying. Yes, we only looked at two houses. Lord, I hope there is something better.

I want to find a nice house, one that says "Shell, this is your home. This is the place for you. This is where you need to live." I found one house that said that to me...can I find another one? O lord, am I making a mistake, moving to another part of the State?

Monday, October 22, 2007


I packed some yesterday. I leave my family in one week, and I just started packing yesterday. I packed only necessary items yesterday.

Stuff like China. And glass ware. Oh, and one box of books. (which I have to repack, because no one can lift the dang thing.)

Then I decided to go into my "craft room/library" formerly known as Kat's old bedroom.

I bagged up all my fabric, one nice big trash bag full. I tossed lots of marginal craft items, you know, those scraps and miscellaneous...stuff, that you might use someday, so you keep it. I packed up all my embroidery stuff and my pattern books.

Now, is any of this stuff useful? Is any of this stuff important and will it be anything I will personally use in the next two months while I'm homeless? No.

Have I packed anything that I will need--things like, clothes, food, personal hygiene stuff, sheets, blankets, etc? Nope, not one item.

But, I've made a mental list of what all I think I need to take.

  1. TV with DVD player and VHS player for those nights I'm alone in the house.
  2. Stereo with CD's to listen to when I don't have any DVD's or VHS tapes.
  3. My embroidery stuff, so I can cross stitch or embroidery tea towels at night while relaxing in front of the TV or Stereo. (unless I'm at Mom and Dad's)
  4. Work clothes.
  5. Shoes.
  6. Necessary clothing items.
  7. One dresser.
  8. Maybe one linen cabinet (cause it's taking up space and won't show well in realty brochure...)
  9. Kev's collectible cars and my collectible Garfield stuff so I can list it on EBay. (we bought a digital camera yesterday, just to do this...)
  10. Food--yet to be determined.
  11. books. I always pack books. Always.
  12. At least two boxes to go to my new office.

I'm sure there's more that I'll need, it's just that I'm really procrastinating about packing. I need to get on the ball, but motivation is seriously lacking. Everything is so up-in-the-air, and I don't like things being up-in-the-air. This week is it, my last week. I've got to do something besides procrastinating....

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


I've warned those that I love that this Blog might have lots of venting in it until we are all settled.

So today, I'm venting. I'm venting about...

ladies slacks, or pants. Whichever is proper these days. I don't really care, but I'm gonna vent about them and I'm gonna call them pants.

I hate buying pants. I hate buying them. Why?

Because, I have long legs. And, a long torso. Makes shopping delightful.

So, my black pants wore out. They flat wore out, so I needed new ones. I found the same brand as my black pants, but they changed the styling, so the size of my old black pants is not the same size as my new black pants. The new ones are lower waisted, which is better for me, because the waist band will not be rolling down to my waist. But, sadly, they are a different size. And more sadly, the blankety-blank-blank store didn't have talls, or long pants.

So, because I needed black pants without holes in them, I bought some in this different size, in medium length.

Big mistake. They are too short. They barely come to the top of my shoes. So when I walk, they flap around my ankles. Too short. I hate them. HATE THEM!


I'm going shopping again, looking for black pants with long legs and then I'll have a pair to donate to someone with short legs, cause I'm never wearing these goofy things ever again.

Note to self: NEVER, NEVER BUY AVERAGE LENGTH PANTS AGAIN. Next time, go naked.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Car Fever

Andy has car fever. It's a bad case, he's having hot and cold flashes. He breaks into a sweat daily. He can't drive by the car lot without that rubber-necking reflex kicking in. If he's driving, he also suffers from that jerking motion, sending the car into the car lot. He's on to be on a first name basis with the car dealers, who do all they can to ease the pain and suffering of this dread disease.

When they see him coming, the whip out the old estimate pad and quote him a price and they're nice enough to figure the tax for him too.

There's no treatment for this fever, only a cure. An expensive cure...

The cure will only cost $10,000 or so.

I have the pleasure to hear daily how he hates driving the Ranger pickup, you know, that Ranger pickup that he blew up the motor in this summer? That Ranger pickup, which he hasn't yet paid a dime for a new motor. The bank of Mom and Dad hasn't called in the note yet, but he hasn't volunteered any funds either. I take that back, he paid for the sensor that we just got replaced...$158.

But, the Ranger, which is paid for and which only has to have liability insurance on it, just isn't cool. He needs a car. And he's pushing really hard right now, because Kev's car isn't working at the moment. So Andy, for the past two days, has had to bring his mother to work and his sister to school (gasp)! And then (horrors) he has had to pick his mother up from work and (gasp) drive her home! And if that isn't bad enough, his mother also has to take him to work and then drop off a vehicle for him to drive home in. Oh, the humiliation, his friends and co-workers have to see that he doesn't have his very own car. They have to see his Mom bring him to work. They have to see him talk to his mom when she drops off the keys. It's just more than he can bear.

Here's his rationale...we need to let him buy a car of his very own so that we, his deserving parents, would have a spare car, so that when one of our vehicles isn't working, we would have that spare and we wouldn't have to inconvenience him. Yeah, right.

So, he wants a car. Not just any old car either, but a Mustang, a cool car, with standard transmission, a fast car.

He wants to trade OUR Ranger in on a car for him--one that he buys, one that he tinkers with and "punks" out.

And he's really not subtle, and he's really annoying, and he's not taking NO for an answer.

So being the wonderful, loving, supportive Mother that I am, I called the dealership yesterday. I talked to a dealer, who has been visiting with Andy, but who also knows Kev and I. (Hey, it's a small town!) He understands our problem, as he is the father of a 15 year old who is campaigning for a RED Mustang. Anyway, he told me how much the Mustang was and what interest rate we'd get (10%, cause we, the evil parents would have to co-sign), and what payments would be for 48 months...$250 a month.

Then, I called the Insurance Company. I know the gal at the Insurance Office. We chatted about our daughters and about moving and about teenagers and cars while she looked up the VIN and what insurance would be on a 2002 Mustang V6 Coupe for a 16 year old boy with not-so-good grades, using the lowest deductibles. $1550 a year...or $130 a month. (It's nice having friends in high places who can manipulate the database!)

Last night, we broke the news to Andy--the cost of buying this car. Then his loving, and less supportive father asked what his last paycheck amounted to.

$125, for 2 weeks work. Ouch. Reality hit. He pouted. We didn't. I didn't even gloat. I wanted to, but I refrained from showing any emotion even resembling satisfaction, or self-righteousness. I am always supportive and understanding. Always, just ask me!

I realize this isn't a cure, it's just a band aid, but for now, hopefully, the car fever will subside.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007


It's 8:30 a.m. and I already have a "College Headache".

It's a tension headache. But most of my stress and tension comes from the College, so that's what we call these headaches. It will get worse and eventually develop into a migraine. By tonight, all I will want to do is crawl into bed and cry from the pain.

Today's headache probably isn't all college related. It's probably related to the stress of moving and not having packed a thing. It's related to having a house to sell and not having it listed yet, and not quite ready to list yet. It's the stress of not having a clue where we will be living. It's the stress of me wondering if I'm messing up and screwing up the lives of my family.

It's related to a car that isn't running which inconveniences Andy, Kevin and me. Andy's inconvenienced because he has to take me to school and then I have to take him to work. Kevin is inconvenienced because he has to take the Diesel, which uses more fuel and more expensive fuel. And it inconveniences me because I can't leave campus all day and I have to listen to my son whine about having mean parents who won't let him buy a car of his very own.

My headache is related to having an employee out all day today. She's my right arm and I'm really aware of how short our time together is.

The college is contributing to my headache because we are finally close to finishing up negotiations, and I have several meetings related to that this week. All are stressful. And I need to wrap up things here, which is stressful.

I need to learn how to stress without internalizing everything. My jaw is so tight already today, that it aches--at 8:30 in the morning.

Wonder if anyone would notice if I put some good old relaxing booze in my Dr Pepper...that just might be the ticket...Maybe I'd be better off asking those of you who pray to ask the Man Upstairs to help me cope with this stress. That's probably better than booze...but... booze does taste good...

Just kidding...really...

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

He made me cry.

I cried at work today, not 1/2 an hour ago.

All week, I've had folks come in saying "I heard a rumor that you were leaving." No big deal. The rumor is true, I'm leaving.

This was no different, a fellow teacher came in, one who started here the same year I did.

"I heard a rumor, " he said.

"It's true." I replied.

He then went on to say the nicest thing. He was sincere and well, it made me cry.

All he said was thank you for always being nice to him, and that he wished me well.

The interesting part is this gentleman isn't a colleague that I'm close to. I'm not. He's almost a stereotypical absent-minded professor.

And he made me cry.

I don't like to cry. I don't want to cry. I'm still fighting this. But this man's good-bye was probably the most sincere one I've gotten yet.

And he made me cry.

This leaving thing just might prove to be harder than I thought.

Monday, October 08, 2007

Cleaning the bathroom

I just don't know about this "moving" stuff. It's starting to bother me...

We need to list the house. But before listing the house, we need to pick up, clean up, remove the normal house clutter, fix a couple of thing, etc.

Last weekend, I cleaned the carpets and cleaned the living room and dining room areas.

Yesterday, I scrubbed both upstairs bathrooms, ours and Miss Kat's. Miss Kat cleaned her bathroom before I re-cleaned her bathroom. She doesn't understand the concept of "Put your crap away." Evidently, that means move-it-around-and-set-it-in-different-locations. And, how many opened bottles with less than one inch of shampoo does a girl need? She had 4, F-O-U-R bottles of shampoo sitting around the tub. And 3 razors. The child has just started shaving her legs this fall and she had THREE razors! I'm lucky to find one, and I'm really lucky for it to be sharp enough to cut the hair on my legs.

I also have a bone to pick with the idiot who invented the aerosol hair color. There was blue hair color all over every vertical and horizontal surface in that room. Even the toilet seat had blue hair color on it. The floor had a blue tint--on the white portions of the floor! It looked like a blue bomb had gone off. And, it was still there--AFTER Miss Kat "cleaned".

And toilet paper. Why oh why can't the girl put the roll ON the roll holder? And, why, when she uses t.p. for kleenx, can't she throw it away? Is it funner to have those snotty pieces of t.p. sitting around for souvaniers, or comparison? I just don't understand.

Yes, I realize that I should have made her clean the bathroom to my standards, but...see, it was therapy for me. I was mad, so I scrubbed and muttered and scrubber harder and muttered and cursed my child under my breath. And I purged. I tossed lots and lots of stuff. If Miss Kat had "helped", then I wouldn't have been able to purge as much--like 3 bottles of shampoo and 3 of conditioner and two razors and upteen t.p. kleenx and 4 old ratty toothbrushes and 3 different tubes of toothpaste and...

I wonder what Andy's bathroom holds for me. Boy funk. That's what, boy funk. Yeesh, something to look forward to...not.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Things you need to think about when moving...

There's a new theme to my blog now, the moving aspect... holy cow, there's lots to think about and do before making this big move.

things like:

What about our medical we take them, or when and if we find a Dr there, do we just let the Dr get our records. I have no earthly idea. I haven't been to the Dr in 2 years or so. Last time anyone in our family was at the Dr was 2 years ago when Andy was hospitalized with pneumonia.

What about school records...this one, I'm not sure about either, especially since we aren't sure where the kids will be going to school. But, will the school give me their records, or do they get sent straight to the new school?

Selling our place...Do we take all the stock panels, do we take the dog kennel, do we take the rabbits, goats, and chickens? How do we take them? When do we take them? Do we want to take them? How much is the house worth? How much can we get for it? Can it sell quickly? Can Miss Kat ever get her room clean enough to show the house? When do we need to start packing? What do we pack first? Where do we store what we've packed?

Starting the new job...I'm not ready to go there yet.

Finding Kev a new job...Why am I the one updating his resume? Why am I the one getting it in the mail?

I need to think about something else for a yes, chicks and chickens.

It's Friday. the chicks are over a week old and there are 4 left. Yep, 4. For the past 3 days, they, and their Mama, have been contained in the extra large kennel, safe from predators. I've let them out in the evenings for a couple of hours. We've got to figure out how to keep the cats out of their "safety" area...

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Livin in a small town...

You never realize how small of a town this is until you make a life changing decision, and everyone, and I mean everyone, knows about it within 3 days.

We shot trap last night and everyone there knew, or "heard a rumor" that we were leaving. Holy cow people, I just decided on Friday afternoon, at 3 p.m. How can the news have spread that fast?

I just gave official notice to my Boss yesterday and it's all over campus this morning. Less than 24 hours, and it's all over campus. I've had 4 phone calls already this morning and it's only 8:30.


Last night, I shot trap for the last time with my team, "Shooters with Hooters." We've shot together for 4 or 5 years now. We've had some rough times, with team members who didn't quite "fit". We've had some really good times. We've never had a day when we all shot to our potential, by that I mean we never were "on" at the same time. But we've consistently improved.

Last night was the last time I'll ever shoot with these gals. Some, I may never see again. Man, this moving stuff is emotional. Thanks for shooting with me girls. I'm gonna miss you all.

I'm going to miss ragging Jody about messing up our patterns... "3, 3, 3, 3, 2" or "5, 4, 3, 2, 4" or "3, 3, 3, 3, 0"

I'm gonna miss ragging Ann about breaking rock left and right and making the rest of us look bad.

I'm gonna miss Carol and Andy arguing about who was the better shot, and then watching them compete against each other.

I'm gonna miss Sharon's laugh, and our exchanged looks of disgust or glee when we were "on". (Like that happens very often!)

I'm gonna miss Kevin, Lynn and Dude, our coaches who sometimes pissed all of us off with their "constructive criticism."

I'm gonna miss those times when someone's gun malfunctioned.

I'm gonna miss it all.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

About that job...

Ok, now I can share information about that job...

I couldn't say anything until we had told our immediate families. You know, the kids should know first, then the parents, then the grandparents, then the brothers and sisters then the friends who are family, then the rest of you all.

But, I'm not good. The co-workers heard first, then the husband, then the best friend, then the daughter, then the best friend's kids and husband, then the co-archery coach, then a couple of other friends, then another best friend, then the son...

Yeah, I don't do anything right.

It just kinda happened that way. But, now the really important people the parents, the family, etc. It's just those of you who read here who don't know.

I took the job.

Our family will be leaving our home of 20 years and strike off into the wild blue yonder into new careers in a new community. We'll be moving 150 miles away from here. I'll be moving before the rest of the family, as I have to start my new job at Dodge City Community College on November 1. Kev and the kids will stay here probably until the end of December. Hopefully our place will sell by then.

The big decision for us now is...where to live.

We won't be living in Dodge. We want another place in the country. We'd prefer something in the boonies, yet within easy commuting distance of Dodge. For some reason, I don't want my kids to go to school where I went. It's too far of a commute for Kev and I (50 miles), so we're looking at other options. But our house has to sell before we can make any concrete decisions.

It's a scary thing for us. It's an exciting time for us. It's going to have it's ups and downs, but we'll get through it...together.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Movin' day

Friday night, we had a storm blow in. And, we were planning on going to the Football game, for the big Homecoming ceremony. But first on my agenda was movin' Mama Hen and her babies. I got home promptly at 4:20 p.m., and changed into jeans. Then I put on my coat and gloves. The coat and gloves were for protection from Mama's beak, which I anticipated being jammed into a hand or arm sometime during this forced relocation.

I then marched outside, unwilling children in tow to assist.

But the nest was bare. Ok, not bare, there were two dead chicks and 4 eggs, but no hen. No chicks. O no.

We looked under the porches, all three of them. No chicks, no hen.

We looked under the ceder trees. No chicks, no hen.

We looked in the chicken yard. No chicks, lost of hens, but not the right hen.

We looked out in the feed shed. No chicks, no hen.

We looked in the shop. No chicks, no hen.


I looked out north of the shop. Hen and chicks. What a good Mama. She'd brought her eight babies to a spot out of the wind where there was lots of cracked corn spilled on the ground and lots of nice juicy bugs to eat. So, I started picking up babies and put them into the kennel. Then, I picked up Mama, who didn't even try to peck me, and put her into the kennel too. I got the last couple of babies and them carried the whole kit 'n caboodle to the chicken pen.

We have a small fenced area inside the chicken pen, so I set the kennel inside that area, got them water and feed, and left them to roam their new home.

All seems to be well, except, well...on Friday, there were eight babies. Saturday night, there were seven. And this morning, there were six. I'm not sure where these little ones are disappearing to. I'm not sure if a cat is getting a nice lunch, or if they find a way out of the pen and then get lost and then get caught by a cat. I don't know. But, at this rate, by Saturday, I won't have any more chicks...again. sigh.

So goes life on a farm.

Friday, September 28, 2007

Mama's and baby's

The chicken/chick saga continues...

I'm still trying to figure out how to relocate Mama and family. But, Mama now has at least 8 chicks, maybe 9. She still has 4 eggs to "hatch," but I don't think they will. I think she'll abandon them today. I hope.

Last night, when I got home, I counted 9 live chicks, 2 dead chicks and 5 eggs. One egg had rolled away from the nest, and was cold, so I tossed it far far away into the pasture. I couldn't get to the dead chicks, as Mama wouldn't give me a chance to get that close. She had one chick who was still wet, he was rather far away from the nest, so I pushed him closer to her and he snuggled under her.

About 7, 7:30, Kim and I debated on how to move her. I've been told to pick her up after dark and move her, but she had chicks under her wings, and I was afraid I'd hurt or drop them if I picked her up after dark. So, instead, we wedged the dog kennel right up next to Mama. It made her pretty mad and frantic, but any predator will have a really hard time getting to them through all the sage and the kennel and maybe through the cats. The cats were all observant of Mama and family. Mama pecked 2 kittens that I saw, so they may learn to stay away.

But I still need to move her.

Today, my young "rooster", the 16 year old one will be in the Homecoming parade. He's the Junior class attendant. He's not at all impressed with this honor. He's rather annoyed by the whole thing. I, however, think it's great. How many people are Homecoming attendants or royalty? O well, no matter what his attitude it, I'm going to watch the parade (and hope he smiles and waves), and I'm going to watch the ceremony tonight at the game, and I'm going to have that familiar heartache of pride, love, and joy, watching my little boy reach another milestone.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

bunnies and chicks...chicks and bunnies

I haven't posted anything about animals lately, so it's time.

We have rabbits. We got them in April. Our intent is to breed, raise, and eat rabbit meat. Miss Kat is in charge of the rabbits. She does a pretty good job with them, but she's rather possessive of them and has informed us that we can't eat any of these rabbits, because she loves we ever listen to her! Our thought is, once we start having baby rabbits, she'll want to get rid of some of the bigger rabbits, so we can safely butcher and she won't notice....that's the plan.

And you all know how my planning works. Yep.

Have you ever tried to sex a rabbit? Well, it ain't easy. Kim and I sexed the rabbits. We determined we had 2 females and 7 males. That's a little off for breeding purposes. We ideally should have 7 females and 2 males.

But, we bred one of our females. We bred her once, it didn't take. Wasn't sure if the male knew what he was doing, or if the female didn't know what she was doing. I do know that some of the time, the male was backwards, trying to mate with her head. I do know that at times, the female was on top.

Neither are conducive to a successful mating. The rabbits might have enjoyed themselves, but this kind of behavior really doesn't result in baby rabbits.

So we (really I) tried again. This time, the male "fell off" upon completion. The book says that he'll "fall off" when he's successful. Of course, he'll be ready again pretty quickly, but he should grunt and fall off. Ok then. He did, and he was in the right position, and so was she. We waited.

Last Thursday, I told Kev and Kim, that we'd probably have to mate the female again because it evidently didn't take. I'd been following the directions of the book...I'd put straw in the cage, 3 days or so before her due date, but she'd eat the straw instead of making a nest. So, I assumed it didn't take, and our 31 days were over. (Gestation for rabbits is 28-31 days.)

On Friday night, as I was helping Miss Kat do chores, we discovered 4 baby rabbits in a small nest of fur. What a surprise! I checked them to make sure all were alive, and we left them alone. Lollipop, the new Mom, seemed protective, they all seemed to be well fed. We were excited with these little ratty looking lumps of babies. One disappeared over the weekend. We assumed that it had died and that Lollipop had eaten it, common behavior. But, on Tuesday night, we discovered 3 dead babies. Lollipop had evidently thrown them all over the cage, because they were scattered and quite dead. Also fairly common rabbit behavior.

The book assures me that she can still become a good mommy, and to give her three tries to raise babies. Miss Kat was sad, but not devastated.

Last night, Andy called me from home and said, "We have 3 baby chicks."

This past weekend, we painted the house and discovered a broody hen nesting in my Russian Sage bush, right against the house. We painted around her, but all assumed that she hadn't been there long. Boy are we observant. Because she had to have been there 19 days to hatch chicks yesterday. (Chicken gestation is 21 days.)

So last night, I went out and counted 4 chicks, maybe 5. (And, these chicks look like Barred rock chicks, not Rhode Island Red chicks, like their momma. Momma evidently was messin' with that OTHER rooster, not the Rhode Island Red Rooster. The hussy.) Momma is still sitting on 2 eggs, cause I saw them and she wasn't eager to move around much yet, so she must think more will hatch. I put some chick food out near her. She ate some, and a couple of the chicks pecked around a little bit. I also set out a waterer for them. But, here's my dilemma...I don't think that up by the house is really a very safe spot for young children. What if another skunk discovers them? What if something bigger discovers them? So, I'm trying to figure out how to relocate them all to a safer spot, like the big dog kennel...

Stay tuned, the next saga will be titled "Moving a hen who doesn't want to be moved." Or, it could be titles "Taking lessons from rabbits, breeding 101..."


Kevin called me a pessimist. It made me mad, because I don't consider myself a pessimist.

He then clarified, and said that I'm a worrier. That one, I can agree with. I do worry. I can't help it, I was trained by the best, my mother. But, yes, I worry, but I don't let worrying stop me from doing anything, or from changing what I'm doing. And, I'll express what I worry about out loud, to him. Why? Because expressing my fears, my worries makes them less worrisome and I can then move on and just deal with life.

Don't tell him, but he's a worrier too. He's more cautious than I am. Where I'll worry, express myself and move on, he's an "internal worrier" and I'll find out later about how worried he was. So, all in all, we're a good balance.

O yes, remember that job I hadn't heard about? Well, I heard. They've offered me a job. We're negotiating about money. Scary...worrisome stuff. Life changing stuff. And, yes, I'm worrying.

Friday, September 21, 2007


I had an interview for a new job last Friday. I went to this interview thinking I was wasting my time, that I'm "content" right now and that a big move just isn't in our future. But, they'd asked me to come and I decided I would.

This job is a parallel move for me but it would move our family closer to my folks, something I've been wanting to do for a couple of years. They're in their 60's now, still very healthy, but Dad did have that accident with the horse and was laid up for almost 9 months, and Mom's been struggling with "elder care". I've worried for them. I've felt tremendous guilt that I'm not there when they need some help. Being the eldest child, and the daughter, I know that someday I'll need to be there for them. So, I've been watching job openings in the area, one came up, I applied.

I felt comfortable in the interview, not nervous at all. They asked questions, I answered. The body language of the committee was GOOD. I felt like I nailed that interview. They asked this question, "Can you start Oct 1?"

That one threw me for a loop, Oct 1 was 2 weeks away. I was a little evasive and said "Probably, but you realize that I will have to break my contract." Maybe too evasive. But, true. I would have to break contract and be faced with a huge fine. I am short staffed right now anyway, which would leave this place really hurting. But, I figured that maybe we could work something out if they called.

It's been a week. No calls, no rejection letters.

I don't know what to think. I left the interview thinking it had gone really, really well. Now, I'm doubting myself. I've waffled about if I even want to take this job, it would mean that I'd leave before my family did. It would mean selling a house I love, friends I adore, leaving a home of 20 years. It would mean uprooting my kids, one in his Junior year. It would mean uprooting my husband, who is very supportive, but still, this has been his home for almost 30 years. It would also be an exciting career change for me, a chance to stretch my wings, to make a place --a different place, MINE. Just the interview made me realize how much I've done here, how far we've come. I'd like to do that somewhere else too.

But still, no calls. No rejection letters. I don't know what to think anymore. Today, I want this job and since I've finally realized that I want this opportunity, I'm probably not going to get it.