Saturday, May 30, 2009

Slumlord Update

Well, whoever tried to burn down our rental property- as if we didn't know- didn't do a very good job at it. It is only a couple thousand in damage and shouldn't take long to get done. My husband said they must have tried to burn down our house with a sparkler. Haha. Not that I'm a pyromaniac or anything but I think I could do a better job than them. At least I would have doused the house with gas or some other kind of accelerant to get a good blaze. Oh well, we're trying to look on the bright side of this whole experience. We just want to get the place fixed again and rented soon.

Today started Paige's softball tournament. It's double elimination so it makes for a long day. Probably because our team is not very good so we played 2 games today. We lost our first game but it was close. Paige pitched all 6 innings and only walked 4 girls. She even had 2 double plays. We should have won, but our defense is lacking skills. They aren't sure what to do and sometimes just hold the ball and stand there. It's the first team many of the girls have ever played on so they will get better.

We won the second game however, and so we go on to the next round tomorrow. Paige didn't pitch this game because the team we played against is actually worse than us. We won 23-0. The coaches even held up the girls at 3rd base or it would have been higher.

Oh well, Pens are on in 30 minutes and I have to get my shower.
Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Seriously, can I get a break

Today I had to be near Pittsburgh for a CE class. This morning went really well with the kids. They were up and ready to go. But I was still running behind because the mother that was picking up Paige for me was late. I called her last night to tell her that Paige wouldn't be walking to school as usual. She offered to pick her up early and let her hang out with her daughter, which was fine with me but I stressed over and over that I had to be out the door by 7:30 am. This mother drops her daughter off at my house in the mornings so she can get to work on time. A few parents do this and it works out good but this mom is late a lot which then makes me late.

So I explained to her if something comes up and she can't be here on time to let me know. She's not here at 7:30 and it was going on 7:40 am. Did she call? NOPE. No call and she was 10 minutes late.

Great. Now I have to rush my son to my other friends and get on the road. Luckily, I made to the CE class right on time so I figured it was all good. The whole time I was at the class I couldn't stop thinking about a Primanti's Bros sandwich.

Class was let out early- yay! I drive over to Primanti's restaurant. CLOSED. They don't open till 11 am. That's in an hour. Couldn't justify staying around for an hour to get a sandwich and then go in to work.

Work day is going good. I am getting a lot of things done and refinancing loans, saving money for my customers which makes me feel good. Then I call my husband to take a quick break and he advises me that one our rental properties was set on fire. WHAT? We had to serve eviction papers yesterday and they tried to burn down our house. Great. We think it was only minimal damage which is good, but are you serious. Burn down a house.

Every body at home is cranky and I can't wait to go to bed. I jokingly said to my friend that it couldn't get worse. Dear God it can't right??

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Primanti Brothers here I come!!

I love to eat. I've talked before about my backwards body image and how I longed to gain weight and have curves. Yah, fast forward to today and while I have the curves, they just won't stop coming.

But tomorrow I won't care. I have a seminar tomorrow morning near Pittsburgh and I am going to be near a Primanti Bros restaurant. YES! No one probably has a clue about these places but they are a Pittsburgh staple. They make their sandwiches with french fries and coleslaw in the sandwich, along with whatever meat you choose. Mmmmm. I'm dying just thinking about them. When I was in college at U of Pitt, there was a Primantis. I would save whatever money all week long so I could grab a sandwich on Friday after class.

Now that I'm back in New Castle, I don't get down to Pittsburgh as much, but when I do. I rarely miss stopping in for my sandwich. Even Jeff, who hates going into the city, begs me to bring him home a sandwich. Not sure if it will make the drive home- I've been known to eat his sandwich before getting home- but I will try.

Long weekends

I need more long weekends. It was so nice to get things done. We didn't have any baseball or softball games since Thursday. Jeff wasn't feeling really good and so none of the bigger jobs were done. I did get a lot of cleaning done. I also did a lot of laundry. Even got through the ironing pile that's been staring me down all week.

We had a little cook out yesterday. It was nice, but as usual with family, there are those moments. For example, my husband's nephew kept wanting to go in the house to play on the computer. NO. It's a beautiful day and there are tons of things to do outside. Then the excuses started -I get sick if I stay out too much, it's too hot. Go sit on the swings in the shade. Then he was trying to get my son on his side about sneaking in the house. Are you kidding me? His mother laid on my couch watching tv so the apple doesn't fall far from the tree. But I was not putting up with it. Eventually, as he always does, he gives up as he know he's not getting his way at my house. Too bad.

How about the Jon and Kate episode last night? That is one of the few shows I watch and I really was hoping all the rumors were false. What a shame. Grass isn't always greener on the other side.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Coupon Loser

Years ago, I used to do a lot of couponing and rebating. It really helped my husband and I out as we were just married and he was completing his teaching certification. I rarely bought an item without a coupon. My system wasn't very complex, just a coupon organizer and the weekly ads. Granted, this was back in the late 80's early 90's and the Sunday flyers only had minimum coupon leaflets. Also, the drugstores were just getting into offering coupons and rebates. Plus there were no internet sites to print off coupons. There was a coupon clearinghouse that you could fill out a form with the brands you used most often and they would mail out available coupons.

Flash forward to today. I have been trying to get back in the habit of couponing and especially when the drugstores offer their own money saving programs. I read a lot of blogs and many of the personal finance blogs talk about how they score great deals using coupons and reward dollars. It makes me want to jump on the bandwagon and save money too.

Except I am a coupon loser. I don't know if it's the fact that my children's births depleted any couponing brain cells or what. I collect the ads and see great deals but then I never bother to go to the store. Yah, that's being lazy. I wait too long and then when I do go to the store, they are out of the item. For example, Wednesday, I printed a Walgreen coupon for $5 off any purchase $25 or more. It was good only for Wednesday and Thursday. I need a ton of stuff and so would have a bill way over $25. But again, too lazy to run 3 blocks down the road. Now I will probably go tomorrow, buy all the items I need, and not save the extra $5 dollars.

Why is it I can't get back into the habit? Am I just too old? Do I not care as much about saving money? I admit the lazy part.

Any suggestions? Maybe I need to focus on other areas of saving money and not through couponing.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Lunch time

I work out of town in an insurance office. The office I work in does not have a break room, heck, I'm lucky it has running water. No, all kidding aside. It's not a bad office, just stuck in a 70's motif. It's bad enough to come to work some days let alone face an office that sports cheap panelling and 20 year old carpeting. It can be real depressing.

Anyway, it's a tiny office that I share with 3 others including the agent. So we have a very close working relationship. The bad thing is for me is that I like to take my lunch to work but eating at my desk isn't an option as people still come over to my desk. I've resorted to eating my lunches in my car in the parking lot. But because our parking lot is so small, I've had customers come up to my car and hand me things. Thus, I will drive elsewhere to park and eat. I have found a local park that I go to and it's been ok. It's usually closed in the winter but now that the weather's turned, I can park in a shaded parking area and hang out.

But it's really weird. I feel self conscious. People are walking by with their strollers and dogs and they stare at me. I want to put up a sign that says "I am not a stalker, pedophile, or weirdo. I am just on lunch break." I don't blame people for checking me over. It's a small town- less than 5000 population- and I would do the same thing.

I have been thinking of bringing a blanket and relaxing on the grass on nice days. As you know, I have plenty of magazines to read and keep me busy. Heck if I was really brave I would lay out in my bathing suit.

Not sure if this town's ready for the sight of me in my suit. I'm not even sure I'm ready to see me in a suit. Damn gremlins!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

In full bloom

My lilac hybrid tree is in full bloom. It smells luscious. I wish I had my camera!! It looks beautiful despite leaning. This tree was at our old house originally along with a cherry tree hybrid. I had planted it under my bedroom window and every spring I couldn't wait for the flowers to bloom.

Leaving that house was tough for many reasons. It was my first home purchase. The home that I brought my babies to. And I loved my lilac tree. I had even expressed all this to the new owners!

We kept in touch with the owners over the years and I was so sad to find out that they were ripping out the landscaping to build a new front porch. That meant my lilac tree was going to be dug up. I was so heartbroken. Jeffrey was just mad that he spent so much money on the trees only to be torn out. Yah, he's all heart!

But the owners remembered how much I loved my tree and called me to ask if we wanted to come get them. HELL YES! Name the day and time and we're there! I had to figure out where to put them in our yard and pray that they don't die. Luckily, they didn't and have grown very well over the past few years. The lilac tree does lean badly however. My husband, you see, never finishes a project. The tree should have been guided (?) with wires but he kept putting it off and so when you look at the tree from the side it's doing a Leaning Tower of Pisa thingy. Yet it can all be overlooked when the breeze comes past you with the beautiful scent of lilacs.

I think that is one of my most favorite scents. I also love the smell of my children. And ironed clothes. I love to iron and I will iron everything. Because I hang everything to dry (except underwear and towels) I like to iron out the wrinkles. I've been known to iron our underwear. Though this morning I was ironing and my husband purchased the Walgreen brand of starch. I don't like the smell. It reminds me of wet dog. Not what I want me and my family smelling like.

So I made the kids stand near the lilac tree before we left for school. Not sure if it helped or not. They could just smell like a wet dog that rolled in a lilac tree. Better than a wet dog that rolled in something else!!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

I'm just not getting it.

Sometimes I have a thick skull and things just don't permeate well. Can anyone explain what is so great about Colgate Wisps? I see all these coupons and sales at the drugstores for this product, but I don't think they are worth it. Why not keep a toothbrush and travel size toothpaste at your disposal? It says you can use without water, but do people really brush their teeth anywhere but in a bathroom? I doubt I want to see anyone sitting at a restaurant table pulling out their Wisp and brushing their teeth. If you find yourself in a remote place in the world with no access to a restroom, then I doubt you'll run into anyone anyway to worry about fresh breath.

I'm all for inventing that one thing that will make me super rich, but seriously. Add that one to the list of many short-lived products. At least I think so. Sorry Colgate, love your toothpaste, but not sure I would put out any money for this one.

Back to life..back to reality...

Yesterday, I stayed home with Jeff Michael. It was so nice. I kept thinking all day how I miss working part-time. Hmm..maybe I need to bring that up at my next review.

I also brought up to Jeff Allen the fact that our two next door neighbors and our one good friend have all gone to Vegas in the past 4 weeks. He actually thought it would be a good idea. So who knows, I may be headed out west!

This morning was back to our normal routine. Paige had a field trip and she was excited about it so she got up with no problem this morning. Jeff Michael was still tired. I could not get him out the door. My husband thinks he has a case of summer. The child wants school to be over more than my husband!!

I was able to get caught up on laundry. I cleaned out Paige's closet on Friday and yesterday she asked where her old clothes were again. I lied and told her they were in a storage container in the attic. Seriously, the child is obsessive. Meanwhile, Jeffrey was clueless that any clothes were missing. He was just excited that his basketball shorts were back in his drawer.

Tonight, my husband is confirming his friend's son. Paige won't be home from her field trip until 8 pm so I may take Jeffrey Michael to the mall so I can return shoes. I may not make dinner since it will only be me and him. And I just commented on a blog about not getting take out food that often!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Home again...

I am home again today. Jeff Michael woke up miserable and I am letting him stay home. He spent the night at his friends house Saturday and they were up till 4 am. Then they woke up at 8 am. Yesterday I tried to get him to sleep early but that didn't work. So this morning as he is crying and cranking, I thought about letting him go to school -just to be mean. But then I didn't want to ruin his teacher's day either. Right now he is on the couch watching a movie and half sleeping.

I need to get the work laptop out and get some work done. I'll probably just snuggle with him on the couch. It's so hard to resist cuddling with my kids!! Why are they so cute when they are sleeping? Too bad I couldn't formulate this into pill form. Directions: Take one pill as needed when fighting, whining, complaining or just plain out being rude!

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Baseball /Softball Fest 2009

Today was the opening ceremony for the kids baseball and softball leagues. This is the worst day of the year! The leagues try to schedule pictures for all the teams and then each team plays a 2 inning game. TOTAL MAYHEM!! My husband so conveniently couldn't make it because he was attending a golf tournament. And so I was left to get the kids dressed and to the fields this morning. Jeffrey Michael had pictures at 10 am and his game at 11 am. Paige had pictures at 1 pm and her game at 2 pm. I think Paige spent $20 at the concession stand by 10:05 am! Then somehow in all the madness we lost her glove. Well as I mentioned before, the child does not like to get rid of anything so that was a total meltdown and I became the worst person in the world.

But that was before I punched her in the jaw. HEAR ME OUT! We were walking to the other field and I was trying to get her to stop crying and I thought I had finally turned her mood around and I went to jab her on the arm. We were walking and I tripped on a dip in the grass and my knuckles landed on the bottom part of her side jaw. CAN YOU STAND IT!! I wanted to die. She fell to the ground screaming "You punched me in the jaw!" I start crying and trying to apologize saying I was trying to jab your shoulder and I missed. All I could think was someone somewhere caught it on video and I'm going to be the main story on CNN. "Mother Punches Daughter on Opening Day." She was so hot at me and wouldn't let me hug her or anything. She just kept saying over and over " I can't believe you punched me in the face." It wasn't that hard as I was just trying to hit her side arm/shoulder but my daughter could win an Academy Award with her performances. The funny thing was that at the same time I was saying "Your tough" and boom right on the edge of the jaw. It didn't leave a mark or bruise thank goodness. I could just imagine people asking her -what happened? Oh, I lost my glove at the opening ceremonies for softball and my mom PUNCHED ME IN THE FACE! This is going to be brought up each and every time she wants something. She'll guilt me forever over this! And my husband, yah, he'll be throwing digs at me all the time now.

Yup, Opening Day 2009 will always be remembered as the day I punched my daughter in the jaw. I'm not earning too many Mother of the Year points with that one.

Friday, May 15, 2009

Playing SAHM

Today I got to stay home. Jeff had and in-service today so I figured it would be good to stay home and take advantage of a long weekend. Except, Paige has a reading festival at the school from 8:30 am to 2:30pm and Jeffrey Michael made plans with a friend. Here I am all by myself.

It's funny because there are days when all I want is to be alone. I need alone time. My family understands this and will not fuss too much. Yet today I was looking forward to being with them. God's sense of humor is strange sometimes!

So, as usual I did some cleaning. I went through Paige's closet and drawers. I have to do this when she is not around. At 10, she is attached to everything and can't bear to part with her things. She seriously wants me to save all her outgrown clothes. She wants to be able to look at them later in life. I think I have a pack rat in waiting! Jeffrey Michael could care less. As long as he has something to wear he's good to go. I put all the winter uniforms and regular clothes that still fit in a tote and left it on the attic landing just in case of a cold day. All the outgrown things were thrown, ummm, stored for giving away. Now I have a better idea of what they need for summer. Jeffrey doesn't need much, but Paige needs a whole new wardrobe. She is growing so much. I'm hoping this Sunday we can head over to the outlet mall.

I didn't get my camera last weekend. I really need a new camera. I borrowed the one from work so I could get some things on ebay. It only takes 10 pictures at a time but it was better than nothing. The weather is beautiful and I really want to get some new pictures of the kids at their games.
The mailman is coming down the street. Does anyone else love getting mail? It's one of the first things I check on when I get home from work, after my family of course! Even if it's just bills I still get excited!

New Neighbors

I mentioned before how I love my home. It's old and we have a great property for the city. We are also one of only a few young families in the neighborhood. At Christmas time, our one neighbor passed away. He was 99 and a retired pediatrician. God Bless him because he would still be walking in the neighborhood- although it would make me nervous because he was a small little man. I kept imagining him falling especially on days when he put his garbage out. I swear the bags weighed more than him.

His home was sold and the new neighbor is moving in. He's young - an old friend of my husbands. That's cool. EXCEPT, he is dating a girl who had left her husband for another guy last year. Yep, for the past year this girl's been sleeping around. And now she's going to be just a few doors down.

Last night we were out doing yard work and her son (she has 2 kids to her ex-husband who by the way is a good kid, hard worker, and a real family man who is devastated by this) were outside doing things in the yard. I was torn between inviting the child over to play with my two and the thought that I don't want this tramp in my yard. Is that horrible!! I really don't know her but have only talked to friends who are her old neighbors. So I am basing my opinion on here say, yet I have no reason to not believe these people. I did walk over to invite him to play, but she kindly thanked me and told me they were leaving soon and maybe next time.

Yah, maybe next time- but don't look at my man!!

Thursday, May 14, 2009


My next door neighbor just sent me a text photo of the Jimmy Choo store in Las Vegas. After I got done plotting all the rotten things I could do to her house before she returns, I realized something. In the past 4 weeks, both next door neighbors and my one friend have gone to Vegas. I'm thinking I should mention this to Jeff. I'm feeling like a road trip.

Honey, I shrunk my clothes....

or maybe, gremlins came in and added 15 lbs to my body when I wasn't looking. I seriously don't think I actually gained all this extra weight! Either all my clothes were shrunk or those darn gremlins snuck into my home over the winter.

The most pathetic thing is that very few of my summer work clothes fit. I am very minimalistic with my clothes so it's not a good thing when only 3 of your 6 work pants/capris fit. I have alerted the girls at work that they will be seeing me in the same bottoms for a while until I decide to either lose the weight (that would involve exercise) or I can buy a few more.

This winter I noticed that a few of my clothes were getting tighter, but I think they were being stretched slowly as I added the weight. My summer clothes haven't had the advantage of being slowly stretched so they are too small. The saddest part of this whole ordeal is that I hate to go shopping. Yup, you heard me right. When I do grace stores with my presence, it's not a pretty sight. I grab whatever I wish I could wear and then try them in on. Sometimes I get lucky but many times I don't. The problem is that I have the body I wished I had when I was in high school. HUH? I am only 5' 3" and until I got pregnant with Paige at age 28- I weighted at the most 100 lbs--DON'T STOP READING! I hated how I looked. I had reverse body image problems. To me I was stick and bones. No chest, no hips, no butt. I hated looking at myself in any clothes or naked. I wanted to have curves and look like a woman.

Now ten years and two kids later, I do. But I can't figure out how to buy clothes. My whole life was spent trying to find clothes that weren't too big and baggy. Too bad I didn't have access to all the wonderful stores that we shop for my daughter. So I am confused when I go into stores. I was always used to going to the Junior department but they are cut for the body I had pre-kids. But the options seem cuter than when I go into the women's section. Or do I just face facts that I am a woman now. Most of the time I stay out of the department stores and just shop at specialty stores like Banana Republic.

I really do love how I look now. I feel like a woman instead of a tomboy. Though, I do think I need to take off a few pounds as my stomach is getting very "pregnant-like". If I could just take off a few inches there but keep the hips and butt I would be thrilled. Again, my husband says to exercise--that dirty word! If I wouldn't keep such a limited choice of clothes then it would be possible to have clothes in bigger and smaller sizes to choose from.

On another note, last night I checked my facebook page and my 16 year old nephew friended me. It just made me feel old.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Magazines

I came home today and found a postcard in the mail. My beloved Domino magazine is being discontinued. I had read about this rumor on a couple of blogs and just pretended it wouldn't happen. Until today. This is the second magazine in the past several months to go under. I was really fond of a magazine called Organize and it too went under. My husband would be thrilled if all the magazines would be cancelled as I do receive a lot of magazines in the mail - at one point I had 20 subscriptions. I began non-renewing a lot of them and have kept only the ones that I really enjoy. Those are any magazines that talk about organizing and living simply (ie Real Simple), money, and home decor. I am good about recycling them to my friends or the recycling bin. But if you look under my side of the bed- there is a large stack of my fave issues. And I will go through them every so often. Especially when I get the house all to my self for a day. I stay in my pj's and lay in bed looking through them. They're like my lover. As soon as I hear my family come home, I scoop them up and hide them under the bed until next time.

Wonder if you could be divorced over magazines?

First Day with Glasses

How do you do it? I have only had my glasses on for 30 minutes and I know I should give it more time, but my goodness. There is so much clutter. I'm sure I'll stop noticing the rims and lenses but for now it's all I see. My eyes also seem to need time to adjust to using the lens. Plus I must hold my head crooked a lot because my glasses seem to be on a downhill slope and they sit level on the table -or my ears are off!! Anyway, just had to vent. I'm sure it will get better throughout the day. UGH!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Yay me!

I just fixed my picture so that it's closer!! I'm a little proud of myself if you couldn't tell. Maybe it's my new glasses- NOT! Anyway, this picture is better and it's not too bad looking. Now to figure out some other blog mysteries.


I finally got around to figuring out how to add a picture to my profile. The sad thing was trying to find one! I am guilty as most mothers, of always being the one to take the photos. I just didn't realize how little I am photographed. The few photos of me are not even close ups! I only have myself to blame. I really don't like pictures of me. I can pick out every tiny flaw with my face and hair. The dark circles and adult acne and my crazy hair that never wants to cooperate or compromise with me. My eyebrows are crazy and this extra chin showed up at my doorstop when I wasn't looking. I could eliminate most of what I feel is wrong by wearing makeup, getting my brows/hair done professionally, and losing some weight. But I don't. And then I like to complain about it. Go figure!

The Pens lost in overtime last night forcing game seven in Washington. Hockey is fun to watch and I give those guys a lot of credit. They are really in great shape and I can only go around the ice rink once on a good day without huffing and puffing. Again, totally my own doing.

Today I don't think we have any after school practices and the weather may cooperate to let me go walking with the dog. I have been trying to walk every day depending on what's going on and the weather. I've also done really good with lunches at work. I go to the local grocery store and buy wheat buns and lunch meat. It is really cheaper and better for me. I could just pack a lunch every night, but I seem to forget my lunch or to make it so I am taking advantage of our little dorm fridge at the office. I still bring lunches to work from home when I have leftovers from dinner, but it's good to have backup. And it's come in handy more times than not! I haven't eaten take out for a while and since I work out of town, it's not an option to run home for lunch!

I have thought about my little blog lately and decided that it's just going to be my rambling diary. I read a lot of blogs- mainly personal finance and organizing. Some bloggers set up blogs for more than one topic. I just couldn't do that. I really do not like writing. Again, I find fault with each sentence I write. I will retype a thought several times until I think it sounds right. English is not my strong point and please don't point out my grammatical and punctuation errors. I know they exist, but I am horrible about correcting them. I never would proofread my papers in college. Just too traumatic for me! So if you are following along my little life, love me and my errors!!

Monday, May 11, 2009

And we start all over again

Monday rolls around so quick each week. It seems that way every weekend. Saturday and Sunday fly by and it's Monday all over again. This weekend was extremely busy. Friday afternoon I had a training class and rushed back home to the start of Paige's softball scrimmage. Saturday was busy with a wedding shower, another scrimmage game for Paige and then Saturday night was hockey. Obviously, Sunday was Mother's Day and my husband grilled steaks and chicken for us, his mom, and his sister and her kids.

Mother's Day always starts out with breakfast in bed and the kids will give me their gifts which are usually made in school. This year my son was so upset because his plant ( a sunflower) would not germinate. He said they tried twice with the seeds but his wouldn't grow. Then he was scolded for fighting with his sister when we were playing UNO. But the night got worse as he was grounded for fighting with his sister again during our game of CLUE. After his shower, he turned to me and said "this was the worst Mother's Day." His heart was broken because he felt he did everything wrong. But he remembered me telling him last week that the only gift I wanted for Mother's Day was to be with my family and spend time together at home. That helped make him feel better. Paige made a cute little card but of course she had to point out the mistakes. I would have never known, but that child is so hard on herself. It was really a nice day.

Today started the hamster wheel again. Right after work I had to be at my son's practice while Jeff was getting Paige to her first game. After he practiced, we headed over to her game. She lost and so it was a long ride home for her. She really has improved since last year, but all she sees is the negative. We've learned to let her live in her mood for a while and then we can talk to her and encourage her. If we don't give her time to wallow, it's just a waste of our breathe. After she ate some pizza and worked on her homework, she was ready to talk about her game.

The Penguins are on now and are just starting overtime. If they win they knock out the Caps, if they lose it's game 7 in Washington. LET'S GO PENS!!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Happy Mothers Day!

I hope all my fellow mothers are having a wonderful day of homemade gifts and pampering!

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Our House

I love my house. It is an older home built in the 1910's and is situated on 2 city lots. For our family it is quite large and meets all of our needs. We've only had to do minimal remodelling so far on the inside. And it is very rare to have such a big yard living in the city limits.

Lately, my husband has been contemplating selling the house and moving out to one of the townships. I don't know what to do. He wants to move- and ironically- because he's worried about the school district. He is a teacher with the school district and so he sees first hand the type of students that roam the halls. Over the last few years, he's noticed that the attitude of students has changed dramatically. The trend to do good and excel in school has shifted. Before, the majority of the kids fell into the group that worked hard and did well. And the kids that just showed up and never did their work were in the minority. Now, that's reversed. It's cool to be the slacker and the number of kids that know the importance of doing well in school is becoming smaller and smaller.

It's hard to say why these children's attitudes have swayed. My husband says that when they first get to the school in 7th grade (he teaches 7th grade World Cultures), many of the kids still want to do well. But as they move on, he sees many kid's grades and attendance start falling. He also is seeing more and more violence in the school. He's fearful of what may happen and is certain there will be gun violence at some time in the next few years. He's gone to the administration, but hasn't seen any changes in the school or policies. The school he works in was built a few years ago, but they did not include metal detectors at the doors and with a student population of over 1000 from grades 7-12th, it is difficult to use a hand wand detector. We still don't know why they didn't invest in the detectors when building the school. The cost to build the school was over 7 million dollars and I can't see detectors breaking the budget.

Not only does my husband worry about ours kids heading up to his school, he's also concerned for himself as he has seen and pulled kids from the halls with weapons (mainly knives- large ones!). It's not a daily occurrence and has only happened a couple times in the past 3 years. Still you just never know when a child can decide to do harm in his/her school and it's in the news more and more frequently.

It shouldn't be hard for me to think about getting out of dodge, but not all of the other teachers, of whom are our friends feel the same way. They think my husband if over reacting- but is he? Is he just more aware of where the school is headed or is he jumping to conclusions? I know nothing has happened in our school and the neighboring schools may be dealing with similar or worse problems. It's just so hard to decide what to do when it comes to your family. The only way to insure nothing happens is to home school, but financially we need both incomes at the moment so it's not an option right now. Moving to another school district could be an answer but how do we know they aren't dealing with the same thing. Very few people outside of those who teach in the building truly know or care about how bad it is getting.

We go back and forth about staying or leaving, remodelling and siding the house or leaving it as is and selling. It's crazy. We both want to stay as we love the house and our kids have a great group of friends- for now at least. I just want to make the right decision for the safety and well being of my family and it's tough. My husband loves teaching and coaching the kids and tries so hard to reach out to them. He has also been looking forward to the day when our two are at his school and for Paige that's in just 3 yrs. But it's bittersweet as he is just sickened as to how his school- kids and administration- have just given up.

I guess we'll take it one day at a time. We have gotten some estimates for painting the house and are waiting for estimates on siding it as well. If we decide to move we don't want to put too much money into the home as housing is really doing poorly in the area and would need a lot more money for a down payment on a house in one of the nearby townships. Our mortgage is fairly small and the home was appraised a few years ago 40% higher than what we paid for, but it's hard to say if today's market would be the same. If it were to sell at the appraised cost we would have a substantial down payment and our mortgage would be similar to it currently even though the houses in the townships are double what we paid for originally.

Any suggestions??? Why can't we just all get along and live peacefully together? I want my kids to attend the same school district we did as there are some excellent teachers there still from when we graduated 20 yrs ago, but it just may not happen.

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Getting Old

There are just some things as child you see and think wow are they old. Well, for me it was never being able to understand why my grandmother would need to find her glasses to read. She had told me she never needed glasses until she was older to help see the words better. I concluded to myself that you must need glasses when you're old. No one in my family wore glasses. I had friends who wore them to see far away but they were fine for up close. In fact my husband wears glasses for distance and has had to since he was 9 or 10.

Lately at work I have been doing a lot of computer work going through our clients information on spreadsheets and reports. My eyes have been tired and I noticed that sometimes it was such an effort to focus. Today, I had them checked and I have a small prescription. It's nothing big but when I put the lenses in front of me it really made a difference. I don't need them to read but it may help take away some of the strain. It just hit me when I was in the doctor's're getting old. Get the eyeglass chain out around your neck, Rochelle, it's all down hill from here!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

A Not So Fond Farewell

My camera is broke. I think Paige spent too much time with it taking pictures of her self. The images taken are all blurry and the lens doesn't want to move out all the way when turned on. I was never really fond of it. Jeff Allen just purchased it for me Dec 07 and it replaced the exact model that had broken right before. I wasn't all choked up about the original camera and had to pretend to be happy when I got the same camera newer model. It was the thought, he was excited to see me open it on Christmas morning as I had run to the pharmacy the day before to buy a disposable camera for Christmas day. I was really looking forward to going out and picking out the new camera as I had specific functions in mind and this camera didn't do any of them. While I would love to get a fancy Nikon or Canon, budget wise I can only afford something between 150-200$. I definitely want a large screen to see the pictures as I take them and the ability to do fun editing.

What camera do you have or can recommend? I posted my dilemma on Angie's website. She is a photographer and HAS AWESOME IDEAS. Yah, I'm jealous of her.

My Blog...

This weekend I had a moment to think about why I blog. I have no idea. Most of the blogs I read fall into either saving money or organizing categories. My blog seems to be all over. Maybe it's fitting as I am transitioning into a new career. Or it could just be that my life is so scattered. I feel like I am in a constant state of flux. The weather is turning nice and the kids are starting softball/baseball. Jeff is just finishing track and field coaching and will start cross-country the end of the month. I'm just trying to keep it together knowing who is where after school. We try not to over schedule the kids - especially Paige - but with me working out of town and Jeffrey coaching, it just seems like a race to the finish line every night. By the time the weekend comes I am tired that I don't feel like doing all the work that has built up over the week. Why can't we stop time - just for a few hours to let me catch up. Is that asking for much?

This past weekend Jeff decided to start tearing down our fence in the back of our yard. It needs replaced and was slowly falling down. However, now we have direct view into the dilapidated garage of the neighbor from across the yard. Jeff decided to leave one panel up as we didn't realize how ugly it really is. The worse thing about this is that the person that lives in the house is my old math teacher from high school. And I'm afraid of her!! She was so mean and strict. I was so irritated at Jeff for tearing down the fence as we aren't planning to put up the new one till June. Lord knows how she feels about seeing our yard and the kids. I wouldn't be surprised if she doesn't come over and demand we put the fence back up! Especially if she knows it's me living behind her. She had little respect for students if they didn't spend all their time studying and doing work. She was not fond of extracurricular activities unless they were geared towards academics. Funny thing is, I was talking to an old classmate last night and she said the same thing! In fact she told me a story about how this teacher made her cry because she said she wasn't as smart as her older sister and felt they couldn't really be related. The worse part of all is that my friend's father was a teacher in the same building! He must have been afraid of her too as he told my friend to disregard it as she was her teacher and to just listen and do her work.
Pray for a fast fence replacement as I need it to block her evil from me!

As I stated earlier in the post, I feel as though my life is being pulled in all directions. I am reading a really good book by Peter Walsh called Enough Already- Clearing Mental Clutter to Become the Best You. So far it has a lot of good points, but I haven't gotten to far into it so I will have to let you know if it helps.

I think I really need to take time to reflect on where I am and what I need to do. I probably would benefit from mapping out my life right now and for the future to see if I am on the right track or a few tracks to the right. Any suggestions? Have any of you felt as though you veered off direction? If so, how do you get back?