Welcome friends and family!

"The colors of life shift

within a fixed parameter,

movable blocks of shadow

and light, interchangeable

or not."

"Chaos is a friend of mine." ~Bob Dylan

"Chaos is a friend of mine." ~Bob Dylan
Da Boys!

Front and Center!

These two creatures who have locked up my heart will be front and center in this little corner of blogosphere!

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

One of those Thriving in the.... days

Yesterday I spent a chunk of time playing with my blog, redesigning it.  Today I lived the new photo under the blog title.  It was one of those mad-world days.

Sears was scheduled to come today for the second time in a week to see why the pilot light on my 5-year-old water heater keeps going out.  Thank God for my  Master Protection Agreement with Sears on many of my larger appliances!  It's really paid off in recent years.  Anyhoo....  first go round the Sears person tells me that the water heater is one of those newer "closed systems" where the pilot light is controlled by sensors and a spark, not the old light- it- with- a- lighter type of yore.  Seems that's the current requirement for safer water heaters.  Mine was probably clogged with whatever from the attic and kept killing the pilot light.  The guy cleaned it thoroughly and told me to go up there and clean out the pan under the heater about once a month and it should be good to go.

Yeah, right.  Four days later, Sunday, no hot water.  As always when these emergencies arise, my good neighbor Mr. Larry comes over the gets the pilot light going again.  I call and set up another repair call with Sears and that brings us to this afternoon.  "Between 10 and 2 " usually translates into sometime after the allotted time. 

Today got off to an early start, 5 am to be exact.  Sam woke Connor and they proceeded to play computer games, complete with sound effects, yanking the entire household out of dreamland and into a waking pre-dawn nightmare.  It wasn't pretty, the reaction they got. 

At 9 am I have to deal with the garage door repair people who need to replace a beeping backup battery which is just difficult enough for me to defer to the experts, not to mention the costly battery that I can't run to Walmart or CVS to pick up.  That set me back enough to tick me off. 

Meanwhile,  I'm doing things around the house, waiting for the eventual Sears person and the boys are amping up both in volume and behavior as they play some online Pirates of the Caribbean game, one on their computer and one on Trish's.  It's getting to the point I'm having to try to tamp down the electricity in the highly charged room with threats of ....whatever I can think of within reason.   They are already on my you-know-what-list after the morning fiasco.   I'm also trying to dodge 3 dogs running around the house, under foot as they work out the newest round of toy or chew theft from each other.  Spanky is a little puppy bully and the other two bark,nip and chase him when they've had enough.  I have visions of the nasty fall I'm sure to take one day.  I'll be on the floor, hip or leg or arm broken, in horrendous pain, screaming for the kids to call 911.....  and the dogs will keep running around messing with each other, and the boys will keep doing whatever they're doing and no one will hear me or respond and I'll still be there writhing in pain, half dead, dogs barking at me because by that time they're hungry and the boys either still playing dueling computers or so amped up they've fried each other ..when Trish gets home from work.

Deep breath............ 

It's nearly 3:00 pm when Sears person finally arrives.  He arrives when I'm in the middle of trying to deal with a computer issue, naturally.  During the time he's working in the attic I'm back with the computer problem.  The dogs are outside in the heat barking at me and the boys are behind the closed door of Connor's room.  That last fact eluded me until after the Sears man left.  He's there about 30 minutes replacing a sensor or whatever on the water heater telling me that the reason it keeps going out and the reason it needs replacing is that there is not enough air flow in the attic to keep it lit.  Didn't they tell me that when they installed it 5 years ago?  NO, as a matter of fact, they never mentioned an air flow issue, nor did they tell me that this newly- required type of water heater wasn't maintenance free.  I needed to keep it dust free or lint free or whatever...  I should see about a fresh air system for the attic or the water heater.  Call a specialty plumber, they'll know what you need. 

$$$$$$$$$   ...that's what is flashing in front of my eyes as he's telling me all this crap.  My stress level is rising along with the heat outside, not to mention the attic.  He leaves, I let the panting dogs back in, and, again, fail to compute the closed door to Connor's room.  I go online and research attic ventilation things, groan and envision a large expenditure.  Then I call my trusty Mr. Larry neighbor and he comes over, checks things out and tells me I do have ventilation and it sounds like I should be fine for another 5 years, not to worry about it.  I relax and as I close the door behind him I finally realize that the boys are behind a closed door.....   It also registers that I'm hearing bumps and thuds. 

Connor's room looks like a hurricane ripped through it!!  The funnel clouds are laughing and throwing stuffed animals all over the room. Furniture is moved around to make a fort... it's a mess!!!  The boys are wired to the max!!!  It barely registers that I'm in the room yelling at them!!  I finally get through, Sam gets mad, grabs his mother's laptop and stomps out of the room refusing to help clean up the damage.  He slams his own room door for emphasis.  Connor and I proceed to wade through the mess and restore order to his room.  Bless his heart, this type of effort is not his forte.   He's about as useless when it comes to order and cleaning  as an umbrella in a windstorm.  This afternoon he gave me hope... :)

So, it was one of those days.  Both boys are peacefully sleeping in their rooms as are the three furkids, one on Trish's bed, one on Connor's and mine on the bed behind me.  I'm here at the computer (which is now behaving) writing this with "America's Got Talent" on the TV in the background.  Trish will be home from work soon and we'll have a good laugh about the day. 

Saturday, July 24, 2010

The Final Purge!

Well, at least the final massive purge on the cleaning list for the summer.  The above photo amounts to what's left after my two-day purge and two days of the alley scavengers helping themselves to whatever they might want and take to salvage.  The pile is about half as big as the initial purge.  What remains on Wed. will be hauled away by the city.  I'm feeling very satisfied with all the cleaning and tossing I've done the past couple of months.  This morning I tackled the last closet left undone and revisited my own closet for a final toss-out and rearranging. I still have the plantation shutters, wooden blinds and fan blades to clean in the next couple of weeks. 

My daughter is on the third day of her new job and happily settling in.  The sharp rise in her self-confidence is so evident it's like a neon sign!  I like that!  The boys are also adjusting nicely to Mom being back at work and Pammy once again being "the boss of them".  :)  There were issues the first day, but yesterday and today the waters are calm.  My Equilibrium is feeling steadier already, and breathing is easier as the air clears.  The stress level for all members of the household, human and fur, is back to healthy levels.  For the time being.  :)

Friday, July 16, 2010

Kings of the Earth and Odds and Ends

                                                            Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch

This is an amazing book; read it!!  I read a review in my Sunday paper last week and was so intrigued I bought it and jumped right in.  It springs from a true story of 3 bothers and is the work of Jon Clinch, the wonderful author whose acclaimed first novel was FINN ( the imagined story of Pap Finn, Huck's dad).  Wow!  I already had several HUGE stacks of to-read books, but this one grabbed me, forced me to buy and start reading. I'm loving it!!

Wed. Mr. I've-Spent-Most-of-My-Life-Of-Six-Months-In-Confinement went in to be clipped and chipped.  He is, once AGAIN, confined for 2 weeks so he will heal correctly.  I just don't remember having to confine my other male pups for any length of time after neutering.  Times have changed, I guess.  To say he's ticked, confused and chomping at the bit is putting it mildly.  Poor fella.  His personality is bound to be warped by all this restraint and his inability to just be a frisky, naughty, normal puppy.  I'm sure he'll make up for lost time when the new prison sentence is up.  He did after the 10 weeks of apres-surgery on his leg.

Today I scratched the need-to-clean-and-purge itch and tackled several fronts.  I tore through the clothes in my closet with a vengeance!  When it comes to clothes, especially my massive tee shirt collection, I'm loathed to let go of anything.  At least once a year I stick my toe into the tee-shirt-purge effort and toss a few.  Today I got serious!  I also ripped through all the DVDs, VHS and game cases in both boys' rooms.  I tossed all the cases that had no corresponding game/movie and organized them neatly.  No, I didn't alphabetize them or anything crazy like that.  I'm hardly THAT OCD!!  LOL!  Besides, the boys would destroy those efforts in one fell swoop!

One major job left....the garage.  The crown jewel of purging this summer!  I had thought the attic would win that title, but I've change my mind.  It's the garage, by far.  I'm already salivating and I can't even begin until late next week.  Bulky trash pickup is a week from next Wed.    I've already added a few additional jobs to the to-do list, however:  clean all the wooden blinds and shutters in the house.  Also, clean all the fan blades in the ceiling fans.

And, on my breaks--read!!  I'm over halfway through KINGS OF THE EARTH.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Morning with Sam

Most mornings with Sam are, to put it mildly, chaotic, to be perfectly blunt, a nightmare!  This morning was no exception.  Given his severe ADHD, combined with the medications he takes, sleep is elusive and not a high priority for him.  He might fall asleep early, say 9 pm, is back up an hour later and it might be 11 or so before he's back asleep.  His mornings start early, jolting everyone out of bed anywhere between 3 and 6 am.  When the jolt is before 5:30 or 6 am, he can sometimes be contained long enough for some semblance of extended slumber to lightly blanket us again.  I use the word "slumber" loosely- "cat nap" is more accurate.  Let's just say I've forgotten the last time I slept past 6 am. 

Sam is loud, blundering around like an elephant, making strange noises, laughing, banging, babbling, slamming doors, cabinets and generally being a nuisance.  Shocked out of sleep, the dogs begin barking, his mom yells and I stumble out of bed to get the new pup outside to do his thing.  And, so, the day breaks, literally.  There can be accidental or deliberate breakage, door slamming, and, if he wakes his brother (most of the time), sibling brawling.  All this before the inevitable:  Sam is sentenced to a couple of hours of time out.  Even time out is not pretty.  On a good day, calm is restored to the burgeoning day (at least for a few hours) by 8 am.

Anyway, on a creative note, I was prompted to write a poem about our morning mayhem.

chaos spills out

of his room
like a Pandora’s box-
furies scattering,
snatching the sleep from our eyes.

rival rush hour
in a city with no traffic lights-
honks and howls,
babbling, barking,
assaulting the pre-dawn silence.

Teeth on edge we add
a complimentary jolt of caffeine to the chaos.

On my kitchen perch,
oasis in the brewing storm,
I sit and sip
as the furies
swirl and nip
the edges of my calm.


Wednesday, July 7, 2010

This and That

It's been a busy week, so far.  Monday I took Bryan to the airport.  We really enjoyed his visit ( first in 2 years), and, considering he's a typical busy teenager and big into sports, I was thrilled I got time with him this summer.  He'll be a senior next year and it will be more difficult to squeeze in time with him!

Yesterday I spent the afternoon with my niece and her little one.  They just moved about 10 minutes away and I got to see the new digs and meet Mr. Mac for the first time.  They had lived in Southlake, not THAT far away, unless you're short on time to even go down the street, as I have been this past year.  The one time I visited her there she was pregnant with the little man!  The drive time to her old house was at least an hour.

The visit was fun (loved the new home) and Mac began to warm up to me by the time I left.  As you can see by the above photo, he had NOT warmed up when this was snapped just before a sleepy baby with a strange person in the house was put down for a nap!  I was laughing, Sandy was laughing and Mac was screaming bloody murder!!!!  For the next HOUR, Sandy and I tried to send this photo to her dad  to surprise him.  It was a riot!  NOTHING was working for us!  Of course, in the end, we succeeded, over and over and over again.  I lost count of how many times I got the photo on my phone and my email.  Nick probably got it just as many time.  Technology  is great until it's not and gets finicky.

Today I decided to mark another clean-out and clean-up item off my to-do list.  I tackled the front living and dining rooms which have needed purging for over a decade!!!  They are the throw-up (keeping the metaphor alive) rooms for seasonal items that don't get up in the attic or other things that need a 'temporary' resting place. 

Well, it took the better part of the day, but I was delighted to finally have it purged and clean!!  The only  HUGE task I've got on tap for the summer is the garage.  I'm already itching to get at it!  Given that my free monthly pick up for bulky items is the last week of the month, I'm not scratching that itch.....yet.