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Wednesday, December 27, 2006

I can not believe it is already 5pm+ & I have to go back to work tommorow, I hate working when the kids are home from school, I feel like I'm missing fun stuff- though truth be told when I'm at work & miss 16 is in charge mr7 rarely stirs from in front of the tv- I won't allow more than the length of a 2 hour movie in front of the tv when I'm home & insist everyone go outside for at least part of the day. Not an issue the past 2 days since mr 7 got a small skateboard & he & miss 10 have been fighting over it during daylight hours since he opened it. I wish I had been more physically active when I was a kid, then I might have a clue of how to help them learn to ride it, Mr 7 is an excelent mimic & feels he knows how to ride from watching tv, he knows how to stop the board & that's really the important thing to me! (especially since most of the cement we have here in our yard are slanted driveways & walkways & both end at a garage door with glass windows & my front door with glass windows- Stopping is really important.

   Miss 10's aparent favorite gift (other than her brother's stuff) is a cardboard doll house, a fold out, 4 room thing, which came with floam furniture which she made yesterday, she refused all offers of help I might add, she wanted to do it herself. I thought she'd like the making the house & furniture better than the playing with it when it was done but she seems to be enjoying that part too. 

Miss 16 likes the easel I found last night best, I think, it's hard to tell with her, she's upset because the sun is out & she likes rainy days better, she's also upset over her boyfriend's problems with his dad who's aparently a drunk. She is currently trying out her curling iron, she & her sister both got curling irons, miss 10 got a 3/4 inch barrel size one & miss 16 got a 1 & 1/2 inch barrel for larger curls, since her hair is so thick that's likely the only one which would work on it. 

I can't really say which one of my gifts is my 'favorite' I picked them out myself for the most part, other than a pair of sunglasses mr7 thought I needed & some Mandarin Orange bath salts miss 16 picked out because they said they were calming on the jar. (miss 10 picked out what she wanted to give me with me so I influenced her decision a little) I also got a crock pot which I've wanted for awhile, we're trying a pork roast in it today, with the pot set on high because we all got up ridiculously late this morning & didn't have time to cook it on low (10-12 hours)  so we'll see how that goes, someone is supposed to be emailing me a bunch of crock pot recipies but hasn't come through yet!

 I'm working on my year end in review, not that it'll be much of a big deal, just a meme I saw last year right after I started my blog & borrowed to use for this year. I'm also working on writing about my grandmother's life, not easy, Not original I'm afraid, one of my uncles is a really good writer & also a big history buff, he wrote her obituary & is the general writer for all family stuff. No one but myself & anyone who reads this blog will ever see my stuff of course, but it will make me feel better, after all I lived with her for my entire child hood & off & on from 19 to when we moved down here permanently in 1997.  I spent the early months of both my older kids lives with her right there with me all the time. (admitedly with miss 10 I did stay up in our room a lot of the time- I think in retrospect I had a touch of the baby blues that time) Still though, I think I can honestly say I knew my Grandmother very well. She was an interesting mix, very old fashioned & traditional, loved history but at the same time a political liberal with very clear, definite, modern opinions. I'm of two minds about writing about her, on the one hand it could help me deal with my greif, on the other hand, it could piss my family off & it may be boring for anyone not related to me. (of course I think my grandmother was special, she was my grandmother)

Miss 10: It's true girls can do anything boys can do. 

Mr 7: well, boys can do anything girls can do too.

Miss 10: Boys can't have babies

Mr 7: Well,....(long pause).... girls can't stand up to pee! 

Yes, well, I'm not sure it's quite the same. 

I'm more than a little distracted today, perhaps I should say my best gift, though not an acutal Christmas gift was this Mahjong Fortuna hookup my mother gave me her codes for, I didn't realize when I used her's at her house that the full access I had was due to her having played it extensively already, I'm enjoying it though, it's not like the free ones at all, much more fun & since she gave me her codes it was free to me! I'm addicted I have to admit & I've been going back & forth between it & writing this & reading other people's blogs all afternoon, after helping miss 10 with her catch-up homework & getting mr 7's room cleaned up with him & now I have to get off here & interact with the kids some more before shower time, the news, a movie I promised to watch with the kids tonight & off to bed at something like a reasonable time tonight.



Posted by Becky at 5:35 PM EST
And to All a good Night
Now Playing: Like a Stone by Audioslave
Topic: Family Business

Annother holiday passed without serious harm being done to anyone I know, admitedly, the new years holiday can be more dangerous than Christmas, I should know, my former marriage's anniversary is new years eve! would be 13 years this year, I'm sure if it had survived this long it would be ending by now, lucky 13 & all. Since I'm already mentioning the ex let me say he has yet to contact his kids for Christmas, no call, no email, no snail mailed card. The last email I had was dated 12/17. He hasn't written back, nor has he done anything else, now I admit, it was in response to my email letting him know that my grandmother had died & the kids would not be available to talk to him by phone or online on the 19th or 20th as was supposed to be in the planning stages when we got the call about Phil. But in my email to him about this whole thing I told him I'd be home both the 23rd & 24th & to go ahead & call anytime since I have free nights & weekends on my cell phone. (yes, I could have called him & let the kids talk to him but really, why open myself up for more grief, all it takes is the mention of 1 thing he doesn't like the sound of -  like that I had to work on Christmas day - I left work at 5 instead of 8- to set him off on a long winded, 'you don't take good enough care of the kids, you're always working & not around enough' rant & I have learned it's much easier not to open myself up to such things.

  Anyway, we had a good weekend, Saturday was spent getting groceries & making cookies. The coolest thing happened, I announced that the house had to get clean first thing in the morning, Mr 7 in particular had a very messy room which I insisted needed to be taken care of, I told him keeping his back to his sisters so he couldn't see them roll their eyes, that I'd heard at work that Santa was doing spot checks & could check in to be sure he had everything in order & that his room was clean, Mr7 went right to work & cleaned his room though he's been getting a lot more suspicious about the whole Santa thing, since he's the last I'm trying to keep it going just a little longer. I did hear a couple cracks from his room about Santa had better appreciate this....So on our way to the Pharmacy to pick up a perscription we were in traffic at our County's only stop light & who should come through in the opposite lane waving & honking his horn but Santa in full dress, (right down to shiny gold - rimmed glasses) he was driving a beat up pickup truck but what else would be better in southwest Virginia? I pointed him out to mr7 immediately & also that he was headed in our house's direction! Mr7, with his flair for the dramatic said 'Phew' wiped his brow & said 'man, am I glad I cleaned my room!' Miss 16 told me later I was cruel & heartless, I didn't bother to remind her about how the ex & I had her convinced that sprinklers in stores & homes were Santa's surveilance system.

   In spite of saying I was going to take it easy in light of the busy last couple weeks, the list of cookies I wanted to make increased to such an extent that I made more varietys than normal, we had a list which included:

Chocolate chip cookies


Coconut macaroons

Rice Krispy treats

Butter Cookies

Pepermint pinwheels

Kissable thumbprint cookies

Stained glass cookies 

The last 4 are really the same butter cookie batter but it's really versatile & can be used in all kinds of cookies, the pepermint pinwheels are a new thing, we tried them last year & miss 16 really liked them & so made them again this year, it's a recipe we saw on Good Eats "the Cookie Clause" episode & my butter cookie recipie is essentially the same as theirs except we use twice as many eggs & only use the egg yolks. Later that night after a pick up dinner, (I didn't eat a thing, too ill with all the cookie batter & crumbled pieces I'd been nibbling) we finished the wrapping of gifts, (begun the 22nd after I got off the computer, I didn't go to bed until after 2 am on Friday night & it was telling on me, by the time I insisted miss 10 & mr 7 go to bed at 1030 I was already falling asleep)

 Sunday morning we made up the bags & boxes of cookies for friends & former neighbors, took showers etc & I was just messing around online when my sister in law called me to see 'where we were' -? I was a little surprised since it was just a few minutes past 3 at that point, I usually don't show up at Aunties until about 6, the kids had made me promise to try to go closer to 4 or 5 & I was really just waiting for 330 to start our rounds of dropping off cookie boxes & then go there. since SIL seemed to think we should already be there we headed out. After 7 stops we arrived at Auntie's & the kids had a blast, there were at least a dozen kids there & they all got gifts, it was a chaos of unwrapping & people calling out names on gifts, I was on the opposite side of the room from my younger ones & while that was great for taking pictures, it means I have no idea who gave them what! We ate & Hung out with the family for quite a few hours, it was fun, brought back old memories, some good, some bad, I missed my mother in law, who had gone to NY with her boyfriend (I guess that's what you call him, I know at 38 I would prefer not to refer to any one I was romantically linked with as a 'boyfriend' & she's considerably older than I am. Maybe 'life partner'?) This will mean I'll have to try to get with her sometime soon & interact, I do like my MIL, always have, I like/d both my in-law parents, it's my ex's step parents who drove me crazy, both of them. 

  When we arrived home we cleaned up a little, (it wouldn't do to have Santa see the place like it was) everyone got to open 1 more present  ('cause I'm a pushover, I also felt a little guilty because of having to work on Christmas) Everyone was pleased at what they recieved & I didn't pull any of those power plays where I hand out gifts with new pajamas in them though miss 16, freezing on the couch requested the pajama pants her sister had picked out for her & told her about - this was one year where almost everyone knew almost everything they were getting, no one in my house can keep a secret! 

 The stockings were propped on the couch (no chimney/fireplace to speak of in my house I'm afraid) & people were sent to bed, I filled miss 10's stocking first because she's been demanding to 'help' this year, since she's such an old hand at all this, (she's known the 'truth about Santa' for 3 years now) I know it's all a ploy to see what she's getting early & so I thwarted her, she filled her brother's stocking though & that satisfied her.  

  Off to work at the usual time, work was crummy, I can't decide which I like less, the people who try to commiserate with me about working on Christmas, or the people who just ignore the whole thing, I was thinking to myself that if 1 more person called in & said to me 'why are you working on Christmas?' I was going to lose it & point out that if they were'nt calling in I wouldn't have to be there! Don't call businesses on a holiday folks! Please! We are all begging to be sent home & the less calls coming in, the more likely we are to be sent home! 

  The people who start at 9 am with us but go home at 5:30 were sent home at 4:15 & I was rather annoyed about it, it was obvious to all of us that they were going to try to hold everyone as long as possible, I knew there would be a large influx of people coming in at 5 pm & so I told my boss that if we weren't sent home at 5 I was leaving anyway, he was ok with it. & so I left at 5, we ate, did the tree & I tried to convince everyone that bed at 10 would be a good thing, no one bought it & by the time I had gotten everyone to go to bed I'd gotten absorbed in my current book (Angels & Demons by Dan Brown- the book before the DaVinci code) & didn't actually shut off the light until 1 am again! 

Today has been quiet, Folded a ton of clothes (first time in almost 3 weeks I'm afraid, we've been living out of the laundry baskets & just adding more as they dry) Watched Fight Club for the first time (yes, I'm a little behind in my movie viewing) it was pretty good as miss 16 had told me it was (the dvd was a gift from me to her at her request) a quick run to the store to get milk & a few other things, got 2 checks in the mail today quite unexpectedly, one was from a company I had done business with & I'd closed my account but over paid, they refunded the amount I'd overpaid & it came today, I figured it would show up eventually. The other was from one of my Grandmother's brothers, he wrote that he wanted to send the kids & I something for Christmas & that he hoped we'd be able to have a good Christmas in spite of our loss. Very nice of him I might add, Very Generous. Christmas presents just keep showing up! Earlier today I was picking up my room & located a basketball I had purchased for mr 7 & forgotten to wrap & then just a little while ago Miss 16 also reminded me I had hinted to her about an easel I got her which I also had hidden in my room & had forgotten to wrap & put under the tree! 

  Tommorow will be my last Wednesday home, I'm going to be home Friday & Saturday in tandem instead & still have Tuesdays off too, it occoured to me that this schedule is too cool & they'll probably take it away from us pretty quick, simply because it's a good one, still only in the building 2 days in a row, off on the 'fun' weekend days & still out of there at 8pm every night I do have to work.!  I'm attempting to convince myself that hating my job is no excuse not to go & am going to try for a perfect attendance year in 2007, hopefully the ex's track record will hold & he won't actually try to see the kids this year (it's been every other year for 6 years now)  When he comes to visit he always manages to time it so I have no paid days off acrued to use & so I have to call in sick. I will have 1 extra paid day off in 2007 due to us meeting a goal we had set for us early, It's supposed to be used on 2/19 but everyone in the company can't take the same day off so I'm sure I won't actually be off on that day. (I'd prefer a little earlier, around tax refund time, or a little later, when my uncle comes to visit in June or my cousin & her family come at some unplanned time this year) More than enough for tonight on here. it's late & I'm tired, now, as long as I don't pick up my book & 'promise' myself only 1 chapter.....

Posted by Becky at 12:03 AM EST
Friday, December 22, 2006
Have a Cool Yule!
Now Playing: So this is Christmas by John Lennon

Back home & very glad to be here! Not so glad about going back to work but into every life some rain must fall.

The whole viewing, service & burial for my grandmother went very smoothly, my cousin was there but low key- & she would not look me in the eye. The cleaning out of the apartment was also smooth, the uncles got along, there was none of that petty 'I want this, you can't have it' that you hear about when families have to divide up the material possessions, my uncles & my mother were more interested in divesting themselves of stuff not acquiring more (It was only the 4 of them & myself, no grand children or great grand children) They each took things for their kids & themselves but I seem to be the only person in the whole family (34 of us) who has an ancient couch, no chairs & no wherewithal to go out & buy one so I got all my grandmother's furniture by default, it's going to be in storage in NH until the summer but it's well worth it, the only problem is it is all pale blue & cream & my kids are heathens, as my mother pointed out I have about 6 months to get them to be more gentle & learn not to eat in the living room, I'll feel awful if I ruin my grandmother's furniture (she bought it in 1992 so it's not too old) I think I'll need to invest in slip covers!

   Driving home was hell. plain & simple. There was no Christmas spirit in evidence on Interstate 81 on Wednesday that is for damn sure! You can see by my picture (or I can at least) that the stress & grief are really beginning to take it's toll on me- at this point driving I was just focused on getting us all home in one piece & then hoping to sleep as soon as possible after getting home. I was so glad to get back home to my area, where people coming towards you on the road, (back roads & main roads both) wave at you as you pass. I'm feeling much less stressed since we've been home even though work has been a pain- they told us our schedule is changing as of the 30th, we're going to be off Tuesday, Friday & Saturday, working the same hours as previously though, not too big of a deal for me, it may even be better! (Miss 16 thinks she'll like it better)

   I'm focused much more on the practical than the emotional right now. I just need to get through grocery shopping, gingerbread house decorating, cookie making, gift wrapping & meal preparations & of course spending most of Christmas day at work. Not too big a deal, Christmas eve at Auntie J's is like a beginner Christmas & the kids are accustomed to opening stockings together with out me- I'm a lot happier if I get to sleep in- they're also assuring me that they'd rather wait for me to come home & eat a nice dinner & then open the gifts under the tree on Christmas evening- since I don't have to work Tuesday or Wednesday we can stay up late on Christmas & then sleep in. I do have the next 2 days off which is nice too.     

Tommorow will be grocery shopping & I have decided that if I can't get it in Floyd I don't need it. There is no way I'm going near any walmart or mall tommorow at all. I hope to get out reasonably early & get back home by noon because I've got a lot of cookies to make & a gingerbread house to put together with mr 7 who is about to loose his mind because we have not made it yet!


We were leaving my Grandmother's apartment on Sunday afternoon after spending a draining afternoon going through boxes, packing things up for each family branch to keep & discussing where & how the furniture would go & get to me. Everyone but my mother & my kids had left & we were on our way out too & Miss 10 asked to borrow my cell phone to take a picture out the window of my grandmother's living room to 'remember the view' after she took the picture I was glad she had done so, it is a beautiful view of one of my favorite places in the world! 

   On the way home from work tonight I went over to Target to pick up 1 last minute gift for each of the kids, (there was still room on the credit card of the same name as the store - bad habit of mine at Christmas, if there's money left to be spent it has to be spent) I was amused at how stressed everyone seemed, especially those with small kids. I do get stressed though, just not often at Christmas time, I refuse to do anything I don't want to do when it comes to Christmas- if picking, writing & sending Christmas cards ever begins to feel like a chore, like something I 'have' to do I'll stop. The same with baking the cookies etc. I want to do them & I will, things like stringing popcorn & cranberries to hang on the tree are ok, It was a family tradition when I was growing up & some years we do it now but this year there was no way. Cranberries were ridiculously expensive & the time was short. So no Cranberries or popcorn. I went out of my way to be nice to everyone who met my eyes in Target & especially the people working there I've worked in stores at Christmas & I know what a hell it can be, I'm mostly just glad I'm not there with them!

  I probably won't get back to this until after the holiday, I'm feeling a little drained & as I said I'm not letting myself really look too deep in the emotional sense, every once in awhile something will strike me like 'I should tell Phil about that next time we talk' & I do a sort of double take & remember Phil died last week (My grandmother & grandfather had all my cousins & I call them by their first names rather than 'grandma' or anything like that so I refer to her by her given name always) 

 This Last pic is one of miss 16 the day we arrived in Mass when we went to the beach to kill time while waiting for my mother to get her hair done. She likes it & so do I. The cape is mine but I don't have the flamboyance to wear it much so she borrowed it for the week- I notice I haven't gotten it back & I have a feeling I won't! 

  I hope everyone has a great holiday & either makes a bunch of awsome memories or has a lot of fun remembering other holiday memories from the past.

Posted by Becky at 11:17 PM EST
Saturday, December 16, 2006

Now Playing: Satisfaction Guaranteed by the Firm

Day 3 of the whirlwind, it's always so odd when someone dies, it's like time stops & you do all this stuff you almost never do. My Grandmother died on Thursday morning & the world has stopped for me at this point. 

 Thursday the kids woke me up by letting me know that our new water pressure (since the plumber was there) Had disappeared, it was down to nothing so instead of sleeping the additional 40 minutes I sleep after they leave for school I got right up. it was cool but not really cold (someone broke my out door thermometer while putting up Christmas lights last week so I wasn't sure it was under 32 but it felt pretty brisk, at first I thought it was just running slow because the pipes were partially frozen (I have a whole lifetime's experience with cold, partially heated houses & frozen pipes) but when I found the toilet, tub, bathroom & kitchen sinks all either trickling or not putting out any water I decided there was a problem. I got ready for work, started the car & took a trip to the basement. I found the problem pretty quick! to increase my water pressure the plumber had changed a pipe from my reserve tank to the main & it had sprung a leak at the join. It was spewing water & had been for quite awhile, (there was 5-6 inches of water in the basement already- there is a drain- though it is pretty plugged up but the basement isn't improved in any way so it's not going to hurt anything too much) I called the plumber who was about 80 miles away taking someone to an aiport! He said one of his sons was at home & he'd call him & have him go check. he told me to shut off the power at the circut breaker, leave the basement unlocked & go to work. I headed out, there were little patches of black ice on the road & the car skidded a few times, I wasn't really worried, that often happens in the mountains, certain areas in valleys & all don't see enough sun early to take the ice off the road, it was just a thin sheet, but as I drove I kept thinking about the plumber, the water, my grandmother's illness & that if the plumber was there long or got there late my younger kids would be coming home to find him there (they get home a little while before their 16 year old sister on school days) I turned around, I just wasn't comfortable with the whole thing. I called work, went online & messed around with an online photo album I keep, changing pictures, deleting, adding the Thanksgiving pictures & waiting for the plumber. I had texted miss 16 to let her know what was going on & at 11:00 she called & said she was through with her SOL test & really didn't have to be there for the day if I wanted to come get her she could be there for the plumber & the kids. (Virginia Standards Of Learning tests- it's the bench mark VA uses to determine which schools are doing their job- a certain number of kids have to pass the SOLs or the school does not retain it's accredidation- which leads to a lot of teaching to the test- but it's still a good overview of how your kids are doing) So I went to town & got her, when I got there she had her test scores, she had, as an 11th grader, one in  English & one in History, English she took on Monday & got a perfect 600 which is the best you can do, History she had just completed on Thursday & she got a 575 out of a 600! I was thrilled for her, she's doing really well this year so far.

  Back home we saw a can of plumbers glue on our back step but no van. About 15 minutes later the plumber's son showed up & asked me to turn on the power to the water pump so he could check the seal, (I can tell you now, it didn't hold, I still have water in my basement & there was no water in my pipes at all when we left home Thursday night) I decided to get to work to maximize as much time on the phones as possible & thought I might stay over that night to make up some of the hours I'd missed, I didn't feel right about leaving, I still felt like I should be at home, but I went because finnancially I couldn't not go. On the way I encountered the cleanup of an accident due to ice, someone had slipped & slid into an oncoming car. I knew the state trooper working the wreck from when my ex was on the rescue squad way back in the day & he told me the accident occoured around 815 that morning, that's right around the time I drive through that area on my way to work on a normal day so I figured that's why I didn't want to go to work this morning but I found out later I had other reasons to want to stay home. I got to work just as my group was going to lunch, I started working & took about 3 calls, it was slow & so I pulled out my cell phone to text miss 16 & ask how the plumbers were doing & found I had a voice mail from my mother notifiying me of my grandmother's passing at 10:30. She had called & left it at the same time I was logging into my work computer. I waited for my boss to come back from lunch & let him know & called miss 16 who, as I've said before was very close with my grandmother. I went home, unpacked the 4 bags the kids had packed for 5 days & re-packed 1 bag with what we actually needed! I had to take a trip to the locked shed & pull out some clothes I had picked up for myself for Christmas since I didn't have much of any decent black clothes & I got a really nice black velvet skirt at Lane Giant on clearance which will do nicely, I wanted to get going but at the same time I wanted the water problem cleared up & to be sure I had everything we needed, we packed entertainment for the little ones, (Not enough) more entertainment than I actually needed & a bag of toiletries & one of snack foods so 10 & 7 wouldn't eat my mother out of house & home (they are anyway) I still forgot to bring any shoes but my sneakers! We left home at 530 Thursday evening (after the news, to make sure there were no accidents in the Roanoke area & that the clear, warm weather was going to hold at least long enough to get here -it's still holding) I did better than usual (when going on vacation) with the driving, I usually come home around the same time I did Thursday but I try to nap & rest & we don't actually leave for vacation until 9-10pm, leaving at 530 I was able to drive until 330 am & then slept in a rest area in upstate NY for 2 hours (with miss 16 staying awake with orders to scream & wake me up if anyone even looked at the car funny- our standard proceedure) & then drove the rest of the way. We could have arrived at my mother's at 10 am Friday but she had told me on the phone that she had a hair appointment at 10 so instead of going to her place we went to the beach to see it (neither of my younger kids had ever been to the beach in winter & miss 16 didn't remember doing so either though she's been plenty of times) This eliminated a lot of nagging on the kids part. We've cleared that out of the way, they've been & I don't have to hear about it. I am, however, still hearing about the food, in the summer on vacation both my mother & my grandmother always took us out to dinner most nights, I felt bad about it but they always said it was easier than cooking & cleaning up & since they only saw the kids & I once a year it wasn't like they got to spoil us much anyway, the kids are accustomed to eating at the 99, Lobster hut, chineese food & wonderful sub shops whenever we come up here & I have to keep reminding them this isn't a vacation. (we did go out for chineese today for lunch because my mother said she'd been craving it for weeks & was happy to not have to go alone)

  When we arrived at my mother's she gave me a 3 page email my uncle who's my grandmother's power of attourney & executor of her will. It covered what he knew of what my grandmother wanted people to have & also the basic plans for the funeral, the apartment building she's been living in is hud owned & they only give you 2 weeks to clear out a person's belonging when they die (as opposed to 30 days if the person moves to a nursing home) so 2 of my 3 uncles have already been working on sorting stuff out etc. My other uncle arrived at my mother's apartment around 6 last night & we went out to have subs & visit a little- I haven't seen this uncle since 1997 & he is my favorite & very influential in my life so it was exciting to see him again. Tommorow we head up to my grandmother's place, (my mother lives on the south shore of Boston & my grandmother & most of the rest of the family -except the aforementioned favorite uncle who lives on an island off the cape- live north of Boston so we've got a 60+ mile drive through Boston tommorow & are staying at my cousin's apartment complex's guest room where the kids & I stayed during our  Vacation last summer.) We'll be there overnight because the calling hours are 10 to 12 Monday & then the service is at 12. It will be a long day & I'm still torn about wether to let 7 & 10 come to the service & funeral at all. (I have cousins with younger kids & certainly should be able to have my younger kids stay with whoever is watching their kids) I was 8 when my grandfather died & I went to the calling hours but not the funeral, the first 'real' (family at least) funeral I ever attended was my Brother's in 1989 & I was 20 already. 

  Between the actual funeral, calling hours etc & the cleaning out the apartment we have a least 2 fairly ugly old family battles which it is going to be interesting to see if they flare up or if everyone's going to play nice, I'm involved in one of them & intend to take the moral high road & ignore any & all slights this particular cousin my throw in my direction. The other is uglier & could cause problems tommrow at the apartment clearing & also on Monday. I really hope my involved uncles both play nice too because although I don't care if I see one ever again I love his adult children (& his wife) I'd hate to have to choose sides again because without my Grandmother to 'force' everyone to be nice & be there for one annother the 2 warring factions will probably never speak again.

  Doing this seemed kind of frivolus tonight but my mother was tired & went to bed at 930, the kids were all settled down by 10. (mostly due to threats from 16 to sit on anyone who made a peep) I was tired last night (we were ALL in bed by 9 last night) but I've had enough caffeine to know I wouldn't be able to sleep for awhile when the kids went to bed. I'm glad I wrote though, it has helped me marshal my thoughts & relax a little, as I mentioned the next 2 days have the potential to be very stressful & I try to look at my kids, (who no one sees all that much as we're so far away from everyone else) as a buffer zone for the tension between family members. (at least I hope that will be how it goes) If they're too loud & people get stressed about it I intend to take the kids to NH to the mall & let them walk their excess energy off. 

I think I will be able to sleep now (even if it is on the floor - I got the sofa bed last night & Miss 16 has comandeered it tonight- I don't think I'll miss it too much, that bar which hits you just in the ribs in most sofa beds was doing it's job last night!) 

Posted by Becky at 11:35 PM EST
Wednesday, December 13, 2006
How Frustrated am I? (warning, Bitch session ahead)
Now Playing: Always by Saliva
Topic: just letting off steam

The internet is wonky at best, this may get lost.

I've had miss 10 home sick up to today & now miss 16 is complaining of intestinal discomfort, there was a report on the news at 11 last night about a flu bug fitting 10's description of her symptoms  so at least we know it's not something she ate somewhere. 

The Christmas tree smells awsome, every once in awhile I catch a whiff of the scent of it from the next room & it makes me smile. 

 I am worried beyond belief due to my mother calling last night to tell me that my  grandmother's kidneys are shutting down & her heart is getting weak (She's had a pacemaker for about 17 years already bad hearts & high blood pressure run in my family on my mother's side I'm afraid) She's been in & out of hospitals & rehab centers & nursing homes for months since she broke her hip, most recently she re-broke her hip at the nursing home & when she went back to the hospital they replaced her hip, now she's taken what my mother says is a fairly drastic turn. My mother wanted me to know that it would not be long, they think maybe before Christmas. She's got a living will in regards to drastic measures to prolong her life & she, like my mother & myself don't want any thing extreme to be done to keep her alive.

I can understand that but it still is hard, I've always been very close to my grandmother, more so in many ways than with my mother. Miss 16 especially is too. up until she was in the nursing home (where she didn't have a phone for quite awhile) we were in touch at least every other week. Now I have to think that the last conversation I had with her (where she was coherent) may be the last conversation I ever have with her. 

16's very upset & being dramatic & already in a funk (it's premenstrual) she called me weeping from school during lunch (mostly she was raging about the crappy food! This is her grade's 'standards of learning' test week - they couldn't have picked a better acronym this: SOL, as in shit outta luck! & she got a perfect score on her English yesterday, this is an off day & she has her History sol tommorow, the stress is killing her- & us who have to deal with her) 

The plumber was awsome, he was late but it only took 2 & 1/2 hours to fix all the things which were wrong. We had no water pressure, the tub ran constantly, the toilet was leaking through the floor into the basement on a farily large support beam, he noticed while checking things out that my hot water heater pipes were plastic when they should be copper & replaced those too, all my pipes between the holding tank & the main were small & narrow so he replaced them to increase the water pressure & also found that something in the holding tank was wrong which was a lot of the pressure problem. I kept telling him I had only $500 budgeted to spend on plumbing & when he presented me with his bill it was only for $337! Needless to say I was thrilled & still am, Miss 16 being impossible to please (& even harder to deal with) says it's not that good, that the shower's water pressure is not as good as the ones in Mass, But I'm satisfied that it doesn't take 2 hours to do a load of laundry because the washer is filling up with a trickle of water & I can wash dishes in about 10 minutes due to a normal flow of water from the sink faucet. (I haven't taken a shower yet but I have to tonight since I go back to work tommorow. I'll let you know) 

 All I have to do for Christmas now is finish making gifts & wrap everything, make cookies & candies for giving & hope I don't have to drop everything to go to Mass for a funeral.

 I'm still trying to get over my annoyance at miss 16 for taking her menstrual moods out on all of us, she's home now, slamming cupboards, binging on cereal & complaning that Chicken Divan for dinner sucks. She's also wearing my shirt which I am pretty pissed about. It's my Censorship:off Free speech: on shirt & when she came in to my room to get it I thought she was there to steal socks & didn't say anything. 

  My annoyance at one is rapidly changing to annoyance at all. Miss 16 has pissed off miss 10 & got me involved because miss 10 is supposed to be in the dining room at the table doing her homework & instead is on the couch doing it in front of the tv. not acceptable as far as I'm concerned. 

Since this is rapidly deteriorating into a bitch session about kids who don't know how to shut up & I have to go out & get gas for my car & kerosene for my heat & then make some dinner I will finish this up, posting may be spotty in the near future due to general life stuff. 


Posted by Becky at 4:52 PM EST
Monday, December 11, 2006
It's Always a Good News Bad News Situation!
Now Playing: Hey Man, Nice Shot, by Filter
Topic: Family Business

A Quick note on this post, it's dated the day it was written though I couldn't post it until 12/13 due to my internet being decidedly funky Monday night & that I was busy with the plumber here all day yesterday. 


Good News: The house is Decorated for Christmas,










tree & all are finished. 

Bad News: The house is a mess around the decorations.

Good News: The plumber is coming tommorow, we may have our water problems finished up by this time tommorow night.

Bad News: See above, it's 1030 at night & there's couch fluff all over my floors, the toilet bowl is brown, there's hair & other unpleasant looking things in my bathtub & the plumber is coming tommorow.

Good News: Heard from the ex this weekend & he got home safely from Iraq, he's not dead & he wants to send the kids a laptop for Christmas. (Mixed blessings here for sure).

Bad News: Heard from the ex & he's already pushing me & belittling me via email, I also called child support enforcement to check on the child support for this month & there's no check pending, my worst fears are reallized that now he's through with the whole combat thing the kids are not going to see any money to help us through our expenses. 

Good News:  I have the next 2 days off & can relax now that I'm through with everything I'm required to do for Christmas in the way of purchsing gifts.

Bad News: there's still plenty of things to do for Christmas like wrap presents, make cookies, make a nice dinner etc. etc. 

Good News: I'm pretty much over my cough & cold.

Bad News: Miss 10 is home sick with diareah & vomiting & theres a good chance I'll end up sick being home with her.







Good News: I have bought all the Christmas presents I'm going to buy this year unless family sends money for more purchases which would be from them. 

Bad News: See above where I mentioned the child support, I might not have spent so much if I'd known I'd be $200+ poorer than usual this month. (especially on what I got for myself & gave the kids to spend to get me gifts)  

 Good News: The Christmas tree is beautiful & we managed to get through the decorating with minimal yelling, bickering & fighting mr 7 only hit his sister once & miss 16 & I only argued twice when she wandered off to get online twice (anyone who reads my blog will notice that although I had 2 full days off this weekend I did not get online & blog or do anything else - except check email early saturday morning- at all this weekend- I spent it with the kids 100%.) 

Bad News: The cat likes the tree & has already broken 2 or 3 ornaments from climbing, the ornament situation is a real issue because there were already many many broken ones in the boxes due to people not putting things away correctly last year & people climbing on the boxes over the summer (People meaning mr 7 who is a climber without reason - he will make detours just to climb over furniture & jump off it). 

 Good News: I have Christmas Eve off which means we get to go to Aunties as a family & enjoy ourselves longer than if I had to work until 8pm.

Bad News: I do not have Chirstmas Day off so we either have to do the tree Christmas Eve afternoon or in the evening on Christmas after I get home from work.

Good News: I have worked more than a few Christmases (this is the 6th year with this company & I'm 3 for 3 now) & they always send you home early.

Bad News: Any time not at home is too much time not at home on a holiday. (If you care about the Holiday- I was very zen this Thanksgiving, we'd had our feast the day before & I got all the togetherness, love & sharing I needed & was ok with working all day- good thing too, because we worked all day)

Good News: got lots of pictures of the tree decorating as you can see!

Bad News: Only bad news for you if you have dial up!

Good News: Had a great time Friday Night with my co-workers at our holiday night out!

Bad News: Didn't miss at least 1 person who was supposed to come & didn't.  (well, not really bad news in my book: if you met this person you might understand) I still feel guilty though, when I can't like everyone I know wholeheartedly.

Good News: Ann Posted for the first time in months! 

Bad News: I'm wishing I either had more time to post or more of a life to post about!

Good News: I might get to take a shower instead of a bath tommorow night! (see above about the plumber)

Bad News: I wouldn't have called the plumber if had known the money was going to be so tight with out the child support! I'm also, of course, worried that it'll cost more for the plumber than I've budgeted for the plumber.

 Good News: Miss 10 is at 30 minutes keeping down toast, a new record since yesterday.

 Bad News: I have to run the Vacum around the house before I go to bed & it's nearly 11pm already! 

Posted by Becky at 12:01 AM EST
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
House Rules
Now Playing: Yesterdays by Guns & Roses
Topic: Family Business

 This made me laugh & think of similar rules I've had to lay down myself.... 

At the trailer we lived in ruins, the roof leaked, the floors were falling through, every drop of water which went down the kitchen or bathroom sinks flowed up the pipe into the tub & had to be bailed out of the tub & thrown down the toilet. It resulted in some odd, rather specific rules for trailer life, like that we had to be really careful about not letting food go down the kitchen drain because it would have to be cleaned out of the tub later, & that we could not leave the shower curtian in the bath tub because if nasty water from the kitchen sink got on it the shower curtain would grow moldy faster than brie cheese left on the counter in July. No one could jump on my bed if it was raining because I had usually at least 2 or 3 pots, buckets or bowls balanced precariously on the bed where the roof leaked (move the bed? there wasn't enough dry ceiling space in the room to put the bed anywhere that it wouldn't get rained on- except for the spot occupied by my dressing table which is an antique with lovely carving on it & given the choice of ruining that or sleeping with buckets I took the buckets. It's been 18+ months & I still get tense when I hear the weather man call for 3 or 4 days of rain in a row. I usually remember I don't have to worry about it anymore but sometimes I find myself during the second or third day starting to worry again!) Then there was the business of living 5 feet away from your neighbors, we had to remember to whisper if we wanted to converse in the bathroom after 10 pm because the bathroom was across from the back door which looked right out on the neighbors' bedroom window so if we talked even normally in summer with everything open they would hear us & wake up. No yelling in the house at all after 10 & no loud music or anything ever. (the first year we were there, back when the ex was still around, his best friend lived across the street & he & his girlfriend got in trouble because they watched a movie with their surround sound turned on & it bothered their neighbor next to them, we didn't hear anything right across the street though) 

We lived in a hell for 6 years & I never thought we would get out but we did. A lot of things which would have produced screams & rage here in our new home were matter of course in the trailer & things which had never been an issue were an issue now. So I had to make some new rules fast.

The first was 'we do not throw live animals at people' this was produced on the fly after miss 16 threw our cat at miss 10 (they were 15 & 8 then but you get the idea) The cat was the most displeased in this scenario because miss 10 has pretty good reflexes & ducked the flying cat & it hit the wall instead, you would think this is a once in a lifetime rule but I have had to invoke it at least once a month since then & the dog did get thrown once too!

Many of the obvious rules I have had to post in my failed signs, which I used to write up with each child's chore list written out on them, are truly scary but all had to be posted because when I would say "don't you know better than to wear shorts in December?" I would get a blank look & a shrug. Here comes a new rule! 'Wear weather appropriate clothing to school every day- if it is anything less than 70 have a sweatshirt or coat on, or in your knapsack, just in case you need it'

A lot of the rules are mostly for my son's benifit: 'if you can see dirt on your hands wash them in the sink, use soap & warm water'  'if you are sent to take a shower or bath use shampoo on your hair & soap on your body, don't just run your head under the water'. Both spawned after many discussions about what is & is not good hygene.

  I try to leave it at the simple common sense things like 'if you take it out put it back', 'if you empty it fill it up or wash it out', 'if you take your snack or lunch plate & cup out to the garage or upstairs bring it back before the mold grows across the whole plate' seems to be the one they ignore the most. But a lot of these rules assumes someone who lives here did take 'it' out or emptied that water bottle, to hear my kids tell it 'noone' used the last of the refrigerator water & put the bottle back empty (& all the way to the back, we keep 2 rotating bottles of water so one is always chilling) No one took that plate out to the garage with the nachos on it & left it to grow fur. (when did we last HAVE nachos?) 

  I can usually tell though, who did what ever it was, of course the upstairs is the girl's territory so whoever brings down what ever I'm looking for (cups & glasses are always being called to the black hole of my upstairs- it gets to the point that I'm looking at 1 cup from Applebees & a coffee mug as the only inhabitants of my cup cupboard & I start yelling. Suddenly someone brings me 42 cups stacked taller than they are, from upstairs) But of course the person bringing the cups is not the one who used them (not a single one, no mom, I always bring my cups right back down)

  The garage is mr7's domain, out of 60 hourss room I can't blame every mess in his room on him, some of it is spill over from the girls upstairs, sometimes deliberate, sometimes accidental but I'm usually sure when I find Nail polish & eyeliner on his floor at the foot of the steps that they're not his (unless it's halloween time, then all bets are off)   on the dvr out there he might let his sister have 5 & only if she's recording a tv show that he likes too. So he always gets the blame for anything wrong or left in the garage area. Since the stairs from the upstairs come down in hi

Posted by Becky at 3:15 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 5, 2006 3:13 PM EST
Stole it from Chrissie!


1.Open your music library.
2. Put it on shuffle.
3. Press play.
4. For every question, type the song that's playing.
5. When you go to a new question, press the 'next' button.
6. Don't lie.


  • Opening credits: What I got by Sublime
  • Waking up:    Hazy Shade of Winter by Simon & Garfunkel
  • First day of High School:  Them Bones by Alice in Chains
  • Falling in love:  Faithfully by Journey
  • Fight song:  Pretty Fly (For a White Guy) by the Offspring
  • Breaking up:  December by Collective Soul
  • Prom:  Drift & Die by Puddle of Mud
  • Life:  Running Blind by Godsmack
  • Mental breakdown:   Outshined by Soundgarden
  • Driving:  Gypsy Road by Cinderella
  • Flashback:   Old Friends/Bookends by Simon & Garfunkle
  • Getting back together:  And She Was by the Talking Heads

  • Wedding:   What's this Life for? by Creed
  • Birth of child:  Analog Kid by Rush

  • Final battle:  Even the Losers by Tom Petty

  • End credits:  10th Avenue Heartache by the Wallflowers

OOH, creepy, some of those are so right on the mark! Worn out now, off to bed!

Posted by Becky at 12:13 AM EST
Updated: Tuesday, December 5, 2006 12:14 AM EST
Friday, December 1, 2006
Crash! Free Firewood! Yours for the Hauling...
Now Playing: (Dont Fear) The Reaper by Blue Oyster Cult
Topic: Rambling on

I was at work this morning struggling to make it to the halfway point in the day so I could go home sick & I got a text message from miss 16 who was home from school with the diareah & vomiting I was struggling against while at work. The text said 'yeah, I just almost died' I was a little disturbed but knowing her proclivity for theatrics I just texted back 'what are you talking about?'

This first picture shows the tree that sheared itself off in the high winds we had in VA today, my house is on a hill with a row of obnoxiously large pine trees behind it, the trees have worried me ever since we moved in (I've been afraid of tall trees falling on me since I was a very small child, my mother attributes this to a very large tree which was struck by lightning behind our house when I was about 2 & 1/2, she says it shook the house & I do remember her leaving me alone in the kitchen while she went out to look at it in the rain- not my earliest memory but a close runner up) & I still hope to have all these large pines taken out eventually due to the hill & the wind coming in from the west, the tree broke at a spit about 10 feet off the ground & fell down the hill. Miss 16 said it shook the house & scared her half to death! I'm not surprised, I always miss this stuff but in a way I'm just as glad that I did, we had a tree fall down at the trailer similar to this (though it was the whole top of the tree) & I was at work for that too, it narrowly missed hitting my trailer & my neighbor's trailer, it fell in such a way that it just hit the ground behind the backs of our trailers if you can imagine! That was actually scarier, this one, due to the hill & the fact that the wind nearly always comes from the west was no question going to fall downhill & away from the house (I have been telling myself this about all the trees behind the house since we moved in back in May of 2005)

You can see from this picture of where the shear occoured though, & in the above picture, how it is more than half the thickness of the tree & in the lower picture that the wood is gray not yellow at the break so I think that part of the tree was dead or dying before it fell. the red glow is the setting sun hitting the branches, (ok, maybe it's a tree spirit?) Directly below it is the break. Anyone nearby who want's some good pine wood can have it for the hauling, we don't have a woodstove or fireplace & I've been warned by a couple of people that the chimneys in the house would have to be completley redone before I could have one. (that would also require removing the beesnests from the inner chimney & the squirell nests from the basement one- neither thing is high on my to do list)

  Mr 7 had a blast climbing on the top part of the tree among the branches (I remember I loved doing that on the couple of occasions when my Father couldn't find enough downed trees in our woods to cut up & would have to actually fell a tree for our firewood) 7 & miss 10 went back out after I came in & played together on the tree for almost an hour - until it was too dark to see & I had to call them in. The vomiting has slowed & with liberal aplications of immodium our Christmas shopping expedition will not be rescheduled, especially since I already had to reshcedule it once due to silliness & madness at work causing me to have to work 8 hours of overtime before sunday (of course, by getting sick I screwed that up!) I couldn't keep down the immodium this morning or I probably could have made it the whole day. I would prefer to go alone & get everyone's shopping taken care of but I can't very well do so, I don't like to leave the kids home on days when I'm home & they're home, instead I intend to go shopping on Tuesday or Wednesday, my days off, while they're at school, finish it all & lock up the shed until a few days before the 'big event'. Tommorow I can at least take care of the kids choosing what they want to give to each other & to me & I may pick up a few small items here & there which I can hide under coats until 16 takes the younger ones to the car & I check out alone. (One definite benefit to going alone on a weekday, the stores are much less crowded) I am not looking forward to the shopping, it's not hard for miss 16, she's an artist so paint, canvasses etc are easy, clothes are always appreciated though I don't always get what she likes exactly. mr 7 is easy too, the hardest thing about shopping for him is how much I can spend, if it's Batman, Spiderman, Imaginext or Magnetix he's all set. Miss 10 however, is at that age where she's too young for makeup, too old for Barbies & Babies, Clothes she gets from family & friends with kids older than her & so I only buy her a few special pieces (& some jeans, it seems there's never enough jeans) I also don't really like to get the kids clothes for Christmas (except 16 because she actually likes them!) it just doesn't seem right.

  Going to bed early tonight to rest up for tommorow's shopping barrage, I'm also supposed to do the hair of one of 16's friends who has to be in a wedding tommorow morning. That should be interesting.

Posted by Becky at 6:38 PM EST
Updated: Friday, December 1, 2006 6:44 PM EST
Wednesday, November 29, 2006
Christmas Survey
Topic: Stuff & Nonsense
1. Egg Nog or Hot Chocolate?  Both! Egg Nog says Christmas to me though, where Hot Chocolate is all winter long.

2. Does Santa wrap presents or just sit them under the tree?   He fills the Stockings only, gifts beneath the tree are from friends & family.

3. Colored lights on tree/house or white?  Colored lights, Grew up with white & it is boring.

4. Do you hang mistletoe?   Yes!

5. When do you put your decorations up?   The Weekend after Christmas.

6. What is your favorite holiday dish (excluding dessert)?  Mashed Sweet Potatoes with Brown sugar.

7. Favorite Holiday memory as a child: Christmas morning with my whole family together between the stockings & the tree we'd have breakfast with homemade eggnog & fresh bread or coffee cake & all spend time together & talk. (Last year Christmas eve I was awake half the night remembering all kinds of Christmas memories, I've never had that happen before, just been flooded with rememberances of things past)

8. When and how did you learn the truth about Santa?   I was about 8 & I read everything, voraciously, my Grandmother who lived with us brought home Womans Day & Family Circle magazines all the time & one of them had a story about a boy finding out about Santa & I caught on at that point.

9. Do you open a gift on Christmas Eve?   My kids do.

10. How do you decorate your Christmas Tree?  Lots of old novelty ornaments, (hallmark type & handmade- my mother gives one each year to remind me & others of my brother & father both dead for 15+ years- last year's was a chewbacca action figure because my brother collected star wars stuff) glass balls, new & antique (which I try to collect) strings of popcorn & cranberries, strips of tinsel not the garland kind.

11. Snow! Love it or Dread it?   Working at a job where I can get fired for over 7 absences in a year I dread snow like the plauge. I like to see it falling in the few weeks before Christmas I admit, it really puts the Christmas season in place for me. After Christmas though, YUCK!

12. Can you ice skate?  Yep.

13. Do you remember your favorite gift?  Probably the year my ex & I got together & he gave me an emerald ring- it didn't fit quite right but I wore it with my finger turning purple all through the holiday weekend until he could get it sized.

14. What's the most important thing about the Holidays for you?   Being with my Kids & family.

15. What is your favorite Holiday Dessert?   Croquemboushe.

16. What is your favorite holiday tradition?  Just being together.

17. What tops your tree?  A star with white lights in it. (I know, I said I like color, but the star just needs to be white.)

18. Which do you prefer giving or receiving?   Giving.

19. What is your favorite Christmas Song?   Snow at Christmas by Greg Lake (of Emerson, Lake & Palmer) you know, the one that goes: 'they said there'd be snow at Christmas, they said there'd be peace on earth' ?  (as for real, traditional Christmas songs it would be Angels we Have Heard on High)

20. Candy Canes! Yuck or yummy? Yummy but only once or twice a year. not a huge peppermint fan.

21. Favorite Christmas Movies? National Lampoons Christmas, Reckless (Not Exactly a Christmas movie but it deals with it!) Merry Christmas Charlie Brown, Scrooged.

Posted by Becky at 5:08 PM EST
Yes, Annother Meme
Topic: Stuff & Nonsense

Stole this one from Jody!

&, fair warning, there's more to come!

1. How tall are you barefoot?   5'4"

2. Have you ever smoked heroin?   nope, there were times in my life where I'd probably have done so if anyone offered me some

3. Do you own a gun?   No

5. Do you get nervous before "meeting the parents"?   I'm nervous just meeting any people

6. What do you think of hot dogs?   Gross

7. What's your favorite Christmas song?   Snow at Christmas by Greg Lake (I think)

8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning? Water & then sugar free Sobe Energy drink.

9. Can you do push ups?   Lol, yeah right

10. Is your bathroom clean?   Annother yeah, right

11. What's your favorite piece of jewelry?   I don't wear Jewlery much, probably the bracelet of antique dimes from my father's family

12. Do you like painkillers?   Like asprin? sure. harder stuff, not much anymore.

13. What is your secret weapon to lure in the opposite sex?     I have none, I'm anti flirting & am pretty much out of the loop nowadays.

14. Do you own a knife?     An athame (which was my deceased brother in law's) & cooking knives.

15. Do you have A.D.D?     Not by how they describe it on tv commercials, but I think I might have as a kid.

16. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
1. Why did I eat that for dinner?

2. Why do I have to go to work tommorow on my day off?

3. How am I going to get the Christmas shopping done with 16 hours of mandatory overtime to do in the next 2 weeks?

18. What's your normal bed time?    k I try for 11 on nights when I have to get up the next day & whenever on nights when I don't.

19. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink:
1. Diet Coke
2. Sobe Energy sugar free
3. Water

20. What time did you wake up today?   1030 am

22. Current worry?  Time

23. Current hate? having to go to work tommorow & then get 2 more hours of ot before Sunday & having to do annother 8 next week.

24. Favorite place to be? Home

25. Least favorite place to be? Work


 27. Do you own slippers? I have some sock looking things with fake fur around the tops which could be loosely termed slippers I guess.

28. What shirt are you wearing? I'm in my new flannel nightgown

29. Do you burn or tan?    Burn & Burn & Burn (with some peeling in between.

30. Favorite color?   Teal

31. Would you be a pirate?   Sure

32. Last time you had an alcoholic drink?    Uhhh, when did Chrissie move out? September?

33. What songs do you sing in the shower?   I rarely sing in the shower.

34. What did you fear was going to get you at night as a child?   I was afraid of garbage trucks.

35. What's in your pockets right now? No Pockets

36. Last thing/person that made you laugh? The kids

37. Best bed sheets you had as a child?   Snoopy

38. Worst injury you've ever had?   Probably the time my face swelled up after I dove into the rock in the river in Maine.

39. If you could cheat on your spouse and not get caught would you?
What spouse? When I had one the answer was no.

40. Are your parents still together? No

41. Who is your loudest friend?  I doun't know, Jody maybe?

42. Who is your most silent friend?   I don't know- I'm the quiet one.

43. Does someone have a crush on you? Nope

44. Do you wish on shooting stars? Yes

45. What is your favorite book?  I can't narrow it down to one, the last one I read that I LOVED was Between Georgia

46. What is your favorite candy? Skor Bar.

47. What song do/did you want played at your wedding?   We played 'Never Let you Go' by Steelheart.

48. What song do you want played at your funeral? What a Wonderful World by Louis Armstrong

49. What were you doing 12 AM last night?   Watching the news on dvr.

50. What was the first thing you thought of when you woke up?   Oh Shit! How late did I sleep?


Post note: I had this all set to go last night & My internet connection dropped out on me- very agravating, no rain or anything obvious to cause it! I'm posting with yesterday's date since it should have been yesterday. 

Posted by Becky at 3:32 PM EST
Saturday, November 25, 2006

I hope everyone had a lovely Thanksgiving, I had a lovely post written out on Wednesday Night, complete with old photos, memories & some bitching because I'm here in VA & my family, such as they are, are mostly in MA. (This is my own fault entirely & there's only a few days of the year that I'm not happy to  be here!)  The computer crashed just as I added the last photo. I was so mad I just turned everything off & went to bed! 

I'll try again, minus the complaining, I was sick last week of course & barely came online at all, Tuesday I slept a lot & ended up taking the kids to the doctors, both girls have the cough, congestion & sore throat I have had, mr7 has a mild cough & slight runny nose so he was mostly along for the ride! I was supposed to get 2 tires replaced on my car due to some problems in the sidewalls but they were'nt on the truck so they couldn't be put on the car. This is the second time this has happened & I'm starting to think the garage doesn't want to honor the warranty on these tires (I only bought them in January, there's plenty of tread left but one has a big bulging bubble in the sidewall beneath the valve, the other problem tire has large cracks building in the sidewall.) He's not exactly being rude about it or anything but I've given him my phone # & told him to call me if the don't come in on the truck when he thinks they will to save me the trip (yes, it's only 12 miles but when I'm already going to be spending money on the tires 2 wasted trips to town are two too many) The first week- the day I took the car to him to show him the tires he said he'd have them the next day & to come around 2 because the truck would have just off lodaded them around then, I showed up the next day at 2 & he just shrugged & said they didn't come in. so we made an apointment for 10 am the following Tuesday (I'm only off Saturday, Tuesday & Wednesday & they're closed Saturday) He did call Monday & say the tires hadn't come in on that day's truck & to come at 2 Tuesday because they'd surely be on that truck but then when I showed up Tuesday, same deal, no tires. I drive a PT Cruiser (yes, I've already heard all the jokes about Fat Chicks & PT Cruisers) & the tires are incredibly, ridiculously expensive. Even a 40,000 mile tire is about $80. but they should be available - Which is why I feel like I'm being dicked around.

 The Doctors apointment was OK. We didn't actually see the doctor, only her assistant & I missed seeing the doc, she's a really cool lady. I have fluid in my lungs, this is a fact of my life, when I get a cold it goes to my lungs & I usually have to sleep sitting up for most of the winter (I Consider this year a triumph because it's the end of November & I've only been sick for a week- It's usually more like September to March that I'm sick!) The girls have the same cough etc. that I have & I was worried that there was fluid in their lungs & wanted to get something to take care of it- I don't need them to get pneumonia- if I get it it's no big deal, I'll just go on. The doctor's assitiant didn't hear fluid in the girls lungs though so that was a relief, she did suggest that I try that mucinex stuff & it has helped a bit which was nice.

  We spent Wednesday making our Thanksgiving dinner, I'm not a turkey fan but Miss 16 is & so we got the smallest turkey we could find (still over 9 lbs.) & made it with all the trimming, set the table with my mother's good china & silverware (she said, when we moved back to VA in 1997 that she had no use for it & gave it to me) & had a lovely dinner complete with a pumpkin pie made by miss 16, miss 10 was the biggest help, she stayed right with me peeling potatoes & onions, mixing the stuffing & basting the turkey, mr 7 was all about setting the table - his normal, every day chore anyway- & by 7pm Wednesday we sat down to a lovely feast. Back to work for the actual Thanksgiving holiday & then again Friday, I'm in a space right now where I'm just ok with being at work, not exactly happy but at least at peace, it all rolls off when I walk out the door at the end of the day. I hope it lasts because I can't very well quit! I always run in phases of dissatisfaction to tolerance, the computer program change in May ushered in my longest phase of dissatisfaction ever but I'm hoping that it has passed. We were having really horrible problems Friday night & the guy who sits next to me especially was really freaking out over the whole thing & I didn't really feel too bad about it at all. (a lot of that was knowing I didn't have to come back for 2 whole days!) Which brings me to today, it was annother beautiful day here sunny, warm - in the high 60's & just beautiful, I had promised we'd put up the christmas decorations one day of the weekend (& of course, we have to go grocery shopping on the other day) Miss 16 had a quince (pronounced kinsay) which is a 15th birthday party for a latina girl we know, to attend tonight so I figured it was better to just stay close to home today & do the running around tommorow. (tommorow is my birthday which is why I have it off, my first 'real' job for a company with more than 10 employees was at a place called Building19, - people from New England will know what I'm talking about- & the owner did give paid holidays, one of which was a 'floating'  day off specifically for your birthday. I know it's an unusual concept now. But at 17 when I was working there it made perfect sense & I've never lost the idea that it really sucks to work on your birthday & so I take it off if possible every year) I got a new nightgown & got myself a cheap mp3 player which I've already filled (120 songs my ass, try 60 if you're lucky!) With my favorite songs- or at least as many of them as I could fit! We'll be going out to dinner somewhere tommorow afternoon because Mom shouldn't have to cook on her birthday! Then off to do the lovely grocery shopping (because I only shop every 2 weeks it's a real chore which takes some serious time & thought to get everything we need) 

So in reading other peoples blogs I notice a lot of the usual thanksgiving stuff, what we're thankful for, family memories, far be it from me to be out of the loop, better late than never, I'm posting my old pictures anyway, here's one from the year I was 16, of my grandmother, myself & my brother in our dining room in the house I grew up in. I used to love cooking with my grandmother on the holidays, staying up until 1,2 am making pies & the stuffing so it would have time to set up before the turkey had to be stuffed  at 5 am (I wasn't present for that part I don't do 5 am unless I'm still up from the night before) you can't really see how nice the table etc, looked (the picture is taken looking away from the huge, beautiful picture window at the other end of the dining room) but it really looked lovely with all the china, crytal & silver laid out on the linnen tablecloth my grandmother would stay up ironing. 

The other picture is from my first thanksgiving here in VA back in 1987 with Chrissie & her aunt Colleen, I Mentioned this in a previous post & when I was looking for the above picture came across this one too. 19 years old, nearly 20 years ago now! it doesn't seem possible. Even then I knew this was where I wanted to be, away from my family or not, it was too beautiful & the people were too nice not to be here. I belive I'm supposed to be here still, I never fit in up in Mass. I'm not into status or power, fashion or who's got the newest, best whatever & that is what I see up there for the most part (of course, there's plenty of people I know well who aren't like that at all-  but many more are) I'm too slow, too relaxed & too quiet to do well there & I accept that & it's why I'm here. (Of course, I also thought it would be a great place to raise kids & It is!) 

I'm thankful for my home, family & friends, for my job & my co-workers (VERY thankful they're having their thanksgiving potluck tommorow while I'm not there!) I'm thankful for my health & the kids' continued health & well being. Thankful that except for medicaid we're off public assistance & independent. I'm thankful that the state caught up with the ex & I get something every month for child support. (Only a little bit, but anything is better than the 4 years I went with nothing!) I'm thankful that the events in my past have helped me to grow & learn. Not become bitter & miserable like some people I could mention. 

   On to Christmas, I intend to be done with my shopping by December 13th if not before. I'll probably make it, as long as no one gets sick & needs to stay out of school, I've got it down to a science, for a couple of Tuesdays I get up when the kids leave for school, go to C'burg & do the shopping, arrive home just before the school bus, put the stuff in the shed & lock the shed up tight so the kids can't go peeking. (I did learn last year not to put shampoo or bubble bath in an unheated shed though, when they freeze & expand the bottles can break & spill all over everything!) I bought a new lock with a combination lock instead of a key this year because I found out that Miss 16 is not the only one of my kids with a knack for picking locks, (she is, however the only one old enough to realize that if you check out your Christmas presents before Christmas you don't have a lot to look forward to on Christmas!) 

Posted by Becky at 11:03 PM EST
Monday, November 20, 2006
Sick Again?
Now Playing: Walking on Broken Glass by Annie Lennox
Topic: just letting off steam

Other than the nasty cold I contracted Saturday I had a really good day, the kids & I got up late & in our every other Saturday semi-tradition made homemade pancakes. I had woken up with a little tickle in my throat & was dumping 32 ounce cups of water down my throat along with chewing up 500 mg, vitamin c tablets like they were going out of style, but my head started aching & my nose getting stuffier. On the plus side it was a beautiful day, over 65 outside & Sunny.

    Around noon Miss16 took off to walk towards a friends house & the friend headed out in the direction of our house so they met in the middle & walked back here, meanwhile Miss10, Mr7 & I went to town to get some groceries & run some other errands. We got some subs for dinner too so I wouldn't have to cook. We came home & I was feeling some pressure over the report cards the little ones had recieved on Friday, they weren't much better than the previous marking period (miss 16 carried the same, 3 a's & a b but the b was in a different class) So I was looking for things we could do which would promote learning, especially in the reading & english departments (I think I mentioned previously 10 & 7 take after their dad rather than me & are better in Math than English) & decided we would play Scrabble, Mr 7 & I were a team, Miss 10 played on her own & 16 & her friend played as a team, we had a great time, good enough that after 2 games of scrabble we decided to play rummy, which took us through the rest of the afternoon, un-fortunately I was getting sicker & sicker, my throat was closing up, I was getting more & more stuffed up, my sinuses began pounding & my cough kept getting deeper & deeper (as a daughter of 2 heavy - a pack + a day smokers- & a former weekend/party smoker, every cold I get goes right to my lungs) I consoled myself that just sitting & playing rummy was restful, after a little tv I went off to bed at about 11pm. I got up Sunday morning feeling very unlovely, I could barely whisper, an axe had taken up residence in the center of my forehead & I couldn't breathe at all Man, I have read some bloggers who described their colds in (fairly amusing) detail & I have always thought I wouldn't do that, but here I am, describing the depth of my misery just like everyone else! 

  Anyway I called work & left a message for the attendance people & my boss & went back to sleep for a few hours, after my boss had been there for an hour or so I called him back to see if I could arrange for an emergency paid day off (I have one for next Sunday in honor of my birthday & at that point was very willing to swap so as not to get in trouble etc.) He said he doubted that was going to happen & suggested I try some Zicam for my cold, he said that it helped him kick his last cold really quick. I remember that cold & I think it was the same one I have - though he got it back in early October- he was out for 2 & 1/2 days with no voice himself-  I went back to sleep for awhile longer, I can always sleep all day when I'm sick, I then sat up when Miss 10 who wasn't feeling a lot better than I (though her throat isn't so sore or her voice as hoarse- the price I pay for talking for a living) Crawled into bed with me & started talking. She's abducted my old cell phone which no longer can charge a battery, she was pretending it's on & making calls, later she found the old battery which I had swaped with the new battery in my replacement phone (same phone- same battery) to make the newer battery last longer, I swapped back to the new one about a month ago when the old one started only being able to hold a charge for about half a day. She inserted the old battery & was able to make the phone work to play ring tones & so she could take pictures, she can't download the pictures but she's happy just being able to take them. we listened to the radio & I played tetris on my phone while she took pictures of everything (60 pics in about 10 minutes!) while playing the dial on the radio I heard an ad for that same Zicam stuff my boss recommended & never being one to take a hint lightly I got dressed & made everyone else get dressed & off we went to the store, it was a lot more at my local grocery store than my boss had told me it was at wallyworld but if it really worked/s then it could be worth it, it did say on the package that it has to be taken within 48 hours of your symptoms in order to help but at 11 am sunday I was only about 26 hours into my symptoms & felt pretty good about it. Miss 10 & I both used it, Miss16 flatly refused & mr 7 has a slight runny nose but nowhere near what the rest of us do & also has no real cough to speak of so he declined. Got lots of dirty looks in the grocery store for coughing in public (I guess that was what it was for, mr7 insisting on riding on the back of the cart, making it hard for me to steer & my rasping at him to get OFF the cart may have had something to do with it) Back home I couldn't even face the computer, or read, trying to focus on anything that closely was next to impossible & intensified my headache something awful, I settled in on the couch to catch up on some movies & tv shows on my dvr & worked on the kid's Christmas gifts to their teachers & other family members this year, I'm making cloth bags for them to fill with rice & Lavendar or Mint which people can keep in the freezer or microwave them to heat them up & then use the bag on a neck, ankle, forehead or any other part of the body giving them pain, I made them for everyone about 5 years ago & they were quite well recieved. our own bag tore & spilled the rice about 6 months ago & so I figured it was time for new ones. So I'm just sitting running a needle & thread around pieces of folded cloth 3 or 4 times to make the seams sturdy, I accidentally stictched up the fill holes on 3 of the 4 bags I completed yesterday afternoon & evening through not paying attention & a little too much cold medicine. (though I'm grateful that I had some in the medicine cabinet still) 

It dawned on me at about 8:30 last night that if I didn't go to work today, Monday, it being my last scheduled day before the Thanksiving holiday that I would n't get holiday pay for Thanksgiving, (of course I still have to make it there Thursday & Friday to get that extra days pay) So I went to bed at 930 & slept as well as I could, got up at regular time & went to work this morning, I remembered after I was there that my boss is off for the rest of the week & so I had to have the person taking his place find out from human resourses how long I had to stay to be able to qualify for holiday pay, it used to be 3/4 of your shift, they've recently changed it to 1/2 so I left at 2pm today, after hearing from nearly every person I talkd to today that I sounded terrible, I did have a good day on the phone, except for too much between calls time (we're alotted 10 minutes a day, at 5 hours, halfway through I'd used about 20 minutes) On the way home I stopped to get some cold medicine & came home to 3 sick kids, Miss16 had put the dishes in to soak (I admit I had left Saturdays & she had not done Sundays so it was a lot of dishes) but not done too much else. Miss 10 was still on the couch & mr7 was full of beans as usual, he's got to be pretty sick before he actually stops running around & jumping off things etc. That's how I know to worry about him if he slows down he's REALLY sick! Considering Miss10's cough she's probably going to have to stay home tommorow too. Not good since I have to go & get tires replaced on my car, I love sitting at the auto parts store/garage with a semi hyper 10 year old! 

Posted by Becky at 10:27 PM EST
Updated: Tuesday, November 21, 2006 12:17 PM EST
Saturday, November 18, 2006
Friday At Last (very sad, I worked 2 days since my last day off)
Now Playing: I Am The Highway by Audioslave
Topic: just letting off steam

Feeling a little sick tonight, came home & ate stuff I should not have eaten (cream cheese Jalepeno poppers & ranch dressing I should NOT eat fried greasy stuff even as late at night as 9pm which is when I ate them)

  It was all because we had an earlier than usual lunch today because we were collecting our reward for having won the Halloween decorating contest at work. We had a theme, each desk in our 'pod' was a different horror theme (mine was The Fly) & we really got into it, fake blood & body parts for frankenstein, a smalish coffin & crosses, stakes & garlic for Dracula, a blue background & a large paper set of sharks teeth (hand cut & surprisingly effective looking) with barbie parts splayed out around it for Jaws. Our prize was pizza & then a movie on the clock, I got paid more than 10 bucks an hour to sit & watch RV- which was funnier than I expected- heard from a few people that it wasn't very good at all-, probably because the teenage girl in it sounded so much like 16 I looked around more than once thinking she was in the room with us. Everyone seemed to have enjoyed the movie & it was a nice break to be off the phones for 2 whole hours (plus the hour before for lunch) It took almost a half an hour for the managers (yes, it took 2 guys) to get the dvd playing on the theater size screen in the auditorium & so we discussed our strategy for the Christmas decorating contest & wether we are going to have a gift grab this year or not. (we are I have a beautiful leather bookmark & a knitted winter hat with cat ears (I don't wear it but my 10 year old loves it) from 2 other years when I was in groups who were friendly enough to do gift grabs) After this respite from people yelling at me about their bills or the fact that rain can impede satellite signal I was feeling really relaxed & not at all stressed about the last 4 hours of my day at work & they did pass surprisingly quickly. On the way home I was pleasurably entertained by a book on tape, the name of the book is American Gods (I don't remember the name of the author, I'm more of a story reader than an author reader, I just care about what it's about not who wrote it - except for a select few authors-) I love books on tape, I drive 40 minutes each way to work & back & though I'm a music lover & can't stand to listen to books all the time about once every 3 or 4 months or so I get a book to listen to. The last one was Endlesslove & I was surprised I liked it, I've never seen the movie though I'm of the age where when it came out I 'should' have - everyone I knew loved it- I just didn't go to the movies much back then -or now for that matter.  

Came home to the kids all snarling at each other, I'd left instructions that mr 7 & miss 10 clean up their rooms today & I'd already heard, when I called at my last break time tonight that they were'nt listening to miss 16 as she tried to enforce my request. When I arrived they were arguing about who had & hadn't done what, we had those Jalapeno poppers I'm lamenting still & I reviewed report cards, miss 16's having a banner year so far- 3 a's & a b for the 2nd marking period in a row! I'm not going to say much about the other two, there's only so much you can say when they're just not feeling it! I'm afraid they're both much more like their father than like me & would rather be out running around, riding bikes & catching frogs down by the creek than reading a book or studying, I can see though, that I'm going to have to start really cracking down on their study time.

 Tommorow will be either total chaos or quiet & relaxed, it all depends on Chrissie who asked me awhile ago to do a perm for her- I said yes & that I'd do it tommorow, but she may not have time & that's all I know so far, she never got back to me this afternoon when we were text messaging back & forth about it- I guess I'll find out tommorow what it brings.... I already know what my 'weekend will bring this week, a lot of mudane stuff- Tuesday I have to get tires replaced on my car, Wednesday I'm trying to get a plumber to come over & fix my bathtub (it drips- a lot-) So I'll be out or busy cleaning the house before the plumber comes (mostly the bathroom- I just got a new Vacum Cleaner so the rugs look pretty good- it's a new toy as far as my kids are concerned & as long as they look at it that way I'll have clean rugs! 

Posted by Becky at 12:17 AM EST
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
November Funk
Now Playing: Far Away by the Offspring
Topic: Rambling on

Here I am again, annother 'weekend' gone & not much acomplished, well, I did pay off some bills this week which is important & I know where my kid's Christmas is coming from now. (thanks to a loan which has a lower interest rate than my credit cards & the other things I'm paying off) Still, even so, I'm deep into my November funk,

"No Fruits, No Flowers, No Leaves, no birds, November" 

                                                                      -Thomas Hood.

It works for me, I used to be insulted by that saying, November being my birthday month & all, but then birthdays stopped being a great thing & began being a torturous, embarasing, never-live-up-to-my-expectations event (this was around age 11 & had, I think, more to do with hormones & my family's genetic tendencies towards depression than any real lack of good things on my birthday) My parents were poor, to a point which I could never stand to be in my life now most of my childhood & they made no bones about it & so I grew up with the thought in the back of my mind that every gift I got could mean no food next week I had a lot of guilt needless to say. Christmas, because everyone gave & got didn't feel that way but because on my birthday it was just about me I felt like it was wrong & I was not deserving of any fuss, I made my own birthday cake most years. Except for the year I turned 17, my mother made my cake because I had a charity thing to help with on the Saturday morning that we were having my party & while the cake was cooling, my mother was vacuming the house (a regular Saturday occourence- we all made plans to be elsewhere) & my Father & Brother were coming to pick me up from the charity rummage sale my brothers dog ate the cake! My mother was PISSED! it was really pretty funny in retrospect - I'm not sure she thinks so though- So I came back home & made the birthday cake myself once again. One of my best birthdays was my very first in Floyd, it was 1987 & I had just picked up & left MA with Chrissie a few weeks before, I made the dinner (I don't remember where the Turkey even came from) & a cake, for some obscure reason I bought a tub of premade- Cherry icing, ugh, not a cherry fan anymore I have to say!) I still have a butterfly pin & the earrings I was given that year! It was the year I went from 18 to 19 & I remember Chrissie saying 19 was lots better than 18. Other years, with 16's dad & my family when 16 was a little baby were bleah, just annother day with my grandmother at least being kind- some years my birthday, the 26th actually falls on Thanksgiving & those are the worst, people like to suggest putting candles in a pie (I hate pie- not the filling, just the crust) I usualy just celebrate over the weekend following the holiday.  In later years my ex did his best to give me good birthdays, the infamous first year when he took my oldest out with him & I went to take a hot bath (my favorite thing when I have free time & no kids to interrupt) & half an hour into it he came back in & was not pleased to find me in the tub, he had a bunch of our friends & his family outside, ready to come in & surprise me for my birthday! yeah, that was great! That was the year my friend J gave me a card which at the bottom she'd lovingly scrawled '16 years till you're 40' (her birthday was 6 weeks before mine & annother friend of her's had done the same to her! - just passing on that happy feeling!) well, this year I'll be 38 & so it's 2 years till I'm 40 & I don't really care, I've been so fat for so long I've felt old nearly forever! It's all in your head, that's what my 88 year old grandmother tells me, she says she feels in her head about the same as she did when she was 25 or 30 still & I can see that, it's about the same for me.                                                                                                               In recent years (you read that: since my ex left) things have been tight most years & often the only notice I took of my birthday was that when I asked my mother or grandmother for money to help with whatever the most recent emergency was it was couched in the terms: Could I have whatever you were going to send for my birthday early? & of course a cake which the kids were more interested in than I was. Last year & the year before I've been able to actually have a birthday dinner out & buy a couple of books or some clothes & this year is shaping up the same which is a plus. I think I'm going to get a scanner, I've wanted one for awhile so I can put old pictures on here but I thought they were really expensive, this past weekend we went to a big box electronics store to buy a dvd I'd wanted to see again which I couldn't rent from the local video store - they didn't have it at all (Empire Records for the record & the store did have it for a pretty low price too!) & they had a scanner for $104.99 (!) I'd probably go with the next step up since it was only about 40 bucks more & looked like a more versatile model though. That's one thing I don't like so much about being the only adult in the house- decisions like this are all mine to make & sometimes I could use a little input! Annother thing about it is I usualy just buy my own birthday presents, mostly because I want books & don't always know what books until I'm in the store looking at them. 

    So then, after the birthday (& I guess, Thanksgiving, which I HATE- mostly because I'm here & my whole family is in Mass- my fault though & because I hate turkey) comes the whole Christmas debacle, I used to love Christmas we had boxes & boxes of decorations which came down from the attic the weekend after Thanksgiving & which my Brother & I pored over, checking for breakage, loose or dead bulbs in the light strings etc. until the first weekend in December when we were allowed to decorate (we had control of this from the time I was 8 forward - with a little artistic direction from my grandmother who lived with us-) There were cardboard houses, metal people to walk among them with small mirrors for their ice skating rinks, fake holly & pine garlands, we had a plastic electric candle in every window with white bulbs & plastic poinsettia rings around the base & a big pine tree in the front yard was lit with colored lights, the tree inside we put up a week to 10 days before the holiday & we always had white lights on it (my mother & grandmother were purists & the most common kind of New England snob - the kind with historical ancestors- 'colored lights are garish & tacky unless you just have a few') I am nothing like them though & always felt out of place there, the more color the better, the brighter the better, that's one thing the ex & I were in total agreement on, we loved to put up christmas lights & we always had a lot, I remember the first time we ever saw those icicle lights that are everywhere now.

His aunt had them on her house & as we came down the road on christmas eve on the way to her house & we both said at the same time ' I want those next year!'           Those were lean years though, we were always so close to the bone back then, we had to have help from the Salvation Army every year, the last year I got help was 2003, I'm not to the point where I can donate & start giving back (except for change in the pot while I'm out shopping) but I don't actually need the help anymore (Knock on Wood!) I tried a Christmas Club back in 2004, it didn't help, they disbursed the money in October & 2 weeks later I had a problem with my car & had to use all the money I'd saved to fix the car. (not much, I was on the $5. a week plan so it was less than 300 bucks) Just like a raise at work, what ever they give you, your expenses expand to fill the gap so there's never any extra money!

Posted by Becky at 9:07 PM EST

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