Saturday, November 12, 2011

Curve Ball

Well, life has stepped up to the mound and lobbed one right at our heads. We found out yesterday that my husband will no longer be working with the company he has been with for the past 6 years. With his severance and our small savings we are good until January. If we don't have a new job by then we will have to move on to Plan B.
I spent this morning going over our normal budget and typical grocery shopping list to see where we could get spending to a bare bones minimum and try to stretch our funds as far as they will go.

This area is not known as a hotbed of technological industry. I have the feeling we will be moving. It would have been nice to get this news before we signed a lease and moved this summer...(grumble) I'd prefer to move somewhere close, stay near family in the southern US, but in reality, I'll take whatever we can get.

I am not quite sure what I feel right now. There is an odd combination of terror and peace I cannot explain. I am very worried, but at the same time I feel like we have been in this situation before and gotten through it, we will get through this too.

I just hope it doesn't take as long as it did then.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Busy busy (almost) busy

Just popping in to say it might be a while before I can get anything posted. I have about a bajillion crafts and hand-made gifts I want to do for Christmas this year and have only just gotten started. I'll be sitting at my sewing machine more than the laptop. (Who am I kidding? That is absolutely NOT true.) Well, I'll be sitting at the laptop much less.

Of course...since I have been ignoring this blog rather skillfully for months now, I don't know why I bother telling you (2 or 3 people who read this) that I won't be posting much for the next month and a half. How will it be different than what you have been getting?

So, instead to this being a low-post warning, let it be a notice that once the holidays are gone I do actually plan to get back to this blog more often. I have said similar things in the past, I know. We'll see how it goes.

Family catch up:
My kids have all gained in age. 11, 13, and 14 now. This never ceases to amaze me. They are getting into ages I can not only recall being, but EASILY (without brain strain) remember being. My mother never seemed flabbergasted by my aging. She handled this sort of thing better than I, I guess.

DD14 (! 14! Wow!) and I are planning to see if we can't get enough sewing done between now and May 2012 to have a booth at the weekly farmers' market next summer. I think it will be fun and educational. Home school...child labor style! (But first, Christmas gifts)

As of tomorrow my dear husband and I have been a couple for 15 years. (!) I can remember the date because it tis the same (other than the year) as the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance from Back to the Future. Heh...15 years...that puts us halfway between the dance and Marty going back in time.

We have moved into a smaller, nicer, rentally-er house. It is in a nice neighborhood and everyone is pleased. The only thing I do not like is trying to find places to store all of the too much stuff we have. It seems obvious that more stuff culling is needed.

That's all I have for is a picture of dd10 in the lobby of the HealthWorks Childrens Museum.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Dangerous Beast

So, I was hooking up the laundry machines myself, mostly because I felt guilty that DH and DB were doing all the heavy lifting (including saiud laundry machines.) OK, no problem. I had to go to Home Depot to get a "pigtail" for the dryer. (That is the electric cord. They come seperate and there are a few different types. The new house's outlet doesn't match the old.) I was slightly worried that I had still not gotten the right kind. I was worried I would get it all screwed to the back of the dryer and then have to take it off because it didn't fit the outlet.

I got the brilliant idea to check the fit before I attached the pigtail to the dryer. I neglected to hold to loose end and make sure the connectors didn't touch anything (including each other.) I plugged in the loose pigtail and PWAP! there were sparks, smoke, a bright light, and the smoke detector started sqawking.

Obviously, something went wrong. I removed the battery from the smoke detector, cleaned up the scorched connectors, and tended the burn on my arm (spark attack.) I attached the pigtail and tried again. The plug fit (yay) but the dryer didn't come on. It was 11pm, so I decided I had lost my chance to do any laundry that night. I said "Forget this!" and went to bed.

I was afraid the PWAP! had fried the new pigtail. It would be $20 to replace (after tax.) But, another possibility was that I had tripped a breaker. I checked it out the next morning and it was indeed just a matter of flipping the breaker back on.

I got both machines hooked up (after another trip to Home Depot for a washer, a strap wrench, and a screw clamp) and have started to make headway into the nearly a week's worth of laundry that is patiently waiting to be cleaned.

There is a nasty looking mark on my arm, but it doesn't hurt any more if I don't touch it.

What I learned this week

1. August is HOT. Do not move in August if you can at all avoid it.

2. Even if you are just moving across town, rent a truck. The cost of gas for (many) multiple SUV loads will be more than the cost of the rental. Plus, it should cut down on the time spent moving.

3. We have too much stuff. Even after culling a LOT of junk, we still have too much stuff. Moving into a smaller house has made that abundantly clear.

4. Loving husbands are worth their weight in gold.

5. Electricity is a dangerous beast. Modern society has tried to tame and enslave it, but it will bite if you aren't careful.

6. The cable company and the phone company are not my friends.

7. U-haul makes and sells very good boxes.

8. Being able to do your own laundry is a blessing.

9. I can hook up a washer and dryer all by myself, provided I have big strong men to get them from one house to the other.

10. Do not sit on the end of a trailer that is not hooked up to anything (even if you are just 10 years old)

11. I cannot remember what relaxing feels like.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Moving On

We did find a house we like. I got a supply of boxes. This week we pack and next week we should be moving. I can't wait.
And that is all I want to say about that.

Public schools in our area get back to their lessons at the end of this week. Since our home school is changing locations in the near future, we are putting off the official lessons until things have settled. Until then we will have sporadic review lessons and the sorts of lessons that can be taught a few minutes at a time, or while doing other things.
dd13 has expressed interest in art, drawing and animation in particular. She also wants to study Japanese. Which means I get to study Japanese. We have been creeping along slowly for a few weeks and both of us are enjoying it. Later in the school year we will take a field trip to a sushi restaurant, or try some easier Japanese recipes here at home. Since I am thousands of miles out of my comfort zone, it will be an adventure. I don't even know HOW to eat sushi.
dd12 says she doesn't have any idea what foreign language she wants to study. So, I devised a combo language/world geography social studies curriculum. We'll pop around the globe, studying countries and cultures, as well as a sampling of the language. Then, next year she can choose which she like and we will focus on that.
dd11 is still focusing on general subjects. I actually haven't finished planning out everything she will be doing. Of course, she gets to tag along on our popping around the globe. She says she wants to study Greek, which is within my experience. Our place is going to look like some sort of weird encryption camp with all the difference alphabets. If, after the sample year, dd12 decides to study Russian, or Hindi (among others) it will get even better.

Here is a picture for you to enjoy - dd13 (when she was dd1) and her uncle.
(She is the one who is upside down.)

Friday, July 15, 2011 comes to this

My house and I hate each other. It hates me and I hate it right back. (It started the feud, not me. I used to like this house.)

We are currently preparing for foreclosure. I haven't shared this with many people because I am embarrassed about the whole matter. It isn't my fault, though. When we bought this house we were making $85k / year and for the last 2 years earnings have gone to more like $40-$45k. I am already doing just about everything I can to keep expenses down. If I pinch our pennies any further I may face a class action lawsuit. Though, "Pennies v Housewife 2011" isn't likely to make the headlines, not when so many other people face similar situations.

We have been looking at rentals in the area that we can afford and that aren't dumps. There are a few if you are willing to live outside of town. We found one today that we are comfortable with. We'll hear Monday or Tuesday if the owner is comfortable with us. I am optimistic, but trying not to get my hopes up too high.

I am ready to get started moving, but only because I am ready to be done moving. I need to go this weekend and see about getting some boxes. We have some from moving a few years ago, and some from purchases we have made, but no where near enough to move all of this, even after the planned do-we-really-need-this purge. I may be asking friends around town if they have any. I may also be stalking the rear of local stores. If my dishes end up smelling like bananas, you'll know why.

Anyway, pray for a favorable landlord, patience in moving, and nice weather at the turn of the month.

For you enjoyment...a marigold from dd13's flower box, before the heat did it in.

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Scorpius and Antares

Thursday the girls and I spent the day cruising around Memphis. In addition to the Zoo, which we have been to so many times over the last 6 years that we no longer need a map, I decided that the Pink Palace would be a nice way to cool off and still learn something.

The Pink Palace has a museum, an IMAX theater, and a planetarium. We did not have a chance to see the IMAX.

The museum has natural history displays as well as some of the history of the city itself. It was interesting. Dd12 lit up like a Christmas tree when she saw the geology hall. (Homeschool mom takes notes, starts to plan science lessons for the fall...) We are still talking about the quartz crystal the size of our television.

The highlight of the visit was the Sharpe Planetarium. dd13 has always loved the sky and I figured even the less enthusiastic girls would like it. I was correct.

The program was different from what I saw when I went to a planetarium as a kid. This was just a pretty straight forward exploration of the Summer night sky from the southern USA. It focused on Antares, in the Scorpius constellation. From there we were shown how to find Vega, Altair, Deneb, Arcturus, Spica, and Polaris. We all walked out feeling rested (I loved those seats!) and educated.

I didn't realize HOW educated until last night (Friday.) JD and I returned home from our bimonthly budget date to a parking spot and walk toward the house that matched the orientation of the planetarium screen.

"Hey! There is Scorpius! And that star there in the middle is Antares," I said. I stopped and gawked for a few minutes. (It was a good night for gawking.) After a short time the girls started coming outside to see what we were looking at. As each one saw something she knew the name of the excitement level rose. All of us cursed the trees around the edge of the yard that are so lovely during the day.

"I can't see the Summer Triangle because of the trees!"

"The big dipper WOULD be over there, but the trees are in the way!"

"Is there a way to turn off the light on the pole?"

"This is SO cool!"

"We can't see the scorpion's tail because the house is in the way."

"Go get the binoculars!"

A trip to a museum that was pretty much chosen because it was indoors and air conditioned turned into a whole lot more. We all had a great time last night. Now I need to figure out where we can go nearby that has a larger open space and as little light pollution as possible.

I want to see what else we can see.

Here is a picture from Thursday that was NOT taken at the Pink Palace.
It is of a giraffe.

Monday, June 27, 2011

I must have a fever.

No, I suppose I don't really; I just feel like I do. It is so darn hot, and the AC in this decrepit old house isn't worth a hill of beans. (At roughly $1 for a 1 lb bag, a hill of beans isn't really a good measure of the lack of value in something.)

I let dd13 drive the car around in a deserted parking lot yesterday afternoon. No, of course she isn't old enough to drive, it was sort of a pre-lesson. We both had fun and the starts and stops were noticeably less jerky after we had been practicing for a few minutes. She had a lot of fun. Still, I am glad it will be a few years before things get serious on this topic.

Here is a pic of dd10 almost a year ago on her birthday. We went to the park and took loads of photos. Some of them came out wonderfully.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Sewing recently and a tree

The current hobby du jour (is that redundant?) is sewing. I managed a handbag from a pattern. It came out nicely. Although, Since I wanted to work from stash (that is, use fabric I already own rather than shopping for new) it is not what I would have chosen for a handbag (since I am not a 10 year old girl) I think it may end up going to a munchkin for her birthday. Still, fabric choice aside, it is well constructed (for a first attempt) and I am proud.

My writing has stalled as I try to decide what it is I actually want to write. I have a number of story ideas crying to be let out; at least, they cry until I sit down at the computer; then they are silent and leave me to figure out what to do.

A tree fell on our house last month. Minor roof damage, nothing huge. It was a bit of a shock, though, going outside and seeing a tree on the house.

Here is DH and the roofer looking at what needs to be done.

I'll spare you the "It's been a long time" bit.

I have been actively ignoring this blog. I feel bad that I haven't posted. I feel as if there is no way anyone could be interested in what I have to say. I have been in the dumps a bit, really, with no actual reason to be there. I have been neglecting my writing, as well, and mean to snap out of that. I am tired of the couch potato life, but may have started to sprout, so getting up is going to be difficult.

So, I'll try to get something here at least every week. But don't hold your breath. I'd hate to be responsible for the asphyxiation of someone who actually DID want to read my writing.

Now, I shall search for and upload an completely unrelated photo, because...what the heck.

The space shuttle exhibit at the US Space and Rocket Center in Huntsville, Alabama.
It has been a couple of years since we visited. Might look into going back.

Monday, April 11, 2011


Over the last few weeks I have been researching my family history. I realize I have been rather sloppy about it, taking the word of previous researchers as fact without verifying or sourcing the information. All fine and good when it is just a bit of fluff and a hobby. Until I stumble upon something really interesting...

I have (sloppily) traced my grandmother's family back to royalty. Cool. But then there is this voice in the back of my mind saying, "Are you sure? Just because this person said that this person told them that someone else said...that doesn't exactly make for concrete proof." So, I am going to refocus on that particular line to document as much of the information and family line as I can. The more solid sources, the more likely the information is accurate.

And if I cannot find the sources, then it is just a legend, a tale that may or may not be true. (Still cannot bring myself to completely let it go.)

I'll let you know.

Friday, January 7, 2011

4 to 8 inches of snow expected

I know my friends in Canada and Minnesota will laugh, but everyone here is in a tizzy over the forecast 4-8 inches (10-20 cm) of snow for us here in Mississippi. We generally only get a whopper like that once every decade. If it does get that bad everything will be shut down.

One of the benefits (drawbacks?) of home schooling is that we don't worry about snow days. We can still have lessons. Of course, the girls get to play in the snow (when we have it) whether schools are out or not.

We'll try to keep warm here. You all do the same in your cozy homes.

We now conclude this Mississippi weather announcement and return you to your regularly scheduled furniture rearranging or quilt piecing.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Wow! Last post was in March. That can either be interpreted as nothing having happened or too much going on. Either way...

I would like to post more often, but I won't make any promises.

Plans for possible blog posts include; my garden (sorry you missed that this year. It went well.), my hobbies (right now quilting, tatting, crochet, knitting, and photography), my daughters (ages 13, 12, and 10), my wonderful husband, my falling-apart house, and whatever else comes into my head.

One of my resolutions is to take at least one photo every day to document 2011. If I manage, I will try to remember to post then here.

Other resolutions include losing weight, being a better teacher, and getting back to my writing. We'll see how that goes.

Jan 1, 2011 Photo - Family Tree Quilt I made for my mother-in-law's birthday gift.