Friday, October 31, 2008

The Moving Plan

It's official - we close on our new house on December 1. In keeping with my anal-retentative list-making tendencies, I have drafted The Moving Plan. Let me know what you think.

November 1-30 - pack our asses off, with intermittent bouts of yelling, panic and infighting.

December 1 - close on house, continue panic, fighting and general yelling.


Nah, seriously, here's the time line:

Nov 1-2 - start organized packing by room, neatly wrapping and labeling the boxes. Implement color-coding system: Red - unpack immediately; Blue - unpack next; Green - unpack when you can't find it in the red or blue box.

November 3 - continue packing in an organized manner. Congratulate self on being calm and serene. Get your first paper cut.

November 4 - attend inspection, get fence estimates and carpet measurements. Pass out at costs of fence and replacing lovely mauve carpet. Consider 30 foot leashes for the dogs and painting the carpet.

November 5-7 - continue packing. Realize that something important was packed on November 3 but can't remember where it is. Unpack four boxes, then discover it UNDER a box, not in a box. Swear because you've wasted $17 worth of tape. Scrap the color-coding plan. Receive a box lid cut. Swear because you realize you've packed the band-aids. Wrap finger in newspaper and tape.

November 9-15 - start calling utility companies to move and disconnect old utilities and make arrangements for new ones. Pray that the customer service rep doesn't misunderstand the dates and disconnect current service. Unpack candles and lantern, just in case.

November 17-22 - continue packing. Abandon organized plan and start writing on outsides of boxes what's in them. Realize you have two weeks left and begin to hyperventilate. Debate on whether to completely pack kitchen and eat out for two weeks, or just leave out the basics (paper plates, peanut butter, vodka).

November 23 - cry while packing up Jessica and Kelli's rooms. Start setting aside things to go on the bookcase dedicated solely to their collectibles which will be prominently displayed in the new house. Wish they were there.

November 24-26 - Begin to panic in earnest. Go to my dad's for Thanksgiving and have him reassure me everything will be okay, or at least have him buy me beer.

November 27 - eat, watch football, and drink beer. Enjoy being in a home where there are no boxes stacked to the ceiling.

November 28 - come home to Box Hell.

November 29 - rush around throwing everything that's left into a box. Realize a dog is barking from inside a box. Cut airholes, throw in some food, and put box on the porch. (KIDDING!)

November 30 - pick up moving truck, load furniture, swear at each other, drop something and break it. Blame the other.

December 1 - sign papers on new house, go into debt, unload truck, knock hole in wall of new house. Blame the other.

So? Is this plan a bit too ambitious?

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner!

One of the perks of blogging is meeting new people. Another perk is getting free stuff. I'm so happy to have met all the lovely ladies and gents that blog around these parts, but free stuff is pretty cool too.
Maddy and I were invited a recent event at the Build a Bear store at the Galleria in St. Louis. To coincide with the opening of High School Musical 3 (which is pretty good), Maddy was able to build a HSM3 bear, complete with outfit. I was also given a $25 gift card to give away on my blog.

We had a great time. The Bear Builders were wonderful, they really made it fun for the kids. I also got to meet Maxine, the Chief Executive Bear, and I scored an autographed copy of her book! Bonus!

All the moms and kids with Maxine (she's in the red jacket in the center, Maddy is next to her on the right, and I'm above Maddy)

Maddy can now add Gabriella the HSM3 Bear to her ever-expanding collection. Gabriella joins Buddy the Army Bear, Scruffy, a Clydesdale (now dressed in soccer clothes), and two angel bears named Jessica and Kelli.

Now, I've been trying to figure out how to decide who wins. I could ask you to tell me a story about what you'd do with the gift card and pick the best story. I could ask you to send me a picture of you standing on your head and pick the one that was the straightest. I could ask you to tell me a joke and whoever makes me laugh the hardest gets it. If all else fails, we could resort to the random number drawing.

So, dear readers, here's the way to win: you tell me how you think I should award it. Whoever has the most original idea wins the card, and I'll use it to award any future giveaways, with proper credit, of course. It's a win-win!

The contest is open until Saturday, and I'll announce the winner on Monday.

Impress me....

UPDATE: Congratulations to Joy, who had the best idea (based on the commentor's comments, too). Enjoy, Joy! Let us know what you do with it, and how you pay it forward.

Friday, October 24, 2008

The Week in Review

Monday was so long ago, I really don't remember if anything noteworthy happened. Craig came down with a cold. I made my prize-winning chili for dinner.

Tuesday seems like eons ago. Craig still had a cold, and I started to feel a little crappy. I made myself homemade cheese soup for dinner, and Maddy's godfather took her out for pizza and go-karts so I could have a little quiet time. Thanks Kevin, you're a doll.

Wednesday I woke up and felt like crap. I called in sick to work, and spent the day blowing my nose and feeling sorry for myself. I also further tortured myself by looking around my house and realizing all the things I could be doing while I was home, but decided to sit on the couch with my tissues and my blanket. I also took a 3 hour nap. Don't judge, I was tired.

Thursday I still felt crappy, so I stayed home again. I did accomplish a few things, so it wasn't a total waste. Maddy was off school and didn't feel like going to daycare, so she stayed home with me. We had breakfast for dinner - scrambled eggs, hashbrowns with cheese, bacon and biscuits. Only gravy would have made it perfect.

Today I feel a little better - the pounding in my head has been replaced by a dull ache. I can see out of one eye instead of being blinded from the pain. I'm only blowing my nose every 15 minutes instead of every 5 minutes. I think I've only sneezed 937 times today. It's an improvement.

How was your week?

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Light Speed

Last Friday at 3:00, a couple looked at Craig's house. We faxed disclosures to them at 4:30, and by 7:30 they made an offer. At 7:31 we accepted. Holy. Hell. I was in shock all weekend. I kept saying "really? Did this happen?"

It finally sunk in on Saturday night. I went to Home Depot to find a Pergo color I liked that was also included in the kick-butt sale (which ends tomorrow - 20% off and free shipping). We ordered it Sunday. No going back now, I've got a pallet of Beech on its way. It's purty. Maddy and I are going to Lowe's tonight to get a price on countertops and an estimated delivery date. I've got my appliances picked out, we just need to make sure they can be delivered after we're in the house. I've got enough stuff to deal with - I don't need a stove in my front yard. We have paint for the kitchen and our bedroom picked out, Maddy needs to pick hers. Oh, carpet for the bedroom, I need to put that on my Lowe's list. Tile for the bathrooms - need to make sure they still have my color. Don't you hate when they discontinue a color?

I've been whinging about things being open-ended, woe is me, there's no hope in sight, let's just throw our hands up and go cry. I guess that's out the window now too. Speaking of windows, I need to look at drapes....

So, we shift from 1st gear to warp speed. We close in six weeks. It's a good thing I've been cleaning out rooms and closets, but it's been at a leisurely pace. Now? It's game on with the Hefty bags and the take-no-prisoners-scorched-earth policy. I'm tempted to tell Maddy she gets one box, and whatever toys/junk/Webkinz fit in it, she gets. Of course, she'd find the biggest box EVAH!

Maddy? Is totally stoked about moving. We ordered her new bedding set last night. We decided to use her current bedroom furniture in the guest room, so she will inherit Craig's totally cool queen size poster bed that sits up so high that you need steps to get in it. Last night when I put her to bed, she said "in a couple of months I'll be in a queen bed, so I'll be a queen, right? I said "you're the princess, I'm the queen, kid, and don't you forget it!" Then we decided Craig would be the court jester, and girls would rule this kingdom. (Sorry hon, it was Maddy's idea).

Speaking of girls, there are several that live in the neighborhood, and appear to be close to her age. She has a couple of boys she plays with now, but she is happy to see there are girls across the street. (Rumor has it they have a pool too).

We still have some minor details to work out - however, we do have a tentative plan in place, and we also have some variables included in that plan. Look at me with the flexibility! I'm such a grown up!

That was my weekend. What did you do?

Friday, October 17, 2008

A Letter to God

Hey, God! How's it going? I know, it has been a long time, hasn't it? And I'll tell You why. Well, You probably already know, being all-knowing and whatnot.

The fact is - You hurt me, God. I'm not going to let You off the hook for this one. You took away something that was priceless and precious to me. You took away two wonderful young women from this world. For what?

I've thought about this for almost a year. I still don't see a point. I really have tried to understand what the hell You're thinking. Oh, I know, You have a "plan," and "all will be revealed," and things will be done on "Your time," not mine. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I get that. It still doesn't make it any easier to accept.

I'm not going to apologize for my past behavior. I would just ask that You understand my position, what with that omnipotent and all-forgiving thing you've got going on.

I think I'm ready to have a rational adult conversation with You. I admit, some of our past conversations have been a bit snippy on my part. Okay, snippy, snotty, pouty, accusatory, downright rude - pick a word. Oh, and one-sided - I seem to be the one doing all the screaming and railing and You just listen.

Anyway, I just wanted to write and tell you that I've decided I'm going to talk to You again. I can't guarantee that I won't still be angry and hurt and, well, pissed off, for lack of a better description. However, I have come to the conclusion that the only person who can answer my questions is You. So I better start paying attention again.

Tell Jessica and Kelli I said hi, I miss them, and I love them. Tell my mom and grandparents too.

See you Sunday.


Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Button Button, Who's Got The Button

Right-click on the image above to save the picture, then upload it to your blog, linking it to
If you use Blogger, you can post it as a picture with a link. Just go to your Layout menu, and click Add Gadget; then select picture, upload it, and put in the Link box.

I don't know how to do it for Wordpress. I am not tech-savvy.

Still having problems? Let me know and I will email you the picture directly.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Candlelight Memorial Update

On November 23, 2008, please join us for a candlelight memorial to mark the one-year anniversary. Click the link for more information.

Also, feel free to post the button on your website. Isn't it fabulous? Jaelithe did it, she's so awesome.

Thanks for your support, prayers and cyber-hugs through this.

Like a Good Neighbor

A couple of months ago, I drove to my dad's house at the Lake of the Ozarks. On that trip I got not one, but two rock chips in my windshield. I called my insurance agent, filed a comprehensive claim, and got my windshield replaced.

About two weeks ago, I was involved in a fender-bender. Again, I called my agent, filed the collision claim, and got my car fixed. It took over a week, due to the body shop not ordering all the parts. Luckily I have rental car coverage on my insurance policy, so I'm not out any money. (Side note to Enterprise - please make your cars non-smoking. Although the Sirus radio is nice. Okthxbai.)

I went to my dad's this past weekend. As I was driving down the interstate, a tractor-trailer in front of me had a blowout, and the tire remnants flew into the grill and hood of my car, bending my license plate in half, and cracking the bumper. In addition to scaring the everloving crap out of me, I had to call my agent AGAIN, file a claim AGAIN, and do without my car for a few days AGAIN.

Luckily I have an awesome insurance agent. She has been my agent for over 15 years. When we moved here from Texas, we needed a local State Farm agent. I opened the phone book, picked her name because she was closest to where we lived, and the rest is insurance history.

When my daughters died, she brought me lasagna and changed her sign outside her office to ask for for prayers for our family. She's like family to me, and I'm glad to call her a friend.

Like a good neighbor, Elisa is there.

Friday, October 10, 2008

The Doctor is In

I've been dishing out advice to several people this week, and it occured to me that sometimes it's easier to solve other's problems instead of your own. Perhaps it's because I'm not directly involved, so I can look at it from a different perspective. Or perhaps it's because I'm a know-it-all.

I have posted lots of my issues and I have gotten great advice from my readers. (And by lots of issues, I mean if it wasn't for my issues, I'd have no blog.)

So I'm going to start a new thing - Free Advice Fridays. Unlike Lucy, I won't charge you a nickel. Nor will I yank the football out of from under you.

Post your problem or issue you're having in the comments and I'll give it my best shot. Relationships, difficult in-laws, problem co-workers, engine trouble, wardrobe questions - I'll try to help you.

Just remember, I am not a doctor, therapist, or mechanic, so if you take my advice, I am not responsible. Hell, I might have been called irresponsible once or twice.

So, what's your problem....?

Thursday, October 9, 2008

But Wait, There's More!

I am a sucker for infomercials. I love watching them, especially the really cheesy ones. Although Billy Mays does scare me sometimes. Do you think he talks to his family that way? "LOOK AT THIS!"

I've bought a few products over the years. Oxyclean does live up to some of its claims, Orange Glo does make hardwood shine like new, and I hear the Handy Switch is pretty cool.

When I saw this product, I did some research to see if it really did what it claimed. The internet reviews were favorable (because the internet don't lie, people), and after I found an online coupon, I ordered it.

It arrived within 3-4 days, in all its green jelly plastic glory. I don't look exactly like the picture (that model must be a freak of nature), but it does work, and it does what it claims on TV.

Oh, what is it, you ask?


(See how her toes stick all the way out through the holes? Wowzers, she must climb trees with those.)

I wear heels all the time. I've worn heels since high school and I know one day I won't be able to anymore so I'm wearing them while I can. I admit it, I am a shoe addict, so what of it? There are worse things to be.

I put on my Yoga Toes at night for about 10-15 minutes and they really help stretch out my toes after being cramped up in my heels all day. Not that I wear uncomfortable shoes just to look good. Who does that?

So, if you wear heels or shoes that cramp your toes in the toe box, I highly recommend this product. Do an online coupon search - I found a coupon for $15 off. Some reviewers mentioned finding a 50% coupon, but I wasn't that lucky. However, if you and two friends order, then it's 3 for $99, a savings of $16.95 each.

I wonder how many calories these things burn?

This has been an unpaid message for Yoga Toes.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008



As some of you may have noticed, my recent posts have been a bit dark. I'm doing okay, honestly. I just need to write it out. Thanks for bearing with me. Hopefully I'll do something stupid soon and we can lighten the mood.

200 posts ago, I started this blog. It was just for fun, an outlet for my thoughts and feelings. No one knew about it, and I wasn't telling people about it either. It was my own little online journal, just for me.

After Jessica and Kelli died, I made the decision to open it up, for me to share not only my grief, but my memories and stories about them, as well as my everyday adventures, such as birds in my house, worrying about my brother, meeting the JoBros, and going to airport jail.

Blogging has helped me immensely. I've met some great people in real life and correspond online with others that I can't wait to meet. It's amazing to me to read through my stat tracker and see the various places that my readers live. I've had others share their stories of grief and death, which make me remember that I'm not alone in this feeling.

I've been kicking around ideas of how to mark the one-year anniversary. I'm hoping that having something positive to look forward to will help. So, on Sunday, November 23, 2008 at 6:00 pm, I'm having a candlelight memorial and balloon release at Woodland Park in Collinsville.. I hope you can join us. If you can't make it, please light a candle and say a prayer on that day, not just for them, but for your own loved ones.

*I will have a button for the candlelight memorial soon - feel free to post it on your blog if you wish.*

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


Do you remember when you were younger, counting down the days until Christmas, or your birthday? When you got closer, every morning you would wake up and say "only x days left!"

I've got the reverse going right now. Today I woke up and thought "48 more days." This time last year I had 48 more days with them. It seems like a blink in time.

I can feel it stalking me - the pain, the heartache, the urge to run away. I can shut it out for a while, promising myself I'll deal with it when I can. I let the pain in when I'm alone, so I can go cry and throw things and wallow. It helps to relieve some of the pressure for a little while. I know it's going to get worse before it gets better.

I can get through this, I know I can. I survived this past year.

It's frustrating to know what is bothering me but yet I can't do a damn thing about it.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Mission: Put Together - Week 1

Maddy and I are participating in Mission: Put Together. Our goal is to make an effort in our appearance for 30 days. Not that we go out of the house looking disheveled. Ok, one time, but I was only going to get milk!

Here are our ensembles for the first week. More to come this week!

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Almost Like Old Times

The dogs start barking and jumping on the front door about two seconds before the doorbell rings. That's my warning. I shoo the dogs out of the way while opening the door. "Hey girl! Come on in...Deedee, get down! Nolan, stop it! Have you had dinner? I've got plenty...okay, go on upstairs."

I hear laughing, cell phones going off, and "oh my god do you remember what we were doing when this picture was taken?" I hear "where is that one shirt?" and "this is such a cute tank."

It's almost like before, when her friends would come over and thump up and down the stairs.

Almost, but not quite.

A few of Jessica's friends came over last night, to take some of her clothes and pictures. It was nice to hear the noise again up there, but there was something huge missing. A distinct laugh, a particular voice, no one saying "Kelli! Did you wear my Abercrombie shirt? Maddy! Get out!"

As I cleaned up the dinner dishes, I realized I'd make one of Jessica's and Kelli's favorite dinners. We had roast, mashed potatoes, Velveeta macaroni and Hawaiian rolls. Of course, by favorite, I mean they would deign to take the smallest sliver of beef, but fill their plates with the rest. Kelli could eat two helpings of macaroni and all of those rolls if I let her. Jessica could polish off a huge bowl of potatoes by herself. I didn't make it intentionally, but maybe somehow they guided me.

I stayed downstairs while they went through her clothes, listening to the noise and feeling, for a little bit, like it was almost the same.