Thursday, August 30, 2007

Amazingly Fabulous Good News

OK after all my complaining I have to share some really unbelievable news. Discover card is going to pay my $750 deductible. Apparently this is a benefit to renting cars with a credit card. I myself can not even believe it and had to restrain myself from saying "SHUT UP" to the lady at the discover card claims center. This news has certainly improved my outlook on life. And one of my friends gave me garage door opener that she had. So that problem in my life is solved. I knew things couldn't keep going downhill forever.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Good News, Bad News

The past six weeks have been fraught with what I guess one calls life's little challenges. I have been given many opportunities to grin and bear a series of many unfortunate events. Here is just a sampling of some things that have happened in the recent past.

Bad news: I sat on Marion's everyday pair of glasses and broke both arms off of them. Good news: I didn't break the lenses. I think this is the second time in our married life that I have done this to him. Bad news: He has managed to bubble-gum them back together using super glue and white athletic tape. Good news: He is not a slave to fashion and doesn't mind it when people (including his own son) think he looks a bit odd with white tape on his glasses. Bad news: They don't carry the same frame he had and he is unwilling to update his glasses to a newer frame. Good News: This is the cheaper option for now, and now that school is started I will have more time to devote to solving this dilemma.

Next Bad news: It would rain from the ceiling in our dining room when someone showered in my bathroom. Good news: We have a home warranty that will cover this kind of repair. Bad news: When the repairman arrived, Jared was in the shower. He was in the process of his best impression of a really annoying big brother. He was singing as loudly as he could and periodically he would bang on the wall that separates the shower from Diana's bedroom. Diana in the meantime was giving an academy award winning performance of the tortured little sister that manifested itself in loud ear piercing screams that probably sent all the dogs in our neighborhood running away. In hind sight, I can see that what I should have done was say to the repairman "Could you please wait for just a minute outside the front door before entering the house?" This would have given me time to threaten each child into silence. But I did not think fast enough for that more prudent course of action. Instead I ushured the man into the freak show that was going on. I took him to see the shower in my room and excused myself to go and speak/warn/threaten/kill my children. Good news: My children calmed down and the repair was quickly diagnosed and fixed. Bad News: The home warranty policy does not cover repairing the hole in the ceiling that had to be cut in order to diagnose the problem. Good news: After having a gaping hole in my dining room, Marion has now replaced the drywall. Bad news: He informed me that repairing the popcorn covering is my part of the job.

Bad news: Someone stole Diana's bike and several scooters from the side of our house. I can't think of any good news for this one.

Bad news: Trent complained of having problems with his eyes and went to the eye doctor last week. Good news: His eyes are not yet bad enough to need glasses.

Bad news: My garage door opener was damaged in the car accident. Good news: Marion was able to figure out what was wrong with it and fix it, so I could have it in my rental car. Bad news: I managed to drop it in the car and it broke into more pieces and one crucial piece is now lost forever. Good news: Marion once again repaired it. Bad news: Now you have to use a screwdriver to touch two metal parts together to get it to work. It is rather inconvenient, but it does still work. A friend of mine was telling me that I can get a new one for not very much money, I just haven't had a chance to go and get one.

Bad news: A rather large piece of my filing on my back tooth cracked and fell out. Good news: It is not painful and is only a bother in that I have a cavernous hole in the back of my mouth. I am slightly afraid to go to the dentist because he has repaired this certain tooth 2 other times in the past year. I think he is going to make me get a crown.

Really bad news: Yesterday I got in a car accident with my rental car. It was my fault. There had been a lot of rain the night before, and when I tried to brake for the car that stopped suddenly in front of me, my car just slid on the road. Good news: My rental car is covered by my regular insurance. Bad news: I will have to pay another $750 deductible. Good news: I was able to take advantage of the learning curve of accident protocol. You know like talking with police officers, filling out police reports, experiencing nausea and anxiety, exchanging insurance information, all things that I am becoming a pro at. More good news: I will get to attend traffic school and so maybe Trent and I can go together. This is actually the first accident I have caused in my whole life of driving. More good news: no one was hurt, although I am a bit sore. I did hit fast enough to cause my glasses to fly off my head. Sheesh, it is enough to make me think that I should just not get a new car and sit at home every day instead.

So if I had any doubts before, I am now convinced that I am completely crazy. It might be nice to live in an imaginary world. I have had my fill of reality. Maybe I could just become schizophrenic so that half of the time I could be somewhere else? If the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result, then I am insane for sure. Each day I get out of bed expecting things to go well. Well good news: things are bound to start getting better because it is hard to imagine how it might get worse. Of course now that I have said that out loud my house will burn to the ground tomorrow or something like that. I wonder if they make straight-jackets in different colors?

CATastrophic turn of events!

Under the category of "Oh No, here we go again", there is a mother cat and three kittens who have decided that my front yard would be the perfect place to call home. I don't know what kind of invisible sign there must be on my house that says to all cats, "live here, there is a crazy cat lady here who will take you in no matter what." And the mom and babies are all black. What kind of bad luck is that, to have 4 black cats cross your path every time you leave your house? I am determined not to go down the river of cat insanity again. Been there, done that. Of course last time it wasn't just a river of cats, it was something akin to Niagara Falls. Surely I have had enough of the experiences that cat ownership has to offer to last me a lifetime. You know like birthing breech kittens, having live things brought into the house ( ie lizards, birds, and even a rat once), listening to male cats prowl the house like sharks, cleaning up cat poop or food, administering first aid to battle wounds including amoxicilian left over from my children or soaking puss filled wounds in warm water. Once I even had a dehydrated cat that I gave water to a teaspoon at a time every few hours. The fond memories go on and on, and so you might imagine why having once discovered four kittens in my garage and taking them in and keeping them, even bringing them from California to Las Vegas, well I am reticent to repeat that mistake again. And that was a mistake in the fact that those kittens multiplied until one time I had the absurd total of 10 cats living at my house. Yes I am a sucker for punishment. We might all see why I am avoiding the slippery slope of cat mania like the plague. Of course the fact that we are holding them and taking pictures with them might make you think differently, but we are not feeding them or naming them and this is big for me. Sadly I think that the only way to get rid of them is to catch them and take them to the pound. This is also one of my least favorite thing about cats. But if I could be strong enough to do it with cats I loved like children, then I guess I can gird up my loins and do it to a bunch of stray cats.

Accidents Happen

As I said before, our trip to California would have to be the highlight of that week. But you know what the law of physics says "what goes up must come down". And so Friday August 17th was the low of the week. This happened about 12:30 that day when I received a call from Trent. He told me that he had been in a car accident and I needed to come to where it had happened. I was helping at the choir camp that Diana was participating in and so I was about 25 minutes away. I quickly left the choir camp and drove over to the accident. He told me that everyone was OK, which I was glad to hear, but still it was a very long, anxiety filled trip for me. When I got to the accident I was horrified to see that front of my car was pretty much smashed to smithereens. I was glad to see Trent standing pretty much unhurt on the sidewalk. Apparently he was making a left hand turn and failed to see an oncoming truck. The truck hit him on the front passenger side of the car. Both of the front airbags deployed. Trent had a small abrasion on his head that I think was from the airbag. So sadly it was his fault and he received the ticket. The police at the scene said to look at it as a good learning experience. And to feel lucky that Trent could get such a good lesson without anyone having to be seriously hurt. I wish that he could have learned this lesson in a less costly way, but oh well that is life.

So now my car is totaled. I have had a rental car for the past week and am looking for a new car. I hate buying new cars. I would rate the experience right up there with root canal and moving. But I guess that there are some things in life that are unavoidable. The good news is that I am going to receive a fair amount of money to help purchase a new car. The bad news is that my car insurance is going to go up. I don't know how much yet, but it can not be good.

Sunday, August 19, 2007

Wicked Awesome!

Well this has been quite a crazy week with some highs and some lows. First I need to report about going to LA to see the musical Wicked. It was better than fabulous. We absolutely loved it and would go again in a heartbeat. Anyone remotely thinking about going to this play it is a must see. We left Las Vegas on Tuesday August 14th, about noon. After we dropped Diana off at a friend's house to spend the night, we stopped at the Library and checked out a great Amelia Peabody book on tape. Then we hit the freeway and were on our way to Hollywood. The trip went well and we did not hit any traffic until we were about a half an hour from our hotel. Even with the traffic, we checked into our room by about 4:00. This was a bit humorous. I found this hotel online, and let me just say that pictures can be deceiving. Or in other words any place can be pictured in a good way. Our hotel room itself was ok, but lets just say the surrounding neighborhood was a bit scary looking. It was however within walking distance of the theatre. Anyway the funny part was that we checked in and the guy gave us a key to room 214. It was a bit hard to be sure because he had a very heavy accent, I think he was from India. So we carried our stuff upstairs to the second floor. The cleaning people noticed that we were about to go into room 214 and informed us that someone was still in there. At least that is what they tried to tell us, this time in Spanish. So we went back to the office and got a different key this time to room 103. We went into this room only to find an extra blanket on the bed and what looked like someones personal towel folded on the table. The cleaning guy came in and told us that this room was also taken. So we went back to the office, yet a third time. Apparently a friend of the owner was staying in room 103 and so it did not show in the computer. Anyway finally we were given a key to room 215. The cleaning lady was just finishing up with this room. It was ok, although it was warm because the AC unit had not been on. We put all our stuff down and walked down the street to look for something to eat. After walking a bit and finding the theatre, we decided that we didn't want anything there and we went back and got into the car. We drove around and found a Denny's. This is kind of a traditional place for us to eat on our anniversary. It was really yummy and then we went back to the hotel and rested up for the play.

Marion fell asleep, but I have to admit that I was too excited and nervous to sleep. I felt like a little kid on Christmas eve. I have been dreaming and hoping to go and see this play since I heard that it was playing in LA last January. It was hard to believe that it was really happening. I kept checking the clock every ten minutes or so and finally the hour and half had passed by and it was time to get ready to go. Marion woke up and we changed to be ready for the show. We were somewhat concerned about losing our parking place at the hotel, because the parking lot at the hotel only had ten spaces for the 15 rooms. Even though we were just 3 blocks from the play, I was nervous about walking home that late at night and so we planned to drive over to the play. Anyway I called the front desk and the guy told me that people could park against the wall and not to worry, so we left and found a parking place close to the theatre.

Next was where I had to pinch myself to be sure that I was not dreaming, because we actually walked into the theatre and we were not late and we did not forget our tickets or any such bad thing. We checked out the lobby and saw a lot of cool Wicked paraphernalia. We then made our way upstairs to our seats. It was very crowded, which proves how popular this play is. Finally we made it into our seats, which were not bad seats. This was very exciting, because once again how do you really know what you are getting when you buy things online. Next I decided to take a picture of the neato ceiling and the empty stage below. This resulted in my being yelled at by a employee. Apparently the rule that no photography is allowed is a very strict rule and not just a guideline. I did manage to take 2 pictures though and so I will post this contraband on here when I can get them developed. We were a bit early and so I got to enjoy the sense of anticipation even longer. It felt like it would never start, but of course finally the lights went down and the music began.

I will not disclose the many twists and turns and secrets involved in this play. I don't want to spoil it for any of you who may go in the future. Let me just say that it was better than I even imagined. I laughed, I cried, it moved me Bob. There is nothing as wonderful as a Broadway production. I feel so lucky to have been able to have this dream come true.

When the play was over we returned to the hotel and wouldn't you know it if the parking lot was not just jammed packed. We had to back the van in and double park in front of several other cars. It seemed a bit insane, but it worked out and nobody needed to leave before we did the next morning.

We woke up and left the hotel by about 8:30. Marion decided it would be fun to stop by his old school, Citrus that is in Glendora. We didn't know if anyone would be around, but it turned out that there were a few people who still remember him. It is hard to believe that it has been 9 years since we left California. Marion had a great time renewing old friendships. It is interesting because his old school is in an older part of town and they are actually going down in enrollment. I think he is much better off in Las Vegas where he teaches at one of the largest community colleges in the country.

Well that is all the fun news from our trip. We were very glad we went and glad that everyone survived without us while we were gone. I wonder what the next musical will be that I get to see?

Monday, August 6, 2007

It's Great to be Eight!

Last Saturday on August 4th, was a day many have been waiting for years to be here. And no, I don't mean the release of the last Harry Potter book. Diana got baptized! She has been anxiously awaiting this event for months. It seems that she has been counting the days since Christmas. This past week the anticipation seemed to reach a new high as the countdown was under 10 days. As I wrote before, I had to work a lot last week and hence was unable to get much cleaning and food preparations ready for the weekend. Thank goodness the Calvary arrived on Thursday evening in the form of my Mom and Dad from Seattle. They brought Jared home with them as well. It was good to see him after a week and a half. (Look forward to an upcoming post about his shaving his head completely bald while we were in Utah.) Well we had fun visiting a bit Thursday evening and then we hit the hay.

Friday we woke up and attacked my house with every mop, cleaning product, and rag possible. The guys also did an amazing job on the back yard. When we were tired of cleaning, we took a break and did some shopping. Marion was preparing a list for the grocery store so he could get the things he needed to make homemade ice cream. He asked me if we had vanilla. I replied that I had no idea owing to the fact that I have not cooked anything in my kitchen since May. Marion went with my Dad to home depot and the grocery store. Then my dad went with me and Diana to Sam's club. We were successful in getting lots of yummy things for people to eat all weekend long. This was especially important as to the fact that I have not really been to the grocery store all summer long either. In the afternoon, Diana insisted that I cut her hair. We have been talking about cutting it all summer long and have not had time. I was a bit nervous to do it. I think she had heard stories of people having their long hair come up when they were baptized. Anyway as you can see from the picture below, I cut about 5 inches off. I think it looks really cute and it will be so much easier to take care of, but it is still a big change.

Finally it was about 8 o'clock on Friday night. The one thing that was not done, that I really wanted to do was to get Diana a white dress. So the two of us took off to the mall. Talk about leaving things to the last minute. Sheesh! On the way I called a friend and asked if she had purchased her daughters dress at Penny's. She told me that she did, but that it was a catalog return and not something they normally carry all the time. Yikes, maybe my plan was not going to work after all. We went to Penny's, of course the children's department has to be up the escalator and all the way in the back. We wondered around for a few minutes during which time Diana found about 20 outfits she wished she could get, none of them being a white dress. Finally I asked a sales associate and was told that no they did not carry any white dresses. I had to practically drag Diana away as we raced out of Penny's in search of somewhere else that could help us. By now it was 8:30 and the mall was closing in 30 minutes. I said a silent prayer in my heart. I know that it is possible to get baptized without a white dress to wear, but this was my only girl and I really wanted the fun on finding something special so she could look her best on her special day. We raced frantically down the mall. The next big store was Dillards. I asked where the kids department was, and guess what it wasn't even upstairs but was just a few yards away. I asked about a white dress and was shown a rack of beautiful dress much to my joy. Then I looked at the price tag, much to my dismay it was $120, and my happiness bubble was burst. Then I realized that those dresses were too big and we went over to the smaller ones. Imagine my happiness to find the smaller white dresses were only $60. Of course if I had seen the smaller ones first I would not have been so relieved to pay $60, but since it was our only choice I clapped my hands for joy. Next we took a few dresses in and tried them on. The one that fit the best was a bit itchy. We went back out and looked for some alternative. There was none. Diana did find a cute shirt on the clearance rack which she tried on also. In the end we got the itchy dress and the shirt. One problem with the dress was that it was sleeveless. I figured that I could so something to make sleeves and so we headed home, triumphant. We stopped at a friends house to borrow a long table, and I was telling her about the dress. She said she had the perfect little short sweater to go over such a dress. They let us borrow it and yeah problem solved much easier than me staying up half the night altering a dress. Sometime life doesn't have to be hard, especially with a little help from your friends.

Friday night Marion's mom, brother, sister-in-law, and two nephews arrived about 11:30. We helped them get settled and visited for awhile. It made for bit of a late night and I was glad when I finally got to fall into bed.

Saturday morning we got up and got everyone breakfast. Marion needed a haircut and so I gave him one. Finally it was time to go and we headed to the church about 9:30. We took all the pictures we needed. Diana was so excited, I thought she might explode. She also felt rather nervous about not letting her feet come up so she would have to get baptized a second time. Another of Marion's brothers and his wife and son got there just in time. A friend in our ward gave a wonderful talk on baptism and then there was a talk on the Holy Ghost. Then we all went into the relief society room. There were two other boys baptized first, and then it was Diana's turn. There really are not words to describe the joy one feels when your children choose to make covenants with the Lord. There was a very special spirit there. After the baptism, I went and helped Diana get dressed. She was very relieved and happy that she and Dad got it right and only had to be baptized one time. After she was dressed, we went back to the chapel for the confirmations. Diana was last again. Marion gave her a wonderful blessing. And just like when she was blessed as a baby, he talked about how special she is and how she has a gift for loving others. I have seen this many times throughout her life. Everyone seems to love her as I do. It is a special gift and it will be interesting to see how the Lord will choose to use her as an instrument to bless other's lives. After the confirmation we took some more pictures and headed home.

Next we had a fun filled afternoon visiting with friends and family. We had Hoagie sandwiches, past salad, green salad, veggie tray and chips. After lunch there was homemade ice cream for dessert. We made both vanilla and rocky road. Here is a picture of what the food looked like.

Here is a cute picture of Diana in her new dress.

Here are the proud Grandparents.

Here is everyone.

Here is the whole family.

Later Saturday afternoon, another of Marion's brothers arrived with his wife and 4 children. We had a fun filled afternoon. The kids swam, jumped on the trampoline, and played. The adults visited. I got out my many scrapbooks and we had fun looking back at some of the memories from the past. It was truly a wonderful day not to be soon forgotten. I had made some sloppy joes the night before, so we got that out for dinner along with all the left overs from lunch. It was happy to have such an easy meal at the end of a long day. So we ended up with 13 extra people sleeping here Saturday night. I was surprised at how easily everyone fit. I thought my house might be too small for so much company.
Sunday we got up and surprisingly manage to all get to nine o'clock church on time. No breakfast preparations because of fast Sunday. We had a wonderful time at church. And came home and fed everyone haystacks. The Arizona people all packed up and headed home at about 2:00 o'clock. Later that afternoon, I took my Mom and Dad down to see where I work. The kids came too and now they will have some idea of where I am when I am gone working.
I took my parents to the airport at 7 this morning. I came home and went back to bed. I got up and hosted swim day for my ward. Only 2 people came so it was nice and small. After everyone left at noon, I actually took another nap. I don't know if I will ever feel rested again. When I woke up Diana and I went to Sam's club and got my pictures developed. The rest of week looks pretty easy, yeah.
A big thanks to everyone who made the effort to come and helped while they were here.

Thursday, August 2, 2007

She works hard for the money!

Well I am happy to report that my temporary employment has come to an end for a few months. I worked 44 hours from Monday to Thursday and I am exhausted. I have done pretty much nothing else besides go to work. Now my parents and Jared have come from Seattle tonight. Diana will be baptized on Saturday. I hope I will have the energy to enjoy the event and company. Next week it will be good to get back to just trying to be a mom and keep up my house. I am trying to declutter things around here, but I have only managed to go through Diana's room and the family room. My job did have some interesting things about it that I will try and write about another time when I am not so tired.