Wednesday, July 29, 2009

A New Life Experience

A couple of weeks ago, I went to my mailbox, and what did I see? A letter from the IRS staring at me. Yes, people, I can now add "Audited by the IRS" to my list of life experiences I could do without.

Of course this came in the middle of all my crazy working weeks. So I just decided to stay in denial and put it to the side.

Today, it has finally made it to the top of my "Things to have a nervous break down over today" list. So I thought I would blog about it.

Another time, the chance to blog about something is the only good thing you have to say about it. Because sitting here at my computer blogging, is so much more productive than say gathering my supporting documentation in order, don't ya think? It's all about priorities, right?

And proving once again that no good deed goes unpunished, the category they have chosen to audit is my charitable contributions for 2007. If I read the paperwork correctly, I have to get copies of all my checks for supporting back up.

The date of my audit is August 12th at 8:00 AM. Are these people saddists or what? Way to ruin my summer vacation. And the letter says to be prepared to be there/be tortured for four hours. Good night nurse! What could they possibly talk to/grill me about for four hours. That is a ways away, but I have plans to be out of town for 10 days in the next two weeks. This weekend to attend a family reunion in Preston Idaho and the next to attend a nephew's baptism in Arizona.

So I better stop typing and get to working on that little project. My husband is a bit of a doomsdayer and he is sure we will loose all we own from penalties. If I go to jail for tax evasion, could someone please send me a cake with a file in it or at the very least a lap top with an Internet card. Think of the possibilities for blogging from jail. Hmmmm. Another time blogging can make the best of a worst case scenario.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Pat and Jared's Excellent Adventure

I know I did the worst thing that I hate others to do, but I left you off with a cliff hanger last time I posted. Now I will have to try and live up to the pressure and produce a post worthy of the build up I gave it.

The short story is that we almost missed getting Jared on the plane, and thusly just missed a trip to the ER for my heart attack.

Let me just preface this by saying that I have reoccurring nightmares about missing planes. They have taken on many forms through out the years, but they never fail to leave me in a cold sweat and breathless when I wake up in the morning.

Sometimes, I can't find the way to the airport and no matter which way I turn, something is blocking the way I need to go. Other times I can not find everything I need to get packed in time to go to the airport. The underlying theme is always that the harder I try to make it happen, the more obstacles are put in my way.

I suppose Freud would say that this was due to some real life event that I feel helpless about. Who knows. But let's just say that missing a flight seems like the end of the world to me, even though I am sure that it is not.

Jared was scheduled to leave on a flight at 7:00 am last Thursday. This meant that we needed to be at the airport at 5:00 am. Holy sleep deprivation, Batman! Let me remind you that I had worked about 70 hours in the past 8 days. Come Wednesday night, we were anything but prepared to go.

Life's little niceties like clean clothes were obviously unavailable due to my lack of doing laundry because I could hardly walk in the door each night. So Wednesday night, I did the laundry and packed Jared's suitcase.

Another problem was that he came home from scout camp extremely sore. I think that he was required to walk much more than he had for a very long time. Once he got home, he walked as very little as possible. I.E. just to the bathroom. He even asked for his urinal once, but that receive a "Heck NO" response.

I had been gone so much I hadn't really accessed his situation. Come Wednesday night, I began the question the wisdom of sending him so far away if something might be wrong. What if the pain he was in was not just sore muscles? This caused me great anxiety, as you can well imagine.

I spoke with my brother the sports trainer, and he made me feel better about letting him go. When we went to bed at 12:00, we were still not sure if he should even go on the plane.

The airlines told me that I could reschedule his flight, but it would cost $100. Not good.


Finally I went and laid in my bed for 4 hours, more than I actually slept.

4:15 AM

I got up and tried to rouse Jared. He really didn't budge. I went downstairs and looked up some handicapped information about the airport. Finally I woke him up, but he did not bound right out of bed. He was worried about going and wondered how he would make it all the way out to the gate.

A call to my mom, who was up preparing to go to her temple assignment helped to ease my concerns.

4:55 AM

Finally Jared got out of bed.

5:05 AM

We loaded the car and left the garage like a bat out of helk on our way to the airport.

I like to think of speed limits as guidelines, more than a code in such emergencies, so we raced along. I pulled up to the curb at 5:17, probably some kind of record. I took in Jared's suitcase, back pack, laptop, and my purse. During this frantic unloading, Jared calmly put in his contacts. I left him sitting on a bench, waiting for me, while I parked the car.

On the way to park, there may have been some more traffic violations and a few near misses with pedestrians, but it is all kind of a blur.

I parked the car and noticed the parking meter. DANG! I didn't think I had any change and if I did I had left it with Jared in my purse. Curses. I just figured I would take my chances with the ticket. Why start obeying the law, at this point, right?

I raced as fast as my out of shapeness would allow, back to the ticket counter. Which by the way was at the complete opposite end of the terminal. Because of the dang Alphabetical curse that has Alaska Airlines starting with the letter "A".

We then got in line. Thankfully the line was very short. We got to the counter and requested a wheel chair. A luggage tag was hurriedly filled out. My pass for security was issued. A $ 15 dollar charge for the one bag was collected. Sheesh. And then the worker told me to wait and the wheel chair would be along shortly.

Time: 5:35.

We sat down to wait. In case you didn't know, I am not fond of waiting when I am trying to hurry. So I kept getting up and looking to see if the wheel chair was there yet. Jared was extremely annoyed by my impatience, so it was not in vain. How ever I did finally move away from him, so I would have to see the eyes rolling and listen to him telling me to just be patient.

Time 5:45

I went back to the counter, where upon another worker told me that it could take up to 30 minutes for the wheel chair to arrive. OH MYLANTA! She reassured me that with a wheel chair we would go to the front of the line at security.

I returned to my seat, where I weighed the pros and cons of waiting. Would the extra waiting be better if we went right to the front of the line? I vacillated back and forth between saying "Let's just give up and start walking" and the gnawing idea that he wouldn't make it in time anyway, so we should wait.

Time 6:00

The wheelchair finally arrived. Hallelujah! He hoped on and off we went. He did his best impression of a back seat driver, while he worried that I would run over people in our way. Why couldn't those chairs have beeping things, to warn people to step aside?

We crowded into the elevator and raced down to the security line. Only to be faced with a rather long line of people in wheelchairs. Who knew Vegas was a Mecca for little old ladies in wheel chairs? But I suppose that if you watch the people at the slots, they are mostly old.

And so we got in line, AGAIN. Inching forward at the pace of a snail, all the while my heart raced a million miles a minute.

Finally we were at the front of the line. Jared of course had to be wanded because of his metal hip. In the mean time I put all of our other stuff through the conveyor belt. I noticed one of the guards carrying my purse. That seemed strange. He then asked me to step over to the side and stand behind a short wall and watch while he searched my purse.

I could not for the life of me imagine why he would do such a thing. I told him I didn't even think I had fingernail clippers in there. But shortly he produced a neon green box cutter that I had accidentally brought home from work. Are you kidding me? Shocking that they would have a problem with me taking a razor blade with me, huh? Good grief.

So while Jared was finishing up his screening, I was now holding up our progress, while the guy unscrewed the holder and threw the blade away.

6:30 AM

Once my purse was run through the x-ray one more time, and security determined that I was not a terrorist with plans to hijack a plan, we were on our way to the gate. We rode the tram, went up the elevator, made a stop at the bathroom, the ATM, and a shop for a $2 bottle of water.

6:45 AM

As we reached the gate, they were doing the final boarding of the general passengers. Jared got in line and walked right onto the plane. I double checked with the agent at the gate to make sure my mom's name was on the reservation.

I walked slowly back to my car, noticing my heart rate returning to a normal pace for the first time in about 3 hours.

Happily, I did not get a ticket. I drove home and laid down for 30 minutes before I had to get up and go to work.

The whole thing was non stop suspense and hysteria on my part. No wonder I have nightmares about such things. Airports can be pretty horrific.

And to think that the whole reason I scheduled him on the 7 AM flight was to save myself $20. I think in retrospect, I would have rather paid the $20 than given a year off my life expectancy. Just a thought.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Why I haven't blogged in a week.

I have been rather MIA this week, due to the fact that it is one of the few weeks a year that I am employed full time. Last week also I am very busy helping my husband finish up a painting job. Between the two of us, we spent about 70 hours last week painting. May I never see a paint roller again.

This week I have spent unpacking products for Global Views. It is rather tiring to be on your feet all day long, when you are not used to it. Hopefully I won't have to spend all of my pay check at the chiropractor.

We are almost done. I really hope I don't have to work tomorrow.

I am very impress with those of you other bloggers who have full time blogs, families, and still write regularly. Somehow when I come home from work with the energy of a wet noodle I don't sit down and write.

I am suppose to be throwing a birthday party for Diana tomorrow. I wish there was a way out of it. Anyone know of a way to get out of throwing a party for your ten year old daughter when you have already promised her? Yea, I didn't think so either. She has been planning this event for months, constantly talking about it. She has added to it, re planned, and changed her mind over and over again. I figured there was no harm or cost in dreaming and planning, but now it may be time to pay the piper.

In other news, I have finally read Twilight and New Moon. I have about 100 pages left in Eclipse. I have enjoyed reading for the fun of reading. I am not sure that I am as big a fan and everyone else. Not that I can't see why they would like the books and I am glad to be on the inside so to speak, so I can carry on conversations with the rest of the world who have read it. I just didn't LOVE LOVE LOVE them. And I am OK with that.

I did however pretty much hate the movie. I saw it the day after I read the book and I think it would be better to have more space to forget the billion details in the book that are different from the movie. Just saying.

I did like New Moon, which seems to be surprising to many people. What I liked about it was the way she described so accurately what it is like to grieve when your heart is broken in two. I could really relate to that part of the book.

Some time this weekend, I hope to post about my crazy adventure getting Jared off on a trip to Seattle yesterday. It was fraught with peril, suspense, and air port employees. You won't want to miss it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Pain Retains

At our recent family reunion, I had a chance to catch up with my youngest brother. He is currently serving in the Marines. We were questioning him about life in the Military and especially about boot camp. I can't quite remember why this came out, but he shared that one of his drill sergeants would always repeat "Pain Retains." He would shout this over and over when they would be at the breaking point doing push ups or some other drill.

I have thought over and over about this short concise statement. And I wonder if Heavenly Father has the same philosophy. What if that is part of the purpose of our trials? What if as we suffer pains and afflictions, we are really learning to retain valuable lessons about Faith and our Heavenly Father's unending love for us.

There is no doubt that this past year has been one of pain for me. But as Jared is getting closer and closer to resuming a normal life, I can feel myself starting to come back to life. The pain of this year is subsiding and is being replaced with the surprise and joy that it may finally be over.

Last week marked the one year anniversary of the day he went to the hospital. In fact on the very day, I went with my sister to tour Utah Valley Hospital so she could decide where to deliver her baby next month.

When we first walked in to the hospital, I have to admit to feeling dizzy and struggling to breathe normally. Just watching people walk by in scrubs made my knees weak. The sterile hallways, the people walking by to visit, the nurses station filled with camaraderie, all so familiar and yet a distant memory. As we walked the halls and viewed the facility, I could not help but reflect back to just one year ago when the rug was pulled out from beneath my feet.

And yet, I have survived. Barely, but this is kind of a pass fail situation where a D is as good as an A. Jared is getting stronger ever day. In fact he is at scout camp this week, something I could not have imagined even four months ago.

In thinking about what the pain of this year has retained for me, I can think of several things I know more surely now, than I did a year ago.

One would have to be that my Heavenly Father and Christ love me very much. They have carried me through this year when I didn't think I could last one more hour. I can't quite explain how this works but it is as Craig Zwick stated in a conference talk:

"It is the wounded Christ who leads us through our moments of difficulty. It is He who bears us up when we need more air to breathe or direction to follow or even more courage to continue. Trust in His promise of eternal life and allow peace and hope to distill upon you."

Truer words were never spoken.

Another thing retained by the pain would be the increased awareness and knowledge of how much my friends and family love me. These include my real world friends and cyber world friends. It really is true that you can get by with a little help from your friends. This year has reaffirmed for me that my friends really do care about me. And I needed to be reminded of this fact.

Another thing retained is my love for Jared. He can sometimes be a difficult child, but I have come to be closer to him through my service this past year. I remember one particular night when he was crying in pain and I stood at the foot of his bed rotating his foot while the tears streamed down my face. How I wished I could take his pain away. Our relationship has changed permanently. It is as if we have been through a war together. I wonder if some day we will look back and realize that we needed to be closer. Perhaps it will be one of the lasting blessings of this trial.

Neal A. Maxwell said: "Rather than simply passing through these things, they must pass through us and do so in ways which sanctify these experiences for our good."

It is my hope that this will be true for me. Hopefully, the pain I have experienced will retain the eternal truths of the gospel.

In Helaman 12:3 "And thus we see that except the Lord doth chasten his people with many afflictions, yea, except he doth visit them with death and with terror, and with famine and with all manner of pestilence, they will not remember him."

Truly when we go through a trial and we rely on the Lord to endure the pain, we can not help but remember him and his mercy.

Though I do not enjoy pain, I can see that it is necessary. There is no other way. And some day all the pain will be a distant memory when the Saviour comes and takes me in his arms and wipes away my tears.

Friday, July 17, 2009

War Update

I thought some of you might be wondering about the ant situation. Just for the record, I am loosing some battles, but I WILL win the war. I hope the ants are reading this and get discouraged. It would be just like them to be taking advantage of my wi/fi for free.

I do appreciate every one's good advice. I also like to suck them up into the vacuum cleaner. That was what happened to many of the ants in the following pictures. I may still give and get a bug man, but for now I think I am making progress.

These pictures were taken after the big battle at Kitchen Table. Some scouts found a bag of snacks we were silly enough to leave out. The ants established an overland route that went from a window through the game room, across the kitchen and an all out assault was launched on the table.

When I redo my kitchen floor it will not be white, that way their little dead carcases can blend in better. And just so you know real ants were harmed in the filming of this documentation.

OK this one is the worst. Look at them just passing by the ant trap. I swear I can see them all with their fingers in their ears saying "You can't catch us, nani nani boo boo to you." They are getting pretty cheeky for the few battles they have won.

This morning the little buggers were determined to take the dishwasher. So I struck back by going to Wal Mart and purchasing three different kinds of poison. And then I came home and unleashed my weapons of mass destruction. This included turning on the dishwasher while yelling "Die you little devils, die"

I am happy to report there were no survivors. We will see what tomorrow brings, but I am confident that the tide has turned in my favor.

ps. Can you tell Jared is gone to scout camp? I am getting so much more computer time that I am posting like crazy.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The Great Ant War of 2009

I returned to Vegas, Monday night after being gone for almost 3 weeks. To my husband's credit, the dishes were done.

Tragically, there were many strange smells coming from the fridge and kitchen.

I investigated to find several unidentifiable bags of produce. And chicken breasts I had not put into the freezer. Nothing like raw chicken sitting in the fridge for 3 weeks. EEWWW.

I contemplated just throwing a grenade in the fridge and starting over on the groceries.

There was also a bag of potatoes that were beginning to compost on my kitchen floor. Not pleasant, I tell ya.

But worst of all was the ant invasion. It was like D-day all over again. Little rows marching all over my house. The paratroopers were the worst.

Did you know that the scientific name for the Thief Ant is Solenopsis Molesta. Such a menacing name. The little Black Ant is called Monomorium Minimum. Nothing minimum about an ant invasion. And the False Honey Any is called Prenolepis Imparis. Very imparing when bugs are crawling up you arms and legs while you try to blog.

To be fair, the invasion had begun before I left, but I had managed to hold the line, so to speak. It was a daily fight, but somehow I managed.

I was concerned about leaving my post at the front. But it was one of those things that was left undone when I left in such a panicked hurry.

And so today I must gird up my loins and go forth to battle. Armed with cleaning supplies and bug spray.

At least for now, we have managed to maintain a perimeter of the downstairs and they haven't managed to break through the lines to the uptairs.

It is completely unacceptable that they keep crawling on me and my laptop. The horror.

You know what they say "War is helk".

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The BYU Bookstore is Evil

While we were in Utah, Diana requested that we take another trip to the BYU bookstore. I told her that financial times being what they are, we would not be buying as much stuff as we did last time we went in April. She said "Fine."

Once we were there, I was bombarded with many requests to look at this, and what about that. I stayed firm, repeating over and over the word "NO".

Finally we ended up downstairs looking at the pictures. She was so excited to find some of the small pictures of Christ that she didn't have yet for her collection on her bedroom door. This is where the brick wall of my resolve began to crack. OK , I said, just a couple of them. They were only fifty cents after all.

We then found some great Simon Dewey and Liz Lemon calendars that were on clearance for $1. I am hoping to cut the pictures out and frame them for my living room wall. Pretty inexpensive, huh.

And then the book section. We stumbled onto a shelf of American girl books. Diana picked out about six of them and I made her narrow it down to three. One was a book of puzzles that I hoped would keep her occupied. One was a book of hair styles with pictures giving directions on how to achieve total adorableness. A must have for sure. And the last was a book of little notes that you can fill in and give to friends. So hard to say No to books.

And so with all these treasures we went to check out. Imagine my dismay when the total came to $50. The brick wall had crumbled like a sand castle during high tide at the beach. I then said to the sales clerk "This place is evil." To which he responded with "I've never heard that before. I will have to pass that on to my supervisor." He even chuckled.

With that, I adopted the mantra of "Don't look back" and "Run Away, Run Away."

We left that place like Lot leaving Sodom. Diana tried to do her best imitation of Lot's wife by looking back and pointing out other tempting things.

At least we passed up the delicious over priced ice cream in the food court. Instead we went to Macy's. Man that place is addicting.

Later as I was telling my sister about the regret I felt at over spending, Diana said to me "Mom, don't you know, Jesus is priceless?" Does she know how to work the system or what?

Yes, dear, Jesus is priceless. Sigh.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Tim Tam Slim Slam Jim Jam Wham Bam Kin Can Flim Flam Blog Lunch

Oh my goodness, Oh my gadness! Today was just the best day ever!!!!!.

For any of you in the dark, I am still in Utah and one of the biggest reasons for my staying so long was to attend the fantabulous blog lunch with the famous Crash Test Dummy.

It was the most bestest Tim Tam Slim Slam Jim Jam Wham Bam Kin Can Flim Flam Event ever.

First for any of you who were not able to attend, I am so sorry for your loss, but nani nani boo boo to you. It was way too much fun. I am not sure that Olive Garden will ever let us back because we were partying like it is 2009, because it is, silly.

So far I have only met about 10 blog friends, but I can say in every case, bloggers in real life are better than they seem in cyber space. They are funnier, prettier, wittier, and way sillier.

There is something so unique about meeting people for the first time, who already know you. The real you, well, at least the one you have carefully crafted on your blog.

The only downside was that I was so busy visiting and taking pictures and giving autographs that I didn't even have time to eat. Next time we should go somewhere that I don't really like the food.

Driving there I felt giddy with anticipation and nervousness. Kind like when you are a teenager and you are driving to a stake dance and wondering will I meet someone tonight, perhaps the love of my life? Well, something like that anyway.

And I relied on my memory from when I used to live here, because why wouldn't I know exactly where to go after 20 years? Mapquest, schmapquest. I don't need no stinking map. I only drove around aimlessly for an extra 10 minutes, all the while worrying that I would miss some of the fun.

Finally I arrived. Julie from Youngblood was sitting in the car next to me, but I wasn't quite sure it was her. Barb from Barbaloot Suit walked in next, wearing her snazzy red shoes and looking as cute as can be. Next Debbie from Cranberry Fries came through the door.

Finally the belle of the ball, Crash aka Debbie showed up. She was sporting her cute new hair doo and snappy red purse. Hugs were exchanged all around. And jumping up and down was definitely required. To meet in person, people who comment on your thoughts and validate you as a person is something incredible and definitely worthy of jubilation.

I know that without my blog friends I would not have survived this past year. NO way, NO how. And so to actually get to squeeze these people and feel of their love in person, it was so wonderful.

Next we saw Kristina P getting out of her car and Crash made us all hide by the bathroom and jump out and yell "Suprise". So much fun.

Kristina P showed up with Britany and Jillybean. Did you know that Kristina P got Brittany a baby? Well she did and a whole hearted congratulations to Brittany. Apparently Kristina's hair dresser's roommate has an unplanned pregnancy and plans to place with Brittany in October. I know it will be beyond wonderful. Good job Kristina!
I think Shelle was next to arrive. It is kind of a blur. She was looking cute and chic as ever in her black high heels.

At this point the hostess was anxious to clear the waiting area of this estrogenfest and herded us back to our table.

I have to admit to strategically placing myself next to Crash. No way was I going to sit at the other end of the table from her.

The conversation at the table was at warp speed. It made my head spin at times. What else would you expect when so many bloggers get together. So many words, so little time. Dang.
A little bit later Funny Farmer, The Crazy Lady, and Val of the South arrived. More hugging. More talking. Way more laughing and giggling. Val had baked a loaf of bread complete with homemade jam. So thoughtful of her. The Crazy Lady had her adorable 6 week old baby. She was perfectly behaved and slept through the whole lunch. The baby, not crazy lady.

There was an amazing sisterhood that is hard to put into words. Kind of like drinking fizzy lifting drinks in Willy Wonka.

And then of course the cameras came out and the picture taking began. It was a bit out of control. And several different times, our documentation got in the way of the waiters trying to earn a living serving people their food while it was still hot. Jeez Louise people, where are your priorities?

Here are Crash and Kristina modeling the lovely snuggy and look at the cute Crash Test embellishment that Jill made.

Next Shelle had a turn with the snuggy. Check out the waiter in the background, do you think he is wondering what kind of lunatics we are? Blogging ones, of course. Stupid question.
And I even got a turn with the snuggy. And of course I needed to make the screaming face.

Here are Shelle, Crash, and I. Check out Crash's camera, serious stuff.

Here every one is trying out the Nutty Hamster Chick screaming face. I really should invest in a trademark for that, it might be worth something. From left to right, Shelle, Crash, Funny Farmer, Me, and Barb.

We spent about 10 minutes screaming trying to get the perfect shot. So funny.

Here we are with Val of the South strutting our stuff. Sorry about the bunny ears, Val.

And here is a shot of me giving my first autograph ever. Crash's brother wanted every one's autograph. So strange. I can't for the life of me imagine why. He said that some day these autographs would be worth a fortune. Um, I don't think so, but why not humor the little people. And just so you know, famous bloggers put their pants on one leg at a time. They just might stop in the middle to check their comments.

And finally one with me and Crash. She is just as sweet, cute, clever, and witty as she seems in her posts.

Thanks Crash for planning this wondrous fiesta. It was a total blast. I need to drive up more often for such opportunities.

Seriously Crash, you are da bomb. And so are the rest of you. See ya round the blogosphere.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

I don't get that a lot.

Things seem to be going well here is Utah. Surprisingly it is quite different from Las Vegas. Shocking, I know. Inconceivable even. Hmmm. It is much cooler for one thing. People all kind of look the same, for another.

Diana was able to attend a fun volleyball camp for the past three days. Check this out, my brother is the head Athletic Trainer at UVU. And so this camp took place there. My sister in law called me up and asked me if Diana would like to attend. The details were that it would cost $5 and my brother would pick her up and bring her home. Yeah, I had to really think hard about that one. Talk about rhetorical questions.

She has had a fabulous time. And today she even won a volleyball at the closing ceremony. The only downside was that she needed to be ready to go out the door at 8:20 AM. Seeing as how we have slipped into sleeping in until 10 for the summer, well yes that part was a bit difficult. But there is no such thing as a free lunch, so the piper must be paid.

Another great thing about Utah is the ice cream cones at the grocery store. Last night Diana, my sister, and I went to get some ice cream, and oh yeah some groceries. My sister and Diana both got an ice cream cone. I didn't get one, because I wasn't that hungry and I didn't really want to spend the money.

As we wandered down to the produce section, Diana offered me a taste of her cone. I took her up on her offer and told her how yummy it was. She said "Aren't you glad you brought me?" I responded "Yes, I am glad I brought you." To which she quipped "Yea, I don't get that a lot."

It is a good thing I wasn't drinking anything. I would have spit it out while laughing out loud. Are you kidding me? Where does she get this stuff? Oh that girl cracks me up.