Wednesday, March 28, 2012

It's Just a Harmless Little Bunny, Isn't It?

Remember the scene from Monty Python's Holy Grail when the knights are trying to get in the cave and it's protected by the evil rabbit? They end up trying to kill it by throwing the Holy Hand Grenade at it. Absolutely one of my favorite scenes from that movie. Read on to understand why...

A few years ago my son wanted a bunny. I agreed thinking it would teach him responsibility and really, how much work can a little bunny be?

Yeah, news flash parents, don't buy an animal to teach a kid responsibility. It doesn't work. And rabbits...not a great pet. As Tim in the Holy Grail so aptly describes "That's no ordinary rabbit. That the most foul, cruel, and bad-tempered rodent you ever set your eyes on." So true.

Our "bunny" is now five years old and lives in our freaking living room! His name is Buster and he can read minds. I'm not kidding. He picks up on thoughts and emotions. When someone near him gives out a negative emotion, he thumps his back leg...hard...LOUDLY. Scares the pee out of you! He does this with us AND he does it with the TV. So everyone in the house can be feeling great, happy, lovely...then THUMP...there was a car crash on TV that upset Buster. Oh, and when I get upset and yell at the kids (yeah, it happens), Buster will start thumping, then I yell and him and I feel like an idiot yelling at the damn rabbit, which makes the kids laugh, and I get even madder...vicious cycle...evil rabbit!!

I have a friend that has girl bunnies and wants to mate them with Buster, and I said, "Hell, no!" I don't want any more evil mind reading bunnies on this planet, it's just creepy!

Hop on,

It's Wabbit season, and I'm hunting wabbits, so be vewy, vewy quiet! - Elmer Fudd

Battle Weary

I have been very busy the last two weeks fighting the epic, Air Conditioning Repair Battle. It involves the installing company that installed the inside unit in a way that it cannot be serviced without being disconnected and moved (huge labor cost). The local company that we had transferred our extended warranty to that is either incompetent or unethical and the new company that has so far saved the day and been the voice of honesty and information.

The installing company: never called back after repeated calls and messages...shocker. They will get a strongly worded letter to make it right and if that doesn't happen they will be seeing us in court.

The local company: never could find problem/leak but told us we were low on freon and we had a freon leak, so opted to change out the coils (because that's usually the problem...blah blah blah). Never bothered to run further tests to correctly diagnose problem, told us that we either needed to move inside unit ($1000 labor charge, not covered by warranty) or cut a 30in x 60in hole in our wall so they could access the coils.

New company: came out and checked out the whole system for a flat $69 service charge. Tested the freon pressure, said is was fine (NO LEAK!!) but after about 15 minutes of searching and testing confirmed that we had a bad compressor. He ordered the part and will be installing it on Friday and the WHOLE THING will be covered under our warranty.

I've been dealing with this for almost 2 weeks now and I'm so glad it's mostly resolved. I have learned a few things:

1) Kill them with kindness. I have been pleasant with every person I've talked to, even when I knew they were wrong and might be taking advantage of me. There is a time for being "not nice" but I find that people shut down and stop listening when that happens.

2) If you feel like something is wrong, it probably is. Trust your instincts.

3) Get a second opinion. If your looking at a big expensive repair and you're not knowledgeable about the subject, ask someone else to take a second look at it. For a small service charge, you'll have peace of mind. If the original company gets offended, red flag, they shouldn't mind if they have nothing to hide.

4). Reward skill and honesty with loyalty. If you find someone that is good at what they do and treats you honestly, stick with them. Also let them know how you feel verbally and follow up with a letter. Let them know that you will tell your friends about them and recommend their service whenever you can.

This is a new skill for me. In the past I usually asked others to help me with stuff like this, but I got all this done on my own. I'm very proud of the outcome and how I handled things. I'm going to take a few days to breathe and cool down (literally, we will have a/c on Friday!) and then I'll go to war with the installing company. Nice to know that it's not urgent and I can do things slowly and correctly.

Keep cool,

A business absolutely devoted to service will have only one worry about profits. They will be embarrassingly large. - Henry Ford

Thursday, March 22, 2012

Men vs Boys

The only difference between men and boys is the cost of their toys.  ~Author Unknown

I found this quote proved somewhat true today.

When my kids were little they wanted lots of little stuff. One year for Christmas, I bought them a complete set of Pokemon figures. There were hundreds of them and they were about an inch tall. They also loved legos, Pokemon cards, Hot Wheels, and so on. I spent a fortune on all this crap stuff. The stuff was cheap but there were so many versions of each toy and they “gotta catch 'em all.” It adds up.

Today on Facebook a friend of mine posted something about her son and mentioned something about Bey Blades and Hex Bugs. I have no idea what these things are, never even heard of them. It got me thinking of the difference between little kids and teenagers.

When someone asks me what to give the boys now, I just say “Cash.” They don't want little, easy to buy things anymore. They still want stuff, only now it's big stuff, but the names are at least recognizable.

Guitar, Violin, Laptop, X Box, Car, Car, Car, Car, Car

Back to the quote, if I were to ever speak that quote it would be “tongue in cheek.” There are a lot of differences between men and boys. Thankfully, my boys are turning into wonderful men.


Boys are students: Men are teachers

Boys are consumers: Men are producers

Boys play with toys: Men work with tools

Boys break things: Men make things

Boys ask questions: Men give answers

Boys are disruptive: Men bring order

Boys run in gangs: Men organize teams

Boys play house: Men build homes

Boys shack up: Men get married

Boys make babies: Men raise children

A boy won’t raise his own children: A man will raise his and somebody else’s

Boys invent excuses for failure: Men produce strategies for success

Boys look for somebody to take care of them: Men look for somebody to take care of

Boys are present-centered; Men are time-balanced, having knowledge of the past and understanding of the present and a vision for the future

Boys seek popularity: Men demand respect

Boys are up on the latest: Men are down with the GREATEST

- Rev. Clarence L. James

A List: 5 Random Things

It seems like a lot has been happening lately, but most stuff isn't big enough, or truthfully, interesting enough for a blog post. Here are 5 random things that will probably not impact your life at all, but might make you smile, cringe, shriek, or laugh.

1. Yesterday, I told you about my unfortunate problems with our air conditioning unit. I was hoping that the a/c fairy would magically solve them overnight, but nope she must be on vacation, still have issues. The interior unit is in a tiny attic and the way it was installed (5 years ago), there is no way to access the motor or coils without detaching and moving the whole unit.

Stay with me, I know this is less than exciting stuff. Here is the kicker, we either need to pay A LOT of money to have the unit moved, or cut a 3 ft x 5 ft whole in the wall in a very visible area. If we do this, they can access the unit, the parts and labor will be entirely covered by the warranty, and the a/c will work properly again (which will be very important in a few weeks).

“Honey, please get the saw out and cut a huge whole in the wall.” “Yes, dear”

2. Son #1 had a good time in Branson last week, but he was “that kid” on the trip. He threw up in the hotel room the first morning at 5:30 am and had to wake up the band directors. He hurt his back on the go carts and needed several doses of Tylenol, he had a nose bleed (several, actually) on the Grand Stairway in the Titanic Museum...sorry chaperons, at least he was well behaved.

3. Which leads to... Son #1 got in a bit of trouble last night. He lent his phone to a kid on the school bus and forgot to get it back. I found this out because this kid used the phone to text Son #1's contacts and had odd conversations with them. I got several texts asking when Son #1 had gotten hurt, did he hit his head, and why is he acting so weird. After several rounds of questioning, he finally confessed and told me what happened. When I asked who had it, I find out it's the same kid that took his phone last year and downloaded over $200 worth of apps and games. Oh, I was not happy.

I ranted and raved at him and he just sat there and then calmly said, “Mom, I'm 15. I get good grades, I don't drink or do drugs, I've never gotten in trouble at school. Really, Mom, let's put this in perspective, I lent my phone to, admittedly the wrong person, and forgot to get it back. If that is the worst problem you have with me, I think you're pretty lucky.”

Well, yes, son you're right, I am VERY lucky. Never mind.

4. This morning my mother texted me all in a panic. Apparently, Son #2 had called her on his cell phone twice this morning and no one was on the line. She was ready to start calling the school and send out a search party for him (He's 14, but to her they will always be her babies). When I told her he was right next to me and had accidentally “butt dialed” her, I had to explain what butt dialing was. After she stopped laughing, she said, “I keep my phone in my bra, does that mean that I've been boob dialing people?”

Yes, Mom, it does.

5. Our dog Spike does not like men. He's ok with them when he is out and about, but he will not let adult men in our house without growling, slobbering, and snarling. He's a lot like me in that respect. Just kidding. Sorta. Anyways, when the repairmen came the other day, they were going to be inside and outside so the only place we could put him is our upstairs master bathroom. When I tell you this next part you may have more insight into why I'm sometimes cranky and insane. Our upstairs MASTER bathroom is so tiny that our dog (admittedly he is rather large) had to stand in the bath tub. This bathroom contains a full size tub/shower and a toilet and the floor space left over is, and I'm not exaggerating, 2 ft x 2 ft.

Feel my pain, at least I always get the bathroom to myself, only one person fits in there.

So there are some glimpses into my last few days. I told you it wasn't terribly exciting, but thanks for hanging in there with me.


For marriage to be a success, every woman and every man should have her and his own bathroom. The end. - Catherine Zeta-Jones

**Uh oh** 

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

Bring it on!

Amazing...I am truly blessed.

Yesterday...well, to be quite honest, yesterday sucked. The air conditioner broke, it was installed incorrectly 5 years ago, the repair company couldn't find warranty paperwork...blah...blah...blah, on and on, things just kept going wrong.

All that bad energy spilled into today and I just felt awful when I woke up. I felt so full of “bad stuff” that I didn't know how to even begin turning it around so I could start to feel better. On top of all that, the person I really wanted to talk to isn't here anymore (well, at least not reachable by phone).

I did have a gentle nudge from her yesterday (for this blog's purpose, we will call her Ellie). The boys and I had just ordered our obligatory Tuesday mass quantities of food, and I commented on the logistics of getting all this food and our groceries in the house. Then I told them the story about how Ellie would never eat at Sonic because she thought they were listening to her through the speakers, after she ordered. I told her she was being ridiculous and paranoid, they didn't care what was going on in her car. But, by God, the minute I said that, the speaker turned on and the car hop laughingly asked if we wanted a drink holder to carry our sodas home it. Ok, fine Ellie, you were right, I was wrong.

Back to my original point...I woke up in foul mood, without Ellie to call and vent to, and I didn't know how to fix it. Finally, I decided to put myself in my friend's hands and posted this on Facebook:

ok Peeps, feel like I'm drowning in bad juju right now, please tell me something good, funny, or wonderful. I need happy!!

Well, my wonderful friends delivered. Within minutes, they sent funny stories, Bee sent two hilarious pictures, and best of all Ellie's mom called to check on me and make sure I was ok.

Thank you all! I am truly blessed to have all you there to pick me up and carry me around for awhile when I feel like I can't get through. So, bring it on, whatever life wants to challenge me with, that's fine. I've got an angel beside me and the best friends a girl can ask for behind me.

Crisis averted,

Angels descending, bring from above,
Echoes of mercy, whispers of love.
~Fanny J. Crosby

Monday, March 19, 2012

Random Acts of Kindness?

I saw the dark side of my children this morning, and I didn't like it.

My boys have to be at the bus stop at 6:15am.  None of us are at our bests that early in the morning, so we usually just sit quietly (they sleep) and wait for the bus (I watch for bus). This morning a storm blew in very quickly and it was raining steadily and there was LOTS of lightning.

We drove to the bus stop this morning because of the rain, and when I pulled up all the kids, but two, were also in cars. These kids (brother and sister) were sitting out in the open, getting rained on and it was obvious that the lightning scared them (it scared me, too by the way). I asked the boys if we should invite them into the car to get out of the rain, and both my beloved children said, "No. They are annoying. I don't like them." I was shocked.

I sat there for a moment, hesitating. My kids are usually pretty good judges of character and they are usually very kind to others. If they don't want to help these kids during this dreadful weather, there must be a good reason. This indecision lasted about 30 seconds, then I thought, "Screw it! Even if my kids were annoying heathens (jury is still out on this), I'd still want someone to help them in this kind of weather." So I rolled down the window and asked the kids if they wanted to get out of the rain. "Yes, thank you!" was of course the response.

We have a small SUV, so I opened the hatch and they crawled in the back, now completely out of the elements, safe and sound. They turned out to be in middle school (boy 6th grade, girl 7th grade), and while they were a tad annoying and due to a few of their comments and stories, would not be my first choice of companions for my children, they were polite and grateful for the shelter.

I'm not really sure how to handle this situation. I'm disappointed in the choice my boys made, and I'm ashamed at myself for even momentarily supporting their decision. Perhaps I have not been a good enough example to them. I think some random acts of kindness are in order, so they can see how good it feels to help others.


If you haven't any charity in your heart, you have the worst kind of heart trouble.  ~Bob Hope

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Bueller? Bueller?

Frye?     Frye?

If you were born before the 1980's you will should understand the above Ferris Bueller's Day Off reference.

If not....Are You There God? It's Me Margaret. Crap! That was another 80's reference, and my name is not Margaret. Hmmmm....

"Is Anybody Out There?" Damn! An 80's Def Leppard lyric...but wait! Ha! It is a Maroon 5 song, too, and I think from the current decade :)

Anyhoo...just wondering if anyone is reading this? If you read the comment on the previous post, you can see that I have resorted to talking to myself and that's never a good thing. We usually get into arguments. That chick is crazy!

I was told that the comment option wasn't working for everyone, so I turned off the security features. It should work now, so unless you want me to fight with that crazy chick some more, pity me and start commenting.

I am all alone here,
there is no one here beside me,
all my problems they are gone,
there is no one to deride me...

Uh we are in the 1970's. (Donkey doesn't count!)


We can stay up late, swapping manly stories, and in the morning, I'm making waffles! - Donkey, Shrek

Concerned Mom or Stalker? You Decide...

As previously discussed, Son #1 is in Branson, MO with his high school band. I'm a very involved parent (not enough to chaperon the trip, you have to be dedicated crazy to do that), but I like to think that we communicate well, and I know most of what is going on in his life. We talk. At least I thought we did...

Fast forward to today, he's almost 700 miles away from me and on a trip that I've spent 6 months paying for. I'd like to know how he's doing, is he having fun, how was the drive, is there a tornado about to touch down, is he still alive, you know, silly things like that. I've gotten one text from him and it was to ask me where I packed something. When I text him, I get one word responses...yep, nope, fine. At least I know he is healthy enough to text back 3 to 4 letter responses.

So, if you're keeping score: Concerned Mom, 1 point   Stalker, 0 points  (yay!)

But we can't just leave it there can we? No.

That is where Facebook and 15 year old girls come into play. You see, I'm Facebook friends with a girl in the band who is also on the trip. This girl is awesome. I've known her most of her life, and I enjoy being Facebook friends with her.

One huge difference between 15 year old boys and 15 year old girls is that boys text their moms one word updates, whereas girls post pictures, check ins, and LOTS of comments on Facebook. I know everything that Son #1 is doing, but only because I am stalking following this girl on Facebook.

So, keep the one word texts coming kiddo, so I know your still alive. And keep the Facebook post coming, sweet girl, looks like a fabulous trip so far.

Concerned mom: 1 point    Stalker: 1 point

Tied! I can live with that,

I tell my child, if I seem obsessed to always know where you've been, it is because my DNA will be found at the scene.  ~Robert Brault

Friday, March 9, 2012

Sick Flick

If you know me, or you've read the rest of this blog (which I highly recommend, of course), you know a few things about me:

1) I have 2 boys (teenagers).

2) We have been sick.

So far only son#2 (once again, numbered by age, not preference, because if so, right now he'd be son#10) and myself have gotten sick. We have been sick for over a week and we've been trapped at home together by our snotty, sneezy, coughy selves all day. Throw in intense back pain cause by said coughing and sneezing, and it's been a long week.

Another fact about me:

1) I love movies.

When I find a movie I really like, I can watch it over and over. This leads me to a quirk that my family has and I'm wondering if other people have the same thing. We have a "sick movie." This is the movie we put on when someone is sick and stuck in bed.

When the boys were very young and had little say in our viewing choices, my "sick movie" was The American President starring Michael Douglas and Annette Bening. After son#1 was born and I was on maternity leave, I think I probably watched this movie at least 3 to 4 times a day. It's crazy, I know, I can't really explain it but it is what it is. President Andrew Shepherd and I spent a lot of time together. I should have joined his re-election campaign.

But time moves on and now we have a new "sick movie." Don't judge or be a hater, it's not the greatest movie ever, but it is one of the funniest. "Sick movies" should basically be brain candy. You put the movie on and it takes you away from everything for awhile, without a lot of thinking involved. That all said, our current "sick movie" is Galaxy Quest starring Tim Allen, Alan Rickman, and Sigourney Weaver.

So I'm curious...are we the only ones that do this? Do you have a "sick movie? If so, what is it? Well, I must much coughing, sneezing and snotting left to do today.

Never give up, never surrender!

Lewis Rothschild: Who're we calling, sir?
President Andrew Shepherd: I'm calling the Organization of the United Brotherhood of It's None of Your Damn Business, Lewis. I'll be with you in a second.
- Michael J Fox and Michael Douglas, The American President

Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Not Firing on all Cylinders

Some sort of The Plague has hit our house.

It just so happens that choir and band directors schedule a lot of events during the week before Spring Break, so this is not a good time to be sick.

Also, did you know that extra strength extended release Mucinex makes you loopy as a lopsided kite? Yes, it does, which made the middle school choir concert last night much more interesting than normal. Turns out giggling during an acapella ballad sung by 40 teenage girls will get you severely glared at. Oops.

Another thing, a bad back + sneezing fit = trip to back doctor. Be warned.


I reckon being ill as one of the great pleasures of life, provided one is not too ill and is not obliged to work till one is better.  ~Samuel Butler, The Way of All Flesh, 1903