Related Posts with Thumbnails

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

Christmas Tree Trouble, Part 2

Charlie took that Christmas tree back to Home Depot last Monday and on Wednesday I pulled up in the driveway to see the one I ordered from Balsam Hill already here. Sweet, I thought.  But as I dragged the box in the garage I realized it was no way big enough to be holding a 9ft tree. And I was right. I had half a tree. Half.a.tree. Fit to be tied does not even begin to describe the state I was in. So I got online to get their phone number and dialed it at rapid speed only to sit on hold for a sweet for-everrr. 

Here's a genius thought (and I told their customer service as such in a snarky email), how about (since you are going to leave your customers on hold for an eternity) playing some Christmas music since it's, you know, a Christmas tree company and all because that elevator song playing in a loop over and over and over does not do much in improving the mood of the customer with a tree problem who has been sitting on hold for 43 hours. 

And of course, about twenty minutes into my holding marathon another call beeped in and it was the elementary school (welcome to my life). It was Dracen telling me he felt light-headed and dizzy and needed to come home at once (although there was only another 30 minutes left in the school day). But since he does have a history of passing out, I had no choice but to hang up before ever speaking to a single person about the whereabouts of the other half of my tree and get in the car to go pick him up. He ended up being fine after eating and resting but he did seem a bit out of sorts when I got to the school. 

Once I got him settled in, I dialed that number again and sat there and sat there and sat there some more and the more that sorry excuse for a song played, the madder I got. When I finally did get a live person to pick up, she didn't seem one bit alarmed that I had only received one half of my tree and no email notifications whatsoever. Then she proceeded to give me the FedEx tracking number for the other box so I could go online and track it myself or "get in touch with FedEx" as she put it, as if it was all their stinking fault. Grrr.

She told me she felt sure it would arrive "tomorrow". I, however, did not feel sure in any way, shape or form and it's a good thing I didn't look for it the next day because it was Friday before it showed up. I dove straight into that box and began to assemble it like a mad woman. Only after I got the part labeled '1' on, I couldn't find '2'. Oh it must be in the first box, right? Tell me it is in the first box. So I ran out to the garage where the first box still sat only to find no part 2 and another part 1. No lie, I think smoke came out of my ears.

Then I went into a rare manic state in which I began slinging those heavy branches around like they weighed nothing and shouting things like, "THIS TREE WILL WORK TODAY!!! SOMEHOW, SOME WAY!!!  OR I WILL DIE TRYING!!!" (I left out the profanity) (You are welcome)

And guess what? Where there is great will, there is a way because it worked! I still don't know whether they just labeled that part wrong since I do have two of those step-on and off plugs that go into the wall and that doesn't seem right, but it looks right and all the lights work so I am, at last, a happy Christmas tree camper. 

I know you are all so relieved to know that my Christmas tree woes are over. At least for this year. Unless some lights go out. But that will not happen. 

Oh one more completely unrelated thing before I go. Are y'all watching The Voice and did you see that performance by Craig Wayne Boyd last night? He sang The Old Rugged Cross live on prime time t.v. and it gave me chills. I immediately downloaded/bought it on iTunes and then took time to vote for him after the show because in this politically correct age we are living in, that was a great big deep breath of fresh air. 


Pin It

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

Christmas Tree Trouble

Last year I declared it our pre-lit Christmas tree's last year. We had a pretty decent run but have had to string extra lights to compensate for all the ones burned out for the past two years and it had also somehow developed a gaping hole on one side. Plus, I wanted a taller tree since we bought that tree before we moved and the ceilings are higher in this house. Well. Who knew how large a task I was taking on when I made that little declaration because where-have-all-the-good-trees-gone? 

There are countless beautiful life-like trees to be found online but my thought was that I'd end up with a problem tree and then have to deal with sending it back which would no doubt turn into an ordeal that would quickly cause my inner Grinch to surface. Not to mention the bordering-on-insanity costs of some of those trees. So Sunday afternoon we headed out to Home Depot because I saw online that they had some 9ft trees in stock and I must have made about five hundred thousand circles around those trees trying to pick one I deemed worthy before deciding I wanted to go look somewhere else.

Charlie and Devin were thrilled. Dracen had the good sense and forethought to stay at his momaw and popaw's house (which was a good thing because his commentary would have no doubt sent me over the edge I was already starting to teeter on). After hitting Lowes, Wal-mart and Michaels, we made our way back to Home Depot, whose trees were now beginning to look a whole lot better. I had the brief thought of going back to a real tree before coming to my senses and remembering the sinus infections I got for four years straight at Christmastime before being hit with the hey-maybe-this-has-something-to-do-with-the-live-tree-in-my-house realization. 

We (okay I) finally decided on one that was not on display but for reasons beyond my own comprehension, seemed like the best bet. It probably had something to do with the fact that Martha Stewart's name was on it because you can say what you want about her, but the woman does have some good taste. So we got it home, cleared out a place for it in the corner (a new spot this year) and was amazed at how easily it went up. But as I began the fluffing process, I noticed that about four entire branches were not lit and could find nary a cord disconnected. 

Charlie was busy but said he'd look at it shortly so I spent the next  hour and a half getting scratched up by those prickly needles as I fluffed and fluffed and fluffed. Then we spent another hour and a half checking every single cord, bulb and fuse on that tree only to walk away in defeat. As Charlie began disassembling it, I took to my keyboard in order to let out my frustrations via a bad review on Home Depot's website before ordering one from Balsam Hill that I'm hoping arrives very soon and in good working order because I'm experiencing a bad case of Christmas Tree Envy. 

Oh at the silly things we get worked up over. 

Speaking of silly (or maybe not-so-silly) things, remember the throwing knives Dracen has been putting on his Christmas list for the past two or three years? Well, they are back on there this year and will probably be there again next year too because not-in-my-lifetime, buddy. Not in my lifetime.

Pin It

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Whole Lotta Big Hair Ago...

Well my 25 year high school reunion came and went, yet still I'm having a hard time wrapping my mind around the fact that it really has been a quarter of a century since we tossed those green caps up into the stale air of that high school gym (we got moved inside at the last minute due to the possibility of rain that never came). Then there are times when it seems that was an entire lifetime ago and in many ways, I suppose it was. 

As I studied our class photo we had on display, I found myself right there in line with my three best big-haired high school friends on the gym bleachers (along with all our many other friends/classmates) and realized that while we have all grown and matured and experienced countless joys and triumphs, and celebrations and milestones, and devastating life blows and griefs that none of us ever could have imagined, our core personalities are still recognizably, familiarly, the same. 

Then later, after everyone had arrived and began to mingle and take their seats, I took in the goings-on of the room (as us hardcore introverts always tend to do in such situations) and noticed that out of the small percentage of our class who showed up, we had pretty much all navigated to the little groups we most often found ourselves forming way back then. I was not surprised by this as it has been the case in the other two reunions we've had in the past and I imagine it will be the same at any others we plan for the future. 

Of course I was sitting at a table with my three formerly-big-haired friends who have remained among my closest and dearest over the past two and half decades. My BFF and I (as little as we see each other anymore) both showed up sporting black faux fur vests while our husbands dressed so much alike some probably wondered if they had called each other. We used to do that sort of thing often. At first it was on purpose. 

I've told that story here before but in case you missed it...

We both moved to this area during the summer before our tenth grade year so we were both the new kids on the block and our friendship was truly formed from a shared misery and what we had both thought at the time to be the greatest torture and misfortune of our young lives. Given the circumstance, our friendship/bond grew very quickly, so much so that we thought it'd be just charming if we bought matching outfits at the mall one weekend that we'd then both wear to school Monday morning.

This was back in 1986, when pleated, puffy-sleeved rompers were all the rage. So we bought us a matching pair in a glorious shade of peach and even splurged on big arse matching peach hair bows for our big arse hairdos. Oh yes. We were fly. I don't think we made it to our homerooms before we were regretting our decision at a level of intensity neither of us ever thought possible. Everybody knew our names after that, though most of them just called us The Bobbsey Twins.  Fun times those were. At least now, twenty-eight years later, we can laugh about it. I think it only took about ten.  

After that unfortunate fashion catastrophe faux-pas we always called each other to make sure we were NOT wearing the same thing. Yet many times over the years since high school, we've showed up places in dangerously similar attire which is what happened with the matching vests (and husbands) Saturday night. 

The thing is, I came this close to not buying that vest but the darn thing beckoned me. I was in Target at the beginning of last week when I saw three on the rack (only one was my size). I took it off, put it back, took it off, put it back, took it off, and finally, put it back for good before walking way. Then I put my reunion outfit together at home the next day and thought this could really, really use that black faux fur vest. What a shame I didn't buy it. I know it's sold by now.

This haunted me for three days before I rode back up there to find that thing still hanging on the rack where I'd left it. I thought it was fashion fate at the time but now I know it was just part best-friend-fashion-synchronicity and part God's sense of humor at work in my life again. Only this time? I could fully appreciate the joke. 

Michelle was holding her twin vest (she said she got hot.)

Sadly (or maybe not so sadly) there is no known photo of the matching peach rompers but I do have this little gem of our senior year photography class, in all our big-haired glory...

Class of 1989

Pin It

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

It Ain't What It Used To Be

I just learned that you can still buy Rave hairspray but (and this is probably a good thing) it just ain't what it used to be. All my 80s hair sisters remember this stuff, right? After you'd curled your already-permed-hair with the curling iron and then teased it half to death with that ginormous plastic hair pick, you'd break out that big ole can of Rave (extra-extra-firm-mega-hold formula) and spray that hair like there was no tomorrow. Or ozone in need of protection.

Sometimes, depending on the occasion and magnitude of big hair volume you were setting out to achieve, the hair dryer was added to this equation. There was no quicker way to the big hair of your dreams than through the working of a hair dryer, a plastic pick and a can of Rave Hairspray all at once. It was an art form, people. And once you had every single permed-up-curled-and-teased strand of hair on your head completely coated in that stuff, not even a category five hurricane was gonna be getting through it. You knew you had achieved success when you shook your head around real good and not a single hair moved. 

I swear it's a wonder any of us have any hair left on our heads from all the abuse we put in through back then.

Now you're probably wondering why in the world I'm on this subject. Well...My 25 year high school reunion is this Saturday and a few of us met last night in a reserved room at a local pizza establishment (that we all frequented after every Friday night football game of our high school career) where we attempted to recreate the big hair of our youth. Our ring leader purchased the Rave, that I had no idea still existed in the world today. The can has changed quite a bit and sadly, to our disappointment, the formula has too. After about ten good licks with the can, we were all coughing from the inhaling of fumes like the old days, but I could tell something was way off with the scent. 

And the hair? Well, it was still blowing in the wind. Literally.

We were attempting to make a little video (on the fly) and ended up getting kicked out by the young guys who were trying to close up so they could get the heck outta there, and as far away from the likes of us crazies as humanly possible. So there the six of us were, on the sidewalk in front of the restaurant that was our old teenage stomping ground, after 10pm on a Monday night in the thirty degree weather, with our heads teased up and freezing our butts off, making attempt after attempt to record our video. Let me just say that there is a good reason why none of us set our sights on a career in the entertainment industry.

But it was fun. And silly. And nostalgic. 

And it's always good when those three things come together.

Kinda like the Rave, blow dryer and plastic pick back in 1989. 

Be still my big ole hair.

Pin It

Friday, November 14, 2014

Set It Free

Well my car came home yesterday and they never once heard the whine. I feared it would be loud and clear this morning since the temps were way down low, but to my surprise I know it existed because Charlie heard it too. He was actually the first one to hear it. The only explanation I have is that it was warm when they first listened (it mainly only did it when it was cold) and something they did in whatever it is they did in that 32,000 mile work up must have fixed it, whatever it was. 

At least that is my very unprofessional opinion about the matter. I'm just glad it's gone because, no lie, I had three different teachers (who were walking into the building), on three different mornings, turn and look to see what the whut that noise was coming up the hill when I pulled in the high school parking lot to drop Devin off. He has to get there ridiculously early since Dracen's tardy bell rings at the elementary school at just past the butt crack of dawn and two morning trips is out of the question (one is questionable most mornings). 

Speaking of Dracen and school, they had their first awards ceremony of the year this morning and his homeroom/math teacher (the one who told him on the second day of school that he'd talked more in two days than his brother did the whole year she had him) came up to me just to let me know how much of a delight he is to have in class. That is always a relief because, sweet mercy, I love that boy to pieces but he works our patience half to death much of the time at home.

Life is always an "adventure", what with him, his brother and those three rottenest-of-all-the-rotten tail waggers we've got living with us. Lucky and Brisco pulled another one of their get-out-the-door-and-run-like-there's-a-five-headed-poisonous-snake-chasing-you stunts again yesterday evening.  Charlie had just pulled into the garage with my car and I walked out there to check it out (because we also had a luggage rack installed) and as usual, all three of them followed me.

The door was down but the walk-thru door has gotten to where it sometimes doesn't stay shut tightly unless you lock it and before I knew what was happening, those two had pried it open and were halfway up the driveway before I could get my wits about me. And of course I was in baggy sweatpants that were hanging off me, short sleeves (it was cold) and sock feet. So Charlie got stuck chasing after them in his work boots. He came back shortly with Big Boy aka Brisco Darling, who I honestly didn't think still had it in him, but no Lucky. 

We figured he'd come back when he got tired in an hour or so but Dracen insisted on going out looking for him. It was getting dark and there are no street lights in our neighborhood so my worry wart self took off in the Saturn after fifteen minutes. I spotted him up the street talking to a neighbor who had gotten in her car to ride around and look for him too. After two different trips out riding and with no sunlight left to speak of, we came back to the house and waited.

Just as I expected, about an hour later, I stuck my head out the front door and there the little scallywag was on the front porch. I fussed at him a bit before letting him in the house, where he walked straight to the water bowl, drained it, took about three steps and crashed out cold on the living room floor. Juan Too Many (Charlie's nickname for him) was Flat Tuckered Out. 

Before he returned, we recalled that little quote about setting something you love free and if it comes back it's yours forever, if not, it was never meant to be.  Remember that? It was really popular in the 80s. Seems I recall, being the sentimental sap that I've always been, having it on a poster of a pony running in an open field when I was a kid. Anyway, I just did a search of that on Pinterest and discovered these spoofs instead...

And now I want chocolate.

Happy Friday,

Pin It

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Happy Wednesday

When I was driving the boys to school this morning Dracen said it feels like it's next week. Huh? "I mean it feels like Monday", he explained. And I understood because I had already said that three minutes earlier but they don't hear most of what I say so there you go. 

Charlie (mostly joking) told them Monday night that it didn't make sense that they didn't have to go to school on Veterans Day but he had to go to work and he's a veteran! "Well just close the company for the day", was Dracen's comeback. He then explained that whole thing about the expectations of customers and also, my car had an appointment in Charlotte because the closest Acura dealership is there.

It has been making a whining noise upon acceleration mostly just when it's cold and it is still under factory warranty. Of course it did not make the noise for them because they didn't get around to looking at it until the afternoon and it was over 70 degrees yesterday. They still have it and were going to listen again this morning. Somehow I'm betting they won't hear it again because it's probably inside a climate-controlled garage. Ugh. 

I'm driving my old Saturn and it was kind of like having lunch with an old friend because I am one of those people who gets nostalgic about inanimate objects like cars. I offered it to Devin for when he gets his license next year, telling him he could keep it or trade it for something else. He surprised me by saying he's planning to keep it and proceeded to tell me about the size of the speakers he is going to put in the back which meant nothing to me because I don't speak speaker language. At least I think he was talking about speakers. 

I fear he's probably inherited that driving-with-the-music-so-loud-it-drowns-out-the-entire-world gene from me but somehow I get the feeling we (and our neighbors) aren't going to appreciate the type of beats he'll be pumping out. Should be fun. 

In other news, I think I have finally figured out why Lucky Dog has not been losing any weight, in spite of all my efforts to cut his calories back. The little weasel has been getting into the pantry. A few days ago I caught him crunching on something that appeared to be a pretzel stick. I just assumed someone had dropped it somewhere and he sniffed it out. But later I heard him again. Someone had dropped the whole opened bag in the floor of the pantry (at least I thought) and he was sneaking pretzel after pretzel.
Later that night Charlie discovered the pretzel bag there in the floor, along with an empty pack of fudge-stripes cookies. Hmm. Still, I just assumed one of the boys knocked the stuff off in the pantry floor and didn't bother to pick it up. 

But yesterday afternoon I caught his little junk foodie self sneaking Doritos out of the bag that were still on the shelf. He'd somehow managed to get up there, get inside the bag and eat Doritos out one by one without knocking it off, a skill which I'm guessing has taken much practice to develop. Looks like I'm going to have to put a sign on the pantry door reminding us all to shut it all.the.way.

Sometimes I think we're insane for keeping three dogs in the house. Monday morning I caught Brisco Darling (halfway to China already) attempting to dig out the back sidewalk, no doubt after some little critter, forcing me to go up under the deck in order to fetch him so I could bring him inside to bathe him before I could leave the house. Because he ran under there when I called him to me. But what are you gonna do? They're like kids...a whole lotta dirt, mess and work but totally worth every single bit of it.

Happy Wednesday, Y'all.

p.s. In case you didn't know yet, I started a fashion blog a few days ago, For Fancy's Sake. You can check it out here if you're interested in that sort of thing. Or you can follow it on Facebook here.
Pin It

Friday, November 7, 2014

Just some more stuff about some more things

It's been a week since I finished the 31 days of blogging challenge so I figured it's probably time I get back in the saddle and giddy on up before I wind up letting five months pass me by with nary a blog post again. I'm not feeling very deep or philosophical this morning so I'm just going to share a few random things I've learned/observed recently.

1. I was less than thrilled about exercising my right to vote this week because I was just plain sick and tired of all the nonstop negative political ads, phone calls and emails but I suddenly had a change of heart on the day of so I drove over to my polling place and exercised my right. As I always do after casting my vote, I felt just a tad more liberated. Is that just me that happens to? Somehow I'm guessing not.  

2. And that Dr. Seuss quote from The Lorax just popped into my head... 

"Unless someone like you cares an awful lot, nothing is going to get better. It's not."

I swear there is a Dr. Seuss quote for every feeling/situation/life moment, is there not? That man was a genius. 

3. Dracen stayed home with a head cold Wednesday. He's always been one who requires lots of love and attention when under the weather and I have recently begun to secretly appreciate these little kinda-sick-but-not-too-sick days because they are growing up on me right under my very nose and I still haven't found that pause button I've been in desperate search of for the past few years.

4. Don't laugh but I've been thinking seriously of starting a fashion blog. It would be in addition to this one. Not a replacement. 

5. My 25 year high school reunion is coming up in two weeks (WHAT?!) and I'm working on a project for it using pics from my senior yearbook. I don't know what we were all thinking with our ginormous-teased-curled-and-sprayed-within-an-inch-of-its-life hair but I have absolutely no regrets about it because HILARIOUS today. I have laughed and laughed. 

6. This made me laugh and laugh too.

7. This is completely random but did you know you can ask Siri what planes are flying over your head right now and she'll tell you? I don't know why but that fascinates me to no end. I ask her all the time.

8. Report cards came home this week for both boys. Let's just say it was a happy occasion (and that hasn't always been the case). Devin is more like me while Dracen is (somehow) more of a math and science person. No idea where he gets it since Darin was a psychology major and algebraic equations make me want to punch lots of things. Hard.

9. Remember this photo? My favorite Dachshund pic in the entire world? If you haven't seen it here on this blog, you've probably seen it somewhere. It's all over the web and I've even found it on a few greeting cards. 

I came across the original source yesterday... Serenah Photography. That Dachsie's name is Ralphie and the creative genius behind the camera is his mom, Serena Hodson, a professional photographer from Australia. I'm a huge fan! Obviously.

And here he is with his brother, Simon...

Pure Awesome.

10. And finally...the snow. It did fall on us in the mountains last weekend. It was beautiful mixed with the yellow leaves and wasn't too much to get us stranded in the woods on top of that mountain. But that wind? That wind was straight up COLD and I was more than ready to get back to 60-70 degree weather.

Happy Friday,

p.s. Just learned from Serena's Facebook page that the little Dachshund, Ralphie, has very recently been diagnosed with lung cancer and doesn't have very long to live. :( Prayers for him and his family. 

p.p.s. I started the fashion blog! You can check it out by clicking HERE

Friday, October 31, 2014

Day 31...No Regrets

Well the blue skies have completely vanished and the clouds have swallowed that spectacular mountain view. But Dracen finally got his pumpkin carved so we now have this view instead. 

While all we are seeing is rain now, the snow is still predicted to roll in tomorrow and I'm hoping it's just enough to bring the magic but not so much that we have to scurry around, gather our belongings and head down this mountain a day early. 

This will be the first year since I've been a mother that I have not gone out on a candy hunt with a costumed boy (or two). That combined with the fact that we are pretty secluded up here made me almost forget that today is Halloween. I did not forget, however, that is the final day of this daily blogging madness and I'm feeling very much relieved about that.

Not that I regret doing it. On the contrary. Making a conscious effort to seek out the extraordinary in the day-to-day routine has been a positive eye-opener for me and I hope maybe it has been a little bit for the few of you who have traveled this journey with me. The magic is always there for those who choose to see it. 


Pin It

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Day 30, Mountain Magic

The boys are out of school today and tomorrow for teacher workdays so we are taking a little mini-vacation in a cozy-retro-feely house nestled in the woods at 4200 feet elevation. I've been many places in the North Carolina mountains but this is my first visit to Maggie Valley and I swear I think I may have heard a choir of angels singing when I stepped out of the car at this place. Because

The weather could not have been more perfect today though tomorrow is supposed to be cooler and cloudy while Saturday is looking like snow with highs in the 30s! The nice lady who owns the cabin called me this morning before we left to see if I wanted to reschedule for another time but I told her we were actually looking forward to seeing a little snow. If it happens (and it sounds like it's definitely going to) it will be the first time in my life I've encountered fall colors and snow in the same scene. I am beyond excited.

Today though...Today in itself was magical. At one point I was walking alone with Li'l Bit (Charlene) in the woods, the birds were flitting around, the sky was as blue as I've ever seen it, the leaves were thick under my feet with their vibrant autumn hues overheard and I suddenly got those chills (the ones I call spiritual chills) all over and I heard Kenny Chesney's voice singing...I believe there is magic here.  I know he is singing about a place near the sea in that song but I believe there is magic right here in these mountains. Thin Places? Oh yeah, this is one of those.

And when I stumbled upon this mirror on the outdoor shed? I knew it was...magic.  Pure Magic.

Then I sat down on the ground in the sun, with Li'l Bit on my lap, and recalled this quote...

Especially when said dog is wearing her angel wings for Halloween.

To be continued...

Day 30

Pin It