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Thursday, November 19, 2015

A Semi-Solved Mystery of Sorts

So Monday afternoon I checked the mail to find a box from Amazon. Already? Wow, that was fast. I'm impressed, Amazon. I brought it in and as soon as I opened the box and saw the exact same white box (unmarked, aside from a bar code) inside, I knew. They'd done it again. Sure enough, it was the same thingamajig they'd sent me the first time. Only this time, I paused to take a picture before jumping on my high horse and getting my I've-had-it-up-to-here message rant on (I can get right scary and intimidating with the keyboard when I have to)...

Now, does that look like a flying alarm clock to you? Or any kind of clock? Or ANYTHING resembling ANYTHING?  

I went through the you-sent-me-the-wrong-flippin'-item process again knowing that they'd most likely just send me this UNFO (Unidentified Non-Flying Object) again. And again. So I searched the fine print until I found an option to put my phone number in and have someone call me. And someone did. Immediately. Someone with a southern accent just like mine, who sounded like she could have lived up the street. Someone who seemed just as puzzled and bumfuzzled as I when I tried to give a description of this simple, yet mysteriously complex, object of my frustration. 

She laughed, though not like a laughing-at-you kind of laugh and then I kind of laughed too. "Well, what in the world? That is just so weird", she said.  "It's like you've got the missing link".  "I know, RIGHT?! Thank you!" Then she said, "I am sooo sorry. I'm not laughing at you but this is just so like something that would happen to me." And then I was completely softened because now I had a pal and we were in this thing together, a mystery-to-be-solved-let's-get-to-the-bottom-of-this-at-once type of situation. 

Charlie had walked into the kitchen while this conversation was taking place and seemed to grasp what was going down so he jumped on his phone and tried to help me and my new buddy at Amazon out. He took a picture of the bar code on the unmarked mystery box (Smart thinking, Scooby) and consulted Google."Diane! Diane! When I put that bar code in, it brings  up a picture of the alarm clock!"  

I immediately relayed this new information to my girl Katie, explaining to her that somebody went and pulled the boneheaded move of putting these UNFOs into the boxes the alarm clocks were supposed to go in. Or vice versa. Or something like that. Mystery semi-solved. She seemed appreciative of this information (Good work, Velma) and said she would still remove this item from the website so this would not happen to anyone else but that I could still try and order it from another seller on Amazon. And also that she was refunding my money immediately. Then she wished me and mine a good evening and thanked-me-so-much for allowing her to assist in this exciting mystery.  

I have long suspected Amazon was on a quest to take over the world. But dang, that was good. Well-played, Amazon. Very well-played. 

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Monday, November 16, 2015

What Tha? (I say that a lot)

Saturday I got a notification that the flying alarm clock had been delivered but when I opened the box, confusion and frustration immediately set in because It was definitely not a clock and I still have no clue as to what it was. Regretfully, I did not think to take a picture of it before I jumped on my computer to let Amazon know that they had royally messed up my order by sending me a "white piece of something", followed by several question marks. 

I received the automated reply that they were terribly sorry they'd screwed up and would send my clock straight away and if I would be so kind as to send this thingamajig back within 30 days. So I wasted no time packing it back up. The best guess was that it is some sort of stand for something or other. It's just a small, white, plastic something-something??? How it was accidentally sent in place of a flying alarm clock is a total mystery but stranger things have been known to happen. 

Speaking of such things, Charlie had been out in the backyard the other morning, trying to keep a handle on the billions of leaves that bury us this time every year (trees? we've got 'em) when he came in with a puzzled look and informed me that way up high in one of our trees, hanging from a branch, is one of those little travel neck pillows. I just shook my head and said, "Dracen". This is his world, we just live in it, and I long ago stopped being surprised by such things. Raising a curious, "spirited" boy with a big personality definitely brings a certain level of adventure to everyday life.

Last night, ten minutes after he was already supposed to be in bed, he came into the kitchen to get something to drink so he could take his allergy medicine and folic acid supplement (for the thalassemia minor he and his brother inherited from me). He spotted a bottle of grape juice in the fridge and said, "Ohhh". I thought he was just excited to find that we still had a bottle of grape juice left but I should have known there was more to it. Next he grabbed a slice of bread out of the bag and began tearing a piece off. Still, I thought he was just trying to get his pill down. 

Of course not. 

There is always more to the story with him because what he was actually doing was taking communion, which he also offered to me.

That boy. Gotta love him.

I should probably just rename this blog, Adventures in Dracenland or It's a Dog's World because if it's not Dracen, it's one of the dogs.

But more on the four of them later...

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Thursday, November 12, 2015

When Morning Comes Too Soon...and it always comes too soon

So I've mentioned a time or two about how the boys and I have never been what you'd call morning people. I set my alarm for 35 minutes before the time I absolutely have to be up and will then proceed to hit snooze a half dozen times before finally gathering up enough will to put my feet on the floor and head to the boys' rooms and attempt to wake them up. Devin will slowly rise up, drink a few sips of water and then head for the shower. I will then go back to Dracen's room and yell again for him to get up (because he never gets up the first time) before scooting down the hall toward the kitchen in zombie-like fashion. 

I will then be forced to repeat the zombie walk back to Dracen's room several more times because he won't get up the second, third or fourth times either. Charlie will also get involved on the mornings he does not have to leave super early. My already feeling-like-death-warmed-over-don't-look-at-or-talk-to-me-morning-grogginess will grow from highly annoyed to I'm-fixin-to-lose-my-ever-lovin-mind-anger after about the fifth time of it. 

This morning was especially difficult. 

The realization came to me on the drive back home after dropping him off (he barely made it on time) that his morning behavior reminds me of a belligerent drunk. He will say he's up when he's face down on the bed, say he's getting dressed when he's sitting on a stool in his closet and on some mornings, like this one, he gets mouthy, which just escalates my anger. But when you bring up his behavior in the afternoon, he very pleasantly acts as if he has no idea in the world what you are talking about. "I got up good. Can I have my phone back?" It's as if he really can't remember.

There was one morning, a couple of weeks ago, when Lucky woke me up before my alarm went off by going to the bedroom door to be let out. I assumed he needed to go take care of his business so I threw the covers back and jumped out of bed like the house was on fire. Nothing gets me up quicker than the sound of nails clicking on the hardwood or the sound of a dog about to puke something up in the middle of the night. If you have a dog or four, you know exactly what I'm talking about. 

When I opened the bedroom door the smell of bacon permeated the air which explained why Lucky, the food addict, was up at zero dark thirty. But I was confused. Charlie was not in the bed but in all the years we've been married, I've never known him to get up and fry bacon before work. Was I dreaming? Once I got to the kitchen, I was sure I was because there was Dracen, fully dressed, hair combed, with his plate of bacon, eggs and toast on the table and stirring his coffee. What tha? It is too bright in here! What's happening? What time is it? How are you up?" 

He just looked at me like I was crazy, as if this is completely the norm for him, shrugged his shoulders and said, "I just woke up." I congratulated him the best I could, in my way-too-early-morning stupor and since I still had about twenty minutes before time to wake Devin, I made myself a cup of coffee and sat down on the couch, gave thanks to the Lord and texted Charlie (who had apparently left super early). He, who was just as shocked as I, said he was up before he left so he made a big deal out of it by praising and telling him how proud he was of him.

Finally, the day we had been praying for and waiting on for years had arrived. 

Praise the Lord, praise the Lord! Let the earth hear his voice! Praise the Lord, praise the Lord! Let the people rejoice!

Celebrate good times! Come on!  

But the celebration was short-lived. Obviously. 

We were over at his momaw and popaw's house Tuesday when the subject of his morning problem came up. I told them about that morning and asked him what he thought was different about that particular morning, telling him that if he could do it once, he ought to be able to do it again, not the cooking breakfast part, just the getting up and getting dressed without a fight part. "How did you do it, Dracen?" 

"Well. What happened was, I fell out of the bed."  

So there you have it. All we need now is an alarm contraption that will hook up to his bed and flip him out every morning about 6:45 a.m.  I would pay good money for that. But since, to my knowledge, that does not yet exist I ordered this Flying Alarm Clock from Amazon for $12.95 this morning. The little propeller is supposed to come off the clock when the very annoying alarm sounds and fly around the room until you catch it and put it back on to activate snooze. 

It's worth a shot. 

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Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Could it really be? The sun?

This morning, after turning out of the middle school, I was blinded by this ginormous, bright, blazing light coming straight at me. "Whoa! What tha? Where are my sunglasses?!" Then I remembered they had fallen under my seat yesterday, but seeing as how it was pouring down rain for what seemed like the 10,567th consecutive day, I didn't bother fishing them out. But now I needed them in the worst way and although I was wearing my normal glasses, I finally managed (while at a stoplight) to get them out and on, over my glasses, and began singing all the sunshine-y songs I could think of....

Here comes the sun, little darlin'! Here comes the's alright....Sunshine on my shoulders makes me happy. Sunshine almost always makes me high...I think I can make it now, the rain is gone. I can see all obstacles in my way...

Yes, I am a dork but the sun is back! The sun is back!

In other telling-on-myself news, I was sitting in the waiting room waiting for my mom at her physical therapy appointment (she had knee replacement surgery in September) yesterday morning when the phone rang. It was the middle school. DEEP Breath. Breathe, breathe...Just breathe, Diane, breathe. One more time...



Dracen: "Mom, can you bring my clothes for basketball tryouts after school? But I really need them for p.e. this afternoon too so could you just bring them earlier?" 

Me: "But I thought tryouts were tomorrow?"

Dracen: "They are but they are today too so can you just bring them?"

Me: Sigh. "Yep. I'll bring them." 

Apparently, I had not heard the whole message the school had left Sunday afternoon with all the week's happenings. So, after taking my mom home and getting back home in the monsoon, getting a bite to eat, and pep-talking physically carrying all the dogs out with an umbrella and sitting them in the dry, under the porch, to do their business in the POURING DOWN RAIN  (Well, all except my Darling Big Boy, Brisco, who will trot his little longhaired wiener self around in the rain all day long because he is just that awesome) I got ready to head back across town in the POURING DOWN RAIN. Did I mention it's been raining a lot around here?

I had already packed his bright, fluorescent yellow drawstring bag with his clothes and shoes and carried them into the kitchen before I got something to eat. I was gathering up my things (keys, phone, purse...) when of course, the three little dogs all came running to the door to go with me like they knew I was just riding to the school to drop something off, so I let them all out into the garage,  hoisted them up into the car and we were off. 

Despite all the pouring down rain and having to go yet again to drop something off at the middle school office, I was in a surprisingly good mood and singing along to my new playlist that includes the likes of Patsy Cline, Loretta Lynn, the Pointer Sisters, Prince and Guns N' Roses (November Rain much?). I pulled into the tiny parking lot at the office side of the school and even managed to back that thing up into a tight parking space when I realized what I had done.

Son of a... 

Yes. Yes, I had just gone off and left that fluorescent yellow bag with the clothes and shoes I had just put inside it, sitting right there on the kitchen counter so back across town my riding-with-a-carload-of-dogs-November-Rain-singing self went to retrieve it. 

The kid gets it honest is all I can say. 

It's gonna be a bright, briiight sun shiny day...

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Friday, November 6, 2015

Catching Up

Since I took such a ridiculously long hiatus from blogging, 
I thought it'd be fun to look back through my photos and pick out a few highlights from the past nine months...

Back in February...
I finally found a slipcovered sectional sofa at the Mitchell Gold + Bob Williams outlet to replace the two big, bulky leather recliner sofas I'd grown to despise. And, as you can see, the dachshunds wasted no time whatsoever breaking it in. The whole point was to get something I could take the covers off and wash on a regular basis because I'd heard such great things about them. Well. I washed it once and nearly ended up crying in the floor because (for the love!) they did NOT want to go back on. They finally did but it took some serious man (and woman) power and they have not been off again since. 

At the end of March...
Dracen was confirmed in the church after weeks of confirmation class.
Yep, the boy is officially bonafide.

April brought turkey hunting season and Dracen went
for the first time ever and shot this thing, which Momaw Pat was kind enough to cook up for him. 
(A wild game cooker I am not)

 With early May came prom. 
I didn't expect that yet since Devin was only a sophomore but he was asked to go by a junior.We took them out to the meeting place where the limo would pick them and several of their friends up. I have to say that I was completely clueless as to the HUGE deal that  prom has become in the many years since I attended one. We didn't take that many photos at our wedding! There were hoards of parents and professional photographers following these kids around like the Paparazzi. I recall my mom snapping a couple of shots with the disc camera (remember those?) on the front porch and maybe a couple at the car and we were on our way. The times they have 'a changed. 

As Charlie and I were coming back into our neighborhood that afternoon (after dropping the celebrities off) we came upon this beautiful, scared and lost-looking dog so I, being the extreme dog lover that y'all know I am, pulled the car over and she wasted no time whatsoever jumping right up into the car onto my lap. And this was no lap-dog-sized dog. So what are you gonna do but take her home?We tried for weeks to find who she belonged to (no collar, tags or chip) so I contacted a local rescue and we became her foster family until she was adopted. It took a little over a month to find her forever home. I still miss her adorable, sweet self but she was a lot of dog to handle with the three we already had.

With June came Dracen's 6th grade/elementary school graduation and there were a few tears (mine, not his).

The week after graduation/ the first week of summer break, I felt confident in my ability to foster a dog temporarily without becoming so attached that I could never part with her/him. So...on that first Tuesday afternoon of summer break, Dracen and I found ourselves driving way out to a kill shelter in a rural county to save this little chihuahua who ended up being called Eli (also Dracen's middle name). Well, Eli didn't get any adoption applications for four whole months so guess who decided there was no way, no how she could part with him after that much time? Yep. So that's how we now have four dogs. I will do a whole post on this soon but let's just say that my life has quite literally gone to the dogs, but I always secretly knew that it would. 

(Eli aka Tidbit)

July is always a big month around here since the boys have their birthdays on the 17th and 18th. Dracen turned 12 and Devin, 16. I  just don't get it because I still feel 28 most days. Okay, 32. 

Devin with his birthday persimmon pudding, made my Momaw Pat.

Dracen with his requested three layer cake, made by me,
the non-baker. 

The end of July we took a week's vacation to St. Helena Island. It is a non-touristy little place off the coast of South Carolina, near Beaufort, where the air is salty, the tea is sweet and the majestic oak trees are dripping with spanish moss. In other words, my kind of place. We did take a day trip to Savannah and a couple of trips to the beach just up the road at Hunting Island State Park. I had been there once with Darin and Devin, when he was just an infant, and it was just as amazing as I remembered it. It feels like you have left the country when you drive down into that park (they filmed many of the Forrest Gump Vietnam scenes there).

The end of August brought back to school. This was a big year since Dracen started middle school (only 7th & 8th grades here) and Devin became an upperclassman. Again...HOW?!
I know these are the worst first-day-of-school pics ever but when boys get to be 12 and 16, you just take what you can get and let it go.

On September 8th Devin was eligible to take his driving test and he passed, so I now have a licensed "child". I've always been a praying woman but me and God have gotten even closer over the past couple of months. You know that quote by Elizabeth Stone about how having a child is like having your heart go walking around outside your body? Well. It gets way harder once that heart goes driving around outside your body. 

He is driving my old Saturn. I told him we could trade it for something else but he was all about it because there is plenty
of room in the back for the ginormous subwoofer he requested for his birthday in July. Because these days it is apparently all about that BASS. For realz.

October, sweet October. The older I get, the more I love it. This year, along with this first week of November, it has brought us way more than our fair share of rainfall but we've had a few pretty days and got in a Sunday day trip up to the mountains a few weeks ago. Devin decided he'd stay home and catch up on sleep because he's a teenager and what could possibly be more boring than riding around with your parents and little brother looking at leaves? 

This was the second year of not having a trick-or-treater at Halloween so I got nostalgic and dug up these old photos of their toddler days...

This was Devin as Batman in 2002 (the costume was too big but the smallest one we could find and he wanted to be Batman that year more than anything in the entire world) and Dracen as my little monkey in 2004. "Monkey" was once my nickname for him but shh...keep that on the down low. Everyone kept calling him a mouse and I finally gave up correcting them. 

And because there were no kids to dress up, the dogs got decorated. I think they are just relieved I didn't put costumes on them this year. But there is always next year... 

And I think that pretty much brings us to the present, aside from the train ride we took to Charlottesville, Virginia last Sunday but more on that later. 

Happy Friday!

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Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Writing It Down

I can't say why I just flat out stopped writing this blog. Sometimes these things just happen, I suppose. There seem to be fewer and fewer hobby bloggers around these days. Almost all the blogs I once read daily have long since up and died, much like this one. Leaving it to rest in peace has mostly seemed like the best option for the past several months but something whispered to me in the car on my second trip back home from the middle school this morning. 

So here I am.

That something most certainly sprang from my frustrated state with that youngest boy of mine (a 7th grade middle-schooler now) who is still testing our parenting skills and all-around patience on a daily basis. Time management is a concept he still seems to be completely unfamiliar with and although middle school starts 30 minutes later than the elementary school (8 as opposed to 7:30), I'm still squealing tires pulling out of the driveway most mornings. 

The school secretary already knows my face since I am regularly dropping forgotten items off with her. Sometimes it's athletic clothes or shoes, sometimes a lunchbox, sometimes a notebook... But this morning? It was the whole dang book bag. How do you not realize that you have left for school without your forty pound backpack is beyond my comprehension but I suppose it had something to do with the fact that he was scanning the car for his shoes (which he always kicks off on the way home from anywhere) just before getting in. 

So of course, being the sucker good mother that I am, I came home, threw on something resembling actual clothes, and headed back across town to deliver a book bag. And about halfway back to the house, it just hit me how much I missed writing all this craziness down. Not just the frustrating crazy, but the good crazy too. Because as time has been seemingly speeding up with each passing year, I'm being constantly reminded of just how very quickly these days will be gone and no matter how frustrating they can be, I know well enough by now to just appreciate them for what they are because I'm gonna miss them like the dickens when they're gone.

Devin is a man-sized driving junior in high school, a fact which often still seems more surreal to me than not. In less than a mere two years from now, he will be a high school graduate and Dracen will be a high school freshman. Two.years! Time is a sneaky little beast and while none of us can pause it, halt it, or slow it down, we can, at the very least, document it. 

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Thursday, January 29, 2015

Getting Organized And...Mortified

So I fell off the face of the earth. Again. But there was the getting ready for Christmas business and strep throat decided to pop back into my life (after 20-something years) the weekend before Christmas, bringing with it glass shards each time I swallowed and a fever of a hundred and three. Then, not quite recovered from that, I got sick again (the weekend after Christmas) and stayed that way for what seemed like a sweet FOREVER. Then, THEN, just as I was getting back to some sense of normalcy, Dracen got sick. And when Dracen gets sick, I hear Mommm approximately sixteen thousand times a day. 

Also, I've jumped on the I-will-declutter-and-organize-this-entire-house-if-it-kills-me train over the past couple of weeks and the exhaustion sets in about 4pm every afternoon. I blame it on this book.

It is written by a young Japanese woman, Marie Kondo, who has become quite the celebrity in Japan. While she does have some great advice and I'd definitely buy and read it again because HELLO MOTIVATION, she does express a few coo-coo beliefs regarding objects. For example, she says to never, ever ball up your socks, not only because they take up more room in the drawer and have the elastic stretched out, but mainly because it is their time to "rest" from all the hard work they've done in keeping your feet warm. Oh yes.

She also tells her house (and belongings) hello and goodbye each time she comes and goes and daily thanks her possessions for their services. The best thing I took away from the book is her advice on getting rid of things. She says that, while decluttering, pick up each thing and ask yourself, "Does this spark joy in me?" If the answer is no and it's not something you have to have, let it go. For some reason, that has made all the difference with me since I have already packed up and given away more than a dozen bags of clothes, bags and shoes. 

Though Ms. Kondo would probably say I failed the thankfulness part of the KonMari process because (although I gave it my best shot) I found it a bit difficult to thank old t-shirts for "serving me well" before sending them on their "journey". Still, I'm quite proud of myself for what I've accomplished thus far and am determined to go through, sort and discard or organize every single object in this house. I'm about a third of the way through the kitchen drawers at present because you know how most people have one junk drawer? Well, we had about five. Not even exaggerating.

In other news, let me tell you about the latest gray hairs given to me by my youngest child...

Yesterday afternoon, after I picked him up from school, I stopped at the eye doctor to pick up my contacts and was then headed to the post office and dollar store and was then going to pick up a few groceries and get them put away before picking up Devin from his after-school workouts around 4. But while I was in the post office, I got a text from him asking if I could just pick him up at normal time because he forgot his gym shorts. Once I got back to the car I texted him back to see if he wanted me to bring him some and he said that'd be good.

So, since I had to go home first to get the shorts, I postponed the dollar and grocery stores and started driving toward the house. I asked Dracen to please text his brother back (on my phone) to let him know we'd pull up on the side at the school and to come out and get his shorts when last period was over. I'm driving down the road when he asked (while looking at my phone), "What's Group MMS?" and there was a little panic in his voice. 

"WHAT did you DO?" 

Turns out, he thought it would be funny to send Devin a text back that read, "Coming Were gonna do this deal on the side as long as you got the cash I got the hash". 

And y'all. How I kept that car on the road is completely beyond me because he had just sent that to all the parents of kids on his basketball team, most of whom I do not personally know. HOW-WHAT-WHY...just WTH????!!! So I'm driving down the road physically shaking and screaming and questioning and just basically having a breakdown behind the wheel and not even knowing what to do or say or anything because first of all, HOW IN THE FLIP DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT THAT IS AND WHY WOULD YOU SEND THAT TO YOUR BROTHER (AT SCHOOL!) IN THE FIRST DANG PLACE????

So then he was flipping out and shaking and stuttering, "I-I messed up! I thought it'd be funny-I heard it on a movie-and I didn't know what it meant!!! Tell them it was me-Just tell them it was ME!!!! I'm sorry! I'm SORRY!!!!"

I didn't know which one of us was going to hyperventilate first, especially after I started getting replies back, like "Umm. I think you need to check your numbers unless someone on the team needs some hash." Just shoot me. Now. Once I got to the school and parked (Dracen ran in the house somehow during all this and got the shorts that ended up being too small anyway so he didn't stay for workouts) at the school, I just replied with "I am so sorry! Somebody thought it would be funny to play with my phone and sent that to the wrong number."

Nothing but crickets.

Fabulous. Now I'm the neighborhood hash dealer.

Needless to say, I did not make it to the dollar store or the grocery store and I'm still sick on my stomach about it. When we got home, without my even asking, he walked in the house, got his laptop and phone and turned them in to me. When Charlie got home and heard the story, his reaction was almost as bad as mine so he sent him to his room where he fell asleep before eight o'clock. This morning he was grounded and told to write a letter of explanation and apology this afternoon that we will make copies of and hand out to all the parents of the team tonight at his game.

Should be great fun for all. 

Also, I was so flabbergasted and out of words that I failed to find out exactly what movie he heard this in and WHEN but I see a whole lot less t.v. viewing privileges in his immediate future (and possibly for the next seven or so years before his eighteenth birthday).

Deep breaths...DEEP breaths.

This too shall pass, 

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