Thursday, October 30, 2008

Official Thursday Weigh-In

So. We meet again.

Let me just say, if I never see another mini cupcake again, it will be too soon.

Let me just say, I now have nearly 100 orange-colored, chocolate-iced mini cupcakes in my house, half of which will be going to school with Little AM tomorrow.

(How do I know which half? They're the ones with the pumpkin-shaped Peeps on top!)

The other half I'm trying to take somewhere (like work, or maybe my mom's church tomorrow night) because, contrary to what my husband believes, we do NOT need four dozen mini cupakes lying around.

(Oh. My weight is the same as last week - 146.5. Since I had to bake tonight, I weighed in and then went to eat hamburgers with Anna Marie and Jason. Think maybe that's why I can't lose this last 10 lbs.?)

Anna Marie's school is having a breakfast tomorrow morning for those who had all A's on their report card, and guess what - she's in! They've invited parents, but I'm going to her Halloween party at lunch so I'm trying to convince Jason to go to breakfast.

I took pictures of the cupcakes, as well as a couple of other things we've done this week (cookies! pumpkin decorating!) but I'm in bed, and some of the pictures are on my phone, and you'll just have to wait a day or two for those.

It'll give my hands time to rest after all that icing!

Monday, October 27, 2008

Scary stories to tell in the dark

Ok, so actually, this post is about a scary story that happened in the dark.

(By the way, do you remember those books? Scary Stories to Read in the Dark? My cousin had one, and maybe a sequel. But I digress.)

(Tangents! I has them!)

We took Anna Marie to the Haunted Hayride at Cedar Hill Farms on Saturday night. You remember that little debacle, don't you? How I paid $30 for 10 tickets to that place, hoping to use them on Anna Marie's birthday, only to be turned away at the door?

I called last week to find out exactly what it was that I could do with those tickets. Turns out, not much: one attraction for each ticket, either the Haunted Hayride, or the Trail of Terror, or the Corn Maize.

Oh, and we could also do paintball, but the only ones in our group with insurance were the kids (thanks, CHIPS!) and I've seen what those balls of paint can do to a bloke.

We settled on the hayride. We knew it didn't start until after dark, and we knew that there were live actors, but we were totally unprepared for what we were about to experience.

Several trailers were loaded up, with bales of hay around the perimeter and a clearing in the middle. We (and by we, I mean my parents, my brother and sister-in-law, my three-year-old step-niece, and the three of us) sat near the front of the trailer, close to the tractor that pulled it.

The man from the farm told us that if we felt the need to "go somewhere" it needed to be the floor of the trailer, not the side.

Duly noted.

We start into the woods, where it was pitch black dark. And then, it began.

Every few minutes our trailer would slow down, flash its lights, and stop. And someone would come out of the darkness and get all up in our grills, growling and roaring and generally making menaces of themselves.

Some of the actors actually came up into the trailer, and walked among us.

After what seemed like an eternity at each station, we'd start up again.

So, I'll just own up RIGHT NOW to the fact that I was scared. I'm not ashamed. I will admit to swatting at an actor in a werewolf costume, because he kept leaning into my face and growling.

I am not proud.

Anna Marie started out OK, but after a few minutes (and in my mom's lap, no less) she was getting pretty hysterical. I had already moved to the floor of the trailer, and when she didn't stop crying, I had her come down with me. Mom got down too, and the three of us huddled together and tried to calm her down.

There were mad scientists, and murderous rednecks, and the obligatory guy in the hockey mask with the chainsaw - but I didn't see much of it from the floor of the trailer, and I had to keep from screaming myself so I wouldn't startle Anna Marie more.

Finally, after the longest 20 minutes of my life, we were back at the beginning.

We went to Wendy's for some warm food and LOTS of light, and I had to hold Anna Marie's hand in the back seat the whole way there and then the whole way home.

She was so upset - she just kept crying, and saying she couldn't stop thinking about the hayride. I prayed with her, and quoted scripture to her about how if there's anything good, or lovely, or true, etc., that we should think about those things. And I gave her a list of "pretty" things (as we call them) to think about. And somehow, she got to sleep that night.

But I wasn't so lucky. All I could think about was how scared my child had been, and how I was the one who had put her in that situation. I felt just awful.

(By the way, the three-year-old was crying when we exited the trailer too, and there was a six-year-old near us who had spent the entire time with her head in her dad's lap and sat up at the end saying "What happened?")

She seems to have recovered (though she just told me that she was still thinking about it) and I have a new not-quite-New-Year's resolution: to THOROUGHLY investigate things before I get us into it!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Official "Why no, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth" Weigh-In

Man, if these things get any later, I don't know what y'all will do with me!

I have a very good reason, I promise - see, when I got home on Thursday night, I was fixing my dinner, and getting Anna Marie in bed. And then, Jason was using the laptop to work on a website for a customer (how DARE he?) and it was too cold in the office to use the desktop. And then, I was at work yesterday and really busy, and I had to go to the school TWICE - once to get a car pass, because I had to do an emergency pick-Anna-Marie-up run since Jason was delayed in Memphis.

(Because if I don't have a car pass, I have to park and check her out, even after school is dismissed. And if she's checked out, she's not a HAT (Here All the Time) kid. And if she isn't a HAT kid, she can't wear a hat at the end of the nine weeks. And we can't have that.)

So, last night, Jason took my parents out to dinner to pay my dad back for traipsing up to Memphis to help him (with something that turned out to be SO SIMPLE that he was SO ANGRY when he realized the solution) and Anna Marie went home with them. And then we spent the evening catching up on DVR stuff.

So now, I've gotten up, had a pot of coffee and some oatmeal, done a couple loads of laundry and a load of dishes, and caught up on my blog reading. And now, I'm FINALLY going to get around to telling you what I weigh.


146.5. I gained a pound, and the lady at the scale said, "Is it your time of the month?"

Oh, don't I wish it were, so I'd have an excuse! It might have something to do, though, with the batch of brownies I baked for Jason and Anna Marie, and of which I snuck a bite here and a nibble there.

Yeah, that might be it.

Luckily, those things are long gone, and that was the last box in the pantry!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

This is what punishment looks like in Melz World.

I came home Monday to a silent house.

As Jason walked through the kitchen, I said, "She got on 'red', didn't she?"

"How did you know?" he asked.

"Because the house is so quiet," I answered.

In an effort to encourage Anna Marie to follow the rules at school, we've told her that if she gets on "yellow" she loses computer for the afternoon, and for "red" it's the TV too.

So, on those days, the house is quiet - because Jason and I don't watch TV either. I know, it's kind of a punishment for us, too, but, whatever.

Anna Marie makes a HUGE mess on those days, because with no electronics to keep her occupied, her imagination goes into overdrive - usually involving lots of paper, and tape, and stuffed animals.

And sometimes, it spills outside to the sidewalk.

She did this while I was cooking dinner.

It's what she had to write, over and over, in her journal at school.

"I will stop talking in class."

And this little confession was out there as well - like her own version of Post Secret.

"I am on red Mom and Dad."

After dinner, when I was trying to clean the kitchen, she took her sidewalk chalk to the concrete block building in our backyard. She asked me to come help her color the parts she couldn't reach.

(How did she draw the outline, and then find herself unable to color in that outline? Beats me.)

Editor's note: the following photographs were taken by a seven-year-old. They are unretouched.

While I did the hard work, Anna Marie took a little "photo safari" around our backyard.

(That is Spiderman's mask, and a Pokemon ball, per Anna Marie.)

She also took a picture of me with the finished product:

And I returned the favor.

Yes, I busted up my hands (and a couple of fingernails) on that concrete. But we have been studying The Five Love Languages of Children in Sunday School, and Anna Marie and I took a "love language test" on Sunday. And I discovered that her main love language is "acts of service," which means that she feels most loved when someone is helping her do something (and feels most like she's showing love when she's helping someone with something.)

It makes perfect sense to me - I thought that she just never wanted to do anything alone, but really, she wanted to feel like she was helping, or someone was helping her. So now, I'm trying to be more understanding of behavior I had thought was a bit annoying.

Makes me wish we'd have taken that test a long, long time ago.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Raccoon update

Oh, did I forget to update on the wildlife taking up residence in MY residence?

I was a bit busy when we got home - sweeping, mopping, and wiping down the bathroom, helping Jason with yard work, and bandaging Anna Marie's back after she slipped and skinned it on a tree.

(Don't worry. She's fine!)

When we left for church yesterday morning, we did an inspection of the outside of the house. And lo and behold, one of the mesh screens covering a vent hole was displaced.

Seems God did tell that raccoon the easiest way out, after all!

After church, Jason did an inspection to make sure there were still no vermin up there, and patched up that displaced mesh. We think we've solved the problem, for now.

(And really, if someone had come after you with a giant fishing net and a spear, and all you were trying to do was escape, would you come back?)

Anna Marie was much relieved to learn that we were raccoon-less now. And we both prayed that God would help that critter find a better place to live than our house!

And now, we have little raccoon prints in the dust in the attic, as a reminder of his visit.

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Trapped in the attic

(When I told Amanda this story, she asked me if "trapped in the attic" was anything liked Trapped in the Closet. I told her that I was unsure if there was a midget or a cell phone involved.)

Y'all, the fun never stops here at Melz World.

Earlier in the summer, we noticed a hole in the trim around the front of our house. It's an older house, and we need a new roof, so it isn't a stretch to think that it needed replacing too. Jason told the landlady, who told him to take care of it and send her a bill.

That was in July. He went out of town, and never got "around to it."

Last week, he saw some squirrels scouting out the hole (which is, of course, attached to the attic) and decided it might be a good idea to take action before winter set in.

So, this afternoon, after we served lunch at the auction, we bought some materials and he came home to fix the hole. My dad came over, and in about an hour and a half, the job was done.

Now, as I was fixing my coffee this morning, I thought I heard something in the attic. I told Jason, and he said he'd experienced the same thing but when he'd checked, there was nothing. He said it was just something on the roof.

(Note: roof is not the same as attic.)

Dad and Jason had worked through dinner, trying to use up all the daylight, so they left to grab a bite. A bit later I was in my room folding clothes, and I heard the most awful racket up above me. It sounded like scratching, and pounding, and something throwing itself against the wall!

(Note: the hole was above my bedroom window.)

I called Jason, and told him I was 99.9% sure there was a squirrel trapped in the attic.

He came home, took a shower, and started working on the computer. When I went into Anna Marie's room to put some clothes away, I heard it again!

This time, he went up to investigate - and I've never seen him exit a space so quickly in my life.

"It's not a squirrel," he said.

"Oh, no - its a rat!" I exclaimed.

"No, it's not a rat. It's a raccoon!"

Oh, yes, dear friends, there is a real live piece of wildlife living above my humble home.

Jason said the thing just stood there and looked at him!

I called my mom, to see if my brother had any friends in possession of a raccoon trap.


I called Amanda, to give her the chance to photograph this real life wildlife - and she immediately thought of the parallels to a certain R&B singer's wildly ridiculous opera.

I finally called Cathy, one of my co-workers, because I knew her boyfriend was a die-hard hunter.

The boy has a digital camera hooked up where he hunts, so he can count the deer.

I think he was intrigued, because a few minutes later she called to ask me if we needed them to come over.

They showed up with a giant fishing net.

Jason showed Jamie where the animal was, but he was unable to get it into the net. At one point, I heard Jason's saw, and the next thing I knew, Jamie was going up the attic steps with an angled piece of wood.

"I'm gonna spear me a raccoon," he announced.

Fortunately for the raccoon, that plan didn't work either. He had wedged himself into the overhang area, and he wasn't coming out.

They left, sans raccoon. (Cathy said Jamie wanted to mount it if they caught it.)

We figure the thing is nocturnal, and woke up and tried to get out the same way he got in. Jason left the light on up there, and Anna Marie and I prayed that God would tell the raccoon to go to one of the vents in the overhang and burrow his way through the mesh.

When we get up, we'll see if anything looks like he got out - if not, we'll either be stopping by the Home Depot on the way home (did you know those traps cost $50?) or calling the law. It's been suggested that, with the threat rabies, they may have a trap.

(And yes, we have a wildlife rehab outfit, but I don't know if they only take injured animals.)

(And no, I WON'T be traversing into the attic to get a picture. Are you crazy?)

Friday, October 17, 2008

Official "Thursday" Weigh-In

Oh, y'all. I'm so sorry about not posting last night - especially since a.) I didn't weigh in at all last week, and b.) I actually have good news!
I dropped another 1.5 lbs. this week, taking me to 145.5. 91.5 pounds gone.

Guess I must have worked harder than I thought on the house on Tuesday!

In other news, my most awesome sister posted the pictures she took at Anna Marie's birthday shindig. Feel free to take a look!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ferris Beuller'sMelissa Turner's Day Off

I think I need a day off from my day off.

What did I accomplish today? Not what I'd hoped, but:

* Took out the trash. That might not seem like much, but Jason usually takes it to the curb on Monday nights. And last night we were in bed, and he said, "Oh, I forgot to put out the trash." And I said, "Don't worry. I'll do it." And then he said, "But what if you don't get up in time?" And then I said, "Don't worry. They don't come until around lunch."

Guess what time I heard the garbage truck? 8:30 a.m. I had to scramble to find a pair of flip flops, and run out to meet the truck. Just in time!

* Washed the curtains from two rooms, and dusted those rooms. And felt embarrassed at how long it had been since I'd done either of those things. Unfortunately, "dusting" in the bathroom is always more time consuming, because the moisture in there binds with the dust to make an impenetrable gunk that requires much elbow grease.

* Cleaned out Anna Marie's room, to include sorting through three drawers, a clothes basket, and another basket full of stuff to be put away. I also hung a shelf in there to display some of her stuff, and rearranged some of the furniture.

* Found some black and white photos that I never knew we'd taken, and arranged them into a frame we already had (which I spraypainted to match my current decor, using spraypaint I already had) with a matte from another, broken frame. I then hung the resultant collage in my living room, in a space that was empty and bugging me greatly.

I really, really have gotten a lot accomplished today, but you wouldn't know it to walk into my house because it was all in Anna Marie's room and the bathroom. I'm sure Jason wondered just what I'd been doing all day when he first walked in and found me, still in my jammies, watching TV on our bed.

(Oh, I also made homemade applesauce with some apples which Anna Marie had dropped and bruised yesterday, and ordered 50 prints from Snapfish for the sum of $0.30 plus shipping.)

I'm so exhausted (and I should've worn my tennis shoes, because I was barefoot all day and my feet are KILLING me now) and now I have two days worth of work to catch up on when I get to the office. I would've liked to have gotten some scrapbooking done - or, heck, some DVR caught up on - but the look on Anna Marie's face when she came in tonight and saw her room made it all worth while.

She immediately promised to keep her room clean "forever," but we'll see how long that lasts!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Silence is golden . . . not!

I can't talk, y'all.

Now, for some folks (like, say, my husband) this might not be a big deal. But if you've ever met me in real life (or, read one of my blog posts) you'll agree - for me, it's a HUGE deal.

It started last week, when my sinuses started going haywire. And gradually, over a couple of days, my voice got worse and worse - until, on Saturday, it pretty much went kaput.


I took Anna Marie to the circus, and no voice. (Yes, I have pictures, no, I haven't messed with them yet. Remember, patience.)

I went to church yesterday morning, and attempted to participate in Sunday School. No voice. I had to mouth the words to the praise and worship songs, because, again, no voice.

It was starting to come back a little, but then we went to small groups last night, and, although I tried my best to rest it, I just had to use what little voice was there. By the time we started home, guess what - no voice. Again.

It's just awful, y'all. I had to take Anna Marie to the doctor this morning for a checkup, and try to explain to the doctor how she was doing without the benefit of my voice. I'm off work today, but I dread going in tomorrow because I won't be able to rest my voice like I'd like.

(Maybe I'll take off tomorrow too, he he. Anna Marie is off, and I think she wants to go to the auction, but who's to say I don't deserve a bit of time alone?)

On the bright side, I am sipping a cup of mocha coffee, made in the new coffee maker which Jason bought me this morning. Half price at JC Penney's, y'all!

Now that my coffee future is secure once more, I can dedicate the time I'd spent trying to find a new machine to something more rewarding - like, say, RESTING MY VOICE.

(Sorry - that caps lock is the only way I can get any volume right now.)

Maybe this little detour from my normal gabby ways will teach me something about listening, or being still, or some such.

Or maybe I should just take up sign language.

Thursday, October 09, 2008

What a week, what a week!

(Did you catch that, in The Wizard of Oz? As the Wicked Witch is melting, her last words are "What a world! What a world!" I love it!)

Once I recovered from the outrage of last Saturday's failed trip to the farm, a whole new crop of nastiness sprung up in it's place. But enough about that - let's get to those pictures I promised you, oh, about a week ago!

This is Macy, my brother's three-year-old stepdaughter. Cutie Patootie! Also, not used to getting her picture made, unlike Little AM who has been getting hers done since she was about five minutes old.

Two years ago, we brought Anna Marie to this same park, and had her picture made in the same place. One day when I'm not feeling so lousy, I'll grab that from Amanda's Flickr photostream.

She spent a lot of her time at the park swinging…

While Macy, well, she ran around. She's three. That's what she does.

Obviously, those two had a spectacular time. I was still a little put out about the previous unpleasantness, but at least the girls enjoyed themselves.

The rest of my week has consisted of meetings, and sickness, and a "perfect storm" of events which ended in Anna Marie sleeping on top of me on the couch during a thunderstorm.

At least she slept - once she quit talking to me.

I don't know what I've got, but I feel achy and yucky, and my throat is sore. No fever, and not really "stuffed up" either - and let me tell you, it's darn near impossible to figure out what will make you feel better when standing in Walmart's Health and Beauty Aids in that condition.

I made an Executive Decision to stay home from church and rest last night - I hated doing that, and Anna Marie hated missing, but I felt so awful I didn't feel safe driving up there and back.

There will also be no Official Thursday Weigh-In today, because I've made a second Executive Decision to skip WW tonight. I have good reason - one of the boards I cover has had to change their October meeting to 6 p.m. tonight, and trying to weigh in, eat, and get to work in 30 minutes or less is just not some stress I'm about to put myself under. I've come this far - I'm not dropping out, and I know I'm not going to gain five pounds in a week because I didn't know exactly how much I weighed.

(Yes, I've come a long way in the last three years.)

To top it all off, my coffee maker died. Yes, I know, I've sounded that alarm before, but I think this is it this time. Now, it won't even take the water out of the tank to pretend it's going to make coffee. Thankfully, I have a stash of Target-brand pods for my Senseo to get me through until such time as my budget will allow for a replacement.

This is one of those weeks which I'll be glad is over - and not the least because next week is fall break, and I'm thinking I'm going to take a little vacation of my own.

Saturday, October 04, 2008

Caveat emptor.

In other words, "Buyer beware."

Also known as, "If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is."

(Before I go further, did you know that in the book Gone with the Wind Scarlett opens up a store, and calls it "Caveat Emptoreum" or something like that, because she likes the sound, but doesn't really know what it means? I don't remember if that's in the movie or not, but if my BFF Marcia wasn't probably in bed right now I'd call and ask because she used to watch that movie at least once a month.)

(But I digress.)

So, last night Jason decided that today would be the day for Anna Marie's birthday celebration at the aforementioned Cedar Hill Farms. After some finagling and making sure that Amanda could make cupcakes on such short notice, we agreed to meet there about 2 p.m.

I thought there would be picnic tables nearby, but I couldn't find any, so we popped open the back of the Amazing Technicolor Dream Van (funny story coming later on that), unpacked a table which happened to be back there, and had a picnic right there in the parking lot.

After she opened presents, we prepared to enter the farm proper.

Unfortunately (especially for a "word person" like me) the tickets were not as clear-cut as one might expect from a door-to-door salesman.

The ladies at the admission told me that those tickets were only for the "night time" attractions, and that they didn't start until next weekend.

Wait. What?

After some discussion, it was clear that we were not getting in to Cedar Hill Farms on my hey-look-at-me-I-got-a-great-deal tickets.

Was I disappointed? Sure I was. But I managed to keep my cool, and think on my feet, and lots of other cliches.

I remembered that Anna Marie's favorite park in the whole wide world was just a couple miles up the road, and that there was plenty of shade there, and that she (and my new niece, Macy) would be more than happy to play there.

So that's what we did. My brother and I sat on a bench and watched the kids play, while the others stood around and talked or wandered around taking pictures. And, for the record, I have a few pictures too, but my camera is in the living room, and I'm in bed, and well, I just didn't feel like getting up to get the camera. You'll just have to wait.

Remember, patience is a virtue.

I promised Anna Marie that we'd go back in the evening in a week or so, and reminded her that if she knew anything at all about me she knew that I was NOT about to let $30 in tickets go to waste.

Oh, and the funny story - Anna Marie had spent the night with mom last night, and we planned a trip to the kitchen supply store in Memphis for this morning. We took the van, mainly because it had gas in it, and it's a good thing we did - because when we were in the parking lot at the park, there were no spaces. (Funny how a family reunion and two birthday parties will do that.) Another car figured this out, and tried to back out of the parking lot.

Which resulted in their backing into the side of our van, despite Jason's vehement protest on the horn.

The driver got out, as did Jason, and offered his insurance information. When Jason looked at the "damage," he realized that there was just a bit of paint transfer from the other car and told the other driver he wasn't worried about it.

"Are you sure?" the guy said.

At which point Jason simply pointed to the Amazing Technicolor-ness of our van.

Guess he thought that white paint was just one more for the collection.

After the problem at the farm, that little exchange was just what we needed to lighten the mood.

Dude just better be glad we weren't in my car, because it's all one color and he wouldn't have gotten off so easily.

Thursday, October 02, 2008

Official Thursday Weigh-In

Holding steady - that's where I am this week.

Holding steady at 147.

I wonder sometimes if this is as far as I'll get, if my body's "default" setting is right here, around 150.

At what point will I know that? At what point will I say to myself, "Self, this will do."

(That, by the way, was a line from a song we learned for youth camp one year, which had to do with the house built on sand and his next door neighbor, the house built on the rock.)

(But I digress.)

Anna Marie has had a fabulous birthday - I sang to her when she was getting up, per her request; she had a sausage biscuit for breakfast, which is her favorite; I ate lunch with her at school and brought the mini cupcakes, which were a hit; and she stayed on GREEN.

She was a little bummed that the only gift she received today was the electric pencil sharpener which Jason presented her with after school (because she can never find her smaller one at homework time), but I reminded her that she hadn't had her party quite yet.

Seven. I can scarce believe it, just like I can scarce believe that 90 pounds is gone.