Funny how I said I was going to update my blog more, and then I didn’t. Actually it’s not funny.

You see, my dad died unexpectedly in February. No chronic illness or condition that gave us time to prepare for the inevitable, unless you count life and aging, which as you may or may not know, continues only up until you die.

My father was in his 80s. I won’t go into too many details because while the trend continues to become less and less anonymous on-line, I still keep this place as much as a retreat as I can. I add more and more in-real-life acquaintances, co-workers, neighbors, classmates, etc. to my Facebook friend list and find myself posting less and less for fear of offending or alienating.

I found out my dad died when my mother, who if you’ll remember has Alzheimer’s, called me while my car’s hands-free system was active and my kids were in the car to tell me that he’d “been sitting in the chair all day and I think he’s dead.”

It’s “funny” that even though I told my mom to call 9-1-1 that once she hung up with me, she forgot to do so.

It’s “funny” that I had to call my sister-in-law and ask her to do this favor I can never repay and that’s drive the five minutes to the farm to see if my dad was indeed dead because I couldn’t.

It’s “funny” that my husband happen to be out of state attending his uncle’s funeral.

It’s “funny” I had to use Facebook to finally get a message to my husband’s family that if someone sees him to call me about a family emergency because he wasn’t answering his phone.

There’s been both your typical and atypical family drama that comes with the patriarch’s death.

And to make things really interesting, I accepted an executive staff position, which is at the minimum, full-time. Simply making a transition back to full-time has been hard enough, but the endless projects and responsibilities are…well…endless.

Plus? While the finishing of our basement project started off strong, it has ground to a near-halt because my husband, Sparring Partner, couldn’t be bothered to look at fixtures. There’s a light at the end of that tunnel, and I hope by June 1st when they set the island’s countertop, it is the end of phone calls and appointments and decisions. I swear, even choosing the shape and color of the outlets left me feeling overwhelmed.

Into the Remodel: Day 7

Sure. I say I’m going to journal more and then I make like a fart.

We “broke ground” a week ago. Suddenly the plans to finish the basement, which have been stalling out every year for the past seven, have grown legs. And wings. And a jet pack. Like “vrROOOOMMM, Bitchezz!!”

One day last week, I had the plumber, the furnace-r, an electrician, a furniture deliverer (we had ordered new recliners), and a furniture buyer (I sold an old recliner) show up basically at the same time.

Jackhammers were involved for a couple of days, one of which was a snow day so the kids and I were all cooped up in the master bedroom trying to escape the noise and vibrations. It was awesome.

No. No, it wasn’t.

It only took one week for Sparring Partner and I mutually decide that we will not finish our basement because obviously one of us is not on the same page as the other (Lord, have we ever been??). By Sunday evening, the plans were back on. I conceded and agreed that we do not need a dishwasher or an ice-maker for the basement bar. He conceded and agreed…to nothing.


I am biding my time, rubbing my hands maniacally as I plot. I will get a goddamn broom closet even if I have to refer to it as a “Pantry” for the rest of my natural days and label it using a woodburning tool right onto the cabinet door, sohelpmegod!

Thumbs Down

We just returned home from my son’s appointment scheduled two weeks after he broke his thumb. This doctor is Dood’s pediatrician as the doctor who originally diagnosed and braced his thumb practices at an urgent care clinic.

The wait between the nurse and the pediatrician was long. The wait for the radiologist to take a new x-ray was long. The wait for the radiologist and pediatrician to read the results was long. And then the wait for the nurse to return and give Dood the last of third Gardisil vaccinations AND the second half of his Hep A vaccination (SURPRISE!) wasn’t long enough, according to my needle-phobic son.

Two hours later, he is fully vaccinated until who knows when. That’s the good news. The bad is that the fracture is not healing as well as the doc would like. The aluminum thumb splint has been replaced with a soft cast that immobilized his thumb and wrist. We also have another appointment in two weeks to check it again. If the progress is still not ideal, we may get ourselves a referral to an orthopedic surgeon and thumb screws. (See what I did there?)

For as rock’em and sock’em my daughter is, I know she will never enter a medical-related field. A friend of hers at school had to have a tonsillectomy, so I enthusiastically showed her images from google. She fanned her face delicately, averted her eyes and said to show her no more. Occasionally the topic of my Caesarean come up. She is quick to say she will never have children while she wrinkles her nose in disgust. And today, as she watched Dood get his shots, one to each arm, she first flushed and then quickly blanched.

If I had been considerably smarter, I would have loved to go into medicine.


My daughter, Aitch (6), came to me asking for a mid-afternoon snack. I asked her what she wanted. Her reply, “Marshmallows!” When I told her no, she asked why then was the bag was already opened.

It’s a new bag, brought home Christmas Eve, and it’s the s’more style, which are rectangular in shape (genius, right?!). Both children are sneak-snackers and pantry-raiders. I have to keep candies hidden. I usually find out that the stash has been discovered when wrappers are found stuffed between couch cushions, in their bedroom trash cans, or under the coffee table.

I called both of them to the kitchen counter and explained very simply that neither of them was to get out of their seats until someone had confessed to opening the bag of marshmallows without permission. The accusations and denials streamed out of them, even going so far as to blame dad, who in fact loathes marshmallows.

As for me, I made good use of the time by emptying the dishwasher and tidying up the kitchen. After ten minutes, I was impressed neither had caved. By twenty, I was wondering if in fact the mice had somehow learned to coop their resources and used the scissors to open the bag. After all, It was crudely cut open…

Doodicus (13) worked the angle that if Aitch would just admit to the crime, her punishment wouldn’t be as severe. Aitch’s defense centered around Dood being a self-confessed sweetaholic. I had nearly cleaned up everything in the kitchen when Aitch confessed as dramatically as one could when admitting to opening a bag of marshmallows without permission after 30 minutes of duress.

I dismissed Dood from the counter. I asked Aitch to bring the bag of marshmallows over to where I stood by the sink. Once she did, I opened the cabinet to the trash and instructed her to throw them away. I saw the flush of humiliation immediately bloom from her neck to brow line. She let out a plaintive whine, “Why??” I calmly explained that it was her punishment. A couple of minutes of silence passed as she stared into what must have appeared a shiny white maw of a monster slurping eagerly for its unexpected treat; I stood looking down at the part in her hair, now also very pink with rage.

She threw the full bag into the trash and ran from the kitchen in tears.

A few minutes later, she returned to tell me that because I had made her cry, it had given her a sore throat and now hurt to talk. I said nothing. My throat hurt too.

Land Not For Sale

First, I have a back-story, but you can skip to the break if you want the short story.

In 2004 Sparring Partner and I bought 10 acres of prairie. The 20 acres adjoining ours were owned by DrC. Over the next two years we built and moved into the home where we currently live. DrC decided to sell his 20. His Realtor, in a case of mistaken identity, asked Sparring Partner’s dad if he was interested in buying the 20 acres next to him. But those acres were next to him, they were next to us. Follow?

SP’s dad, an entrepreneur to be sure, instead of correcting the Realtor that he had the wrong Surname, decided on a whim to buy the 20 acres himself. My FIL never built next to us as had intended to make arrangements to either let us buy the property outright or leave it to SP in his will. Unfortunately, he never followed up on that intent before falling terminally ill and dying a couple years ago. The property became part of the family Trust by default.

A year ago we agreed to buy the 20 acres from that Trust. It was a very difficult decision financially because if FIL had “sold” it to us before his death, he would have done so at whatever his cost had been, which relatively and frankly speaking, was almost nothing. Instead we ended up having to pay appraised value because it was part of a Trust. I agreed to this with the stipulation that we would immediately turn around and sell 10 acres off to defray the cost.

My husband, being the sentimental kind of guy he is, even though the property wasn’t anything more than an acquisition to my FIL, had our Realtor list the property exorbitantly high. He decided that if I was going to make him sell the land, he wasn’t going to let it go easily.

We are not quite to the break, if you’re still following along. This fall we received our first offer, but nearly half of what it was listed. Sparring Partner was so insulted, he refused to even counter. A couple of weeks later, the same buyer made a legitimate offer, albeit still too low. We countered. They came back a little higher. We countered. They came back a little higher. We did not counter. Yes, it was a joint decision. We determined that the potential buyer made the offer because it was their first and preferred choice. Acreage in the area with distinct advantages like ours, are rare. We were convinced we hadn’t heard the last from them.


Last week, we received an offer to buy 10 acres we had listed for sale. It was from the same people (with the same Realtor) who had made an offer several months ago. There was some countering on both sides, but on Friday we accepted their offer. Our Realtor emailed the paperwork to us to review, and then early this afternoon she forwarded an attachment of a map confirming the property that was to be sold. As soon as I opened the file, my stomach dropped. Due to an inaccurate description, the buyers and their agent had thought they were purchasing the 10 acres adjacent to ours instead of the lot furthest away.

We immediately called our Realtor and told her of the error. I am so disappointed by what I’m sure will be this as a deal-breaker. I’m angry at how careless and irresponsible both the Realtors were for not catching it and misrepresenting the property. Finally, I am just heart-sick for the buyers themselves. We’ve seen them walking the property more than once with a couple of small children and people who were likely their parents. They are a young family hoping to build a home. They’ve stood and watched the sunset on what they thought would be the location of their deck. They probably made announcements this weekend, and even when they went to work this morning, the week of Christmas, that they finally found where they will raise their children.

I wouldn’t want to be the buyer’s representative right now trying to explain how he screwed up, but I feel even worse for that family.

Broken Bone

Doodicus turned 13 earlier this month. A week ago he broke his first bone: the middle finger of his thumb. Funnily enough, he did it playing dodgeball at school. I got the call while I was at the farm visiting my mom. It was a good excuse to clear out. I had just asked her if she knew who I was.(1) She didn’t. It confirmed my suspicisons.

The nurse said that Dood probably sprained his thumb, but he was in a lot of pain and it was swollen. He has a tendency to dramatize so I decided to just pop into a convenient clinic to have it examined. The doc’s guess was that he had hyper-extended it when the ball hit his hand, but they took x-rays to confirm. Both the doctor and nurse were surprised when the film developed and the bone was clearly broken.

He fashioned a finger splint that he can remove when he showers, and in two weeks we will see his pediatrician to see how it’s healing up.

(1) I was helping mom get together an outfit for her Christmas Party with her Red Hat Society ladies. She kept asking “What are we doing?” and I’d tell her. Over and over again she’d ask, and over and over again, I’d tell her. Even though I remained calm, inside my patience was strained. We all took her nodding and giggling as interaction and passive acknowledgement to what was going on around her. It wasn’t. It isn’t.


Doodicus called while Sparring Partner and I were out having supper Friday night. Usually he does just to ask if he and Aitch can have some ice cream or if they can play on the Wii. We rolled our eyes at each other when we saw who was calling.

He announced that he had burnt the popcorn in the microwave and wanted to know how to get rid of the smell. I advised him to turn on the fan over the stove, and if the smell was really bad, he could crack the deck door and turn on the ceiling fan in the powder room.

We arrived home about 30-45 minutes later and pulled into the garage. When I opened the car door, the stink of burnt something hit me like a wall, but it was infinitely worse when we walked inside the house. This wasn’t just your typical “couple of burnt old maids at the bottom of a popcorn bag” kind of smell. We asked Doodicus if he had removed the bag of microwavable popcorn from the plastic packaging. Yes, of course, he said. How did you lay it in the microwave, we asked. Like this, he demonstrated. Ah. He had put the bag in upside-down. He had totally ignored the printed instructions that said, “Place this side down in the microwave.”

SP showed me the remnants of the bag Doodicus had thrown into the garbage can in the garage. There was no “popcorn” left, just a black, charred mass of clumped stink surrounded by perfectly normal looking butter-colored salt. He BURNED the popcorn alright. It’s a miracle that there weren’t actually flames (however, judging by the aforementioned bag, I can’t swear that there WEREN’T flames.).

We wanted to know what he would have done if there had been flames. Doodicus extended the sprayer from the kitchen sink. Dood! Electrical appliances like microwaves and liquids?? Not a good combo. Not too long ago the fire extinguisher that had been in the garage was disposed of as it was 10 years past expiration. Saturday afternoon I bought a new one. On Sunday, we installed a small camera in the living room that allows us to look in on the kids remotely.

As a kid, I often dreamed that I wasn’t able to use the rotary phone we had on the farm. I would try to dial 9, but I would accidentally release the rotary before it made it all the way to the stop. I would try and fail multiple times. I also had nightmares about not being able to describe where we lived. I grew up simply with the address of “RR2”. Everyone had RR2 as an address in my hometown!

You can believe I made sure to review with both kids our address, phone numbers and who to call in an emergency.

Lowering your expectations since 2005.


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