Monday, June 29, 2015

Dreams Change

A few months ago, I entered a contest to win and Inn and Restaurant. Surprise, surprise- we didn't win. 

Or did we?

For years my husband and I dreamed of owning a B&B, complete with a little cafe on the side to give guests breakfast and to serve the locals some good food picked fresh from the local farms. Great dream. But when things started to become a reality, we had to give the idea some serious thought.

Did we really want 'company' over every night for at least six to nine months of the year? Then run and serve in a restaurant all year long on top of it? At first the idea had merit, but then as we came down to the wire of the contest, I started feeling more stressed than happy.

Maybe my dreams changed.

We'd been dreaming this since we were married eighteen years ago. Eighteen years ago we had more energy (and let's face it- more money) and no kids. Eighteen years ago this dream could have been a reality- but now?

I like being home by myself during the day. I like having my family sit and watch a movie marathon on the weekends. The cookouts. The impromptu invites because we had an open day. Laying on the couch for a nap because I can. None of this could happen if we had an Inn. Some of it couldn't happen if we had a restaurant either, but at least we'd have our house to ourselves when we went home after work.

Dreams do change.

I'm no spring chicken. Inns take more work than I'm willing to do. A restaurant, however, is right up out alley- as long as we aren't feeding the patrons of the Mall of America. A small cafe would be perfect for us. 

I'd still write and do all the other things I love- just not as often. And I can collapse on the couch at the end of the day with my kids and husband using me as a community pillow. I like that dream better. 

We didn't win, but yet we did. Cool, huh?

Have you had dreams that have changed? What was your dream and what is it now? Go over your dreams from years ago and see if they need tweaking- you might be surprised!

Monday, June 22, 2015

A Hot Mess

I'm a hot mess. 
I'm hot, and the house is a mess.

The only time menopause is a good thing is when it's winter and you can heat the house for free. But in the summer, it can be downright volcanic. This is not the time to fudge on housework, yet it's the perfect time to fudge on housework.

You know it's time to take a break when you're mopping the floor and realize most of what you're cleaning up is your own sweat. Cold showers and powerful ceiling fans are your friends. Thank You God for inventing condensation!

Yes, we are blessed with AC- but that doesn't mean the sweating stops- oh no. I could blink too fast and start sweating like a racehorse- I don't care what the temperature is outside.

As for me and my house, we're supposed to serve the Lord. Let's just say if He came today, I'd be going to Hell.

*knock knock knock*
Me: Who's there? Jesus? Um...are You sure You want to come in?
Jesus: *nods and smiles, and says nothing*
Me: *let's Him in* Um..Pardon the mess- this decade has been pretty rough..*doesn't mention the fact that I've only been here for two years*
Jesus: *climbing through the mess, pets the cats, then looks around, flabbergasted*
Me: I'm going to Hell, aren't I...
Jesus: *considers this for a moment* No, but you're definitely not going to be part of the cleaning crew in Heaven....

I can totally see this happening to me.

Mehtinks that mayhaps I better get my butt in gear and clean this place before the Second Coming. Or at least before we invite someone over for dinner.

Maybe if I filled the bathtub with cold water and just dunked myself in it fully clothed when a hot flash hits, it might not be so bad. But part of me wonders if Hell is so hot because there are menopausal women who never cleaned their houses down there, and the devil is making them do housework for eternity....

That's it- where's my mop?

Thursday, June 18, 2015

The Scarecrow and Me

Remember The Wizard of Oz when the scarecrow wishes he had a brain?

Oh yeah- I feel you, buddy. I wish I had a brain too!

Not only did I forget to post on Monday, I forgot a myriad of other things, both important, and unimportant. And I haven't the foggiest what those things are.

It's terrible to forget things. It's like someone hit the 'Pause' button in my brain, stopping all functions until the controller get back from her bathroom break- but the controller is me, and instead of unpausing, I wind up doing housework, or looking at Facebook.

This does not bode well for my future.

This week was a plethora of predicaments that I managed to save through some clever thinking. 

My phone died- not good when you just got a driving job and need the GPS, and can't charge your phone. Got the new phone- no internet access, hence no GPS. Spent two days dealing with phone calls and store services, dealing with people that 'just don't do that kind of thing here'. 

I finally found someone competent, and they had me up and running within two minutes.

Errands had me all over the planet, only finding that I could have made a more circular route had I actually remembered to bring everything with me, instead of leaving this or that at the house. This in a van that gets minus thirteen miles per gallon. Joy and Rapture.

My daughter graduated, and we forgot the tickets. We forgot the tickets- not me. Even though I was the only one that knew where they were. Luckily for me the guy in charge knew me well from both my kids attending his school since forever, and let us in anyway. Whew!

This morning I awoke with a start- I forgot to reset the alarm (since my husband took off yesterday for her graduation), and we woke up an hour late. When it rains (like this morning) I have several people to pick up for his work as well (two brothers and a cousin this time), and we had ten minutes to get ready and out of the house. Not only did we manage that, but I had thrown together his breakfast and lunch before we left. 
Okay, so it was a lunch bag full of shredded rotisserie chicken, some cheese, a tomato and a cinnamon bun, but it was enough for him to make at least two or three sandwiches, depending on how much bread he kept at work for just such an occasion. (He had plenty.)

Did I also mention I'm face painting this weekend, and I forgot to take pictures to display? I have a new and improved kit, and need new shots of everything. My daughter is in for a surprise- she's going to be my canvas and model for the next few hours. Happy graduation, sweetie!

And then of course, I'm doing my editing this morning, and noticed there was a gap in my blogging dates. Monday seemed to be missing....

If I only had a, doo doo-doo doo do..

It's not easy to be a mom, wife, homemaker, writer, face painter, and whatever else I do around here. But it sure does make life a lot more interesting!

Monday, June 8, 2015

Stinkerbell the Influencer- Part Two

After my last post, I started giving her story more thought. 

My boys were good kitties. They listened (eventually, after a lot of training) and were obedient. They still are. But when we introduced Tinkerbell into the mix, things changed.

Some for the good, some not so good.

I don't know what her life was like before we got her, but she learned a lot of bad things- things she doesn't realize are bad. Like stealing. Sneaking around. hitting others. Yes, it's typical kitty behavior, but like my boys, a lot of it can be trained out without sacrificing good kitty antics.

You don't need to steal. You ask nice and I'll give you some. Just don't put your face on my plate.

You don't need to hit. Or at least not hard. A hiss is all that's needed to fend off most offenses. 

And if my daughter teaches you to attack her feet, she deserves what she teaches when she walks by you and you're feeling playful. (actually, this ones not Tink's fault, and sometimes it's pretty dang funny to watch!) point is, everyone is redeemable, if you're willing to lead them in the right direction. My boys learned it- my kids learned it. And I'm not the best teacher in this universe (far from, it!), but I think I did a pretty good job, despite my foibles.

People are influenced the same way. It doesn't matter what background they used to live in. Yes, it's important to know what kind of life they lead, but we can still show them what God has shown us, what we have learned, and let them know that all the bad stuff they once knew doesn't have to be the norm- they can make themselves into what they want to be through God, they just need the right guide.

If my kids are getting influenced by peers teaching them 'bad kitty tricks', it's up to me to show the Influencers how we do things- especially when in my home. This might be the only time these other kids get a dose of Christian family life, and showing them that they can be good towards others can do wonders.

Visitors see my cats and kids and have complimented me on my parenting and pet-parenting. Yet they never saw the work involved- and what a mess I was before God sent someone to guide me. Actually several someones- God knew I needed a lot of work!

Tinkerbell has been a part of our family for almost six months. She's starting to learn 'Get down', 'Shoo Shoo' (please move), 'Come here' and 'Kiiiiiitty, Kitty, Kitty, Kitty!' (the call for mealtime). She's still learning 'Up' (get on hind legs for a treat), and 'Come up' (to lay on us), but she's getting better. 

Now if I can just get her to stop teaching my boys her naughty tricks and teach her the good stuff, we'll be great!

Monday, June 1, 2015

Stinkerbell, The Influencer

We have a new kitty. Okay, so she's not entirely new. She's been here since December. She's about two and a half years old, while my boys are closer to five or six. Her actual name is Tinkerbell- though I joke about it being Stinkerbell because of her antics.

She hissed at my boys in the beginning, and was not welcomed by them in any way. Especially by Boo-boo, the main reason I got her in the first place. Let's just say he was neutered a little later than Scootch before I had acquired the two brothers. Let's also say that just because we live in the 'City of Brotherly Love' doesn't mean Boo-boo should take that literally. So we looked for about two years for a neutered girl kitty his buddy and leave his brother alone.

Tinkerbell was originally named Twilight when we found her at a shelter. We believe she was a stray, then adopted for a short period, then taken back to the shelter. She was over two years old when she was spayed, and in fact still bore a shaved belly when we adopted her. I dubbed her Tinkerbell because she loved to play with belled plastic balls and wore a jingle bell collar. She is a totally cute little black kitty with gold eyes.

We kept them separate at first, to get used to each other. Scootch could care less, but Boo-boo wanted to chase her all over, and she wouldn't have it. Fights ensued, and Scootch (as Head Cat) would often referree the fights. I found him chasing off either offender (depending on who started it) and on occasion, letting Tink know he was in charge. My boys are large for cats (not fat, but tall and long), and since she was a little thing, she was trounced more often them not.

She wised up quick and decided to teach my boys some bad manners.

No cats on the table. They knew the rules. She didn't. We lost a lot of butter that first week, because the kids didn't think to put the covered butter dish away since our 'good' boys never touched it. But she taught them that when the parents aren't watching, you can have all the butter you can steal.

You can also try to take Mommy's bacon off her plate when she goes to get a drink. I've lost more weight because of bacon pilferage, and have learned to get my drink first. My boys used to try to take food, but I taught them to leave things be. Tinkerbell, however, is resistant, and knows how to forage when no one is looking. We kept the bell on her collar on purpose, the little sneak.

Then she started 'hunting' my boys. Scootch is actually pretty tolerant of her swats, and will sometimes ignore her, or glare at her, or give a half-hearted chase. Boo-boo will chase her, have a swat fight, then run- and she'll give chase until he turns around. This is the beginning of play, but the hisses and growls aren't always playful.

And do not be the cat to come up while she's sleeping and tentatively sniff her. You'll earn and machine-gun series of swats and a well-deserved hissing.

Don't even try to open a door if she's underfoot. You'll trip into the wall while she makes a break for it, usually winding up in "The Barrier Zone" otherwise known as the enclosed porch. She loves to find the tiniest cranny to wedge herself in so you can't get to her. Hence the nickname 'Stinkerbell'.

But I found her weakness. She likes being with people. All I have to do is wait a few minutes for her to relax, call for her and she comes- albeit slowly, and I'll carry her or she'll walk back inside.

How is she with people? She's schizophrenic. Tink won't go near my son, rough plays with my daughter, is a cuddle bunny with my husband, and plays lightly and cuddles lightly with me. She is more willing to seriously scratch us when we tick her off, but hardly ever scratches us by accident. Tink warns us by putting out her claws slightly, and as long as you don't 'play prey' and try to pull away she usually lets you go. Usually. She does nip at you sometimes, but the same rules apply- a warning, but no serious harm.

Tink lets you know she's unhappy if you pick her up my making short 'er, er' noises- not quite a growl, but not a meow either. Put. Me. Down......Now.

It's been five months since we brought her home, and the fighting has waned a little. I found them sleeping on the same couch the other day, the boys on each end, her in the middle. Not close to each other, but closer than they have ever been. Fights still occur, but play-fighting has also. They all eat in the same room, very close to each other, and almost no angry swats as they cry for their meals- just warning shots.

Cats take a while to get used to each other. But in the end, I think she'll fit right in with the boys...and us!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

God, The Ventriloquist

I've been asking God a lot of things lately. Most of my requests have been "Where do You want me to go?" and "What am I really supposed to be doing?"

I waited for God to answer me for a week. Then two. I sat, I prayed, I listened. Sometimes I did chores, sometimes I fell asleep. The only answer I heard was 'Be patient. I have plans for you.'

Well whoop-dee-stinkin'-doo- what did that mean? I knew He wanted me to stay home (read: work out of my home while caring for my family), and I knew He had plans for me, but good grief- can't He give me a hint or point me in the right direction? I was no better off than I started!

Oh, God loves it when I get all frustrated and whiny. That's when He works through others to answer my impatient queries. He speaks through them, and waits to see if I'm listening.

This time, he used two pastors at church. Not one, but two.

Both pastors said things that blew my mind.

The first pastor spoke about Cain and Abel, and how attitude is everything. The right attitude can change everything- and obviously by my 'whoop-dee-doo' comment above, my attitude about an answer was less than aromatic. 

The second pastor preached about 'staying in your own lane'. To stop comparing ourselves with others concerning everything- not just our appearance, but our successes and failures as well. That last revelation made me realize that I'd been comparing myself to every successful newbie writer, and I've been trying to 'run in their lane' instead of my own. I followed every path that they did, every genre they did, hoping for the same result. The problem is I'm not them, and my style of writing isn't the same as theirs.

And I wonder why I'm not making any progress? I'm too tired from running everyone else's races!

God answered me through others, just like a ventriloquist. His words, their mouths. It was awesome! After church, I gave my problems a good, hard look.

Then I put on a new set of running shoes and marked my own path. 

I can't guarantee that I'll stick to my path; I've been running other races for so long it's a habit that needs breaking- but I hope to follow my own track until I reach the finish line. 

After all that's where God wants me to be! 

Monday, May 18, 2015

Back In The Daze

My mind is totally numb when I think about my kids being home for the summer this year.

Both kids now have their working papers- my son is 17, my daughter is 14. Both tell me they want to work.

My son has yet to lift the phone or do any research or legwork to lay the foundation to land a job. He thinks he can just ask for one, and get it. Maybe it's an Aspergers thing, but I don't think so. He does manage to find the oddest jobs to do though, so maybe he will!

He wants to work at Chic-Fil-A. Why? Because they are Christian, and they have food. I don't think much will get thrown out if he works there- maybe our grocery bills will go down too- they did when my husband left home to marry me, and he left a family of eight!

My daughter wants to volunteer at a therapy horse ranch. She's working towards becoming an animal cop. She is laying the groundwork. I don't care if it's voluntary- she has a plan.

But what can I do to help them in the off days? I thought a lemonade/iced tea stand would be a great money maker that we can all do for the summer.

At least until I was told we can't. We need to be licensed first.


Back in the days of the dinosaurs when I was an amoeba, kids could have a paper route, set up a lemonade stand, sell homemade cookies door to door, and offer our services to clean up trash, rake leaves and shovel snow (obviously this one isn't a summer thing, but you get the idea.) Kids could earn money as long as they were willing to work- and people supported them by buying from them and hiring them for yard work. Now the law says we need a permit?

So I looked into it. We don't need a license- we need two. And a tax ID number. The Tax ID and the commercial license are free, but the one we want- sidewalk vendor- is a whopping 300.00...

...a year.

This is lemonade, people- not Fillet Mignon. We'd have to hard sell all summer to break even!

Can we really blame the kids of today for not waning to work? Have that laws made it impossible for kids to start a business or do it to earn enough for a game or a new shirt? And if the food is made within the home (like cookies) you also need L&I to come do an inspection of your home and a FoodSafe certificate.

I don't know about your city, but these are the rules in ours. Part of me wants to just throw my hands in the air and forget the entire thing, but another part of me wants to fight the laws and allow kids to have a lemonade stand, for heaven's sake!

I liked the simpler times. You put up a stand, sold cups of something yummy, and even the police would stop by for a sip or two. Now we need working papers, licenses, tax numbers and inspections, squashing a you8ng entrepreneur before they step foot outside the door. What's this world come to that a kid that wants to work, can't?