Way Back When-sday-Fall With Ab-Cat and Mousey

 It’s looking fall-ish up here in The Mitten. Nippy temperatures and changing leaves. Always one of the very best parts of living in Michigan.

Here we are way back in the fall of 1996. This is at our old house.  Two year old Mousey was enchanted with throwing leaves this particular year.

It looks like Honey is strapping the 7 year old Ab-Cat into her RGO walking braces. I see her little walker in the top right corner.

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 Picture courtesy of Abby!

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Like I said, Muggins was all about the leaf lobbing.

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Get er!

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There is our old house. There have been 3 or 4 families living there since we left, and no one has ever painted over the country blue that we applied 20 years ago! It is right down the road and we drive past it many times a week. We used to always say “Hi, old house!”

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Abby was such a good big sister!

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This is my favorite, she is giving her a smooch!

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Thanks for rolling around in the leaves with us Way Back When!

Is fall visiting your neck of the woods?

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Bargains of the Month-September

Here is my super-duper bargain for the month of September!

I’m pretty sure that I have mentioned my fondness for the “Life is Good” brand before. The t-shirts don’t fit me well, but I love the sleep pants. I found these while looking for a new pocketbook. Which I did not find that day.

I had a $10.00 coo-pin, that was sent to me in the mail because I have a Rewards credit card.  They would probably consider me a good customer. It could be used at TJ Maxx, Homegoods or Marshall’s. The trifecta of good shopping. It wasn’t $10 off on a purchase of  $75.00, like the one they sent me for my birthday, it was TEN FREE DOLLARS!!!

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They were 59 cents from Marshall’s! I heart them! Get it?

My Folks gave me some money for my birthday to put towards a new pocketbook. I had been looking for a replacement, as the handle of my current pocketbook was starting to come apart. For the last 3 years, this particular purse has fit all of my purse carrying needs, but I have never been completely happy with it’s appearance.

I began my quest  looking for the new pocketbook. I have many, many rules/guidelines for the pocketbook. You can read about them here. Or not.

Capri Patt and I were at TJ Maxx on Saturday and I scoured the purse section. I bought 2 that I liked, because part of the process involves taking it home and putting all my  junk into it to see if it all fits comfortably.  This was the winner. The other one was black, and everything fit awkwardly.

I was actually glad the black one was the loser. I was trying to expand my horizons and break out of the black/brown rut that I have been in for many years now.

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 I have grown very attached to the built in wallet feature, I may never have a wallet again.

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 My Parents also gave me this table runner for the anniversary of my birth. I put it here, because my table is always covered. With  dinner,  junk, school books, crumbs and laundry. Capri Patt gave me the stamp of approval when she came over today with Capri Deb and EEEK to get their hairs cut.

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Last, but not least is a bargain that Capri Patt picked up for me at Homegoods on clearance for $29.00. It is just what we needed to go with the new chairs to enhance our TV viewing pleasure. LOVE IT! Thanks C.P.!

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Anyone else find a bargain this month? Do tell!

The Fifth Time is the Charm

I had a little problem with my watch last week. Actually, for the last 2 weeks. I have been wearing Honey’s 20th Anniversary watch from Ford. It was just a smidge too big. It was a temporary fix, because the battery in my watch died.

A very solvable problem, if I could just get over to Meijers to pick up a new one. I have probably gotten the last few watch batteries at Meijers. It’s an in and out procedure. There has never been a problem.

This week, there was a problem.

The elderly sales lady took the watch and installed the new battery in record time. When she brought it back, she said she couldn’t get the back of the watch on. Poor thing, she mentioned that it had been happening to her a lot. I tried to snap it back on, but had no better luck. I told her it was ok, my husband could put it back together.

He couldn’t put it back together. He tried his fingers, got tools out, and finally came to the conclusion that she broke something, and that watch was never going back together. In all his trying, he accidentally cracked the face. He said “Happy Birthday, you get a new watch!”

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My Mom happened to be there that day and gave me her 30% off Kohl’s coupon. She said it expired the next day. I was going to use that baby to get myself a new watch!

People who know me well could tell you that I have rules for things. Guidelines, really. And some of them, like the laws of the universe, cannot be challenged. Purses, jeans, cream and butter, DaVinci Sugarfree Chai, cats, Meijer Kettle Chips and watches are a few things in this category.

As I set off for our friendly, neighborhood Kohl’s, I had these guidelines in mind.

1. I would like a silver watch.

2. I would like a stretchy band.

3. I would like the Indiglo light feature.

4. I would like all of the numbers on the face. Nana needs to be able to read the watch.

That’s it. I don’t think that is a  difficult, hard to accommodate list. Really, I don’t perceive myself as overly fussy.

Right away, I found one that suited me. SEE, I am not difficult!!!!

It was a  full numbered face, stretchy banded, Indiglo lit, silver, Timex beauty!

When I tried it on at home, it was apparent that it was too big. I have never had a one size fits all stretchy band be too big. Evidently, my wrists have lost weight.

Well, that sliding watch was not going to work for me. So I immediately took it back. I tried on all of the stretchy banded watches they had. I even expanded my all silver plan to include some that had silver AND gold tone. All were made for beefier wrists. I am a delicate flower. Who knew “Shaq” would have such a tiny wristal area?

I switched guidelines. Always a source of agitation. DEEP sigh. I decided to try for a fold over, metal link band. The sales lady removed 6 links to fit my, in Timex’s opinion, skeletal wrist. It didn’t slide around, it was snug! WOO HOO! I wore it home.

By the time I got home, it was bothering me. The fold over thing was poking me GREATLY. I asked Honey if he could bend something in there because it was hurting my vein. He said NO he could not bend something in there, the watch was not meant to be manipulated that much.

I was going to take it back that night after the swim meet, but after that little drama, it just didn’t happen. I made the decision to go the very next afternoon, after lunch at Mexican Fiesta with my buddies Jip the Farm Dog and Joni, who seriously needs a blob name. Thanks again for lunch, Jip!

I tried on everything that could possibly work. The only one that had the majority of guidelines, did not have an Indiglo light. I bought it anyway. 😦

I was showing it to Honey when I got home, lamenting the lack of Indiglo light. Maybe once, maybe several times.

He held up his hand, and asked how important the light was for me. Well, I like to use it in the morning to help me find my way to our bedroom door, so I don’t trip over a cat or crash into something, and I like to know what time it is in movie theaters. I told him it was very important to me.

He said “Take it back, I don’t want to hear about it forever“.

Because I live to obey him, I took it back.

He also asked me if I had looked at Target or Meijers? Why, no. No, I hadn’t. I was blinded by the 30% off coo-pin. (NutHatch Dictionary!!)

Next stop, Target. By this time, I am almost willing to settle for a serious breech in the guidelines, if only the dang thing will fit and light up. And if I can read it.

I was pleasantly surprised to find, after a minimal amout of looking, that they had one that met all my criteria!  I opened the box to try it on, no more buying a horse with a blanket on business for me. Oh, I have gotten savvy.

It fit, but I decided to buy the one still in the box, because the one I tried on was running, and I had the irrational fear that it would run out of battery next week and the whole charade would begin again. Like “Groundhog Day”. Make a note of that last decision.

I then brought the perfect watch home to live with me. I put it on. It fit like a glove. I went to set it. The pin would not turn more than a number at a time. IT.WOULD.NOT.TURN. I think I screamed.

I went and got Honey’s tools. I was going to make that pin TURN. At this point I had a lone rational thought. I don’t want this watch.

I took that dumb watch back. I tried on the watch I had rejected, because of the whole Groundhog Day scenario, and because I am an idiot. I tried the pin. It turned!

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Here it is, “my precious“.

Only took 5 tries.

Potent Quotable

We are not necessarily doubting that God will do the best for us; we are wondering how painful the best will turn out to be.

(Clive Staples) C. S. Lewis

Breathing is a Good Thing, But it was All a Little Much

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I did not realize that I had left so many of you hanging with my little comment about Mousey’s swim meet going south. I sincerely  apologize.

The meet started out fraught with troubles. They had trouble with the sound system, then they had trouble with the thing that records time. Which, I don’t need to tell you, is mondo important. As a result of that, they kept blaring the annoying start “honk”, trying to get it fixed. Finally, they started.

Mouse was in the first relay, doing her thing, The Fly. They came in third, which I learned later that evening, counts for points. I am a sponge for knowledge.

Her next event was the 100 Fly, alone. After she jumped off the podium (Help me out there Jip), the very first time she surfaced, her goggles flipped back over her head. They did not completely flip off  her head because, as I also learned that evening, the other part of the strap is under the always attractive bathing cap. To prevent just such a tragedy.

She tried to put them back on and continue, but every time she surfaced, they flipped back. She finally just left them off and swam. And promptly ran into the side wall. When she made her turn, Honey and I were shocked to see that she was not that far behind the pack! She tried valiantly to catch up, but evidently, those goggles are important. She fell further behind. But, she finished! And, in something we laughed about later, SHE DID NOT LOSE! She could NOT believe that she came in 5 th out of 6 th. A moment of silence for the 6 th place girl. Bless her heart, real good.

Honey caught it all on film!  For posterity. For all time.

We were watching her like a hawk after that heat. Because we know our Mousey-Girl, and quick recovery is not her strong suit.

Sure enough, she was in distress. But I was proud to see that she was trying to manage it. She then turned into the locker room. I thought that she had probably not been able to avoid the ugly cry, and removed herself from public.

Since I was selling water on the sidelines, and Honey was sitting next to me, because we are married and we  do everything together, I saw one of the girls run up to the assistant coach and watched them both go into the locker room. Honey and I just looked at each other.

Then another swimmy friend ran up to us and said that our little Muggins Q. Mouse was having trouble breathing. That was a long walk, trying to hurry, but not wanting to wipe out on the wet tile. Because, you never know, Honey could have caught that little maneuver on film. For posterity. For all time.

When I got in there, I could tell that she was breathing way too much, way too hard. Since she is not asthmatic, I was pretty sure she was hyperventilating. And crying.

We started her breathing into a bag we found. I suggested she try to slow her breathing on purpose. Basically just talked her down from the ledge. She did a wonderful job following instructions and was finally able to calm down. Then she told me her sad story.

She found out just before she swam that they had been disqualified from the 1 st heat. The one they placed 3 rd place in, for points. Disqualified for some kick that she did. Like, she fluttered when she should have dolphin-ed, or vice versa. Whatever.  She felt terrible about that, and then she had the Great Goggle Fiasco of 09 right after, and knew she would be disqualified again. She gave a Herculean effort to catch up, and was so out of breath, and SO trying not to dissolve into the ugly cry, that it all got the best of her. She snowballed right into the hyperventilation, which she had never had the pleasure of experiencing before.

After she explained her tale of woe, she said she was going to try standing. She was a lightheaded, wobbly little Mouse-tine.

We finally walked out of the locker room to the pool area just as the meet was ending. They had replaced her in her final 3 heats. She wanted to go home.

Thank you all for checking up on her, you Guy’s are the best.

No News

I have no good news to share. The Sewer Debacle is not looking promising.

I had a post in my mind about my new watch, but that didn’t go as planned. After I exchange the new watch  later today, perhaps I will have something to tell you.

I was also going to post a picture of Mousey’s swim meet. Honey did get ONE good one, after extensive cropping. But the swim meet ended poorly, and I don’t mean the score. I don’t know if I need to subject you Folks to another sad tale. Of course, Honey with his mad skillz, did actually catch the disaster on film. If we can figure out how to post it, you can see it all go south.

I have also just realized that I am periously close to The Mark. That could possibly be contributing to the feeling of pervasive sadness and general unfairness of life. Sprinkle that with a heavy dose of PMS, and you might want to visit this blob again in about 2 and a 1/2 weeks.

Go read Big Mama and June over at Bye Bye Pie. They usually make me feel better, and are a much better choice at this juncture. Maybe you will like them too.

OK, that’s enough of that.

Way Back When-sday- Baby Capri Kel

It was my 47th birthday last Friday. Also known as Sucky Sewer Day. I hope that is not an indication of how my year will be!

We did not celebrate it on that day, for obvious reasons. We will do it some other time, cause that’s what we do around here anyway.

Many of my loved ones called to wish me a happy day, some even sang! And they were all gracious to listen to our sad, sad tale of woe. I heart them.

 Mrs. Schmenkman and I had a little  Skype session on Saturday morning. I did a little more whining and gave her a new name. TWR. The Whine Recipient. Lucky, lucky her.

OH, I also got to meet her new kitty-witty, Casey, who is a precious little purry pumpkin!!!

These two pictures are of yours truly at a very young 2 months old. Because I was the first born child, and evidently my Mother could not wait until I was 3 months old, the normal age for first pictures. I was just that special-special.

At this time in my young life, we lived in Newark, California. We lived there until I was 2, and then my parents decided to move back home to Michigan  to be closer to family. That ended up being a good thing, they divorced when I was 5.

 I have no memories of living in  California. I went back once when I was 15, when we had a few days of  layover on our way to Hawaii. We visited with some of my Mom’s old friends in San Leandro and Redwood City, people I had heard about my whole life,  and  then saw some family in Modesto. Who I had never heard of in my whole life. It was here that Beeve and I watched “Live and Let Die” for the first time. Only to watch it again after we got to Hawaii. Really, that was huge. I was in the throes of some major Beatlemania, and HELLO, Paul McCartney sang the theme song!

We also drove by our old house. It was in a suspicious neighborhood. It made my Mom sad.

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You can’t really tell, but that was an adorable little dress.

I have heard my Mother say many times that I am a native Californian. I really just feel like a lifelong Michigander.

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There I am with my lazy little eye, that corrected itself.

And my mouth is still open.

Thanks for going way back with me. Way, way back.

Between A Rock And A Hard Place

The sewer guys came on Friday to dig up our front yard.

We had moved out pretty much all we could. The rocks, the other rocks, and then we moved some rocks.

At first, all we had was this yellow thing. Honey informs me that it is a back hoe. It removed the grindstone, trees and shrubs and the dirt.

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It dug down 11 feet. The first thing the guy said was “this is a problem”.

See that guy on the cement? He went to school with The Ab-Cat. I know his Mama. Hi Daniel! Small world.

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That’s Honey with his upset stomach. Getting more upset as the day wore on.

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Then all these guys came. We had guys swarming all over the front yard. Guys doing this, checking that, blowing out this line, standing around waiting for other guys.

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The plumbers said our builder didn’t install  the sewer line properly. The city didn’t inspect  the builder’s sewer line properly. All I know is, WE  had nothing to do with the sewer line. Even if we had an opinion about the sewer line 10 years ago, no one would have have listened to us. We are not sewer line experts in any way. You would think that someone would remember that.

When Honey called the d***  builder and told him what was going on over here, all he said was that he might come by and take some pictures, “to protect myself”. He never came. He was probably too busy looking for legal advice.

The inspector from the city came by at the end of the day. All he would say was he needed to go pull up the paperwork, and talk to an engineer. He blames the builder. The builder blames them.

The Boss Man Plumber finally came to have a little chat. They have a solution, but it will make a mess of our entire basement. And that little job, added to the amount to fix the line outside of our house, will cost more than our first house.

There is another solution that could possibly work. But it would take the city stepping up to the plate to fix something that is obviously their fault. When you build a house, you pay thousands and thousands of dollars to your city to have things inspected. That is not a choice.  Our line could not possibly have been inspected. These safety checks are in place to prevent d***builders from making stupid, colossal mistakes. No matter what our builder did, the city inspector did not do his job. They need to make it right.

This is not the first time we have been in this position. Well, it is with the sewer business, but not with our life. We have been caught between a rock and a hard place before.  Multiple times. And if I am being truly honest, sometimes I feel we have been there enough.  But God is the boss of that, and He is not seeking my opinion or advice.

 And while I know that His plan for our lives is best, that doesn’t mean that I don’t sometimes wish to exchange the plan. Especially in the midst of a really sucky situation.

When I feel put out  by life’s circumstances, I like to read the first chapter of James. I have a feeling that James understood the whole rock and a hard place scenario.

Here is The Message translation. James 1:2-8

Faith Under Pressure

Consider it a sheer gift, friends, when tests and challenges come at you from all sides.You know that under pressure, your faith-life is forced into the open and shows it’s true colors. So don’t try to get out of anything prematurely. Let it do it’s work so you become mature and well developed, not deficient in any way.

If you don’t know what you are doing, pray to the Father. He loves to help. You’ll get His help, and won’t be condescended to when you ask for it. Ask boldly, believingly, without a second thought. People who “worry their prayers” are like wind-whipped waves. Don’t think you’re going to get anything from the Master that way, adrift at sea, keeping all your options open.

Honey and I were sitting on the couch after the little chat. I was trying to cheer him up, cause I was seriously concerned that his blood pressure was going to cause him to have a stroke. I was reminding him of many other times that it seemed like there was no hope for a good solution, no good to come of a heartbreaking blow, no possible way God could work this for our good.

And do you know what God did? He caused us to remember. We told each other of time after time when He did come through, He did make things right, He did remove truly heinous people from situations,  that in spite of being knocked down so hard  that we couldn’t imagine ever getting back up, He was there, surrounding us with loved ones to help us and care for us when we could hardly care for ourselves.  He solved problems and provided solutions that were more than we asked for. More than we could have hoped for. I am thankful for the reminders.

He didn’t always fix things the way we wanted, the way we felt would be fair, but, we believe that  He was always working things out for our good. When we get to heaven, maybe He can explain things better. I have a feeling that we might not even care then.

So, here and now, we are praying that the city will agree to fix their mistake. And if God has a better idea, we are ALL ears.

Potent Quotable

Every tomorrow has two handles. We can take hold of it by the handle of anxiety, or by the handle of faith.

Henry Ward Beecher

Back on the Bleachers

Mousey’s swim meets have begun. For some reason, all of their games are away, except for two.

When I first learned this information, I was bummed. We were spoiled last year. Almost all of the meets were at our pool. Driving all over tarnation was going to be a major drag.

I have decided that this is NOT such a bad thing. I had NO idea that there was such bleacher diversity!

Our bleachers are silver metal with little grooves. Maybe to give your bum traction, I don’t know. They are steady, they don’t jiggle around when you climb them, but they are open underneath. All last year, it was my great fear that I would accidentally kick my purse or our camera bag through the back and have to squeeze through a tiny opening to retrieve them. Or bribe a small child to do it for me. It never happened, but these are the sort of things that occupy my mind. Plus, I don’t like sitting on bleachers. They are uncomfortable. I prefer reclining.

We have been to two meets so far, and I have been very impressed with the other schools bleachers! The Tuesday night school had metal bleachers also. But, they were cleverly angled, so that they were a little higher in front. It gave far superior bum pressure relief. Their metal bleachers were also mounted on cement stairs. No falling purse and camera scenario possible! Far more comfortable than our bleachers, mentally AND physically!

Alas, they were still bleachers, and by the end of the night I was ready to never sit again. Towards the end of the evening I asked Honey if my feet looked puffy to him. Cause I thought that my feet were looking puffy. Maybe it was because  of the way the metal seat was angled and all the blood was somehow stuck down by my feet. Or perhaps it was because we had Taco Bell for dinner. That could have a lot of salt.

BTW, Honey agreed  that he thought my feet looked puffy. Maybe he just agreed with me so I would stop asking him if he thought I had puffy feet. I don’t usually have puffy feet. I think that puffy is a funny word. I am amusing only myself.

On to last night’s meet. It was an old school. I’m sure it had been there for many years. I did not have high hopes for the bleachers. I was pleasantly surprised! Those bleachers were the best of old school AND new school! They were wooden benches on a cement support! Who knew wood would be more comfortable than angled metal? Not me! And once again, no holes to kick the belongings through!

I would never have thought that I, “Cheryl, I.Do.Not.Care”  (NutHatch Dictionary) about  all things sporty, would have had so many opinions about sport seating.

I discovered something else about cement floors last night. They are really nice to put your bare feet on. Since I am as hot as a fox in a box ALL the time lately, it is hard to sit and watch a swim meet for two hours in 120 degree moist heat. I realize the warmth is a courtesy to the swimmers, who are in and out of the cold water all evening, but HEY! I’m roasting over here!!! And I didn’t want to have puffy feet all over again!

I will now tell you about the far more interesting parts of the evenings. How Mousey swam!!! I will explain this to you in my own unknowledgeable terms. It is all I know. I’m pretty sure that I will hear from Jip The Farm Dog telling me I’m telling you all wrong. I am offering a disclaimer, right up front.

Some of the parents have elaborate spread sheets to document their precious Angel Baby’s stats and progress. We used the only paper I could find in my purse. The Ab-Cats oral surgery recheck reminder card.

She seems to swim at least 2 relays per meet. She swims those with 3 other girls, and so far, she has always swam the butterfly. They swim in the race that counts, for points, as opposed to swimming in the races that don’t count  for points. It has a name. It might be a heat. It might not.

Once they came in third, next they came in first (WOO HOO!!!) and then they came in second.

She sometimes swims the 100 yard butterfly. She came in third. The coach told her that she was his “Fly Girl”. I thought that was SO cute!

She also sometimes swims the 50 and 100 yard free style. That’s just regular swimming. She came in fourth and third in those.

We are going to write down her times in a more organized fashion to see how her times improve. They have already improved from her first to her second meet. She’s like a little baby genius! Mainly, I just think she looks adorable in her suit.

This is where I would have liked to post a picture of her looking all adorable, but Honey had turned his laser like attention on getting a movie last night, which was the only night that we remembered to bring the camera. He said he had a pretty good one, but by the time he returned to me, in the comfy wooden bleachers, he had inexplicably deleted it. Oh, we are technological wizards. And, not one of the pictures that he did take were decent.

Maybe next meet.

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