Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

A lovely thing about Christmas is that it’s compulsory, like a thunderstorm, and we all go through it together.
-Garrison Keillor

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Monday, November 27, 2006

Pick-Up Man

Last week PK's old Nissan finally headed for that giant parking lot in the sky. I'm gonna miss that car. We bought it used when we were first married. We have put close to 200,000 miles on it in our years of road trips. Now, it is rusty with no air-conditioning and questionable heat (not a good thing in the frozen tundra that is Minnesota). The interior has a moldy and old french fry smell. The driver-side door doesn't close all the way and we've been driving with a broken tail light for about a year. Every year or so we have replaced the alternator that always seems to go out at the most inconvenient time possible. But, overall, it was reliable and very inexpensive to maintain. Alas, it is no more. I'll take a moment to mourn our loss....

OK, now to the good news (at least from PK's point of view). For years I've promised PK that when we finally kissed the reliable, sensible, affordable family car goodbye, he could have a pick-up. Well, to his great delight, we found ourselves in need of a second vehicle and fast. Despite the pain of another car payment, we set out to find the perfect, cheap truck for my pick-up man. Lucky for us, it was Thanksgiving. We went up to farm (and truck) country to his parents' place for the holiday. On Friday after the leftovers, we took a short tour around all the small towns looking at truck after truck. To be honest, they all look the same to me and I was bored out of my mind. Did y'all know that in those small-town little dealerships, they don't even take your license when you take a test drive? And they let us drive it for a couple of hours....weird how trusting those folks are. Anyway, we finally ended up at the first place we had tried and bought PK's new pride and joy.

Despite the numerous country songs to the affect, I was not prepared for the love and devotion a man can feel for his old pick-up truck. I quickly learned.

On Saturday, we left the in-laws for the long 6-hour trip home. We decided that PK would drive his new toy and I would follow in the car. I didn't get far...just up the driveway and onto the highway for a quarter of a mile before the turn onto a dirt road. Once I hit pavement I realized something was terribly wrong. I had a flat tire. I pulled over onto the dirt road just in time to see PK gun his engine and fly down the road spraying a cloud of dust as he went. He never looked back and he never heard my horn honking or saw my arms flailing in a vain attempt to get him to stop and help. I guess the allure of the 4X4 is just too powerful....even his damsel in distress could not pull his attention away. Well, I waited for a few minutes hoping he'd realize I was no longer behind him and come back for me. He didn't. I called his cell....no answer. Finally, I weighed my options. I could unload all the luggage from the trunk and struggle to put the spare on or I could walk the short distance back to the in-laws' and request assistance. I opted for the walk as I was unsure if I could remember how to change the tire myself (I can already hear the women around the world crying out in shock and dismay at my inability to be self-sufficient when it comes to this important task, but I swear I could do it if I really had to...I think.) So I hiked back to the house...uphill....in the freezing cold....with snow up to my waist...OK, OK, it wasn't that bad, but PK might read this and the guilt factor will pay off for me sometime in the near future. Actually, it was pretty cold, but my father-in-law came to the rescue and drove me back to my car where he changed the tire for me. We decided that the flat couldn't be fixed and that I wouldn't make it home on the spare. So DIL (Dad-In-Law) sent me to town to the tire store where I was informed that they "don't see many Saturns up here" and that they had nothing that would fit my car. Luckily, DIL decided to follow-up and had followed me into town. He talked with the owner and the two of them called other tire stores in surrounding towns to no avail. Finally, tires were found in North Dakota about 45 minutes away in the wrong direction. So, off I went with DIL following me to make sure the spare made it. Still no word from PK....I made a note the check that the truck included a rearview mirror. Only I could have this kind of rotten luck.

We made it to ND and waited about 2 hours for the new tires during which DIL bought me lunch. Then he bought my tires for me too (which is good because I just spent $6000 on a truck and new tires might have been CT's Christmas present...and I don't think he could take those for show-and-tell). I know you're all green with envy over my priceless in-laws. Just remember that I have the husband the ditched me on the side of a dirt road in the middle of nowhere....not so jealous anymore, huh? To his defense, PK did finally call when he finally had reception on his cell. And he has been appropriately apologetic, but I figure I'd better milk the poor, pitiful damsel thing as long as I can.

I don't know what y'all were thankful for this Thanksgiving, but PK is thankful for his new ride and I am ever-so-grateful for my lovely parents-in-law.

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Tuesday, November 21, 2006

How To Survive Traffic Court

For starters, please refer to the previous post entitled "Friday the 13th Strikes" to see why I had to go to traffic court yesterday. You will note that my ticket was for having out-of-date proof of insurance. One week after receiving my citation, I made my way to the courthouse on my lunch break to show the court administrator my up-to-date insurance information just as I was instructed to do by the officer. There, I waited in line for at least 30 minutes (probably more like 10, but it sure seemed like forever!) before finally speaking to the lady behind the counter. She informed me that I could not just pay a fine or show my proof to her and that I would have to appear in court to settle the matter. When I very calmly explained what the officer had instructed, she very rudely told me that showing her my proof of insurance was only acceptable if I had been cited for not having insurance at all. This makes a lot of sense to me, folks. She told me that I would have been better off not showing the cop any proof at all than showing him my 3-week expired insurance card! Anyway, the court date set for me happened to be the week I was out of town at LB's wedding. So, I was instructed by the idiot....ahem...I mean nice government employee...to wait until the day before we left (because being proactive on these matters is discouraged, I guess) to call the court and request a continuance. I did this and was given yesterday as my new court date at 1:00 p.m. I arrived at exactly 12:45 only to find a line out the door of the courthouse for people who were also assigned the same court date and time. After a lengthy wait and check-in process, we were ushered into the courtroom and introduced to the prosecutors and judge and instructed of our rights. Then, we were all told to wait in the hallway outside the courtroom until our name was called. So I waited....and waited...and waited. By the way, there were not enough chairs for all us criminals, so I stood for the most part. At 2:00, I called into work to inform my supervisor that I would obviously not be returning to the office. At approximately 3:00 I called my daycare to inform her that I could be late picking up CT. At approximately 3:30, I called PK to inform him that he may beat me home at 5:30 and to ask that he please pick CT up at daycare if that was the case. You can see how my irritation might have been growing. Finally, at 3:45 the prosecutor escorted me into a small office just outside the courtroom where I defiantly whipped out my current proof of insurance and thrusted it at him. He asked me how long I had been waiting and I, as politely as possible , responded "Well, I was driving a Model T when I got this ticket." He was not amused. He took a look at my proof and explained that I could have just shown it to the court administrator at the counter and avoided court altogether. ARGHHHH!!!

So how do you survive traffic court? Here's my suggestions based on my vast experience:
  • Bring knitting (or other project). My fellow lawbreakers took bets on whether or not I would finish the entire scarf before we got out of there.
  • Think happy thoughts when the baby some ill-advised mother brought to court cries so loud that you can't here the clerk calling out names you desperately want to be yours.
  • Try not to laugh out loud when the bailiff passes you escorting the guy charged with minor possession while she admonishes him for getting high in the parking lot outside the courthouse while waiting for his turn to see the judge.
  • Talk to that girl with the nose ring and a tattoo on her exposed tummy. She's really just a single-mom anxious to pick up her kids at the bus stop.
  • Ease-drop on the conversation of the two teenagers accused of underage drinking while they discuss the responses of their parents to their numerous indiscretions. This may be useful information if you are ever a parent of a delinquent.
  • Try not to lose your temper when you realize that half of those waiting don't speak English and need the services of the interpreter and therefore, are allowed to see the judge first because the interpreter has another appointment. Just vow to learn Spanish at your earliest convenience.
  • Most importantly, never trust the low-level government buffoon behind the counter without a second opinion from another low-level government buffoon.

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Monday, November 20, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

The wild turkey is to the Thanksgiving offering what the tiger is to the tabby: a creature that knows better than to trust a human.
-New York Times

Sunday, November 19, 2006

It's Not Easy Being Green

I spent this weekend at work and sniffling in bed. Luckily the work load and flu let up enough this afternoon for me to prepare for tomorrow night's November Stamp Club meeting. Here are the projects I have planned. Do you notice a theme?

Inside of frog card.

I just hope I have enoug green cardstock to go around. I may have to raid the scrap box!

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Friday, November 17, 2006

LB's Wedding

The wedding was beautiful. It took place at a mansion in a place that looked like it was straight out of Gone with the Wind. It was short, which was great for a certain little wiggle-worm of a groomsman. And just like that, my little brother was hitched. Hard to believe he's all grown up and starting family of his own.

The reception was absolutely wonderful. The food was excellent. They even had something similar to lefsa (Norwegian family get-together food for those not from the 10,000 lakes area). The yankees and hicks seemed to mingle well together and everyone seemed to have a good time. Like every wedding, there was a half-dressed drunk girl that had to be carried out by two of LB's army buddies, but other than that everyone behaved themselves.

Here's a photo of the happy couple:

They are beautiful, happy and in love. Sorry, you'll have to take my word for it.

Here's a photo of me showing off my flip-flops that my sister-in-law gave me as a bridesmaid gift:

These were a great gift for showing off our new dance moves all night. (See post Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick)

Here's a photo of my Scarlett O'Hara hair:

My sister-in-law was so sweet to indulge my fantasy hair. I could never accomplish this on my own.

We had a wonderful trip, but as expected I managed to get myself sick (luckily not until after the wedding). You would think I always invite Mr. Flu on vacation with me. At least Flu does not require a separate plane ticket! This time I blame it on my step-mother and PK who began getting sick a couple of days before me.

I suppose now that she's family, my sister-in-law needs her own blog pseudonym....I'm open to suggestions. Post your sister-in-law pseudonym ideas as a comment and I'll pick the best one.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

No More Georgia On My Mind

Sorry for blog drought, but we have been in Georgia at LB's wedding. We had a great trip, but we're exhausted. It was a beautiful wedding and it was great to finally meet my sister-in-law. To be honest, I'm way too tired to even make jokes at my family's expense today. I'll just say that they behaved themselves for the most part and there was only minor bloodshed. CT burned himself on a sparkler at the wedding and then cut himself with the pocket knife he was given as a groomsman gift the day after the ceremony. Overall, I consider it a success that he came home still breathing.

Instead, I'll finally be able to share the project that's been keeping us busy for the past few months. Our wedding gift to LB and his bride was an end table designed and built by PK to hold 16 photo albums. CT stained the table and I applied over 150 childhood photos of the lovebirds before we finished it with poly (see Polyurethane--Great for floors and your skin!). I am very proud of this project. I think it turned out beautifully despite the sweat and tears (thankfully, no blood) that went into it. We will be taking orders, if anyone is interested, but I warn you that our prices are exorbitant.

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Monday, November 06, 2006

Today's Favorite Quote

With renowned charm, Savannah remains the gently mannered city by the sea.
-Rhett Butler

Post from Mom RE: Chicken Chase

OK, Mom doesn't actually post, but she sent me this e-mail and I just have to share it with the rest of the world. I tend to favor my mom a tiny little bit, so y'all might recognize the resemblance in this post, but assure you I only corrected a typo here and there. This is pure Mom. It's also important to note that my mom lives right in the middle of a rather large city in a big, older house with a nice, normal backyard...almost normal.

"It was rainy and dreary today. I looked out the back door and Momma Chicken and Little Rooster were looking longingly at the back porch.

So, I propped the storm door open and backed out of sight. They came in the house!! I thought it was so cute as they checked everything out. Then I let the dogs out the front door to do their business. When I came back in the fowl were eating cat food out of the pet dish in the kitchen. OHHHH How cute. So now it is time to go outside, right? Little Rooster just went right out, but Momma didn't want to go. I tried to chase her out and before I knew it we were running around and around the dining room table. First clockwise, then counter clockwise. Must have looked like we came out of a Three Stooges movie! Well, when that didn't work. I got the broom. And here we go. the chicken jumped up in the big window in the kitchen and tried to go through it! I was still swatting with the broom and she knocked all those antique bottles off all over the place. Then she looked out and saw Little Rooster in the yard. She tried again to peck through the window. I kept swatting and she tried to fly (yes she was flying in my kitchen) out the window over the sink. Hit her head and fell in the floor, so I tried to sweep her towards the back door. She got away and got in that cabinet by the sink that doesn't have a door. She got way in the back and stood still, like she thought I couldn't see her. By this time Little Rooster was standing at the back door crowing his little head off for his mother. HG [House Guest for blog purposes] and I poked with the broom til she came out from under there. She tried to fly out the window again and fell in the sink. She sat there for a while and HG got the broom after her again. The head of the broom fell off in the sink, scared the chicken and sent her running across the stove and behind canisters on the cabinet. I moved the canisters one by one and she was doing that statue thing again thinking I couldn't see her.

Finally I remembered that birds get tame in the dark. I threw a towel over her head and she got real calm. Then I just picked her up and carried her outside. I can tell you that she doesn't care to be anywhere near me now! Then I had to clean up the kitchen. Luckily, in all this rigmarole, the chicken only pooped once!

So if you need any ideas on how to add excitement on a dreary day--just ask me!

Love ya,

I love my mom!

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Thursday, November 02, 2006

Diorama Drama

CT's Diroma depicting Joe (of Hardy Boys fame) about to be hit by an oncoming train, but luckily falling through a hole in the tracks into a mysterious metal room with a large open door just in the nick of time.

(For those who can't see it, let me quote the talented artiste: "Duh! It's one-point perspective, Mom.")

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