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Showing posts with label journal. Show all posts
Showing posts with label journal. Show all posts

Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Today I am 50 years old, and I understand some things

I understand:

That I have outlived most of my family that I grew up with (as there was a lot of illness in our family). Therefore, I understand the gift that my life is.

That I know more than I did when I was a 30-year-old idiot, but in 20 years I might be shaking my head at my 50-year-old self.

That as individuals, most people have redeeming qualities, but the mob mentality is strong, so you gotta watch out for that shit.

That it is OK to swear.

That I am loved, and not just by my immediate family, but by people who I hardly know. It surprises me when I run into someone who has "met" me through social media, and they praise me.  That's mind-blowing.

That after years of finding a new purpose (after graduating my kids from homeschooling), that it turns out that nothing is more important to me than education.

That I am open to spending the rest of my life teaching and learning.

That it is OK to cry. (whether happy or sad).

That happiness is a choice.  Surely sadness comes and goes, but how long we decide to live in it determines our growth or lack of...

That you have to call an idiot an idiot, and a spade a spade, and wicked, wicked.

Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Our journey into homeschooling

It took a while from the time I started learning about homeschooling to when we actually did it.

This video shows our awkward journey.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

Why we homeschooled

I don't know if I ever told the full story about why we homeschooled our children. It was so many years, ago, but the journey to homeschooling will always stay with me. 

Some people homeschool for religious reasons. Some homeschool for academic reasons. Some feel that homeschooling protects their child. Why did you decide to homeschool?

So why did you decide to homeschool your children?

Sunday, April 29, 2018

Notes from Puerto Rico

Hubby and I just spent a desperately needed week on vacation in Puerto Rico. The resort we went to last time, The Ritz Carlton was still under construction post-storm. We stayed at the next door resort, at the Marriot instead.  What can I say?  The room was good. The view was magnificent, the bed was hard, and the food was not the best. at all.

Of course, all that was to be expected. We chose to stay in Puerto Rico because we knew that our vacation money was best spent in the land our administration has forgotten... and so we did. That was our decision.  And so, we grinned, bared through any discomforts, spent a ton on meals left unfinished, enjoyed the beach and each other.

As is customary, we did venture off the resorts. We spent a day in Old San Juan, which while interesting, was difficult. The plan was to get a taxi to the old fort and tour that and the museum. The traffic there was bad, and the driver insisted he would drop us off close enough. Put us where we could get the bus there, that never came.  We ended up on a bus that got us a few blocks closer and a few hills closer, but we ended up walking a couple miles and by the time we got to the fort, I knew I was too tired to make it through the tour and so just walked the grounds and enjoyed the view.

Afterwards, we walked through a pretty creepy neighborhood to find a local restaurant.  The food was OK, but our stomachs were a little off for the rest of the week.

Another night, the night before the tour, we took a cab to an Italian Restaurant.  The food was not bad, and the conversation was ... tense.  Let's just say hubby is a very curious and asked the waiter questions that weren't exactly welcomed. This waiter in particular, had very strong opinions about the government, and about the US and they were all hostile.  I asked about education on the island, which everyone knows is a disaster, and his opinion was "what about it- once" kids can read, who cares"

Now as a former homeschooling parent, I kinda feel the same way, but how many parents are going to take that child's ability to read and run with it? How many are going to back off the struggle to just survive to ensure their child experiences a higher level of education? How many who don't just flee the island are going to be left vulnerable to those coming onto the island to take advantage of the "poor natives" because they are uneducated.  How long before Puerto Rico is no longer a residential island, but a giant gentrified resort? That is where it seems things are going, you know. As a US territory, the residents are free to move to the US and large corporations and buying up the land to make dollars off of it. It is quite disheartening.

I would love to find a way to get more people on the island to accept the job of educating their own children, and even providing private scholarshipped higher education.  I don't know.  But something has to be done.

Other interesting things I learned while in Puerto Rico:

Puerto Ricans have been used as lab rats:

Puerto Rican women were the first to be tested with birth control pills:

Nerve gas tested on blacks and Puerto Ricans

American laws hurt Puerto Rico

So as I sit in my comfy home after dumping a ton of money in Puerto Rico in exchange for a week of rest and a sobering education, my question is, is there anything else I can do that doesn't reek of gentrification or a stuck-up American thinking they know better?

Thursday, December 07, 2017

Can't wait to move in

They poured the driveway yesterday. 
I honestly thought I was going to be complaining throughout the entire building process.  I know I did last time.  So either this process is way easier, or I am more mature, or both.

The best of it: 

  • The process has been transparent
  • They have kept on schedule
  • Communication has been timely and clear

The worst of it:

  • We were told we would be picking out our specific type of countertop, but it was more like, going to the granite yard and saying yes to what was there... there wasn't really anything to pick from, and they were all low on the type of granite the builder and I agreed upon.  If I changed it, it would cause an avalanche of problems...  

And that is the only problem we have had... except, I am getting a bad feeling about them trying to move our closing date.  I hope not. We shall see.  As of right now, we have 3 weeks and 1 day to go.
We have been living with my In-laws for 3.5 weeks.

Meanwhile, I have been looking at closet organization systems, from the pantry to the master closet. There are a few furniture pieces I need to buy. And I have been shopping online for items we need that are on sale right now cuz...Christmas.

Saturday, December 02, 2017

Staying with the in-laws

Welp. I made the suggestion to stay with the in-laws because 1. there was a rare vacancy. 2. They needed some things fixed in their home and we could pay for those things if we stayed for them instead of renting an executive hotel suite. There is a lot more space here for four people than there would be in a small hotel suite.

But. I am at a disadvantage. Truly.

Maybe I am crazy, but hubby does things to call attention to conversations when we disagree... so I just shut down and don't argue because I know they will chime in.  oh, he's gonna pay for that later.

Also, they are friendlier when he is here, but when he travels, I don't feel super welcome. He travels a lot.

Soo.... 3 weeks down, 4 weeks to go.  Ugh. 

At the same time, I really love them.  I guess it wouldn't be much different were I staying with my own parents.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

On Pods and Dumpster Fires

I did it.  (WE) did it.  ... mostly me. .. and my bestie. We got packed up and moved out of my house and got it spanking clean in time for closing.  It was hard.  I worked hard... My body is angry... and I am a bit disgruntled and happy all at the same time.

Who am I disgruntled at?

My family kinda got on my nerves as I did all the packing (yes I did) and all of the planning, only to get criticized when we did not have enough storage or a big enough dumpster.  More help would have meant another set of eyes to help measure stuff and more things packed in advance to help make decisions better.  It would have meant that the movers would have done more work on moving day(s) and there would have been left work for the grumbling family members.  I will say that when the time came they got down to it though.

PODS.  The jury is out on this company. But, I was given a 3 hour delivery time, and it turned into a six hour delivery time because they failed to mention that each pod would have a 3 hour deliver time...  I hate it when people impose on my time like that.  I would have not used them if I had known.  Folks need to deliver when they say!

Pick up of pods and delivery of an additional pod was also troublesome, for the same reasons, and then one of the pod pick up people was dismissive and hostile, and purposely tipped my POD to the side a good 15-18 degrees... to my horror.  My piano and other case furniture was in that pod, and my piano was on the side it was tipped toward. I said to him, why did you tip it?  He replied, "apparently, it raided and there was water on top.  I tipped it so I don't get wet."  When we he going to get wet?  Was water going to come off it while he was in the cab of his truck?  That was ridiculous.  He also said "well, I didn't load it", and when he realized how hostile that sounded, he softened to "your piano will be fine" and got in his truck and left. help me God.

And then there was the insurance issue.  After my first two PODS had arrived but before they were loaded I remembered that my home-owner insurance was ending since my house was being sold and since there was 5-6 weeks before closing on the new house, that my items would not be insured.  I called PODS who had sold me container only insurance to ask about it, and they said, yes, we have item insurance, but you have to ask for it before your containers are delivered because you could break items and then request insurance.  HOLD THE PHONE!!  You mean to tell me you could sell me insurance to protect your container, and then not tell me about the upgrade to full insurance and then turn me down once I think about it because my container is delivered... grrrr...  I called my personal insurance company and got insured under renters insurance since I am staying somewhere temporarily.

Crossed fingers that everything is in good shape and is delivered relatively on time.

And on the 4th day (of moving) there was JUNK.  Once the important stuff was all moved out, I literally wanted to set fire to the rest, but since the house was sold, that would be bad cuz it would burn the house down.  I had hired someone to haul off junk, but my son's friend (son from another mutha) insisted on a dumpster... thankfully, I listened. Here is my review for Bin There Dump That:

 I was moving out of my house I'd lived in for 16 years.  Needless to say, I had a lot more junk than I ever imagined.  I hadn't called a dumpster company because of my tight deadline in getting my storage units loaded and getting out of the house for the new owners, but it was unavoidable.  Bin There Dump that was able to deliver Saturday Morning and pick up before 7 am on Monday.  (They came exactly when they said, which is more than I can say for the storage container company) Packing the dumpster full was easy because of the walk-in doors, and all of their employees were incredibly friendly and light-hearted.  This speaks to a great company culture!  I don't know when I will have to clean out a house again but I will be calling Bin There Dump That... It doesn't hurt that the name is so catchy!
This one is fuzzy, but my favorite room in the house.

Yup... they were so good I Yelped it.  The only thing I regret was not getting a bigger dumpster.  We had to get creative with getting all the "garbage" disposed of.  My kids really enjoyed destroying dressers and small furniture items.  My daughter does have a bit of batter's elbow right now.  Yes, she destroyed things with a bat. Fun. ...Ps.  Always get one size bigger than you think you need the price difference is negligible.

So here I am, staying with my in-laws and thankful that my anxiety over it was unfounded. It is going great and I am making myself useful because they have several projects that need doing.  I am glad to help, and my room is so comfy by the way... My only complaint (if I was going to complain) is 24-7 news channel... I am getting a little shell-shocked by it.  But I have 13 books to read in these next few weeks, so I am good.

Monday, November 06, 2017

Still packing.

I hate packing, but I actually love it.

I like the challenge of getting as much stuff into a single box, which is important if you are about to store your items in a limited space. Basically, I mix soft goods with hard goods and breakables.
So for example, a box with 4 vases is packed with a sheet set and pillowcases.  My 4 pencil lamps are packed with throw pillows. Dishes are packed with washcloths and towels... Stuff like that.  As I got to the fine crystal last night, I had to choose between t-shirts and the mail drawer.  I ended up packing my mail up with my crystal.. everything is nice and cushy!.
Because we are using limited storage, I am also keeping the box size as uniform as possible to make sure the items are packed tightly. You can see the boxes piling up above.

I have a few more days of hard work to move out of this house and into my in-laws (pray for me) until our house is ready.

My life really does change fast and often, doesn't it?

Saturday, October 28, 2017

Time to get packing

Looks like we will be staying with in-laws until our new home is ready. In the meanwhile, we need to get all packed up and into storage.  We will be using PODs systems.

Of course, I have several large projects at the same exact time, so it seems to me like I am getting nothing at all done.

I actually have a middle school opening a show on the same day my moving containers show up (I am costuming 30 kids in Charlotte's Webb.)

Friday, September 22, 2017

Making progress on the new house

Fingers crossed for an offer completed on the current house.

Progress on the new house.

I just remembered that my current house was framed on the 4th of July and we moved in on the 31st, and surprisingly, there has been no real structural issues in this house.  I don't expect the new house to go up quite that fast, we still have 3 months to go, but I still have a feeling the builder is going to offer us an earlier closing... of course, we will need to have the current house sold first.

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Oh poop, Hurricaine Irma and a new house build

I wasn't really worried about the state of the house. It was in the beginning stages and I knew that anything that blew down could be put back up. What I was worried about was the projectiles that a house in progress could cause on the rest of the neighborhood.

The good news is that only a couple pieces of wood blew away and did not ruin anyone else's house that I know of. The bad news is that the construction workers probably needed a fresh toilet.


At home, we in the NE suburbs of ATL lost trees in the neighborhood.  My yard is a mess. A shutter is kinda in a precarious position and we lost power for an hour. Most of our friends and family lost power for 24 hours. Some lost power for two whole days... one person is still out. 

Wednesday, September 06, 2017

Old and New

As my old house gets closer to ready to sell, I am becoming nostalgic as it is a particularly beautiful home.  So why am I moving?  It doesn't work well for us as a family.
My "old" two story foyer at Christmastime

It doesn't work for a 4 car family. We have to constantly shuffle around cars every morning and evening. You could say that it only temporary as my children will fly the coop before long, but whenever my grown family will come home to visit or whenever we have visitors, we will have the same annoying problem.
Photo of "old" great room

Another reason it doesn't work is it doesn't flow to fit the way we live. We walk in, kick off our shoes, put down our bags and go about our business... the foyer door and kitchen door become littered with, shoes, and bags, and mail and stuff like that, and with 4 adults in the house, it gets a bit overwhelming to stay on top of.  With a proper mud room and foyer closet, the new house will hopefully work better with the way we use the house.

Finally, we needed to move because I was having a safety issue with the stairs.  I have very big feet (and the stairs are quite small) and a numbness problem with my leg. I had taken to falling on the stairs regularly. My first inclination was to get a first-floor master, but instead, we are getting an upstairs laundry room, right outside the master closet, so that will mean I don't have to carry clothes up and down the stairs. Plus the new stairs are bigger and wider.

On the negative side, the old house is far more dramatic than the new house with its two story foyer and great room and soaring ceilings, but we just don't live for that anymore.

The new house, on the other hand, feels so low maintenance. The type of counters and tiles, the wall to wall hardwood floors I have chosen, and the simplicity of design. All in all, it will be smaller than the old home, but the two main floors are bigger in the square footage because there are not two story rooms which can cause a loss of square footage.

Btw, my realtor friend took aerial photos of the house in progress... Isn't that cool?

Monday, August 28, 2017

Getting a house ready for sale is a nightmare

Getting a house ready for sale is a nightmare, and makes me really crazy.  So far I have replaced flooring.  Had painters do the deck, some minor facade repair, and interior painting.  Now I am looking at fixing the front porch, and it's a bit more money than I expected.  Ugh.  I don't want to sell a house with issues, but I also don't want to pay much more to sell the house... what to do, what to do? So far, I am just practicing being mean and difficult with the people who sell the services.

In the meanwhile, we are building another house, thankfully far enough away to not be obsessive about always being there.  They are kinda nickel-and-diming us too. I mean after you've paid a sizeable non-refundable deposit. Why does a couple of minor changes mean you have to pay an additional non-refundable deposit?  Are my changes so egregious that no one in their right mind would want them if the sale fell through? It's not that it is a lot of money, it is that it is getting insulting.

So anyway, my current house is starting to look dreamy and I am remembering what I love about it, though still ready to let it go. And the new house is coming along.  The garages are done and plumbing is stubbed.  I will put some photos below.




Saturday, August 26, 2017

Shtuff they try when you purchase carpet.

So it was time to replace the carpet in my house since I moved in 15 years ago and it was in terrible shape.  It did not go smoothly.

First, I went to the local home improvement store warehouse and picked up samples, telling the carpet person that I would want it by the end of the month, they said: “no problem” and nothing else.  I brought the samples home and got opinions and made decisions.

I went back a few days later, and once again told the guy my decision and my timeline and we arranged a measurement appointment. Now, I was apparently there on the last day of the sale, so I paid my deposit to lock it in.  In included “free” installation, and no additional stair installation, and moving of heavy furniture, so I was happy.

The guy who measured was great and we had great conversations while he did it.  He measured 5 rooms and the upstairs hallway and the stairs. He saw what was in each room and what was not in each room.  His estimation for my square footage was the same that I had guesstimated, so that was cool.

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

Anger and Loathing 30 years post high school and...

This crap happens.  See the letter that I just sent to my high school who took weeks to be able to report that my husband (and I) graduated.

To Whom it may concern: I am writing to request high school transcripts for myself and my husband. We need these transcripts because we discovered that Yonkers Public Schools records department reported that (xxxxxx xxxxxxx 19xx) had never graduated high school.  Upon calling the schools to investigate we also discovered that the records department also did not have my (xxxxxx xxxxxxx 19xx) graduation information.  In fact, it turned out that both of our high school records had the same wrong information. This is incredibly disconcerting to me because it makes me wonder what opportunities I may have missed over the years due to such an error. Unfortunately, when I relayed my concerns to Miss. Dodie who runs the Yonkers records department, I was met with defensiveness and anger. I did not deserve that. I do deserve that my high school information and my husband’s high school information is reported properly when

Monday, July 31, 2017

Stranger Prayer

My three-day migraines are an expected inconvenience.  They are hormonal and on schedule. It starts out with some light sensitivity and my back and neck start to tighten up. Eventually, I get a feeling of a spike being driven up my nose. I do my best to hydrate and take migraine medicine, but all that said, I typically survive day 1 intact.

Day two I usually wake up wondering why I am still alive. the railway ties that have been driven up my nose feel like someone is still smacking them with a hammer. If I'm not busy, I spend the day in bed, hiding, but lately, it seems I still have things to do, so I take drugs and keep moving.

Day 3 is marked with an aching head and mental confusion and a bit of eye twitching. I literally don't

Sunday, July 23, 2017

That time ATT & Best Buy let someone steal phones on my account

As we were heading out to the restaurant for my son's 23rd birthday, his phone went dead. Since his phone is kinda old, we figured it was a fluke and went ahead and ate. (Side note, if you phone goes dead, call the phone company immediately).  After eating, we got on the phone and called to find out someone had just upgraded my son's phone, and "purchased" two more phones on my account that I would have to pay for.

I caught it quick so it will be OK... but...

Folks are not doing their jobs. That person either had a fake ID or knew my PIN, but probably not both.  Anytime I have to do anything on my account, I have to give my first born's blood type, but this person could waltz into Best Buy and get 3 phones in my name and go about their happy business.... that pisses me off.

But OK... I spoke to pre-fraud and will speak to fraud in the morning.  They re-simmed my son's existing phone so his phone is usable... and the guy at the store had me change my password and suggested I manage my account online... I wasn't sure what he meant, but I figured out how to disconnect and block those phones online tagging them as stolen... I was told don't worry about it, but I could not sleep after reading that someone could possibly use the phones to get into my personal information, so I took my own steps.

So, ATT?  What's up?  Best Buy... Really?

I am wondering if it is an inside job on either side.  My son did buy the phone that is now out of contract at Best Buy... did someone access that info?  Or... did the one of the two people who I upgraded my service with last month (who buy the way did not finish the orders, I had to call 3 time)... did one of them use my info to steal phones.

I would like to know.

oh, and I will be following the steps in this article tomorrow.

Friday, July 07, 2017

Mammograms and my scattered life

Unlike last time, I got a letter back from the women's center saying my mammogram is all clear. "No abnormalties that indicate breast cancer. The last time THEY acted completely freaked out, called me back in, did another mammogram while making no eye contact, then left me laying on a table for over an hour while a doctor went around looking at women's results, doing a hands-on exam and telling them whether or not they had cancer.  I lay on that table for over an hour listening to women crying... I started planning my will.  Fortunately, I had some pearl-cysts he said... not cancer...  but what an ordeal.  To rub more salt in the would, they completely messed up my billing (hence the experience this time).  But the cysts eventually went away, I poked them daily for like a year until I could not feel them anymore, and I am all good.

I don't know about this FitBit. Maybe I'm nuts, but I think I can feel the sensors... I am very aware of my wrist the whole time. I am tracking my meals and keeping them 500-1000 calories a day under what I burn. It is making me get up more and to exercise more... and I have lost a couple pounds so I will keep using it for a while.

My work has me perplexed. I need to finish the book I am working on...It needs to be finished, and I need to get going with my homeschool advocacy.  There never seems to be the time.  It is probably the most important thing I am doing.

Meanwhile,... The industry I jumped into last year (vintage and antique furniture) is actually struggling right now as an industry and I have moved shops and am trying different things, because the most dedicated people do make money. I am just really mad that one of the places I joined recently over represented their sales... sure, there are always cars in the parking lot, but they are all vendors cars, so... yeah... The good news is the newest place I found is doing well, and kinda effortlessly, but it is a design center, not a vintage or antique place, and the things I find attractive seem to sell well there. I am looking forward to putting up my Christmas display.  In addition, my bestie just got her Real-Estate license (remember when I was trying that) and I am helping to set up her business... I will be introducing her soon... she's kinda awesome. I have dabbled in real-estate my entire life and have a paralegal degree, and as her career takes off, I could unintentionally end up with a job.

Since the last election, I have quietly participated in groups that discuss politics, but they are starting to lose focus and bicker too much for my comfort. As the next election draws near, I know focus will come back, but for now, I have retreated because my sanity is important.... and thinking about the state of our politics non stop will make anyone angry.

Yes, this is all too much, and if you follow me you know I also make costumes and am on the board of a community theatre... This kind of work probably needs to be passed on to my daughter... I like being valued, but it is her real gifting, I only got into it due to her.

Oh yeah, I'm an artist... I really need to paint something... and things seem to be MOVING on the home front... I may be building a house.  Shoot me now.

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

I am 49 years old dammit!

It is the morn of my 49th birthday, and already I have been besieged with people purposely wishing me a happy 39th or the umpteeth anniversary of my 29th birthday.  What kind of shenanigans are these?

I am 49 and have earned every single day of my existence. I don't like it when people roll back the clock on me (though I am trying to have good humour about it).  I am sure I have insulted at least one person this morning... but...

My sisters (step sisters) passed away at 28, 30, and 35 due to a genetic illness I don't have.  My brother made it to about 44. His daughter made it to 21. I have 4 brothers left, who survived the genetic lottery. I am aware of my mortality and every year is a triumph.  I am also quickly approaching the age my mother passed away. She was 55. I am not worried though because she had cancer when she was younger than I am now, so there's another victory!

Excuse my morbid nature, but it just irks me when people wish me a happy birthday, by insisting on rolling back the clock out of humour our naivety. It is just not necessary with me.

Imma go ahead and enjoy this day, and hopefully not roll any heads. One more year to go to 50!!!! wooo hoo!.  We are gonna celebrate!