I am the MOM and I was here FIRST!

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I am a 44 year old mother of three children and grandmother of one. I am divorced from my children's father whom I share joint physical custody of our youngest two children with. I have been married to my fabulous husband for over 9 near-perfect years. I LOVE this man! He is a wonderful generous, affectionate, tolerant and all forgiving husband. He is also a terrific step-dad/male role model to my kids and an even better grand father to our two year old grand daughter. My oldest daughter attends college to obtain her nursing degree. She has been on her own for over three years now (no longer part of a shared custody arrangement like her brother & sister) My middle daughter is in high school and plays on the freshmen volleyball & soccer teams. She's really creative and talented. My son is in middle school and plays hockey and lacrosse. He is a sweet sensitive boy who still says "I love you Mom" frequently. I work part time running an online ebay store. I have terrific and supportive relationships with my family, friends and of course my kids. I am extremely close to my sister, my Mom and my sister-in-laws. They are my best friends.


Thursday, May 29, 2008

Everybody Into the Pool


Attempting to open our pool this weekend led to a trip to the pool supply store for a

Plastic filter cover ($29.95)

3 foot plastic hose ($5.95)

and a Solar Cover ($59.99)

Filling the pool to the right water level led to another trip to the pool supply store last night for an

Automatic Chlorinater ($39.95)

And some fiber glass marine epoxy ($3.74)

But now... It is time!


The water temperature is cold as heck and I'll have to charge a cover fee to make up the cost to "open" it...

But you're welcome to come on over for dip.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Good Friends

I have been close to the same group of friends for over 20 years now. Some of us are family by blood. Some of us are family by marriage. The rest of us are family by choice. We are all very close in age. There are boys (men now) that looked after my sister and I in our late teens and early 20's. They would fix our cars when they broke down or bring donuts over to our apartment some mornings. There are girls that I consider bonus sisters. (These girls are still married to my ex-husbands brothers and we are still family to one another to this day) A bunch of us all worked in the same restaurant as servers, bus boys, and bartenders, basically living our lives around each other while most finished college.

As a large group of co-ed friends, we would camp together, go to ball games together, BBQ/Picnic together, etc. We would go out partying & dancing till we closed the bar and then go out to breakfast at 2:00am. We all lived within 5 miles of each other. We would get together almost every weekend. Good times!

In a few short years, all but one of us got married. We took turns standing up in each others weddings. Our group of friends got bigger as each one of us gained a spouse. So many couples starting their new lives together. Me and two of my guy friends got married during one summer. All the bridal showers and weddings kept us close to one another.

In a few short years, we all started having kids. There were 3 babies being born every year for about 7 years straight. Baby shower after baby shower after baby shower. Christenings & Baptisms... 1st Birthday parties, 1st Communions... Confirmations. This was how we kept in touch and our families grew close.

A fews years after all the babies were born, we would each take a turn every month to have a party. The host would plan games/prizes for the kids. We'd play musical chairs, have scavenger hunts and throw water balloons in the summer. There would be pumpkin carving contents and touch football in the fall. Sometimes the party would be at someones house. Sometimes we'd all meet at a park. We all still live relatively close to one another. Our children have grown up together.

Four years ago, the chain of high school graduations for "our" children started with my oldest daughter being first in 2004, followed by her two cousins in 2006 and 2007.

Today, in the mail, was my first graduation invite for this year. I smiled as yet another of "our" children has reached that milestone. I'm excited to see my friends at the party as it was New Years Eve when most of us last saw each other as a group.

Graduation invitations will be coming in the mail for the next 7 years until the last of our babies has finished high school, followed shortly and sometimes overlapping, with wedding invitations and/or birth announcements from our older kids.

Good friends are a blessing.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

The Dealership

A few years back I had a fairly new Pontiac Grand Prix lease, about one year old. We got a brochure in the mail from a Chevy dealership offering to pay off our current Pontiac lease and put us in a new Chevy lease. The brochure also said, "We'll give you $5.00 bucks just for stopping in". We were skeptical that they could pay off our current lease because we had only had the car a little over a year of the three year lease. But we figured, if they can pay off this lease and put us in a new one with lower payments, then we would go for it. So we went down there to see. They couldn't pay off the current lease, so we took our $5.00, "just for stopping in", and went about our day.

In the mail recently, we received a brochure from the same Chevy dealership stating that they were looking for 2007 Pontiac G6's to fill some order or something. The flier went on to say that they would pay off our current lease no matter what we owe and that they'll put us in a new Chevy lease. And it also says, "Get 5 scratch off lottery tickets just for stopping in".

I have a 2007 Pontiac G6. I'm not looking for a new car, nor do a want one. I love the car I have. It's red with a killer sunroof that I begged my husband to let me have for the extra (unnecessary) cost that it was going to add to the monthly payment. I don't want to get rid of this car. I just got it last year.

But my husband said, "well... if they can pay off this lease and we can get you another new car with lower payments... then it's worth looking into".

So we proceed to the Chevy dealership, that is right next door to the Pontiac dealership, where both of our cars were purchased in 2007. A salesman meets us at the door and hurries us over to his desk. We show him the brochure and he asks "So, what kind of car are you looking for?" Right away, I answer... "I'm not looking for a new car, but you guys sent us this brochure about buying off this lease and putting us in a new one."

The dealer asks "How many payments left of your current lease"?

My husband answers "23".

The guy just about fell out of his chair.

"23 payments?! We can't pay that off."

My husband said, "Well that's what we figured, but you guys sent "US" this brochure".

So the dealer takes the brochure to see which moron in marketing or advertising sent it to us.

He comes back very quickly and says, "I'm sorry folks, we can't help you at this time". And then he proceeds to give us our 5 - $1.00 lottery tickets, "just for stopping in".

I won $4.00 on two winning tickets.

Then I proceeded to call my parents (both retired from 40 plus year careers at General Motors) to tell them that I think I know why GM is loosing profits.

Friday, May 23, 2008

The Holiday Weekend

Memorial Day weekend is here at last.

Three days off from business as usual.

When my husband called me at lunch yesterday (Thursday), we engaged in the small talk of "what's going on?" "Are you keeping busy?" etc...

And then I asked, "How many are taking tomorrow off?" (meaning the Friday before the Holiday weekend making it a 4 day weekend for some)

My husband replied "I am". I thought he was kidding. I asked, "Really, you're taking tomorrow off?" and he said "yeah, I really am".

I was so excited. My kids are with their Dad until Tuesday, so it will be a lovely 4 days of marital bliss with my husband. I'm not being sarcastic. I love this man. I love spending time with him. We always have fun, no matter what we're doing. Even a trip to the grocery store his entertaining when he's along.

I just caught up on all the work that I'm going to do. All the shipments are out. The questions are answered. I'm done.

Now... what to do with our 4 days, lol.

We have no plans at all. It would be a good weekend to go up to Northern Michigan but with the price of gas, I highly doubt that we will. With my husbands 110 mile, round trip commute to work each day and my 44 mile, round trip commute to drop off and pick up my kids from school... well... need I say more than our disposable income has taken a big hit this year.

The weather is beautiful here. A rarity for the Memorial day weekend. I swear it's usually raining and cold, but not this year. So I know we'll be outside most of the weekend. We have great parks and trails around here. A hike or bike ride would be splendid. Maybe a bonfire tonight... get the telescope out and wish upon the stars.

So... the sky's the limit...

Unfortunately... money isn't. Always a limit there I'm afraid.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

News Boycott

I think I'm going to boycott the newscasts for the next four days.It's nothing personal that I hold against the stations or the anchors. I simply do not want to hear what they have to report.

I am sick to death of hearing the gloomy predictions and lousy realities of the rising costs of everything.

I am tired of hearing the bad news about the housing markets and the latest total of foreclosures.

I am more than saddened enough about the world tragedy's and the mounting death tolls.

I am disgusted about the rising gas costs and the projected highs they will reach.

I am angry that the cost of food keeps going up.

I am fed up with Mayor of Detroit.

And frankly, I need a break from the sounds of all this nonsense.

I need to hear some good news. Is there any out there?

Date Night Wednesday

My husband and I have a date night every week. It's usually on Wednesday's or Thursday's.

We had our weekly date night last night.

We went downtown to one of the three local casino's near us to catch the baseball game, have a couple (few) beers and do a little gambling.

It was fun. We both won a little here and there and actually left with $20.00 more than we went in with.

We were home by 9:30pm.

I'm convinced that taking the time to nurture our marriage and relationship is key to "it's" happiness. So many couples garner all their attention towards their children and forget about each other. I am guilty of this in my first marriage although there were many other reasons it fell apart too.

Take a minute to hug the love in your life. Look into their eyes to tell them "I love you". Call them at lunch to say "I was just thinking about you". It goes a long way.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Working From Home

As the owner of an online business, I always work from home... or from any computer I find myself in front of when the mood strikes me. I have worked from my laptop while on vacation. I have worked while visiting friends. I have worked from my back deck whilst watching the kids in the pool. I have logged onto computers in various electronics stores just to see what's going on with my store... and then I leave my store webpage up. It's FREE ADVERTISING until someone navigates to another URL. LOL.

I like being able to be anywhere and still run my business.

I like waking up in the morning to see what sales were like overnight. While I was sleeping, others were shopping.

And for the record, I do work and I work hard. I work all different hours of the day. I work on the weekends. I work on vacation... all by choice of course. It is my choice when to work although timely shipments of sold goods are a must and so most days require a shipping schedule. If I'm out of town or on vacation, a delay in shipping message goes out before purchases can be made by customers so that there are no issues with the wait.

My "working from home" routine goes something like this:

Up at 5:00am to make the coffee and boot up the computer in my office.

Drink my coffee and see what sold overnight, check and answer business questions from customers and see what the "competition" is up to.

Then starts the shipping. Usually 10-20 parcels a day. The post lady picks them up from my front door. How cool is that?

Lunch around noon. A phone call to or from hubby.

Afternoons consist of replacing and adding inventory to the site.

Pick the kids up from school. Attend what ever sporting event one or both kids have.

Make dinner.

Kiss husband when he walks in the door.

Check on business during the commercial breaks of our favorite shows

And that's about it.

It's a lot of work. People who've "watched" me work or have stayed with me for extended visits say they couldn't do it. It's too confusing. It's too difficult. It's too much. But I love it. I make my own money. I figured it out on my own. My husband is proud (in awe...really) of what I've accomplished.

I'm lucky enough that I don't have to work if I truly didn't want to. It wasn't a financial issue that led me to this. My husband was happy to provide financially for us while I was raising the kids, volunteering at the school, keeping the house immaculate (as if!) and cooking dinner. But as my kids "outgrew" me, I wanted to do something that didn't interfere with me being a full time Mom, Wife, Daughter, Sister, Friend and now Grammy (Grandmother).

I found that "something".

And it's a great gig.

Shouldn't Light be Less?

It has long been a game of mine, a hobby if you will, to see how much I can reduce our grocery bill, by shopping the ad paper for what's on sale while using a coupon for it too. It takes time to do this, but the money savings are worth it. I've saved $102.00 on a $211.00 grocery bill. That is my all time record savings.

At the grocery store that I frequent the most, they'll run a special for many different items at 10/$10.00 with the 11th item being free. You can mix and match any of the 10/$10.00. One week the items may consist of Pringles, salad dressing or pasta sauce, etc. In order to take advantage of this offer, you really have to pay attention to how many or each item you're getting.

A couple of weeks ago the grocery store had their name brand salad dressings as part of the 10/$10.00. So I picked up 3 bottles of Light Ranch along with (8) other 10/$10.00 items to make a grouping of 11 items for $10.00.

It wasn't until I got home and took a look at my receipt that I realized that just because I had purchases the light salad dressing, my Light Ranch dressing was not part of the 10/$10.00, but full price... thus messing up my "grouping". Not only did I pay FULL PRICE for this salad dressing, I didn't get my 11th free item. Boo! BAD FORM!

So my question is... Shouldn't Light be less? Why aren't the light varieties included in these promotions? Since they are "light", isn't there "less" to them? Making them cheaper to produce even?

Dang... you really have to pay attention.

I was in Walmarts on Monday and they had Pringles (which I LOVE!) for 88 cents a can. I could only find (1) can of "Light" Pringles so I took it to the register with my other purchases and asked the cashier to check first if the "Light" Pringles were 88 cents like the BBQ, Sour Cream & Onion, Cheddar Cheese, Pizza and Regular varieties. Sure enough... NOPE! $1.97 for the Light variety. I told her, never mind. I'm not paying twice as much for less calories. She giggled at me, said she didn't see any reason why the light ones weren't marked down... especially because they were with the ones that were a lower price... and reduced the price manually.

Justice at last!

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Does that seat have your name on it?

As I was getting my coffee this morning, I heard the makings of an issue between my son and daughter in the living room.

It seems that my 13 year old son had the absolute nerve to sit in the spot on the couch that my 15 year old daughter sits in every morning. OH MY! Although my daughters stuff (crap) was spread out over "two teenage butt's" worth of space on said couch, leaving only one clear spot to sit in... she had this entitled perception that the boy was in "her spot". As if the whole entire couch belonged to her.

We have other places to sit you know. You can sit in the recliner chair. You can sit on one of the bar stools at the counter that faces the living room. You can sit on the stool. Or ... you could even move your soccer equipment, yearbook, book bag, purse, blanket for the car-ride and whatever else is piled 4 feet deep on the couch to another location, thus freeing up two more spots on the couch.

And then she said it. "But that's MY seat!"

And then I asked it. "Does that Seat have YOUR name on it?"

With total conviction in her voice, it was declared that her brother was just sitting there (in her spot) to start trouble. Both kids have been known to occasionally "push the buttons" of each other, but frankly... it's 5:30am... and my son is simply too tired to think that hard this early in the morning to get one over on his sister. In fact, he's so tired that he plopped himself down in the first convenient, free from "stuff" spot, closest to the TV. Heck, I'd have sat there had he not beat me to it.

So I ranted for about 2 minutes about how none of the seats in the living room have "any body's" name on them and how she was being ridiculous and irrational and how this was a crappy way to start the day... and on and on.

Then I took my coffee into my bedroom, shut the door and didn't even say goodbye to the kids when they left for school with my husband.

So there!

Monday, May 19, 2008

Nostalgic Playing

My kids each had a friend spend the night on Friday. My 15 year old daughter and 13 year old son have a very close relationship with each other. They share many of the same friends and get along oddly well together as siblings and in their group of friends. In this day of video games, computers, myspace and online IM-ing, I was pleasantly surprised when my kids and their overnight guests grabbed baseball mitts and a couple of softballs out of the garage and walked to a nearby elementary school to play.

My kids are involved in sports about 3/4 of the year so I've never been real pushy about "making" them go outside to play. They swim almost every day in our pool during the summer. As a family we play volleyball, basketball and 4-square often together. But to see these kids get together to walk and play something, uninspired and uninvolved by us, is sadly a rare occasion.

I can remember gathering neighborhood children to fill the baseball diamond at the local elementary school with two FULL baseball teams. We played hide and seek, red rover and rode our bikes all the time. We'd be gone ALL day long, often skipping lunch because we were simply having too much fun to stop and eat...only returning home for a brief dinner... then back out again past daylight. The kids in our neighborhood just don't do a whole lot of that. Up until very recently, I wouldn't "let" my kids out of my sight to go and play. My husband and I would play with them or go with them to play together. We live in a safe neighborhood, but that means nothing these days. Folks just don't feel the same about letting their kids run the neighborhood all day long like we did as kids.

And so... on one hand it was nice to see the kids "go play". But, on the other hand ... even though my kids are 13 & 15... and even though they had their cell phones with them... and even though there was plenty of daylight left... and even though they weren't that far away... My husband and I got on our bikes "just to check" on them after they'd been gone about 1/2 hour. We rode up to school to find them playing catch together in the school yard. They were laughing and having a great time, rolling around in the grass after making tough catches, encouraging each other's fabulous athletic abilities.

My husband and I stayed with them until the kids decided they were done playing and we all went home. I can't tell you how good it felt to be "running" the neighborhood with our kids and their friends. It made me want to stay out past dark.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

The IRS or a Root Canal?

A letter from the IRS or a Root Canal?

Hmmmmmm.... which one to choose?

Oh wait a minute!! I GOT BOTH!!!

Oh what fresh hell is this??

Part of my "crappy" last few months consists of both of these "events"!

So... which was worse?

Hands down, the root canal.

The letter from the IRS turned out to be a "fixable" mistake that we made on our 2006 tax return. This has been taken care of... whew! But I have to say... when I saw the FAT white envelope and started to open it... my heart was literally beating loud enough to hear it and I had to hold the letter far enough away from my face, as I feared I would vomit on it, and then not know what kind of trouble I was in!

The root canal? NOT FUN!! I'm pretty sure I've made it quite clear on the other site that I absolutely HATE going to the dentist... but I do go... every 6 months... So when my jaw started hurting just 4 months after my last check up, I was just sure I had oral cancer. When my dentist pulled up the ex-ray and said, "Terri... you have to have a root canal"... well... I just started crying. Really crying ... real tears... streaming down my face.

My dentist was just so sweet. He's got to be in his late 20's... cute as can be, empathetic, concerned, sympathetic... I either want to marry him or adopt him. He asked me what I was so upset about? I could tell he was just beside himself because I was crying... like unexplainable crying.

It wasn't JUST about the root canal at that point... I just cried cuz I had JUST had it. Enough with the bad news. Enough already... what in the world could I have possibly done to deserve this?

My motto is "what comes around goes around". I say it all the time for both the bad and good in this world. But what has been coming around to me lately nearly took me down. Was I an axe murderer in another life? It's the only thing that explains my sudden, compacted, "give it to me all at once" run of bad karma.

I've been a grateful person up till now. I've been a tolerant, giving, forgiving person up till now. I've let go of anger. I've let go of animosity. I've just let go. I'm not in control here. And the minute I stopped questioning "it"... the minute I just "let go".... things started getting better. I started getting better.

Life happens. I have to learn to accept it as it happens. I'm not in control of it. I'm only in control of how I deal with it... good or bad.