Searching For Something?

Y’all know that I can relate to the crazy. Some of these people though? They take crazy to a whole ‘nother level.

Have a look for yourself….

La Fayette, Georgia arrived on “What I Learned at the Funeral Home — From Inmates to Playdates” by searching for live embalming process.

  • Hey La Fayette, I’m so glad you’ve stopped by. I have no idea why you’d be looking for “live embalming process” unless you’re as crazy as I am. I had the opportunity to watch an embalming, and I can tell you that it is not for just anybody. If you have a weak stomach, gag easily, or just plain don’t like blood and gore, a live embalming is probably not for you. Me though? I’d do it again in a heartbeat. Yes, as a matter of fact, I am a crazy person.

Schenectady, New York arrived from bing.com on “Bus Trip Games — From Inmates to Playdates” by searching for game ideas for bus trips for quilters.

  • Well hello Schenectady quilting club! I can’t think of any other time a quilting club showed up on my doorstep. Anytime I go on a bus trip with my gal pals from church, I’m in charge of games. I think I’ve posted quite a few so hopefully you found some fun games to help you out. Oh, and on a side note, my fellas and I visited Schenectady this past summer. I don’t think I could ever live there because I can’t pronounce it (or spell it for that matter!), but I appreciate you stopping by and do hope you’ll come again soon!

Excelsior, Minnesota arrived from bing.com on “50 Things I Will Never Do — From Inmates to Playdates” by searching for 50 Things I’ll Never Do.

  • Welcome Excelsior! If there’s one thing I’ve learned, it’s to never ever say NEVER. You really don’t know what you might do until you get there. But that’s just me. Thanks for stopping in!

Mission Viejo, California arrived from search.yahoo.com on “Really Cute Homemade Valentines — From Inmates to Playdates” by searching for valentine inmate.

  • Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo, Mission Viejo, I need you to listen very carefully. RUN RUN RUN AS FAST AS YOU CAN. The last thing you need is a man who is stuck in jail. Go find you a good man who is FREE AS A FRIGGIN’ BIRD to take you to dinner and a movie on the weekends. Trust me when I say, very few of them are innocent. You’re welcome!

Tucson, Arizona arrived from google.com on From Inmates to Playdates by searching for intimates to playdates.

  • Tucson, you little rascal. This is a family blog. I do not talk about intimate topics here, but I appreciate you stopping in to find out for yourself.

Norfolk, Virginia arrived from google.com on “Fashion – From Inmates to Playdates” by searching for cyber predators.

  • Norfolk, how are you? Um, why the heck are you searching for cyber predators, and what makes you think you’ll find any info about them, here? This is a family blog where I talk about motherhood, PTA, Shemar Moore, our hamsters, and The Saturn Sky. No predators discussed here. Like I said, “whole ‘nother level!”

Orland Park, Illinois arrived from google.com on “Inmates Embalming, and Minding Your Own Business – From Inmates to Playdates” by searching for inmate blogger.

  • Hi there Orland Park! I am a blogger who worked in jail before becoming a stay-at-home-mom. These days, though? I am just a stay-at-home-mom who rarely stays at home with a blog. Sorry to disappoint, but you should find lots of crazy jailhouse stories if you stick around here long enough. Thanks for taking the time to look around.

Des Moines, Iowa arrived from google.com on “What I Learned at The Funeral Home – From Inmates to Playdates” by searching for mortician wire jaw shut.

  • Des Moines, you have found your people! I too, was understandably concerned when I discovered that during the embalming process your mouth is wired shut for all of eternity. In case you didn’t know, eternity is a L-O-N-G time, and I can barely stand the thought of it. When I watched my mortician friend (Bryan) embalm a body, I asked him not to wire me completely shut, and I am trusting that he will honor that request because OH THE HORROR.  Anyway, I hope you found what you were looking for! If you have any other embalming questions, I’d be glad to answer them.

Chesapeake, Virginia arrived from google.com on “Thursday Thirteen – 13 Vehicles we’ve Owned – From Inmates to Playdates” by searching for bell biv devoe back in the day.

  • Hi there neighbor! Before I get started, I have to ask this… do folks from other areas ask if you live in Western Virginia? It amazes me at the number of people who have no idea West Virginia is a state. And on the off-chance that you are reading here today and are finding out this information for the first time well, SHAME ON YOU. West Virginia is not the same as Western Virginia! Now, as far as the Bell Biv Devoe back in the day thing, can I just say, I love Bell Biv Devoe! They sing one of McDaddy’s favorite songs. Perhaps you’ve heard the one that goes, ”Never trust a big butt and smile, that girl is poison!” And yes, you can take that advice to the bank. You’re welcome!

Columbus, Ohio arrived from google.com on “Who Do We Have Here? From Inmates to Playdates” by searching for Amish ear candles.

  • Hi there, Columbus! Let me save you some time and money and tell you that regardless of their claims, Amish Ear Candles do not work. They are neat and you can hear stuff poppin’ and crackin’ in your ear, but really, it’s nothing more than a crazy person holding a paper plate with a candle sticking in their ear. Actually just looking at the picture cracks me up, because HELLO, WELCOME TO MY CRAZY! (Oh , and in an unrelated note, McDaddy never passes up an opportunity to sing about the Witch Doctor anytime he hears someone talking about them.)

Claremont, California arrived from google.com on “Along Came a Spider – From Inmates to Playdates” by searching for black licorice spider.

  • How’s it going, Claremont? I do not like spiders. Well, unless they are made out of Oreos and M&Ms. That is all.

I’d love to hear where you came from today?

Twenty Years

In approximately five weeks, McDaddy and I are scheduled to attend our twentieth reunion.

It doesn’t seem possible that we’ve been out of school for twenty L-O-N-G years. That means that this girl is almost forty. Not that there’s anything wrong with being forty, because age is just a number.

Mostly.

I can’t help but think about how my life has changed over the past twenty years.

1992

I was a senior in high school. I had just recovered from mandibular surgery (broken jaws), and as a result I lost tons of weight because my jaws were wired shut for six weeks.

I was having trouble with Trigonometry (no big surprise there!) and I was hot on McDaddy’s trail. We had been good friends for three years and I’m gonna admit something here on the blog that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned.

I was actually after his best friend.

Crazy. For sure.

I was applying to college and wondering where the next four years would take me. McDaddy left for bootcamp shortly after graduation and so I spent that summer listening to Mariah Carey sing, “I’ll Be There” and counting the days until Boot Camp and Tech School would be over.

2002

We moved into our current house in January of 2002. In March, we found out that we were expecting our first child. I was working at the jail, and spent most of my days scheduling contact visits and parole meetings. Not one to embrace change, I often wondered what it would be like when the time came to trade in my walkie-talkie for a baby monitor. The nursery was taking shape and my blood pressure was off the hook.

At 32 weeks I was put on bed-rest and I lasted about three days before convincing myself I was going stir-freakin-crazy. Four weeks later, an eight pound baby boy was extracted from my body and in an instant I was a changed person.

2012

As I sit on my couch watching American Idol composing this blog post, I look at that picture up there and wonder how in the heck my sweet boy survived with me as a mama. I was over-protective, over-bearing and high strung.

Bless his heart.

It’s a small miracle that he can make a decision for himself.

As for that girl up there?

She is so different from the one that sits here today.

The one sitting here today is a Jail Counselor turned PTA fund-raising extraordinaire. She is loud, crazy, and opinionated. And no big surprise, she is still over-protective, over-bearing, and high-strung. Oh, and don’t forget that she loves to laugh.

She is a stay at home mom who rarely stays at home.

While she has no idea what the next twenty years will bring, she plans to live every day to its fullest.

And she considers it a privilege to be doing it alongside these three beautiful people.

 

Everyday Is Payday

Before we got pregnant (and by we, I totally mean ME, except that it was a decision we made together), McDaddy and I decided that I would quit work once our baby was born. It was an easy decision, still, I knew it would take some getting used to.

When I worked at the jail, I shared an office (in a large cinder block room with a really comfortable swivel desk chair) with three co-workers that I liked very much. I considered them some of my closest friends, and I knew they had my back. We enjoyed laughs and jokes and even prank calls to my granny pretending to be calling on behalf of the Republican National Convention, just for fun. (I know it sounds bad, but it was all in fun, and you just have to know my granny).

We celebrated milestones. And did lunch. We shared recipes. And met after work for dinner on occasion. We laughed more than we should have at things we shouldn’t have. And we were the dream team.

I enjoyed my job and my co-workers. And there are days that I miss them very much.

Still, I knew that staying home with my baby was the most important thing that I would ever do.

When I cleaned out my desk, I cried like a baby. In my seven years there, I think I kept every single piece of paper that ever came across my desk. My files were neat and orderly, and they were filed by last name and then by date. I was a meticulous record keeper and my desk was rarely ever cluttered. I had a Longaberger address basket and a picture of McDaddy (in a plastic frame of course) on my desk. Our pens had to be accounted for and I used the same pen every single day.

I can remember the exact location of every single thing on my desk. And there are days that I miss it.

There are days that I miss getting up and getting dressed to go to work. I miss the adult conversation, and the laughs that we shared almost hourly in that crazy place. I miss planning where and what we would eat for lunch, and I miss carrying a walkie-talkie. I miss punching a time-clock, and I miss the clipboard that often held more papers than it was supposed to.

I miss being paged on the intercom, and I miss the clanging of the light blue metal bars as I walked through the secured area. I miss scheduling contact visits and I miss the rolling file cabinets in the booking department. I miss getting paid on the 15th and 30th of each month, and I miss the huge gold keys used to open up the tower doors. I miss knowing the details of the criminal activity in our little town. (Crazy, I know.) And I miss having a mailbox. Still, I know I am where I am supposed to be.

I don’t punch a time-clock, but I am on duty 24/7.

The only meticulous records I keep are the ones involving medical bills.

My kitchen counter is rarely neat and orderly, but it is the hub of our living area.

I do not miss getting up early because I still do. Only instead of getting dressed for work, I’m getting two boys dressed and out the door for school each day.

I don’t get paged on an intercom, but I get paged often to right the wrongs of a brother scorned.

 There are no rolling file cabinets in our home but the boys get on a roll reading books.

And that clipboard that I carried? Now, it’s stacked with drawings of Lego Star Wars and Sonic the Hedgehog.

And even though there are days that I miss the job, the paycheck, the adult interaction, and the crazy, I know this is the most important thing I will ever do.

I am a stay-at-home-mom who rarely stays at home. I don’t receive a paycheck, but everyday is  payday.

The Joy Of My Life

I spent most of the day sitting at my dining room table with three other PTA mothers processing cookie dough orders. It was the second fund-raiser of the year for Stevie’s school and was necessary because the budget for this school year has not been met. After processing 168 orders ($23,000) I am pleased to say our fund-raising efforts for the year are now complete.

[Sidenote: If you happen to be in the market for a great fund-raiser, cookie dough worked for us!]

Years before Stevie ever started school McDaddy and I used to joke about me being PTA President because there’s nothing I love more than being in charge involved. Little did I know that a mere three years later, I would find myself right square in the middle of the madness. After spending six years in jail and counseling stir crazy inmates, a PTA Presidency is a welcomed change.

My shoulder-blades are hurting and my [wrinkly] hands are sore

from all the writing but I love being able to help out at Stevie’s school. It makes me happy to spend my time doing something worthwhile and rewarding, especially since I am no longer employed. [Notice, I didn't say, "no longer work".]

And speaking of worthwhile and rewarding, that’s exactly what I think about motherhood.

When I was pregnant with our boys I prayed over my bulging tummy for their limbs, their little fingers and toes, and their little eyes. I prayed that God would always guide their footsteps, bless everything their hands touched and protect their eyes from things they shouldn’t see. I also prayed that God would guide me as I mothered them.

It is a pleasure and a privilege to mother these two sweet babies.

They are funny, sweet, charming, and perfectly different.

When Stevie was very young I attempted to count his eyelashes. As you can see it was close to impossible because SWEET HALLELUJAH just look at those suckers.

They love to smile and though you can’t really see it here in these pictures, they both have an extra tooth in the exact same place. (Which you can clearly see in both of these pictures.)

And one of my favorite things in the whole wide world is to hold these little hands

and watch these little feet run and jump and play and climb.

Tonight, I am simply thankful for two sweet little boys who are the joy of my life.

—–

This post is linked to You Capture - this week’s challenge is body parts.

X — Marks the Spot

McDaddy is out of town again this week and it is quiet in our house. The boys are asleep and I’m doing my nightly blog post from the couch while watching American Idol.

A week like this one is not rare for us, but it never gets easier. McDaddy is no doubt saving the world one control system at a time. He’s probably working at a power plant, or a paper mill, or a chemical plant but honestly I couldn’t tell you either way. He is a gifted engineer who is pretty much always “on call” and I rarely know where he is working.

I, on the other hand spend my days wiping bottoms mouths, regulating electronic device time, and shuffling kids from one location to another. I am gifted only in the art of conversation and because of that I make lots of calls.

When we were first married, McDaddy and I enjoyed a mostly 8AM-4PM / 40 hour-work-week. Those days are but a distant memory. I usually always arrived home first, changed clothes, started dinner and then enjoyed a relaxing evening with my daily DVR docket or a Tae-Bo extravaganza in the basement. Before long, I was able to actually finish the Tae-bo workout.

These days though, I am a stay-at-home-mom who rarely stays at home and would probably drop dead from a heart attack long before I could finish Billy Blank’s thirty minute workout.

Over the past twelve years, our lives have changed so much. Long gone are the days of hot pockets for dinner, followed by a romantic, leisurely walk around the neighborhood as I would try to sneak a peek into the neighbor’s windows.

Not that I ever really did that.

McDaddy and I had talked about me quitting work long before we ever decided to get pregnant. He wasn’t sure, based on sheer numbers that it would work, but we had both prayed about it and felt like it was exactly what we were supposed to do. After Stevie was born, I hung up my handcuffs and left the workforce to raise our son.

To be honest, there are days when I miss working. I miss having a desk with coordinating Longaberger baskets and a candy dish that screamed, “Sit down, have a piece of chocoate candy and let’s discuss the crazy people!” I also miss having a job that welcomed my OCD tendancies to file every single piece of paper that required my signature in a coordinating file folder, sorted first by date and then by the inmate’s last name.

Make no mistake folks, I am a unique piece of work.

Gone too, are the days of planning for lunch before 9:00 AM because really, what is more important in jail?

These days, McDaddy often leaves before sunrise on a Monday to arrive at a work-site two states away by 10 AM. He chooses to do this in lieu of leaving our home on Sunday night only to spend it in a hotel room hours down the road. A good four hours or so after he is gone, I awaken to the most annoying sound ever (my homemedic alarm clock!) to get the boys up and dressed for school. Then, I dive into my day whether it be volunteering at Stevie’s school, shopping at the Mart of Walls, having breakfast club with my girlfriends, hitting the gym, or returning home to climb Mt. Washmore.

By early afternoon, McDaddy has no doubt skipped breakfast and lunch and has spent hours dealing with the type of people who want everything done yesterday. If the stars align and the parts arrive and the work goes smoothly, he might return home that day. Otherwise, I’ll make another “X” on the calendar indicating that he is spending another night away from home. Away from us.

Often, we say goodnight late Sunday evening, not knowing when we will see each other again. We don’t always know because he has no way of knowing how long a job will take. He learned years ago I’m much easier to deal with if I expect him to be gone for five days and he returns in three. SO. On those days in my calendar, I place a small ”X” in the corner to remind me that he will not be in town. The “X’s” frequently outnumber the blank spots in a week.

It’s not always an easy life. And not always fun. But over the years I have come to accept that ”X” marks the spot. The blank spot that will be present in our lives that week. I am embarassed to admit that there are weeks when I don’t even know where he is working. Usually, it is Ohio.

Or Kentucky.

And he typically drives the heap, ahem, I mean Jeep.

Other weeks, he boards a company jet to New York, Michigan, or Maine. Only it’s not typically a company jet. The highlight of his week no doubt occurs when he lands at the airport and heads out to the Emerald Isle to choose a rental car for the week.

I kid. You not. He loves to drive rental cars.

All the while, I am at home driving to town in my grocery getter, keeping things afloat and whining because I don’t have a Saturn Sky.

The good news is that some days he gets to work at home.

In our basement.

In the little nook that we call his office.

And on those days I fix pancakes. And send him e-mails requesting his presence upstairs.

On those particular days (if I’m not running the roads) he gets a glimpse into my day. A glimpse that might include dusting the living room during a twenty-three minute call to my friend, Becky about our breakfast plans for the next week. Or the fact that it takes me three days to complete various stages of laundry. Or simply that I spend WAY too much time on my iPhone nosing around on the Facebook.

And he couldn’t care less.

Whether I dust. Or I blog.

And I’m thankful that he does not require an explanation about my day. Some days I feel guilty that I’m not trying out a new recipe, Martha Stewart style when he walks through the door after a long day or week of engineering business. It is enough for him that I prepare hamburger helper at the last minute while I’m also playing Words With Friends and overseeing homework. I’m thankful that my plight with the insurance company when they won’t pay a medical bill is important to him. As is the fact that I am up at 4 AM administering a breathing treatment. And I know that he appreciates the fact that I am the one taking care of our kids when they are sick or staying at home with them on snow days.

It is enough for him.

Our life would not work for everybody.

When we were first married, we were both home by 5:00 PM every single day. Twelve years later, we are often go-our-separate-ways-on-Monday-I’ll-see-you-on-Friday people.

It’s not always easy and I have not always been cooperative. I am so thankful that he has a job that he enjoys. A job that affords the opportunity for me be a stay-at-home-mom who rarely stays at home. Even when “X” marks the spot, I am thankful.

[NOTE: McDaddy, I composed this post while you were gone but waited until you were home to post it. I know you are not a fan of me sharing our business in real time, especially when I announce that you are not in town. For any of you who might be casing my crib (I sound like a homey, huh?) waiting to rob the joint, you should totally go somewhere else because I am NOT really home alone this week.]