Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Heart Wants What the Heart Wants

I set my alarm for 5:00 and set the television to NBC before I went to bed.  When the alarm went off, and after I figured out why in the name of all that is good was it going off at such an ungodly hour, I flipped on the TV to watch the splendor and pageantry that was the Wedding of William and Catherine.  (She will always be Kate to me.)  Dave put up a good fight to try to watch it with me, but he totally cracked me up when he asked if she got there yet halfway through the ceremony.  I was touched that he made the effort. 

I was expecting to be swept up in the wedding itself, and don't get me wrong, it did not disappoint.  Well, truth be told I was kind of disappointed that she did not wear a bigger tiara.  Come on, if you are going to be in the true "wedding of the century" and are turning into a  real life princess, wear the biggest tiara you can get your hands on.  And perhaps a few sparkles could have been added to the dress for a glint here or there, I really liked her second dress if it didn't have the sweater, but otherwise it was "spot on" as the British people like to say. 


What can I add to the coverage that hasn't already been said a million times.  I loved the horses, and it was fun to watch the little bridesmaids and page boys.  I loved the carriage ride back to the palace, and I thought that Pipa had the best Maid of Honor dress in the history of weddings.

 The hats were really fun, but what was Princess Beatrice thinking?  As Ann said, it looked like she had a set of pink Mickey Mouse ears on her hat. 

It even looks like her dad, Prince Andrew, can't believe it...

My favorite part was when they came out and got into the carriage and Kate turned to William and she said, "I'm so happy."  I think Diana would have been thrilled.  When I was younger I did not realize that she and Charles had met less than 20 times.  He was clearly in love with Camilla but was forced to marry a titled woman of  pure virtue.  She and Charles never really had a chance. 

Diana was an amazing woman who made the best out of a bad marriage and made this world a better place.  She has a legacy of service to people all over the world, but I think her biggest legacy is that she made it permissible for her kids to marry who they love.  Charles was not allowed to marry his true love the first time around and tragedy of epic proportions befell them.  I think because of this William was able to marry a commoner.

The wedding was a true love story. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

A Real Life Fairy Tale

I live in a house of boys.  Usually this is not really a big deal, but this Friday is the Royal Wedding for Kate and William. Over dinner I was trying to explain to them why I am so excited, but they just don't get it.  I don't think it is in their DNA. 

I went into an elaborate explanation of how Kate is a commoner and she is going to be a princess.  I had to explain what a commoner was.  The more I explained the more confused they got.  They were frustrated, I was irritated, and it kept going from bad to worse.  Finally I told them that she is like the Disney Princesses.  First I said that she was Belle, but, of course, they said that William doesn't look like a beast.  Then I suggested that she was like Sleeping Beauty, but they didn't think they had ever seen that movie.  I was going to suggest Cinderella, but knew that there would be discussions about the pumpkin, mice and glass slippers.  Just as I was deciding which of the princesses which would cause the least amount of discussions Ryan said, "I think she is like Snow White."  I giggled to myself since they thought that it is a problem for William to be compared to a beast, but it is fine for Kate to be living with 7 dwarfs who are gem miners in the woods. 

I think I am going to have to find someone who appreciates the history and pageantry to watch with.   Colin was asking if there would be good commercials he could watch to keep it interesting.  They will humor me, but they will not understand.  Thank goodness I have three sisters. 

Easter Explosion

It is not a holiday at the Murray household until someone throws up, and Easter was no exception.  Colin had an allergy attack on Friday that was so awful that he used an entire family sized box of Puff Plus tissues.  By Saturday he seemed to be feeling better.  I doomed our fate when I thought to myself that we might have dodged a bullet.  I didn't even say it out loud, but the thought was enough. 

In the middle of the night Ryan came into our room because he had a nightmare.  He is allowed to come sleep by the side of the bed anytime he wants.  The problem was that in his haste to get out of his room he forgot to bring his pillow, blanket and Snowy.  He refused to go back so in the hope of getting back to sleep I got out of bed to get the stuff.  I am not the mother that likes to be disturbed when sleeping so this is kind of a big deal.  I was just getting back to sleep when I heard retching.  I managed to convince myself that it was really a bad dream and kept right on sleeping.  A few seconds later Colin comes into our room to tell me that he threw up IN THE KITCHEN and did not know how to clean it up.  I contemplated leaving it till morning but got out of bed to wash the kitchen floor.  I assured Colin that I was not mad and that I was just glad that he didn't get it on the carpet.  I sat up with him for a few more minutes and then when I was sure he was OK, I went back to sleep. 

Just as I was getting back into a good sleep I heard the sound again.  Once again I decided that I was dreaming and left it alone.  The door opened and Colin came in to tell us that he threw up again and this time he got it on the carpet.  This time I shook Dave awake.  He had to have been faking it as there is no way he could have slept through all that noise.  He got up to take care of it. 

There was another episode but it all seems like such a blur.  Max woke up at 6:30 and wanted to go out.  It is times like this that I think it would not be such a bad thing to just go ahead and pay the $1000 for the invisible fence and then shock the hell out of our little fluff ball who has the nerve to want to go out at the crack of dawn after a night like the one we had just endured. 

After all of that the kids wanted to get up to look for their Easter baskets.  I once again climbed out of my cocoon of comfort that I like to call my bed.  I must say that the Easter Bunny did a fine job of hiding Colin's blanket since it took him 20 minutes to find it after resorting to the Hot or Cold game. 

Colin was not able to go for the festivities so I stayed with him while Dave took Ryan to see his parents.  It was kind of nice to spend the morning with Colin hanging out and reading my book.  I finished the new Sara Gruen book called "Ape House" and it was really good.  She is the author of "Water for Elephants" which aside from just being turned into a movie, is also my favorite book. 

It was certainly not what we had planned, but it wasn't really so bad.  Mother's Day is coming soon.  Do I dare to dream of a vomit free day?

Monday, April 25, 2011

Birthday Girl

Last week was my sister Mary Beth's birthday, so this post is in honor of her.  Mary Beth is an amazing woman.  She has a determination that is unmatched by anyone I know, and once she decides to do something, it will be done with an intensity that is something to behold.  She is the second of the four of us, and is four years older than me.  When she was born she came so fast that my parents almost didn't make it to the hospital, and she was breech.  She literally came into this world kicking and screaming. 

When we were growing up, MB was a hard act to follow.  She was a great student, record holder in the high jump and had life long friendships that I could tell were something special.  She did not need braces, got a scholarship to Ohio State and graduated as one of the top in her class. 

With all that being said,  the thing that is most amazing is her grace.  She is generous with both her time and her treasure.  She has patience with her kids that is fun to watch.  Patience is not a word I would have ever used to describe her growing up, or with any other aspect of her life.  She plays with them for hours, long after I would have run screaming from the room.  I would say that MB has grown into her life. 

In the spirit of full disclosure, I am making her sound like a saint, and that is not really the case.  It is one of my rules for this site that I respect the privacy of my family.  I can brag on my family all I want, but I won't belittle them without their permission. 

With all this being said, Mary Beth, along with Ann and Laura are true gifts that have made my life better in ways that I can not put into words, and I hope they know that I do not take them for granted.   When people talk about being close like sisters, we are the kind of sisters they are talking about. 

Monday, April 18, 2011

Road Trip

In June we are having a gathering of sorts with my cousins from Florida and their families.  It is going to be held in Columbus which is about two hours from here.  With the 20 in my family and the 20 or so in their family we are talking about a lot of people with A TON of kids ranging in age from 3 to 18.  We thought it would be a good idea to scout the area to make sure we would have appropriate accommodations for all of them, plus things for them to do so we could keep the chaos to a minimum. 

I was with my parents, my sister Laura, and my aunt and uncle.  Most of the day seemed like we were doing the "Who's on First" routine with Laurel and Hardy because they were all talking and only catching parts of the conversation.  We were driving in a city that we were not familiar with, and getting directions from my aunt who was sitting in the back seat and distracted by talking to my mom.  Needless to say, by the end of the day we were slap happy and tired. 

We went up to our hotel room and my dad went to lay down in bed while Laura, my mom and I were discussing the things we had done today and looking at the information we gathered.  After about 15 minutes my dad came out because he couldn't get the TV to work.  At the same time I was talking to one of my other aunts on the phone so Laura went in to help him.  Before I can even get off the phone and assist them they had called the front desk to tell them our TV was broken. A few minutes later we heard a knock on our door and there was the maintenance man.  All three of them go into the bedroom and I hear Laura explaining the problem.  I made the assumption that Laura would have known how to use the remote and there really was a problem.

You know the old saying about what happens when you assume something.  Well, it couldn't have been more true in this situation.  A few minutes later the poor man walked out of the bedroom shaking his head.  I could hear Laura and Dad laughing uncontrollably.  When she could stop laughing enough to tell me what was wrong, I too, was shaking my head in disbelief that two such educated people were defeated by such elementary technology. 

At the top of the remote were all different colored buttons for the Pay-Per-View options like in room movies and games.  Nothing really happens when you hit those buttons.  It turns out that the way you work the remote is to simply change the channel. 

I have instructed both of them to consult me BEFORE calling the front desk in the future with anything technological.  On the bright side, at least the man did not have to come up to fix a clogged toilet.  It could have been so much worse. 

Friday, April 15, 2011

To Go or Not to Go...

It seems that some things have changed since I was in high school a hundred years ago.  In my day, when it was time to ask a girl to prom the boy would walk up to said girl while she was getting  her books out of her locker and then casually ask if she would like to go.  This served two purposes.  If you were the girl and you didn't want to go you could just pretend that you didn't hear him.  If you were the boy and got cold feet, you could walk away and pretend that you didn't just put yourself out there hanging in the wind.  It allowed both people to save face. 

Now the boys are a bit more courageous and bold.  I just have to say thank God that I never have to endure this teenage angst, waiting for someone to ask me to this high school rite of passage, and also that I don't have to face my dad if this was my house.  He is a man of few words, but I am sure the few words he would say about this would be choice ones. 

Perhaps this is good practice for the day this boy proposes to his one true love. 

Thursday, April 14, 2011

The Girl Who Read "The Girl Who" Books.

I know I am a little late to the table on these books, but I am with just about all popular books.  I almost missed "Water for Elephants" too which would have been a shame because that is now my favorite book of all time.  I hope the upcoming movie doesn't ruin it for me. 

Anyway, I was going to Houston for my work's company Christmas Party in December and realized that I had nothing to read.  I ran into the Hudson's book store and paid -gasp!- full price for "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo".  I was hesitant to read it because it is set in Sweden and has a bunch of names I don't recognize, but the clerk assured me that it was a great book and I would not be disappointed.  I was a captive audience once the plane door shut, and I had paid -gasp- full price, so I started to read it.  When I am faced with a book that has a name I can't easily read or pronounce in my head, I usually make it into a different name.  For instance, "Mikhel" becomes "Michael".  This is usually not a big deal because it is only a name or two and not a disruption to the plot.  That was not the case with this book.  Every name, every location, and even the money was unfamiliar.  I should have made a list to keep them straight.  At any rate, once I got through the first 40 or pages or so, it was FANTASTIC!

I then quickly checked "The Girl Who Played with Fire" out of the library and read through that one, too.  LOVED IT!  I went back to the library and tried to find "The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest", but it was not in.  Here is where I ran into a problem.  I put it on reserve, but so had about 15 other people, so since I am too cheap to pay for two books, I waited my turn. 

About 6 weeks later the book finally came in.  It was basically a continuation of the second book.  Since I had not made a chart I could not remember who was who and had to figure it out all over again.  That paired with the fact that I was reading it about 5 pages at a time between the crazy schedule I have had over the last two weeks, kind of ruined a great book. 

I loved these books.  I started to read them just to see what everyone had been talking about.  While reading the first book, the first 40 or so pages set up a very intricate plot to scam someone out of a ton of money.  If I was not stuck on a plane with nothing else to do I would have stopped reading it. That and I was going to read every word of this book, even if it killed me, because I had spent so much money on it.  I am so glad I did. 

My point is, these  are great books and well worth the good press that they have received.  Don't give up on them.  Also, I would like to point out that I am not really a cheap skate, but I hate to spend money on things I could get for free from the library.  Besides, what would I do with it after I finish reading it?  I have no space to store books.  I guess I should investigate an e-reader, but I am not willing to give up a real book. 

Anyway, if you have the opportunity, please read these books and I hope you enjoy them. 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Its the Most Wonderful Day of the Year!

Christmas is indeed one of the most wonderful days of the year, but after the winter we have just endured, I have to say that today is the best day of the year.  It is the first day that we have been 70 degrees or warmer since late October and it has been a glorious day.

We got up and Colin and I went to PSR.  (Parish School of Religion) where I am the aid for the third grade class and Colin is in the 5th grade class.  The kids were great which is not always a given.  We came home and cleaned the house for a while and then walked down to the park at the front of our development.  Then we came home and hung out for an hour.  Following that we did the most exciting thing of summer.  We had the first trip to A&W and finished it out with Stoddard's Frozen Custard. 

I wore sandals and a short sleeve shirt.  There are no coats in sight!  It feels like the dawn of a new day!  I am now going to ignore the fact that it is going to be 45 degrees and raining for the next four days. 

Did I mention how excited I am that it is HOT OUTSIDE!!!!!  I am so excited that we wrote a song.  It is to be sung to the tune of "Its the Most Wonderful Day of the Year."

Its the most wonderful day of the year.
It is hot outside for the first time in months and we went to the park,
Its the most wonderful day of the year.

Its the hap happiest day of all,
We ate in our car and had frozen custard, we wore our sandals,
its the hap happiest day of all.

I now need to go outside and shoot some hoops.  In my sandals.  With no coat on.

Laundry was Almost the Death of Me

Friday night, as I was walking in from picking Ryan up from preschool, I got a whiff of something that smelled like gas.  Upon investigation I couldn't smell it again, and the pilot light in the furnace was running so I knew the furnace was working.  I went upstairs and started getting dinner ready and the rest of the evening routine under way.  I didn't have a reason to go back downstairs and promptly forgot about it. 

As I have reported for the last several weeks, I haven't been myself.  I am always tired and cranky.  I don't like being around myself, so I can't imagine that I have been all that fun to be with.  As it turns out, Dave went downstairs in the morning to take Max out and to get the paper.  By that time there was no doubt that we had a gas leak.  We made a few phone calls and did some further investigation and figured out it was the dryer.  When we opened the dryer door and took off the front panel the smell was overwhelming.  We needed a new dryer immediately so a trip to HH Gregg was completed and a new dryer was purchased. 

I hate doing the laundry more than just about any chore around the house.  It takes forever and never stops.  Just when I think I have it all finished it is time to change clothes and I have to start all over again.  I have always said that laundry was going to be the death of me.  I never thought that it might actually kill me.  We have since gotten the new dryer installed and I have started to feel like my old self.  For that we can all be thankful.

Saturday, April 9, 2011


I am not one of those moms that cry whenever my baby does something big.  I didn't cry when my kids walked their first step, said their first word or went to preschool.  I didn't even cry when I dropped the boys off at daycare the first time.  I like to rejoice in their accomplishments and watch with amazement as they turn into great kids.

Yesterday we hit two big milestones in one day.  The weather was nice (all things being relative in the weather department in April in Ohio) so we were playing outside.  Ryan asked if we could take off the training wheels on his bike so we did.  He has not figured out how to ride it yet,  but he is working on it.  It is supposed to be warm this weekend, so I suspect that he will be heck on wheels by Sunday night. 

Yesterday was also kindergarten registration.  There were several moms there that were in tears, but I was not one of them.  I fall into the category of moms that are counting the days until my child gets to enter into the vast and wonderful world of mainstream education.  I am looking forward to him learning how to read.  Reading is one of my favorite activities.  A good book can take you anywhere or any period of time, and I can't wait to share it with him.  I am not looking forward to relearning new math, but maybe it will be easier the second time around.

How is it possible that he still looks like a baby when he is sleeping, but when he is awake he is such a big kid?  I love the boy he is turning out to be.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Spring Break's Revelations

Colin's feet were growing like crazy, and since it was spring break we headed out to get new ones.  He is in an akward size where he is too big for the kids shoes but too small to wear mens shoes.  Size 7 in womens shoes is the utopia in shoe selection.  If you are boy you might as well forget it unless you go to the outlet mall.  We were able to get him a pair of tennies and a pair of sandals.  Sucess!!!!

While we were driving we decided to stop and get Lauren and William.  In the course of the trip we started to talk about what we wanted to happen to our bodies when we die.  It is no secret that I want to be cremated and scattered at a beach.  I don't really care which beach, but I feel most calm when I am at the ocean.  I love the sounds and the smells and the waves.  Lauren was appalled by my decision.  She wanted to know how she was going to visit me.  I told her that she did not need to visit me where my remains were scattered, but I would always be near when she needed me. 

This also reminded me of one of my new guilty pleasures; Joan and Melissa, Joan Knows Best where Joan Rivers moves to California to be closer to Melissa and her grandson.  While she is packing to move she gathers up three urns.  One is her late husband, one is her close friend, and one is a combination of several of her friends.  Her plan was to get cremated and then be scattered with the remains of her deceased loved ones so they would always be together.  I find this to be fascinating and creepy, and I love the idea. 

Now if only I could convince Dave to get cremated, and get the nerve to ask for the ashes of my family and friends, I can be with my loved ones for all eternity. 

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tech Support

Recently we switched from Time Warner to AT&T Uverse for our phone, internet and television.  After we made the switch and cancelled our other service we received a call from Time Warner to find out why we left and what they could do to keep us as a valued customer. 

I took about 5 to 7 minutes to talk to this woman and discuss some of the issues we had.  Of all the reasons I stated for making the change, the one that struck me the most was when I mentioned the tech support problems that I had over the years.  I have been in sales and customer service for over 20 years now.  If I would have displayed some of the behavior that I have experienced with this company, I should have and would have been fired.  I do not think that this problem is exclusive to Time Warner and fully expect to have the same problems with AT&T.  The problem seems to be systemic. 

One of the biggest problems is the language barrier.  The jobs have been outsourced to countries where American English is not the first language. If I am speaking to someone from England, they have expressions that I have never heard.  I am sure they feel the same way when speaking to us.   It makes it very difficult to explain the problem, and for them to fix it and explain the solution if you are not speaking the same language in every way.  I do not call this technical support, I call it technical frustration. 

Yesterday I was calling the HP support line because I could not get my dad's all-in-one printer to scan and ended up speaking to someone in the Phillipeans who, I am sure, was a very nice man.  After a very long hour we did solve the problem but there was some question if the printer was under warranty.  The man actually asked me if I could scan in the receipt as proof that it was covered.  I then patiently explained to the man that if he would kindly help me FIX THE SCANNER I would be more than happy to send it to him.  This was not due to the language barrier, this was due to incompetence. 

I am frustrated by this for several reasons.  The first being that if I didn't have a working knoweledge of computers, I wouldn't ever have been able to work with this man to solve the problem.  My second problem is that there are plenty of people in this country that can do this job, and with the state of the economy the way that it is, there is no reason that they can't get American people working in America. 

Everyone complains about this, so it should be no secret to companies that this is a problem.  I am willing to bet that the company that brings this service back to the states and is willing to pay what it takes to get competent people will make this money back quickly.  Please, will somebody please step up to this plate.  I promise that I will buy whatever it is that you are selling.

As a special note to my dad, it was a privilege and pleasure to fix this problem for you, and I love you!