November 22, 2008

stuff

Things here are still a mess & I'm trying to get back into a schedule of some sort. Whether or not that'll every happen I just don't know!

I GOT A NEW STOVE!!!

I know that's a little overboard on the excitement level but I can't help it! We went to Marshalltown yesterday and found a used stove - 8 minutes before the store closed. I was so happy! It only cost $150 so that wasn't too bad. Especially since I knew I was leaving that town with a stove one way or another even if it meant buying that one I've been stalking at Sears LOL!

It's really cool too. The oven is all digital, which will take a bit to get used to, but still FAR more advanced than any stove I've owned before! I really need to take a picture before it gets all dirty -- which will hopefully be later today =)

I also treated myself with some new things from Walmart too. 2 new laundry baskets and a new digital thermometer with a probe thing (like Alton Brown *hehe!*). Our old laundry baskets were past the saving mark. I bought all of them used and then had them for the last 5 or so years. The last one I sent out to be used as an extra recycling container and the recycling guys thought I didn't want it and recycled it too -- it was that bad!

Darkside got a new jigsaw too since his old one died last month.

This new job Darkside has is really hard on the whole family because of the hours and we're not used to him being gone so much. He gets paid and we don't even have the time to go spend his check or pay bills! But on the other hand it's so nice to have money. It's like every week is tax refund week! And for once we even have some funds in savings -- we've NEVER been able to do that!

But I'm still trying to get a schedule down and it's not working at all. I fell asleep on Thursday night 30 mins before CSI was on and was so tired I didn't care that I missed it! Now that's tired!

(of course our stupid dvd recorder messed up and didn't record CSI so I have to wait till next week and catch it online :{ )

something else I did this past 3 weeks is go in hair color from brunette/black --> bright red --> white blonde/pink --> dirty blonde = my hair color of my younger years :) I'll take a new picture soon for all my profiles. I'm pretty happy with it now.

later...

November 20, 2008

My desk

Little Mountain House tagged everyone who was reading to post a picture of where you blog from. Don't clean it up, take a picture right now and post it. So I did -



it's not pretty but yep that's where I blog from - EXACTLY how it was as I read her post.

My desk area is inside a misplaced closet in the corner of the room. Not HGTV pretty but VERY functional =)

I really need to clean!

later...

November 19, 2008

giveaways


I found out about this (button above) through another blog I read regularly -- WHAT A GREAT THING!! Although I don't know of anyone I want to nominate, I still think it deserves to be spread about the internet =) I think it's great that people are trying to help others via the internet & blogs. CLICK THE BUTTON FOR MORE INFO



While there I found out about this giveaway -- WHOOO HOOOO!!! This is my kind of thing! I am going to enter in 2 of the giveaways:
I've got my fingers crossed for both! #3 would really love to get Wall-E, he's in love with the movie just from the previews on tv.

And although I really hope I'll be able to get a new stove before Thanksgiving since I only have one burner that works. I probably won't because I can't find a used one here. What ever happened to used appliance shops??? So I could use that $100 to help get this stove I've been looking at everyday.

did you see it's on sale? how can they call that a sale?? $14.50 off?!?! heck I'd have to drive 50 miles away to go get it, that'll cost more than $14.50 in gas! well maybe not but still...

later...

November 18, 2008

family (=) crap

Well that didn't last long! I just could not do it.

~~~~~~~~LONG RANT TO FOLLOW!~~~~~~~~

I'm pretty sure Mr. & Mrs. Smith was up to something. While talking to Mrs. Smith on the phone about 2 days after they left she let me know they found an apartment. GREAT! I say. I figured they'd be coming back to get the kids -- NOPE! They were going to wait till she got her 1st check, which was 1 day AFTER Thanksgiving! And then she was adamant to say that they would definitely be here then but wasn't sure what they would do because the landlord wouldn't let them in until the 1st of Dec. WHAT?!?! that's the whole reason I had their children so they wouldn't be sleeping in the car, so they was going to come get them and sleep in the car still?!

And she added that she wasn't positive they would have enough money to rent it -- then why didn't they ask family or local organizations to help, they are homeless after all. That's when she said oh, the landlord won't accept any pledges of help from local organizations, only actual checks. Um, ok.

See this was 1 apartment choice out of about 5 that were listed. Why not try for a different one?

Then she told me about the place -- boy, oh boy! The rent is about $100 MORE than the place they just got evicted from and about 17 miles from both their jobs (1 works to the north, 1 to the south). They have 3 children full time and 2 children on weekend visits --- but went with a 1 bedroom apartment! It's upstairs above the landlord's business -- their kids are very young and run & jump way too much for that to work.

Oh and the two points that had me laughing? NO SMOKING & NO PETS! They currently have like 1 cat and her 5 kittens -- they refuse to get rid of all the cats. They say they'll keep one of the kittens and just sneak it in --- whatever! Both Mr & Mrs Smith smoke cigarettes among other things too --- how long do you think that'll last? The landlords are probably allergic hence the requirements and notice right off.

Oh and when they dropped their children off we agreed that they would mail me their food stamp card so I could be repaid for the food I was using to feed their kids. She kept saying that $150 would be all I needed because that was all they used each month for their whole family --- REALLY!?! Are you serious? She said yes -- OMG! They get over $600 a month, $375 of it is for those kids. (I won't be getting this now!)

While they were here - 7 days - it cost me $55 dollars to feed just those 3 kids. Yes I am crazy and kept a tab - can't help it! I wanted to see if I could possibly feed them for as cheap as she did. And let me tell you it's impossible! Although it only cost $55 dollars, I clipped alot of coupons, shopped sales, and really scrimped for that price! (it was mostly stuff out of my pantry) It probably really cost around $100+ if I hadn't done that. (oh and side note - she doesn't use coupons or shop sales, her quote? how's a couple of cents gonna really save much. REALLY?!?! OMG!)

Can you guess where the rest of their food stamps went each month? Probably not to be used like I talked about here, more than likely something recreational - I say that loosely!

Something else I noticed after a couple of days was that when she wrote out the medical release paper - fancy name for a piece of paper that she quickly wrote up saying I can take them to the ER if necessary - Mrs. Smith didn't write a date on it. Not a start date or END date!

All of that grated on my nerves and got me thinking --- was they ever coming back?

Plus the main problem was those children were used to going to bed at 6:30 PM (yes I wrote that correctly!) and getting up at 6-7 AM. That was just too different from our schedule. We go to bed late - starting at about 10 PM or so and get up around 9 AM or so. And I usually don't get up till much later than that! But our kids do fine on their own and know how to not mess in things. I KNEW not to try that with these kids! So bright and early every morning I was getting up at 7 AM --- after going to bed at 3, 4, or 5 AM -- UGH! This is what was the proverbial straw that broke the camel's back. Sleep deprivation can make ANYONE an ugly beast!

Especially when it came time for the little things that I tried to keep the same so when these children went home they wouldn't be screwed up. Like the forced naps that they are used to. You know - they take them everyday but yet they don't want too? Nap time got old FAST! Or how about refusing to eat food that is perfectly fine, everyone else is eating, and they normally like.

So Sunday morning at 6 AM as I lay in bed trying to sleep for the 3rd time in 24 hours and one of them started to cry in the other room (because they cry to go to sleep and cry to wake up) and I thought they were waking up --- I lost it. I went off into the deep end. I started to cry and gave up. Turns out they weren't waking up and I even got about an hour of sleep but I'd already made up my mind -- they had to go back to their parents.

So after I got up at 7 AM I called their grandma to tell her I was bringing the kids there till they could come get them. It had been 5 days and I had a total of about 20 hours of sleep -- I was about 15 hours short of sleep. So when their grandma said what? you can't bring them here! I told her in exact words -- I am going to tell their parents to go get them, I AM dropping them off with you with $30 for gas so SOMEONE can get them to their parents -- they are not my kids and I am washing my hands of this whole situation.

She must of heard it in my voice, I had lost it. She said "oh hun it's ok, just bring them here and we'll figure out how to get them back to Mr. & Mrs. Smith". I said I know you will -- because it's not my problem, I was HOT!

So later I told Mr. & Mrs. Smith later on the phone. Mrs. Smith, after telling me she'd have to call me back to let me know what they was going to do (WHAT?), had the audacity to tell me well it'll have to wait till she could get up there. It was her day off! So I called the grandma back and she said that she was off on Tuesday so could I wait till then to bring them and she would make sure that Mr. and Mrs. Smith WOULD come get them or she'd just keep them with her. Mrs. Smith don't like the grandma too much so we knew she'd be on her toes to get the kids LOL!

Mrs. Smith called later that night while I was napping and Darkside talked to her. She told him to make sure we got all the kids clothes together because that's all they had (1/2 black bag!!) and he said of course we will! We'll also pack up the toys & clothes we bought for them and bring them too -- he was trying to ease her mind cause the kids didn't have much -- she said to him EXACTLY -- "well I don't care about that, just make sure all the clothes I sent are brought back." WHAT?!?! How f-ing rude is that?

After that I refused to talk to Mrs. Smith and instead dealt only with the grandma. Do you know that Mrs. Smith had the nerve to call Monday night and left on my voice mail a message saying she was just checking to make sure I was going to be bringing the kids to the grandmas house on Tuesday. Really is she that stupid? I was ready to send them on Sunday!

Let me tell you, I didn't send anything except what I had already promised to those kids - not one thing extra. Especially not the rest of the $12 pull ups I bought the day they came for the youngest one to use at night. Did you know when Mr. & Mrs. Smith went to gas up and leave here went and bought a fountain soda & beer to drink on the drive home -- why couldn't they ask me for a soda and leave that money for pull-ups? UGH! I plan to donate the extra pull-ups to the local preschool.

This stupid idea of being nice cost me -
  • $175 - Darkside missed 2 days of work
  • $40 - gas
  • $12 - pull-ups
  • $55 - food
  • $8 -- muzzle so the dog wouldn't bite those kids
  • $2 -- replacing all my labels on food storage containers that those kids ripped off
  • $2 -- laundry
  • $2 -- cleaning the mattress that the kid in pull-ups still peed on
  • $10 - bribes so I could sleep in till 9 AM on Monday
  • $$$ - lost time, sleep, school work, house work, and organization
I should of just handed them the $300+ and said go on! Because either way I don't believe they cared.

It took Darkside & the Kaos King 10 hours of driving to take those children to their grandma's house. Darkside said - "never again! I'll move to my dad's if you ever do this again!" Sorry honey I thought I was doing a good deed.

Just goes to show you that charity should be given to those who truly deserve it and by those who deal with this everyday! I used to be SO against local organizations because it always seemed they helped the wrong ones while letting the right ones suffer. They probably have a hard time telling which is which, cause I do!

Please let this be a reminder of why I shouldn't try to help others directly! indirect Anne, indirect!

later...

November 13, 2008

family (=) crap

I'm not having a great week here. First the fire, then Tuesday I found out I am the temporary guardian of 3 little kids - more on that in a second, and today I received notice that my compost pile is not up to "standards" of the city. UGH!

About a month ago a couple I know (who I will call Mr. & Mrs. Smith from here on out) was suddenly homeless and they have 3 kids. So when they called to tell me they were going to be at a new phone number and what happened I offered the only help I could -- to keep their kids for a couple weeks. They really didn't want to be separated from their kids (who can blame them?) and they thought that they had new jobs & a house lined up so they declined.

Quite honestly I was thrilled for a number of reasons, but mostly because I knew I spoke in the heat of the moment. But also because I was happy they would be able to fix the problems quick.

Let me explain - 3 seconds after I made the offer I realized how I don't do well with other people's kids long term. Honestly? I get totally stressed out and slowly every little thing eats away at my nerves. Sad I know. But I deal well with it -- I whine! j/k!

Plus, I only make these offers every 10 years or so -- that helps out too.

Anyway as time went on I realized that Mr. & Mrs. Smith had fallen into a trap. Not an actual trap but more of an psychological trap which lead to them leaning on someone rather than supporting themselves. And when these situations happen they disintegrate quick. And so when that happened I figured I'd get a call that they was coming. But there was no immediate call.

Then I received a call and Mr. & Mrs. Smith said they found a new place to go to. I was happy all over again - and hopeful. That only lasted a couple of days. Then I got the call.

How could I refuse? I knew my offer had become somewhat of a lifeline for them. And I really hated to see the kids living out of a car when the temps are dropping daily.

Although I was preparing myself, the house, and the kids for this call I was still shocked! And everything happens so fast. They called and then a little while later they were here.

And really I hadn't prepared myself at all for any of this. All I had done was spend the last month telling myself how stupid it was for me to offer. I came up with at least 2 reasons every day.

So here I am tonight - 1 full day after they have arrived. I got very little sleep last night, took a 3.5 hour nap today (stupid!), made chili for supper (sucked!), 2 of the 7 got baths, I think all of them brushed their teeth, and everyone changed their clothes at least once. Oh, and I went to 3 stores, but only took 5 of them and only went in 1 store with them all. Yeah fun day here.

Oh and I'm supposed to be in bed right now.

The other problem -- my compost. I've had a compost pile since we moved in in Feb. and I've even had a lot of problems with it here -- the smell mainly. There were a lot of problems with brown material to put in there -- which helps with the whole process. Although none of the neighbors knew what a compost pile was or how it worked - no one complained. But now the city wants to say there are complaints!

By now the pile is pretty much went to sleep or at least it's napping for the most part -- no smell. I think that one of the fire fighters that came on Sat. complained. But what I don't understand is why?? It's out of the way and not real noticeable from the alley. I mean really, isn't it better that we're TRYING to better the environment than do nothing at all?

So I sent the Kaos King out to remove the compost pile and destroy the box. He complained later about how bad it stank when he was shoveling. I laughed and told him it was his own fault! It was his job to turn it once a week. (I believe he forgot a time or two LOL!) But it's now removed -- I hope their happy!

I of course bought about 16 green peppers at the store on clearance today. Which meant as soon as I got home I processed them by cleaning, cutting, bagging, and then freezing. about 4 cups of food scraps that had to go to the trash --- UGH!!! I hate that!

So I'm looking to getting a compost bin or worm composting system. But I don't know, they are sooooo expensive!

The next couple of weeks are going to be VERY nerve wracking to me! Between extra kids and throwing away food scraps and the holidays that are coming up --- I'll need prozac soon!

please pray or think of me
later.....hopefully......


79 days left in this control freak of a state!
I hate it here so much!
Give me Illinois any day - the state may be broke but at least they don't try to control you as much as Iowa does!

November 10, 2008

Our furnace caught fire!

Well we had an exciting night last night! Our furnace caught fire! But thankfully not our house - WHEW! And everyone if ok except the Kaos King burnt his hand. Let me explain.

When we first moved to Roodhouse it was because the house we were buying in Ottumwa didn't have a furnace. The last owners removed the whole thing! And Ottumwa has very strict codes on what kind and who installs a heating device in a house. So needless to say we were struck like Chuck =)

So we moved to Roodhouse to the house. When we first showed up we thought things were great. It had a working furnace and a tiny warm morning stove that was placed in an old fireplace as back up. Until we got the first bill --- $1400!!! Hell no I ain't paying that much! So we put on extra clothes, closed off the upstairs, and turned down the heat to 67. Yea, that didn't work at all and we about froze to death! If you ever want me to explain how hard it is to type and shiver just holler LOL!

So as soon as we could we moved across town. Although the trailer didn't have a working furnace, it could be fixed by a pro (not us!) and it was ALL electric --- no stinking gas! I hate to pay that much for gas -- and so far our bill at that time was over $3000 and we had been paying every week on it.

Heating costs 05-06 = $5000

So at the end of that first winter we just used little space heaters. Then the inevitable happened. Darkside lost his job because of lack of work. When he finally got another job it was only part time -- although there was NO chance of being fired because of lack of work. But he didn't earn enough to be able to afford the pro to fix the furnace.

So winter 06 we were going to wing it with electric space heaters. About Dec 06 we caved and bought a wood stove. It was lovely to have a full room heat again! But since we waited till the last minute we didn't have alot of good wood to burn so from time to time that winter we still had to use electric heat. But it wasn't so bad.

Heating costs 06-07 = $800

During 2007 spring storms we were branch collectors and scavengers and was able to collect alot. (our back yard looked like crap, but we had free wood!) And in the fall we redone all the chimney pipe so that it was more safe which cost about $80. Also we ended up that year buying 2 loads of wood for $50. But in Feb. 08 we bought this house in IA so we moved.

When we were packing the uHaul I wanted to bring the wood stove, but Darkside didn't. He said one of the furnaces there should work not to worry about it. So we didn't pack it. Both furnaces worked OK so we used them and hoped we'd be able to have them serviced before next winter.

Heating costs 07-Feb 08 = $300
Heating costs Feb 08-May 08 = $800 !!!

So after we got a few bills here we seen that the downstairs furnace wasn't efficient and it didn't even keep the downstairs warm. And as Aug rolled around we seen that there wasn't enough money to get either furnace serviced so we moved the family upstairs to live.

I screamed urged Darkside to plastic the windows up and down stairs, fix the doors, found a curbside screen door for the front, bought 2 new filters for the furnace, and urged him to do anything else he could to save our energy money. He did those things, and we even had more things to do. He even went down to the furnace and oiled it so it would squeak and make so much noise when the blower kicked on. (it was so loud you could clearly hear it on the second floor!)

We have a neighbor who will help us get cheap (or free, not sure yet) dry wood. So we decided that we'll get the wood stove up here from the fil's house. Our plan was to use the wood stove all the time but have the furnace for back up if we needed to leave or was asleep. Although we were undecided of where to put the wood stove at exactly.

Till Saturday night.

Darkside oiled the furnace it fixed it right up --- no more noisy heat! But then it got warm so the furnace didn't kick on for a couple days. We didn't think nothing of it. Till it got cold again. I noticed it wasn't warm up here. No big deal, I kicked the space heater on till Darkside could see what was wrong. When he oiled it all the gunk that was holding the pulley on the rod came off, so the pulley fell off. There was a set screw that was missing too.

So Sat he went and got a new set screw -- only cost $0.31 !! He got it all put together -- furnace worked - YEA! what a cheap fix!

And about 3 hours later the Kaos King was in his bedroom and came running out (just like this night!) hollering there's something in the basement on fire -- I smell the smoke! And he went running out the door - no coat or shoes! Darkside went running after him.

(Darkside later laughed and said Kaos was acting like he was superman or something flinging doors open, kicking in doors -- but then when he seen the fire he came to a dead stop and said - fire, Dad, there's the fire!)

They went down and seen that the filter caught fire and was burning, along with electrical wires going to the furnace. So Darkside pulled the area that was on fire and picked it up and went to throw it outside. Well Kaos trying to help said here I'll get it Dad and grabbed it wrong and burned the palm of his hand pretty bad. Darkside had to grab it back and take it outside and put it out.

I just want to admit my error in all this. When dealing with immediate, quick reaction emergencies --- I SUCK! I freeze and my mind goes blank. I do much better with emergencies that can have solution within 5 minutes, not 5 seconds!

So after the 45 second freeze (dumb Anne!) I jump up and start telling kids to get shoes on and get outside. They weren't moving very fast so I yelled "NOW!" and they got the picture and moved quicker. I started grabbing stuff and telling #2 here take this to the van and hurry up! Kaos at one point came through I handed him the processor and said take that to the van.

(I didn't know it and neither did Darkside, but Kaos had actually thought ahead and remembered the gas needed shut off so he was upstairs getting the pliers to do that! Ain't he smart? I'm very proud of him!)

I'm upstairs looking around and trying to think quick what did I absolutely need and what could be replaced. I was grabbing stuff and throwing it into a bag. But most of all I was frantic -- I couldn't find my shoes! Not even my slippers -- and it was cold outside, I had to have them. Then Darkside walked in and said it was ok the fire was out, we were ok.

I lost it! And I don't mean I sobbed and cried --- NO I mean I completely lost it! I'm not sure what that sound was that came out of my mouth but it was a mix between a laugh and a sob. I seriously didn't think I was going to be ok. But after about a min I told Darkside I wanted my shoes I couldn't find them and sat down to regroup. After my shoes were firmly put on my feet I was ok. I'm an idiot!

I had Darkside call the police so they could send someone out to make sure there wasn't any hidden fires anywhere. I spent my time sending more stuff out or at least to the door so it could be pulled out at the last minute just in case the fire was hidden.

After the fire dept looked with heat sensing guns and said no fire anywhere and they were gone we all just sat for a min here in the living room. I think we all were just trying to regroup and get used to life -- I pretty sure we all lost about 10 years from this scare! All of this happened in less than an hour!

That's when I had to admit to everyone that -
  1. I suck at immediate emergencies.
  2. It's my fault because I insisted on oiling the furnace and buying filters.
  3. Darkside would of had his reading glasses - that he don't use & I would of been without my teeth - that I use all the time!
  4. We need to have things more organized - which don't always mean out of sight.
  5. that they all did EXACTLY what they were supposed to with great efficency!

So now the fil is going to bring the wood stove up for us soon and we're using electric space heat again. We did hear about a program we're going to check out that should be able to help us get a new furnace. I'll keep my fingers crossed but with the economy the way it is I'm realistic.

I've been dreaming about our house catching fire for a couple of months. Even Darkside had one last week. Now I really don't want to sleep!

I can't wait to leave this house -- I don't even care where we go anymore just not in this house!

82 days

later...


ps - sorry this is so long but I have so much time now that I don't sleep LOL!

Our furnace caught fire!

oh and here is a picture of the Kaos King's hand I took later Saturday

November 6, 2008

sincerely 'Fro me to you




don't ya just love when you think you've got a great family picture and the picture taker is off? This is my family at the Christmas dinner in 2001 (I think?). Well most of us anyway LOL!

later...

November 4, 2008

new calendar

Photobucket

This is a new calendar I seen at Goodwill last week and just had to have! Isn't it just so cute? I really like how it's reusable no matter what - gotta love that!

It has such pretty colors, although I do think my camera made the colors on it a bit brighter than they actually are. And it has dragonflies on it, my favorite.

Darkside always messes with me because I love dragonflies, but not REAL ones. Weird, huh? But I don't. Just the non real ones for me, please =)

later...

November 3, 2008

halloween 2008

Here's my little goblins & big monster all dressed up for trick or treating this year -

(in number order -
#1 dressed as Joey Jordison from Slipknot
#2 dressed as a gothic chic
#3 dressed as an alien clown from outer space
#4 dressed as a bride
Darkside dressed as his hero the Crypt Keeper.)



Photobucket

Photobucket


Photobucket


Photobucket

Photobucket



unfortunately this town we live in only has 1 night of trick or treating! and it was only from 5:30 - 7:30 !!! It wasn't even dusk till 6:30 here. In our home area in Illinois almost every town has 2 nights and it's from dusk till 8 or 9.

Plus they must not stick to any age limit here either. We seen more teenagers getting candy then any young kids. And no #1 (whose 15 now) didn't dress up to get candy. We dress up for the fun of it -- not the candy!

It was a rip-off for those who love the spirit of the holiday.

But I do have to say that the kids did get lots of candy for only 3 of them going out for about an hour.

Cause you know I wasn't done with everything for them to head right out at 5:30 =)

can't wait to move back home -- or at least closer to there!

We've got a countdown clock running on our desktop counting down to Feb. 1st because by then we will know where we're going. Hopefully we'll be packed and ready to go!

89 days to go!

later...


ps - I think I just seen a bat out of the corner of my eye in the kitchen --- if so we'll be back home ALOT sooner!

November 2, 2008

vote on Nov. 4th

I promised myself I wasn't going to say on here what I planned to vote on Nov. 4th --- don't worry I still ain't going to!

But I heard about this site on the 10 o'clock news tonight and thought I'd share just in case someone else whose reading this may want to check it too. Plus, I'd like to remember this site for the next presidential election -- it was really neat!

It's Glassbooth - www.glassbooth.com. You rate the topics with points to start out and then take a small quiz saying if you oppose or agree with certain topics. Then they tell you who your views line up with the most, pretty cool!

Here's mine -

How you compare

  • 1 Ralph Nader 81% similarity
  • 2 Cynthia McKinney 79% similarity
  • 3 Barack Obama 70% similarity
  • 4 Bob Barr 51% similarity
  • 5 John McCain 45% similarity

not sure how accurate it is but still nifty =) but surely most other people done figured out who their voting for, right?

not me I'm waiting for the very end to decide just in case there are any last minute drama queens LOL! I've watched too many drama shows.

later....