Tuesday, June 17, 2008

I wish, I wish....

I am chatting with my sister and she is telling me about how they are going to go visit the U-505, it is a Captured German World War II submarine at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. Lee really wanted to see it when we were there but we didn't have time. It's a Chicago travelers, must see! But we didn't. I guess that just means, we'll have to go visit my sister again soon. Darn it, you'll just have to twist my arm! :)

It's Official, I'm Getting Old!

Last night we took Butterfly out for her Birthday night. My Mom, Ladybug and I took her to get her nails painted, shopping for new clothes and out to dinner. Sitting at dinner with my new eyeglasses on, Mom and I were talking about Dan's kids and how old they were when she realized that I will be 30 in September! Yikes! I am wearing glasses, aching most of my days, can't keep up with my kids and before long I'll give up and start using anti wrinkle cream. It is official, I am getting old!!!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Why Drug Yourself?

I have never heard of Phentermine, but that is probably because I am not one that struggles to keep weight off, but rather the opposite. But I came across some articles about it as I was searching for something to help me put weight on. Morning smoothies, like Carnation Instant breakfasts and such, but no drugs for me! I would rather keep the drugs out of my system. But that is how I heard about generic Phentermine, it is "probably the most sought after prescription diet pill on the market today. In fact it is so popular that diet pill manufactures have used just about every similar name they could think of to market their pills. The problem is that prescription diet pills tend to not only be expensive but also very hard to get." is what consumerpricewatch.net had to say about it. But they missed one key point. It is still a drug! How can putting drugs in your body, just to lose weight, be a good thing. Why not just diet and exercise. That just seems like a much healthier, safer way to me. I have to diet and exercise to keep my weight on and while it's hard, there are no safe "quick cures". You just gotta buckle down and do it! I have watched my sister in law lose a whole lot of weight by being persistent and focused. She eats right and exercises regularly. Not that she was not beautiful before, but I have watched her blossom. She feels good, she looks good and she knows it and she didn't use any harmful drugs to do it. That is a good feeling!

I love to read

I love to read and when I had boys, I was so worried that they would follow in their Daddy's footsteps and hate to read, hate books, hate everything about it. I am the kind of person that can spend hours on end at the bookstore, the library or hidden away with my newest book. I get a new book and you can bet that I'll have it read within a day or two. I don't put it down once I pick it up. It's a lot like an addiction. Daddy on the other hand, will read repair manuals or instruction booklets, but as far as picking up a book just to read for enjoyment, it just won't happen. He gets no enjoyment out of reading.

My fears were put at ease recently however. I have been getting frustrated at Big C for this or that, but he just seemed to be getting farther and farther behind in his chores and the reason became painfully clear. Everytime I was out of site, he would sit back down on his bed and start reading his book again. This went on to the point on me grounding him from reading and taking away his books. I couldn't really blame him, like I said, put a book in front of me and I finish it. I don't put it down until it's done. Chores be damned. But, finally we came upon a solution, I would allow him time to read one book cover to cover, then he had to completely finish his chores before starting another one.

Fortunately for me, this has worked wonders! His chores are getting done again and he is still enjoying his reading. Now if I can just figure out what to do about Ladybug! She had 3 pages of missing assignments and her teacher said it was because she was reading during class instead of doing her work. Maybe this is a curse and I blissfully unaware of it. Maybe Daddy has the right idea and has escaped the addiction that has the rest of us bound. Maybe?

Strange Calls

I have had some strange calls the last week or two. Has it been a full moon? On top of the regular questions about how much baggage they can now take, since the regulations just recently changed, I am getting questions like... "My wife wants to take bologna, cheese and pickles in a cooler. Will it be allowed on the airplane?" Ummmm.... why? Then there was the guy that wanted to know if he could take his beach umbrella and tennis racket on board. Why would you not just check it? A funny one was the lady that called in and said, "I would like to talk to someone about flying animals." Just the way that was phrased made me giggle. I have had a guy that booked his condo hotel, something I have never even heard of, online and needed an itemized receipt for the government and he was getting nowhere. It took me just over an hour making calls and tracking numbers to find someone that could fax him one. And then of course there are the weirdo's with no lives. We have the foot guy, the pencil guy and the San Francisco guy that prank call. What a strange week!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Fixing the Sprinklers

For Mother's Day we went out to my in-laws and worked on their yard for my Mother in Law's mother's day gift. It became my job to drive the lawn tractor around and cut the grass that had not seen a blade in a very long time. To give you an idea, I managed to ram 3 sprinkler heads because the grass was so high I could not see them. They stood nearly 10" above the ground! Needless to say, I totally destroyed them. So today we went out to replace them as well as a valve that froze this winter. It was so easy to replace the sprinkler heads, screw the old ones out, new ones in and you're done! As for the valve, it was just as easy but I could not believe how extensive and complicated it was! It had filters and compression rings and such. Of course, it was also $60 to replace! Ouch! But the good thing is, we got it done, my in-laws can water their lawn again and all is well. :)

Friday, June 13, 2008

Thought Provoking

I received this this e-mail today and I wanted to pass it along with some of my own thoughts. I don't know the validity of it but it was in fact thought provoking.

"There was a chemistry professor in a large college that had some exchange students in the class. One day while the class was in the lab, the Prof noticed one young man, an exchange student, who kept rubbing his back
and stretching as if his back hurt.

The professor asked the young man what was the matter. The student told him he had a bullet lodged in his back. He had been shot while fighting communists in his native country who were trying to overthrow his
country's government and install a new communist regime.

In the midst of his story, he looked at the professor and asked a strange question. He asked: "Do you know how to catch wild pigs?"

The professor thought it was a joke and asked for the punch line. The young man said that it was no joke.

"You catch wild pigs by finding a suitable place in the woods and putting corn on the ground. The pigs find it and begin to come everyday to eat the free corn. When they are used to coming every day, you put a fence down one side of the place where they are used to coming. When they get used to the fence, they begin to eat the corn again and you put up another side of the fence. They get used to that and start to eat again. You continue until you have all four sides of the fence up with a gate in the last side. The pigs, which are used to the free corn, start to come through the gate to eat that free corn again. You then slam the gate on them and catch the whole herd. Suddenly the wild pigs have lost their freedom. They run around and around inside the fence, but they are caught. Soon they go back to eating the free corn. They are so used to it that they have forgotten how to forage in the woods for themselves, so they accept their captivity."

The young man then told the professor that is exactly what he sees happening in America. The government keeps pushing us toward Communism/Socialism and keeps spreading the free corn out in the form of
programs such as supplemental income, tax credit for unearned income, tax
cuts, tax exemptions, tobacco subsidies, dairy subsidies, payments not to
plant crops (CRP), welfare, medicine, drugs, etc. while we continually lose
our freedoms, just a little at a time.

One should always remember two truths:

1) There is no such thing as a free lunch

2) and you can never hire someone to provide a service for you cheaper than you can do it yourself."

My thoughts are this... yes, you can trap anyone with a little incentive and patience and yes, I agree that such things are happening in America, along with the revocation of the rights of the majority by minority groups that happen to have a louder voice (i.e. more time on their hands) and lots of other things. But I disagree with both points made.

A) There is such thing as a free lunch and it comes from charity and service to your fellow man. Unfortunately, in America this is becoming less and less common. Here is something that should be even more thought provoking.... When was the last time you helped someone you didn't know? When was the last time you saw a neighbor's yard, overgrown with weeds and decided to complain instead of walk your mower up and offer to help? When was the last time you was someone walking down the street, pushing a stroller and carrying two arms full of groceries and you stopped to offer a ride? Have you ever complained about the condition of someones house? Their hair? Their clothes? Their car? What was the last thing you complained about? Did you offer your assistance in rectifying the situation? Or did you just go on your merry way, complaining?

B) As for not being able to hire someone cheaper than you could do it yourself, it completely depends on your level of expertise. If you know how to do something and have the tools to do it then you can definitely not hire someone else to do it less expensive. However, if you are without the tools or the expertise then it is possible that it could cost you quite a bit more to do it yourself. And you have to take into consideration the amount of time it takes you to complete the task. Can someone else do it more efficiently while you focus your energy on something you can do more efficiently? And do you know someone that does have the tools and the expertise to help you? Networking is a great opportunity as long as you don't take advantage. Give as much as you take. There are plenty of opportunities to trade services! They can be very lucrative.

So there are my two cents. As you all know, I am very opinionated and if you read any of my blogs, you should be used to it. I would love your thoughts added to this, please feel free to comment back.

Friday, June 06, 2008

Taming the Beast

Have you heard about these progesterone creams? They are supposed to help relieve the symptoms of PMS and menopause and such? Do you actually think that something like this can work? I mean I have tried everything from Midol to strong liqueurs and there is not much that can tame this beast! My poor husband and children have just learned the phrase "Oh! It's that time! I'll talk to you later Mrs. Queen." Yeah, it really gets that bad. I just don't see how a cream, progesterone or not could actually help in any way. Maybe applied to the site of the cramps like an icy hot, but just being absorbed into your skin seems pretty far out to me. Has anyone had any experience with these creams? Do they actually work? I would really like to know, and I think my husband secretly wants to know too.

It's Time For Me To Go Into Drug Rehab

I have thought long and hard about this and I have decided that it is time for me to go into drug rehab. No, not because I am a drug addict, but because I need a break at an amazing resort, being waited on hand and foot, with maid service and beautiful, private accommodations, fed gourmet meals and relaxing by the pool sipping non-alcoholic mixed drinks and sunning myself the whole day through. And I think the state should pay for it as part of my "treatment plan". Treat me for drugs, alcohol.... HELL! Treat me for KIDS! What every, just let ME escape to one of the wonderful, amazing, way to nice drug rehab resorts! I might not have screwed up my life and everyone around me by doing drugs, but I think the absence of that should earn me the vacation, not the other way around!

You might think I sound callous but come on! No one forced them to start taking drugs, no one forced them to follow the path in life they have chosen! I have met many people who have come from perfectly awful parenting and they turned out to be respectable, upstanding human beings. I have seen people brought up by perfectly wonderful parents turn in to the scum of the earth. So they can not blame their parents, peers or anyone else. It was their own choices that led them to ruin their lives. I just don't feel that they deserve the "royal" treatment now that they have hit rock bottom. Make them climb out, clawing and kicking just like the rest of us do when we are faced with a problem!

410K Finally Resolved!

We finally got it taken care of! For those of you that don't know the story here is the short version... Lee had a 401K when he worked at Wells Cargo. For about 6 months he put 3% of his income into it and trusted that everything was great, (since neither of us have ever had a 401K before, we never knew to think it strange that we were not receiving quarterly statements or that a disbursement was not made at his termination). We just went along, happily thinking that he had a couple hundred dollars, sitting in a 401K, bouncing up and down with the stock market.

Well, when he got on with his current employer and was eligible for a 401K with them, we decided it would be best to consolidate and move the money from the Wells Cargo 401K to his new one. And the drama began. I started by calling the company that held the 401K. They had never heard of Lee. I checked his paycheck stubs and the money had in fact been taken out, so I called Wells Cargo. After no less than 30 phone calls from Utah to Indiana, 6 years in tracking and calling, 3 different 401K companies and excuses like, "Well, the stock market is really hard right now, it's probably all gone" to "Well, the snow is really high here in Indiana and it would be really hard to find the hard copies of his pay stubs until springtime" from Wells Cargo HR people, I was finally able to find the answer. A gentleman by the name of Gary Green had worked with the company but was fired just before Lee started. His SS# was one number different from Lee's and they transposed the numbers and my husbands money had been going into an account for Gary Green. Every quarter, Gary got my husbands quarterly statements and one day decided he needed money so he sent in his request and easy as that, my husbands 401K was sent by check to Mr. Green. Now, in his defense, everything was in his name, under his SS# and looked, by all accounts, to belong to Mr. Green. It was Wells Cargo that screwed up. Royally! Then came the tedious process of getting them to return the money to us. Which was only $180 and some change, but after all this, it was principal! So, I started the calls again and months went by with no return calls. Finally it happened! We got a quarterly statement! Our very first one ever! one little problem, it said a disbursement had been made in March. We had no money and no check. And the calls began again.

Finally, today the check came by UPS Overnight, Urgent delivery. Now we will get a new savings accounts and put this into a high yield CD and start a good savings. Can you believe what I had to go through to get this taken care of? It was insane!?! I feel that we are entitled to the interest for the last 8 years at least, but considering what I had to go through to get the $165 check they just sent, I don't think it would be worth the fight. Wow!

Economic Stimuls Check

I was so excited to receive my economic stimuls check for $2100! What a wonderful windfall! We were able to get our kids the digital cameras I have wanted to get them, Lee got the air tools and the tap and die set he has been needing to fix his truck and I got a trip to Houston to visit the Shangri La Botanical Gardens with Baby. It has been so nice. I was going to buy us all passports, but I decided to make an extra house payment instead. So we have made our mark and helped to stimulate the economy and we loved every minute of it!

MY Cat in Crisis

I can not believe how expensive a single kitty can be! My long haired cat, Prince, does not groom himself like he should so he gets really bad mats. I have him shaved in the summertime to keep him cool and remove the mats. Thursday, I took him to the groomer and made him pretty. That was a $40 bill! Then he went out "Tom Catting" and got himself hurt in a fight so I had to take him to the vet. There's another $98! Ouch! $140 in one week! It makes me laugh though, all the different cat supplies and stuff that you can find! They actually gave my kitty ammoxicillin, you know, the pink, bubblegum flavored stuff you give to your kids? Yep! My kitty gets a mouth full of bubblegum flavored ammoxicillin every morning and every evening! I am actually pretty impressed by how well he takes it. I tell ya though, when he and Batman are gone, I am DONE with pets! I have KIDS! Why in the world would I want Pets???