Wednesday, July 27, 2011

That's Not My Name

It's stupid.  I know.  But it's something that just grates on my nerves.  Especially when it is done out of laziness.  My's Carolyn.  Not Caroline.  Not Carol.  But Carolyn.  I'm not particularly fond of my name but it was the one given to me, and given to me for a reason.  I was named after my maternal grandmother who died when my mom was a year old.  So, while not being a name I would have chosen for myself (I think it's very 60s...where Caroline seems to have transcended that "era" naming), I have chosen to embrace it.  It's CAROLYN.

*edit- This does not include those who have known me for years and have placed their own twist on my name.  My husband, for example, will occasionally call me Carol Ann (which always reminds me of Poltergeist).  A close friend calls me Carolina...but we all have Spanish twists on our names so it works.

So, when I get emails, letters, or messages addressed to Caroline or Carol, it irritates me to no end.  Sometimes, I get's an honest mistake.  But sometimes I find it's just plain laziness.  Scroll the heck up/down and see how to spell my name if you are in doubt.   Really.  It only takes a second and it shows me that you hold me in high enough regard that I am worth a second EXTRA of your time.  But when my name is spelled correctly in front of you and you choose to call me by another name...well...all I can say is:

This concludes my mid week rant.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011


With July winding down and we have a few things on our "bucket list" in which we are trying to cross off.  One included an evening boat ride.  And you know how  sometimes the best laid plans go awry?  Well, we decided that spontaneity would be the driving force.

Dinner yesterday was spontaneous.  We asked friends to join us.  I made stilton stuffed blue cheese burgers for the guys, smoked black pepper cheddar burgers for the chicks and plain old American cheese burgers for the girls.  I made home made fries, roasted vegetables (freshly picked an hour earlier from our garden), and all the fixin's for the burgers (lettuce also freshly picked).  As we sat around wondering if we SHOULD load up the boat and go, a spontaneous decision was made TO.JUST.GO.
So, we gassed up the boat, grabbed a couple bottles of wine, and we went.

From the time the decision was made to the time we were on the lake?  About 20 minutes (yes, it helps having a lake close by).

Had we dithered, we would have missed out on this sunset:
 And this bottle of wine:
And this smile:
And he's happiest at the helm:
Or floating with a glass of wine:
But most of all...because this is how we roll:
THIS...we could have done without:
Now, onto the next item on the bucket list.

Monday, July 18, 2011

50 Days and Counting

My threshold has been reached.  I'm now counting.  50 days til school starts.
Go smack about I am a horrible parent for not embracing this time with my children.  How I am going to regret "wishing them away" (or at least, in another room...or someone else's house).  How they'll be gone before I know it and oh, I'll be SOOO sad.

Know what?  I'm still counting.  Here's why.
I'll start with the youngest two, who cannot seem to find a nice word to say to one another.  EVER.  Every simple statement, request, anything is examined by the other for content, tone, manners, etc and ALWAYS found lacking.  And thus the bickering starts.  And does not stop.  EVER.

The chore thing went well for the first month.  This month, well, not so much.  Even though there is a weekly list on the fridge of their individual jobs and frequency, they don't seem to be able to keep up.  So, they had their allowances cut by 25% this month.  Negative reinforcement.  The positive stuff didn't cut it.  Hit'em where it hurts is my motto.  My oldest two will definitely need to practice a little frugality this month.

When I think of the amount of money I spent this summer in an attempt to keep these children occupied because GOD FORBID they use their imagination or brain (for something other than keeping their skull in tact), I just want to cry.  I should sit down and figure what the grand total has been so far, but if I do, I KNOW I will cry.  I know that any hint of a possibility of replacing my 17 year old appliances in my kitchen...gone.  Of pulling up the disgusting carpet in my living room...gone. YES...we're talking THAT.MUCH.MONEY.  I bet you'd cry too.
So...most of the organized activities end this week and some next week.  Then most of August, we're on our own.  And I'm scared to death.  Scared that it will be next to impossible to keep 4 children with varied interests active without taking on a second mortgage or them killing each other.  Scared that I'll be hearing "what are we doing TODAY, Mommy?" in my sleep and I'll not have an appropriate activity planned.  Like that dream where you're standing in front of people naked. Um... sorry, that was never a favorite of mine.

OH, and lest we forget...there is ALWAYS back to school shopping to look forward to.  But I'll save that rant for another day.
It probably sounds like I'm looking for sympathy, and yet I can still hear my dad's words echo, "Darlin' if you're looking for sympathy, you can find it in the dictionary between shit and syphilis".  Dad has a way with words.   But I don't really want sympathy.  I think I want empathy.  I want someone to tell me that I'm not the only mom out there who has bent over backwards attempting to give my children the summer of their dreams only to realize that it's not enough.  It will never be enough.

So, I count.

49 days 18 hours and 53 minutes.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fourth of's how we roll

It's been a wild and crazy weekend here.  Yes...our weekend ended today.  We spent it at the ILs cabin which is a 90 mile drive via highway which then takes about 2 hours, or a 100 mile drive via back roads which we can do in about an hour 45 min.  Yeah...we ALWAYS take the back roads.

This year, we let our son bring along a friend so it was important that we be on our best behavior.  Yeah, well...maybe not.  I should have guessed the direction the weekend was going to take when we barely got out of town, following motorcycles when the motorcycles seemed to part...and there, standing in the middle of the road was a raccoon.  A live raccoon.  It was a scene that immediately brought to mind Elf, however, there was NO WAY I was going within 10 feet of that raccoon.  He looked PISSED.  I don't care if it needed a hug or not, I wasn't offering.
So, we avoided the raccoon and were soon on our way north via back roads.  When we started out the outside temp (around 4pm) was 96 degrees.  Over the next 30 minutes we watched the temp slowly drop...then quickly drop.  I was keeping my eye on the west because there were some fairly ugly black clouds moving east and north that had some really weird low clouds atop them that had what appeared to be fingers dropping down intermittently, then they were sucked back into the cloud.  I watched this, a tad bit alarmed, given the now rapidly dropping temp thinking this is what tornado's are sprung from (yeah...I've seen Twister...I know).  Then the sky took on a bit of a greenish cast.  But then my oldest daughter brought my attention to the clouds on MY side and HOLY.CRAP.  They looked like this:

The temp was now 30 degrees lower than it had been half an hour ago. And before I knew it we hit it.  First came the wind.  Then the rain.  Then the hail.  THEN...the rain that came in sheets, moving horizontal to the ground.  As we crept along, I watched the wind take down trees.  Suddenly what little traffic there was stopped.  We had hit an area that was free of trees and I think everyone had the same idea...didn't want to get hit by falling trees.  Still, some people continued to move and after a few minutes, we decided to as well.  We went about 10 miles and seemed to be moving out of the storm.  Oh, it was still raining but the rain was actually falling now.  We thought we were out of it.  So we pressed onto the cabin.  We were about 10 miles from the cabin when we got a text from the family already there saying that they were in a tornado shelter...the sirens had gone off.   I let them know we were about 10 miles away and would be there soon. The weather was so much better than it had been I just figured what was hitting them was what we had just driven through. we approached the town one over, we drove through it again.  This time the sky wasn't green...EVERYTHING had a green cast.  The rain was so blinding we couldn't see 3 ft in front of the car, so it was fortuitous that we happened to pull into Pearl Lake Lodge.  For safety reasons of course.
We emptied out the truck of children and walked into "the lodge" to hear a guy at the bar doing a PERFECT impression of:

OH how it fit!  We were in the bar only briefly before the electricity went out.  LUCKILY, taps do NOT run on electricity. 
We made it to the cabin a little while later, only to see the electricity go out there.  And stay out for the next 18 hours or so.  Our cabin adventure had quickly morphed into a camping adventure.  If you know what I mean. (think...well water...electric pump...'nuff said).  Here was the other side of the lake shortly after we arrived:
Saturday arrived (without electricity) with the sun shining brightly and not a cloud in the sky. It was a busy day.  We had to go to Cold Spring Bakery for peanut holes ( haven't lived til you've had a peanut hole...or 6).  Then the fun began.  First, there is fishing.  In your jammies.  Because, dontchaknow, that's how we roll here in Minnesota.  And occasionally you'll reel in a crappie:
Then there was tubing.  Lots of tubing.  Kids who want to go fast.  Kids who want to go slow.  They mixed it up.  They used a lot of gas.  Then there was skiing/wakeboarding.  This was more interesting.  My oldest wakeboards and attempted to get his friend J up on the board.  J does EVERYTHING.  And it appears J does everything very well.  But wakeboarding escaped him.  Still, first time out on skiing he made it up...after I had already assumed he was down and called it.  And he still smiles.  Here's J on his first attempt at skiing, followed by the boy, suave and debonair wakeboarding one handed:

I tried my hand at skiing and I can officially say...D@MN...I'm old.  It has NEVER taken me more than one attempt to get up on one ski.  And sore?  Holy crap.  There should be a way to exercise the muscles you use when you ski.
Sunday, we found an old tennis net and set it up in the water as a volley ball net.  Can I just are competitive: 
Of course, all this activity, combined with hours on end of sun AND staying up late, and you might find yourself in this position:
It needs to be noted that J was warned well in advance that such a position would, well, put him at risk.  I mean, there were 6 12-15 year old girls in the cabin, each armed with a bag of fingernail polish.  I can't be around 24/7 to prevent the inevitable.  Nor will I tell what color his toenail ended up.  I'm no snitch.   I think he was hoping the worst he had to deal with was having his underwear frozen in the freezer.  But, we were on our best behavior.

Monday was more skiing/wakeboarding/tubing.  More water volleyball.  And of course, it's not a holiday unless the polish horseshoes (corn hole? bean bags?) game is brought out and a tournament is played.  Teams are chosen by luck of the draw.  Money is ALWAYS the prize.  And the games were on.  My oldest daughter made it to the final.  Blew a HUGE lead.  It came down to LAST THROW...for the championship.  Last throw...HAD to be in the hole.  Last throw?  It's in the hole ( have to say that like Bill Murray in Caddyshack).  Just look at that form:

Then...the youngest nephew, well he got a little bold.  And in the process found himself hogtied, all the while giggling:
There was hotbox and freeze tag played.  Rousing games of BS.  The lake was walked.  The resort was visited.  The fireworks were watched (I do believe Grand Lake has some very happy mosquitoes today).  I'm guessing, were I to rank the holiday on a scale of 1 to 10, it would probably be a 14.

I hope everyone was as blessed.