Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Let's Do it Again.

My weekend in WI was so much fun.  I spent quality time with old friends and yet it just wasnt long enough.  Friday night we checked into our hotel and then made tracks for State Street to find a place to eat.  The stores and shops on State Street may change, but State Street remains the same.  I love it.

After State Street, we drove back to the hotel to play games.  On the way there, we talked of old friends and who’s been in contact with whom.  One of my friends said she had not heard from a mutual friend for 3 or 4 years or more but he was still listed in her phone.  We urged her to call him just to see what would happen.  What happened was that he answered and we all got to talk with him for a little bit and catch up.  It was awesome.

When we got to the hotel, we played a couple of games of Nertz and watched old videos of ourselves from 12 or 13 years ago.  We also played Madlibs. We started out trying to be creative but by the end, we just gave ourselves completely to fatigue and debauchery and the Madlibs become kind of x-rated.  Then we just went to bed.

Saturday was the actual shower for my friend.  The shower was at a local Mexican restaurant and was filled with lots of friends and laughter.  It was fun and of course I took many pictures.

After the shower, I drove home to my folks house.  I did my laundry and while the first load was washing, my dad suggested I hang everything out to dry on the clothesline.  Then he found a laundry basket and the clothespins for me to use.  Thankfully I had dirty sheets in my possession which, once clean, were hung out to dry and now smell like sunshine and summer breezes.  Mmmmm.

Mom, Dad, and I walked to a local restaurant for dinner.  It was lovely.  The walk, the dinner, hanging with my parents, all of it was lovely.  The birds were singing songs Id never heard birds sing before.  The sun was shining, the breeze was blowing, and it was just so nice.

The rest of Saturday night was spent hanging out with my parents and family friends who were also staying at my folks house.  We talked, laughed, looked at old photos, and just spent some time catching up.

I wish the rest of Saturday night would have been as nice.  I just didnt sleep well and woke up feeling groggy and achy.  A shower helped the grogginess but the actual cause of the achiness soon became apparent.  And it was 3 days early.  Thankfully, my mom had her own supply of Vicodin so I borrowed one from her.  I broke it in half so I could have some for later, just in case.

Sunday was church, lunch, and then the drive home.  I had hoped to make good time and get home early but the monsoon rain and torrential downpours I drove through prevented that.  Thankfully, it was only rain I drove through and not severe storms or tornados.  I did make it home eventually, picked up some dinner, unpacked, and went to bed wishing it was Friday instead of Sunday night and I could do it all over again.

We got good news yesterday!  The foster care social worker called and said she was sending us the next batch of information we need to fill out in order to become foster parents!  Whoot!  We made it through hoop one and are set to jump through hoops 2-?.   Also, my friend who is watching our cats while we are on vacation came over to get instructions and keys.  She is so awesome I have no worries at all about leaving them alone with her or her alone with them.  

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Little Miss Maisey Mae

Turns out poor little Maisey had a bladder infection after all.  I left work at noon to go pick her up from the vet.  When I got there, they handed her to me on a leash.  I asked where her carrier and cat bed were.  They brought both out and the cat bed smelled of pee.  They presented the bill and I paid it but I noticed they hadn’t vaccinated her.  I had to wait another 10 minutes for the vet to give her the shots.  Sheesh.  We go to this vet because Bob used to work there as a vet tech and they give us an amazing discount but I was not pleased with the events of the day.  Even poor little Maisey smelled of pee.  We will have to bathe her and I am not looking forward to that especially after having to help Bob give her the antibiotics.  She is NOT a good patient.  Right now though she is on antibiotics and we are not changing food.  If it happens again we will have to look at changing her food.  My question is how do you change the food of 1 out of 4 cats?

Maisey is also not a good “sister”.  I brought her home and let her out of the cage.  Right away ZoĆ« went to say hi and got a paw on the head for her trouble.  Chloe tried to be a better welcome ambassador and touched Maisey’s nose, licked her head, and then tried to rub up against her.  She also got a paw across the face for her trouble plus the hiss of doom.  Maisey just wants to be left alone.  Don’t be making a fuss over her.

Facebook brings people together again.  Did I tell you that I “found” the 3 girls I used to nanny for on the East Coast?  It’s been fun reconnecting with them and meeting their families.  Well, I learned it’s a small world after all because another connection has been made.  I just recently reconnected with a friend from my home town after a 10 year absence.  She asked me about my last name and said her family had known a man and his wife with that same last name and might we be related.  Turns out that her family knew my father-in-law (Bob’s dad) and his wife.  She also pointed me to a website that featured Bob’s dad’s story as a testimony of a life turned around.  I sent the link to Bob and he emailed the man who posted the link and they are now corresponding.  Everyone is connected!

We have to drive to Hastings again tonight to pick up my car.  I am going to try a different route in hopes that the first leg of the trip doesn’t take 50 minutes like it did on Monday.  Thankfully, my car’s air conditioning works again!  Just in time for a road trip on Friday.

Speaking of road trips…is it just me or do other people feel this way too?  Before I leave for any kind of trip I make sure the bed sheets are washed and clean and our home is picked up and cleaned as well.  Even if the trip is only 2 or 3 days.  There is nothing like coming home to a clean home and fresh sheets on the bed.  The only problem is I about kill myself before leaving for the trip trying to get everything done.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008


This past weekend was a blur.  It was amazing and fun but it went by so very fast.

Friday I got off an hour early, went home, picked up Bob and our cat Maisey and hit the road.  We dropped Maisey at the vet and then it was Hinckley or bust.  I drove and by sticking to the main roads (stop and go traffic mean nothing to me!) we got to our hotel by 5.  We checked in, dropped off our stuff and went to get some dinner.  After dinner Bob took the shuttle to the casino to play slots.  I stayed in the hotel room and enjoyed a pay-per-view movie.  Ah the decadence. 

At 8 I took the shuttle to the outdoor amphitheater to meet Bob.  He was right there waiting for me with tickets in hand.  I got stopped at the gate by security.  They wanted to look at my camera and lenses.  OK, heres where I come clean.  I knew that unless we were in the front row I could not use my regular 35mm lens.  While I was back at the hotel I put my giant zoom lens on my camera and snuggled it into my camera bag.  I put caps on my smaller lens and just stuck it in the bag as well.  Well, for some reason, the security chick didnt notice the giant zoom lens attached to my camera.  She only noticed the free floating 35mm lens.  After looking it over and determining that it was the proper size for this particular venue, she motioned me forward lenses and all!  Score!

We ended up sitting near the front of the stage but to the right.  The zoom would need to be used.  But there was tight security including MN state troopers stationed EVERYWHERE.  On guy sitting to the right of us asked how I got the camera in.  I told him my story.  He and the guy in front of me said if I took photos they would stand guard and block the giant lens if only I would email copies of the photos to them.  DEAL!

Styx opened which surprised me.  I thought this was their show.  They were awesome and played a great show.  Ive had Too Much Time on My Hands in my head ever since. (Also, Come Sail Away.)  Tommy Shaw does NOT look like a man in his 50s. I got some great photos.  It was interesting being outside for this concert because the lighting was so different from the start of the show to the end.  All the photos from the beginning of the Styx show have the golden hue of the setting sun.

The Boston show was OK.  Their new lead singer needs to learn stage presence and get his rock star persona on.  Granted he was a former Home Depot worker picked from the masses on YouTube but DUDE!  Youre the lead singer of a rock band now. Dress the part.  He could sing though.  And bang the heck out of a tambourine.

During the second part of the concert the crowd, having drunk the concession stands out of all their beer, got a little wild and rowdy.  There was a verbally abusive woman berating the man in front of us and two twenty-tweeners acting uppity with me and Bob.  We ended up leaving at 11 during Bostons musical interlude.  Seriously, from the time we left our seats until we got onto the shuttle (maybe 10 minutes?) not one lyric had been sung.

We got back to the hotel around 11:30 and basically just went to bed.

Saturday morning we got up, checked out, had breakfast and drove home.  Once there we realized what a beautiful day it was outside so we did some outdoor stuff.  I cleaned both patios, watered and weeded the flower pots, washed the grill and deck chairs (its amazing how much yellow pollen build up) and then went inside to upload my concert photos.  As darkness fell, a storm blew in.  We almost lost power so I shut everything off and we went to bed to watch the storm.

Sunday I got up and ran errands.  I got home and started in on a project Ive been putting off.  Bobs sister is having a yard sale in July and asked for stuff to sell.  I went through all our closets, cabinets, and cupboards and filled nearly 10 small boxes full of stuff.  Then I moved the stuff I wanted to keep around so now everything has a place and we no longer have a bunch of clutter laying around.  I also did laundry and cleaned the apartment.  I started this project at noon and didnt stop until after 8.  A glass of wine made me sleepy so it was off to bed.

Monday was a weird day.  I was the only person in the office from my department and there was no manager in the office at all.  I got a lot of work done without any co-worker interaction/distraction.  At lunch I ran a bunch of errands that need to be done before I go to WI this weekend.  After work I had to drive to Hastings to meet Bob.  He had driven down earlier in the day to have our brother-in-law give the van an oil change and check up.  I was driving my car down to leave for 2 days.  It took me 50 minutes to drive less than 10 miles and 30 minutes to drive more than 20.  All in all, it took me more than an hour and a half to get there.  Still, I will pick up my car on Wednesday and it will be road ready for my trip to WI on Friday.

Thursday, June 12, 2008


Well our foster care application has been filled out, signed, and sent off.  Now we embark into the unknown and it’s kind of scary and yet we are both very excited.

Someone asked if we learned about any issues kids may come with and we did.  We learned that the majority of kids come into foster care due to their parents’ drug problems.  Therefore these kids have most likely not been parented at all.  They usually have not been disciplined, don’t have a schedule, can do whatever they want, don’t have set meal times or good nutrition, haven’t been taught manners or basic daily hygiene, haven’t had to follow any real family rules or do chores, and may have had serious traumatic events happen to them.  Nonetheless, all children, no matter what has happened to them want to be with their family and come to foster homes wounded and scared.  So, we will have our work cut out for us, no doubt.  We are talking about family rules now and how we will implement them.  We are talking about supporting each other and presenting a united front so the kids cannot divide and conquer.  We just want our home to be a safe place where kids can hang out and heal while their parents get their stuff together.

I happened across an opening at a local school while surfing the net the other day.  I applied for it and hope to hear back for an interview soon.  The school is only about 3 blocks from our house and the position is administrative in nature and pays more than I make now.  I hope I get it.  It starts July 21st and that would be a great time to start a new job, I think.

I paid $4.09/gallon to fill my tank on Monday.  Now gas is back down to $3.97/gallon.  It cost me $50 when in the past (when gas was under $2.00) I could fill my tank for $20.  I miss those days.  Bob’s van costs nearly $70 to fill these days.  Our little road trip vacation might end up being kind of pricey in the end especially if gas prices rise to $5 by July 4th as the rumors go.

Bob is taking our peeing cat to the vet first thing next week.  I don’t think it’s a health issue.  She’s always been iffy in her urination.  She peed on our bed quite a bit even when she was the only cat.  She likes things “just so” and if they aren’t to her liking, she pees her anger out.  Still, they will probably treat her for a bladder infection and she will get her shots updated.  The other cats will go in succession as well since they all need updating on their shots as well.

Work is so frustrating right now.  Today a banker called me all worked up and frustrated because I sent her form back with a note saying she used the wrong form.  She had a long story about how she didn’t know what product the customer had and couldn’t find anyone to help her and when she finally did, they didn’t know what form she needed.  When she finally found someone to send her the form it took forever to get the customer in to sign and now I’m telling her it’s the wrong form…wah!  I told her I would call the company and see if they would accept the other company’s form.  I called and found out that they would not accept it.  So I sent her and her service manager a long email of apology and explanation.  I attached the correct form to the email and CC’d my manager.  I was really proud of the customer service skills I used in helping calm this banker down and help the customer to as little additional impact as possible.  Not 30 seconds after I sent my email, my manager emailed me back and chided me for admitting fault and said we should never do so in writing.  Later, the banker called to thank me for my help and for the nice email and said she was sorry for jumping down my throat earlier.  Well, at least someone knows how to say thank you and good job.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Foster Care 101

Bob and I attended the county foster care info meeting last night.  There were about a dozen other people there including one clueless guy who seemed to think foster care would be a good way to make an extra buck.  He asked amazingly weird and oftentimes inappropriate questions.  It was quite distracting yet the social worker leading the meeting was quite professional and composed and addressed his questions as if he had just asked the most intelligent and pressing thing ever.  We were impressed with her patience.

We did end up learning a lot about the process, the issues, the legalities, the pros, the cons, and how to get started.  We learned that the whole process takes anywhere from 4 to 8 months.  This includes background checks, fingerprinting, reference checks, classes, licensing, and more paperwork than you can shake a stick at.  There is an adoption option available and if you sign up for that, there is an extra class to take.  We found out that 50% of the kids in need of foster care are between the ages of 0-5.  We also learned that the biggest need is for placement is for sibling groups of 3 or more.  Other stuff we learned:  About 1 in 5 placements is available for adoption.  There is minimal reimbursement for items of daily living so you should NOT do this for the money because there isn’t really much money to be had. 

After the meeting we were given the application packet and sent on our way.  When we got into the car Bob said he is really excited about this and thinks we are called to do this.  I was kind of surprised by this since he had seemed interested but only minimally so.  We talked about how Bob is going to be the primary care parent and will have to establish the daily routine, at least the noon meal, and run the kids to all their appointments and visitations.  He said he was up for it and was actually looking forward to having a direction and reason for living.

So our next step is to fill out the application and accompanying paperwork and send it in.  Once the county receives it they will review the forms and conduct background screenings.  If we pass those, they will send us fact sheets and fingerprint cards.  Then the county will conduct criminal and social services checks.  If we pass those, our home will undergo a safety inspection.  If we pass that, we will attend 7 3 hour training/licensing classes.  Once all that is complete, the county will make a determination regarding licensing us as foster parents. If we are approved, we get our license and are good to go!    Whew.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Facebook Rocks My World

It’s t-minus 4 hours and counting until our first foster care meeting.  Interestingly, Bob seems to be as excited as I am about this. I hope it ends up being something we can do and something we are accepted into.

Today when I was using the public restroom at my workplace I was sitting there and all of a sudden I heard a lot of grunting.  It seems someone was having issues with expelling their waste.  There was so much noise coming from that stall, I ended up finishing as fast as I could myself and got out of there.  I don’t need to hear that…especially if it’s someone I know!

I’ve been having really random things happening to me on Facebook recently.  First, I found one of the three girls I nannied for in 1990 and sent her a friend request.  Not only did she accept and begin messaging me, her 2 sisters did too!  As we caught up with each other I became so proud of the young women these girls became.  It hardly seems possible that it’s been 18 years since I was last with them.  They are all moms themselves now.

Second, one of my old friends from my hometown messaged me asking if my husband was related to a couple her parents used to know.  She was very specific in detailing this couple but before she even finished her message I knew that the couple she referred to was related to Bob.  They were his father and step-mother!  Small world, huh?  I messaged her back and had to tell her that Bob’s dad died a year ago at Christmas.  Still…you never know who knows who you know, you know?

We might have to find a new home for one of our cats.  The first cat we got as a couple and have had the longest has been peeing in places NOT approved or set up for cat urine containment.  I have cleaned the places with Anti-icky-poo and make sure all 4 litter boxes are clean every day.  I’m not sure what more we can do.  If she keeps it up, she will have to go and that will break my heart.  She is our feistiest, smartest, and bravest cat.

Monday, June 09, 2008


Where did the weekend go?  Seriously, it was a whirlwind that never stopped.

Friday after work I drove to a local hospital with the intention of visiting a co-worker and his wife and their new baby girl. However, when I got there, he was being briefed by a nurse on his little girl’s health.  Seems she was sent to the NICU because she stopped breathing and turned blue.  They think her little lungs just didn’t quite develop and she still possibly had fluid in them. As of today, we found out that she will remain in the NICU for 1 to 2 weeks while her lungs get better.

After leaving the hospital I stopped at a local Thai restaurant to place a take out order.  They said they were backed up and it would take as long as an hour to get the food.  I said no problem and shuffled off to the nearby Target.  We got our insurance check from the fire and I needed to replace some stuff.  I got a new TV for Bob’s office.  The little 13 inch we had in there worked before the fire but not after.  The firemen said smoke has abrasive properties and it’s possible it made our TV go kablooey.  Target had 20 inch TVs for $125 so I got one for Bob.  We also had to replace the key hook/bulletin board by our front door.  I found a small shelf with cork board at the bottom and found a separate key hook thing.  I hung them both when I got home and our front door area looks like home again.  I was looking for a French memo/photo board as well since we had to get rid of the one we had hanging there but all I could find was one plastered with Hannah Montana.

After Target, I picked up our food and went home.  After we ate, I commenced to setting up and hanging the new stuff.  It feels nice to have things back in place.  Now we just need to go through some of our other stuff and see what we can get rid of.  I know there are things we are holding on to that are just gathering dust for no good reason.

Saturday I got up early to run errands and do laundry. I stopped at the bank and then went to Lowe’s where I purchased a garage locker/organizer thing and padlock.  I’ve seen these things for years selling for $100.  I got this one for $60.  I had to put it together but it wasn’t that hard.  Now we have a place to store all our camping and fishing gear.  Bob wasn’t sure about the purchase until he saw it put together and in use.  Now he says it was a great idea.

After Lowe’s I went to Petco to get cat food and replace the cat beds we had to get rid of after the fire.  There was a dog adoption going on and I am glad we don’t have a house/yard because one or more of those pups would have ended up going home with me.  They had a sweet little German shepherd pup in her gangly stage that I fell in love with.  They also had a white husky mix with blue eyes that was beautiful.  Also, there was a guy there with his Burmese Mountain Dog and I just about ran him off with my excited interest in her.  They are my favorite breed of dog.

After Petco I did laundry.  While at the Laundromat I realized I did not have my bank card.  I used it at Petco but when I called over there, no one had turned it in.  I ran to the bank nearby and cancelled it right away.  Good thing there are branches of my bank nearly everywhere.

After laundry I went home and put everything away.  I didn’t have a long time to linger as I had to shower and change and head over to a friend’s house for a surprise birthday party.  The party was a hit and the birthday girl was surprised.  I ended up staying there for quite some time.

On Sunday I did next to nothing.  It was awesome.  Still, the day ran away from me and I ended up going to bed far too late.  Bob said my alarm went off at midnight and he got up to turn it off and couldn’t get back to sleep.  Poor guy.  I never even heard it.  He said he even turned on the lights.  I never saw them either.  I woke up this morning feeling like I could sleep another hundred years.

Tomorrow night we are going to our first foster care info meeting.  It should be interesting.  I wonder what will become of it and us.

Thursday, June 05, 2008

This and That

We are having severe weather this evening. I drove to the Target minute clinic after work in a downpour of dime size hail. At first I thought I ran over something but didn't see anything in the road. Then I realized it was hailing on me. It didn't last long. Soon enough it was raining cats and dogs. I ran into Target but by the time I reached the door, I was soaked. The doctor at the minute clinic suggested using saline nasal spray and Sudafed until Monday. If I still feel stuffy and full of fluid after that, I need to make an appointment with my regular Dr to see if something else can be done.

I bought a NOAA weather radio today. We are supposed to be getting strong storms overnight and I thought this would be the best way to keep track of any tornadic activity or severe weather. We sleep with a fan on and might not hear the sirens if there were to go off.

Why have 2 different people asked me if purchases I've made in the past month are for my grandchildren? I am only 40! Grandchildren? Really?

Speaking of children, Bob and I are going to attend an informational meeting on Tuesday for foster parenting in our county. It should be interesting. If we go ahead with it, we will make our dining area Bob's office and turn our 2nd bedroom back into a bedroom for the foster kid(s). Bob would be the primary parent and it might be something that ends up giving him some direction and sense of purpose. Who knows. I guess we will decide after the meeting.

I am excited about our upcoming vacation. We are leaving July 4th and driving to Milwaukee to attend the wedding of one of my dearest friends. After that, we are driving to MI to spend time at a cabin on a lake. It is near the Sleeping Bear Dunes and I can't wait to explore and traipse about that area. Only a month to go.

Bob received free tickets to see Boston and Styx at the Hinckley casino next weekend. We wanted to go and when we tried to buy the tickets we were told it was sold out. Today he received the notice that he could get free tickets based on his membership level. He called right away and we are in! Score!