Thursday, July 30, 2009

Good friend, good times, great shirt



I started this week in the tourist trap we, here in Missouri, like to call Branson.

It was a fun sort of getaway for the kids and I. Steven stayed at home and held down the fort.

Heartbreaking, isn't it, that he was deprived from the cultural experience?

Yeah, I would feel sorry for him, but I know, of course, that he would rather chew off his left arm than spend three days in Branson.

My good (natured) friend, Joy, who regularly irregularly can be found leaving snarky comments on this blog - or my facebook page - was doing penance and offered her parents condo -and her company- and we gladly accepted.
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There are some things I learned those three days that I think I need to share with you...

1.) There are not enough hours in a day for my children to have their fill of an indoor pool - or hot tub - whatever the case may be.

2.) Two adults, four children (ages 4 to 6) = no one agreeing on what is for supper.

3.) Kids will always eat hot dogs for supper (even if they tell you they won't).

4.) You can bring an entire arsenal of snacks and drinks, both being of much better variety than ever offered to them in their natural habitat (i.e. home) and they will still want to eat someone else's snacks and drinks. Every. Time.

5.) Fanny packs are never cool - even when being disguised as a purse - even when accompanied by a little battery operated fan.

6.) Some fake tans are better than others.

7.) When angry, controlling, old men retire, they get jobs at Silver Dollar City.

8.) My son is officially afraid of everything. Even amazing pets.

9.) Some people will stand for hours putting quarters into a machine to randomly shoot water at strangers. Especially strangers with blond, poofy hair.

10.) Some friendships get better with time.

Thanks for the memories Joy! Oh, yes! AND for the Bon Jovi Hard Rock tee.

Oh, how I love thee and that shirt.

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Quiet time

I guess even little boys need a little time to themselves.
Time to think.
Even my four year old, little boy.

This is how I found Mr. B this morning.
He quietly slipped out of the house and sat on the steps of our front porch, still dressed in his jammies.
It makes me smile to think about what his little mind might have been contemplating. Oh, how I love this child of mine.............


Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Extreme Makeover: Trailer House Edition

This weekend I volunteered on the set of Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. As I mentioned before, the brother of my friend, Marlana, and his family were chosen to receive an Extreme Home Makeover. I worked the midnight to 6:00 am shift and it was then that I began to think of another extreme home makeover that I was once a part of.

The following is my very own, Extreme Makeover story:

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If there is one thing I have learned in life, it is this: Never say never.



I dated Steven for a little over eight years. 12 days over eight years to be exact. (Not that I was counting.)



There were so many things that drew me to him....with his sense of humor and his drive, being at the VERY top. Oh yes, I thought he was the most handsome man I had ever seen.....but this wasn't at the top. Just very close.



Steven from a very early age knew exactly what he wanted out of life and he didn't just will it into being, he worked towards it. And by worked, I mean worked.



Before he could drive Steven did odd jobs for neighbors, ranging from milking cows to hauling hay. He mowed a community cemetery. He saved almost every dime.



At the ripe old age of 16, when his friends were thinking "fast cars trucks and freedom", Steven wasn't buying a new vehicle- even though he probably could have paid cash. Nope, he bought an old truck and saw it as a way to allow him to, that's right, work more.



You see, Steven wanted land. That's it. Just land. Well, maybe not JUST land.....he eventually wanted the family, too, but he knew that he needed land, or in his words, "a place", before he tackled anything else. Since he wanted land, a house wasn't necessarily part of the equation.

I remember, with my 21 year old indignance, informing him that I would not live in a trailer. Period.

It wasn't that I thought that I was too good. It just wasn't what I had envisioned for myself. I mean, we girls don't dream about Prince Charming taking us back to his mobile home. And after all the time I had invested in wearing him down devotion to him, I just thought I needed more.

But, what did I know right? I also remembering arguing the fact that I wanted to work full-time when I had children while he maintained that he wanted the mother of his children to be home with them. My 20 year old self had very little "real life" experience to draw upon but many ideas of how this "real life" was supposed to work.

That was going to change.

****************



I think I was a little jealous of his ability to know so early in life what it is that he wanted out of it. I mean, I knew I wanted and it was a family, but until that happened, I was without purpose, without drive. Right or wrong.



But Steven had drive. And I waited not so patiently by. (Did I mention we dated for 8 years and 12 days...)



He worked and worked and worked.



(To this day he is the hardest worker I know. )



And he put the money back.....waiting for the time, and "place" to be right.



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On April 4th, 1997 our world, as we knew it, was turned upside down.



You see Steven had a bullriding accident. You can find out more about it here.


Needless to say, he almost died. In fact, the doctors don't know why he didn't.


He (obviously) survived, and one month and one day later, and with thousands upon thousands of dollars in medical bills (no insurance), he came home.


This new dose of reality had us re-evaluating everything.


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A little over a year later my Grandpa S. died. It was while the family was gathered at my grandparents house, while funeral arrangements were being made, that Steven heard about some land for sale a little over a mile away. It was land that I remember taking walks across as a child. It was land that bordered my Grandpa's childhood home.

Bottom line, it was land.

Several months later the deal went through, and Steven was the proud owner of 120 acres.

The land was in shambles. And, yes, land can be in shambles. Someone had lived there in an old trailer house not that long ago. They had taken the trailer and left behind everything else. The land was grown up, there was trash everywhere. We lost count of old car batteries and tires. There was a pile of tin cans and diapers that measured approx. 12 foot tall.

We had to brush hog the front "yard" in stages for fear of running over something. Gradually we lowered the blades until finally we could make a clean sweep.

We cut brush. We cleared out cedar trees.

I became close personal friends with chiggers.

It was great.

At this point Steven had been working out of state and would return "home" on the weekends to work on "his place".

He hated being away and I hated it too. Eventually he quit his job and began working for himself. Thankfully, this ended up being a very good move.

I had just graduated from college and it became clear that the only thing holding us back from marriage aside from Steven's fear of commitment was the lack of a home.

At the rate we had been going, we knew that this would not be a quick process and since building a house was not something Steven wanted to tackle financially, we began to look for, that's right, trailers.





Cheap trailers, none the less.





And wouldn't you know it. We were in luck. If that is what you would call it.





Not three miles from "his place" Steven found our first home. It was a beauty and for the sweet price of $800 it could be ours.





That is right, $800.





So, Steven called my dad and our neighbor and they arranged to pull it "home".





As I stated in the previous post, when my mom saw it she cried. Granted, I was her daughter and I was still living at home and not even married. Not even engaged. But I think that she knew that this was the beginning of the end and from her perspective it didn't look like a fairy tale ending.





My dad, who I had milked cows for from the time I was 11 or so, up until I started college, stated that "he didn't think [I] could live in it." I think that was saying something considering that he had once witnessed me scraping cow poop from the holding lot on a daily basis. I mean, it wasn't exactly like I was high maintenance.








Later, Steven's mom told me that she would not have stuck around if that was what had been offered to her.




As you can imagine, this caused a lot of tension at home. My mom and dad were worried. I remember my mom sitting in the living room and asking me, "Is this how you want to live the rest of your life?"




In a true "Lifetime Movie" moment I remember saying to her, "I would rather live in that trailer house with Steven, than in the finest home with anyone else."




This time, she didn't argue.




Looking back, I think that she and dad really didn't give Steven enough credit. I think that they thought that he would be complacent and not ever strive for anything more. Granted, if it were just Steven, he would have been completely happy with that trailer and land. Of course, land. End of story.







However, what my parents didn't know was how seriously Steven would take the role of husband and father.







***********************




My dad had no more unhooked from the trailer when I began to survey what exactly I had to work with.







The result? Not much.







Thankfully I am not afraid of getting in and getting dirty. In the months to follow we were in a continual state of improvements.







We painted-inside and out. We replaced all the flooring. We replaced all the counter tops. Steven built on (yes, we are those people) a utility room for a washer, dryer and deep freeze. Also, he (we) intended to heat with wood, so room for a wood stove was essential.







After all was said and done, with surprisingly little cost, we had finished the renovations.




Shortly thereafter, we became engaged. A year after our engagment we were married.


And, surprisingly, I came to love that home.


It was here, in this small 600 sq foot trailer that we arrived home from our honeymoon. It was here that we overcame two medical set backs. It was here that we brought home Miss L from the hospital. And it was here that we celebrated paying off the note on our 120 acres.


It took less than five years.




Did I mention he was a hard worker?




*******************




Shortly after paying off one debt, we acquired another.







This time it was for a house. Because, although a house wasn't important to him, it was important for our family. It was the natural progression.


Not to mention that I don't think that one more person could have fit into that trailer.







We unhooked our trailer house, and pulled it up in the yard. Since I didn't want to build on the back part of "our place", which was Steven's preference, he decided that we would build on the exact spot we had lived (together) for almost four years.




And so we did. And while building it I found out I was pregnant with Mr. B.



I think it would be fitting to say something here about "not a moment too soon."



Although life isn't a fairy tale, and God knows, I hope this isn't the ending, I enjoy seeing where this story, the one I call life, takes me.



Oh....and our trailer? The one we bought for $800? Well, shortly after moving in our house, we sold it for $2500.00.









Monday, July 20, 2009

Just an idea......

After participating, if that is what you can call what I did, in the volunteer aspect of the Extreme Home Makeover experience, I have been thinking about an Extreme Home Makeover that I participated in more directly in.

Extreme Home Makeover: Trailer House Edition.

That's right. The extreme makeover of our very first home. An $800 trailer.

It was a beauty:

My mom cried when she saw it.

My dad, the same one that I milked cows for, said that "he didn't think Kim (that would be me) could live in it".

My uncle said that we should chalk it up as an $800 lesson learned, scrap it and start over.

Folks, it was that nice.



Now....to try and find pics.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Let me break the news....

If you need connections I am your girl!

Truthfully, I have no connections.

None.

But, yesterday, in a stars aligned "just right" sort of way, I was able to hand some exciting news to a friend. I still feel kinda bad about it. It should have been more dramatic. More of a shout instead of a whisper.

Granted. I thought I was congratulating her. Come to find out I was doing something much more.


You see, yesterday, as I was in my bathroom trying to do something with my UNRULY hair, my cell phone rang.

As C. W. McCall's "Convoy" started playing I knew that most likely it was Dale. Probably work related I thought.

"Talk to me...." I said.

He started dropping names and saying things like "is that who you know?" and "is that the family?". It was early. I DID NOT have my game on. I had absolutely NO IDEA what he was talking about.

And I told him so.

Since I work in a funeral home, I couldn't help but think that someone had died and he was trying to find the connection.

So he started again, this time slower.

After a few minutes I realized that he was referring to a conversation that we had a few weeks before. It was in this conversation that I told him about my friend, Marlana, and about how her brother, and his family, had been nominated for an Extreme Home Makeover that was to take place in our area.

Yeah, the Extreme Home Makeover.

Yesterday, unbeknownst to me, was the day that the chosen family was revealed. Actually, I knew it at one time.....but my mind can only hold so much information and I had completely forgotten.

As all this came together and I understood where he was going with the conversation I started listening with a greater intensity.

"Dad got a text message from channel 33. They said that (so and so) were picked for the makeover."

Although I am not familiar with Marlana's family and I was not aware of their first names, I did know that the last name mentioned, was indeed, Marlana's maiden name. I confirmed that it must be her brother's family, he said that he would forward the text and I hung up to call Marlana and offer her congratulations....and then proceed to pout about why she hadn't let me know.

I called. She answered.

"Soooo.....what are you doing?" I prompted.

Too casually, she replied, "nothing."

So I forged ahead, "Was it not your brother who won?"

Come to find out the whole family had been calling her brother, checking the websites of the TV station and builder to no avail.

Bottom line, THEY DIDN'T KNOW! And now, thanks to me, they did. She was excited and asked for me to forward the text so that she could let her mom know. I was lit up by their excitement.

Still, somehow, I felt that I had burst some bubble that wasn't supposed to be burst by me. This was the climax to months of build up and it came in the form of a question instead of a statement. A question by me which should have been a statement. An excited statement by someone cool. Someone with authority.

Someone like Ty Pennington.

OK. So maybe Ty wouldn't have actually called them to tell them. But still.

Apparently when they got down to figuring out the times. I had actually told them prior to the family being called outside by a megaphone. Thankfully, nobody broke the news to her brothers' family and they were still surprised. Apparently, unlike Marlana, they don't have dorks for friends.


So anyway, maybe Marlana will posts pics and keep us updated. No pressure, Marlana. I am sure that for the next seven days you have nothing else to do. Maybe we can grab some good ones tomorrow. (hint, hint)

Thursday, July 09, 2009

This is as good as she could do.....

By popular demand.....ok, actually not popular demand, just Michelle's demand, I am posting a picture of me with the bathing suit AND roller skates on that I referred to here. In fact, if you listen closely I think you will be able to hear the chorus of "Love in the First Degree" by Alabama playing in the background. ("Roll On" was a few years later)

My mom is the one who pulled this out of the old photo album and she apparently didn't find the photographic evidence of the Miss America/Roller Derby wear.

Because anyone can wear a bathing suit and roller skates, but it takes someone special to wear a bathing suit, roller skates, crown and sash.

Anyway.....here I am sans the royal wear and without an acceptance speech prepared:However, because I am sure that you guys want the 'real deal' and not some cheap, horizontal stripe, knee sock wearing imitation, I will keep looking.

I am sure that you all are wringing your hands while waiting.....................

Monday, July 06, 2009

The land that I love


There is no question where my family and I will be every year when July 4th rolls around. In fact, if you ever need to look me up I will be where West Washington meets the square with a lawn chair (or cooler, if I forget the lawn chair -thank you Sarah) bellied up to the road for optimal viewing of the parade.


The parade is a big deal.


And by "big deal", I mean a BIG DEAL.



I remember back in 1991 getting up early and making sure that I had plenty of time to get my bangs to optimal height, find the right outfit and find a place along the parade route to get a good view.



Yes, that's right, 1991 was the year that President George H.W. and Barbara Bush visited our county seat and walked in our parade. But seriously, it wasn't the Bush's that I was needing a good view of.



Nope, it was Steven, riding his horse in the parade as he did every year.

1979-Steven (2nd from right) at five years old, joined by his brother and two friends,

4th of July parade (picture from paper)


1985- Steven (on third horse from left) 11 years old, 4th of July parade


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According to Wikipedia, my hometown "boasts the oldest Fourth of July celebration West of the Mississippi River and in the State of Missouri, which is the reason the First Family chose [my hometown] as a campaign stop on the nations' birthday".



"Boasts"? Is that what we are doing?



Maybe.


I can only remember one Fourth of July that I wasn't able to make it to the parade. I had to work in the Bakery/Deli at the grocery store and everyone came in after the parade getting ready to head to the remainder of their Fourth celebrations.




To say the least, I was bitter. Very bitter.




From that point on I vowed to never work another place that was not off on the Fourth.




Because, ya know, I had/have my priorities straight.



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This year was no different than any other.





Same parade, same faces, same feel.



It is a reunion of sorts.




A reunion of a town.





This year alone I saw many classmates and friends that no longer live in the area. Actually, many no longer live in the state. But for the Fourth, and for the parade, they -along with many others- return "home".








The parade consists of school bands, horses, kids on decorated bikes, concrete trucks, wreckers, gas trucks and church floats. On a political year, the normally hour and a half parade can last two hours or more.

See why we need the lawn chairs?



Some hand out candy, others hand out a message.




Although the town is growing, I believe that it is here that you can still get a glimpse of "Small Town America". Pie eating contests, kids dressed in red, white and blue, spectators waving flags, and a feeling in the air that can only be described as "home". It is a tradition that is long standing in my family. Although my grandpa has probably attended as many parades as he has celebrated birthdays, at 90 years old, he didn't pass on the chance to attend another one.










I hope that my children remember these times and possibly, when they are older, incorporate these traditions into their own.




Because, really, is their any better feeling than that of family and home?




I can't think of one either.

Friday, July 03, 2009

Overheard

While taking the kids to the restroom at a restaurant, I told Mr. B to go ahead at get ready to go as I helped Miss L get herself back in order.

I observed him while he dropped his drawers and bellied up to the toliet. He then took hold, aimed.....and told himself,

"Let 'er rip, tater chip".

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Annie, Eddie, Danny, Auntie

Lately, there seems to have been some confusion surrounding the lyrics to some of Michael's songs.

I generally pride myself on being lyric savvy, but I fell incredibly short this time.

You see, the other day as I was reminiscing, I found myself singing along to "Smooth Criminal".

"Eddie are you OK? Are you OK Eddie?" A couple of times I stopped and thought, IS he saying Eddie? Sometimes it sounds like Annie...but then again, it sounds like Eddie....

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Folks, this is SO not my style. I am usually spot on. Usually. I remember in Jr. High a classmate giving me a list of songs that he needed me to tell him the words to. I mean, come on, I HAD a reputation for Pete's sake.

Of course, now, if I have doubts, I google it. Back then there was no google.

And as you all know, it is "Annie".
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My mom claims to love music, but knows no lyrics. We (and by 'we' I, of course, mean my sister and I) joke that she always thought that the Elton John song "Tiny Dancer" was sung, "hold me closer Tony Danza"....

She always says "I don't care what it says, I just care about the beat and how it makes me feel."

Yes, of course, THAT is a part of it. But the story..... It is the story that tells so much and can either make - or break - a song.

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I was doubting my music lyric interpreting skills until I was at work, sharing a Michael moment with Dale, watching the "Smooth Criminal" video and sharing our amazement over his dancing ability....when Dale started singing along...."Annie, do you want me? Do you want me, Annie?"

It was then that I realized it could be worse. (I think.)

Please share! What are lyrics that you have misinterpreted?