Friday, August 31, 2007

Back in the Saddle

Life in the cabin is back to normal. Well, at least some sort of normal. We are now in the midst of getting used to the school year schedule. But in all seriousness...I didn't realize how much I needed that vacation. Sure, I was ready for a trip! Who isn't? But I guess I had missed the usual signs that tell me to get the heck out of dodge for a while.

Of course I already blogged about all the work that was waiting for us when we got back...the mowing, weeding, laundry, grocery shopping, etc. Then there was that first-day-of-school rush to get everything organized and labeled. And then, on Tuesday, I went back to work. I had a SLAMMIN' day...and I had NO complaints about that. See, this past year has been a bit rough for my business. I have enjoyed an immensely busy practice for 7 years...until this year. The end of 2006 brought 4 of my very regular clients being transferred and/or moving out of state. I had 3 clients become new mommies (which means no time for massage!), and I had two clients pass away. Add to that the people who just come in and out over the years, and my schedule was REALLY light, especially this summer. And that is when the big one hit. American Home Mortgage filed for bankruptcy and closed it's doors. Why does this affect me, you ask?? Well, they were a big client of mine...I was at two of their branches twice a month doing chair massage, and my monthly paychecks from there provided me with a bit of stability. This was not good news for me, but I was determined to not let it get me down.

It has been a rough year to say the least...

Until recently. I decided that I needed to sit down and think about what I wanted to change and how I needed things to work out. How many clients do I need to see per week to make me comfortable? How can I drum up some more chair massage business to fill in the spots left by AHM? How do I see the nature of my business progressing? I needed to put my intentions out there, get them clear in my mind, and then go on vacation, relax, and not worry about a thing.

So I did that. Right before we left for vacation, I spent some time in my office thinking. And writing. And making plans. And lo and behold, I went to work on Tuesday and felt completely different. I was excited about being at work. I was thrilled when someone came in with an overwhelming condition that was going to (normally) be exhausting to work through with them. It felt good to be busy...and I was thankful for the wonderful clients that I have! I left my office that night at 9 pm feeling energized! It felt soooo good.

And you know what else? I have all these new clients on my book. They are coming from everywhere...old clients of mine, current clients of mine, people who have gotten my name from my dentist or doctor or Danniel the hair stylist...

Things are looking up, yessirree. I needed a new outlook and a better attitude. I needed some Sunny California. I needed some family time and some time decompressing with one of my best friends.

Life is GOOD!

Sunday, August 26, 2007

Oh Deer!

Well, here it is. The damage that can be done by one "little" deer running out in front of you at 7:00 am. Shit. The insurance adjuster came while we were still on vacation and left a nice little package on the front seat. In it was the estimate for the tune of about $5,000.00. OUCH! And we're figuring that there will be more once it gets into the shop and they get it torn apart. So, it looks like I will be without my beloved Odyssey for a while. It usually takes a couple of weeks to get on the bodyshop schedule and then who knows how long it will need to be there? Last time it was in they had it for 3 weeks, and believe didn't look this bad!

But, there are always things to be thankful for. For one, no one was hurt (except the deer, who went flying over the top of the van)...secondly, the fact that we have 3 vehicles, so we don't have to rent a car. Also, we didn't miss our plane, the airbags did not deploy, and again...NO ONE WAS HURT. So there you go. Always find the positives!

So now we are back in the swing of things. Mom and my Grandma and Grandpa were here waiting with Scout when we got off the plane. This was awesome, because it meant I didn't have to get up and drive the 90 minutes (one way) to go get him on Saturday. Thanks Mom!!! We had pizza and then they took off and Barry and I got to work unpacking and getting the kiddos ready for bed.

Saturday was spent cleaning up. The grass needed mowing, the flowerbeds were covered with weeds and thistles, and the garden was out of control!!! More weeds than vegetables! So I got to work with all that stuff and Barry got work on his deck. I was able to finish the front yard and up one side of the driveway, and weed all the beds and garden. Boy, was I a sweaty mess! But it was done, and I felt good! Then today, I finished mowing the backyard, down the other side of the driveway, and out around the pond. That's 3 hours of riding that mower this weekend...UGH! But no, actually, I enjoy it!

And good news! Barry is making great headway on the deck...check it out!Can't wait until it's will be so nice! And for those of you who don't know, it won't just be that little section. It will go across the whole back of the house. This just shows the part he is working on now.

Have a good night, everyone!

Saturday, August 25, 2007

As Promised...

Here they are, as promised...the pictures from Disneyland! We had a GREAT day. Noah and Kendall were awesome, the park was not too busy, and we didn't get sunburned! Check it out!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Hangin' Out With the Animals...

So today we went to the world-famous San Diego Zoo. WOW. It's a really great zoo. Lots of walking, though! And lots of steep terrain! I got a really good work-out today, for sure! But I still have to give a shout-out to the Columbus Zoo and Aquarium back home. We have a great zoo! If you haven't visited it, you should!

We left early in the day and got there shortly after the zoo opened. Thanks to one of Amy's friends who had some coupons, Barry and I got in free, and Noah was free, so we only had to pay for Kendall. That was a deal! $15.50 for admission for a family of 4. Not too shabby! We got in, and quickly found a seat to map out our plan. If you've never been to the San Diego Zoo, you should be informed that it is HUGE. A plan is a must. So we made our plan, and the kids were flexible. The only things we considered a "must-see" were the Pandas (especially since a new cub was born just a few weeks ago) and the Polar Bears (since we don't have them at our zoo) and the giraffes (because ours are being housed somewhere else while they are doing construction at our zoo). Oh, and Kendall really really, REALLY wanted to ride the skytram! So we took off. Luckily, Amy's neighbor had offered us the use of her jogging stroller, so Noah had a smooth ride...and we didn't have to carry him on our shoulders!
Check out these pictures of the polar bears...
It was so COOL! Right when we go to the exhibit, there was a big crowd forming, so naturally, we got right in the middle of it to see what was going on. Two of the polar bears were playing right up in front of us! The kids got a kick out of that, for sure! And to be totally honest, so did we! Those bears are HUGE. I mean, SCARY HUGE!
As we were walking around the polar bear area, there was a little gift shop place, so of course, Kendall starts asking to buy a little polar bear and other such things. Luckily they had one of the penny pressing machines that smoothes out your penny and then imprints something on it as a souvenir. This particular one had a picture of what else? A polar bear! So we talked her into doing that, and she was thrilled! Plus, it only cost us 51 cents...
Then it was off to see the pandas. The mother and new baby were sequestered away for about 5 months (I guess that is normal procedure to let the baby and mother bond), but we could watch them on a tv monitor and we could still see the other adult pandas. VERY COOL.
BUT, (and there is always a but, isn't there?) on the way to the pandas, Kendall was saying her legs were tired and she really wanted her daddy to carry her on his shoulders. Of course her legs were were ours! But Barry didn't really want to carry her on his shoulders if he could help it, so he asked Noah if he would like to walk for a bit. Noah said yes, so we got him out and let Kendall sit in the stroller for a while. Well, let me tell you, Noah was not happy about that arrangement at ALL! He screamed and tried to climb in on top of her...pulled her shoes off, you name it, he did it. So we tried to get him to ride on Barry's shoulders (usually his favorite) but that wasn't working either. He just kept screaming, "MY stroller! MY STROLLER!!" over and over. Sharing is not his strong suit, apparently. So here is a picture of that little debacle... Even though we had this little incident, the rest of the day went smoothly. We finished up with Kendall and Barry riding the skytram from one end of the zoo to the other and then back while Noah and I explored the children's zoo. On the way home, Noah thankfully fell asleep and stayed that way for another 2 hours. The rest of the evening was just a lazy relaxed one. We ordered pizza and stayed in. The kids are bathed and in bed early, and we are packed up and ready to leave for Disney first thing in the morning. On second thought, maybe we'll need TWO strollers... ;o)

Monday, August 20, 2007

San Diego Rocks!

So we made it here all in one piece...

We left Friday morning for the airport at 7:00 am, right on schedule. Half a mile from our house, we hit a deer...and boy, did we hit it good. It ran right out in front of us, and there was no way to miss it. So, after a minute to breathe, we got out and looked at the damage. The entire front end of my Odyssey was bashed in. CRAP. It took us a minute to regain composure and then, after a call to the sheriff's office to make sure there was nothing we had to do, we drove back to the house, unloaded all of our luggage and then reloaded it into the car, and headed off to the airport AGAIN. This time we made it, albeit a bit flustered.

The flight was, shall I put it? Nerve-racking. Frustrating. 4 hours of hell.

Noah sat in his seat entertained for all of 40 minutes. Then he screamed until we unbuckled him from his car seat. Then he screamed "Diaper Change!!!!" over and over (even though he was clean) because he wanted to go play in the bathroom. Every time we tried to get him to sit in his seat, he started screaming. Nothing in my bag of tricks was working, much to my chagrin. Not the movies.

Not the matchbox cars.

Not the viewmaster and new Mickey Mouse reels.

Not the books....


And all of this we found out in the first 40 minutes. UGH!!! Yes, ladies and gents...we were THOSE people on the plane. The people that everyone else on the plane hates. And I was stressed beyone belief! At one point I thought I would cry.

And then we did something we said we'd never do. We caved. We gave him at a time, for the rest of the flight. This kept him in his seat, and more importantly...QUIET. Yeah, we knew he would be all sugared up and suffer a major crash, but what else could we do? We gave in and caved to the pressure of the dirty looks from other passengers. We caved to the demands of a two year old boy. Our nerves were shot, and we did what we had to do. So of course, when we got to the airport, he fell asleep while I was holding him in baggage claim...and proceeded to sleep for the next 2 hours. Yippee! We just wish he would have slept on the plane instead!!! Little BOOGER!!! So all was well once we got here and got settled...

EXCEPT...remember that little thing called the 3-hour time difference between home and San Diego??? Yeah...well our little guy thought he should get up at 4:30 am San Diego time the next morning. It really made for a long day! We've made it through the rough spots and now we are having fun! Lots of hanging by the pool, playing, eating, drinking a bit of wine, going to the beach, and tomorrow is the zoo and another trip to the beach in Del Mar. Then we are going to hit Disneyland on Wednesday...I can't wait!

So here are a few pictures of our trip so far...enjoy!

I'll try to update after Disney...sure to have lots of good pics from that!

Thursday, August 16, 2007

We're off!

Thanks so much to all of you who left well -wishes for our vacation!

We're a prom dress! (Tee Hee!)

See you all next week!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

End of the day...

The suitcases are packed...pretty much. Except for last minute stuff and of course, darling hubby's. And he can do his himself!

The laundry is finished. All of it!

All of my phone calls have been made, messages left, details finished up.

The camera and DVD player batteries are all charged and ready to go.

The dog's stuff is packed...he's leaving tomorrow for my Mom's.

The neighbors have been briefed on the cat's and chickens' needs.

All of the beds have fresh linens on them.

The kitchen is clean, for the most part. I have been weeding out the fridge all week, so there is no produce that will go bad while we're gone.

I have picked everything that is ready out of the garden...and now I will have to give it all away! Won't my clients that I'm seeing tomorrow be happy to see me with a bag of tomatoes freshly picked just for them???

And quite possibly the most exciting news of the night...Kendall is at a sleepover, Barry is playing poker with the guys, and Noah is in bed. I am going to sit on the couch and watch a little tv. Maybe even have a glass of wine or a beer. I think I've earned it!


So there I was, sleeping deeply...and more importantly COMFORTABLY, which is the important thing here. Our new mattress came today, and it is AWESOME! But anyway, I was sleeping so well, and then, at 1:41 am I heard footsteps. It was my daughter. She was crawling into bed with us.

"Hey, Kendall-bug...what are you doing?"

"I can't sleep. I'm grumpy." (She says, in a whiny voice...which is not something a person likes to hear at 1:41 am)

"Well, let's get you back into bed..."

"I. Don't. Want. TO!!! I can't get comfortable! I can't sleep! I have a headache!" The whining has now elevated to a louder, closely related cousin to frustrated ranting. So I take her upstairs, complaining the whole way, tuck her back into bed, and lay down with her. She is asleep within minutes.

Now, here I am at 2:31 am, wide awake. Hot. A million thoughts running through my head. Did I remember to water the chickens today? I hope they're not out there dying of dehydration. I need to pick up chicken feed tomorrow...we're out. Why do I feel so anxious about this upcoming trip? Should I keep the Pocket PC? I had to do a soft reset like 5 times today because it kept locking up and the battery seems to not be able to make it through the day...both issues concern me. Why is the dog starting that barking thing again when we crate him for the night? I need to start working out when we get back from San Diego...seriously. Enough is enough. Don't forget to put Heather's birthday card in the mail! And Kendall's soccer registration! And pay the bills before we leave...

NUTS. I really just want to go back to bed. But sleep evades me. And the more pissed off I get about it, the longer I will be awake, so I'd just better relax. Time for some of that deep, relaxing breathing to try to clear my head. Terri, I am sooooo with you, girl! Is it a full moon or something?

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Random Tuesday Thoughts...

I am finding that I don't have much to blog about lately. I don't know exactly why, but am hoping to do better!

This Webkinz thing is CRAZY! My daughter is obsessed with being on the computer and playing games to earn "kinz cash" so she can furnish her webkinz bedroom and yard. I'm tellin' ya, you have to see it to believe it. So, you can imagine how helpful she is being around the house right now, since she has to earn her computer time. Now that I think of it, that may be the reason I haven't been blogging as much! No time on the laptop!

Ok, I have to admit, listening to Snowman's pregnancy stories is making me miss being pregnant. I love being pregnant! But we're not sure we're going to do that again. Right now 2 is enough! And some days, 2 is MORE than enough!

Do you ever just want to be left alone? Just for like, one day? I've been feeling that way lately. I just want a whole day and night to myself so I can sit and think, read, and maybe even have a good cry. It's been a long time since I've done that.

I'm feeling annoyed and frustrated alot here lately...and I'm not sure why. But I do know this: I don't like it. It's not me. It must change. This must go back to needing a day alone.

I want to go see a movie! I've been dying to see Harry Potter.

We leave for vacation this week! San Diego, here we come! I am so looking forward to seeing my friend Amy and her family, going to Disney and the beach and the zoo! More about that later...

We open-enrolled Kendall in a different school this year, and got her all registered yesterday. The school is so cute. Just a small little country school, just like we wanted. The secretary and principal were so nice, and just chatted away with Kendall and Noah. And the big selling point for Kendall? The wooded playground. It is nice and shady with some very cool playground equipment on it!

My dog stinks. He keeps running out and playing in the wetlands with the neighbor dog, Sadie. We gave him a bath last night because I could barely stand it anymore, but what do you think he did first thing this morning? UGH!

Noah is waking up in the middle of the night again. So, knowing that we are leaving for San Diego this week, I rushed him to see Brian, the Wonder Acupuncturist. Let's hope it does the trick, as usual.

I am working a long day today. Don't know why, but I don't feel like it. I like my job, I just have too much to do around here before we leave. And Barry is playing poker on Wednesday night, so we are running low on time to get everything done. Good thing I am ending my day early on Thursday!

Hey, my new mattress just got delivered right this minute! Time to log off, go put fresh line-dried sheets on it, and lay on it with Kendall! Gotta go!

More later, peeps!

Friday, August 10, 2007

Technologically challenged...

So it was time to renew our contract at Verizon.

Barry had been trying to convince me to upgrade to a cell-phone/pda all-in-one thingy. And yes, that IS a technical term...

We had gone looking in May, but decided to wait until his contract was up in August so that we could get a better discount on my phone, since it would be the more expensive unit. Of course, when the time came, I had to make the dreaded trip myself, as he was working. This place is completely overwhelming! And it shouldn't be, really! I mean, I worked there before I became a massage therapist! But anyway, things have certainly changed since then (13 years ago)! First of all, I had to wait an hour just to see the customer rep. Then it took another hour to get me all set up and ready to go. As I was waiting, I was checking out all the options, trying to decide what would work for me...there are so many! And they are all so different! I didn't even know what some of the options were! I had to ask sooooo many questions, and then still ended up getting Barry on the phone to help me out some. AArrrrgh!

How depressing! There was a time in my life when I was not technologically challenged at all...I loved the gadgets and knew, at least in a general sense, what they did and why. Now, ah...well, not so much.

So Barry decided that I should go with the Pocket PC. I was leaning toward the Treo 700, mostly because it operates just like my Tungsten E...and there would be virtually no learning curve. How easy would that be? But no. Apparently, Palm is going to be getting out of the business here soon. AND, Barry thought it would be a good idea for me to have windows programs such as Excel on my pda. I'm no dummy...I know this is a subtle hint that he would like me to track my expenses as I go along instead of sitting down to do them every 6-8 months or so... (oh, how I dread those days!)

So I took his advice as well as the customer rep's. They both gave a nod to the Pocket PC. Now let me tell you that this thing is a pretty nifty little device! I'm just having a bit of trouble getting around right now. It's set up very differently than my Tungsten and looks a LOT different. I feel so challenged! So I spent some time yesterday keying in all of my upcoming appointments to try to get a feel for it. Yeah, that's a beautiful thing...since they don't use the same operating system, I can't just sync them up...I have to re-enter the appointments. UGH. But it WILL help me get used to using it, I guess. I'm giving it my best effort!

I feel so OLD.
And behind the times.
What happened to the young, hip, up-to-the-minute Jen?

She has left the building, apparently.

Thursday, August 09, 2007

Something to Smile About

Just look at what I had the pleasure of coming home to tonight after a pounding rain on I-70:

Can you see it? The big ol' rainbow stretching way high over our driveway? Here's another view from our house:

And one more for good measure. Check out how cool it looks situated perfectly over the top of our house: (Look closely...I know it's hard to see!)
There is nothing like a perfect rainbow to put a smile on your face after a rainy day! I am so happy my day ended in this way!

Wednesday, August 08, 2007

Kendall's Big Day Out

Today was Kendall's special day to have us just to herself. We had planned it a couple of months ago, and Kings Island was the chosen activity for the day! We were lucky enough to score $20 tickets that they sold just for a limited time in the central Ohio area. For those of you who don't know, that is a HUGE savings, as the tickets are $48.00 normally. So anyway, today was the day, and we were excited...

That is until we found out that the heat index was supposed to exceed 100 degrees today. Oh well, what the heck?? We already had Noah's babysitter set up, so we were going. Rain or shine...or extreme heat!

We headed out early and got there shortly after the park opened. We headed straight for Nickelodeon Central for some good clean "kid" fun. Within 10 minutes we were all sweating. And not just a little sweat either...Barry had it running down his back, Kendall's hair was soaked, and I could feel it running down my chest...YUCK. But we kept on! We took a break now and then to catch a show or grab a snack and LOTS of water. But you know what the great thing was? It was so hot that the park was virtually DEAD! We barely had to wait in line for anything, and a lot of the adult-type rides were going half-full, and sometimes not even that! It felt like we had the park to ourselves!

When we had had enough of the rides and shows, we headed over to Boomerang Bay, the adjoining water park for some refreshing water play. It started raining right as we got there, but we decided we were going to give it a few minutes to stop before just packing up to leave. And besides, Kendall told us the rain was "refreshing"! It only ended up lasting for about 10 minutes, so we headed on over to the wave pool and then some water slides. And that was just the pick-me-up we all needed. The water felt so good!

Finally, at about 6:00, we persuaded Kendall to pack it up and head home. She was having a ball, of course, and didn't want to go...but we got her to agree. We really wanted to get home before Noah went to bed. We'd barely seen that little booger all day...and we missed him! So now, here we our dry, warm bathed and in bed...sitting on the couch watching tv/blogging. Ahhhhhh, it feels good to be home!

Tuesday, August 07, 2007

Something to be excited about

Just look what I got out of my garden last night...

And as if that weren't enough to be really excited about, look what our friends Bruce and Shayna gave us out of theirs...

Looks like I have the fixins for some Ratatouille from The Virtual Kitchen or maybe even some of Hammer's Veggie Lasagna! I'll let ya know how it turns out! Mmmmmmmm.....

Monday, August 06, 2007

Not too happy...

I am not too happy today.

I just found out that one of the companies I do chair massage for twice a month has filed bankruptcy. This directly impacts me, of course, because that is about $400 of my monthly income down the tubes. But just as importantly, I have been working for these people for 7 years now, and they are my friends. None of them saw this coming, (for goodness sake, they had just moved into a new building!) and the HR department changed their contracts at the 11th hour to make it so their benefits are terminated...DONE. I feel so badly for all of my friends, and also for my own business. It's just no good, I tell you. Just goes to show that the big corporations are not always the safest to work for...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Our Big Saturday Night

On Saturday, my cousin Nan got we had a wedding to go to!

Kendall was so excited, because she knew there would be other kids, music and lots of dancing! The bride was beautiful, the groom handsome, and the food was good...

And as you can see from the pictures, there was plenty of dancing! Kendall and Noah were having a blast twirling around the floor to the music, and the other kids quickly followed suit. That first picture is of the bride dancing with her father, my uncle Scott. And yes, her dress was pink! It was really pretty!

Kendall was so sad because at one point, none of the other kids wanted to dance anymore and she had started asking her daddy, her PawPaw, and anyone she thought might dance with her. But they all said maybe later...

until she ran into Bill, the groom. He was more than happy to cut a rug with my darling daughter! And believe me, she was ecstatic that she got to dance with the groom!

We also had Barry take a picture of me, Mom, Luke, and Jessie. We haven't had a good one in a while, and this one turned out pretty good!

I also got a nice picture of me and Noah. Jessie was quick with the clicking, or she never would have gotten it. Noah doesn't sit still for long, and it's hard to get him smiling sometimes...but she did, and I was glad for that! Isn't he just adorable?

That last photo is of Noah and the other boys playing in a corner of the reception hall with the cars that my brilliant uncle brought. BRILLIANT, I tell you. I didn't think of anything to bring to occupy my son, but those cars certainly did the trick! I'll know for next time, that's for sure!

All in all, we had a good time. Of course, Barry and I had to make an early departure. Noah was past his bedtime and walking around like a little drunken sailor...too tired. And Kendall got her foot stepped on by one of the single ladies during the bouquet toss, so we were out of there...we heard about her foot the entire way home. And no worries, people. The girl that stepped on her was wearing flip flops, so it could have been soooo much worse!

Congratulations, Nan & Bill! We wish you all the best!

Now, back from our little break...

Well, it sure is nice to be back in the blogoshpere!

I don't know what happened there last week...I just didn't feel like blogging, and didn't really feel like I had anything to say. But now I am here, armed with the weekend rundown and some pictures to boot!

These first two pictures were taken on Wednesday. We had scheduled for the cement truck to come to fill Barry's post holes for the deck and I let it be a surprise for Noah. Kendall was at the State Fair with Deetra and Shea, so she missed it...but Noah was tickled pink! He kept saying "Big truck! Big GREEN truck!! Mama, BIG TRUCK!" I made him stay inside of course, but that was just as well. The truck was so big that Noah could stand in the big windows and have a great view straight inside the truck. Boy, was that kid excited! And so were we...because that means one more step toward the deck being finished!

The next picture is of Noah trying out his new "kid-sized" headphones in the car. He thought they were just great, and we were laughing as we listened to him singing the Bear in the Big Blue House theme was priceless!

And the last two are of Kendall with her latest love...Pup, her new little Webkinz. It's a little Chihuahua and really, it is pretty cute. Her Grandma Luanne got it for her this weekend. She thinks it is just the coolest thing ever. Have you seen these things? You buy one, adopt it on their website with a "secret code" and then you play games on the Webkinz site to earn "Kinz cash" to buy things for your pet, such as clothes, furnishings for their room, a backyard, a pool, and the like. And then you have to make sure you feed it, take care of it, and play with it so that it stays happy... because if it isn't happy, you have to take it to the vet's office. So that is basically what she did today...played games and purchased things for her little Pup. And I am happy to report that she is still happy and hasn't had to go to the vet yet! HA!

And get this...when you buy the Webkinz, it only gives you one year to play with it online. After that point, you have to pay to "renew" your membership. Holy crackamoly. Whatever happened to toys you just bought and that was the end of it??? Toys you could just play with forever?

Ah, well...I guess that's progress for ya!
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