Wednesday, June 30, 2010


For the last couple of weeks I have been involved in a rather time consuming, nerve stretching and pocketbook emptying activity. Many websites, phone calls and bids have been involved in this little DOT to DOT game. Being the giving sort of person I am, I will share with you the "secret passages" in this game, so that you can proceed to the ultimate goal of a successful move.

First step would be to fill out an online quote request with your email address and phone number. Before you have time to even double toast an English muffin (aren't they the best?) your inbox will receive bids and your phone will begin to ring.

Secondly, go ahead and butter that English muffin, because you'll need the energy to proceed to the next level.

After munching on that tasty, crunchy treat start your comparison shopping of the bids you've received. You might want to have movers who are paid by the hour, or you might choose to list everything you want moved and go that route. That decision will be based on the distance of the move and if you just need help with the larger pieces or everything you own. Get bids for both ways, by the hourly rate and by the total weight of your stuff.

Be sure not to make any decisions concerning the contract, until you finish all the necessary background checks for the moving companies.

You will receive bids and on those bids you should find a TX DOT number for the moving company. Those numbers are essential as that is how the governing agency keeps track of legitimate moving companies and any complaints against them.

As I checked out some companies, I was astonished that their licenses had been revoked or expired. The complaints were listed by date and resolutions, if any.

If a company doesn't have a license, then it really is "Buyer Beware." You might save a few dollars, but at a risk of being ripped off by some fly-by-night company who might use day laborers, unreliable vehicles, no insurance to protect your possessions and then add extra charges before they release your furniture at the end of the move.

Oh, one last "HINT" about moving, try not to move during a hurricane. Hurricane Alex is coming to Texas the end of this week and we'll fight him with bubble wrap, tape, cartons and shaking fists to the stormy sky.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


Stressful couple of days, so I appreciated the relief I found in small moments like this. Carefully packing yesteryear, drying tears and dividing broken dreams among two households was difficult.

Even though my Grandlove is so little, he was able to lighten the tasks, turn tears into smiles and turn regret into hope.

For those over-the-top safety minded readers: We were VERY careful that he didn't eat the "Bubbles". Actually, he was more fascinated with the swooshing sound the plastic made as he waved it around, then when we demonstrated the pleasure of popping the wrap. Each to their own as far as bubblewrap is concerned, I suppose.

I am just grateful that this precious distraction helped my mounting blood pressure ease down a bit.

Next weekend, THE MOVE. And the next chapter of life for two people who have been through the wringer and deserve a happy, stable life.

Thursday, June 24, 2010


For the next couple of days, I am facing a difficult challenge and let's hope that I can muster my inner strength and intestinal fortitude to conquer what is set before me.

This particular obstacle is multi-layered and each layer presents its own unique difficulties. While performing my task I must maintain a semblance of polite tolerance for someone I would like to set out for the next garbage collection. Ignoring not too subtle body language, focusing in on sounds other than angry remarks and keeping my opinions bottled within will tax my already overloaded fuse box.

There are fragile items to be bubbled wrapped; appliances to be unhooked and loaded; bedroom furniture to be disassembled; pictures to box (what to do with the large wedding portrait over the fireplace?); and many other preparations completed before the movers come next week.

My frustration with the situation will be shoved down. Frustration that nothing is packed, yet; organization and planning for moving has reached a standstill and emotions are right on the surface for everyone.

Can I actually be in the same house as the person who has crushed our daughter? Should be interesting; we'll see.

This is where my past of surviving intolerable situations kicks in. I put my head down, complete the tasks at hand and draw strength from the fact that once this move is over, a new, better life is in store for our daughter and her beautiful boy.

My payment for all the planning, monetary contribution and physical help is waiting for me in the form of hugs, smiles and kisses from my sweet boy and his priceless momma. I get to hug them both and smell the tops of their heads, breathing in the aroma of love and hope for brighter days ahead.

Monday, June 21, 2010


In the next couple of weeks we are undertaking a task that can send chills down the bravest, strongest people.

When you first look around at what is to moved, it doesn't feel like such a big deal, but then once you delve into the depths of the drawer, shelves and cabinets you realize that a couple of boxes won't be enough to even get started. So that realization sets you off on a box quest. No store is too obscure, no previously occupying merchandise is off limits and no store manager is too stern to keep me from seeking durable boxes for FREE. Sure, some less experienced movers might resort to buying moving boxes from a moving company, but where's the challenge?

So, three liquor stores were contacted today and these were the responses to my plea for free carboard boxes:
1. "We save our boxes for our customers." Since we don't drink, that sort of leaves us off their customers' mailing list. (Maybe liquor would make moving more interesting, but I'll pass.)

2. "The manager wants to keep all the boxes, because we will reuse them." Right, you will need them when the Vodak bottles are returned for refills. Come on.

3. "Sure, come on by and pull around to the back." So, my little car is now loaded with every kind of liquor store product you can imagine. Nice manager and I didn't even have to sign up for product testing or mixology classes.

The boxes will gain their new occupants soon and wait for the people to carry them to their new home.

Speaking of a new home, there are many items too big and heavy for this old couple to manage. Many phone calls and emails have garnered bids for professional movers to wrap, load and transport the larger items.

If we went the way of just "inviting" some young, healthy friends over, we would feel obligated to pay for gas, feed them and wind up with other costly repayments. So, all that considered, we will move the smaller items and leave the professionals tackle the heavy wooden furniture.

Since we are in South Texas and we have the heat and humidity to prove it, the move will test our mental and physical strengths.

Wish all the anger, pain and hurt can be left behind, but I fear that some will creep into the moving boxes, no mater how fast I tape closed the cartons.

A couple of days to pack, a day to move and then a new lifetime for a couple of precious family members who deserve a calm, positive and supportive environment.

Saturday, June 19, 2010


My good friend and her precious husband are planning to travel to the other side of the world, which has lead to many frustrating hours of co-ordinating passports, visas, flights, lay-overs, hotels, land transportation and other vital aspects of traveling in this complicated, demanding, modern era. It truly boggles my mind with the flow-chart aspect of all the requirements necessary in order to plan a well-desired relaxing vacation.

Just having a passport wasn't enough paperwork to enter China, a Visa was required. Without proof of transportation into the country, the Chinese Embassy wouldn't issue a Visa. Without a flight that would arrive in time for the cruise ship, the cruise ship would leave without my friend and her husband. In order to arrive early enough to catch the cruise ship, they would have to arrive a day early and stay in a hotel. If they stayed in the hotel, which they needed in order to arrive in time for the cruise ship, transportation to the dock (a couple of hours away from the airport) wouldn't be provided. Cruise ship personnel would be meeting the passengers in the luggage retrieval area, which my friends wouldn't be allowed to re-enter the day after their actual arrival.

So, after many, frustrating hours on the phone and computer, a two hour trip to the Chinese Embassy to apply for Visas, and a boatload of money spent for a restful vacation, my friends can now begin to pack.

We all know how little is allowed in the luggage, these days, so they will be packing light. In fact, I suggest that they take disposable clothing and tear out the pages of their paperbacks as they are read to save space for all the trinkets they can buy. Heck, at least when I turn over my treasure from them and the label reads "Made in China" I can know that it was native.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Scientists have failed once again to have a good grasp on women and their needs. To turn on a woman, the quick (and ineffective) solution is a pill. Not a pill for the guy, but a pill for the woman. Don't get me wrong, I do believe in medication for many purposes, but this is a case of scientists not fully considering the woman and her path throughout menopause. Because of menopause many things occur in a woman's body that a tiny little pill can't fix.

No, don't worry I won't get into details about the changes that women experience (that information can be learned from any valid medical website.) Just let me state, complex things happen to a woman during this rite of passage and throwing a pill at the symptoms just isn't the right answer.

Educate yourselves and don't let some pharmaceutical company sell you promises of romantic beach adventures, because you'll wind up with more than just sand stuck in all of your crevices. You will wind up disappointed and even more frustrated with yourself and partner.

Friday, June 11, 2010


In order to "kill some time" while Bentley was receiving his transformation, Hubby and I went to Academy. Browsing throughout the store, we came across a couple of interesting products offered with charity in mind. Breast Cancer Awareness products aren't anything new, but we were amazed that weapons were being used in the battle against Breast Cancer.

So all you manly-men get on down to your local "Lock and Load" store and purchase a crossbow and pistol. You get to hone your caveman skills, while fighting the horrible cancer that takes too many lives each and every day.



We decided that our little Bentley needed a good grooming by professionals, so off we went this afternoon. Since Bentley's lineage is questionable, we went with the best guess that Bentley's major breed is Schnauzer. As you can see the before and after pictures above, I think our handsome little guy looks remarkable. The groomer said he was a trooper and stood still for the whole process.

We were tickled pink with the results and kept laughing all the way home whenever we looked at the magnificent transformation.

Tough week for us and we needed this break from reality. Isn't amazing how pets heal us without even trying to be anything but themselves?

Oh, I almost forgot that Bentley smells delicious, too.


These were some of the instruments used in my education (okay, not pictures of my actual equipment, but I'm using poetic license, here.)

In seventh grade we all had to take handwriting as a class. For this class we were required to buy and bring certain pens. We could have the pens with the bladders and our teacher would provide the ink at the back of the class to refill them or we could bring the pens with the replaceable cartridges

Mrs. Hax (dear, sweet woman who didn't live up to her name) instructed us to the precise starting points, the direction of the swoops and sweeps and finally the ending point for EACH letter. Sometimes I would try to make the letters without following the taught method and when I received my paper back, then there would be large, bold red marks correcting my paper. How she knew that I hadn't followed instructions baffled me, but somehow she could tell when I would take a shortcut.

Liquid ink pens with their nibs fascinated me and I grew to love writing with them, even at that young age. Pens were not to be shared, as each writer's pressure was different and thus nibs could be ruined.

My childhood didn't have a lot of stability and this part of my life made me feel in control, creative and responsible.

Funny how such a simple instrument could help me in such a fragile time of my life.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


Even though school is out we find ourselves in the middle of another couple of sticky situations in Victoria Independent School District.

There is a principal assigned to two sweet country schools in the district. These two schools have been known to have fine, caring adults who worked together for the good of the children. When this all changed was when a certain principal was assigned to those out of the way schools. Because these schools were off the beaten path, I suppose, the principal decided that she could continue with her bullying of adults and students. Suffering under this principal came to a head and a teacher pressed charges against this principal. After a court decision of "not guilty" this principal was reinstated.

Multiple teachers were so outraged that they put their employment on the line when they created, signed and presented a letter to the local School Board. In small towns, willingness to stand behind your convictions is a risky move. Let's hope that these teachers are treated fairly, since the School Board moved to keep the principal on the disputed campus.

Who are the winners in this whole scenario? Well, it sure won't be those brave teachers or the children on the campus, because the six-hundred gorilla in the living room(read "bully" here) has been exposed, examined and given her same campus for the next year. Thought it was uncomfortable for those under her direction before, well now she knows that she has already won a lawsuit, so what's her motivation for her to change?

Wednesday, June 9, 2010


At this moment my family is in the middle of a battle. In this battle there will be no winners, just heartbreak, anger, feelings of isolation, humiliation, despair and broken dreams. We will get through this battle and come out on the other side, but no one will be the same at the end.

By my age, I have had dreams of easy days and restful nights. Those dreams are not to be mine. Maybe in time, my hope will return. We'll see, won't we?

Sunday, June 6, 2010


Over twenty-six years ago, this sign represented hope for our young family. My husband had decided that his addictions to drugs and alcohol had taken too much away from us, so he came to this place to find sobriety and sanity. Through many days of struggle, soul searching and commitment, the bumpy road to recovery was traveled by my husband. Relationships affected by addiction are fragile and must be reinforced by therapy for both of us. Throughout the years following addiction treatment, Alcoholics Anonymous meetings provided guidelines for healthy living.

During this weekend, we drove the same wavy, twisty journey to Starlite, so that we could attend an alumni weekend. We were surrounded by hundreds of sober-living people who had a great time eating, visiting, playing games, admiring each other's families and listening to speeches from invited guests.

Orginally, Hubby was to speak at one and then the time was changed to two and finally three o'clock was the assigned time. Doesn't sound like a big deal, does it? Each time the schedule changed, my hubby greeted the new time with, "Okay, that works for me, no problem." He didn't let the changes bother him, which helped him adjust his attitude quite quickly. Others might let postponments irritate, but not someone who appreciated all that a sober life had given him. You have to admire someone who knows that another life could have been his, if he hadn't choosen sobriety. Acceptance of changes kept my husband cool, while others around him fretted and itched with impatience.

While waiting for the speakers, music was played and Papa held his Grandlove so that they could dance. They danced like no one was watching. They danced under the hot, summer sky. They danced in joy and appreciation for all that is right in the world. They celebrated sobriety and sweetness. Capturing this moment and holding it in our hearts is what matters to us the most.

All the activities were conducted outside and for those not in our area, it is SUMMER here, already. Large, well placed, ice tubs held bottled water and sno-cones did their best to cool our insides; while the sheltering oak trees cast cool, lacy shadows. Each soft, brave breeze was greeted with a sigh of relief from us.

Our Grandlove was precious as usual. He entertained himself by exploring the blades of grass that tickled his bare legs; attempting to eat elusive ice chips from his great-grandmother's hand; and flirting with all the pretty ladies in the audience. He actually was more patient than others in our family who seemed to think that continually announcing, "I'm Hot!" would make the day cooler. Finally, late in the afternoon, I strapped the little guy in his stroller, found the shadiest spot and rocked him to sleep. What a precious little guy.

Driving home (boy was that a long drive) gave us time to appreciate how far we have come. During my husband's treatment, I would drive up on Friday nights and on Sundays I would drive home with our little girl passed out in the backseat. Now, we had our curly-headed Grandlove in the backseat and his mom next to him, love just keeps growing with us.

We are a sober family, who appreciates the past in order to value the present.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010


While I was skimming the classified section yesterday, curiosity pulled me to ads for job opportunities. Since I am qualified to work at the college here, I checked out the possibilities under their heading.

It was then that I found the perfect job offering, it didn't require physical exertion that would impact my fragile back; extreme hot weather wouldn't affect my health; dressy, professional clothes weren't required; and preparations for my position would be minimal. Pay wasn't that great, but with all the "perks" who was I to question my good fortune for this discovery of my next employment.

With all these upsides to the job, there is one teeny-tiny problem: In spite of all the positive sides of the job, I don't think I am cut out for the offering. Posing for the art students in the nude wouldn't work very well, because how would the students ever be able to draw when they were either laughing or closing their eyes in horror of what was in front of them?

On another level, who would actually sit in front of a room of strangers naked as the day they were born? So many scars; so much extra skin stretched over hills of years of ice cream; parts that are dimpled that should be smooth; parts that droop that used to perk; and the possibility that a former student would be passed out on the floor after seeing his former teacher in all her naked glory. I will not be responsible for creating nightmares and retching from the horrible site set before the art students.

So, unless I stand at the door with a sign that reads, "If you don't want to see this body nude, please deposit cash here" I guess this art department position isn't in my future.