Perpetual Plan B

Saturday, January 31, 2009

The Day Mr. Torrey was Disappointed in Me

Mr. Torrey was Ally's 5th grade teacher. He was an excellent teacher, probably the best teacher she has ever had. He somehow "got" her personality and even enjoyed her strange little sense of humor. (We won't discuss here where it might have come from.)

Mr. Torrey was an inspirational and very motivating kind of teacher. He was a former personal trainer, and even had Ally interested in doing actual physical activity, which so far no one else has ever been able to do. Yes, Ally had seemed to be making great strides in 5th grade.

And then one day she came home and said "Mr. Torrey said you weren't a good parent." (I later found out those weren't his exact words, but I'm sure that's what he was thinking.)

"What do you mean?" I asked.

"He asked us what our favorite song was today and I said one of mine was Cherry Pie by Warrant. He said that that song isn't appropriate for a 5th grader to listen to."

"Oh great!" I thought, I knew those 80s songs were going to get me in trouble sooner or later. Then I thought about it for a minute.

"Is that really your favorite song?" I asked her?

"Not really," she said, "I just couldn't think of anything else to say."

(Later I remembered she had said it was ONE of her favorite songs so I asked her what else she said was a favorite song. She couldn't remember. I can only imagine what else she said. Def Leppard? George Michael? Prince?)

Heaven help us!

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Defending my Honor

This is Morgan in the ocean at Newport, Rhode Island. This photo was taken on her 12 year old trip where just she and I got to go on a big adventure. It is a trip I will cherish the memory of always! Hopefully we can do something like this again when she turns 16.

Now, on to the real post:

This is in rebuttal to the remarks made previously by one, Morgan Fronk. I will address them one at a time.

First of all, one of the hazards of old age is that the memory is first to go. I will be honest and say that I did notice the cookie dough when I opened the fridge to put away the vegetables that I had just bought. If SOMEONE had been helping me, I wouldn't have even seen the cookie dough in the first place, and so the grievously erronious post would have never been written in the first place. (But then our dear readers would also not have my easy snack tip either, so that would have been sad.) I will, however, own up to the fact that I SHOULD have figured out on my own that you are the one that moved the cookie dough. Why, you ask? Because a lot more of it was missing than the last time I remember having any.

Next, the spelling of Austin's new best friend's name. Yes, it's true that I was a former spelling champion. Because accuracy of facts apparently matters to you a lot, I believe it must be mentioned I won the Spelling Bee not once, not twice or even three times. I won it in 4th, 5th, 6th and even 7th grade where the competition was much stiffer. I did, however, lose in 8th grade, with the word loneliest, which I hesitate to put here because I am still not sure how to spell it correctly. In fact, this is the first time I have ever used the word since then. I have avoided it at all costs until now, but I have spell check on my side today, so I'll be brave because it is a good example for you.
Being a former Spelling Champ has been both a blessing and a curse. A blessing because that means I am usually able to spell words correctly. A curse because I forget to use spell check and also I never hear the end of it if I do spell a word wrong. But, since the name Clawsure (is that how you spelled it?) is not actually a real word, there is no shame involved with not spelling it "correctly". And, if you would have read the whole post, I did ask for help, which I am a firm believer in doing if you don't know the correct answer to any question. This is a lesson you would do well to learn. :-) I will now use spell check.
(Apparently, I keep spelling the word apparently wrong. In a minute, I will go and type it 20 times correctly. Also, for the record, the name Clawsure didn't pass the spell check test either.)

And finally, in apology to you, I will post one of my favorite photos of you. It will be the first photo ever posted on this blog, an honor that I hope you appreciate. (Not sure why the photo is at the top. I wanted it at the bottom of the post.)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Addendum by Morgan Fronk

As wonderful as Mom usually is, I most sincerely regret to say that she has made some serious mistakes in two of her posts--"My Brilliant Plan" and "For the Record".

I will first address the more grave of the two blunders: Mom took credit for my brilliant plan and made absolutely no mention of me in her post. She only knows about my brilliant plan because I had the courtesy to tell her where I had hidden the cookie dough so Ally wouldn't find it.

Because I'm not allowed to edit Mom's posts, just think of it as being from my point of view rather than Mom's.

Mistake Numero Dos: Mom, spelling champion extraordinaire, can't spell the simple name of Clawsure. It's spelled phonetically. Honestly, Mom. :)

Clawsure is Austin's tumbleweed buddy. His name is pronounced Claw-zhure and is originally French, but the spelling has been Americanized. Despite popular belief (Mom's and all those other poor, misguided souls who have read the previous post on Clawsure), his name is spelled Clawsure not "Kloger". That's like Kroger and it is degrading for a tumbleweed of Clawsure's stature to be comparable to a cooking brand.

That's all for now, but Mom says I'm to write about all of her flaws, so I'll probably be back a lot.

Fare thee well,
Morgan "the Magnificent" Fronk

I Think You Might Have Had to be Here

There are two phrases that get a lot of use at our house. The first one is "I thought you said ____________." (which is generally followed by something more interesting than what was actually said) and "Did you and mom used to do that?", which is usually said during movies when people act goofy or wear dumb clothes or say really sappy or stupid things to each other. The "I thought you said" comment is usually made by me because somewhere along the line I have ended up with some kind of hearing loss.

Last night was no different. We had been watching The Great Race the last two nights, which prompted a lot of annoying questions from the kids about what Hal and I "used to do".

The one that did get us all laughing uproariously was during Family Home Evening. We had just talked about these two crazy phrases and how we could quit saying them so much. I then tried to defend myself because, as I said before, my ears are not so great, which is why I'm always saying what I thought was said. Then it was time to read some scriptures. I've just turned 41 and all of a sudden my eyes are not working so well. I need to get my brother-in-law Paul, who is an eye doctor, to check my eyes. It was kind of dark in the living room so I was really struggling to see. Finally I set down my scriptures and said "I feel like Helen Keller!" Hal and Morgan immediately burst into laughter because they "thought" I was going to say "I feel like he--!"

I'm Brilliant!

Yes, I admit it. Sometimes I am pretty proud of myself. Like when I have a great idea. Well, today I realized I had one of those. They are pretty few and far between, so when they do show up I have to celebrate them.

I found a great place to hide the cookie dough. Are you ready for this? I hid it in the vegetable drawer in the fridge. Yep, nobody really ever opens it up except for me when I'm getting out the vegetables to push on the kids. It's such a great hiding place that even I forgot it was there. (Easy treat tip of the day: Buy a roll of Pillsbury chocolate chip cookie dough. Put 4 or 5 blobs of it on a plate in a circular pattern, kind of like Stonehenge. Microwave for maybe around 20 seconds or so. Just keep watching it and stop it BEFORE it looks done. It will need to still look wet because it will keep cooking a little once you take it out. In fact you want it pretty gooey with little patches of parts that look done. If you overcook it it will burn. Next take a spoon or fork and serve it with a nice tall glass of milk.)

Now to celebrate my brilliant idea, I think I'll go have a treat. (Nope, not a cookie. Brownies I stashed in the freezer last weekend.)

Monday, January 26, 2009

My Poor Self-Esteem

I'm sad. I've brought this upon myself today. I had written a blog post entitled "I'm Not as Dumb as I Look" where I was planning to post my first photo here. Well, apparently, I am MUCH dumber than I look because I couldn't quite get it to work. I need to start posting on my other computer because all the photos are already downloaded, ready and waiting for me to post. Please excuse me while I get some cookie dough out of the fridge to eat, to make myself feel better!

Question of the day: Is this a private blog?

Answer: I don't know! It's supposed to be a private blog, I thought I had it set up as private but then something strange happened. Someone told me they read it. WHAT? How did that happen? I guess when I signed up as a "fan" on their blog, it automatically linked me to this blog. (Well, at least the post from that day was mildly amusing, so I wasn't too embarrassed.) Unfortunately for the rest of you, most of this blog will be very mundane, everyday stuff that my kids do and say. So, out of courtesy to you, I'm just warning you that this may prove to be very boring and long-winded, not like the one-liners you're used to having me zing at you.

Other question of the day: Why is my blog listed under toontowndramaisland? (I think that's it anyway. I actually don't even know for sure!) Well now, that's kind of a funny story. When I first signed up as a fan on Blake Casselman's blog, I also looked on my fan profile. It listed me as "Leonie", some random name I'd seen before when I'd tried to comment on friends' blogs. I always thought that was the default until you made up an identity of your own. Well, apparantly, "Leonie" had a blog, listed as Toontown Drama Island Blog. This sounded suspiciously familiar. My middle child, Ally, who lives up to the reputation of "middle child" in every way possible, is a fan of Disney's Toon Town. She had also recently started playing a game called Toontown Total Drama Island. So, I clicked on the blog, and there it was, in black and white. It was just started, not even with any real entries yet, but, at the top in big letters was MY e-mail address. I decided to take matters into my own hands and make lemons out of lemonade (and any other cliche you want to throw in here). I took over the blog and started using it. It was pretty nice to have a ready-made blog, just waiting for me to start typing. Unfortunately, I don't know how to make it cute yet and look like I would want it to. Any help in that area would be greatly appreciated. (Especially since this is not a private blog anymore. Someone else told me later that they had been reading it too.)

The only question that still remains is, who the heck is Leonie? I hope she's not some porn star or something, because with that kid, (my middle child, Ally) you just never know!

For the Record:

I am almost ready to blog about the traumatic medical mistake that happened to me in December. It is almost funny to me at this point. It's hilarious to anyone else who has heard it so far, especially my kids, who got to live the whole horrifying experience right along with me (minus the pain and humiliation, of course.) Maybe I'll wait until after Thursday when I hopefully will get a clean bill of health from the dr. who made the traumatic medical mistake. (Would I sound bitter if I said I was still waiting for an apology? :-) ) If you are curious and want to know what happened, just ask one of my kids. They love to tell the story.

On a more random note, my son has a new best friend. His name is Kloger. (This is pronounced Claw-jur.) We acquired Kloger on our trip to Sun Valley over UEA this last year. It should be noted that Kloger is a tumbleweed. Somehow Austin picked him up and held onto him the whole time, even retrieving him from outside the car when I dared to (unknowingly, I assure you) throw him out when we stopped to look at something. When we got home, Kloger was set aside in the garage and promptly forgotten as we unloaded the car. A few days later, I opened the garage door to take Austin somewhere and he screamed "KLOGER!!!!" I had forgotten all about the scrawny little piece of nature, but Austin apparently still had fond feelings. Kloger kicked around the house another week or so until I threw him out the back door onto the deck. Just yesterday, when the snow had finished melting, I'll be darned if we didn't look outside and there was the little guy. Today after preschool, I showed Austin out the window where Kloger was sitting up to his (whatever they call tumbleweed parts) in snow. Austin freaked out and insisted I bring the poor thing in. He (Kloger, not Austin) was frozen to the deck, so I had to lovingly dig him out. And so, now Austin has his little friend back. Right now they are happily eating lunch together. (I will however draw the line if Austin wants to sleep with Kloger, since half the time he ends up in bed with us. I do not relish the idea of being poked in the eye by a tumbleweed while I am sleeping, no matter how much of a part of the family he has become.) Oh yes, if anyone knows how to spell Kloger correctly, let me know.

Funny High School Embarrassing Moment

Ok, I was reading a blog from a girl I knew in high school and she sounds just like me. An embarrassing story at least once a week. That's my kind of girl. So, Kimi, this one's for you:

The Underwear Incident:

When I was in 9th grade, my friend, Serena Collins and I discovered something we didn't even know existed: Boys from another school who were at least as cute, if not cuter, than boys who went to our school. That was the year we discovered the boys from Logan Jr. High.

One day, Serena and I were hanging out at the mall. This particular day, I needed underwear. Oh, not just any underwear, I needed to buy CUTE underwear from a store called Anita. (It seems like the little bag could have been yellow, but I have tried to block most of this experience from memory.) Now, back to my underwear. Among other pairs, I distinctly remember buying a white pair with little red hearts all over them, a purple pair with little black dots, a bright midnight blue pair, a pink pair......Well, anyway, you get the idea. (And this was back in the day when I used to try to wear pink, don't give me any attitude about it, for the record I never really did feel good wearing any kind of pink. The pink underwear was always the first to go.) I was feeling very grown up because this was the first time I had bought my own underwear, with my own money, hence picking out some very "exciting" pairs. Lots and lots of them. It probably cost me over twenty dollars, which was a lot of underwear back then.

So, back to my story, Serena and I were busy "cruising" around the mall. It was a Saturday, we were in front of Jennifer Geddes' family's clothing store. We knew the boys were behind us, so we were very self conscious about how we were walking. I'm trying to remember who exactly was there, though maybe I've blocked that part too, to save myself. There was probably Steve Mihas, Derek Matlock, maybe Byron Allen, Ty Eliason, Monty Christensen and/or Greg Watts, I'll have to check with Serena and see if she remembers.

Oh, the next thing that happened is something so dumb, I'm still a little fuzzy on HOW it happened. We were walking and all of a sudden, we heard laughter. Loud laughter, coming from those boys. I'm not sure why we finally turned around, maybe someone said something to us, but we did. And there we saw it. Underwear. Lots and lots of underwear. In a trail across the floor of the mall, just like a colorful trail of breadcrumbs. We were horrified! We ducked into the nearest store, which, as I said before, belonged to Jennifer Geddes. (I almost think Greg was working that day, but maybe it was Jennifer. Again, I'll have to verify with Serena.) We sat there, stunned for a second and then we did the only thing we could do under the circumstances. We giggled. We giggled uncontrollably for a while. And then it dawned on us. There was still underwear littering the floor of the mall. Colorful underwear that probably sent the wrong message to those boys. "I can't do it." I cried, "You go and get it." And so, being the best friend that she was, after a little arguing about why I should go get my own underwear, she went. She ran out there and snatched up that underwear and promptly threw it all at me in that store. Funny thing, I do remember briefly being worried that that store might think that I had shoplifted that underwear from their store since I was putting it in my bag in the store. I guess I could have produced my receipt if they gave me any trouble. The fact that this store sold mainly jeans didn't cross my mind. I just didn't want to be known as a shoplifter because I wasn't!

So, that's the story. If you ever hear Serena mention underwear and then laugh, you'll know what she's talking about. (And yes, I guess I must have been holding the bag from the side instead of the top. I finally figured that out years later. More proof that I need to pay attention to what I am doing!) Whew, that was a tough one, but necessary to record for posterity. :-)

A Couple of Pet Peeves

1. Why is it that when you ask your husband to bring up some toilet paper from the basement, he only brings up ONE roll? (And then he expects to be thanked profusely.)

2. What is wrong with the people who live in this house? Why can't they ever put the laundry in the correct basket to be washed with the correct load? Is it because these kids never grew up with Garanimals? Seriously, it's not that hard of a system.

I guess that's enough for today, but believe me, there's more where that came from!

A Random Story About Morgan

When Morgan was in first grade life was good. She was such a sweet, kind, little girl. She actually even cleaned her room once in a while. One day, in the spring, Morgan's room started to smell. I mean really stink. Bad. I searched and searched all over her room. I looked under her bed for old food or something. Nothing. Finally I looked in the cute, white wicker doll carriage that was holding all her cute little dolls and stuffed animals. Inside the doll carriage was an egg. A real egg. And it was oozing "stuff" from it. I quickly emptied out the carriage and took it outside, which was no small feat, because it was practically life-sized. I tried to dump the egg out on the side of our yard, just over the property line to the empty lot that stood next door. The egg had oozed onto the carriage and was stuck to it. I didn't dare pull it off because I didn't want to be too close to the smell that I knew would be coming out of that egg. I finally got mad enough and chucked the whole carriage upside down onto the vacant lot. From the smell, I knew I had been successful. I left everything where it was for probably a whole day. When I went back to get the carriage, I was mad because there was still egg gunk stuck all over the wicker. I just couldn't bring that carriage back into the house. It was ruined for me. I ended up giving it to my friend, Melinda, who was happy to have such a cute decoration for free.

When I asked Morgan what the deal was, she told me that she was trying to hatch a baby chick. Just like that. Like, duh, and why did you ruin it, mom?

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Mr. Murphy strikes Again.

Just a quick note to chronicle the ups and downs of the recovery from my shoulder surgery. (And let me insert here - shoulder surgery = pain! I had naively thought that it wouldn't hurt as badly as either the c-section from you-know-where or the subsequent hysterectomy, two years later. After all, they weren't cutting through muscle this time, what was there to hurt? Exactly.) Anyway, roughly three weeks after my shoulder surgery, the Olympics started. And so we watched and stayed up very late every night. This wouldn't be a problem, except for the fact that school started sometime in there, along with a 6:45 a.m. bus schedule. You do the math, as far as hours of sleep are concerned. Add to that the physical stress of recovering from surgery and also the fact that our swamp cooler had conked out on us. In short, I was a wreck. (But I was enjoying the Olympics.) Well, one night I was really tired. I went to get in bed and Austin had already fallen asleep on my side of the bed. I good naturedly climbed into Hal's side of the bed since I wasn't supposed to move large objects yet, and Austin qualifies as a large object at this point in time. Sometime in the middle of the night I heard a loud "Thump!" and then Austin crying. He had fallen out of bed. So I, in my sleep deprived state rolled into the middle of the bed to check on him. The only problem was, I was still on Hal's side, so rolling into what I thought was the middle of the bed was actually a big mistake. I went down like a rock, landing square on my newly fixed shoulder. If someone had a video of the whole thing it would have been funny, seeing Austin roll off one side and then me immediately rolling off the other. Hal had stayed downstairs because it was just too bloody hot to sleep upstairs. If he'd been up there he would have either moved Austin or at least been on the other side of him, keeping him from falling out of the bed in the first place.

The dr. and phys. therapist both said I'd probably set myself back about 3 weeks (pretty much back to the time of the actual surgery). I never did fess up to the p.t. because I was so embarrassed about the whole thing. (You fell out of bed?)

So, anyway, a couple of months went by and my shoulder was starting to do well. That is until I got the bright idea to play baseball with the family. Hitting a ball with a metal bat that had most of the foam insulation ripped off was not a great thing to do. That one took a cortisone treatment to take care of the extreme pain I was in for 2 weeks. The only problem is that I left the patch on for too long (if an hour is good, then 2 hours is better, right?) The next day I ended up with a terrible cortisone flash (google it). That ended right about the time I had a terrible medical mistake happen to me so I don't know if the pain went away on its own, or because something else happened that hurt worse.

Anyway, that's the story of the ups and downs of my shoulder surgery recovery. (At least the low points. It is actually starting to do better, just very weak!)

Andrea's wedding and a couple of wacky Sunday adventures

What a wonderful day yesterday! I got to go to my niece, Andrea's wedding. She married the cutest guy named Felipe Lee. They are an adorable (and I don't throw around that word too often) couple. It was a beautiful day but very cold! We were all so freezing when they were taking the group pictures. I think I look goofy in a few of them. Now that I think about it, who am I kidding? I probably look goofy in all of them. Andrea made a very beautiful bride. She has always been very special to me. I have lots of really great nieces and nephews who are all so entertaining. (And I do love to be entertained.)

Last Sunday I was intently listening to the speaker and Ally kept pestering me. I tried to ignore her, as usual, but she was just being too obnoxious. I looked at her and she kept puffing out her cheeks. Finally in exasperation I grabbed her cheeks to "pop" them. (Isn't that what you're supposed to do when someone puffs out their cheeks?) She got this look of horror on her face as a ton of water came out of her mouth. She had kept her sacrament water in her mouth all that time! (This was the third speaker since the sacrament. At least 10 minutes had gone by since she had actually taken the water. Who knows how much spit was now mixed with it!) She actually had the nerve to say "What did you do that for?"

Today we started early church. I really, really hate early church. It is really hard to get three kids and myself up and ready on time, especially with usually two out of the three kids acting pretty hostile. One of them still kicks. Hard. (I just decided that when Hal is released from being bishop I will insist he get the kids ready in the morning. Of course by then they will all be old enough and hopefully mature enough to get themselves ready.) The only time I like early church is at 12:30 every Sunday, when we are home from church and have the rest of the day to do whatever we end up doing.

Today we had a little excitement when, proud of ourselves for actually being ready on time, we jumped in the car. I pushed the button to open the garage and nothing happened except for a little groaning on the part of the garage door. I could tell it was moving on one side a little so I knew it was frozen shut. I ran in to call Hal and let him know what was going on, half hoping he'd tell me to not worry about it and stay home. No such luck. He suggested I get the snow shovel and try to use it like a crow bar. That didn't sound great to me, so I got out the hair dryer instead. We got the extension cord and I held the hair dryer and kept moving it around to all the parts I thought might be frozen. It was mostly the bottom of one side. One by one I got those little gear things moving. I was pretty ticked though, because I was feeling so proud of myself for getting us all up and dressed in time to be 10 minutes early. We ended up being about 10 minutes late. I HATE being late. It is one of my biggest pet peeves. I bet we haven't been late to church more than once since Hal was made bishop. (Coincidence? I don't think so!)

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Wii Fit and Balance Board Review

This year for Christmas we got a Wii Fit "for the kids" (and a Wii system, we didn't have one before this year). This was going to be our main gift for everyone, since it has been a little bit of a tough year financially. We were lucky and stumbled onto the Steve and Barry closeout sale, so there were also hoodies galore for everyone, otherwise the older kids would probably not have much of their own in the way of gifts from Santa this year. Since this has been a bad health year for me (I really won't mention this in EVERY post), I was pretty excited when I was able to get a Wii Fit. I started calling all the usual stores, Wal-Mart, K-Mart, Best Buy, etc. long before Thanksgiving. No luck. Some stores had them for Black Friday, but that's a game I don't ever want to play. My version of Hell is getting up that early, in that cold of weather, to line up outside a store and wait, and ESPECIALLY be surrounded by that many people and have to stand in line for as long as I would need to to pay for whatever I was looking for. And that is IF, and only if, I was able to actually get what I had come for (which, from what I've heard from other people probably wouldn't happen anyway). No way, no how.

So, again, all the first two weeks of December I called faithfully, every store, every day. Then someone tipped me off that Smith's Marketplace might have them. I called and they said they had had them but were out. I added them to my list of daily calls. One day, the second to the last day I could go shopping before my ill-fated bladder surgery, I sat in the parking lot of ShopKo, starting my usual round of calls. No luck. Then, as an afterthought, I remembered Smith's Marketplace. I called and when the electronics guy said they actually had one I yelled in his ear, "YOU DO?" "Um, yes, we do." "Well, ok then, I'll be right there!" So, that is the very long story of how we got the balance board. I had already made my mom pick up the actual Wii a couple of weeks earlier at WalMart. It came bundled with Wii Play, for no savings at all, that's just the only way they sold it. On Christmas morning we found out that the Wii Play remote didn't work at all. I have not yet felt like braving the crowds to return it and pick up a new one so we haven't been able to play each other yet, much to Hal's chagrin. I'm pretty sure he thinks he can whip any one of us at any game. (It should probably be noted too that the year we were going to go "light on the presents" has actually cost us much more than we would have normally spent. The Wii and Wii play cost $299 and the balance board was $89. (Plus tax, which was another $19 on the Wii bundle alone.) But, it has been fun. And, it has been fun for the whole family. Together. So, I think it is well worth it, except for one or two little things that I feel like I should mention:

The Wii fit isn't nice. As in, it says mean things to you. It has told most of us that our balance is terrible, and even goes so far as to ask if we have trouble walking. (Which I assure you, we have not. At least not lately.) When it initially gets your specifications, it even gives you your "real" age. Not flattering, my friend. As we have all watched each other, I think we have secretly felt like we could do much better. I know I did. The girls each had ages higher than their real age, so when it was my turn I was pretty confident. Nope. They all got a laugh when my "real" age was 5 years older than my calendar age. I could see the gleam in Hal's eye as he stepped on the board. Then he went through all the various tests. And then, drumroll please, his real age......52! The rest of us had a good laugh over that one. The last thing that is pretty upsetting, especially to Morgan. When you don't do well, which we haven't because we are just starting out, your little Mii guy looks so sad! Sometimes they even collapse to the ground and beat it with their fists. They probably could have done without that feature for those of us who are particularly sensitive.