Perpetual Plan B

Monday, September 17, 2012

Not Crying.....

So Austin spilled a tall glass of milk at the dinner table a couple of months ago and it all ran down the crack in the table.

It was that awful kind of spill that just keeps running and spilling all over everything, no matter how quickly you work.  It got milk all over the table, which I could have dealt with rather calmly, but it also ran the whole length of the crack, spilling milk all over the rug beneath the table.

I may, or may not, have freaked out a little.

And, my reaction may (or may not) have freaked him out so much that he ran away, refusing to help clean it up at all., 

Anyway, I happened to spill a glass of milk on the counter, as I was pouring it for him the other day.  I can't even remember the last time I spilled milk like that.  But, instead of freaking out again, I thought "Aha.  Now I can show him by example what you should do."  Because we all know that actions speak WAY louder than words, right?  (Right?)

So I said very calmly, "Austin, I just spilled a whole glass of milk.  What is the proper reaction?"

Austin automatically answered, "Scream."

Well, I guess I had that coming, so I calmly cleaned up the mess, showing him where the rags are and what to do.

When it was all over, I thought I'd try again.  I said, "Austin, now that you know the answer, I'm going to ask you again.  What could a person do if they spill a whole glass of milk?"

Without looking up from his homework he answered, "Panic and leave the mess?"

Let's just say he will be getting half glasses of milk for a while.

Sunday, August 26, 2012


So, we dropped Morgan off at BYU last Wednesday.

It was her 18th birthday, of all days.  Bummer for her and for us.

I have really been missing her.  I keep going around the house wondering where she is.

And then I remember, and that's when I reach for the cookies.

I had really cut down on the sweets the last few months, but boy  have I made up for it in the last couple of days.

Unfortunately, the cookies don't really make me feel any better, even though they are delicious.

That's how I know that I must love her more than I love  chocolate chip cookies.

(I told Morgan not to worry about the "freshman fifteen".  I think I'll probably be the one who will end up gaining it for her.)

We've Acquired a Zoo

So, two weeks ago we had a cat and a betta fish.

Last week we ended up with a new baby lizard, which I totally love,  and a baby garter snake (not so much).

I've been so worried about and attached to the lizard that I have literally checked on him (her, whatever) every hour, just like a newborn.  Austin caught the lizard right as we were leaving Bear Lake, ironically hunting for his missing lizard ring that got lost in the sand.  It was starting to get dark and not only did he find the ring (miraculously), but the baby lizard too, which he has been asking for all summer.  I told him if he kept his room clean for 3 months, I'd let him have one, pretty much knowing that he couldn't keep up his end of the bargain.  Since he found one, so it was free, and it was almost his birthday, I decided to let him keep the lizard.  I had no idea what all is involved with those things.  Heat lamps, calcium powder, crickets, mealworms, etc., etc.  Oh yes, I am also now the proud owner of a mealworm farm.  Lovely.

Anyway, the snake was one the kids caught two days later at their cousin's house in Tremonton.  The snake has stayed outside so far and that's the way it has to be.  I keep telling the kids that pretty soon the snake needs to go home to his mom.  Baby snakes might be somewhat cute, but bigger snakes are not cute at all.

So, this week, a homing pigeon decided that our garage should be its new home.  I spent hours sitting very still in our garage trying to get close enough to try and read the code on the yellow band on the bird's leg (do birds have "legs"?), and e-mailed and called many people trying to locate the owner.  I have it tracked down to the local pigeon club and have talked to two of the members, but so far they haven't figured out who it belongs to either.  Supposedly there is a list, but the guy in charge just can't get around to looking at the list.  He said he'd come pick up the bird, but that hasn't happened yet either.

The bird is now used to us and lets us get very close.  One of the first nights Ally rode a scooter around in our garage and every time she would go around close to the bird (who was doing his "business" all over the four wheeler) would make a funny sound at her, kind of like a little baby laughing.  It was pretty funny.

We are starting to grow fond of the little guy, except for the problem with the mess that he has left in the garage, that hasn't been so pleasant.  I'm sure we will be hosing things down for months to come.  I think I'll start feeding him in the back yard, as soon as I can figure out how to keep the neighborhood cats away.  Strangely enough, our cat - who goes into fits every time she sees a bird, seems unaffected by the new addition to our zoo.  I went to great lengths to keep our cat and the bird separated, and one day when I realized they were both in the garage I ran in, afraid I'd see a bloody mess of feathers on the floor and they were just fine together.  Weird.

So yes, that's the story.  I'm beginning to feel a little like Dr. Doolittle.  Plus, I know way more about lizards and homing pigeons that I ever thought I'd care to.  The snake is pretty much on his own.

Edited to add:  We are now also in possession of a skunk.  He lives under our shed.  I think that's going to end up being a bigger problem than the snake!

Monday, August 6, 2012

A Conversation With Austin, Age 7 1/2

I was in the kitchen doing the dinner dishes and Austin was on the computer, looking at magic wands on Etsy.

Austin, calling from the other room:  "Mom, did you know you can buy wands for wedding favors?"
Me:  "No, how much?"
Austin:  "Eight hundred seventy-five."
Me:  "Wands?  That's a lot of wedding guests."
Austin:  "No, dollars."
Me:  "For how many?"
Austin:  "Seventy-five."
Me:  "Wow, that is really expensive."
Austin:  "But totally worth it."

Hope his future bride feels the same way.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Worst Meal Plan EVER

So, I found out about 3 weeks ago that I am allergic to:  (wait for it....)

Wheat (all parts)


(So, pretty much milk)
Cottage Cheese
and other cheeses (Mozzarella, my favorite,  was the least reactive, but still enough that I should avoid it.)

(oh, and cranberries too.)

And eggs got a little bit of a reaction.

And I'm  probably allergic to a lot more things that I wasn't tested for.
(Like, I'm highly allergic to pigweed, which is related to quinoa.  So, does that mean I can't eat quinoa, which is supposed to be pretty low on the allergen scale?)

So basically, I'm on a dairy and gluten-free diet.


I've tried about every recipe I can find for  dairy and gluten free brownies.  Some are actually pretty tasty.  Some, not so much!  (Yes you, Black Bean Brownies!)  And, I've found some quite yummy store bought cookies.  ($5.00 for 9 cookies.  So yeah, I don't share!)

On the plus side:

I'm itching a TINY bit less.

Friday, April 27, 2012

A Fun Baby Shower Game......

I saw someone last week that I hadn't seen for many years.  It was Morgan's first piano teacher.

She reminded me that I threw a baby shower for her when her first daughter was born.  (The one and only baby shower I remember throwing.  I'm not a great party thrower, they stress me out.  I'm more of an informal "Hey, why don't we just head over to my house right now - and since I wasn't planning on it, I guess you won't mind if the house is messy." kind of girl.)

We did do one thing that was kind of funny.  I can't remember if we had any other formal games, but my sister-in-law Jayne had told me about something they had done at a shower over in Tremonton.  It sounded like a fun idea and we decided that probably nobody in our neighborhood had heard of doing this, so I talked my other sister-in-law, Monica, into showing up at the shower about a half hour late, frazzled and carrying a diaper bag.

When she got there, I pretended like I didn't know her.   She walked in, apologizing for being late.  I acted polite, but started asking people (discreetly) if they knew who she was.  Nobody did, so I pulled Jenny out and asked her if she was a relative of hers.  Jenny said she had no idea who she was.  It was funny watching people act polite to Monica and wondering who she was and why she was there.  Finally I came out and said, "How do you know Jenny?" 

"Jenny?"  she said, "Who is Jenny?  I'm here for Natalie's shower?"  "Natalie who?"  I asked.  "Natalie Jenkins."  she said (or some other made up name, I can't remember what it was).

So then she started acting embarrassed, like she had suddenly realized that she was at the wrong house.  I asked the address of where she was supposed to be, so she said she had the invitation in her diaper bag.  She started rummaging frantically in the bag, eventually dumping it on the floor.  I then helped her pick things up and then we told people that it was a game and  handed out paper and pencils and had people write down anything they could remember that was in her diaper bag.  And that was the game.

It was funny to see peoples' reactions.  You can't get anything past Joyce Johnson.  She yelled out, "Is this a setup?" when Monica dumped the bag.  The girls (we had invited the Young Women too) were really confused.  It made me laugh.  I did like the comment someone else made.  They said, "I was so embarrassed for her when she dumped the bag that I tried on purpose not to look at what was in there."

Anyway, kind of a funny game, but you need to make sure and have someone do it that wouldn't be recognized by anyone else at the party.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

One Proud/Happy/Relieved/Sad Mama

Well, it happened.  I can now breathe a big sigh of relief.  One burden has been lifted.  (One more to go, but I'm not really at liberty to talk about the other thing just yet.)

Morgan just found out today that she received the Thomas S. Monson Presidential Scholarship to BYU, her first choice college.

I am so proud of her and all her hard work.  She really has earned it.  I have no doubt that she will do well in school because she has been taking college level and AP classes since she was a sophomore.  She has earned a 5 on every AP test so far and scored a 35 on the ACT.  (I'm bragging here, because it's not really the type of thing you can just trumpet all over facebook.  I'll assume anyone reading this here will be happy for us.)

I am happy because I know she is a good girl and will fit in really well at BYU.  To be honest, I don't know if I would have fit in there.  I'm not really known for my "sweet spirit", but she fits what I think of when I think of the type of girl who does well at BYU.  (And yes, she does read her scriptures regularly.  I would have failed on that count alone.)

I am definitely relieved because we have really been sweating, waiting to hear if she would get any sort of financial aid.  She got a full ride to USU, so it would have been hard to send her to BYU, paying for housing, food AND tuition.  Definitely a big weight off my shoulders.

And finally, I am sad.  I am so sad  that she will be leaving our home so soon.  She has been  fun to have around, but she has been so busy taking all those classes (4 AP classes this year alone) that I feel like I have been cheated out of her company for the last few years.  She has been so busy getting herself to this point that  I had really been looking forward to her living at home for college, coming home for lunch, or after some early classes to just hang out with ME.  Morgan is the most like me of anyone else in the family, so I will miss my little mini-me.  (Well, let me qualify, Morgan has more of my "good" qualities.  Ally, unfortunately, ended up with my, how do you say this politely?, "naughtier" qualities.  Ally likes to see how much she can get away with without actually breaking the rules.  Let's  just leave it at that, shall we?)

Anyway, this has been a day of very strong, mixed emotions.  I couldn't hide the tears as we read the scholarship e-mail.  Happy tears.  Sad tears.  Tears of relief.

Where did my little girl go?  (Sniff, sniff.)

Saturday, March 24, 2012

Wake Up Call.....

Well, the last couple of  years I have started having dreams that seemed real.  Not like scary real, but just every day real.  Sometimes after waking up, I have a hard time figuring out if something that happened in my dream really happened or not. 

I've even had to ask Hal some embarrassing questions like, "Did we invite your mom over for dinner tonight?", or "Did I really talk to my aunt on the phone yesterday?" 

Things that don't really matter, (well, I guess it would matter if I'd invited my mother-in-law over for dinner, but couldn't remember for sure and didn't make enough food!)  but I just wanted to verify what was real and what was not.

Well, Friday morning, my dreams crossed a line.  The line that kind of borders on sleepwalking, which (to my knowledge) I have never done.

I was awakened from a dead sleep by our neighbor, who drops his daughter off at our house in the mornings, about an hour and a half before she and my son need to leave for the bus.  He usually knocks 4 times, quite loud.  (He used to ring the bell, but we finally dared ask him NOT to ring the door bell at 6:50 in the morning.) 

This neighbor works at Pepperidge Farms and had picked up some cookies that we used for a community event that Morgan and I had helped with the night before.  I hadn't paid him yet for the cookies, but I had the money by the front door in an envelope and I was worried that if Hal answered the door he might forget to give him the money.  (Like it was a big deal - he lives next door.  I'm sure I would have seen him very soon - like even the next day.  But, I didn't want him to think that I had forgotten to pay him.  I hate it when people owe me money and conveniently forget.)

So, back to my story:  I heard the knock on the door, sprang out of bed and raced to the front door.  I hurried and turned on the porch light because it seemed darker than usual.  Something else seemed off, though I didn't figure it out for a while.  I threw the door open and they weren't there. 

Since it had taken me a minute to get to the door (like I said, I had been fast asleep) I figured they had gone back to their house, thinking we weren't home for some reason.  I quietly called out to them, calling them by name and saying, "Hey, we're home."  I walked halfway to their house, but they had already gone in, so I didn't catch them in time.

So the next logical thing to do would be to call them.  I knew their home phone number, so I found a phone and dialed the number.  About the time it started ringing, it started to dawn on me a little more what was wrong in my house.  Not only was it darker than usual for that time of day, there was nobody around.  Hal sometimes goes running in the morning so I figured that was where he was, but neither of my girls were up either.  It didn't make sense for them both to have slept in.  (Unless they were both sick, but I knew I would have known about it if that were the case.)

I finally glanced at the clock.  5:45.  As in  5:45 a.m., much too early for them to be coming over.  The phone had started ringing by then, so I quickly hung it up, still trying to figure out what was going on. 

I went back into my bedroom, where Hal had been in bed, fast asleep, the whole time.  I wondered how I had climbed over him (because it seemed like I had rolled across the bed and gotten out of his side) without noticing he was still in bed, and also without waking him up.  He did wake up when I got back in bed and asked me what in the world I was doing.  I said, "I thought I heard  Bruce knock on the door." and tried to go back to sleep, sorely needing that last hour of sleep.  Sadly, it never came.

When Bruce and Madelyn did show up (right on schedule) I asked him if I had awakened them when I called his house at 5:45.  He said he had heard something, but he didn't know what it was.

So, the only thing I can think is that I had dreamed up that knock on the door.  I must have been so worried about him getting the money I owed him that I had a dream about it.  I had also gotten some wasp spray in my face the day before, when I helped Bruce's son spray for wasps in the metal pipes of their basketball hoop.  They had a couple of big nests with lots of active wasps.  I didn't want him to spray it and get it all over himself and when I sprayed it, a wind kicked up the wrong way and it went right in my face.  I think the pesticide attacks the wasps' nervous systems, because that is exactly how it felt.  And I was already a nervous wreck to begin with.  The wasp spray certainly hasn't improved my situation any, that's for sure.

Anyway, my kids thought that was a very funny story.  Not sure how I feel about it quite yet, but I guess I'll get over it eventually. 

I always do.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Day Our Printer Was Possessed

At one point we thought our printer was "possessed". 

One day Austin had a friend over to play.  They were on the computer and at one point Peter, his friend, fell against our printer.  It started making strange noises.

Now our printer has not worked well for quite a while, I think there is a short in something somewhere in it, so it has been known to turn on repeatedly by itself, and also make sounds like it is regenerating something on the  inside.  

So when Peter bumped into it, I thought that was probably the end of the printer, which frankly, isn't that old so I was a little annoyed (with the printer, not Peter).  I went over to check out what was going on.  That's when I noticed that the strange sounds were actual WORDS.  That's when it started to creep me out.  After a while I started deciphering what the printer was saying because it sounded vaguely familiar.  

It was saying "We love our bread, we love our butter, but most of all, we love each other!" in a low, slow and CREEPY voice - over and over.  At one point it started to get faster and higher, but it was definitely muffled as if someone was actually stuck in our printer.   I finally recognized the saying from the old Madeline shows my girls used to watch, but couldn't figure out why in the HECK my printer was saying it. 

I called the girls in from the other room to witness what was going on, so I wouldn't get hauled away and locked up if I told this story to anyone else who was half sane.

I FINALLY figured out that there was a toy in a bag on top of the printer.  Austin's friend had fallen onto the printer, jostling the bag and activating the toy.  It was a little Darth Vader head (borrowed from another friend)  that recorded sounds and then played them back either faster and higher, normally,  or lower and slower (and creepier).  Austin himself had recorded the phrase a while before and had forgotten about it.  (Because he was pretty creeped out too.)

I was glad when that particular mystery was solved, but I have to say, I was a little sad when we had to return the toy to his other friend.  It was kind of a fun one to play with.  (Not that I would know, wink wink.)