Sunday, June 24, 2012

Metro Mania

Here it is...our annual tag along on Brandon's conference so we can have an almost free family vacation--single mom style since he is "working" all day.
I love going back to my roots and playing tourist in the city.

DAY 1: THE WATERPARK--our friends joined us for this one as well as everyone else in the valley because it was 100 degrees! And of course because everyone was there we found some cousins! Surprise!
 DAY 2: SHOPPING AND A MOVIE--with all the kids?? What was I thinking???!!  Our yard sale revenue from our old clothes went to buy new clothes.  Cannon and I rode the escalators UP and DOWN while the girls tried on their fill of clothes from all our favorite department stores.    My proof of motherhood (besides my kids and stretchmarks) is that all my clothes come from Costco.

DAY 3: Everyone in the valley followed us to THE ZOO only they got there before me and took all the parking spots.
 Our littlest gorilla was all tuckered out by the end of it.
 Happy cousins joined us for this event.
Kate practiced photography skills on at least 100 different species. Here's one of them.

 More fun cousins--in line for the bungee jump!
 I'm glad I could show the girls that I still got moves.

 EVERYDAY: SWIMMING AT THE HOTEL POOL--all you really need for a vacation. We bounced around from the cool pool to the hot tub and back again.
One evening we got a little stir-crazy in our downtown hotel room and decided to go outside and mingle with the homeless.  We made up some obstacle courses in the parking lot. It wasn't long before someone with slurred speech  staggered over but with a little different approach than expected. He showed us a wad of cash and pled with Brandon (who mind you had just his head soaked all week with addiction therapy techniques) if he would in his great mercy go in the liquor store and buy some booze because he himself wasn't allowed in there (for some reason?) .  When Brandon wouldn't do it he turned to me but since I couldn't pass for a day over 21...:) he returned dejectedly to the bushes from whence he came.  With that the fun was over and we went back to the safety of our hotel where dad taught us all about the effects of alcoholism which I'm pretty sure was more effective than their whole year of D.A.R.E in school.

 DAY 5: EXPLORING THE NEW MALL WITH A RIVER RUNNING THROUGH IT--Obviously the shopping memories from earlier in the week had faded. This one was easier though because it was shorter! At noon it was time to pick up Dad and head home.

 I sure enjoy these city trips. I love having access to all the stores and restaurants and fun things to do and returning at the end of a day to a clean hotel room and an episode of "So You Think You Can Dance"

But after a whole week of fun it was time for this city mouse to go back to her country house where the kids can run free.  The rest of the valley didn't follow us this time.

Monday, June 11, 2012

Yard Schmale

I'll admit it. I hate yard sales. I don't know why--the piles of junk, the driving of hard bargains. I guess I have never experienced the "high" that comes from finding that special something and paying almost nothing for it. So why on earth did we have one this weekend? I blame Dave Ramsey. His financial wizardry is casting a spell on me that makes me do crazy things--like emptying my house out onto my driveway.

It turned out not to be as dreadful as I thought it would be.  In fact it was rather rewarding. I wanted to hug those good souls who hauled off my junk by the armfuls.  The girls sold some feather earrings that they made. Adrie set up shop selling stuffed animals. I don't know if it was her cute face or the 25 cent pricetag but she sold more of her inventory than the rest of us. We made about $100 bucks off our junk and took whatever was left to goodwill. We also got some funny stories from the experience.

One guy who looked like he was ready for the apocalypse, or maybe he just rolled out from living under a bridge, asked if I had any ammunition for sale, specifically rifles or pistols.   Just TRY imagining me or my social worker husband dealing with weapons without laughing.  It was hard but I was able to tell him sorry while maintaining composure. Is that even legal?!!

Another guy, asked how much for the half-filled box of carpet tack we had out there.  I told him he could just take it. "That's not fair?!" he said with surprise so I told him  fine "$3."  He never ended up taking it or buying it.

A young boy came up to ask if he could borrow my phone. He appeared to be on the verge of tears. Apparently, his parents had taken off and left him there. He was soon reclaimed after the phonecall.

Do you have any trains?  Nope
How about gardening supplies?
Just kids stuff?! groan

My Spanish came in reeeeal handy.

But here's the killer.  We had this wooden coffee table that had sidetables that folded out. We bought it at a garage sale for $10 when we were first married and it served us well until we couldn't find a use for it in our new house.  It suffered at our hands a few dings and some water damage.    It sold rather quickly. The couple paid me but said they would have to come back shortly to pick it up and then they made sure it was tucked to the side with a sold sign on it.      In the time they were gone I had a few other people want to buy it. One lady, at seeing that it was already sold, was sick with regret.  She explained that she was an antique dealer and that item was a beautiful find.  " How much did you sell it for?" she cringed with the anticipation of bad news.
 It was worse than bad.
I thought she'd committ sepiku right then and there.   SHE would have sold it for $250 and would have gotten at least $195 at her posh boutique.  Sheesh Leweesh. I guess after trying to be a financial smarty pants I let Dave Ramsay down afterall.

Well, the funds we did make will go toward our city trip later this month.
Next on the dockett and for the nicer junk still lurking in the closets? eBAY!!!!

Friday, June 1, 2012

Highs and Lows

There is a scene in the movie "Notting Hill?" I believe, where the family is at the dinner table and they go around and each say the best and the worst thing of the day or the "high and low."  We've been consistently inconsistent doing that at our house but when we do it's always interesting...
Here are the highs and lows of our week

HIGH: We went to visit our awesome cousins and experience Dinosaurland. Upon seeing the giant Pteranodon sculpture from the parking lot, Cannon exclaimed, "I WANT TO LIVE HERE FOREVER!!!"  He almost got his wish when our car broke down....but we'll save that for the low...

Cannon's alter ego

This is what you do in heaven all day, according to the 4-yr. old
Add caption
 HIGH: Escaping a verrrry windy day and spending it indoors swimming at the rec. center.
They can't get enough of dinosaurs in these here parts

LOW: Our van died! It started making this awful clanking sound so we thought we better get it checked out. The mechanic told us we weren't to drive it a minute more. Diagnosis: Major engine problem   It gets lower--the Repair: $5500.  That's just enough to make you think about getting a new car. 
The nice part of this is that the mechanic (and neighbor of cousins) had a van he wasn't using and brought us the keys so we could borrow it to get home and use until we got a new one?!  How is that for generosity and kindness?!! 

 Other HIGHS:
We visited the house where my Dad was born and raised. Well, almost--he was actually born across the street in his cousin's house that no longer exists. But this is the home he was raised in.  The girls climbed all the trees on the property--with permission from my mom's "adopted" sister who lives there now.
 She showed us the bricks where my Dad carved his name and the year 1947

 The girls had their end-of-school hoopla and merry-making
 Kate's patriotic program: She bet me a dollar that I would get emotional and cry.  I must have had a stone cold heart that day because not even the slideshow of the wounded soldiers and weeping widows got to me but the soldier who just returned and surprised his daughter at the assembly almost did.   Kate also participated in the 5th grade Spelling Bee because she figured that would be more exciting than just watching it. She didn't study darn it so she was pleased to end up around 13th place.
 Brynn had State gymnastics competition.  She played "Arkansas Traveler" on her fiddle for the 3rd grade talent show.
I helped out with Adrie's 1st grade Field Day as well as tag-along Cannon. I got to be the "parachute mom" which was the most exciting event there in my opinion. We had tons-o-fun but after doing it 6 times in a row with each class I had no voice left...or energy.

I guess the only low would be that all these school events were packed in the same 3 days!
Welcome summer!  What is your high low?