Elf on the Shelf

Do you have the Elf on the Shelf? It’s an excellent tool to help keep your kids in line during the holidays. I’m tempted to keep my elf out all year round. I don’t have the Elf on the Shelf. I think it has a creepy looking face. I have an elf I bought at Hobby Lobby years ago and is much cuter. It’s arms are holding a present in front of it, so it makes a bit less flexible, but it works just as well. Our elf is named Jingles.

Jingles gets into lots and lots of mischief. She has been out since Thanksgiving and the ideas are getting harder to come up with. Yesterday Jingles decided to use my crock pot as a spa bath with marshmallows as bubbles. Seriously Jingles! Jingles causes all kinds of trouble around here. She has been known to make snow angels in flour, “fish” for goldfish in the bathtub, plays cards or Yahtzee with other elves, sips syrup out of the bottle with Barbie, drives Barbie’s cars, swings upside down from the chandelier. She even sat on top of a bottle of Southern Comfort one night. I made a mark on the bottle and made my daughter think she drank some! I think tonight Jingles is going to run a sack race with some stuffed animals. My daughter gets so annoyed by some of the antics, it’s hilarious. The more irritating, the better.

Whenever she is getting sassy, I just tell her Jingles is going to talk to Santa when she gets to the North Pole that night, so she better shape up. Of course, she can’t touch the elf, or she takes away its magical powers, but she always pretends she’s going to touch it.

Since all her friends are telling her there is no Santa, I have a feeling this may be the last year she believes, so I have to really spice it up this year. The first day Jingles came out, she was being really sassy and asked how she can possibly fly all the way to the North Pole and all the way back every single night. She was being very skeptical. The next morning, Jingles was in the same place holding a sign that said “Elf on Strike: you didn’t believe in me, so I’m not moving”. She apologized to Jingles, so Jingles started moving.

I have a little too much fun with Jingles and seeing the expressions every morning. I think the very best one is when Jingles poops out Hershey’s kisses. And when my husband eats them!!!

Surviving the Holidays

Are you surviving the holidays? I feel like I am barely holding on. I am so ready for 2018 to be done. I’m over it. This has been the worst year ever. I started out very optimistic. Turning 50, it was going to be my year. January started out good, but by the end of the month when our boiler went out and we had to replace it, it went downhill from there. 2018… you can suck it!

I’m trying to pretend things don’t bother me for my daughter’s sake, but it just doesn’t work. I don’t know if she can tell or not. I’m sure she can, she’s a smart girl. I try really hard not to cry in front of her, but she catches me once in awhile. Last night I just couldn’t bring myself to make any dinner because I was upset about my mom, so scrambled eggs it was. Of course, that’s her favorite, so she was happy. My husband, not so much. Then the Garth Brooks concert from Notre Dame came on. That cheered me up, except the memories came flooding back how I first came to hear his music when I moved back home with my mom in 1992 after a bad break up. I was working in a bar in the small town where she lived and most people were country music fans. I wasn’t, until I hear Garth. I played “Friends in Low Places” over and over. Likely until most of my patrons got sick of it. If you didn’t watch the special last night, the last song he played was “The Dance”. That song gets me every time, no matter what. Well, I had tears streaming down my face thinking of my mom.

If you are a normal person, you probably had lots and lots of arguments with your mom throughout your life. I did too. Many as a teenager, as we all do, but probably more as an adult. We didn’t see eye to eye for a few years. We were thick as thieves when I was a kid, but at times when I was an adult, she still treated me like a child. I think she just thought I didn’t know anything at times and it really bugged me. I grew up very poor. We never had enough of anything. Not enough money, enough clothes. We constantly moved because the rent was too high. We were on food stamps at times. I remember a day in junior high when a girl asked me why I always wear the same clothes. It was because I hardly had any and I had to alternate them. I’ll never forget that day as long as I live. So many times in my life I wished I had been born to someone else. They say that we choose our parents, but I never believed it. I was always mad that my dad left my mom and left us with nothing. How would I ever choose those parents? I will tell you that I would choose my mom a million times over. I may have grown up with nothing, but I grew up with more love than any parent could ever give a child. I miss her so much.

I know I’m 50 years old and maybe I should be able to cope better at my age. Maybe it’s just because her death was so unexpected. I never got to say goodbye. I hadn’t even seen her since January. She talked about coming to visit over the summer, but she didn’t. I guess the hardest thing is because I am an only child, so I don’t have any siblings to share the grief with. Her brothers don’t have any kids, so I don’t have any cousins. Our family is very small. I see these huge families on Facebook, and I am so jealous. I always wanted to be part of a be family. I don’t really have many friends. Since I quit working when my daughter was a baby, everyone pretty much forgot I exist. I feel very alone.

Once the holidays are over, I hope things improve. I’ve been getting back to the gym on a regular basis, so that has helped. In January, I need to focus on cleaning closets and getting ready to sell our house, so that will keep me very busy. Then once it sells, we will be moving into a temporary place while we build and we will be ultra busy picking out new house stuff. I need to keep my mind occupied 100% of the time these days and I am much better off.

RIP President Bush

I’m saddened when I watched the news coverage of President George H.W. Bush tonight. I know he was ill, and 94 years is a good long life, but it still makes me sad. I wonder about the many things he must have seen and done in all those years. He must have had some life. And he also had many challenges. None of us can possibly imagine what it must be like to be President. This past summer we went to Washington DC for vacation and we toured the White House Visitors Center and saw many historical Presidential items and quotes by former Presidents describing what a tough and lonely job it was. Imagine the criticism they must deal with. I surely wouldn’t want to do it. I believe if you’re not going to step up, keep your mouth shut.

I was really sad when I saw a Facebook post from a local radio station about his death today and a number of comments followed. Most were pleasant, but many were awful. One person simply said she wasn’t a fan. But one person said that he wasn’t with his wife Barbara, he was playing poker with Sadam Hussein. Seriously?! That absolutely disgusted me that someone would say that. I don’t care what your political views are, the man has passed away, have a shred of decency and respect. He was a President of the United States.

I know exactly where George Bush is, he has crossed the Pearly Gates and is in the arms of his beloved Barbara, his wife of an amazing 73 years. He is once again with his daughter, Robin, who died as a child. My prayers go out to his family. He has left a long legacy and will be remembered forever. May he rest in peace.

Concert Tickets

Today I tried to buy tickets to a Rolling Stones concert. I logged on to Ticketmaster and was entered into a “waiting room”. That was a first, I’ve never seen that before. Well, there were 2,000+ people in line ahead of me. Terrific. So, I waited, and waited, and waited in a virtual waiting line. I guess it was better than a real waiting line. It took an hour before I was at the head of the line.

It was finally my turn. Hooray! I hope all the good seats aren’t gone. I realize I don’t have my pre-sale code, so I run full-tilt into my den to find it. Run back and log on. Only to find out that the decent seats are priced at the low, low price of… wait for it… $395.50. Oh, hell no! All the way across the stadium, in the third row off the field were a couple seats for $275. But, by the time you pay the fees, two tickets would be well over $600. Plus hotel, that’s a $1,000 concert. Nope. No can doosville. The cheap seats were even $150.

Seriously, haven’t the Stones made enough money at this point that they don’t have to charge these gigantic prices for tickets? They’ve been touring since before I was born. I think they are pretty much set for life, and so are all their kids, and grandkids for that matter. They could take a lesson from Garth Brooks who did his entire tour two years ago where every seat was something like $65. I don’t remember the actual price, but I had a kick ass seat for not very much money.

Anyhow, I digress. In other news, I saw the weirdest thing in the locker room at the gym today that I can’t resist sharing. It was one of those things that you can’t help staring at, and you just can’t look away. I was getting dressed and ready to leave. This woman near me had taken off her tennis shoes and put on some boots to go outside. Then I watched her take an alcohol wipe and wipe off the bottom of her tennis shoes. OK, not terribly weird. She was putting them into a bag. Maybe she just didn’t want to get the bag dirty. I get it. But… then she took the same wipe and wiped off the boots she had just put on her feet! She was going OUTSIDE! Into the slush and snow! They are going to get dirty!!!!! I’m sorry, that’s a little bit strange. Oh well, who am I to judge. Her house is probably super clean. Much cleaner than mine.

Cell Phone Woes

I got my daughter a cell phone on Black Friday. Against my better judgement. As I mentioned, I only got it because we drive 20 minutes to school and last week I was very late picking her up. She is in a lot of activities, and I feel better about her having one so she can call me if they end early or when they are announced just that morning. Plus, she’s been bugging the crap out of me for a year! Ha ha!

Anyhow, I have had to threaten to take it back pretty much every much every day since she got it. Big surprise. It is helping control the sassy mouth though, because all I have to do if she gives me the mouth is say “hand over that phone”. I have so much more power now! [Insert evil laugh.]

Since yesterday when school resumed and her bestie found about the new phone, she seems to think that Hailey has nothing better to do than gab after school. She keeps calling and calling… and calling. She literally called Hailey tonight 5 times while she was in the shower tonight. Yes, FIVE times! Hailey had the phone in the bathroom with her, or I would have marched up there and answered the phone and said “stop calling”, but I don’t want to be that mom. Hailey even came out of the shower and said “she keeps calling me”. I told her to text her that she doesn’t have time to talk because she has homework to do. I also said that she is going to need to talk to her at school tomorrow and tell her that she can’t talk on school nights. I’m not listening to that phone ring every single night. She usually has at least 2 hours of homework every night and that is taking priority over phone calls.

And yes, before you even begin to comment… I was on the phone too, but not until high school and not until my homework was done. And I was stuck in the kitchen attached to a cord. No phone in my room. No cordless phone. And certainly no cell phone where I could run away and get an ounce of privacy. Times have changed, I’ll roll with it, but not every night. And homework and a shower comes first. Priorities. At least she is agreeable about it… for now.

Christmas Decorating

I have been decorating for the last 3 days. I am exhausted! Each morning, my daughter is in my bathroom bugging me before I even have the toothpaste on my toothbrush. “Can we decorate the tree today?” Ummm, it’s still in the basement. We put up two big trees (the living room and den), and two little mini trees for her to decorate with her little favorite ornaments and handmade ornaments from school and Girl Scouts from past years.

I decorate on top of my fireplace, which isn’t just a mantle, it’s super deep because it’s a corner fireplace. I decorate on top of the entertainment center, the piano, the kitchen table, the kitchen countertop, a little wooden storage shelf in the kitchen. Then I put lighted garland up the stairs and along the railing in the loft. I found the gigantic wooden ornaments a few years ago, and this year I hung them from the loft, dangling into the living room. They look so cool. I wish I had bought more of them. I have 3 wreaths in the house and one outside. My husband hung the gigantic wreaths outside on the second story windows.

I have tons more decorations that I could put up in other areas, in addition to a huge Christmas village, but I don’t think my body has any more energy. I used to put up the village every year either under the tree or on top of the fireplace. Now we have 2 little kittens, I think they would be like King Kong and try to either crush it or eat it.

It’s finally finished now, but it looks like Hobby Lobby threw up in here. I looks really nice, but I have mixed feelings since we plan to move in the spring. I hate to leave because I really love it here. I will be really miss the loft. I love hanging decorations from it. Every year for my daughters birthday, I have gotten great use out of it for decorations and Christmas is especially great for decorating this house. It doesn’t mean the next one won’t be great too, but it will be a ranch and I’m having a hard time picturing it. When we built this house, we built it planning to stay forever. I guess life sometimes has other plans.

Black Friday

Good old Black Friday, when all the nuts are out. We didn’t go out until 10:00, so we avoided most of the crazies, but the lines were still long. First we hit Kohl’s. I only went for a Ninja Blender, but picked up a couple other things along the way. The lines were all the way to the back of the store. Luckily, the line only took 20 minutes. On the way out the door, some lady bashed me in the knee with her cart. Right in the knee where I had a meniscus tear a few years ago. Damn people are in such a hurry to get the good deals, they don’t give a shit about anyone else. She didn’t even stop to see if I was alright.

Next we went to Target and got a few things for a giving tree at church, a few of those $4 movies, and a new griddle I was after for myself. (I broke mine several months ago when it fell off the counter when I was doing dishes – oops.) We walked straight up to the line, no waiting.

Then we went to Verizon – you guessed it – I gave in and got my daughter a phone. I only gave in because we live quite a distance from school and she is in a lot of activities. Otherwise I would have made her wait. One and a half hours wait time at Verizon. We went to McDonalds while we waited. I think they ripped me off though. Since I was adding her onto my plan, I had to change to a different plan. I have a 5GB plan, which doesn’t exist for family plans. They have 4GB or 8GB. I clearly don’t need 8GB. Well, they can’t change to a lower plan in the middle of the month (as if you’re going to go change plans on the EXACT first day of the month of your plan). They said if we wanted the new phone to be active today, I had to upgrade to the 8GB plan for the next 12 days and then go down to the 4GB plan. Give me a break! Well, what was I going to do? Leave it inactive for almost 2 weeks with my daughter standing there? She knew she was getting it today. I have to call them tomorrow and make sure I didn’t get ripped off. They were so busy, I’m not sure they knew what they were even doing.

Last we went to Hobby Lobby and bought a bunch of stuff we didn’t even need. Scrapbooks and stickers were on sale for 50% off. Gotta have some of those. I’m trying to catch up, and I always say I love being 50 and still playing with stickers!

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving. I loved having a quiet day with my husband and daughter. I got some of my Christmas decorations up and the cats haven’t climbed the tree, so I may be able to put ornaments on after all.