A game of chess?

A few months back I mentioned that Paul and I were being courted by a multi-million dollar company that was thinking about buying us out.

It was at that time that I approached a fork in the road. Do I stay or do I go?

I dreamed of going back to school to get my Master’s degree in writing.

I got my hopes up and was disappointed when the deal fell through.

But is it wise to turn a hobby into a career?

Maybe it wouldn’t be good for me to spend so much time alone stirring up my demons. I like to write about a variety of things, so I would hate to be trapped within the walls of a book. Maybe it wasn’t meant to be..

So, I guess you are stuck with me for awhile!

Paul sometimes dreams of turning his hobby into a business as well. He has tossed around the idea of getting his Captain’s license and starting another business on the side. The business would entail chartering sailing trips. Kind of like a bed and breakfast on water. He would cook. I would clean. On rainy days, we could entertain with story and song. I would photograph and write about their adventures. Paul could handle the finances and I would handle the schedule.

After starting a business from the ground up, starting a new business is not that intimidating.

But would the hobby be as much fun if it was work?

I enjoy what I am doing now. I have been working with my husband for almost 10 years now. Working with my spouse has been a wonderful experience 99.9% of the time. It allows us to connect with each other on a much deeper level. I don’t understand why I get so many comments from wives that they could never work with their husbands. It seems so natural to me now. The thought of going off and doing my own thing was actually more frightening.

After the whole deal fell through, this company put out an ad for someone to start a new division of their company. The ad was almost Paul’s resume word for word. The company said that they weren’t going to compete with us. With Paul’s business sense and my distrust in their word, we decided to build a fortress around ourselves.

We are working on achieving the highest level of certification that we can. We are also in the beginning process of buying out and employing someone that has a small business in our field.

Business is booming! We are looking to hire another person to lessen my work load.

Let the chess game begin!


Boot thief

I am going to take the kids to see my mother-in-law this weekend.

The last time I visited, she accused me of stealing her boots. She said that someone, possibly my daughters or I, took her boots and left a pair that looked just like hers behind.

I really didn’t know what to say. Why would I steal my dying mother-in-law’s boots?

I admit, my relationship with my mother-in-law Martha has been rocky at times.

I am structured and overly responsible. Martha is spontaneous and irresponsible. She is usually late and she only does what she feels like doing. If she doesn’t feel like doing something, she won’t do it. She might cancel out last minute after she made a commitment. She usually has good intentions.

She once cancelled out of going to her grandchildren’s birthday party because it was going to be too hot outside and we were having the party outdoors. Or it might rain or might snow. Or she spent all her money at the casino and didn’t have enough for gas. Or she had to work. Or she was sick. Or the hot water heater stopped working and she couldn’t shower. Or the car broke down. Or she needed to go shopping instead. All of these excuses have been used.

Some of my biggest pet peeves are when people don’t do what they say they are going to do or when they cancel out last minute without a good reason.

Most of the time, I didn’t argue. The handful of times that I did over the past 20 some years angered Martha enough not to talk to me for years. Martha is always right. It was never her fault. It’s not worth arguing. I just nod my head and smile if I disagree. It is not worth having my children not have their grandma in their lives over.

I am a peaceful person that avoids conflict, but is never at peace. I am the one that is upset. I am the one that is hurt.

I have learned over time to lower my expectations. I am not upset that she accused me of stealing her boots. Martha is a difficult person. Paul and I talk about the things that bother us so it doesn’t fester into something bigger.

Really, what does Martha care if I am upset??

She is the biggest owner of rose colored glasses that I know. She is happy. She talks of all the things she is going to do when she kicks this terminal cancer. She is happy while she is getting chemo. She thinks she is getting better. She has always lived in her dream world of lies. She is happy. She is happy. She is happy..

I am a realist and I am completely miserable.

Some have called me a pessimist and I would argue. But I would admit I am not an optimist. I want to have both feet on the ground. I want to know the facts. I want to know the truth. I see the world as it really is and sometimes that bothers me.

Is such honesty worth it? Try as I might, I can’t seem to change.


Proper middle school concert etiquette

This has been my 8th consecutive year of being a parent of at least one middle school child. Over the years I have learned a thing or two. This is my last year and I am ready to graduate!

If you are a new parent of a middle schooler, pity!! These years are the hardest with so many major changes for the first time. Hormones, growth spurts, dating, fitting in…just to name a few.

Hey, it’s a scary time for parents too.

I want to give helpful, yet humorous, advice on proper etiquette for the middle school concert goer.

Let’s face it, middle school concerts suck!

The kids are just not cute anymore like they were in preschool or grade school. Some of the students have been playing their instruments for 2 months before their first winter concert. They don’t come close to high school or college performances.

I have seen an appalling new trend over the past couple of years of parents yelling out their child’s name as they are approaching the stage. Parents, this is trashy and not at all classy. Or even worse, when the students shout back from the stage. This is not melodious at all.

I like to pretend I paid a lot of money to see this performance. If I consider how much I pay in taxes, I did.

I like to wear something nice. No jeans with holes. No work out clothes. No pajamas…I don’t think pajamas are proper attire for concert goers. I just don’t, even though they were seasonal and really cute.

Let’s talk for a moment about proper concert attire…

It would be wise to have your child set aside his or her concert attire a week or two before the show. If at all possible, hide it in a secret corridor that only you have access to. But never more than two weeks before. If you have things ready a month in advance that is admirable, but your child is sure to grow a foot or two. Did you see the boy whose pants were shorts?

Then there was my child. He said he was prepared, but always lost or outgrew his dress shoes the night of the concert and had to borrow his dad’s dress shoes that were ill fitting.

But my personal favorite is when the girls show up to the concert in a dress they wore from grade 2. Please don’t bend over if you drop something. Or better yet, the comments about the scantily clad girls from the teen boys behind you while you are trying to record your child’s performance.

Don’t get me wrong, I love it when the whole family gets into the concert. It is nice to see people tap their toes to the beat. But I don’t enjoy it when they tap their feet into the back of my seat.

It seems like our middle school has a high turnover of choir and band teachers. I love the experienced teachers because they are sure to have a medley at the end of the show where all of the grades perform together. This prevents a stampede to the exit after the concert goer’s child performs. If you are going to leave before the concert ends, at least take a few crying kids with you.

The last show that I went to, there was a man who was in such a hurry to leave after his kid performed that he tripped on an extension cord and almost fell. It was very entertaining. I almost clapped.

If only people had proper middle school concert etiquette like I do. To think, it only took me 8 years to figure it all out.


No fires

I worked late Thursday night until 8 PM. If I worked late, I would be able to keep to my running schedule which hasn’t been broken since the stomach flu of May of 2016. It is more important than writing.

Friday morning I ran 12 miles. It was the best run in ages. I didn’t feel any pain or exhaustion. I felt energetic and happy. Things were going good until I realized that I was missing a key ingredient in the dip I was making for the afternoon staff party. I had to make an unexpected trip to the store on the busiest grocery shopping day of the year.

The parking lot to the store was a zoo. Traffic was backed up for a mile away. Not many parking lots spaces were to be had and there weren’t many carts either. Angel was called into work at the store on that day and I was happy to see her busy working while I was there.

We closed the office early on Friday and scheduled an office wide website training and beer sampling party upon the suggestion of our sales guy James. James said that the party was going to be the highlight of his holiday weekend. He is a divorced man and his only son was spending the weekend with his in-laws. I felt bad for him.

We learned a lot about the technical side of our website and it was determined that I was going to help start a blog.

Then Christmas Eve came before I knew it. I realized I had been so busy at work that I forgot to drink out of my special holiday mug this year. I didn’t even wrap gifts until later in the day.

Angel and I sang a duet at church that evening. We were also part of the choir. It was a strange evening. Someone smelled smoke and thought they saw smoke coming out of the church building right before the choir processed in. We discussed briefly how flammable our choir robes are.

Angel and I decided to sing our duet without the security of having the music in front of us. We were nervous as we looked out at the hundreds of people in attendance. Angel was freaking out that she would forget the words. We made a couple of errors. I had to look at all of the people looking at me while I sang. It was nerve wracking. If I had the music, I could stare at that instead of at the eyes on me.

During the service, the other soloist forgot his words. The pastor started the sermon without reading the gospel. Then he lingered for a long time in his robe over the lit candles. We remembered our discussion on how flammable the robes are. The choir was ready to jump on him to put out the flames or interrupt the service to have the pastor move only to find out later that the candles were fake.

We awoke the following morning to a white Christmas. Later in the day, it started to sleet and then rain. I was worried about my son on the road. He made it home safe.

For awhile, Paul was hurt that I didn’t get him a Christmas gift. I felt bad that he felt bad. It was a big misunderstanding. I thought that he said that we should buy ourselves our own gifts. So I bought myself a wet suit on clearance. That probably sounds bad. I bought myself something, but got him nothing. He did buy some ice fishing stuff that I have no clue about.

Arabella, Paul, and I had a relaxing Christmas day together. I stayed in my pajamas all day.

I’m sorry this post wasn’t as exciting as I intended it to be. The church didn’t end up starting on fire. Everything ended up turning out great in the end.

I want to say thanks again for your presence, if you stuck with me this far. Having this blog is a wonderful gift. I am so happy that you are following along on this journey of mine..


Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

I hope you are all having a wonderful day with family.

This year for Christmas, I got old. I’m not talking about the plethora of socks and hand soap I got for gifts this year either. Although, I suppose it doesn’t help.

I feel old.

I am old.

Last night the kids showed Paul and I the internet and some thing called memes. Some of them were rather clever, but most to me seemed like a waste of time. I wouldn’t know how to make one or how to get something like that on my blog. I an old fashioned. I use words.

I felt old as I watched my husband put on his reading glasses to squint at the moving objects on their phones.

Didn’t we know that people can get really rich making cat memes?

I can barely figure out how to upload my own pictures. Geez!

I look at my children and think how much like me they are, but I can’t relate. I don’t understand their world. Their generation is alien to me. I spent my childhood reading books and riding my bike. I like their world, but I don’t belong there.

Then I realized that I am the old fashioned one now. I am the one out of touch.

This morning our family read the Christmas story out of the Bible. We had an adult discussion on view points and beliefs. Then we opened our gifts like we have every year. We ate lunch together. Then my oldest two children left to be with the families of their significant others. They spent the day with people I don’t know. They weren’t at home like they were year after year watching movies and playing games.

They have grown up. It is the way that it is meant to be. I feel old and left behind.

I think I know what I want to be when I grow up. Younger!! I saw that on a meme somewhere…

Maybe I will have to ask for the fountain of youth next year for Christmas!


Another late night visitor

I received another late night knock on the door this week. Surprisingly, it wasn’t for my son. It was the neighbor girl Abby who was crying bearing gifts of cookies and a handwritten apology note for my youngest daughter Arabella.

I found out there was a problem when I picked up the girls after school. Arabella wasn’t talking to Abby and Abby had no idea why. Arabella mentioned something to me later about the girls having friendship issues due to their extreme differences in body shape. Abby is in 7th grade and is very tiny. Some of the kids were teasing her saying that she looked like a kindergartner. Arabella is in 8th grade and is on the hefty side. I can see a future of her always struggling with her weight.

It is open to debate, Abby may or may not have said something about rather being small than fat. Arabella may have found this offensive.

Abby’s mom sent me a message wanting to know why Arabella was upset with Abby. I responded that they were having a discussion about body image. Abby’s mom replied that Abby admitted to saying some not very nice things to Arabella. In response Abby’s mom said, “I can’t believe this. I’m incredibly sorry. I’m just mind blown and upset. Abby has always been so sweet and considerate and I have no idea where this came from. I sincerely apologize.”

Then Abby showed up at the door crying offering her apologies.


Abby’s mom was very stressed out by the whole situation. To be honest, it didn’t really phase me.

Abby is the oldest child. They are going through this whole middle school yucky time for the first time. Arabella is my youngest child. We have been down this road several times before. We have received worse knocks on the door.

Abby is a good kid. I didn’t want them to get worked up too much over this. I told them that sometimes people say things they don’t mean or that they regret later. No hard feelings..

I remember my middle school days. It is a terrible time for kids. It seems like everyone has to fit into the same cookie cutter mold.

When I was in middle school, I was the smallest in my class. One day I wore my green stretch pants to school and everyone called me frog legs. I bemoaned the fact that at 13 I was still asked if I was under 10. The adults all said that someday looking young would pay off for me (it did).

Some of my friends had braces and glasses. For awhile, I wanted that too. I remember walking around the house with a gum wrapper held on my teeth by an opened up paper clip. I also wore my babysitter’s glasses and looked at myself in the mirror which she said would cause me to need glasses. Apparently, she was wrong. (Why do I remember such crazy stupid things??)

I think the middle school years are the hardest. Especially if you are really short, really heavy, have a big nose, can’t afford to wear the right clothes, or are different in any way.

Woe to the popular kids too. They have to jump through a lot of hoops to stay popular.

I am soooo happy that this will be my last year as a mother of middle schooler.


Snow way!

Last week I left you with a bit of a cliffhanger…I told you that we were driving across the state in a snow storm and I haven’t been heard from since…until now, that is.

The snow storm started on Friday. It was the first big snow storm of the season. As expected, a lot of Wisconsinites forgot how to drive.

Paul went ice fishing for the first time.

Last time I talked about the weather, I was saying how warm it was in November. Then December came and it seems like the temperature dropped from 60 to 20 below just like that. A few schools in the area already had closures for the wind chills. So it has been cold. Cold enough to form a solid layer of ice on the lakes.

While Paul was out fishing, he had a bit of an accident. His ice auger rolled around in the back of the truck spilling gas all over the place. How was I going to put sleeping bags in the back of the truck for our weekend trip when opening the back of the truck made my eyes burn? We had to do some major cleaning..

Saturday morning we left in the snow storm…after Paul shoveled 6 inches of snow that fell overnight. We made the 3 hour drive across the state in 4 hours. The roads were snow covered and slippery. For most of the trip, the highway was down to one lane. We passed cars in the ditch with people inside of them. While events at home were cancelled, we made the trip across the state along with other friends to visit family for the holiday only to turn around and drive all the way back home the next day.

Then after our 3 hour (4 hour) drive to my brother Luke’s, we were faced with another 3 hour (4 hour) drive to pick up Angel from college. Thankfully my dad offered to pick up Angel from college. I have to give my dad a lot of credit here. He hasn’t always been the world’s greatest dad, but he really helped us out big time. I really appreciated his help.

The time spent at my brother’s went by really fast. We had a great time, then we were back on the road again..The ride back home was a lot easier. The roads were in better condition. The sun came out and pierced our eyes as it gleamed off of the fresh snow. The wind chills were around 20 below.

We came home to a couple more inches to shovel. It was starting to get dark. Since Paul did all of the driving, I offered to shovel. Growing old sucks, but there is something good about being a woman in my 40’s. I don’t feel cold often anymore. All my life I was the girl curled up in blankets on the hottest days of summer. Not anymore! The cold doesn’t phase me anymore. Sometimes I even feel hot when it is cold outside.

What can I say? I am 42 and hot! Ha ha.. Sometimes half of my body is cold while the other half is hot. As strange as it sounds, I sometimes am hot and cold at the same time. Hot flashes, cold sweats…So, shoveling while it was 20 below wasn’t that bad..

Anyway, not what I was planning on talking about..

It has been great with Angel home. She appreciates us so much more since she left for college. The first day home, she bought me flowers. She helped take the burden off at work and has offered to do some of the housework. She said that she feels good when she gets things accomplished during the day. That’s my girl! We spend the evenings in deep conversation.

Now that she is an adult, she has become a really good friend.

I just wanted to let you know that we made it home safe.

I hate following a blog, hearing that the said blogger is taking a trip that may or may not include danger, and then not hearing from them ever again. Seriously, are you okay?? One never knows on this sphere where some of my best friends don’t have names..

I am such a warrior! Did I just say that? Whoops! I meant worrier…Hmm..Oh well.




That bites!

I feel overwhelmed by the busyness at work. I like being busy, but I don’t like feeling like I can’t keep up. Paul and I have been working hard together, alone. We have been arguing for days. It seems like the stress is bringing out the extremes in our personalities and right now we clash. I have been holding myself tight and my body aches from it more than it does from a 12 mile run.

There is no sanctuary.

At home, my pets still have fleas. They are licking and scratching themselves until they bleed. It disgusts me. I don’t want them around me. They sit in my chair and scratch. I can’t relax. I feel crawly when I sit down. I can’t stand to be in my house. It is unnerving.

The vet said there was nothing I could do, that I might still see a few fleas all winter even after treatment. I never would’ve guessed that something like this could happen. Was it the unseasonably warm fall temperatures??

I blame myself. My husband asked me why I blame myself for situations I have no control over. I really don’t know why.

If only I would have treated the pets a few weeks back when I suspected but didn’t find anything. I only put flea treatments on my pets if I have to. Maybe I was wrong.

I have been strongly indoctrinated as a child that the use of any chemicals was wrong. My autistic brother Matt was supposedly allergic. We weren’t allowed to wear bug spray. My brothers and dad had to take down wasps nests with the end of a rake and run or spray them with a hose. Chemicals were not allowed. Instead of weed killer, we put cement blocks on weeds to kill them.

I am not that extreme, but it is hard to change my mindset.

The one thing I am excited about is picking Angel up from college for winter break. We are heading out to pick her up this weekend and then having a family Christmas party at my brother Luke’s house.

We are also supposed to get a snow storm this weekend. We are expecting a foot of snow. After it is done snowing, we will have strong winds and dangerously cold temps. This is going to make the 6 hour drive downright treacherous for us.

Why can’t my life ever be boring!??!!!!!

Regardless, it is certain to give me something interesting to write about!

Shoveling snow with a fork

Do you ever wake up in the morning knowing that the day’s work is not going to get done no matter how hard you work?? It is a dreadful feeling. It kept me from sleeping soundly last night.

This is usually our slow time of year, but we got a large one time account that will keep us very busy until the end of the year. We all left the office early yesterday for a staff party and my employee that helps me with the work had to take today off. Some of the orders that came in yesterday still aren’t done.

Let’s put it this way…there is a blizzard and I only have a fork to shovel with.

As I was working this morning, I ended up getting timed out and lost almost an hour’s worth of work. I was so angry that more than a few obscenities spewed out.

It is almost like spending an hour writing a post, perfecting it (probably the best post ever), and poof it is gone!

Of all days for this to happen! How frustrating!!

I have so many stories to tell you too, but I really need to get back to work.

A simple gift

Most of the time it is the trials in life that shape and mold us into people with character and strength. It makes us better people.

But if I wholeheartedly believe what I just said…than why do I want the opposite for my children?

Paul and I are both (gulp) intellectuals. We try to provide an environment that stimulates learning and promotes education. We read the kids a lot of books when they were young. Paul and I both love to read. Paul spent half of our children’s childhood working on his Master’s degree. He spends hours researching topics of interest, such as, making a geometrical chart with the wind trajectory and sailing co-ordinates to try to improve his race to learning how to rewire his boat. They always see me writing.

We thought that our children would embrace learning, and most of them do. That is why we had such a hard time the last several years when our son kept bringing home failing grades. We knew that he was smart.

We weren’t expecting him to be just like his dad…

Paul grew up in a completely different environment. His mother, Martha, dropped out of high school before she got pregnant with him as a teenager. She tried over the years to get her GED, but never could pass the test. When she was in her 50’s, she went back to school to get her CNA certificate. Paul, the kids, and I watched her walk down the aisle in her cap and gown to receive her diploma. She was so ecstatic. It was the first degree that she earned in her life. Her excitement saddened me.

When Paul was in 4th grade, he moved from Chicago to a small rural town in Wisconsin. He moved up with his mom and grandma. Due to a brief marriage, Martha had a different last name than Paul. Paul shared the last name of his grandma. This was a very unusual situation back in the 70’s in that area. The kids picked on him because he had no dad. He had a mother with a different last name and still no dad. Everyone thought that Paul was stupid because his mother was intellectually slow. Paul thought that he was stupid too.

He didn’t have a parent that valued education. On parents day at school, he sat alone. His mom couldn’t take time off of work because she was a single parent and had bills to pay. She did what she had to do. He didn’t have someone in the house that could help him with homework. He didn’t have a dad to play catch with.

He failed a high school class and had to take remedial summer school. He ended up going to college because a friend was going and he thought it would be fun. He went to college, did too much partying, and still got bad grades. It caught up to him eventually.

Paul ended up getting kicked out of college for a semester. He went back to his small town and got a factory job alongside his mother. He noticed how poorly his mother was treated there. He couldn’t see himself living that way for the rest of his life. The next semester he went back to school and decided that he wanted to work hard to get good grades. He turned his life around. He even applied for law school, but got rejected.

Sometimes Paul feels like he could’ve been so much more..

He wanted a better life for our children. He gave them something that he never had, although it seems so simple, so basic..

Now it is up to them what they will do with this gift.