Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Update on the Bunnies

In a little under one week, the babies have grown so much! Remember this little one?

He or she looks like this now:

The kids named him/her Oreo, even though I objected to it being an unoriginal name! I didn't get a picture of the black one before, but he was smaller than the Oreo.

They named him Eightball. He's the runt of the litter.

He's doing pretty well too! The mama is feeding them twice a day, and we are keeping them outside her cage when they are not eating.
The kids love them, and want to keep them... but they will be going back next week. We have enjoyed them while they are here, though! :)

Saturday, March 27, 2010

The Post Where I Become an Ex-Kirby Customer

I have a Kirby sweeper / shampooer, and have had one for at least 13 years. When I had my first house, my aunt gave me her sweeper - she had gotten something lighter because of her stairs, so she didn't need it anymore. I loved it, and had it for 8 years with no major problems. Then one day the transmission went out, or something. It quit working. Around that same time a Kirby salesman came around selling their newest model - the DIAMOND edition. Wooo hooo. It had many more bells and whistles than mine, and it was so pretty and shiny.

They did all these demonstrations to show me how the new one worked and how much better it was with the improvements. You know, when they show you how dirty your house is? With those little white discs? It had many more attachments and abilities than our old one did and since the old one didn't work and they were willing to give me a trade in price, I got it. Lifetime warranty, never have to replace it again... blah, blah, blah. It is a very, very expensive vacuum cleaner, but I felt it was worth it because it would last a lifetime, right?

Yes, I do fall for sales gimmicks. Is there a self help group for me out there somewhere?

So, a few weeks ago, a sales woman came to my door to try to sell me another Kirby. I explained that I already had one and I wasn't interested. She gave me a door prize drawing ticket anyway and said that she would be willing to clean my carpet for me anyway. That she got "credit" for doing it, and it would really help her out. I declined, that was when I was sick and I wasn't up for it.

So, I got a call the other day from Kirby again - I don't recall giving them my number, but maybe I did for the drawing or something. They wanted to come and clean my carpet for me, wouldn't that be great? I don't know why I said yes - I know they are just doing their jobs, and in this economy I guess I just wanted to help someone out. Whatever. So, I agreed. I thought I agreed to Saturday at 2, but apparently I was wrong and they showed up yesterday (Friday) at 4 something because she was running behind.

I wasn't ready, at all. I had kids here, Jeff had just gotten home, and I was cleaning and doing laundry - in my pajamas still even.

They insisted it was OK that I was in my pj's and talked themselves right in the door. I told them before they started that I would not be buying one. I had one and I wasn't interested. That's OK she said. She gets "credit" for just doing it.

I figured, hey - I'll get a clean carpet out of it anyway. So, I let her. She needed to call in and let them know she was here, so could she please use my phone? Remember this for later in the story.

And she proceeded to do the exact same sales pitch as the guy did 5 years ago. Big mistake. She showed me how bad of a sweeper my current Kirby is - how that lifetime guarantee is a lie. How if I buy this new shiny Kirby for two thousand dollars, it wouldn't be working very well in just under 5 years.

She showed me the attachments - which I already have and already know how they work. She poured salt on my carpet and vacuumed it with my Kirby and then showed me how it didn't pick it all up. She had me vacuum my carpet with my Kirby and then she went over it with the new one to show me how my old Kirby just wasn't doing the job it was supposed to.

Is this really the best way for them to sell their machines? Even I, the one most likely to fall for a gimmick, the one who sits and watches infomercials amazed at what some product offers, or does for you, could see right through her.

Oh she was willing to give me all kinds of specials. Special discounts to "make that new shiny Kirby mine today." Three offers. Three rejections. I would get a trade in value of $300 for my old Kirby. I would get a special weekend discount because it was Friday and they were kicking off their weekend. I would get a special end of month discount because they were trying to meet their quota and help more people get Kirbys. I would get a "Kirby family" discount because I was a previous owner. I could make monthly payments for the next two years.

Don't I want a cleaner house?

Oh, and I would get a special discount for taking the demo model she used to clean my carpet! Because if I didn't buy it, then she would have to tell the people she demo'd it for the next time that it is used and give them a demo discount, so she could just go ahead and give it to me. Really? She didn't tell me that she had used that same vacuum to demonstrate to the person before me, so she was effectively telling me it was brand new. However, the box it was in had a LOT of wear and tear on it.

Still not interested? Well, there is a contest she is trying to win for a trip, so she will give me another discount on top of all the other great discounts!

Still not interested? OK she needed to call her boss to let him know she was done. So she pulled her cell phone and called her boss. (Where was the cell phone when she was calling when she got here?) Oh, and guess what?!?! Her boss authorized an additional discount to get me that new sweeper today.

Sorry, answer is still no.

After she was done, she and her "trainee" cleaned it until it was sparkling like new. They asked to use my Windex and sink to do it.

Then she wanted me to give out names and phone numbers of my friends and family so they could offer them a free carpet shampoo. I declined. She asked several times. I told her I didn't want to make anyone mad at me. She was incredulous. Her eyes got big, "they would get mad at you for giving them a free carpet shampoo?" No, they would get mad at me for the greater than 2 hour sales pitch.

So, I have a little advice for Kirby sales people. If you really want to sell your vacuum and get recommendations from a current customer - here are some dos and don'ts:

1. If someone had a Kirby, don't try to show them how bad their old sweeper is - do what you say you are going to do, come in and shampoo their carpet as a "customer service" and then ask for names and numbers of people the customer thinks could use a great sweeper like the Kirby.

2. Don't do the same demonstrations when the person already knows everything their current one can do - someone who has already sat through the exact sales pitch you are doing. I don't want to see the attachments and what they can do, I ALREADY HAVE THE ATTACHMENTS YOU ARE SHOWING ME.

3. Don't try to pass off an obviously used cleaner as a brand new one. I still have the box my Kirby came in and it is in better shape than the one you have that "new" one in. Once a person tells me a lie, why would I think anything else they said was true?

4. Don't tell them how the new Kirby will last a lifetime so it is worth the price when you are telling them their old lifetime Kirby is no longer any good. After 5 years!

Why would I buy a new Kirby for that outrageous price when I will only have to replace it in 5 years?

So, I don't have a new Kirby. And I no longer think they are the greatest sweeper ever.

I do, however, have clean carpet in my living room, and she also cleaned my ceiling fan to show off the attachments.

Had she walked in, cleaned my carpet without the sales pitch, and then asked me for names and numbers of people I think would love a Kirby? You would all be getting phone calls in the next couple of weeks. Well, those of you that I know and have your phone numbers...


Since Alli is part of the Vet Science program at school, over breaks she brings home animals to take care of while they don't have school. For spring break, she got two different types of animals, but a total of 8 plus. The plus part is because the sugar gliders have babies, but I can't count them because they keep them hidden. They are marsupials and they carry their babies in their pouches.

They are also nocturnal, so they are active at night... and stay in a pouch during the day.

There are 5 Sugar Gliders in the cage, and during the night they run all over the cage, playing.

They are cute little animals.

The bunnies are a whole 'nother story. This is Binky. Until she had the babies in her cage on Monday when the class went to the lab, they had no idea she was pregnant.

In fact, I think Alli said they thought she was a he.

Well, Binky doesn't really know what to do with her babies I don't think. She was very mean to them. They were piled on top of each other and she would take her front paws and push them away - into the side of the cage. And she would walk (OK, hop) right over top of them.

I tried talking to her - telling her to be nice to her babies - but she didn't listen. When Alli came home from school on Thursday, one of the babies had died. I used google and went to a site to try to find out what we could do. We were afraid they weren't being fed, so we went to the pet store, bought little bottles and asked what we could feed them. Puppy milk is what we were told. It comes in 12 oz cans, same size as a soda, and costs almost $8 a can. So, we got it and took them home to feed them.

Their eyes are not yet open. They didn't care for the puppy mlk much - they drank less than a tablespoon. We kept them in a little basket in a towel to keep them warm.

On Friday, I tried to feed them again, and they wouldn't take it. I was growing increasingly concerned with their lives, so I put them back in with their mama and asked her to let them try to feed. Begged really. And she did! They got their little bellies full, and then they tried to cuddle for warmth. She's not much of a cuddler, and she again took her paws and shoved them into the side of the cage. So, I took them out again, and put them back in the basket. We are putting them in the cage to eat each day, she seems to allow that, but out of concern for them, we only leave them in there an hour or so at a time. They are still doing well, so we hope they survive Spring Break with us!

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Sunday Strollin'

Hey, look... I said I'd load the picture and I am actually loading the pictures! Ha! There was an old rail road station that was converted for something else (it was closed) and one of the old cars sitting out front.

Conor and Ceara climbed up for a picture, but Kaitlyn didn't want to. Right after I took the first picture, Ceara saw a spider and decided she had enough.

She climbed down the best she could in her flip flops while Conor went to steer the old car and hold it steady for his sister.

Oh, wait... did you say spider? Get me down from here too!

Let me also say that I did not pick Conor's clothes out. Since they semi matched (some people like them... Bronco's colors - but not my favorite match) and we were just having a lazy Sunday, I left it alone.

It may appear that Conor is trying to walk like his dad with his hands in his pockets, but really he's shoving rocks in there. Lots and lots of rocks.

Because when you are walking across a bridge, you need rocks to throw into the water below.

Since if you are paying attention, you will see that Jeff, Conor, and Kaitlyn all have tennis shoes on, so... that would mean that I was the other person with inappropriate shoes for hiking. Totally not my fault. I spent 10 or more minutes looking for my shoes before we left. Jeff and Conor were in the truck already waiting on me, so I gave up and just put on some slip ons. Someone stole my shoes!

Conor was trying to hurry and throw all his rocks because the others were taking off. I took a picture of vines growing inside the bridge supports because... well because it looked interesting and I am trying to get some "different" pictures.

There were a lot of abandoned buildings along the walk. Interesting buildings that we all speculated about - how cool it would be to open a coffee shop in one of them while living above it? Or some sort of business.

Conor continued to fill his pockets with rocks. You just never know when a pocket full of rocks will come in handy.

This one was my favorite:

The brick was having some issues, and it would need a lot of work, but it has character. A bay window above, on the other side (which I failed to get a picture of) there is an enclosed balcony. It is actually two stores the way it is now, but I would knock down the wall inside and make a cozy place to hang out. Coffee shop because that's what I have wanted to do for a long time, and we would also have smoothie type drinks for the bikers in the summer (the bike trail runs right in front of the store). Ahhhh day dreams. :)

At the park, we relaxed for a bit before getting back on the road home. Jeff had to drive back to where his hotel room was and get to bed for work the next day.

Ceara said, "Did you just take a picture of me with my shoe off?" Like I intentionally did it because she had her shoe off... I hadn't even noticed! lol Kaitlyn made fun of her comment too.

Then the sliding began!

Conor went several times, but Kaitlyn only went down once.

Look... there's Ceara's foot again. Just one, though.

In this picture, Conor was asking if he could go pet a dog that was on the other side of the tree - Jeff was looking around and checking it out. He did go and pet the dog, and came back with a tree branch that had fallen to add to his collection.

We had a great time!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Happy Birthday Jeffrey!

Today is Jeff's Birthday, but he is on the road and won't be home until this weekend to celebrate. His job has been particularly tiring lately, and he hasn't had much time to catch up on his rest, but hopefully this weekend will allow for that.

He had Sunday off this past weekend, and he missed us so much he drove the 4 or 5 hours home to spend some of the day with us. It was a surprise to us, he did not warn us in advance, just arrived in the middle of the night (Sunday AM, around 3 I think). Instead of relaxing, we took the kids on a Sunday drive / walk. We picked Ceara and Kaitlyn up and we drove around on country roads until we came to a small town where we parked and walked the bike trail for a bit. We couldn't go hiking because a couple of people on the trip did not have appropriate footwear.

The ice cream shop was closed for the day, so we had to settle for getting sodas at a drive thru / gas station. Then we found a park for Conor to play while we relaxed under a tree. He also found all kinds of things to collect to bring home. Pine cones, tree branches... little boy things that he threw in the back of the truck and promptly forgot about them. They are still there, I think. I did actually take my camera, but haven't loaded the pictures yet. I'll do that later, maybe.

We didn't really do much, but it was a fun day. We teased Jeff a lot, thankfully he was a good sport and laughed along with us. He did make some comment about having driven all that way to see us and all he got was abused, or some kind of nonsense like that. Well of course! I can't believe he expected anything less.

It's a good thing he's used to driving, because he did a lot of it that day!

Happy Birthday Jeff!!! Hope you don't work too hard today, and treat yourself to something good for dinner! Love you!

Sunday, March 21, 2010


"Mom, if you get the 3G network, you can let me shop by myself."

- Conor, after watching a Verizon commercial about an app that allows you to track your kid or something.

Never mind that we don't have Verizon. I didn't even bother to try and explain... I was still on my first cup of coffee after all, so I just said something intelligent, like, "Ohhhh."

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Diary of a Wimpy Kid

I bought one of the books on Monday to read to Conor. I got this one. We started reading it Monday night and Conor loves it. It has little comics in it to illustrate what he is writing in his diary. Errr journal... because diaries are for girls! (As explained in the beginning of the book.)

I am enjoying it as well, after two nights of reading it, we are almost done! It is very easy to read, and it is pretty funny. I find myself laughing out loud as I read it, and Conor follows along as I'm reading it and he reads the comic strip parts. On Monday, he didn't want me to stop reading when it was time for him to go to sleep. On Tuesday, he went to my mom's after school and as soon as he got home he asked if we could read more!

I'm going to have to go get another one either tonight or tomorrow because we are definitely going to finish it tonight, we only have about 50 pages left (out of 217).

Can't wait to see the movie this weekend!

Hope everyone is having a good St. Patrick's Day - and I hope you wore green so you wouldn't get pinched!

Tuesday, March 16, 2010


A bit of a serious post - most of the people reading this blog know what is going on with us right now and I guess I just feel like writing about it. I feel like all I'm doing is waiting for other people to make a decision about my life.

Waiting for word from our mortgage people to see if they are going to let us refinance for a lower payment, or if we are going to have to move. Waiting for my employer to make a decision about whether or not they are going to keep the branch I work for open. Waiting to see if they are going to give me more work to do, or lay me off like they have others. They are moving so many jobs to Manila - our people training the people over there on how to do their jobs. While telling those people that they are not going to be losing their jobs. They are not going to move jobs over there without eliminating ones over here, that wouldn't make any sense. The big question is who is going to be eliminated? All the jobs being moved right now are the corporate jobs. Those people are being told that they will have different roles once the training is complete. Some of the things they are going to be doing are things that are currently MY job. Not all of my job, but a lot of it. So. Are they lying to them? Or are they going to get rid of individual branch admin people?

So many questions. So much waiting to see what happens. Should I use my vacation time now before I lose it? And then be stuck with none if I'm not one of the ones gone?

I'm really trying to have a "que sera, sera" attitude about it, but it is weighing on my mind anyway. There are things I need to do, but I can't motivate myself to do them. Organization... never been my strong point at home. At work? I'm very detailed and I know where everything is, but at home? Another story. I need to simplify an organize and I don't know where to begin.

I read a post over at The Women's Colony - and the comments / advice left - so I've started to try to do things a little at a time. I have a box I'm filling with clothes I don't wear. I have been trying to do things for 30 minutes each night to try to get organized. I only started this week, so I haven't accomplished much, but it does make me feel a little better. It just seems like it's going to take forever.

My goal for now is to fill a few more boxes and take them, as well as the stuff already boxed in the garage, to the Free Store in town this Saturday. I like donating to them because they don't sell it - they give it to people who need it. Once I get some stuff out of here, maybe the rest will come more easily.

I can only hope.

Monday, March 15, 2010


I supposed I should tell you guys that I have pictures on Flickr. Although I haven't loaded all my pictures on there, I do have quite a few! If you want to browse... there they are!

I haven't really figured it all out yet, I'm sure someday I will... but for now, just be glad I have them in sets!

Love you!

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Five Years

It's hard to believe I've been writing this blog for 5 years, albeit sporadically at times. What can I say? Sometimes I don't have anything worth writing about. Like now.

Conor and I went to Jungle Jim's yesterday, and he complained about having to go with me, but when we arrived? He declared it to be the most awesome store ever. I'm sure it had very little to do with the huge isle of candy. The stuff from the olden days as well as the new stuff, candy from different countries, all kinds of different stuff.

I loved it for the many flavors of coffee syrup to choose from. I ended up only getting a few, because some flavors I knew I wouldn't like in my coffee. I got caramel, white chocolate, toasted marshmallow, and peanut butter. Mmmm, can't wait to try them all.

Ceara and I rented and watched Precious last night. So, of course I cried. I had thought the whole time I was watching it that it was based on a true story. I was a little bit relieved to find out it wasn't. Wow, I don't know how to express what I'm thinking - I don't want to give the movie away to those of you who are wanting to see it. It's just that when things are finally starting to look up for her, in a very small way, something else bad happens and it was just so unfair. Yes, I know life is not fair... oh, let's just say I cried and leave it at that, OK?

OK, anyway... Conor and I are anxiously awaiting the movie Diary of a Wimpy Kid and already have plans to see it next weekend when it comes out. I would also like to get some of the books to read to him. I told him to get the books at his book fair, but he said "I looked at them and they were all words, so I didn't get it." So, looks like I'm going to have to get them at a book store.

OK, have to go read now, so I'll just end it here. Hope everyone enjoyed their 1 hour shorter weekend!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Dinner last night

Jeff had/has 3 days off this week - Tuesday through Thursday. So, he called me at work when he got up on Tuesday (around noon) and said, "I just want to be a bum today, I don't want to have to do anything."

I told him to go for it.

So, when I got home for lunch, I found him cleaning - doing the dishes, putting stuff away and trying to fix the vacuum. The belt had broken on it.

"I thought you weren't going to do anything?"

"Well, I called your mom and asked her if she wanted to come over for dinner. So, I'm cleaning up and getting ready."

He had watched a video on how to make steaks, so he wanted to try it out. He made ribeyes and steak fries.

Mom brought mixed vegetables and steamed vegetables.

As well as some dinner rolls, but I didn't take pictures of those. I asked if he had a dessert in mind and he didn't, so I made some apple fritters.

Ceara came over too, and the girls invited Alex over as well.

So, after dinner, we gathered in the living room and watched Wheel of Fortune and Jeopardy. Or tried to anyway.

Conor was playing with Teddy - running around the living room and throwing a stuffed animal around for Teddy to fetch.

As well as some Tug 'O War.

He also kept throwing his animal in front of my camera, and this shot happened to get it in there.
Hey, if this is Jeff's definition of being a bum, who am I to complain? Just hope he knows that MY definition is much less work. ;)

Saturday, March 06, 2010


Well. The day didn't start off great, but didn't end up too badly. To start, Conor gets on the bus at 7:48am, which gives me 12 minutes to drive the 10 min to work - in perfect conditions. I also run through the McDonalds drive through for a coffee. There are 2 McDonalds on my way to work, so if the first one has too many people in line, I go to the second one.

Every single thing that could slow me down happened. The drive through didn't look busy, but they took forever. Which I don't understand because I've had them make me pull up for them to bring my coffee out when it only takes them like... 30 seconds to get it to me. So the fact that they let that one car sit at the window for 5 minutes was really irritating.

And what is it, Murphy's law that says when you are in a hurry everything will slow you down? Well, I pass a truck stop on my way to work. And the guy in front of me decided to be nice and let two trucks out in front of him. The got on the highway in front of me. Traffic was too heavy for me to pass before the next exit, so I had to stay behind them. I hit every single red light on my way to work, and was behind so many slow moving people it wasn't funny. I also got behind two different school buses and had to wait for them to pick up kids.

So, there's this guy at work... let's call him Joe. Because, yeah... that's his name. I'd try to change it, but let's face it. There are thousands of Joes out there and unless I told you his last name, you still would have any clue who I'm talking about. Well, except for Mayo. He knows. Anyway, he used to work at our branch before he became a corporate guy, but he still works out of our branch a couple of days a week.

So, when I got behind the second bus, my first thought was, "This pretty much guarantees that Joe will be at the branch today." And he was. And I was 10 minutes late. He never, ever says anything to me. Or asks for an explanation. He doesn't care about the reason. He just says something to my boss, who then says something to me. Fun.

So, I got there, turned everything on, and proceeded to try to find something to do. I did what I could, then waited for responses. At around 10:30 the lights went out and my laptop dimmed. There were still lights on in the back and in 2 of the offices, but the rest was dark.

Joe's office was one with lights, so he didn't realize what was happening until I went back and told him. We checked the breaker box, which was fine, and then he got a flashlight to check the server room.

The server room was one that was blacked out, but we were still running on a backup battery, so we were still connected to the network.

So, two of the "suits" got an extension cord and ran it from one of the offices that had power back to the server room and started attempting to unplug things to get power to the battery or the server. I really don't know what their intentions were, but neither knew exactly what they were doing.

Whatever they did, it didn't work. The phones went out when they unplugged something, and the network went about 30 minutes later. We waited another 30 minutes and Joe said to lock it up and go home to work. So, I got to come home around noon. I brought my laptop and VPN'd into our server and was able to finish the day up from here. Which was nice. I'm very glad that my morning wasn't an indication of the rest of the day! :)

The weather is supposed to be decent this weekend, so I hope everyone has a great one!

Thursday, March 04, 2010


Sara got her senior pictures taken by The Picture People and asked me to scan them onto a computer for her so she could have them in digital form.

So, I asked if she minded if I share them here as well.

I've only known her for a couple of years now, but she is a good kid.

Not so much a kid anymore, since she is actually a legal adult now.

She's a beautiful person, inside and out. I'm glad she feels comfortable here with us.

I'm very glad Alli has her for a friend. I think she is for Alli what my best friend was (and still is) for me.

I hope their friendship stands the test of time and they always have each other.

Love you, Sara!

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Alli - Before and ... After?

Alli agreed to get her hair lightened again, said she was going to try to go back to blond. So, I agreed to pay for it. Again. Although I told her last time I wouldn't pay for it again, I hated the black hair enough to do it. So here is her before picture. You can see her blond roots. And Alex wasn't really picking his nose in this picture...

So she made the arrangements, my mom took her to drop her off while I was at work. Her friend was going to pick her up and take her to church after her hair was done, but then they weren't going to be done in time, so she texted me and said that she wasn't getting it highlighted and it was brown, so she was going to leave it like that and go to church. I figured she meant light brown and I was OK with that.

She also told me that it cost $75 instead of the $100 they had quoted her because she didn't get it all done.

She rang the doorbell when she got home because I had locked it and she didn't have her key. I went to open the door for her and...

Do you see a difference? Other than the lenght?!?! OK the roots are covered... and it may be a shade lighter. But not what I was expecting.
I told Alex I was taking a "before" picture of him, too. He said "Before what?" Maybe I should have said an after picture... After he picked his nose! heehee (he really was just rubbing his lip, I just like to tease him)

So, tell me. Do you see a difference in her hair color? Besides her roots being covered?