“Sarcasm. Just one of the many free services I offer."
- Unknown Smartass Lady at Ridgmar Mall

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Controlled Mountain Burn

So I fancy myself somewhat adventurous and athletic in various sports arenas but this past weekend, I was put to the test. My family, my mother-in-law and I spent a glorious 9 days in Durango, CO enjoying family time, visiting the G-parents and LOVING the cooler weather. We spent our days horseback riding, fishing, panning for gold, reading, watching a little tv (you know the Olympics was on...), swimming, wading in the Animas River and various other kid activities. These kid activities included a day trip to the Purgatory Mountain Resort. Typically, you would ski on this mountain in the Winter, but in the Summer they offer outdoor activities such as gold panning (man-made), mechanical bull riding, rock climbing (also man-made) and the arctic slide (a luge-like slide where you ride the ski lift up and take a cart down the mountain at your own peril). Oh yeah, and mountain biking.....the one activity I am still trying to block out of my mind.

My hubby and I decided early in the week after we had filled almost every day with activities, that we would venture out without the kiddos for an action-packed day of mountain biking. Not really knowing what I was in for, I agreed to a 2 hour bike rental (helmet NOT optional) and willingly climbed on. We headed uneventfully up the mountain on the lift A nice, quiet, peaceful ride. I must also mention that my hubby is wearing his "Go Pro" helmet cam that I gave him for Christmas. Great idea Vanessa, gold star. What a perfect way to get the evidence on film.  I can honestly say I was completely unprepared for the treachery of the mountain. The bike trail is a 18 inch wide rocky, root covered trail that merges both blue and black diamonds with not a single speck of green in sight (for those of you who ski, and for those who don't..."Houston, we have a problem" was what my mind was thinking).  I allowed my hubby to go first down the trail and I happily allowed 2 bikers to go in front of me so as I would not clog up the path (nice, right??!). I did not realize THEY WERE 12 YEARS OLD and they were moving so fast I would never see them again except on the film footage we brought home. So the drama begins approximately 15 feet down the trail on a 30 degree slope when my front bike tire rubs along a visible tree root the size of my forearm and I do a header off my bike and land on the rocks. Over and out, but scars are cool right? 3 minutes on the trail and I am teary-eyed, bruised, my back is covered in dirt and my partner is nowhere to be found, nor can he hear my cries for help. So much for no man left behind....

With his camera running for the whole trek, this movie picks up with him backtracking to locate me where I have have walked my bike some 30 feet down the trail and am licking my wounds. After some smartly thought out comments directed at him and the mountain, we proceeded downhill. Suffice it to say our first run was not as fun-filled as I had anticipated. Approximately 1/3 way into our death mountain ride, a group of about 10 kids ranging in age from 6-10 came leisurely riding by. My partner only laughed a little when I told him I silently wished they would all wipe out and if they didn't, I could very possibly take them out with one fell swoop.  I think he knew I wasn't kidding. I made it to the bottom with no injuries other than chunks removed on both shins from the spikes on the petals, a bruised hip and deflated pride. 

It's funny how fast your memory fades (and exactly why most of us have more than one child) as I agreed to take our second and last run to exhaust our last hour of bike rental. Only this time I was prepared for the beginning 15 feet of the trail and walked my bike down. Go ahead - call me a wimp. I was completely gun shy and with Chuck riding in front of me to give me the go ahead or the "walk it down" signal, I thought I had it reigned in fairly well. I seem to hear that saying in my brain..."If you want to hear God laugh, tell him your plan". I am guessing that by now God has the silent laugh and hiccups too, from me doing a play-by-play in my head of how I am going to handle each curve.  Walk here, use your brakes, might want to swing out..., these were the words of encouragement I was getting thrown at me. While I know he meant well, a better description of MY attitude was pissed off. Why can't I ride like that??? I owned a pink huffy in 4th grade!!! I could jump curbs and ride with no hands!!! I thought you never forgot this crap! B*llsh*t on that.

So the second death-defying ride is somewhat the same. Stop, walk, ride a little, brake a lot, stop walk, fix chain (twice for me and only me), ride a little... Until the last half when the rain starts. Nothing too bad, just a solid drizzle but the thunder is making me even more nervous than the thought of another triple salchow into the dirt. So I decide to ride a little more and walk a little less. He tells me to take it easy on the hairpin curve and watch for the root that is jutting up in the air like a 3 inch glacier since it could cause me to run off the side of the path. Well...direct to God's ears.. As soon as I saw the root, I migrated to it. Right on top of it, me and my wet tires and was catapulted off the trail into the brush. 

The only good thing about wet dirt, grass, peat moss is that it is soft on the all fours landing. Chuck said he had never seen someone eject themselves from a bike from a sitting position, but evidently I have created a new Olympic sport. I landed on all fours on the far side of the trail only inches from a downed tree limb. That was when the waterworks started. And cry I did. Like a baby. I saw my life flash before my eyes thinking that I was going to have a head injury that would leave me a vegetable (even though I was wearing a helmet) or better yet, lose an eye AND end up in a coma. When I finally stopped sobbing, he promised not to tell anyone. Luckily, he can probably keep his word as he has no video footage to show and I can always deny. Instead, I told him I have chosen to use this as a teaching experience.    ATTENTION: For the novice mountain biker, do not let your husband fool you into thinking that you need to ride the mountain of death to train for your upcoming triathlon. It is simply not true. I know for a fact that the riders in Keller, Texas who wear the paper thin suits that cause no drag in the water would not be caught dead on a mountain full of roots and rocks the size of your head. Those nicely shaved legs and arms would benefit from some hair as they are rolling down a hill of moss and bark as a little bit of additional cushion couldn't hurt, right?! 

So next time you see me on my lavender mountain bike with the Maw-Maw seat, don't you dare laugh. I may just pull a mountain stunt that will take you and your pointed little pencil helmet down for the count. 

Ride on!
Queen Bee

Monday, September 12, 2011

Dreamy Edger Drama...

Everyone has something they love/tolerate and also despise as far as household chores go. I hate the dishwasher. I have determined that it takes approximately 3 1/2 minutes to unload my dishwasher, however, I absolutely hate those 3 1/2 minutes. To make matters worse I do it AT LEAST once a day, usually more like 2 or 3. I have tried to make an effort to eat at home more (since I work from home part-time), which not only saves money, but also increases valuable conversations time at dinner, more quality time with my kids and hubby, ...blah, blah, blah.... BUT IT ALSO MAKES MORE DIRTY DISHES FOR ME. I know all about paper plates but I feel like a hippocrit throwing them in the trash and I can't really recycle them, even if they are paper, since my recycle bucket is in the garage and attracts bugs, dogs, etc... Yes, I do make my kids clean up occasionally but their idea of efficient dishwasher loading and mine are worlds apart. The old saying of "If you want it done right, don't ask your kids to do it" reigns King at my house. Or better yet, if I want the dishes to get clean the first time and not be pissy when I go to bed, just suck it up and get it done.

As far as "love" a chore, I use this term loosely. Some of you may remember my abhorrence for my old mower, which has recently been replaced by the same but newer model - much to my happiness. I have not yet fallen in love with my new mower but it certainly has moved lightyears above the dishwasher. I will say that today, I renewed my love for my edger. I call it "my edger" due to the purchase of a new blade (9") to replace the old one (6 1/2") that now makes it function like it should. I figure if you service it, use it and maintain it, it is yours to claim. For those of you who are not trained in the mechanics of edging, let me tell you this: if the blade is almost 3" short of normal, you are wasting your time. There is no grass being cut, just a lot of sweating for no good reason. I think I inherited this edger from my parents after college or marriage (both seem like eons ago) but I guarantee it is over 25 years old. My now favorite outside appliance has gained super-duper utility status again today as once I put the choke in the full and open position, she fired right up. I love it! No bulb to pump, nothing to prime, just a rope to pull that seemed to only need massaging 2 or 3 times. No pulled back, neck or shoulder muscles this time. Sweet!! We are rockin' and rollin' now, with only a few sparks from my minor skirmishes with the concrete. I can say though, that those touches with the concrete will rival any dentist drill as far as making your brain shake in your skull.

As for a workout - no so much really, just some slow walking.But I do have a lot of respect for my edger. How can you not when there is a 9 x 2 x 1/4 inch thick metal spinning blade that could at any time fly off and land in my head? I have seen enough creepy halloween movies with the guy and a saw blade sticking out of his eye to know that the outlook would not be good. I am guessing my Physical Therapist friend would tell me there is no PT available for that!

As for my latest accomplishment when it comes to chores, it happened tonight about 7:30. After edging my entire driveway and front sidewalk, I had to use a shovel and broom to remove the extra grass. My 10 year old daughter happened by and was decidedly moody and gripey about something trivial so I put her to work. I started up the blower (another favorite tool) and put her to work cleaning off the driveway. She didn't make it too long carrying it around with one arm, but it did shut her up for a while about having nothing to do. Be nice now and don't get me started on the blower. I am sure my husband will have some choice comments as far as the blower is concerned but that is for another type of forum!

Here's to your 9 inches!
Mower Mama

Friday, August 19, 2011

Say A Dramatic Goodbye to My Little Orange Friend!

This past Thursday was a happy day in my life. Although I would never wish illness or sickness on anyone (except for pedophiles and those who can eat whatever they want and stay a size 0, which I don't think is a real size but that is another story), I was on the good receiving end of someone else's misfortune. My neighbor who is not in the best of health decided to sell his riding lawnmower. It seems I must have bitched enough to alert my neighbors to my distaste of my current mower to the point that they were texting me on vacation in Colorado when they heard there was a mower for sale in my 'hood. Sweet Jesus - my prayers have been answered!

I tried not to make too much of an ordeal about it so as not to burst my bubble if it didn't pan out but boy was I excited. Strange how your life takes twists and turns. NEVER in my juvenile years would I have expected to be overjoyed by something as mundane as a new lawnmower. Kind of ranks up there with getting your teeth cleaned; miserable while it is getting done but so nice when finished! So after we get home and I begin the 11+ loads of laundry we accumulated on vacation, my hubby heads over to visit with some neighbors and decides to take a look at the mower. It seems it is the same mower as ours (albeit newer, cleaner, fewer hours, recharging system that works - whoa, say what???!). After an hour, my hubby returns to say he thinks the mower is a good deal, mainly because we can harvest parts between the two if the new one breaks down. Say what?! IF THE OLD ONE BREAKS DOWN? This - coming from the man who thinks it is my fault the mower blew a rod 2 summers ago while I was driving it AND after he replaced the engine with one he bought off of eBay, STILL does not recharge itself. So now we are buying a mower to use as a harvesting machine? Really?? Give me a flipping' break. Whatever.

The best part to this story is that for all the crap he gives me about mowing the yard, I think he secretly enjoys that I take ownership of the yard. Bushes, truckloads of mulch, weeding, mowing, weed eating, etc... So here we are, 4 days after we take ownership of the new mower and I was delayed in my original plan of mowing on a Wednesday morning before the temperature warmed up equal to the surface of the sun. This was caused by a loose wire that caused it not to start. Because of plans that evening, he volunteered to mow the front yard for me. Low and behold, the two neighbors (both being men who take uber-pride in their manscapes) were out front mowing. One actually drove over to the other one's yard and pretended to be taking a picture! I am not kidding! What a great day. I am not sure how to calculate it but I am guessing score at least one point for Mom. I got a new mower and some stranger mowed my yard for me.

To top it all off, he hauled it off to our land in West Texas, hopefully to meet its demise. Good riddens my friend, I hope you meet your maker and have to apologize for making my life miserable 3 hours a week for the past 2 years.

P.S. Hope to see you again soon Mower Man!

Queen Bee

Monday, February 28, 2011


Coming home from a shopping trip with only one child after church on Sunday put me in a VERY good mood. I had gotten up early, had a good hair day, received a nice message at Church and was off to accomplish a few things with my well-behaved, although somewhat dramatic 10 year old girl. We headed off to do a few things for her, a couple of things for me and grab a bite to eat while we were out. I guess I remember doing things like that with my Mom as I got older (not so much when I was little as times were different, like when we were dropped off at Skate World for hours on end on Sunday afternoon and told not to leave.) I also remember thinking my parents sense of humor was strange. Funny how things like that come back to you as you grow older.

As we were returning from our shopping trip, we passed a local high school and on the lighted marquis sign was a scrolling message, "March is Love The Bus Month". As I have stated in one of my earlier blogs, as much as I love the luxury of taking my children to and picking my kids up from school, I sincerely enjoy the bus. What a few minutes of glorious quiet time prior to all hell breaking loose at 3:30 PM. Even the dogs get quiet and nap for a short period starting at about 2:45. It is like they can sense the calm before the storm. Anyway, as we passed the sign, I told Cassidy, "Hey, March is Love The Bus Month". To which she not-so-kindly and under her breath, muttered, "Well, I don't love the bus". I then responded with a short learning message as to why I do love the bus and why riding the bus gives you personality and puts you in social environments where you have to learn to deal with situations that you don't encounter every day. Such as inappropriate language, sharing seats with someone you don't know, making new friends, etc... All the things that parenting allows you to come up with that sound "Parental". Now, if that wasn't enough to send her over the edge, I then pushed her into oblivion as I saw a big yellow school bus and shouted "Love Ya' Bus!" as we drove by it. Not quite so funny to her but hysterical for me! I kept it up all the way home (numerous times) and needless to say, she was dying to unload at the end of the driveway to which I promptly said, "Oh, and grab the mail please". A parent's work is never done. She is now traumatized and I think I can quietly hear her holding her breath every time we pass "The Big Cheese" as my brother so kindly called the school bus. She is hoping I didn't see it I am sure, but Mama doesn't miss much. She and her brother are lucky they don't ride in the wee hours of the morning too (6:45 AM), as at the rate they go, they would be riding in their PJ's...

Here's to another successful teaching bus ride today!
Love 'Ya Bus!
Queen Bee

Friday, January 14, 2011

Bus Drama - Curse Words in Full Force

I have sooooooo been a fan of picking up my kids at school in the afternoon, not only because I can but because I love to do it. However.....since I have been working two, yes-two at home jobs, and now trying to lose the gut that I worked so hard to attain the past 9 months (and no it is not a baby in there, Wyatt or Audrey), I recently resorted to putting my kids on the bus in the afternoon.

I did it right before my birthday trip to Italy from my hubby, as my parents were coming to stay for 11 days and carpool pickup can be a little overwhelming. I love, love, love the last 30 minutes of my day as the dogs and I watch out the door waiting for them to arrive, knowing how quiet and CLEAN it is inside my house. Only this past week have I begun to rethink the "Big Cheese" for obvious current events. Here is the weekly synopsis:

Monday: Cassidy races up the hill to the house to tell me that her brother called her an ugly name on the bus. This is where I know he was switched at birth. She whispers "Can I say the ugly word?" Whereas Wyatt would have yelled it for Oklahoma to hear. "Of course", I say, so sweetly (as if to lighten the effects of what I am about to hear). He called me a "Butt licker". Nice. I had to turn my head not to laugh. Visions of my 2nd grade best friend came to mind. Her word was "Butt hole". She made it sound so bad. Julie Norton - your face will forever be burned in my mind.

Wednesday: I hear from The Informer (a.k.a. Cassidy) that Wyatt won't sit in his seat and I am going to get a call from the new bus driver. Rookie - I am thinking. Can't take the heat, shouldn't have taken the job. Go serve Chicken Fried Steak in the Cafeteria.

Thursday: I hear that a bigger kid in the 'hood (that has some well-known parental/homelife issues) tears up Wyatt's snowflake artwork. Now I'm mad. So I wait in the 30 degree weather for 15 minutes to tell the Rookie that we are having some discipline issues with my son and I need him to be moved from the bad influence. Hoping like hell he doesn't say, "Uh,lady... excuse me, Wyatt IS the bad influence". We will see what happens. I was very diplomatic in the whole thing, hoping to be seen as the concerned mom - and no I did not have a drink before I flagged down the bus and I was showing no cleavage. Maybe that would have been a better plan.

Thursday afternoon: I hear from my neighbor that his son, who also rides the bus with mine, and is a best buddy of Wyatt, spelled the Mother of all curse words for his Dad, the "F" word. Great! Here is my thinking for the kid that told the Kindergartner how to spell it. Go ahead and tell him what it is, how to use a condom, how you get STD's, AIDS and Herpes and my birds and bees talk is all done. Who is this kid and how can I get in touch with him? I want to chicken out from this job and I nominate him for the dirty work. If he is gonna walk the walk, he can have the talk.

Wyatt has now been grounded for 2 days this past week, lost all electronic privileges for a day and lost all gum and candy for the weekend. Thank goodness for weekends to start over. He did have a good day at school last Friday and thanks to some Benadryl for his snotty nose, crashed at 8:05 last night.

So goes the drama. I can only wait until middle school. And to think I hadn't entirely ruled out a a third child...

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Lawn Mower Drama: Part 2

To My Dear Scotts Brand Lawnmower,
I spend approximately 2 hours a week riding around on you; my the burnt orange t-sip mower from hell, yet you will not defeat me. I have gotten accustomed to your vibrating, whistling, smoking, wheel spinning and all the other issues you throw at me. I no longer appreciate your feeble attempts at halting my productive day. You have crapped out for no reason, thrown a rod (which I was blamed for), snapped a belt (blamed for that too), and are dead every time I try to start you. I have learned to fill your gas tank, charge your battery, top off the oil, negotiate the choke, raise and lower your blades depending on your mood and STILL you insist on making my day hard. I will no longer put up with the disrespect.

In a weak moment, I had half a mind to sell you on Craig's list. I would do it in a heartbeat but I would reel in the guilt of passing you along to another poor soul to handle. I am also not sure what disclosure laws I would be breaking if I didn't tell and someone lost an eye - which I am fairly certain that saying came from a lawnmower back in your ancestry. I have thought of setting you on fire only that the fear of you then igniting my yard and my house becomes a very vivid visual. I have recently dreamed of parking you on the street, hoping someone would steal you and then claiming you on my homeowner's insurance. I would surely have to commit insurance fraud as you are so not worth my deductible, even in your original purchased form. Having rescued you from a home in Dallas to bring you to the country for an escape, I would have thought you would have been better behaved. Shame on me... For this, I am rewarded with a dead battery yet again today. The dreaded heat of Summer is not even here yet and you are already pulling pranks. Not only has the positive red cable not been permanently attached to your battery for some time, as you choose to short out when left hooked up, today you vibrate loose the wing nut my Mechanical-Engineer-Master's-Degree-having husband has rigged you with. Vibrating it loose once - OK, I get it, my mistake. But twice??? And lost in the grass no less on the second round. You shall not succeed. Bailing wire and a pair of pliers and off we go to finish what I started.

It may take me an hour in the hot Texas sun to hook up the trailer to my Yukon and get the lights and trailer tags located but just you wait. We are going on a field trip very, very soon. I cannot imagine the look on the face of the technician at Outdoor World in Azle when I show him what is under your hood. However deep the embarrassment runs, it will be rewarded threefold when I take home some shiny American greenbacks for my trouble. Although I may not want to spend a monthly amount on a no-interest loan for a new mower, you have succeeded in moving up the list, past the in-house ice machine and very close to jumping rank over the new mattress, as the most wanted item on my list.

Be scared my little orange friend; be very, very scared. I will win this war as I choose not to live in an apartment or own a yard I can push mow. I will own a mower that cooperates and allows me to drink and mow without interruption. Just you wait...
Queen Bee

Saturday, January 9, 2010

2010 Drama: How could I expect less?

2010 started off with a bang. Or should I say jingling; as the sound of change in the bottom of my checking account may be all that is left at the end of January. As usual, my hubby left for a New Year's Day hunting trip and all hell broke loose. I normally don't complain about the small stuff breaking down, everybody has it happen to them at some point. But 3 things - no, 4 things??! Really? Was I that bad last year Santa?

To start it all off, my kids were crazy bored after being out of school for 2 weeks and about to kill each other so I took them out for the day to run errands (mainly for my sanity so I could walk away from them and pretend they were not mine). When we arrived home, I found my washer full of wet clothes and standing water. Unrinsed, unspun, and standing completely still. I figured the previous week of a vomiting stomach virus and 12 loads of laundry had finally done it in. It did come back to life when I turned it spin but it would not rinse. Oh well, one more shopping trip and high dollar expenditure right? Deciding what color washer and dryer I would purchase would soon fade from my mind as I discovered we had NO RUNNING WATER. Nada, no drips, nothing. I texted my husband as frantically as I could since my calls go unheard when you are deep in the throws of hunting and camouflaged up to your eyeballs. Somehow texting is not as rewarding as yelling into the phone. You get my drift? He called right back this time though and walked me thorugh the standard questions: breaker tripped? water flooded in garage? well leaking? Diagnosis: looks like the pump is out on the well. He then smoothes the situation over with a sentence that ended in "... close to $5000". I almost passed out. He started talking about sponge baths and filling up water jugs in my car at the neighbors and I think the phone went dead or I had to sit down, I am not sure which. Looks to me like an emergency call to the water well service guy, Saturday afternoon or not. It is almost 32 degrees outside and I am NOT sloshing water home in my new-to-me-car to take a luke warm sponge bath WITH my kids. I will be at the Best Western if you need me.

Suffice it to say, 6 hours later, well was fixed and the damage was NOT $5000. I have never been so happy as to write an $1800 check in my life and my water was working! And I have a new company to add to the list of great service providers for your well. Round one - win for Mama.

The next day brought on more issues. Sunday AM: headed to church for needed dose of how great my life is and the engine light comes on in my new suburban. Great - the ink is not even dry on my extended warranty yet and I am already trying to use it. After close to 2 hours of phone calls this week, I spend my only day off from my would-be part time job (and to top it off school was canceled this day for the cold weather) driving myself and my kids 30 miles north of town for the dealership to tell me the gas cap was not on tight enough and my fumes were polluting the environment. Smartass. As my friend Sarah said, the Aggie jokes will never end.

In amongst all of the major issues happening and my fear that I am going to have to sell a kidney to pay for the next occurrence, my microwave craps out. Do you know how hard it is to live without a microwave when you have kids? Talk about no patience! And a dependence on microwave popcorn that I may need to start looking into. Now this is not the first time our micy has quit. Our high dollar one quite about 4 years after we moved in (plastic dripping from the ceiling as a stalactite was my first clue). We replaced it with the only one we could locate that fit the stainless trim kit and moved on. Evidently Walmart mics don't last forever either and while determining how to proceed this time with new vs. repair, I bought a cheapy at Target for $39 and would you believe this one shuts off after about 4 minutes and has to reset itself before you can restart it? After pricing new mics and the trim kit ($199!) that surrounds our built in version, we are attempting to have it repaired this week. Stay tuned....

Although our home central heat works, we as a family enjoy our gas logs in our living room and turn them on to cast a warm glow on the evening round of nit-picking between my two children. These logs have now taken on a life of their own and shut-off when they so desire. This makes me really nervous and I choose not to attempt to rectify this problem as I normally would and they are currently not in use. Chalk this one up to respect of Mother Nature and natural gas....

Oh no, we are not yet finished my friends. Back before Christmas the water dispenser in our refrigerator quit working as did the door ice dispenser - 6 years old, mind you. My fix-it-all hubby was able to replace a part and the ice now functions as it should. The water? Not so much. I did discover that he may be correct in his diagnosis that the water line is frozen after reading this on the internet. GE feels so strongly about this problem that they created a heating element for the water line of my fridge. Looks like we might be getting that for what - Valentine's Day? OOOHHH - too fun, hold me back.

It seems everyone is getting into the action - literally. Once back before Christmas, and I mean ONLY ONCE! My lovely canine came into heat and managed to weasel her way out the front door for a romp around the 'hood. After driving for 15 minutes screaming her name with no luch, we headed back to the house to find her in the drive of course, with a friend. I am guessing it was a HE as he high-tailed it as soon as he heard the engine and has yet to be seen since. Approximately 14 days later, my dog begins to look like she is nursing an invisible brood of puppies. Several phone calls to educated persons and finally a $50 trip to the vet only to be told "we just can't tell", we still don't know if Hazel is a Mama or not. I sincerely believe it to be a false pregnancy as she is not gaining weight and has not gotten any larger in the breast area but Good Lord, anything else??!! I guess if she is pregnant, maybe we can sell the puppies to buy a new microwave and invest some in a CD for what gives out next.

So far, all is well and we made it through the sub-zero weekend of cold weather unscathed. If I can only convince my children to wear a coat and hat, I might be able to skip the flu but I doubt it.

Happy New Year Everyone!
Queen Bee