Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Don't Like The Heat?

...get out of the kitchen.
And I did!

The Man is at Boy Scout Camp this week (about 30 miles away). While there is staff on site, each Troop also needs parents to stay in the camp at night and be available during the day. And they need it 3 deep.
Since the shop will be closing and Tuesday's are a light day, I volunteered to be one of the parents out there today, closed for the day. Will volunteered for nights Thursday and Friday.

I was somewhat dreading it - heat, mosquitos, gnats, dust and tween boys.

I. Was. Wrong.

It was the best thing I could have done! All my frustrations and burdens of work and home seemed to evaporate away for the day.

To begin the day with a sunrise like this:






Who could not have a good day. I arrived at 6:45 this morning to a quiet camp that was quickly replaced with groggy boys heading off to breakfast and then on to their activities.





At breakfast, I sat at the same table as The Man, but at the other end. I did not want to hover and crowd. Not a minute after I sat down, The Man saw me, picked up his tray and came down and sat across the table.

Wow! Another great heart touching moment in the morning. I followed him around all day!

I walked . . .


he pedaled . . .



and canoed





We swatted flying pest, skipped over poison ivy, ducked spiders . . .


There were bows and arrows
even me . . .
Photo taken by The Man

Walked some more . . .
As I followed The Man and this scout onto the bridge,
I heard, "man I wish they had not killed that cotton mouth"
Me: "why"
The boys: "he was fun to play with"
Me: "a cotton mouth????" Now I am choosing to believe (especially since it is dead and the issue is void) it was just a little old harmless water snake. And I am choosing to believe that their idea of playing with it was throwing sticks off the bridge at the snake 15 feet below. But I have to say, it was the comment of the day!
psst . . . no snakes in the above picture.
It was a great day. In the midst of all this, I finished a book I had won from Mocha with Linda . I found something I had written in a notebook (one that I grabbed to write out some blogs). Then I realized mid afternoon that something was missing. Stress, besides that little bit induced by bug buzzing. No Frustration - I had not thought once about the three offspring at home so graciously loving their version of the life of riley(ooops, a little sarcasm snuck in).
THIS was an unknown mini break. Tomorrow is family night and I am looking forward to that and then have agreed to cover for one of the other parents Friday night. Aren't life's surprises great?
Now there is more from today, but I thought this layer of the day was long enough for one post, soooo, I will post some more later!



Monday, June 29, 2009

AT&T - No Grey Areas There

Oh the joys of closing a business!

When opening the business three years ago, I agreed to a three contract with AT&T.

The contract was up in April. I did not think of it until the end of the month. I did not receive/or hear anything. I assumed the payments would go on as were, just no contract.

Bad assumption.

I have been trying to reach someone since the 15th of June to drop the unused fax line. I finally reach someone today. Guess what? I am in another three year contract!!!

Why?

Because I did not notify them 60 days before the contract expired that I did not wish to continue a contract. Of course, 60 days before that time I did not know I would be closing the business, but I sure wish I had realized that about the contract so I could have reduced it down to only a year!

Now, when the phone is turned off, I am stuck with a penalty fee. $20 a month for the duration of their contract. Yup $660 to AT&T for really nothing. No options to negotiate the contract down to even half the time.

So much for retention of customers, my hesitation to turn off my home landline due to loyalty to that company just disappeared.

If you are anticipating the possibility of the current economy sinking your business, be sure to check all contracts now! Change it! It doesn't matter if you are getting kicked in the behind and sinking, they are happy to push you down faster!

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Exception

i before e, except after c,
or when sounding as a, in neighbor and weigh

As I was leaving Sam’s this morning, KLove was discussing a law in England, well, rather a law that is in the process of being passed, that would ban teachers from teaching the above sing song rule for spelling.

The reason? The exceptions.

As they asked the person that called in to spell sufficient, I realized I never have used that rule for that particular word, but I have used it for the word received often. Then I wondered “how many exceptions are there?”

So I decided I could either sit down on my keister and google it or enjoy my caffeine leisurely. Both won. So I seized the moment and found common words, and some weird words - phenolphthalein, phthalei, monteith. Ok not necessarily weird, just not used in my day to day vocabulary.

Did you know that a monteith (an exception to the i before e rule) is that large punch bowl with the notched rim to hold the cups?

My conscience has now told me it is time to forfeit this inveigle post (ok, that might not exactly be the proper use of that word, but I am trying to be artful with this post) and seek protein.

Maybe some breakfast would be a good idea!

Do you still use that rule with some words?

Friday, June 19, 2009

Demolition D and Driver's Ed

This summer is quite busy!

Between normal working AND closing the store - there is Demolition D's schedule. He had a week off from choir tour and then has spent this week in Driver's Ed.

He. Was. Miserable.

Now, we have been working on driving since he obtained that wonderful permit to learn. The first 72 hours were great. Then reality hit and it has been an adventure.

The beginning of 2007, Georgia implemented Joshua's Law. Simply put, if you wish to drive at 16, you have to have driven 40 hours, including 6 hours of night driving, a workbook completed and each driving experience documented and signed off on. Or you can take a Driver's Ed Course, approved to meet Joshua's Law ($325). Or you can wait until you are 17. I really need him to be able to drive this fall.

I originally opted for the workbook. But I really wasn't sure about some of what they wanted. Then we had a re-ocurring issue. Red lights and left hand turns. The first time he tried to go through a red light, left hand turn, he said, with the most dumbfounded look, "I thought you could turn left on a red light?!" As I finished wondering what he had learned studying for the learner's exam, I explained to him that you cannot.

A week later, same interesection, I sat in the passenger's seat confident that my thorough explanation a week earlier had be clear. Clear as mud. He tried it again. Then got mad at me. Yes, I raised my voice. Once again reviewed the issue.

About a month later we were on our way to church and approached an intersection to make a left hand turn. The light was green, he entered the turning lane (a little too fast, as I told him to slow down, and he does not, I realize he is planning on turning. Right then. I say "there are cars coming!!" and he responds with "but the light is green!!"

No, he did not go through it. And I closed my mouth until after church. After church we discussed all that happened and then proceded with left hand turn driving. Every few blocks, a left hand turn was made. We made circles around this side of town, but we became very familiar with left hand turns.

We have set out on left hand turn drives a few times since.

But this made me rethink my signing off on this workbook or sending him to the Driver's Course.

The Driver's Course won. It also will help reduce his insurance.

Monday through today, he attended the classroom setting, 8:30 -3:00 daily. They were BORED out of their minds. He will only get 6 hours of driving with an instructor and that will be the last week of June. But we have been told this course met Joshua's Law's requirements. Well, except for the now added Alcohol and Drug Awareness Program (another class, another expense).

Today, he enlightened me. Today, as we drove out of the driveway, he says, "mom, you know what they told us? If I am driving and someone in the car does not have on their seatbelt, and I get stopped, I get a ticket for them not being buckled."

I looked at him dumbfounded. See, we have talked about this for years. Just earlier today, I realized he did not buckle, so I stopped the car and just sat there until he did (I don't say anything, I just sit - he knows I will continue to sit there until he does buckle). Will got a ticket when Ocho, probably 14, did not buckle and Will was pulled over. He received a ticket for Ocho not being buckled. That story has been told many times.

So I tell you this because I had this thought. I don't believe anything I say is actually being retained or taken into consideration. This kinda scares me. All this wisdom I have shared. All these scenarios to aid in his developing good decision making skills. Makes me wonder, what got through? I hope more than I think.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Photo Phun Phriday - Comic Strip

...and a nightclub dancer

I have not played with Carrie on Foto Fiesta Friday in a few weeks (too many other demands lately).

But I am playing this week! My photo phun is not a photo though. It is a scanned copy of a my favorite Blondie comic. And I want to share . . .



Now, check out my name . . .spelling different by one letter - pronounced the same. LOL! It was a comic strip worth keeping.

For REAL PHOTO's and phun . . . go here!

Thankful Thursday

One of our early day trips last summer was to visit The Habitat for Humanity Global Community in Americus, Georgia.

It was an eye opener to walk through the village from the lean-to and shacks to the homes that can be available through the Habitat for Humanity Program.













After walking through an area with at least 20 dwellings like those above, with the meager personal items people would own in homes such as these, we ventured into what is possible.

All the homes were still quite modest and humbling as we returned to our home with plenty of space.
Coming across these photos made me thankful again.
Thankful . . .
- that this village is there so others can be reminded of needs of others.
- for my home, my yard.
- for walls, real walls. Real doors and real windows.
- air conditioning and heating
- flooring under my bare feet
- running water
- electricity
- food. healthy food
- appliances
- even the pang of quilt for having so many possessions
- an easy life
- for TODAY!

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Homecoming Concert

One child back at home, one to go (The Man will be home from Athens tonight).



Demolition D arrived back home with the rest of the choir yesterday. Tradition is to have a homecoming concert, and that continued.



They did a great job!



Between songs, the upcoming seniors and just graduated students provided stories from the trip. The Music Leader is a brave soul! Highschool kids and an open mike! They did a good job, only a few red faces, but nothing bad or racy, just delivered in a fun way.



I am re-posting a picture, the one of St. Paul's Chapel. I did not realize this last week, and am glad that one of the kids shared about this . . .





St. Paul's Chapel was known for over 200 years as the Chapel that George Washington first prayed at after being elected President in 1789. The pew and the chair that Washington worshiped in and prayed from are still preserved and displayed.

But, St. Paul's has a newer distinction - September 11, 2001, it was a building that was in the midst of all the wreckage as the towers fell. It remained unharmed and was a refuge to the many firemen, policemen and volunteers serving the area during the time following 9/11.

When the above picture was first twittered I liked the calm of the blue and the setting. I had no idea I was looking at a sanctuary that was a spiritual refuge during such a difficult time for our country.

Back to the concert. As I said, the kids did a great job, even with being exhausted and tired voices. I tried to video some of the songs with my camera, not great quality and not much room on the card, but I had to share a snippet of one of the songs.

video

At the end, the choir members left the choir loft, and with the leaders, circled the audience, held hands and closed singing the song Total Praise . . .

Lord, I will lift mine eyes to the hills

Knowing my strenght comes from you

Your peace You give me in time of the storm

You are the source of my strenght

The strength of my life

I will lift my hands in total praise to You.

It was so very touching and so good to have them back home!

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Ain't Got a Barrell of Money

. . . might be ragged and funny, but "they" travel along, singing "their" song, side by side . . .



So the Senior Choir is still on the road. It has been great to see "twittered" photos and updates of where they are and what they are doing.

They have worked their way South, last stop- North Carolina. Their week has been full of new sights and meetings.



They have had the privilege of singing in amazing Churches . . .





Cathedral of St. John the Divine, NYC, followed by St. Pauls


The Choir sang in the mornings at these churches for tourist touring these amazing churches.


After these concerts, some youth went to see Lion King, some Phantom of the Opera, but a few of the boys joined the Youth Minister and went to a Yankees game in the new stadium.



Demolition D was amazed at how big New York City is . I loved recieving a text that said he was having a "good!!" time. I could not believe I got exclamation marks!! Whoo Hooo, he was animated in his texting, ahhhh, New York.


The next morning, before leaving NYC for Philadelphia, some site seeing was enjoyed. One stop was the Today Show (and I forgot to set the VCR - yes, I am still old school, no DVR or TIVO)


They met Ann Curry and Al Roker (I am so jealous) and they also met . . .





Will Ferrell. Not only did they meet him and chat with him. He took a picture of the group!




Photo by Will Ferrell




The group left by bus from NYC for Philadelphia. They volunteered at the Philabundance Food Bank.


Then they visited the St. George United Methodist Church. The Church is known as the denomination's "oldest church building in continuous service" - since 1769.


After the touring the facility, the group was served Communion - with a bit of history.


The Chalis (being held and communion given by our Youth Director) was purchased in England and sent to St Georges by John Wesley in 1785.
And then some sight seeing - the "rocky" steps.





Next stop - Durham, North Carolina.
Duke Chapel. This Chapel was built in 1935 at a cost of 2,287,742.64. I wonder what that would cost today?



Inside the Chapel . . .
The choir singing. The twitter said they sounded great!



And now they are headed to Charleston . . . they are officially South Of The Border!


Monday at 6:00p.m. they will be home and giving their final concert - their homecoming concert.
I can't wait!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Going Out Of Business

I have sent emails about the closing of the store.



I have to say, for the most part, making the decision and taking that first step has lifted a weight off my shoulders.



I am still not thrilled. There have been moments when I have told someone that we are not going to be opened much longer, and the emotions have reared their head. I have been given suggestions on paths to take to continue, all of which have already been researched out and the brick wall left a knot on my head.



But . . . we are moving forward.



I sold the first sandwich table unit last week. Have six left.



Thursday, I was busy putting meals together for orders, when someone came in. As I headed up front, I saw this gentleman, with his curls and a cute (as in geeky cute) smile. He started his sale on the small business insurance he was offering and I stopped him and told him I was closing the end of June.

He looked me in the eye and said, "It is like having your heart ripped out, huh?"

I agreed and he spoke some more.

He had a factory, a smaller factory of a larger corporation. When it closed, employees from the other two sites, remaining open, converged on the now closed business grabbing up whatever they wanted and could use for their own factories.

He said at one point, a man turned to him and said "this is great! Just like Christmas, don't you think?"

The disappointed man looked at him and said "no, actually this feels more like cleaning out my grandpa's house after he died..."

He wished me luck and headed on.

I felt like I was a given a gift. A gift of compassion, but also a gift of validation. Those feelings coming and going were and are normal.

The same day I came across this devotional about a rose bush, about separating and how it will spread and grow more. You can read the whole post here, while all of it was wonderful, this paragraph touched me most :

  • It's hard when God allows our hopes to be shattered, our hearts to be broken, our relationships to be fractured, our fears to be realized. I really doubted any good could come from such loss. I doubted that I could make it through the pain.Like the uprooting of that rose bush some of my leaves wilted, some stems were cut back, petals fell to the ground and some branches had more thorns than blossoms for a while. It took time for me to get re-established in new soil. But God plan for His glory became evident each day that I surrendered to His power and trusted His plans more than mine.

The notice of the store closing has stirred up more orders and larger orders than I have had in a while. I am glad that bills coming due will have the revenue needed that I might not have had otherwise. I am hoping for the best month I have ever had - going out with a bang!

Memories Monday

Demolition D being in Savannah reminded me how much I miss my trips to the east side of the state.

My bother has lived in and around Savannah for about 15 years. For awhile, the boys were at an age that traveling there frequently was easy. Time marches on though and the trips have become very seldom. With having worked Saturdays for the the past 3 years, Demolition D's sports, Traveler's plays and The Man and Scouts, there just has not been enough time.

Sometimes, it was just myself going on the trips. Others the rest of the family.

This trip was around Thanksgiving eight years ago. It does not seem that long ago, but the date and the pictures of the boys do not lie.

It was a great trip. After a ride through a section called Isle of Hope we headed to Wormslow, the remnants of a colonial estate built in the early 1700's

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A working plantation, it was unique in that it had also had an experimental garden. The garden was known to be host to a centure plant with a 27 foot blossom. Also unique to the area, grown in this garden - figs, apricots, pomegranate.

None of that is present any more. Just the tabby ruins. And a small site with a guide to teach visitors the trials of living in such an area during that time. I think I will stick to modern times, no tabby making for me!


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But the trails were, actually probably still are, fantastic nature spots.

The trees twisted by the winds make it a wonderland.

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Memories, what memories do you have today? Take a walk back and have a good time.

Monday Memories hosted by Gayle at Planet M Files