Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Last Splash

This past week Mike and the kids got a chance to swim on Thursday night. The weather was nice enough and we'd kept the pool heated for just such an occasion. Unfortunately we messed up on the chlorine levels and the pool was pretty cloudy, but still swimmable. Actually, Maddie and Jake got a bit of a kick out of swimming in water they couldn't see in - while chasing "Rover" - the automatic pool cleaner.

Friday afternoon provided another nice chance for the kids to get some swimming in. This time the pool was much less cloudy and they were able to have a couple friends over. So the "Four Muskateers" (they play together ALL the time) jumped, splashed and had a great time getting in that last swim.

Rachel got such a kick out of fixing Jake's hair - she thought it was so fun to make his hair as spikey as possible.

Jake was slightly disappointed when he realized Rachel's long hair wasn't going to get spikey.

We'll probably be closing up the pool soon. Looking at the weather it doesn't look like there will be much more opportunity to swim. So, another season will come to a close and we'll look forward to next summer.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Pining Away

A few weeks ago we received some frozen cookie dough that I had ordered from the football team. (And I still get a little chuckle that the football team is selling cookies...).

Anyway - the kids have been begging me to make these cookies. In all honesty it's been a little crazy around here the last couple weeks and I just never seem to get the two hours to sit and make these. Once again last week the kids asked if I could please make these cookies. So, I apologized and said that so much had been going on, I just hadn't found the time. Both kids replied, mostly in the same manner, but I'll quote Maddie because she was closest:

"But mom...we are gone SIX HOURS out of the day."

I agreed - as if I hadn't noticed. I also informed them that there are other things that go on while they are gone. I ran errands, I worked on projects around the house, occasionally cleaned - oh yeah - and that pesky laundry, just to name a few. Apparently they thought I just sat by the window staring outside for six hours until they returned and my life began again.

So last week I found a morning where I was completely alone in the house - Mike was downtown for the day and the kids were at school. I got tons accomplished and between loads of laundry I managed to make M&M cookies.

So now life is back to "Leave It To Beaver" and the kids have a small supply of milk and cookies for after school. Now that this chore is done, I can go back to taking bubble baths and eating bon-bons while they are at school.

Friday, September 26, 2008

Lights Out

I found this note on the floor the other night before we headed upstairs - it must have fallen off the fridge:

And here's the back just to be polite:

So, when I was at church Mike headed upstairs to replace all the lightbulbs that were out (there happened to be one in each room). The light Maddie was begging for was in her closet. In all honestly, it has been out for about three weeks - but it's a closet. Not really the first thing we think about on our to-do list. Usually we remember it at the end of the day when we head into the closet to get clothes for the next day.

On a normal day in this house I constantly ask/tell/remind people - mostly kids - to TURN OFF THE LIGHTS! I clearly remember my dad reprimanding us for this all the time; what goes around comes around.

So it felt like things were back to normal when, the day after the lightbulb was replaced, I headed up to Maddie's room to put away laundry and there in the closet was her light - left on.

It was a lot cheaper when she just plain didn't have a light that worked.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Friends in Tight Places

Maddie and Jake have been playing almost non-stop with their friends Elizabeth and Rachel. All four kids are constantly traveling between the two houses. And they really play well together but they come up with the wackiest stuff...

This is what I found when I got upstairs:

I guess this was their version of house. After all the ruckus I heard though, I think it was more probable that it was a version of "we-can't-jump-on-beds-we'll-jump-on-everything-else".

Mostly Maddie and Jake were incredibly disappointed when we answered "no" to their question that night of, "can we just sleep here tonight?"

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Blood, Sweat & Tears - not in that order

SWEAT: This past weekend Mike and I made yet another effort to get our basement ready for carpet. Neither one of us wanted to call the company and push the date back again - last time we called, the company threatened to rebid our estimate and this week we found out my parents sold their house (yeah!). While their new house is being built they will be living with us so we REALLY need to get the basement done so we can actually clean out the guest room that is currently housing everything that was in the basement.

So, Saturday (and most of Sunday) we spent putting up trim. Mike spent a good portion of the time putting up the casings for the doors as well as woodwork surrounding the posts. I worked on the baseboard trim. This involved a lot of use of the coping saw. I've decided I don't like that tool - for obvious reasons explained later, but mostly because it didn't work exactly how I wanted/thought it should. I'm sure it had nothing whatsoever to do with my skill level.

This was what Mike said before I shot the above picture: "Umm...I guess I should put on my safety glasses."

These are the colors chosen by our kids for their "secret room". Wow.

But, I was in charge of coping the ends of the baseboard and after about the 6th board I finally figured out how to go about making the best fit. Of course, there was no way I was going to go and redo the previous five boards. Somewhere in the afternoon though, while making a final cut to one of the boards, the coping saw somehow managed to slide right across my left thumb.

BLOOD: Being the brave soul I am, I managed to call for Mike as I headed upstairs to stop the bleeding that I was sure wasn't going to stop and planned how I was going to play in church Sunday with stitches. This really hurt. It wasn't that I really needed Mike's help, it was more that I wanted a great deal of sympathy and attention. He came up so wisely and said, "You're supposed to cut the wood, not your finger." Let me tell you how much I loved living with a comedian at that moment.

So, I now have a cut about a quarter-inch long on my finger that when I hold my thumb just right I can see through my thumb to the wall behind it.

TEARS: And the basement? Yeah - Mike sucked it up and called the company to reschedule for next week. This is what he told them, "Our finishers just need a bit more time." When I heard this I looked at him with raised and questioning eyebrows. I got a weak shrug and smile in return. Nice to know that after all this work we at least have titles.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Grillmaster Murphy

Sounds like a rap name, doesn't it? Far from it.

You would think this post was about Mike. Surprise! On Sunday night while Mike was working on the basement I decided we would have BBQ chicken grilled by...moi!

So, after asking Mike for his help in actually turning it on I got to it. Jake took some photos for proof that it was me...

Now, Mike and I have been watching "Primal Grilling" with Steven Reichlan. This guy is a bit loony at times, but I must say he comes up with some dishes that make my mouth water; I'm usually starving at the end of the show. But, he's always talking about "killer grill marks" on your food...the sign of a "real grillmaster". Check out these bad boys:

And here's the kicker....my family actually ate it!! I was pretty sure the chicken was cooked through and when Mike cut into it and looked at me I was a little alarmed but he said it was done - barely - but done. But hey - IT WASN'T DRY!!! That was my biggest fear. Mike wasn't so sure that should have been my priority, but he ate it! Even Jake ate it!

So, after this meal was finished I told Mike that maybe it wasn't that I was meant to be a cook, maybe I was meant to GRILL! He just politely nodded and I may have glimpsed an eye roll. See...he's been dreaming of a new grill for quite awhile now. I may be stepping on some toes trying to claim his position of griller in the family.

Sunday, September 21, 2008

First Field Trip of the Year!

On Friday Maddie and I went on her 4th grade field trip to "River Rendezvous" in Bloomington. It was a living history day of the pioneers and Native Americans who first moved to that area.

Before we left I said to Mike (from experience) "This is going to be a long day." Not that it wouldn't be interesting but I knew there would be tons of walking, hot sun, and so much information that there might be an overload somewhere. Throw in about 100 kids, a 25 minute bus ride and it all amounts to a long day.

It was definitely informative and the kids seemed to take in a lot and asked some good questions. The highlight was the lady explaining about the amusement/medicine sales. She had them stare at a spinning circle and when they were done, they looked at her head and magically her head got bigger through illusion! This was how the "doctors" convinced people their eyesight was bad and they needed medicine.

Next we sat in a tepee and listened to a man discuss life on the river/movement of the tribes. Informative, but not as "thrilling". I will say, there were gasps when he told them it only took ONE person to put up a tepee, and that was the MOM!!!

After lunch we listened to how people made maple syrup and then got to taste actual sugar they made from the syrup right before our eyes. I'm not so sure it was a good idea to give a couple of these kids a little bit of sugar. But it sure was tasty!!

The day ended seeing the Native Pride Dancing Group. This was in a large tent full of about 300 screaming kids and a sound system any rock band would be proud of. As luck would have it, we were sitting right in front of one of the speakers. It was loud. I, being old, plugged one of my ears because my head was going to start pounding any minute. Maddie, being in 4th grade didn't want to look quite so ridiculous, so she lived through it. Did I mention how both of us are easily prone to headaches? This did it.
Thank goodness it was the last event because as soon as it was over, I knew she was done for the day. Quite frankly, I was too. Luckily we had another 25 minute ride back on a noisy, bumpy bus to still our heads.

Maddie's teacher let her go early and both of us got home, took some Tylenol and went to our separate areas for a nap. Like mother like daughter, huh?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

One Sale Too Many

So, we had our garage sale last weekend and it was a huge success because as I mentioned we got rid of that gigantic exercise machine.

Well, Mike found it an excellent opportunity to get rid of some unwanted items as well. He saw that I had put out some old towels that were a bit ragged. He asked why I was selling those. I explained - suddenly there were three more towels out on the table. Eventually those sold and Mike brought out three or four more.

Let me explain; Mike has been complaining about our towels for a good year, possibly more now. They are dark green and he wants light colored towels. These are 12 years old and he just figures they've seen their days. But, being that I do the majority of the shopping and haven't really seen his viewpoint yet, I have forgotten repeatedly to pick up new towels. So when Mike saw me getting rid of the ratty ones, he thought this was his perfect opportunity to get rid of the ones he thought needed replacing: ALL of them.

The only towels we have left are the four that were hanging in the bathrooms the day of the sale. He even suggested Friday night that I wash those to sell on Saturday. So, I've finally been forced to order more towels, but did so online to get a discount. They won't be here for a week. In the meantime I'm having to wash towels A LOT or we are using beach towels. Maybe I'll email Mike and tell him to swipe a few from the hotel before he checks out!

A Rich Man

Jake is going to be rolling in the money after this week! Today he arrived home with the news that his second tooth came out at school. He was even excited to announce that he actually pulled it out! He said he moved it in class and heard it "crack" and said to himself, "I think this is going to come out now." I guess he was right.

So, none of really won the bet, though I did come the closest since I guessed Thursday. Maybe I should split his earnings!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

When the Cat's Away....

....the mice get BUPKUS!

Mike is in Chicago this week. Last week he informed me that his co-worker, Cathy or Kathy or Kathi (apologies if she ever happens to run across this....) anyway - she was making dinner reservations for their group at these great restaurants along with the vendors.

So when Mike called this morning I asked how his dinner was last night. It was good...it was a 14 oz. porterhouse (I think?) that was over $50. His co-workers had some bone-in-rib-type-of-meat at some nice restaurant that overlooked the lake or something having to do with water. Yeah, I didn't get most of the details. I was silently sobbing as I thought about my previous night's meal: leftover broccoli pie. When I told Mike what I'd had he responded with, "Well...that's good too." Ummm....yeah, but it's not $50-steak-good and it certainly isn't good when it's the third dinner/lunch in a row of the same thing.

When he goes out of town three things happen on the nights I teach: 1) the kids get a "Lunchable" for dinner (this is a HUGE treat to them) or 2) I either pack their lunchbags for dinner and they eat watching a movie or 3)I pop some popcorn and set them in front of the t.v. to eat and get some M&M's for dessert. It's never nutritious and it's rarely something that I have to leave teaching to prepare. Tonight was an exception - one student was 20 minutes late, so I had time to help them heat up some leftover spaghetti. Most nights when Mike's gone I don't eat until the kids are in bed so usually that's around 8pm.

Tonight I was just an idiot. Being tired of broccoli pie I had picked out a Hungry-Man-TV-dinner. Now, Mike really hates these, and I really don't mind them so I usually get them when he's gone. However I completely forgot that they take 30 minutes to warm up - hence by 8:35 I was starving.

What's that reading material? Is that an exercise book?? While eating fatty chicken, potatoes and MOUNTAIN DEW - at 8:35pm no less!?! Why, yes it is! Tracy and I are going to start this workout soon and I'm getting in as much junkfood as I can beforehand (and apparantly as late at night as I can) before I need to scale back and try to be a bit more healthy. At least I put it on a plate to be a bit more civilized!
So, it's not steak. Or shrimp. Or a lakefront view from several stories up. It honestly wasn't even good - I was actually quite disappointed in this meal. However, it was quiet and I did finish my book. And hopefully over the next several weeks of what will more than likely involve excrutiating pain - this dinner will start to melt off my body and muscle will appear in its place!

Monday, September 15, 2008

Making the best of a bad situation

Maddie and Jake dread this basement thing, I believe. I mean - they are excited for the finished project, but with all our trips to Home Depot or Lowe's, they can probably lead you right to what you are looking for in there.

So, Saturday we made yet another trip to Home Depot. Picture the eye rolling - now multiply that times five, and add loud, exasperated moans. That was just me. Kidding...it really was the kids.

But, it always amazes me how they can come up with games to keep themselves occupied. Home Depot is roughly five minutes from our house. This is what they played in the the car on the way there:

I'm not even sure what it involved, but they had to have their hoods over their heads and then had to try to reach the other person. Now, they were what - a foot from each other - so the reach wasn't so difficult. But, it illicited giggles and guffaws until they had tears coming out of their eyes.

Once inside the store, not much changed except the game. This time one person had to turn their back and the other person zipped up their jacket, removed their arms from the sleeves to the inside of their coats and the "it" person had to turn around and guess where the arms were hiding. Basically this meant front or back. Eventually they would guess then lunge at the person to keep their arms from moving to see if they were right. When it was my turn to be "it" it took forever and when I turned around I found this:

That's right, I'd waited while Mike shopped for stain and the kids had switched jackets. They kept them switched until we were home again.

What is so crazy or ironic or whatever you want to call it, is that while we are in the car, they can be having so much fun that they will get incredibly loud - we'll ask them nicely to quiet down, but in two minutes it's loud again. Like earsplitting loud. Eventually we end up getting frustrated to the point of threatening the whole "pull over" thing - all because they were having too much fun. Seriously.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

It'TH Out!

Jake and Maddie have been goofing off all day long. Mostly they've been playing legos, but have occasionally been chasing each other around. That's what you get for a week of rain - lots of energy to burn!

Tonight just before leaving for dinner at my parents' house Jake and Maddie were charging around our room. Maddie hopped into our bed and Jake followed after her. There was no actual collision, but all the sudden Jake popped up cupping his hand and said, "MOM! My tooth just fell out!!!" This is Jake's words to describe how it came out:

"I didn't even hit Maddie with my head! I hit her butt with my hand and my tooth popped out!"

That must have been some whollop Maddie took to knock out a tooth!

The tooth next to that one is incredibly loose - I think if we'd pushed a little harder on the wet papertowel we had in his mouth to stop the bleeding that it would have come out. Mike offered - Jake ran away. We've taken bets on when it's going to fall out. I said it would be out before Thursday. Maddie said it would be gone in two days...."On TueTHday" (see...she's learning how to be funny!) and Mike said he thought it would be out by tonight. Mike's exact words were, "I'll make sure I win."

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Sale Away

It's Saturday morning and I've just closed shop. We had a garage sale this weekend. It would have been nice to have a little chat with Mother Nature before picking this weekend, but it was a sort-of spur of the moment thing. We had more than enough rain these last couple days, but I don't think we can complain on our sales.

The Murphy goal was simple: sell this giant piece of exercise equipment and get it out of our hair. Jonda had a double stroller that she hoped would sell, but doubted. Stacey had boxes of baby clothes and my parents brought over miscellaneous stuff that my dad swears is not returning to their house. Tracy brought over some clothes and whatever else she could throw together to sell.

Okay - Thursday started out with pouring rain. Our signs were ca-put within the first hour. Luckily a house up the street was having a sale so we mooched off their awesome signs. Tradition holds and Tracy had the first sale of the day. $2 for a Vikings sweatshirt - quite a steal. After 10:30 most of the day went fairly well. Steady stream of people, but not overwhelming. We all got rid of various things but what remained? The giant piece of exercise equipment and the double stroller. So much for goals.

We really didn't have the great people watching/studying experiences that make my garage sales so fun to be at. But, here's a couple of the highlights:
  • The woman median age 77 that came Thursday, looked at the $3.50 color t.v. with remote and complained about her current plasma that "was a piece of crap" and she was never buying another. She returned Friday morning at 8am to buy the $3.50 t.v. and if it didn't work when she got home we'd probably hear her yelling at our house. After her ranting about modern t.v's and her bad luck I suggested maybe she was the type that needed to just listen to the radio. That sent her ranting/raving about how she "couldn't stand that crap you people call music". She was fun loving.
  • The older couple who bought the fridge. They wanted to know if it worked, but my answer of "yes" wasn't good enough. So, I picked it up, hauled it over to the power cord on the opposite side of the garage and plugged it in. I immediately started to hear it hum and told him it was working. The man said, "that doesn't mean anything" and proceeded to do whatever proved to him that it was, indeed, working. After a good five minute investigation his results netted nothing and he said he just wasn't comfortable buying it and not knowing if it worked. He said he couldn't hear it running - even though I had given him the "deaf test" of saying, "if you put your hand on it you can feel it vibrating." So, he gave me a little lecture on how I should leave it running and then maybe it will cool down and others might buy it knowing it worked. He returned 5 minutes later and bought it saying they'd just hope it worked. At least it was clean by the time he got it - all the cobwebs had come off on my pants.
  • The other lecture I got from the lady who almost missed our garage sale because I didn't have any signs on a particular corner. She went on and on (and on) about how I really needed to post more signs and about all the customers that don't know I'm having a sale, yadda-yadda-yadda. Then she bought $2 worth of stuff. Dad said that for all that we had to listen to, we deserved more than only $2 in sales.
About halfway through Friday I was able to call my neighbor and report a successful sale of her stroller. This is a fairly reserved person. I don't think I've ever heard her get louder than a good laugh. All the sudden I heard her yell, "YA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO" through the phone. One goal accomplished. Still had a giant exercise machine.
And then my new best friend showed up at about 4:45pm. A man and his wife. She was looking for baby clothes for their first grandchild. He was sitting in the truck (a large truck!) and talking with dad and I. Eventually he looked up and asked what that big machine was. We told him it was something he definitely could use and wasn't it great that he had such a big truck to carry it away in! Well, he got out and said yep, he needed that, his boys needed a work-out room. I wasn't sure he was serious and didn't want my hopes to get up. But, he made an offer, I upped it by $30 and he said fine whatever. So, I ran up the stairs told Mike he needed to be downstairs NOW to explain this thing (time being of the essence: we didn't want him changing his mind!). Mike came down, explained everything - hooked it up and between the three guys they somehow got it in his truck. It was so big however that they couldn't shut it. Mike, knowing this was our only chance offered ropes and whatever else to keep it from moving. I was about ready to send Mike in the truck to hold it down if need be and follow him to bring him home. Then they actually paid and it WASN'T ours!!!! Like Jonda, I let out a big YA-HOOOOOOOOOOOOO! and thought the garage sale was a huge success.
This morning it is raining again, but I really don't care. I so don't care. Did I mention we sold that giant piece of machinery??????

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

No reason to panic....right????

This morning as Jake headed out the door for school he took five steps, turned around to me, pointed and said:

"You know what, mom? This would be a great time for you to have some alone time with daddy."

The only thing that brings me peace is that this statement wasn't followed by "baum-chicka-baum-baum".

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Basement Update #2

Saturday was a huge day for us in terms of basement accomplishments! We'd been looking forward to the stonework on the fireplace getting into place and seeing if what we picked out will turn out as great as our expectations.

Yahoo! We spent a ton of time looking at stone and figuring out what style we both liked.

We talked with a friend of ours who is a mason. His company did the stonework for the Waterpark of America. He thought we might like that stone. So, we ventured over there - telling the kids prior to this trip that we were NOT going there for the water rides. Torture. (Note: we may have looked a little suspicious walking in, bypassing the check-in desk, and standing in the entry staring at and examining the stone as if artwork and completely ignoring the water slides.) But, it was a lovely stone and we really liked it a lot. As coincidence would have it (or divine intervention) the man we contacted in Shakopee for the stone happens to be the same man that arranged all the stone ordering for the MOA job and knew exactly what percentage of each stone was ordered.

Saturday, the same friend that pointed us to the MOA job came over to help. Actually, he did most of the work. Mike was in charge of the grunt work - lifting, mixing cement, whatever our friend told him to do. He was here all day and we are so thankful for his help!

Mike spent from 4-11pm grouting/scraping the cement away. I even ended up helping with the scraping. By this time Mike's hands were absolutely raw from handling cement all day long. Somehow he even ended up with gravel embedded in his wrist. We still aren't sure how that happened.

Here's a slide show of some updates. Most people show slide shows of their kids. We show slide shows of construction work. Geeks.

The walls aren't quite as orange in the bathroom as these pictures would have you believe. And the color in Mike's office can change from blue to gray to green in a single day. Always a surprise!
All painting is done (except the kids lovely bright blue and bright orange room), Mike plans to work on the shower in the coming week. He's started putting up and trimming doors (a different style than upstairs and I love these too!) though we still have to stain everything having to do with trim and door. Carpet is rescheduled (for the 3rd time!) to be laid Sept. 25th. Wish us luck for making this deadline! Mike may just get into his office before the end of the year!

Saturday, September 6, 2008

Last "official" Day of Vacation

Friday was the last day Mike and I officially had our vacation so we decided we'd head out to play nine holes of golf. Actually, I think Mike originally wanted to work in the basement again, but I'd been HINTING all week that I would like to play golf. So, when Friday morning rolled around and I said, "So, what's the plan today." He answered me with, "Ummm...I don't know?" I gave him my best "wrong answer" stare and he said, "We are going golfing." I told him that was a great idea!

Really, it was good for him and I think he had a good time despite having to wait for my four hits to his one. As we were getting ready to leave, I had thrown on a t-shirt and jeans. Mike comes down in khaki pants and a polo and looked at me with raised eyebrows. Rarely do I get told I'm under dressed, so I headed back upstairs to change. When I came down in jeans he told me he didn't think my swing would be as good as it would if I were wearing khaki's or something like that. Really - if wearing jeans was the biggest problem with my swing I'd be out buying khaki's left and right. He did agree with that and we left.

It was a beautiful day! We had two hours of us being the only ones on the course so we had plenty of time on each shot for me to get more than a few pointers - all needed and greatly appreciated. My swing did improve throughout our time. I even had a couple shots where my ball flew UP into the air, not merely skimming along the ground. During those amazing shots it was a good thing we were the only ones on the course because I was whooping it up!
See that glove? That's an old glove from my sister that she let me borrow a few years ago and I have yet to return. At one point Mike told me I had to mark my ball and I told him I didn't have one of those small things to lay on the ground. He said it was on my glove! Wow! I always wondered what that snap was for - I just assumed it was a broken part of the glove and the reason Tracy loaned it out!

On one hole I did manage to hit the ball off the tee and it landed on the green - but the best part was that it landed closer than Mike's ball! The difference being that Mike's ball made this lovely fly HIGH into the air and landed with a little "plop" and stayed in place. Mine skimmed the ground, bounced, raced down the hill, landed on a hard piece of ground and amazingly bounced up onto the green. It was brutal and ugly, but did I mention it was closer than Mike's shot?

Our final scores? Mike: 35 Kerry: 52. Par was 30. Clearly I have a little work to do.
The golf pro was trying to sell us on a membership for next summer. After we were done golfing Mike said, "When I retire I'm going to get the membership, I'm going to cancel the gym membership and golf every single day." That's sounds awesome. I hope he lets me go with him sometime.

Friday, September 5, 2008


So tonight we were heading home from dinner and the kids decided it was comedy hour with some jokes they've come up with. Maddie's finally getting the hang of trying to tell jokes that are play-on-words type jokes. Knock knock jokes are a favorite.

Jake...not so great at it. Here's a sample of the conversation heard in the backseat tonight:

Jake: Knock, knock
Maddie: Who's there?
Jake: Orange.
Maddie: Orange who?
Jake: Orange muv you. Ha ha ha.
Maddie: Jake, that doesn't make any sense.
Jake: Oh yeah, you're right. Okay, Knock, knock.
Maddie: Who's there?
Jake: Orange muv.
Maddie: Orange muv who?
Jake: Orange muv you. HA HA HA!

Because obviously, the second rendition made so much more sense! At this point of listening in, I'm trying to hold back my laughter, but the that made my eyes water. Unfortunately that only egged him on to do more:

Jake: Knock, knock!
Mike: Who's there (I couldn't answer because I was laughing/crying too hard)
Jake: Orange muv.
Mike: (looking at me and rolling his eyes) Orange muv who?
Jake: Orange muv shampoo! HA ha ha ha.

So, I was laughing (or trying not to laugh) all over again because these are possibly the stupidest jokes I have ever heard. Jake seeing the effect these jokes had on me said:

I'm seriously funny. I'm going to tell orange muv jokes all the time now.

Don't worry though, I'll spare you the rest of them.

Thursday, September 4, 2008


So, I tend to be a little obsessive compulsive when I grocery shop. I make a list which I think is fairly normal - at least it should be. I usually go through my list and mark down what sections each item is in - produce, dairy, meat, etc. This may go beyond most other lists, but it works for me. I shop the same route through the store each time and could just KICK myself if I miss an aisle and have to back-track.

Really though, the OCD kicks in during check out and bagging. To the point that on the rare occasions when Mike accompanies me on the grocery outings, he basically just backs off at the checkout counter and lets me do my thing. I've actually seen cashiers look at him like he's a schmuck husband not willing to help his poor wife with the groceries. In reality he's just trying to stay out of war.

So, the process for me starts with unloading the cart. First I unload all the boxes and jars/cans that are put in the bottom of bags. Next go the cold or frozen items. If it happens to be a boxed item that's also cold, it goes with the cold stuff. Next is any meat (excluding deli) and finally the produce that has to be weighed. I figure this is easiest on the cashier because they can do it all at once rather than stopping and starting throughout the process, thus slowing them down. The other great part of this system is that the cashiers go straight through in the order I've unpacked so that all the heavy stuff is at the front and doesn't get smashed by the moving stuff behind it, and I can easily grab it for the bottom of the bags. All the cold stuff is together so I can pack it all in one bag and keep it cold. The produce is usually the lightest and I can easily toss it on top of whatever is left! AND I have this down to such a science that I really can unpack my cart quickly, despite how painful it sounds.

I know....I KNOW!!

Okay - so I grocery shopped earlier this week and I had a CART FULL of items. So, I started on my normal routine. I unpacked the cereal boxes across the belt first - I had 5 boxes, but they all lined up neatly. Then it was everything else. By the time I got to the frozen boxed stuff, and the meat, there wasn't much room left on the belt due to the person in front of me still getting checked out. So, I piled things on top of one another. This is the beauty of my organizational skills...boxes on boxes pile easily and steadily provided you only go a couple high. Meat doesn't fall off if it's solidly packed. So, in the span of less than 4 feet I managed to unpack my entire cart.

So it finally becomes my turn and the lady moves the belt a half-inch and one of the five boxes of cereal topples over and the cashier catches it. Now, this was completely not my fault. Anyone could see that it was a pretty crappy box to begin with and not that stable. But the cashier looked at it, and at the rest of the belt and said,

"That must have been a man. Only a man would unpack it like this."

I just pressed my lips together and looked around - where she had seen a man, I don't know. But hey - who was I to argue with her when there's a slight chance I'm the one who would look like an idiot when obviously I have the best system in the world.

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

MacGyver does it again!

So, remember a few posts back about how I lamented that our camera had kicked the bucket? Or rather - flew out of hands, smashed to the ground, and bent up - so to speak?

Well, leave it to my husband to take on a project and get results! I think a couple things put a bug in his head about it. 1) Walking into Home Depot yesterday I took the picture attached to yesterday's post. He probably felt bad watching me try to lug my SLR camera (flash attached) out of my purse while trying not to spill my large coffee. 2)We were in Sam's and I showed him the latest version of the camera that had been destroyed - and the hefty price tag that came with it. I could see the wheels turning, but basically dismissed it.

When we got home, he disappeared. About a half-hour later he comes downstairs with these teeny-tiny pieces cupped in his hands and announces that he's got the camera working again, he just has to get the shutter attached and working.

Well, I was thrilled with the first part, honestly. Here's a schematic of how the camera looked after being dropped on the floor (I can draw schematics currently because my kids are in school FULL TIME now...and I'm not teaching.) When broken it basically turned on, but there was nothing happening after that - no lens moving, no pictures being able to be taken:

So, the fact that he was able to get it to a point where the lens actually popped in and out again - good stuff! So I followed him to the kitchen table where the next part of the surgery was performed. This involved tweezers, a straight pin and a nail file. All legitimate tools, I'm sure, for the professional camera technician.

Mike had to reattach the shutter flippers and these teeny-tiny-itsy-bitsy springs. I mean small. See them? Boogers are bigger than these things:
Then he would get one attached and work on the next one and we'd hear this little "boing" and we'd both be on the floor crawling around looking for it. This happened a few times over the next 30 minutes as we worked to get things attached. I also told him it was probably a good thing he wasn't a real surgeon because his hands were very shaky. Good grief - I just realized this was us "playing doctor". Only in the Murphy house.

But, somehow he did it! He popped the cover back on the lens, took a breath and took a picture. Everything seems to be working like new. I now have a portable camera again and will still be able to annoy my family members anywhere.

Tuesday, September 2, 2008


Today's the day! First day of school!

Last night, personally, I couldn't sleep. It's always been that way for me the day before school. I've been on trips to Norway, England and other places and slept like a baby the night before. But, every single year I never slept the night before school. You would think that would have changed since I'm not actually the one going to school, but apparently these habits are hard to break.

So, I got up a little earlier than the kids and made eggs for Jake and reheated some pancakes for Maddie. We had curled Maddie's hair in curlers the night before and it was a little crazy so it ended up in a ponytail. Considering the humidity level today, there should be absolutely no curl left by 9:30am.

Of course we had to do pictures - I got eye rolls from both kids. I may just do this every year until they stop rolling their eyes. We may be out there taking pictures when they are seniors if they keep rolling their eyes.

And one picture together - is this the picture of two excited kids or what?

This year the kids have a new bus-stop. It's still only a house away, but on the other side. Not very easy to see them unless I stand in Jake's window, so I guess that's where I'll be positioned most mornings. I was also curious as to who was going to be there - not a ton of kids on that side of the neighborhood. This morning there were four kids - compared to 17 kids at their stop last year. Maddie and I were honestly not sure the bus would show up, but it did arrive and only a couple minutes late. Up the steps and they were off...not a backward glance:

Then Mike grabbed my hand and we started to walk home and just as it was hitting me that both kids were gone for the day Mike yells, "LET'S PARTY!!!!" You can't get veklempt when you're giggling.
So just how did we celebrate? By heading to Caribou for some coffee and then shopping at Home Depot for grout. I know - some of you are rolling your eyes, but this was a treat for us! We got to take as much time as we wanted to pick out our stuff without having to tag-team watching the kids. Walking in I took a picture of Mike. I think he realized that without kids, he's the one the camera will be aimed at during the day. This will result in two things - he'll either go back to working downtown, or he'll be traveling a lot.

Now it's noon and I may just be able to work in a "lunch out" all in the name of continuing this celebration. I may just grow to love this!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Last Hurrah!

Last Thursday we headed to Iowa for a final trip before school starts (sing with me...."Tomorrow! Tomorrow! I LOVE you, TOMORROW!")...

Anyway - the Iowa Murphy's have been in school for a couple weeks now, so we got to hang out with Grandma Murphy - not a bad gig for these kids. Mike's cousin was getting married on Saturday afternoon and his brother, Pat was an usher. Pat had taken Friday off to get his tux and stuff for the wedding so he and Mike took their mom out for lunch.

What did the kids and I do? Why, we shopped for a strapless bra for me. Yes - at 1am on Thursday night I realized that I had forgotten my strapless bra for my dress for the wedding, not to mention for my blouse for Friday night. Go, me. Bra shopping in general is horribly frustrating, but when you are on a time-constraint of an hour or two? Now add two kids. So, I bribed them with McD's beforehand (complete with a shake with their happy meal!) and 4 stores, 10 bras, and 1 1/2 hours later we were headed home, mission accomplished.

Friday night we ditched the kids with Kay (she's probably still recuperating...) and Pat, Missy, Mike and I headed to the rehearsal. Mike and I had to practice handing out programs. About 10 minutes into arriving at the rehearsal dinner Kay called to tell us that Maddie had a fever of 100.2 and didn't feel good and wanted Kay to call us. So, Mike told Maddie to go to sleep, she'd be fine in the morning. (hopefully...we assumed she got what Jake got at the fair).

Saturday Maddie was much better and we had her relax all day. Then we all headed to Illinois for the wedding. In a span of less than 48 hours we could say we'd been in three states. No one found that to be a fun fact. Anyway, we handed out programs like champs, Pat did a stellar job ushering. Oh yeah...and Dan and Becky got married - they were lovely too.

Now to the party. I think Aaron and Jake danced to every song the DJ played. But it wasn't just that they danced. They did break-dancing! Where did they learn this? I can ASSURE you that neither Mike nor I sit and spin on the floor, and I'm going to go on a limb and assume Pat and Missy don't either. But break-dance they did. Jake pulled out other moves that boggled my mind - at one point, Mike's cousin turned at asked me, "Did Jake just do a pelvic thrust?!?" I closed my eyes and slowly nodded. And for the six-millionth time I became frightened of the future regarding this kid and dating.

Maddie and Samantha weren't to be outdone and led a couple congas. This line generally involved Jake at the end and always managing to get unattached and running behind them, arms flailing to catch up (although his picture was at a resting point).

Mike even managed to finally get Maddie to dance with him. This was no small feat! Mostly this was accomplished by promising that he'd spin her around and swing her so she slid on her feet under his legs.

Mike and I got to dance quite a bit which was very fun. He'll tell you with complete confidence that he rocks at dancing, but he's got me for a partner. Actually, he's right with about 90% of that. I really have no idea what I'm doing and pretty much just try to spin in whatever direction he throws me. Mike got Kay out on the dance-floor too. Much less spinning, but what mom doesn't love a little dance with her son?
Jake and I even managed a couple dances...he even bowed to me when it was over.

Saturday night was also the night our camera retired. More like it was murdered, actually. Jake took some pictures and Mike and I were busy chatting and didn't really force the issue of having him leave it alone. It found the floor. I think we all had to take an equal share of the blame for its demise. Needless to say I'll be finding out if my sister's new camera is all she hoped for.

Sunday we got a later start than normal and because we had to stop for lunch closer to Davenport than normal we decided this may have been the LONGEST ride home. But now we're back and today is the last day of summer for the kids. Hopefully they make the most of it.