December 12, 2003

I set up this page about 3 hours ago and since then, the day has set up to conspire against me ever writing anything on it.  First, the plumbers showed up about the mystery water sound between the under-the-kitchen-sink area and the outside-shut-off-the-water area on the other side of the wall.  They arrived, listened to the sound, looked puzzled and said they couldn't really do anything until some water started showing up somewhere (it's been about 2 weeks), otherwise, they'd be tearing apart walls blindly.  So the noise is still there, but the shower is fixed in the main bathroom, which is a good thing. 

Dylan is home sick with a bug of some kind.  He was sent home...  

December 14, 2003

And that is as far as I got THAT day.  So Dylan was sent home early on Thursday because he has a FEVER.  One of my pet peeves is people who say, "Do I have a temperature?" or "He has a temperature, I think we should send him home."  Where that speak came from I can't imagine.  I mean, we ALL have a temperature.  EVERYthing has a temperature.  The question is whether or not one has a FEVER.  Say whatcha mean, dammit. 

So he had a slight FEVER and felt lousy and was a little coughy.  On Friday, the fever was a little higher and he had some good sniffles going on.  He slept a good deal and seemed to be fending it off well, or at least letting it run its course.  The fever broke around 5am Saturday morning.  We were up together from about 2am on.  He's still raspy with a bit of a cough and tired more so than usual, but he's not had a fever again and even though he's a bit slow, he's getting up to par again. 

He and Delena both had a fierce stomach virus and fever back in September and ended up missing 5 days of school each.  It wasn't negotiable.  They were both really sick and there was no way they could have gone.  Of course, they are only allowed 10 days of school missed in a year, so there went half in one fell swoop less than a month into the year.  Now he's missed two more days, so I'm going to have to push him out the door tomorrow even if he's only running at about 70%.

To add to that, Delena has been punky all day.  She's had a slight fever and is just bagging around, so I know she's going to likely be out tomorrow.  She missed another day at some point, so I'm sure the attendance folk will be giving me a call. 

[I am watching the TNT version of "A Christmas Carol" with Patrick Stewart as Scrooge right now and I have to say, it is very possibly the best I've ever seen.  Absolutely marvelous.]

[Oh my!  They remade "The Goodbye Girl" with Jeff Daniels and Patricia Heaton.  Must see this!]

Where was I?  Oh, Delena.  If she didn't have the slight fever, I'd think she was faking me out (and I'm listening to Dylan cough - he wasn't diggin the Sucrets I tried to push on him - as I type this).  My kids aren't sick very often, but when they do it, they really go for it.

Christmas shopping is done.  Ran out of money before I ran out of Christmas spirit, but I'll put that spirit to some other Christmas outlet.  I've still got the cooking to do, some candy and cookies and such.  The big boys wait for that all year long.  :)  I make divinity, peanut butter fudge, chocolate fudge, potato candy and rice krispie candy.  I made the popcorn balls, but the humidity kept them all sticky.  Delena and Valerie (Josh's girlfriend) baked the sugar cookies and frosted a few, then got bored.  Delena and her friend, Crista, worked on a few more yesterday, BUT they were eating this horrible sour gooze candy at the time and it funked up the cookies something fierce.  There are still some bald ones and I've got a bit of powdered sugar, so it's *on* and I'm going to do it right. 

["A Christmas Carol" is almost over and ol' Patty Stewart is really going for it.  I'm wholly impressed.  I'm sure TNT will air it a few hundred more times before Christmas and I totally recommend it.]

Each of the kids are getting a nice gift and a few smaller ones.  I got Joe and Sandra's (Joe is my son in Canada and Sandra is his wunnerful wife) box mailed out on Saturday and the post office is under the impression it will arrive on time.  Had a couple of other small packages to mail out as well.  I was very excited to find that Wal-Mart had their games on sale for only about $5 each, so I was able to get a new Candy Land, new Chutes and Ladders, new Scrabble, new Clue and new dominoes for all of the kids to share.  This means I can toss their old games, missing pieces and with broken boxes without guilt.  I can integrate some of the old pieces to make the games more interesting, but most will go bye-bye in the dark of night.  For all those who are pinching every Christmas penny until it screams like a banshee, I would like to suggest second hand video game shops (their Nintendo - original - and Genesis games are only a couple of bucks most of the time and the Super Nintendo isn't much more expensive than that), thrift stores (Lots of stuff that I can spruce up to look new - if you put WD-40 on Barbie hair, gently brush it and then let it air out for a few days, it unfrizzes it a lot of the time.  I swear, they should sell replacement Barbie heads), pawn shops and (if you catch it in time) E-bay, Amazon Marketplace and  I can't remember the last time I bought something at full price on the net. 

It's almost impossible for me to use my mother's methods, being to make wonderful Christmas gifts.  For one thing, I just don't have the Artsy Craftsy gene anywhere in me (I think my craft gene misread its instructions and became the Craft gene) and I'm completely helpless at creative stuff involving glue or anything of the like.  I can sew fairly well, but my sewing machine screwed up (the bottom tension would not adjust) and when I went to the ol' internet for help, all I could find was a whole slew of message board entries of people griping about this particular model, which by all accounts, was only made for one year because it was made without a lower tension adjustment and inevitably, the lower tension drifts out of the proper setting, then you have a large, ugly paperweight.  No way can I get another one right now, so it's where?  In my garage of misfit crap.  Not to mention that at any given moment, I have about 5000 people around me asking what I'm doing and making sure I don't feel lonely or unloved.  [insert weak smile here]  Nah, don't let me kid you.  I wub dem.

The Dollar Tree and other dollar stores are your friends, unless they are the fake dollar stores where all prices start at a dollar.  McFrugals, Pick and Save and other budget stores (did you ever notice how they all smell the same?) are also good for picking up cheap gifts. 

Christmas lights are quite cheap now and can really up the cheer factor.  Around here, you can get 100 for $2-3 and when you line a window or two, it really spruces things up.

I have also found that if you have young children, you can wrap up 2-3 coloring books or sticker books separately and they go with the "quantity beats quality" joy factor.  I've even broken apart a package of Playdoh to divide among kiddies. 

One of the most evil things my mother used to do that I do NOT emulate is she would beat us to the cereal boxes all year long, rob out the toys and then cram our stockings full of about 10-12 of the little toys each.  Of course, back then you got cool stuff in cereal like the little submarines and diver guys who had a compartment you'd fill with baking powder. Put them in a jar of water and they'd dive up and down.   

One of the coolest things about Christmas when I was growing up was that Mom would always put a giant orange in the toe of our stocking. It was one of the only times in a year that we could get oranges.  She'd also make doll clothes like mad for months before Christmas and my lord!  That woman made the most beautiful Barbie and baby doll clothes!  She was also really great at making stuffed toys.  She'd see it in her head and then it'd be standing on her sewing table in a couple of days.  She'd crochet doll clothes, sew doll clothes and even glue together felt doll clothes and they'd look so marvelous.  My grandfather would always bring over miniature York peppermint patties and help dad put together old bikes into one good one and give them a nice paint job (Dad painted cars for a living, so he was good at it).  He built us wagons and tables for our rooms and beds for my dolls.  My mom and dad were so great at taking nothing and creating a fantastic Christmas. 

One thing I'm sorry that my children have missed out on is that my Granny and my mom made the best snow cream ever.  You couldn't make it with the first snow, no matter how deep it got.  It always had to be the second snow or beyond and they'd get a huge dishpan of it, mix it with milk and eggs and vanilla and lord knows what else and it was so delicious (Crap, I just remembered I'm out of vanilla, so no cooking tomorrow.  Oh well, I'll get some tomorrow night)

Dad would always bring home on Christmas Eve a carton of RC Cola in glass bottles and we'd leave RC and homemade cookies out for Santa.  Santa always indulged.  :)  Mom used to put the RC in the freezer until there were tiny ice crystals in it and pop the top at just the right time.

I wish I knew what happened to my mom's Christmas ornaments when she died.  Shit.  I wanted some of those.  There were even some she had from when she was a girl.

Tomorrow is AHD (Aggressive Housecleaning Day).  I did almost nothing today (OK, I actually DID nothing) and I need to play catch up a bit.  (Man, that kid is still coughing, just that itchy throat thing, not the yakking up sputum thing)  I think I can actually be ready to tackle some cleaning having taking a day off from it without prejudice (ok, probably I can be ready).  Eric was also a total layabout, so we highfived one another on our lack of productivity and agreed it was a good thing indeed.  For tomorrow, it's back to work, plus I have to write the News and Gossip column for Eye on Soaps.  That's usually a procedure of many hours as I dig and sift and sort the info.

Given the day that awaits, but varying degrees of sick kiddies, plus it's almost midnight, I should likely get to snoozing pretty soon.

I hope your week is just absolutely tremendous and that you sail into Winter Solstice (that'd be Sunday, folks) with a joyful heart and a jubilant spirit.  (I fully intend to do just that!!)

Much love,