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Month: September 2009

So let’s talk about my new Frigidaire Range and Microwave!

So let’s talk about my new Frigidaire Range and Microwave!

So beautiful it makes me want to be a better woman...I mean cook!
So beautiful it makes me want to be a better woman...I mean cook!

Can I just tell you how much I am in love with my new range and microwave?  I know that people who know me are shocked….totally shocked to hear that I care even a little bit about anything that has to do with cooking.  Why?  Well, it may have something to do with the fact that I am a horrible cook.  Not bad.  Not a little un-gourmet.  But terrible.  In  fact, the stories of my cooking were so infamous, I actually received a phone call from an Oprah producer to verify the facts of my kitchen disasters.

But along comes my brand new range and microwave and my inner Julia Childs is being born.  I mean, just look at this gorgeous set that now resides in my kitchen.  Who wouldn’t fall in love with these?  You would have to be a fool to not see how these can change someone’s entire attitude.  But let’s pretend they are not gorgeous. (Even though they absolutely are!) And let’s put aside the fact that they are so  beautiful I want to redecorate my entire kitchen around them. (Because I do!)  Look at these time saving features:

  • Largest Range Capacity with Second Oven: Cook a large meal effortlessly with our double oven range, offering the largest cooking capacity       available so you can cook two meals, at different temperatures, at once.
  • Quick Preheat: Preheat in less than 6 minutes.*  *Based on single rack cooking performance, not set temperature, using Quick Preheat.
  • Quick Boil: Boils water faster.
  • One-Touch Options: Our ovens feature easy-to-use one touch buttons so you can cook pizza or chicken nuggets – or even add a minute to the timer – with the touch of a button.

Even a non-cook like myself appreciates the simplicity and amazing features such as these.  In fact, it’s these features that make me feel less intimidated and eager to cook.  Yes, I went there and said that.  Eager to cook.

But let’s not forget the amazing features of my new microwave.  I mean, my old microwave was a joke!  To have such an amazing  microwave is a blessing to me!

·       Thanks to Effortless Reheat™ you can revive almost any leftover at the touch of a button.

·       Our SpaceWise™ Rack creates more room so you can cook multiple dishes at once.

·       Easy-to-use One-Touch Options let you cook chicken nuggets, baked potatoes or popcorn at the touch of a button.

I mean I can pop popcorn during a movie with just one touch and not burn it.  I can reheat the great meal I cooked from the night before and it is actually thoroughly heated!  I can even cook more than one thing at a time in the microwave on those nights I just don’t feel like cooking AND it is actually very cook.  There is nothing “microwave tasting” about those meals.  For me and my family, that is a blessing!

I will even invite you over for dinner one night.  Just call ahead because my new Frigidaire range and microwave did not come with a house cleaner.  BUT, now I have more time to clean since I am spending less time worrying about what to cook, how to cook it and whether or not I will mess it up.  Frigidaire makes it too easy to worry!

This post was written in conjunction with Frigidaire and Mom Central. I was sent a Frigidaire range and microwave to try with my family. All of the opinions expressed in these Frigidaire posts are mine and mine alone.

The one where I realize how important it is to breathe

The one where I realize how important it is to breathe

Today I had one of those fun filled days where I got to spend it in the hospital.  Let me just tell you one thing about me.  Unless I am giving birth (and I am so NOT doing that ever again), I do not want to be in a hospital. Ever. They are scary, germy and people have needles (and use them)!  For real. They actually find it acceptable to take your blood, poke a needle right into your butt and inject you with (a painful) medicine that will make you feel like a freak on speed AND then they come back and take more blood with a needle sucking it straight from your arm.  I don’t know about you, but I am pretty sure that kind of behavior would be totally and absolutely illegal on the street!  Yet, every day people in scrubs or white coats get away with this kind of activity with no guilt or consequences and we allow this to happen. We let them into our room and we are all like, “Hi there, oh bearer of the needle!  Would you like to puncture me and also drain me of my blood?  Be my guest.  And?  I will totally pay you to do it!”

I allowed it to happen today!

So, apparently I have learned that:

  • Passing out is not normal and should be avoided at all costs.
  • You really should not take the act of breathing for granted.  It is a rather important function even if you don’t think about it.    When you feel as if you are breathing through a Capri-Sun straw, it is rough and…well…sucks. (Pun intended.)
  • You should not wait until you can barely function before seeing a doctor if these things happen.
  • Finally, you should not scare your Facebook friends by saying you are in the hospital, posting a photo just saying you want to go home and want your husband without any more of an explanation than that.  It will worry them and then you will feel like an ass for worrying them just because you are a big ol’ scaredy cat baby head.  *Note:  I totally am a big baby when it comes to doctors who don’t know what is wrong with me and I am all alone in the hospital. Big. Huge. Cry. Baby.
I am SO not a fan of hospitals. See how pathetic I look?
I am SO not a fan of hospitals. See how pathetic I look?

I was finally sent home and told to go to bed and stay there. For a few days. (Pending blood work results.)  Stay in bed. For a few days.  hahahahahahaha  Are these people high on their own medication?  The ability of a mom of 3 to stay in bed for days is about the same as reversing the tides and having the sun rise in the west.  Now, don’t get me wrong.  I will try to follow doctor’s orders as best I can.  (Meaning, when the family is away, I will sleep/rest.)   And?  I know better than to try to go up to the school.  I have been threatened asked nicely by my friends to stay the hell away take my time to recuperate.

I will know more tomorrow from all of the eleventy hundred vials of blood they took from me today.  They are thinking my lungs sound not quite wet enough for pneumonia and are leaning towards thinking I have whooping cough.  Now, really!  This is 2009.  Who the hell gets whooping cough at age 39 in the year 2009?  That is just ludicrous.  All I know is I am coughing violently enough and often enough to literally burst vessels in my face and eyes.  (Nasty, right?  I know!)  I may or may not have coughed up my spleen earlier.  The dog ate it before I could check.  (I’m kidding. Relax. I don’t let him eat spleen.)  I have a fever.  My chest and back hurt.  And can I just tell you how tired I am.  EXCEPT the sheer bliss that are the breathing treatments have me wired like a cocaine addict.

And in all that?  I feel blessed.  WTH you say, Jenn?  No, really.  I have great friends who have checked on me that are local, out of the city, out of the state and even out of the country.  That (of course) brought me to tears.  (Because everything brings me to tears when I am sick.  But really, it touched me.)  And even old friends I haven’t seen in years checked up to make sure I was okay.  That kind of shocked me.  I was just whining because I was scared and suddenly people are showing real concern.  Thank you.  I would hug you but I hear I am contagious so you probably don’t want that.

I will update you later.  For now, thank you to my friends– old, new and renewed– for your show of support.  Now, since we are in such a nice loving state of mind, can I please borrow one of your lungs.  I will give it back.  Well, I really won’t but I will be thankful to breath and will tattoo your name on my….bicep.  Just one lung?  Maybe?

Okay.  I am off to bed to lay there and flail around like a fish flopped out of water onto a dock gasping for air but shaking like a freak.  (That is called imagery boys and girls.  And some people call it medically induced writing.)

My blog, my friend. My blog, my enemy. MY BLOG. Period.

My blog, my friend. My blog, my enemy. MY BLOG. Period.

I have had so many things to say but have found myself in a position I swore I would never be stuck in with this blog.  I find myself needing to censor myself.  I mean really, when do you ever see me put an “*”  in the middle of a word so it suddenly is not such a curse word after all.  I mean, really? (That is my next post but this one became too long.)

I guess it started when I found more and more people in my real life reading my blog.  Now, I was outed  years ago by a friend who loved the blog and shared it with friends at school.  That did not bother me.  They commented or admitted to reading it or just flat out didn’t care.  I could be myself.  That is what this blog is all about.  It doesn’t bother me that people I see on a daily basis read this.  I have nothing to hide.  Not exactly.  It is just that it becomes a one way street.  They are allowed into my private life and into my thoughts but I am not privy to theirs.  It seems…off balance.  You can know me, but I cannot know you.  That doesn’t so much work for me.

Oh, but on the humorous side of this, I did have a mom from the school who emailed me a few days ago.  You see– for those of you just joining us– I am the PTA president at the school of one of my kids.    Now, if you have been here for a while that statement is STILL making you laugh.  I get it.  I do!  But this email was classic.

Dear Jennifer, PTA President,

I came across your blog the other day. (It wasn’t hard to find.  You might want to think about not being so visible if you are taking on such a big volunteer role.  Especially when the kid is so young.)  However, I found a few posts that made me wonder how you must be feeling about your words now.  These posts are not very flattering to the PTA and now you stand up as their president. It seems a bit hipocritical [sic]. I wanted to know how you feel about the PTA now and if you take back what you said now that you are “the leader” of the “Stepfords”.

From,

A Mom Out To Cause Trouble

Well, in answer to your question, pretty damn good.

Here is my response:

Dear Mom Trying to Cause Trouble,

I have two policies on my blog:  1) I do not delete a post UNLESS I have directly inflicted pain on someone unintentionally and 2) I do not say anything on my blog that I would not say to someone’s face. (Oh, and let’s throw in #3: No nude pictures. Of me.)

Thank you so much for pointing out these old posts!  I mean it!  It really reminds me what it felt like to be treated so badly and to feel so unwelcome.  Your email helps remind me I never want to make anyone who volunteers at the school feel that way.  You must be very caring to ensure that I am reminded of that bad time so that I can avoid it while I am in a position that holds at least a little bit of power.

Thank you so much for your concern and caring for our volunteers!

I look forward to seeing you at school,

~Jenn

For those of you who have been here a while, you are surely aware of what she is talking about.  For those of you who are new, here are links to the horrible, awful, no good posts I wrote.  Including trying to fake my own death to avoid the PTA.  (Again, I am not apologetic about my words.  I was working with women who were the Meanie Moms of the school and they had no problem excluding, belittling and bringing volunteers to tears.)

These posts (if you look at the year they were written) are old.  I still stand by them because I was treated in a manner that I hope a PTA volunteer at the school I am active in is NEVER, EVER treated.  It was a horrible time in my life and a horrible way to be treated by anyone.  Now?  Now I know I set myself up for mocking because of these old posts.  Do I care?  Sure!  I already feel like an outsider anyway. However, I am strong enough to take it.  I know that what I went through only made me more determined to make sure anyone who wants to volunteer is not only welcome, but praised for their work.  Whether it is one hour every other month or 15 hours a week.  They all matter.  They ALL deserve respect.  I am thankful for each of them!

So, Ms. Mom Trying To Cause Trouble, take your spite elsewhere.  If you want to volunteer, you are welcome to do so.  If you want to try to make me look bad?  Oh, honey, I do that enough on my own and really don’t need your help, thankyouverymuch.

Anyone else have stones?  Feel free to hurl them.  Trust me.  I can take it.



An Open Letter to the (Future) New Owners of My Childhood Home

An Open Letter to the (Future) New Owners of My Childhood Home

Dear new home owners,

I know to you this house you just bought is fresh and exciting and you are eager to make it your own.  I thought maybe if you knew a bit about it, you would learn to love it much faster than if it was just a “house” you slapped down a huge mortgage for.  It was my childhood home and in a way, like a member of the family.

You see, I get that a house consists basically of four walls and a roof.  A home?  That is a totally different story.  A home is the place where you live.  Where you are loved.  The place where you create your memories.  It is the place where you are free to be happy or sad, share laughter or tears, argue and make up.  A home is your safe place to land when you fall.  I hope you can make this place your home for you and for any children you have.  She will take good care of you if you love her.

Growing up, my home was the place to be.  Ask any of my friends (many are on Facebook and can tell you) that my home was where people liked to go hang out.  Sometimes, they would go there even when I wasn’t home yet just to hang out with my Mom.  (I used to get so frustrated that my friends would hang with her before me.  I now realize how incredible that is.)  Mom was not known by “Mrs.” or her first name.  To everyone who was my friend and knew her, she was simply Mom. Mom to the world.  She made my house growing up a wonderful home.  Dad was the same way.  Of course, he was at a disadvantage working so much and missed out on many chances to blatantly steal hang out with most of my friends.  Either way, my parents gave me an amazing home while I was growing up.  The house you have just bought.

Now?  You own that  house.  It is hard to put into words why this is breaking my heart.  In fact, I hesitate to say anything because I have already caused hurt feelings by being so attached to a “house”.  But that house was my home long after I was married and owned my own home.  It was where I went to find peace.  It was the place I went when I needed to remember who I was, where I came from and just– for a little while– be a kid no matter how old I was.

I have the most amazing memories this house I grew up in.  Memories that I feel helped make me who I am today.  Memories that shape the woman I became and the Mom I want to be.  I lived there.  I mean, I really “lived” there for so many years.  It holds my past.  Here are just a few that I cherish and am holding on to now.

Bringing home my first best friend after we moved there and having her sleep over.  We stayed up all night bugging the DJ’s on the radio. (79Q AM Rocked!) After hours of middle of the night calling,  I finally won A Flock of Seagulls record.  My best friend and I shared our deepest secrets in my room.  It was also the same room I cried my eyes out when that very same friendship shattered.

Bringing home boys who wanted to go out with me and letting them meet my parents.  Worse yet, letting them meet my brother after one of them broke my heart.

Getting together with my circle of friends and talking well into the night and playing “truth or truth” because we were all too tired to actually do any dares.  (I learned a lot from those nights!)

Having friends come over and hang out even if I wasn’t there because they adored Mom and had just as much fun– if not more fun– with her than with me.

Having the boy who I knew was “the one” stay over night downstairs (with very squeaky stairs to prevent any sneaking up or down them, I might add) so he wouldn’t have to drive home so late at night.

Being proposed to in the middle of the night one weekend home from college in front of that oh-so-ugly couch that we all had to endure when we had a date over.  Crying and saying yes and wanting to shout but knowing it was our secret until morning.

Having my best friend stay with me the night before my wedding as we laughed and talked and were just enjoying our time together.

Remembering how Dad woke me up with a rose on my wedding day.

Coming home to stay with my Mom and Dad for the summer after our son Jacob died because Clint was transferred out of state and I needed a safe place to stay until the company offered him a full time position in Dallas.  Remembering the comfort that being with my Mom and Dad brought to me while I mourned the loss of my baby.  Knowing that in that home, in my room, I would always be taken care of at any age.

Two of my three children had their first birthday parties there.

It is where we all gathered for Thanksgiving and Christmas.

It is where I go when I need to feel the cocoon of my youth, the safety of my childhood.

It was the last place my Mom lived.  I mean really lived.  The last place she laughed.  The last place she walked.  The last place she stood up and gave me a real hug.  It is the one place I can go and really and truly feel my Mom.  When I am there, I feel her as if she could reach out and hug me at any moment.  In a way, that house is where I go when I need to feel safe and to feel Mom.

It is my childhood home.

I know that it is a “house” and these memories will stay with me no matter where my Dad lives.  But I have to be honest enough to say, I will miss that childhood home terribly.  I understand life moves forward and you have to move forward with it.  I just wish I could keep the house and still move forward.

Dad is not selling the house “just because he wants to” or because it is too big now.  There is wonderful reason he is moving and I am thrilled for him.  (He is getting married.)  That is a cause for celebration.  In that respect, I am very happy for him and for the new journey this will take all of us on.

I do still feel like I am losing a part of my family now that you have bought this house.

I may get sad now and then when I think about it and want to see it.  So, if you see a woman in a van outside staring at your new house and crying, I am not crazy.  I am just remembering.

By then, our home will have become your house. (And I do so hope, your  home.)   And like I said before, a home is where your family is, where the ones you love live.  You can make any house a home.  I know that.  I just wanted to say, I really, really do love my childhood home.  It was very good to me.

So, new owners, please take good care of her. She was good to us and holds more memories than I can share.  I thought about letting you know how to bypass the squeaky stairs (there is a way,  you know) or the various nooks and crannies that hold secrets, but you will have to find those out by yourself.  It is yours to discover.

All I ask of you is this:  Love her.  Because?  She is very loved by many.

Warmest wishes and best of luck in your new home,

~Jenn

ps- My Dad’s house has not sold yet.  But I know it will and by then, it will be too hard to write this.

PPS- The house sold. And I was right…there is no way I could write this now. (04/13/2012)

The Brutal Sisters: We Get “Stuff” Done! Or how my sister and I cleaned out 30 years worth of stuff and laughed our way through it!

The Brutal Sisters: We Get “Stuff” Done! Or how my sister and I cleaned out 30 years worth of stuff and laughed our way through it!

Just before school started, I went to my Dad’s house to help my sister clean it and declutter it from top to bottom so that he can put it on the market to sell.  We (and by “we” of course I mean my parents) bought that house 30 years ago.  That means 30 years of clutter, memories, stuff, clothes, books, etc.  You name it, I am sure we came across it.  From prom dresses to wedding dresses, baby clothes to baby dolls, trophies to report cards; it was all there.  We went through every closet, drawer and even the attic.  The attic that is the place where “stuff” goes not to die but to multiply!

I thought it was going to be very hard emotionally to go through all of this.  To take 30 years of memories and be brutal enough to discard most of it and save only what we really felt was of value to us personally.  I mean, let’s face it. It doesn’t take much to make me cry.  I even cried on the way down there just thinking about it.  In all honesty, it really wasn’t as hard on me emotionally as it was physically.  Hauling 30 years worth of stuff from it’s storage is some serious labor!  My body was bruised, cut and sore all over.  I was not expecting it to take the physical toll on me that it did.

My sister and I talked about what we would do if it became too emotional etc and she admitted she wanted to make sure I could be brutal if I had to be.  (We both have husbands telling us not to bring all of that “stuff” back to our own houses!)  I told her it may take some time, but we would get through it if  I was emotional.

It took about 30 minutes for me to get over that!  The job was so overwhelmingly huge, we did not have time to wallow in sentiment.  Now, had I been on my own, it would have taken much longer and been much more difficult.  However, I was with my sister.  If there is one thing my sister and I do together, it is laugh.  Cleaning out decades worth of “stuff” is no exception.  If you did not know us, you may think we were being brutal.  Hell, my dad even thought we were a bit brutal at times.  It’s just that we had to be.  We simply had to be to!  It was necessary to  1) Make sure we did not get bogged so far down into sentiment that we kept everything and 2) We did not have time to be sentimental over everything.  We had a schedule to keep.

Going through a closet went something like this:

Remember this?

Yeah?

Important?

Nope.

Trash it!

This?

Oh, I remember when Mom wore that to _____ !

Oh, me too!

Trash.

Is this yours?

Yes.

Care?

Nope.

Trash.

And that was how it went for every closet, drawer etc.  Except we laughed at almost every turn.  You wouldn’t believe the things we found.  While they held memories, we probably got rid of it.  Every thing that held a story would get a laugh at the memory or a laugh at how brutal we were about the memory.  The only things that did stop us for more than a few seconds were the pictures.  We did love to look at the pictures.  Finally,  we decided all pictures go into one stack/box etc. until we had time to really enjoy looking at them.  That got us back on our speedy track.

See how attractive I am after a half day of attic cleaning? (Purple face break)
See how attractive I am after a half day of attic cleaning? (Purple face break)

I will admit that we put off going through the attic for as long as we could.  Just picture it.  A week of cleaning already behind us.  A hot attic with no ventilation filled with dust and insulation in the heat of an August day in Texas.  (Are you seeing why this did not sound like a pleasure cruise?)

It went about like this:

  • Up the attic stairs.
  • Get a box.
  • Down the attic stairs.
  • Make a pile of boxes.
  • When the boxes reach the bottom of the attic stairs, we close the attic stairs and begin the trek down the house stairs out to the garage.
  • Repeat about 50 times. (At the minimum.  I am totally serious about that.  It was at least that many trips.)

We only had a few rules:

  • You begin to cough up insulation, we take a break. (Not quit.  Just a break.)
  • Your face turns purple, we take a break. But just until the purple turns a light shade of red. (Drink water  during this break!)
  • You have to pee, you hold it.
  • You fall down the stairs, you brush it off and may get a break if there is blood.
  • A kid is screaming, has broken something of value or has escaped, you get a short break to get another kid to tend to him.
  • You pass out, you’re on your break until you come to.

But let me tell you this about me and my sister.  We get sh*t done!  There are no trips down Memory Lane.  We are cruising down, Get It Done Drive.  We don’t want to play “Do You Remember When…”   We would much rather play “Trash and Dash So We Can Shower”.   I know it sounds cold but it is necessary when you are going through so much. Did I mention 30 YEARS worth of stuff.  And?  Our Mom was a packrat.  Big time. Massively.  Over the top!  I do believe that this exercise in massive cleaning has cured me of the packrat disease.  If I can’t wear it, use it or store it in what little room I have allowed, I will take a picture of it and trash it.

Brutal?

Yeah, tell me how brutal I am after I have lived here 30 years and YOU get to clean out my stuff.  For that matter, I have only been in this house for 13 years and am already overwhelmed with the crap.  And?  I have zero volunteers (including my husband and kids) to help me declutter.

What I really wish is that my sister and I lived closer to each other?  Why?  Well, besides the obvious that she is one of my very best friends and can make me laugh like no one else, we could start one incredibly successful business of just cleaning out people attics and closets.  I can see it now:

“The Brutal Sisters: We Get Sh*t Done!”

Hey, I would hire us.  Hmmm, maybe I can pay my sister to come help with my house.  Of course, the payment would have to be laughter and the joy of my company.  And wine.  But that is about all it took for us to get through about 85 bags of trash in one week with Dad.  Imagine all we could do here!

So, for now the hardest part is over.  At least the hardest physical part.  Next up?  The emotional part.  When the house sells.  Why does it matter?  Stay tuned for part 2 of this and you will see why it matters to me.

Effortless cooking is a blessing and a time saver!

Effortless cooking is a blessing and a time saver!

Brandon loves the new range. Baking his own cake!
Brandon loves the new range. Baking his own cake!

Now that we are back in the swing of school I have to admit something.  I am exhausted!  Between PTA, school schedules, picking up 3 kids at 3 different schools the last thing I want to do at the end of the day is cook.  That is why I am totally loving my Frigidaire range.  It is so easy.  Whether I want to just throw in my (not quite) 200 chicken nuggets, a pizza or go all out and cook a meal, this new oven makes  life so easy!  In fact, I even have my kids helping me cook.

Yesterday my oldest son turned 16.  Rather than buy him a cake at the store, I wanted to give him a home baked one.  When he saw me getting everything ready, HE decided that he wanted to bake his own cake.  Now, let me tell you this.  That was a first.  I have never had any of my kids want to bake, cook or have anything to do with my kitchen.  In fact, with the ease of clean-up, he even made sure the stove top stayed pristine clean.  If for no other reason than that I have dubbed my new range and microwave my favorite miracle machines in my home

Some great of this appliance (which you will notice include my favorite nuggets and pizza cooking features) are:

  • Largest Range Capacity with Second Oven: Cook a large meal effortlessly with our double oven range, offering the largest cooking capacity available so I can cook two meals, at different temperatures, at once. Meaning, if you get me in the kitchen, I can whip out meals for two nights at the same time!)
  • Quick Preheat: Preheat in less than 6 minutes.*  *Based on single rack cooking performance, not set temperature, using Quick Preheat.(I no longer have to wait forever to preheat the over to back something. AND?  It tells me with a beep that it has preheated!)
  • Quick Boil: Boils water faster. (An amazing feature on those nights all I can muster for a meal is spaghetti.)
  • One-Touch Options: This oven even features easy-to-use one touch buttons so I can cook pizza or chicken nuggets – or even add a minute to the timer – with the touch of a button.

I mean seriously…one touch cooking.  It just doesn’t get easier than that!  I do so love my Frigidaire range.  With all of my heart.  (And with all of my stomach.)  Being this busy suddenly doesn’t mean take out fast food.  It means fast cooked food at home!

This post was written in conjunction with Frigidaire and Mom Central. I was sent a Frigidaire range and microwave to try out on my family. All of the opinions expressed in these Frigidaire posts are mine and mine alone.