Monday, July 23, 2007

Humor from Mimi (my grandmother--no, REALLY!)

John the farmer was in the fertilized egg business. He had several hundred young layers (hens), called "pullets," and ten roosters, whose job it was to fertilize the eggs (for you city folks).

The farmer kept records and any rooster that didn't perform went into the soup pot and was replaced. That took an awful lot of his time, so he bought a set of tiny bells and attached them to his roosters. Each bell had a different tone so John could tell from a distance, which rooster was performing. Now he could sit on the porch and fill out an efficiency report simply by listening to the bells.

The farmer's favorite rooster was old Butch, and a very fine specimen he was, too. But on one particular morning John noticed old Butch's bell hadn't rung at all! John went to investigate.

The other roosters were chasing pullets, bells-a-ringing. The pullets, hearing the roosters coming, would run for cover. But to Farmer John's amazement, old Butch had his bell in his beak, so it couldn't ring. He would sneak up on a pullet, do his job and walk on to the next one.

John was so proud of old Butch, he entered him in the County Fair and he became an overnight sensation among the judges.

The result...The judges not only awarded old Butch the No Bell Piece Prize but they also awarded him the Pulletsurprise as well.

Clearly old Butch was a politician in the making: Who else but a politician could figure out how to win two of the most highly coveted awards on our planet by being the best at sneaking up on the populace and screwing them when they weren't paying attention!

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

It's HOT here!

Happy blazin' summer, folks! Okay, I know for those of you in the Southeastern part of the country, you're wishing you could remind me of how hot 99-99 is, and don't think I've forgotten. Dear Husband and I were discussing when we might go to see Mom (in the hot and humid Southeastern part of the country) just this morning, and I made no secret that the worst times to be there are July and August. I love you guys, but let's plan some time when we'll have any energy left to do more than look at each other and weakly laugh!

Summer here is warm, and as I walk down the streets of Downtown, I am reminded how the term heat wave came into being. The heat just rises in ripples off of the sidewalks, and it has been somewhat humid lately--okay, humid by our standards, anyway! It has been clouding up in the afternoon with thunderstorms--some of which produce more than just garden-threatening winds! When I got home yesterday, our spaghetti squash plants, which I have trained up onto two tomato cages (and they've overgrown those, too... not sure what I'm going to do with them next!) had nearly blown over. Never mind that branch of tomato plant, either. It's history! We do get to see some spectacular sunsets, though, because as the clouds usually break as the sun dips down, we are enjoying more reds thanks in part to smoke from the unfortunate fires in Utah and other parts of the country right now. God can use bad for good--the good being our enjoyment. DH and I take every opportunity to enjoy the paintings that God sends us every day. Hey, if you like seeing the mountains, maybe you should live here, too!

So, let's see... what's up with the family right now... I'll start with the youngest of the human children. Princess #3 is currently in Arizona enjoying the church's summer camp. DH and I dropped her off at the airport at SIX A.M. on Sunday (traditionally a day to sleep in, but not so this time around!) and she was chatty and excited--wish we felt the same. Talk about uncontrolled chaos: there were at least 52 kids trying to get checked in with the church and then checked in for their flights, plus parents trying to get one last hug out of the kids, plus "supervising" adults (not more than 5 kids per group leader), plus the extra yay-hoos in the group. Communication is KEY, people! Get a plan and then execute, already! Well, they finally got the group headed out to the terminal--made 'em walk to the terminal after giving everyone clear-cut instructions on how they were going to handle getting on the tram--at which point, Princess was completely oblivious to the fact that we were still there, waiting and hoping for one last wave. DH got a call from her on Tuesday; it sounds like she's having a blast, and really enjoying the camp. She says they have chapel services in the morning and the evening, and she's making some new friends. Hmm... she'll never convince me that she has a hard time with that! The return flight is due in on Friday at 10 p.m., so we're praying for no delays since airports are not the most comfortable hangout (nor the cheapest!) and DH has to work on Saturday morning. It's a good thing she's my favorite!

Let's see, the next human is Princess #2, and she's been in summer school since the 9th. In an effort to get ahead in high school (before she inevitably gets behind because homework comes first on the list AFTER boys, phone time, computer time, text-messaging time, boys, friends, sleeping, and getting beautified for ... phone time, computer time, etc...), she will be going all the rest of July, Mondays through Thursdays. She has a friend whose older sister is going to summer school as well, so it's not like she doesn't know anybody. Not that SHE ever has a hard time making friends, either! She is about the most socially-minded little girl I have ever known. She didn't get to go to the high-schoolers' church camp this summer because she was in Florida. I think it would have been a good one for her to attend, but alas, the time has come and gone... like sands through the hourglass! Princess #2 and I have a unique connection in that we're both the middle child in the family (well, so far for her); that makes her my favorite.

Little Miss Princess #1 has been doing fantastically at her job at a popular clothing store. She has been promoted in a little over a year from low man on the totem pole to assistant manager, and this was her first job! We have been cautious with her and this job, because she does intend to go to college; she seems to think that she will be able to work full time and still handle a full-time class schedule as well. I guess we'll see what her schedule looks like in the fall. We are thrilled that she is going to be taking classes at the local Community College. Not only is it close to home, but also, with the grades on her transcript and her now-busy schedule, not to mention the fact that she's 18 and has no idea what she wants to be when she grows up, it would seem foolish to fork out tons more money for the same (sometimes lesser!) education at a bigger, more prestigious university--at least for now. We are encouraging her to give the first couple of years her best efforts, and to crack out as many of the un-fun credits as possible so that she can enjoy the rest of her college career. We hope that she's able to get the grades that will reflect favorably on a university application and that she can transfer after two years at the Community College. Heck, knowing how hard a road it is when you're working and going to school, I'm just praying that she sticks it out, and I think she will. She's a good kid--takes right after her Dad, going into retail. Yep, she's definitely my favorite.

Okay, the non-human kids: Did I mention that we have some overweight dogs? Well, Candy, at least. Brandy was a little heavy, but she has so much energy, she burns it off and is probably right where she needs to be now that we've cut the food down. Oh, and she looks a lot less like a woolie bear since we groomed her! Candy, on the other hand, has also been losing weight, and is now having a much easier time keeping up with us when we all go for walks. She still pants heavily, but at least she doesn't try to lay down in the middle of the walk anymore! She also got groomed, and the groomers loved how playful and fun-loving she is. She is the hairiest golden retriever I have ever met, and as such, got a partial body-clipping. I tell you what: when they shaved her bum area, it was the funniest thing I think I had ever seen--fat dog, fuzzy dog, naked bum. YIKES!

The other non-human kids are doing fine, too. I think I'm going to take Beaujolais in to be fitted for a football helmet. She takes this snuggly-thing to a whole new level--she is now known as the Kamikazi Snuggler. She comes in at a lively pace and crashes into me, head-first, which turns into a body-slam. I secretly think she does it to wake me up, because she is usually initiating a snuggle either right as I'm falling asleep at night (like it was last night), or right after that snooze button gets smashed in the morning. I guess she thinks that's when she has a captive audience. It would be a lot easier to resist her if she weren't so darn cute! Wulfgang has taken to talking a lot more these days. He has a tendency to sit by the food bowl in the kitchen (the only one into which anything resembling canned food might land) and demand that something appear. Initial unmet requests are repeated. Frequently. He also has taken to drinking water out of the reservoirs under our containers in the garden. He gets fresh water in the bowl every day, and still has to steal it from the 'maters... Go figure! His snuggle times are when Chris is in the recliner or I am on the couch. He isn't as much of a bedtime snuggler as his cohort; perhaps he doesn't want to have to "compete" with her when she's in 'Nuggle Nazi mode.

DH is having fun as well as frustrations in his project at the SuperK. He called me yesterday, and there was a tone in his voice that spoke of a rare excitement... I could tell something was up when he asked me, "Did you know that lemon meringue pies are on sale today at SuperK for $2.99? Today only, save two dollars!" Well, let's just say that the pie on sale that day is pretty tasty! It's great to hear the excitement and passion for his work in his voice--and it's very contagious. He explained to me that the cashier's were in a contest to see who could sell the most pies, and the positive energy was thrumming through the whole store. Long gone are those blue-light specials! DH is still in his training project, and we won't know anymore about where they want him to work until after the project is over. I know, I know! This not knowing is driving us crazy, too!

I have also been completely inundated at work. We have been working a drilling schedule that is constantly changing--it's like aiming at a moving target, only to realize that the target is completely gone and now there's another one. I am constantly amazed at all the pieces that must be in place in order for a single well to be drilled, hooked up to pipeline, and produce revenues. Believe me, people, the prices you are paying at the pump may be driving higher profits for oil companies at the moment, but it truly is based on supply and demand, and the cost of doing business doesn't even get considered by all those politicians that are screaming "price-gouging!" In ANY market, there are ups and downs; it's to be expected. I, personally, am enjoying riding this wave. I love being this busy!

Well, it's that time again... I gotta sign off and go live some life. Maybe one of these days I'll get some pictures posted... I guess I'd have to be at my own computer to do that! On that note, I'm outta here!

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

If it's tough for us, what must you all be going through?

Sorry, I couldn't quite bring myself to write "y'all" but I know that I'm "talking" to some Southerners here, and I'll never forget the day in high school when I called a bunch of my girlfriends "you guys" (truly a not-Southern thing!) and I got a talkin'-to! We're not GUYS, we're gals, so if you say 'y'all' then your bases are covered!

Okay, so back to the storyline here. It's VERY tough on us not knowing what's going on with Dear Husband's situation still. We have to remember daily (hourly, minute-by-minute, breath by breath!) to give it back to God because we trust that He has plans for us, and that they're better than anything we could think of. Oh, and all that worrying doesn't help, anyway! "Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -Matthew 6:34

DH's job is going well. He's back from Chicago, and I am LOVING having my husband in bed next to me where he belongs! Meanwhile, he's beginning to wonder if he's not a Christian living in the 21st century, but maybe a Hebrew slave living in the times of the great pharaohs.

He has been given a project in the Thornton Super K: to "fix" the broken grocery side of the store. How will this "fixing" be measured? By an increase in the bottom line. Period. How long does he have? Just six short weeks. Meanwhile, his drive to work is shorter than mine!

DH is really being challenged, though, and he does love a challenge. He is struggling with the personnel—there simply aren't enough people to do the jobs that need to be done, and some of them do require some experience. There have been a number of positions that are vacant—some for a short time, some for longer periods. The presentation in the store has suffered some, and the problem has compounded over time without proper guidance. He has a bevy of qualified department managers that could whip the store into shape, but the hiring and training process takes 6 weeks or more… too late to help him on his project, but certainly will help the store in the not-so-long run. Those changes take time, you know?

Now, he'll be the first to tell you: if your back stockroom is out of control, so is the rest of your store. Well, their back stockroom is… having a tough time. Getting it under control is fairly simple, given DH's experience with clearing out back stockrooms. It does, however, require a few bodies to move some freight around—like out on the sales floor, so customers can buy it and take it out of the store forever. Since they're short a few of those requisite bodies, he has taken the short-term approach of working all day Monday, and then deciding he needs to go back and work the graveyard shift with the night stockers. I don't know how long this will continue, but he does have a line on some kid that used to work at the King Soopers down the way from our house that's dating the oldest daughter… I hear he's pretty good, so we'll be keeping you posted (hey, it's not a promise, it's a vague… "we'll neglect something else one day so we can blog about it").

Speaking of neglect… I need to get back to work. Just know this: we don't really know what's going on yet. DH has to complete this project, and then he does a panel interview. It will then be decided what his actual title will be—Food District Manager (he was teased with allover District Manager, but that carrot was taken back the other day), or whatever; and of course, the all-important where he will be. We have heard hints that they are considering keeping him right here as a Food DM, which would thrill us to no end. We continue to pray for that, and unabashedly ask for your prayers as well towards this end. Nevertheless, not my will, but Yours, Lord.

Thanks all—and we'll keep you posted on any possible future increases to the Kelley population as we have updates. (How's THAT for a cliffhanger!)


Friday, July 6, 2007

I know, I know!

Yeah, okay, so it's been two weeks again. Well, we've been busy, and we're still learning to remember to make this a priority!

So, here's the quick & dirty: My Dear Husband is BACK!!! YEAH!!! He got back on Friday, the 29th, and the girls also got back from vacationing with their Mom the same day--so we had a mostly full house on Friday. Princess #1 still only stays at her Mom's, but we're trying to encourage her to give us some face-time, too.

Saturday was a great day--woke up and took one really fat dog to the groomers, and went home to work on the other one (also fat, but not as much so). I had taken them both to the vet's on Thursday night (they have to be current on rabies and kennel cough vaccinations before the groomer will work on them), and got the "your dog is FAT" diagnosis--Candy should weigh in somewhere between 70 and 75 lbs, she's sitting at 5 score and 2! Well, they're lazy, and to be fair, we are too--they don't get walked as often as they should; oh, and they were being fed more than a little bit too much, so they've been "cut back" now. Well, Brandy, our little Fox Wire Terrier, (Terrorist, if you ask me) has had cloudy eyes for a while now, and we noticed some time ago that she was now blind, but it hasn't seemed to slow her down a bit. He (the vet) ran some tests, and determined that she had glaucoma in both eyes--very unusual for dogs to get glaucoma in the first place, but there you are. He also said that the odds of her getting any of her sight back is slim, but that we could go through ridiculously expensive procedures to try and restore her vision. Bearing in mind that the words you just read are my paraphrasing of what he said, we just aren't as willing as some of our neighbors to spend thousands of dollars on a pup--dollars that might be wasted since he indicated the success of any such procedures would be questionable. I asked him what our other options were, and it looks like --PLEASE don't panic or be upset, because it really is okay--Brandy is going to lose her eyes. Not much different than she is now--she's already blind (which, I might add, happened very quickly), but the pressure associated with glaucoma apparently does cause some pain. Not that you'd know it from watching her--you can tell she's blind, because she walks right into things, but she doesn't shy away like she's in any pain. Anyway, we're topically medicating her now and waiting to hear from the vet on her bloodwork which has to be run before she can be put asleep for the surgery. Candy (the first one--the Golden Retriever) needs some dental work, but other than that, she's just a (squish your face together by putting your hands on your cheeks and exerting forward pressure towards your mouth when you say these following words) chubby puppy!

Okay, so dogs... husband... how about kids? Well, it sounds like they had a fun time in Florida--Princess #3 laments being the youngest and getting the short end of the stick. I gotta tell you, no matter who you talk to, the oldest will tell you that they had way more rules, middle children feel lost because they're not the first and they're not the baby... it's just tough being a kid sometimes. We continue to have trouble with getting Princess #2 to understand that we're on her side, still problems with the communication, but we continue to work with her. Just last night, the four of us sat and watched a ridiculously stupid movie about witches that couldn't stand the smell of little children so they (the witches) concocted a potion to turn them (the children) into mice--it was really nice to get to spend some time together, without Princess #2 barricading herself in her room. I often wonder: Mom, did I do that? Anyway, Princess #1 had the day off today, so they're enjoying their season passes at the water park today--they'll be exhausted tonight, I'm sure!

Let's see, what else? Oh, yes, we've had a major holiday since last I wrote! Our Fourth was kicked off a day early when some friends of mine from my previous hometown hosted a BBQ. Andy almost fell down the mountain (not really, but if he ever does, nobody will believe him), Princess #3 got to see a potato cannon shot off, and we ate entirely too much food. It really was great to get to catch up with Steph & Gary (& Reggie!), Andy & Jen (at least, what's left of her!), Stacy, Shannon, Kaylee & Millie & Sam, Brian, Mark & Deanna, more... Got to meet some new friends too, including Staci's "new" guy Jason. I tell you what, God is GOOD! It looks like another match made in Heaven, and I can't wait to see what the future holds for them. We got home late (we left about three hours after I was first asked, "Are we going soon?") and so slept IN on Wednesday--DH woke me up at 6 a.m. and I was having no part of that, so we passed out for a couple more hours. Got up and got some groceries (Super-Kmarts have some of the best canteloupe I've ever had on sale for a buck apiece right now!) and then went home and made some homemade ice cream. When we were at the store, Princess #3 tried to get me to buy some of that packaged powder ice-cream mix, so I told her to read the ingredients label to me. When she couldn't, I asked her if she could spell "milk, cream, eggs, sugar, vanilla" and she said yes, and I responded with some smart-alec comment that I wasn't putting anything into my ice cream that she couldn't pronounce or spell, and she wouldn't regret it after she tasted it. Well, we also got some super-sweet bing cherries (on sale for $1.39/lb at the local SuperK location because they're overstocked), and I pitted and chopped some of those into some ice cream for my husband, sprinkled some pecans on his bowl, and he was in Heaven--even compared it with Braums, and for anyone that knows my husband, that's no small feat! Okay, so there's no ice cream left--except maybe that layered parfait that I hid from the kids in the freezer--I guess it was pretty good!

When it came time for fireworks, we had to jumpstart the truck (which won't run without a charged battery), and then it died as we tried to leave. We quickly bailed out of the truck when it died getting out of the driveway, and it was a family effort to push it back up onto the driveway. So, we split up and then promptly lost the kids (it's not like Princess #1 waited for us, or anything. I forgot how you're always in a hurry when you're 18) trying to figure out where we were going. It doesn't help that the town moved their fireworks this year, and we're always the last to find out, but the kids knew... DH and I quickly decided in the effort to find parking that we didn't want any part of the insanity, so we dropped the chairs off and let the kids "do the fireworks thing" and we went home. It's a good thing, too, because we forgot that the puppies have a hard time with fireworks going off, so we were there to put them in the garage and give them some peace. Now it's back to the grind, and speaking of which, I do need to get back to work--my boss is such a slavedriver! I've got to wrap up a couple things before I go home for the weekend--no big plans this weekend, at least, not yet. We may be making another trip to my old stompin' grounds to check on the townhome--we were supposed to close on the sale last week, but our lease-option tenant didn't qualify for a mortgage with her credit. Imagine her grown son's surprise (he lives with her, as does his sister) to find that she was behind on rent and was about to have to find a new place to live... Ah, yes, I think I've just thought of the title for a new reality show to put on HGTV: Who Wants To Be A Landlord??? Subtitled with and What's WRONG With You???

Alrighty, then! Ciao for now, and don't ya'll be strangers, 'kay?