Tuesday, March 27, 2007

Baby Got "Back"

Once again my little sister has put her Irvine education to good use. You do us proud JRS...let us married ladies envy the free life you have.

Just a joke

Steve tried the country music circuit, but he was chewed up and spit out the other end into a lesser known genre called JAZZ.

Here I Am to Save the Day

As the older sister, I have been called upon several times to come to the aid of my little sisters. Though they are 30 and 27 respectfully, I still get called upon occasionally to help them in a life matter that I myself have already conquered. Julie, my middle sister has desperately called upon me for help with how I put together my children's stacking bins (made out of plastic covered metal) without killing those closest to me. Well Julie, here are the secrets to my success....

1. Before I start a project I make sure that all little humans are busily engaged on a task (video) that will take as long as my project so as to make sure there will be no interruptions at inopportune times (like when I've finally got the whole set of bins together and I try and move them to their spot and they crumble to the ground.)

2. To avoid the above mentioned occurrence, (crumbling bins) the second time I put the bins together I put them together in the closet. Yes, there are bruised elbows from maneuvering around closet doors, bruised knees from tiny parts of toys buried in the carpet near the closet, and frustration with the clothes hanging down over the work area. But besides these minor inconveniences, this is better than building the entire structure and it crumbling to the ground a second time.

3. I remember that the people who make these things don't necessarily expect them to ever be assembled completely. I know this because when I have put these bins together, they never fit exactly. 3/4 of it will fit together nicely. However, the other 1/4 are so misaligned that they require that the entire structure crumble to the ground to be correctly hooked together. Yes, this has happened to me and once again I was back at "square" one. (Punny I know!!)

4. Upon attempt number 4 to put it all together, I start the kids on another video since my time has already run out, and decide to divide bins into two complete structures. One for toys. One for shoes. Satisfied with my compromise and the successfully standing two structures, I precede to load my newly formed bins with what they were purchased for...the mounds of toys. These toys, though normally in the middle of the floor, strategically placed for utmost tripping and foot discomfort, will forever find their home on the beautiful wire bins, lovingly (and forcefully) put together by me.

5. At this point a small glass of wine or shot of some fast working liquor is necessary. (Let's be civilized and make sure it is well past mid morning before we use the alcohol). It wasn't the exact last toy that I placed on the bin, but it was close to it that caused it, for the last time, to come crumbling to the ground.

So my advice for you Julie is this: Good luck, get out the videos, and enjoy assembling these vile bins for the rest of your life. (About once a week when you do a thorough cleaning and attempt to stack all of the toys in their hoped for homes).

Friday, March 23, 2007

I am so proud of my sister

Now here's someone who can set boundaries!!

Customer Service:

I wanted to inform you of a recent experience I had at an Oil CanHenry's at440 N.E. Weidler Street Portland, OR 97232. This happened yesterday, March 20, 2007. I went to get my oil changed today. I have yet to find an honest mechanic to service my car so I decided to go to an Oil Can Henry's. I like that I can just stay in my car and oversee what's going on, as the 20-point check is administered. Everything seemed to be going fine. I had previously been to this OCH before, and had no negative experiences. The mechanic downstairs mentioned that the fuel filter was the original one from the manufacturer of the car, suggesting that I get it replaced. Tony, the upstairs mechanic went on to explain that it should be replaced every year or 15,000 miles. Every time I take my car somewhere, anywhere, that's what I hear--I need a new fuel filter. I decided to turn this one down. As they were finishing up, I asked if they had checked and filled the tires. I knew I had a very low tire and wanted to make sure it was filled. Tony, the upstairs mechanic, looked at the downstairs mechanic who said,"yes", they had checked the tires. Without even thinking about it, I trusted their answer.

I drove the 6 miles to my house, pulled into the garage, and as I was walking into the house, I looked at what was my low tire and was surprised to see that it looked the same as it had before I had it serviced. I dug through my glove compartment to find my tire gauge and checked it myself. There wasn't enough air in the tire to even push the white gauge stick out. It was then that I realized that my tires weren't touched, or even looked at, at Oil Can Henry's. Even though I made a special point to ask about them, they were not checked and filled. So I decided to drive back and get them checked, since I payed for a "famous 20-point Full service oil change"which was supposed to include Tire Pressure! Tony hopped to it and helped right away, trying to figure out what the recommended air pressure was for my particular tires. As he was checking the tires we found out that the air hose and gauge does not work. The downstairs mechanic comes over and tells Tony that it doesn't work, hasn't been working for who knows how long. So no one was getting that part of the 20-point full service from that particular bay, I suppose. I pulled over to one of the other bays to get the tires filled up. I looked around to see if anyone was in charge. Everyone looked very young. I could not tell that anyone in particular was in charge, making sure everyone was satisfied with the services they were receiving. All the mechanics were"working" on cars while the trusting customers just sat in their cars reading papers or whatever, oblivious to whether or not they were truly getting the 20-point Full service promised. Tony filled up the low tire and as I was getting back into my car, (because I now felt I had to get out and watch what he said was being done) I had to ask Tony, "Can I be sure that my oil was changed?" to which he replied "You can be sure that it was changed!" I have to say, that did not put my heart at ease....I wondered how many other customers were getting gypped there everyday, without knowing it,most likely. Is that what kind of place this is; a place for people who do not know or care enough about their cars that they won't realize a missed checkpoint?

A Very Disappointed Customer,JG

Thursday, March 22, 2007


Last night I had the great joy of sitting and talking briefly with some friends that I don't see very often. As I was driving home I thought about how much fun that brief, unplanned encounter had been. My face was actually sore from smiling so much and laughing so hard. "Why don't I do that more," I thought. How I love just hanging out with people. It was spontaneous; it was safe; most of all it was energizing. I actually felt stronger for being with them. I need to spend more time with friends who encourage me like that. Not necessarily in what they say, but just in being there and being real. I think there is a very important reason why being with friends is so uplifting. We need each other. We were created for relationship...with God first, but with each other as well. I know I am guilty of jam packing my schedule with everything "else" to do and forgetting to slow down and sit and enjoy the friends God has brought into my life, "for such a time as this."

So all this is to say, I'm thankful for those of you who I am allowed to call friend. I am thankful for the brief times we get to share together. I especially love those of you who make me laugh. And I want to remind everyone...make time for people. Even though all of our days are full; it could be the energy boost we need to make it through one more day with a little more joy.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

My dog and I

I know this is unusual...two posts in a day, but I have a question for my faithful readers. Do you notice any similarities between me and my dog? Our colorings are similar.
Our friendliness is similar. Our pathetic need to be liked is similar. Our bark is easily ignored. There is hair everywhere we've been. Our smell is....not so similar unless I've just played a tennis match. I am interested in your perspective. Faith is a good dog...but I'm noticing some familiar behavior...is she becoming like me or have I always been just like her?

Interesting...very interesting.

My Oldest Daughter is 8

Why do we celebrate birthdays? Actually, why is it that we focus on the person born on the day instead of the mother who gave birth? I know this is not necessarily an original thought, but it is now two days after the "birthday weekend," and I am still exhausted. The night out with 4 energetic eight year old girls, the Saturday full of family and food, and the Sunday full of regular Sunday stuff, plus actual birthday stuff, reminded me of another weekend in the not so distant past when I was equally overwhelmed and exhausted.

It was this same weekend, 1999. After weeks of kidney problems and pregnancy issues, Haley Christiana Merrick entered our lives. Only 14 hours after the doctors decided she should come out, she arrived. (Yes, a mere 14 hours of pain and fear...and yet I would go on to do it again two more times....) My first thoughts when I saw her? I think my exact words were, "Could some one just take her, so I can go to sleep?" And I've been asking for sleep ever since. She was cute and I loved her immediately, but thus began a tiredness that I don't believe I've ever fully recovered from. Her adorable cry has now turned into a frustrated, "mom!" Her need for constant attention has been replaced by an independence that scares me occasionally. And her cute little baby face has turned into a beautiful little girl face with so much joy and excitement in her eyes she can hardly contain it. Oh, how I love her.

However, back to the issue of my tiredness and problem with the whole birthday celebration. As much as I love Haley, she really didn't do anything significant that day, but arrive. I on the other hand amazed my husband and myself with the actions that occurred for 14 hours that day. I'm not usually one to demand attention...but I was the hero that day, I was the one that suffered and gave every last bit of my strength. So Haley's birthday is actually the day my last bit of energy was expended, and never really given back. Haley's birthday was a great day, but every year since, a party or celebration of some kind has occurred that celebrates Haley, but reminds me that I'm still tired. Still trying to get back some of that energy I had before March 18, 1999.

Is there anyone who can relate? Mom, are you still tired from that wonderful day 34 years ago when I was born? Can you honestly say life has ever gotten back to what it was like before kids? Julie, do you even remember life before Nov 7, 2001? Is there ever a day when you say, "I'm not tired at all?"

As tired as I am on a regular basis, as much as I will lament about my kids wearing me out, I wouldn't change it. If given a chance to do it all over...I know that my life is better because Haley is in it and I love her more and more everyday. She is a reminder that God's plans are bigger and better than my plans and for that I am grateful.

Monday, March 12, 2007

My Broken Vacuum

Yes, Jonni...I broke the beautiful vacuum that you gave me. Courtesy of Ellen D. I'm a loser I know. The story of how it broke is one of my most shameful moments ever. However, the story needs to be told to prevent or comfort others who have found themselves in similar predicaments. Be prepared to shake your head in disgust and amusement:

The day dawned a beautiful sunny, full of hope kind of day. The plan: go to Bible Study, then to Yoga, then home to do all of the duties that go along with home. I dressed in my yoga pants and colorful t-shirt. (this is important to the story). Left my hair down, because it was a good hair day. After certain unforeseen occurrences I missed Bible study. Still motivated to go to Yoga I found myself with some extra housekeeping time and decided to vacuum. My beautiful, shiny red vacuum stood proud over in the corner anxious to do my bidding. The living room and family room were soon dust and hair free. After a quick inspection of the dirt receptacle in my vacuum I continued into Kayci's newly (and rarely) cleaned room. Unfortunately, my aged eyes did not see the scrap of cloth left just out of range of my peripheral vision. But apparently in perfect place to be sucked up by the vacuum. This caused problems...but did not break the vacuum. No...no...I broke it. As I was trying to take off the bottom plastic piece that holds in the roller the frustration began to grow. It was also at this point that I realized that the person who made this vacuum cleaner, never actually intended this apparatus to be removed. It was held stubbornly in place by 6 tiny screws. After careful removal of the first 5 screws I excitedly went to remove the 6th. ONE HOUR LATER, sweat dripping down my face, strands of hair stuck to my face and neck and a stark realization that yoga pants are HOT (not in the attractive way) I still could not remove that 6th screw. The time for Yoga had long since passed and my patience level had evaporated. So in complete exasperation I broke the plastic thing off of the bottom of the machine. Yep, snapped it right off. The effort it took was substantial...but that thing was coming off!! The vile 6th screw is still in place, but the plastic is gone...never to be replaced. So now there is nothing holding the roller in...except a tiny, stripped to the point that the grooves in the top are a complete circle, screw. The screw of death and destruction it will forever be known as.

The question my husband had was, "Why did you keep working at it for an hour?" My response was a simple, I just knew the next time I turned the screwdriver would be the winning turn. I just knew it needed just one more turn. One more turn....

Thursday, March 8, 2007

Soccer Mom

I've wondered, since my old Rush Limbaugh days, is the term "Soccer Mom," a bad term? Does the phrase inherently hold a negative connotation or imply that I am a liberal? I don't think it does, but as I embark on the journey toward embracing this phrase as one of my many hats, I would like to know exactly what people think when they hear the words "Soccer Mom."

Kayci starts soccer today. She is so excited. The best part so far has been the $80 we spent on equipment. OK, that wasn't really the best part. But the real best part has been Kayci sleeping with her new cleats (tucked into the shoe box), new purple size 3 soccer ball, and cool pull on socks/shin pads displayed neatly, and safely away from her sisters I might add, along the wall of her bed. Then each morning, it is the first thing she puts on. She doesn't want to kick her ball around in the back yard for fear it may get dirty or the dog will lick it. This from the girl that spends most of life covered in dirt. Today before practice she donned her very stylish soccer ensemble and demanded I take a picture. She posed in a variety of fashions with the smile that the JC Pennys photographers can't seem to capture.

I think I just figured out the term "Soccer Mom:" woman who presents information about her aspiring soccer star as if it is new, interesting information, ignorant of the fact that every one has drifted off into their own memories of their own childhood stuff.

Julie, remember the Sugar Babies? How about when dad was your coach? My favorite part was the orange slices and Caprisun afterward that mom wouldn't let me have because I hadn't actually played in the game...only watched my super-star sister.

Friday, March 2, 2007

Wrinkles and Zits

As I was going through my morning routine of self-preservation (or restoration) whatever you want to call it, I was looking closely at my face. I noticed something that I'm not sure should ever occur together. Above my left eyebrow was a small, yet noticeable zit, reminiscent of my puberty years. Upon further investigation, I noticed that the "laugh lines" around my eyes are becoming more like "always visible lines," because they appear even when I am not laughing. They are more like just "plain lines" permanently etched into my face. A face that is still, apparently, going through puberty. Is this middle age? When the two time periods of life (puberty and old age) clash in a five year span of "ugly beyond all recognition." It's not a huge problem, but it has caused me some concern. I was so looking forward to the time in life when I didn't have to worry about unsightly marks on my face. It appears that this time has come and gone and I forgot to notice. So if you see me on the street...I'm the girl with three gorgeous daughters and a sack on my head to cover the indecision my face appears to be having...make her old or keep her young.

On a serious note:

By the way, I watched a very moving Dr. Phil about Deaf Blind Triplets. It was sad, but very humbling. I really have nothing to complain about. Check out his website and there should be a link to this story. I think they are a worthy cause to support.