Monday, November 30, 2015

Flying food and a side of Crazy = Our Thanksgiving!

Before we went down to Jay and Lori's we all gathered in the living room and Alex gave us the "Let's all be good and get along" speech that I just know he has been practicing all week long.  Then he very patiently fielded all the "what if" questions that my teenage daughter no doubt had practiced all week long.  So bless his little heart when he said ok we are now ready to go on down the road and have some family fun and our door bursts open.... Jay and Lori's reformed informant had a weak moment and came down to let us know that a really cool fight was going on down at her house and we should hurry we are missing it.  Oh boy... Let's go!  I was up and going and maybe made it to the kitchen before I was up and over a shoulder and told to chill and wait for the call to come down.  Grrrrr.  Spoil sport.  Alex went down and 30 minutes later we got the call that we could come down and he didn't want any bad behavior from his side of the family or else!
I had planned on being a perfect angel, really I had planned this all week!

Seriously, I had imaginary conversation all week long in my head just preparing for different scenarios of what could be said or done to get at me by my lovely sister in laws.  Have you ever done that?  Just sit and imagine what buttons some one may attempt to push before you get with them so you are mentally ready to not let them get close to pushing any of them.  I do have to admit that some of my conversations maybe got a bit vengeful in my mind so I had to work on keeping them nice.  But my halo wasn't too tarnished by turkey day, so I felt ready to take on the world.  (Oh the best laid plans...) Sigh. 

You see I have forgiven my sister in law for putting my blog out there, not that she has sincerely apologized to me for it at all.  I got a phone call with her on the other end reading from a prepared statement that she made an error in judgement and she was sorry for the impacts to me and my family because of them. (Seriously, I could hear her husband in the background coaching her!)  I didn't forgive her because of that, honestly it is easier to let go and feel sorry for the other person and not hold the grudge.  It has taken me a VERY long time to realize that forgiving does not mean forgetting, it just takes the burden of you harboring ill feelings towards some one else and using up a bunch of your energy feeding those hurtful thoughts.  But coming face to face with her and our newest and youngest sister in law who has decided to support her, has been horrible the last few weeks.   They are just young and petty little girls that haven't grown into the women they should be at this point in life.  (Did that sound harsh?  :0)  Yes, my halo is not shining a perfect bright yellow.  I know this... Sigh.)

So I walk into the house and dart straight for the kitchen and Lori to find out what has gone down.  The first thing I see upon entering the house is that Aunt Peggy is sitting on the sofa right in the middle of the room looking as happy as I have ever saw her.  Seriously the woman was beaming! So I knew that I had missed something and got a wink and a motion towards the kitchen from her on my way through.  Into the kitchen I go and Lori is chopping potatoes and counting backwards (this is never a good sign, her kids run for the hills when she starts to count) literally throwing potatoes at a bowl on the other side of the counter from where she was.  Each toss was sending the bowl sliding further and further away and closer to the edge of the counter.  My mother and Lori's mother were in the corner sipping wine and whispering when they saw me enter they gave me the cut throat sign.  I was guessing that meant not to ask what had happen, but dang I wanted to know what happen!!  
The face you get when you know you need to be an adult but being a toddler would be so much more fun!

So I went about organizing the counter top and putting a box of stuffing and some celery on the other side of the poor bowl getting pelted with potato chunks.  Then I went into super efficient mode and took over the kitchen to let the older women have there secrets and give Lori and her poor murdered potatoes some space well keep working it out.  (We had lots of mashed potatoes for our dinner and probably for a good week more!)  So when the busy bodies that had started the ruckus had been returned to the kitchen after what I can only guess at this point was a pep talk from their husbands, we were all lined out.  Kaylee and Kris (my future daughter in law) came in right behind them wanting to know how they could help.  So I put them on stuffing duty and green bean duty right next door to our potato queen and a good distance from our spawns of evil.  (Ooops, yes there I go again.. Just wait for it, you will agree in time I have faith in your judgement!)

Now we have two mothers with wine, two youngsters chopping and watching all directions, one crazy lady chopping bags of potatoes in record time and two smug busy bodies that were brave enough to sit themselves down at the table next to my mother.  You know that really awful and awkward silence that happens when everyone knows there is drama in the air but no one is saying there is drama in the air?  Well it was just thick with that awful feeling of this may just stink here pretty soon.  I was deciding what I could work on next when it all went down and I mean it went FAST!  Steph (one of the evil spawns) decided that perhaps she should have made a dessert after all since we seemed to be short on them.  She said this pretty loud and with a slight sneer in my direction and back to her evil in training next to her. (I was assigned the dessert this year and had made 5 dutch apple pies, 4 pumpkin pies and a full sheet cake to celebrate a birthday that was on Friday.  Plus the girls had helped make Oreo cheesecake bites and various types of cookies on top of all that!!!  Seriously, that wasn't enough for this group?  Well she got that out and Kaylee flung a chunk of celery her direction and said "excuse me what did you just say over there?"  (Yes, that is my girl!!)  Steph barely got out on a snarl about bad manners and did your mother not find it important to give her any... Well that is when Kris started zinging another chunk of food in her direction and telling her she would give her a lesson in manners herself if she said one more thing about Kaylee or to me!  (Ok girlie, welcome to the family you have passed the initiation in spades.  Plus she has great aim!) it just got worse from there because at this point I don't even think Lori knew who started what she saw food flying and well potatoes started their own flight patterns too.   Now what kind of sister in law and best friend would I be not to back Lori's flying potatoes?  I grabbed the biggest bunch of green beans and let fly in the general direction of evil and the squeal from that direction only encouraged me to follow up with another handful of stuffing mix.  

So imagine mothers spitting wine in utter confusion and amazement, food flying all over the kitchen, me with a pan shield and spatula to hit back the chunks coming my way and just lots of chaos.  That is the situation that Alex and Jay with Aunt Peggy right behind them came into.  My dad, Kyle and Scott came in from the back door and my poor father caught a potato right between the eyes.  It was very unfortunate that my mother of all people was on the other end of that particular toss too.  Ooops.  But she had taken a celery to the wine and the splash was all over her nice sweater so she was in a mood all of her own at this point.  Aunt Peggy put her fingers to her lips and let out an ear piercing whistle that brought everyone back to there senses and got everyone not already in the kitchen on there way to the kitchen.  Ugh.  Alex had the good grace to take his cell phone out and get a picture of my shield and spatula combination before he wanted to know who did what and why... Men!

We needed this food fight months ago, I swear it has given us more closure to what has been going on this year than any amount of talking has.  Kaylee and Kris had been planning to run interference and had been planning it all week, since they knew I was planning on being good at all costs.  I love that we bonded in the best way possible, being part of the crazy dysfunctional family that we are and that I love.  Bless Kris, she can't wait to be part of this crazy group of people and I think she is going to fit in just perfectly!  Plus I think she is going to keep Kyle on his toes, which he completely deserves.  :0)

Our two spawns were taken home and we had a very lovely meal and some very lively games of charades that all of us will remember for years.  Kyle put that promise ring on Kris's finger and I cried happy tears and welcomed her and her nice right arm to the family!  Aunt Peggy taught Kaylee how to whistle much to our dismay and little Bo stole the rolls and ate his fill before we found out.  No sooner did I get home when I got a call and another prepared speech on being sorry, that I accepted and then let go over a third piece of pie.  (We had left over desserts hello, just saying!) Alex gave me major points for not starting the food fight and for the welcome change in my feelings towards Kyle and Kris taking that next step in life together.  After getting to know her better these last few days I feel like she has belonged all along, we all just get along too well and she... well she fits! So all in all I think we had a pretty amazing Thanksgiving and I can't wait to see what Christmas brings!!

As for the men and the fryer.... They took down one turkey, a small chicken, several twinkies and a few other items they snuck out of the pantry while the mothers were running down to my wine cellar to restock.  Aunt Peggy made the men do the clean up of both inside and outside cooking areas and the women put our feet up and put a major dent in my wine supply.  Not too bad compared to some past fryer experiences!

And I thought my family was crazy!!!

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Construction Zone

My parents have been doing a 6 month split between where I live and where my brother and his family live.  This left them just making drive by stops in there motor home back at their old house between trips.  They love getting away from the snow in the winter and the cooler summers out east with my brother, so it has worked out great for the last 3 years. So my parents decided last January to sell their home and build a smaller home in our backyard and rent a condo by my bother for the other half of the year.  After much talk and lively debate it was decided that we would also build a detached garage to store their motor home and our toy hauler as well and because that didn't seem like enough construction we also decided to put an apartment above our garage for Kyle.  

February and into March were the months of blue prints and painting dirt and then painting more dirt and then when everything changed we got to cover that dirt and paint new dirt.  All the work is going through Alex's company, so we know all the crew and teams very well that are contracted through for various projects.  Knowing my parents and how challenging this could become Alex decided to pick one of the teams that attends church with us.  His theory is that they would some day forgive us for contracting them in the first place and validate all the "parent" stories we have told in our bible study group over the years.  :0)

Our first clue that things were going to be fun, was trying to watch my mom read the blue prints.  Now if you have never had the joy of watching a older couple argue over which set of glasses to use before they even pick up the prints, you just haven't lived a full life!  

So after they picked a set of cheaters that would probably work but had a second pair on standby just in case, they started following Dave (he is the lead contractor on the project and a very brave and patient man who has really become part of the family after all this!) as he walked them through the front entry of the home.  He got past maybe two sentences before my mother raised her hand (we don't exactly know why she feels she must raise her hand to speak but she does this with Dave and the other crew and we haven't talked her out of it yet.) Once Dave told her she didn't need to raise her hand just go on ahead and shout out your questions.  We then had to listen to my dad explain why that wasn't a very good offer to put on the table for this particular woman.  (Can you see why we just knew this was going to be a fun project?)

About ten minutes later Dave had tried to explain what all the different layers of papers meant and that the fine print on the sides were for his team and they didn't need to worry about those details and was looking to Alex for some help.  Alex jumped in and had them going back over the blue print once again only to have my mom decide that none of it made sense to her and they were just going to have to make this easier for her to see what they were talking about.  Poor Dave took his blue prints and downloaded all the details into a special application and built a 3D version that my parents could view on the computer.  So now my parents were able to do a virtual walk through several times over and that was very helpful to get them past walls and room placement.   Or so we thought at the time...

My parents wanted to have a smaller version of what their old house was, very open floor plan and the master bedroom downstairs.  They both agreed they no longer needed three bedrooms upstairs but thought a loft with and extra bedroom and bathroom might be nice if they have friends come visit they can stay with them.  Dave had taken all their ideas into consideration and put together a floor plan that more than covered all of their wants and needs.  Knowing my parents I did offer to get the floor plan to the old house for them, as I didn't think they would go too far off that plan.   Alex told me that the crew was magical and to let them work the process.  So I decided to stay on the sidelines and enjoy the entertainment and let the "crew" work their magic.

I am going to say about 6 weeks later the blue print layout matched the floor plan of their old house just about 95%, they just had a half bath instead of a full.  The loft was now two bedrooms with a shared full bath.  But the downstairs was flipped exactly backwards from their old home, so the kitchen was to the right and that opened into the living space.  This surprised me that my mom was going along with that much change, but sticking to the sidelines I just cheered they were now able to break ground.  So the next week was waking up to very loud tractors and guys yelling at each other and just chaos from all sides of my house.  This woke up a very annoyed teenager who has let us know daily that she is losing precious hours of beauty sleep and we should all be very sorry about it.  Ugh.  

So after the crew played in the dirt for what seemed forever they started to get large amounts of wood dropped off and large trucks with cement started rolling in making our world even more noisy.   I was about to lose my mind when I was pulled into the planning of the apartment over the garage for Kyle and my entire outlook changed immediately.  This was fun and it was exciting to watch Kyle start making decisions based on how he planned to use the space to live.  What amazed me the most was the discussion he had over the flow of his kitchen area, the boy has been playing me like a fiddle.  He just knows way more than he ever let on since having mom and Kaylee do all the cooking worked just fine for him.  Grrrrrr... Well I know better now!

Push forward several weeks and we have a framed house in our backyard that our fearless crew is walking my parents through....  Two hours later they are knocking walls back down and Alex is holding his head in our bedroom praying for patients he doesn't have.  They were now going to need to flip the entire downstairs back to the same layout of my parents current house because my mother is just beside herself that she can't see herself sleeping on the left and cooking on the right it just didn't seem right in her mind.  Sigh...   I didn't think offering up a "I told you so" at that moment would help, so I gave him a back rub and told him I would sleep on the left and cook on the right for him if that helped any.  :0)

I hope everyone has a wonderful Thanksgiving!!!

Monday, November 23, 2015

Let's talk Turkey....

Me: "Last year was so much easier without the double turkey scenario and less work for the women."

Alex:"How is having two turkey's complicated and we take care of the second one so no extra effort for the women."

Me:"Um... If it would end with the turkey being your only victim, I agree it would be simple."

Alex:"Seriously?  Jay gave you his best scouts honor that we would stick to turkey."

Me:"Jay was never a scout.  Now you on the other hand...."

Alex:"What if we promise to clean up after our mess?"

Once I stopped laughing, which took a while because the dictionary should really hold two meanings of the word "clean".  

Men's clean:  A lick and a prayer that his wife doesn't look too close.

Women's clean: Using various soaps and scrubs to remove all traces of anything that doesn't belong until it sparkles.

Last year at this time Lori and I were able to get the men to agree to a one turkey holiday and it was the easiest clean up ever!  We didn't have to restock any pantries or hide anything we thought would make it to the fryer they setup in the back.  But not this year, I am already helping with the divert and maneuver plan Lori is putting in place.  Between her Mom and mine we should be able to keep most of the pantry safe but word is they are planning to spring an extra bird on us.  We are bringing in the big guns for that one, Aunt Peggy is coming to town and she can stop anyone of these large guys with a look.  Bless her heart, she is 87 years young and feistier than all of these guys put together. Aunt Peggy is Alex's late father's older sister and she has decided to come west and straighten out the mess from earlier this year.   I can't wait for her to get here honestly, she and I have always gotten on so well.  Plus it is just so fun to watch these huge men completely back up when she corners them and puts them in their places.

Guess what... I am a Grandma!  No, not exactly what you are thinking...  :0)

Meet little Bo, he is only 8 weeks old and just loves to cuddle and play in my pillows all day long.  Kyle got him through a friend and was originally just going to help find him a forever home, but guess who fell in love with him????  Alex!  Yes, mister grumpy no dogs or anything else with more legs than me can't stay in this house...  So Kyle took that as a good sign and is keeping him and I am watching him during the day while Kyle is at work.   It's working out really well, my dog Jack has taken him through the dog door several times so he knows where it is, just hasn't connected the dots on doing his business outside yet. 

Just a quick pop in to say hi and show off my new little joy!  I will be posting about my parents and the construction project that is never going to end later this week.. :0)

Friday, November 13, 2015

Change is good... Right?

So I disappeared right after saying that I was back and not going to .... well disappear.  :0)  I am sincerely sorry and I know that some of you sent emails to check in on me and those were not only amazing but surprising to get.  So from the bottom of my heart... Thank you to those VERY kind souls.

My absence was a decision made after an incident that happen literally days after my last post... Due to a very bad choice made by one of my in-laws, my blog was outed to a very large portion of our circle of friends at church.  Yes, at church of all places!!  Sigh.  Alex left it up to me if I wanted to continue, start over to become anonymous once more or shut it all down.  In the end I have decided to stand my ground and continue with MY blog.  Human judgement is always hard and always forth coming these days, but at the end of the day we don't care about those judgements. God's judgement and concerns from my loved ones and true friends are what matter to us and those have all (ok, we had some shock factors of course.. ) have stood by us and love the blog at the end of the day.  Some now know more of our story and our friendships have blossomed and grown and to be honest have made an impact on their own relationships.  Alex has given TONS of advice and I have been answering questions from parents, friends and people I didn't know very well that I now am happy to call friend.

This entire thing unfortunately hasn't resolved all the way, as our family has struggled to find closure... Too many hurt feelings and harsh words that can't ever be taken back were said.  It may take a very long time to bridge this gap and that is the saddest part of the entire situation in my opinion.  At least it is now...  At first it just seemed like life would never ever be the same and leaving the house was just not anything I wanted to do for weeks.  But I got out every day, even when I really didn't need to do anything just to show everyone I am who I am without any apologies.  Alex was my rock as usual and never once left me alone in a public setting for weeks until he felt all was well.

The holidays are fast approaching so only time will tell how those will go, with all of us trying to be together.  We are doing Thanksgiving down at Lori's this year, and she communicated very clearly that no drama will occur in her home that won't end with her and a rolling pin after the person that starts it.  So we are all to be on our best behavior or else!  :0)  Bless her heart.  She has been a protective Momma bear fighting in my corner since the start of all this, I can't thank her and Jay enough for all their love and support during the crazy and chaos.

Update time!!!

With the construction of my parent's new home in our backyard and my son's garage apartment, we have been super busy.  Speaking of my son, Kyle graduated from High School last May and is now working full time with Alex.  Alex has had to travel a bunch in the last month so he has brought Kyle in full speed and I have helped out as much as they needed too.  Other then a few classes here and there Kyle will work full time with Alex and one day strive to take the company from him, so we are very proud and super happy.  With this decision he also wanted to stay close to home, but not in the home because he is ready to be his own man too.  So that brought up the space over the garage could be built up into a very nice size apartment and get him technically out of our home.  The contractors working on the house were more than happy to bid out this new project and it is going WAY faster than the house build for sure!  Of course they aren't dealing with my parents on that one so they probably love that job more.  Kyle should be living in the apartment by the end of this month and my parents should be in there new home by late January if they ever stop making changes.

Have you ever seen the movie Sleepless In Seattle where Tom Hanks is an architect and he is dealing with a lady that keeps changing the layout of her kitchen and he has to keep moving cabinets back and forth.... I think our contracts would love that lady over working with my parents!  Alex just walks away and lets them deal with it, he can't even keep it together anymore either.  But the house will be just what they need for 6 months out of the year and give us the privacy back too.

I have basically been living in a construction zone for going on 6 months now.  We have picked up two nails and a metal clip in our tires so far...  Yes, just lots of noise and constant workers coming and going.  Since it gets light around 4:45am in the summer months here, that would be when I started hearing them pull up and it never got peaceful again until 4:30pm.  So the monster dog and I have been going down and spending time with Lori and her kids during the day and coming home in time to make dinner and get ready for Alex and Kyle to get home from work.  Kaylee is back in school with her friends and doing very well so far, but online school is always an option again if things change.  Kaylee also is driving and has a new part time position that keeps her busy.  My house is empty more than it is full these days, which makes me sad and wishing we had more kids left to make noise and I can't believe I am saying this.. I miss the everyday messes of having family under foot all the time.  Sigh.

Lori has decided not to go back to teaching and will stay at home with her youngest children.  Teachers get paid next to nothing in this state and she doesn't want to miss her last baby's firsts.. I was of course sad to hear I wasn't going to get the little guy to play with but super happy to have my BFF home down the street to hang with all the time too.  Jay had the surgery to ensure that this little guy is their last baby so that really pushed it home to Lori that she didn't want to miss a second of this last baby growing up.

Now for the news that I am not very happy about.....

First, my son went and bought a "promise" ring for his girlfriend.  He hasn't given it to her nor has he mentioned anything about it to her, but he has been talking with Alex and it seems like she is the one in his mind.  I can't go and yell that he is way too young since I was engaged during my senior year and a full year younger than he is since I graduated at 17.  Ugh.  Now Alex has a leg to stand on since he was 20 when we got engaged and 23 when we got married, but he isn't freaking out like I am either.  He still thinks that it's a sign that he went with a promise ring and not a full out engagement ring and he has been sitting on the ring for several weeks without moving on giving it to her.  He thinks if we just stand back and let Kyle figure it out on his own it would be much better and less likely to push him in a direction he wouldn't have done otherwise.  So I am trying to keep calm and not say anything to him and trying to not be weird in front of HER.  Grrrrrr.    Well ok fine, I actually like this girl... In fact of all his girlfriends she has been the best and she does have a really good head on her shoulders.  She is a year older than Kyle, so she is a Sophomore at NAU major is Business Management so she can do lots of things with that degree.  But she has stated several times over that she doesn't see herself having kids, which my turn coat daughter decided had a nice ring to it too.  Which as a person that can't wait to be called Grandma... I HAVE A HUGE PROBLEM WITH THAT!!!!   :0(  What is with these younger generations not wanting to have kids?  Lori thinks they will all change their minds, she and Jay both didn't want a large family and look at them now.  So I am buying my time and waiting to pick my battles later... Sigh.  So not easy.

Whew, I think that about does it.. You are updated!  :0)

Happy LOL week.. I am sorry to have missed that this year.  :0(