Tuesday, December 31, 2019

They All Ask'd For You

Today we went on down to the Audubon Zoo!  It was a perfect day weather wise, sunny and cool.  Crowd wise, not so much.  It seems like everyone had the same idea as us!  We arrived about 30 minutes after the zoo opened and drove in circles trying to park.  I think we got one of the very last spots available.  Walking around, there was lots of people but it wasn't too bad though.  I'd say a good day was had by all.  The girls had a great time.  We visited all the animals, they rode the carousel, and we all rode the train.

Now we're resting a bit before fireworks time!  If you're going out tonight, be safe.  Happy New Year's Eve!!

Monday, December 30, 2019

Just another Monday

This morning I went back to the gym after taking Christmas week off.  December is usually pretty dead in there but I expect the gym to be pretty busy after January 1st with all the newcomers.  I know of one person who is switching so no doubt there will be a few other familiar faces.  I've belonged to almost every gym in town, so at some point you always cross paths with other gym regulars again.

After that, I went to Target to see if Christmas was marked down any more.  It was 50% off yesterday but today it was 70%!  There was A LOT left.  Just as I walked up, a lady was putting out some paper goods.  She said they had a lot more of that kind of stuff in the back, but I didn't stick around to see what.  Paper plates were $.89 cents, tissue $.44 cents a box, 3 pack Ziploc containers $1.04.  We are set on that stuff for a while!  I also found some big cookie sheets for $3.  Clint was eyeing some lights yesterday, so I picked up 12 boxes to add to the light show next year.   It will be 90% off in another few days but there won't be much left.

Then I made a quick run to Walmart for a few grocery items.  Their Christmas is still at 50% so it's not worth digging.... yet.

I can't believe tomorrow is New Year's Eve!!  Where has 2019 gone?!  We bought a small-ish pile of fireworks to pop tomorrow night.  Most of the fireworks stands are just tents on the side of the road.  The best one used to be a Family Dollar and they have a pretty good set up and decent prices. 

For many years when the kids were small, we'd take them to the "Noon Year's Eve" party at the Audubon Zoo.  Valerie brought it up this afternoon and asked if we could revive the tradition.  So, road trip tomorrow to New Orleans it is! 


Nice night for a fire

We've been trying to have a fire for a few nights.  It's either been raining or we had other things to do.  Last night was the perfect night to sit outside.  It did start raining but it didn't last very long.

Sunday, December 29, 2019

Let's go shoppin'

I made a few visits to Dirt Cheap doing my Christmas shopping during December.  I know y'all are just dying to see what's inside this go round.  I actually found some pretty good deals.  There were toys galore, fairly organized (!!), in great shape for once, and awesome prices.  Made me wish my kids were small because they would have had a fabulous visit from Santa! 

I have to be in the right mood to go here.  About 70% of the stuff is trash.  Broken or pieces missing.  Odds and ends.  You never know what you'll find though and we have found some great bargains. 

Anywho, here we go.  It's like playing a game of I- Spy! 

Ok, that's enough.  Time to go home!   LOL! 

Friday, December 27, 2019

All packed away

.... Christmas is officially over and packed away.  All that's left are two straggling presents I have yet to deliver. 

Today was uneventful.  I picked up the last of Christmas and put my regular decor back the way it was.  I passed my new Dyson vacuum around just to see how much dirt it picks up.  Veronica wanted to go to the mall with a friend, so we did that.  We walked around for about an hour and didn't see much of anything interesting.  Then we went across the street to a rolled ice cream shop.  We'd talked about going several times but had never been there.  I did not get any but I did steal a few bites of theirs.  It was pretty good.  Back home and I've just been puttering around the house. 

Tomorrow Valerie is having a sleepover.  She asked a few days ago and of course I said yes.  I think three friends are coming to spend the night.  I figured she needs some girl time. 

Thursday, December 26, 2019

Boxing Day!

Valerie crawled into bed with me last night and told me what happened with the boyfriend.  Just out of the blue, Christmas Eve morning, he sent her a snap (that's all they do these days is Snapchat back and forth) that said he thought they were better off being just friends.  She replied "ok then."  And that was it.  Out of the blue, no warning at all, he broke up with her via Snapchat on Christmas Eve!  Not that it was that serious and all, but still.  He told Val's friend that his feelings changed and he decided to just end it rather than pretend.  Oh well, he'll be the much deserved butt of many jokes around here for a while.


Who went shopping today??

Clint hit a couple of Walmarts and I went to one.  It was rather late and most of the good stuff was picked over.   I found a few small things for next year but didn't buy much.  I did do some online shopping at Target and Bath & Body Works.  All three of us girls will be set for body wash and shampoo for a while. 

This afternoon Clint brought in all the storage totes and I began to de-Christmas the house.  I know we had a Christmas, but it doesn't feel like we had a Christmas.  It just sort of passed me by...   Oh well.   I managed to pack away nearly everything in a few hours.  I didn't put out all of my stuff this year.  I guess that's how it goes.  As the kids get older, the decorations get sparse.  All that's left is the tree.   Now the outside lights are a whole 'nother story!  The light show will run until January 1.  Then Clint usually picks up most of it. 

Just like that... Christmas is over. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Eh, it's Christmas

Merry Christmas, y'all!

I stayed busy yesterday cooking and getting last minute things ready as planned in my previous post.  Veronica came to help a bit but Valerie was MIA.  I found her barricaded in her room - literally her door was blocked so I had to force stuff out of the way to open it.  She was under the covers sobbing.  I knew right away it could only mean one thing.  See, she's had her first boyfriend since the beginning of November.  She was deathly afraid to tell us for some reason, but I figured it out long before she admitted it.  Cute kid, smart, in all honors classes just like Val, and in the band. He came out to dinner with us for her birthday, then she spent her actual birthday at his house at their family Christmas party.  He was supposed to be coming by today to bring her a gift and to see her.  She spent two days cleaning her room from top to bottom because he was coming over.  Well of course the crying indicated something had happened.  It took some prodding but I finally got that the idiot broke up with her sometime Christmas Eve morning.  REALLY WHO DOES THAT???  Not sure if it was via text or what, but apparently she got "the friend" speech.  ON CHRISTMAS EVE???  Like he couldn't have waited a few days??  I knew this teen romance wouldn't last forever, but why ruin her Christmas (and ours too?)

My heart was so sad.  I remember those days all too well.  Nothing like having your fifteen year old daughter sobbing in bed with a broken heart all day on Christmas Eve!!!!!!!  Teenage boys are stupid.  Like I told Val, that says a lot about HIM and his character - not hers.

Val did join us for Christmas Eve dinner and presents.  She was doing better by then and acting silly with Veronica.  I know she'll be okay.

Val was up early today and looked at what Santa brought, then went back to bed.  She seems to be in a much better mood.  Veronica was up soon after digging at what was under the tree.  We had Christmas dinner together.  Val and Roni hung out most of the afternoon playing games on their new iPad and laptop. 

That was pretty much our day - a whole lot of eating and sitting around doing nothing. 


PS:  Should I be worried that when I told Veronica that the boyfriend had broken up with Valerie, her response was.  "Where does he live?  Let's burn his house down."

Tuesday, December 24, 2019

Christmas Eve

It certainly does not feel like Christmas Eve.  All the drama this past week sort of stole my Christmas spirit.  It could be worse.  We got word that the "big name oil business" that Clint works for let a few more people go yesterday on the Eve of Christmas Eve!  How shitty is that??  No one is safe at the moment it seems....  tough times.  I won't complain about where we're at in the grand scheme of things.

Anyway Valerie, Veronica, and I made a quick trip to the mall yesterday afternoon.  With all the running around we hadn't had time for a Santa picture!!  It is one of those things we must do, or at least I think so.  The kids, not so much.  They said they didn't wanna, but in the end they went willingly.  Go figure.  I have 14 years of Santa pictures on display on my piano and I'm not about to quit now!!

The first one of them together

Today... well today I have a ton of things to do.  We aren't going anywhere, but I need to do some prep work for Christmas Eve and Day dinner.  We actually thought about going out for Chinese tomorrow instead of me cooking, but the kids don't really eat enough to justify the adult buffet charge.  Plus there's no leftovers!!  Tonight we'll enjoy our party food, take pictures, and open the gifts under the tree.  Santa will pass later and bring the good stuff.  Maybe it's the last year.  "Santa" hasn't decided yet.  The girls know by now of course, but it's still fun to surprise them.

Time to put on some Christmas music and get busy.  Merry Christmas Eve everyone!!!

Monday, December 23, 2019

Almost the axe

We've been waiting for the axe to fall for quite some time now.  Every time a round is made, we've always wondered if Clint was on the chopping block.  Clint thought it was going to happen many years back, but it never did.  He's come home over the past few weeks with names of co-workers who were on the chopping block. The oilfield is slow.  Then this past Wednesday (a week before Christmas), he got the call.  He always takes vacation at the end of the year, so it was a bit surprising to get a call from his boss requesting him to go into the office during time off.  His boss doesn't even work in this area, but he was here.  A nerve racking request because there was only one reason Clint's boss would be in town.  For him.  Merry Christmas, huh?

The news was not the best, but not the worst.

Instead of just letting him go, Clint was given a choice.  Take a severance package and no longer be employed.  Heath insurance would end December 31.  OR move to a rotational position in Houston (6 hours from here) which would consist of 14/14.  If you're not familiar with what that is, it means 14 days working in Houston and then 14 days off at home which is a common schedule in the oilfield.  The caveat - and it's a big one - is that we have to cover living expenses in Texas.

Tightening the screws even further, they wanted an answer in less than 24 hours.

So, we went back and forth.  He still has a job, IF he wants a job.  Does he want that job?  What next if he leaves?  26 years is a long, long time to just walk away.  Nobody is hiring and it would be very, very hard to just go out and find employment.  We'd be okay for a while....  but would we in the long run??  Clint decided to counter offer and ask for more money to cover some of the Houston living expenses.  It bought us some time.

Friday morning he got a response and while the numbers weren't what he'd asked for, it was better.  This time he had until 3:00 to choose between the two evils.  Tighten those screws some more.  Lots of cons with both choices.  So many unknowns in each direction.  Being away half the time means missing so much.  While it would be nice to take the package and run, neither one of us is sure what he'd do or where to even start looking.  Being unemployed is foreign to us.  Insurance is also a big thing, with us both having medical problems.

In the end, Clint chose to stay employed. It seems to be the safest choice. It's not ideal, but having A job is better than NO job.  It will mean some big changes for our family come January.  At least it buys us some more time to pursue other options and when and if he does leave, he can do so on his own terms, not theirs.  My husband will go to Houston at the start of the New Year, find an apartment and get set up to live and work in Houston half the time.  I'll also have to adjust to being by myself doing the single mom thing for two weeks at a time.  It's been many, many years since we've had this schedule.  However, we've done it before and we can do it again.

AND - at least he still has a job....  for now.

Sunday, December 22, 2019


Today was the day that Santa passed throughout the area. 

Saturday, December 21, 2019


Fifteen years ago tonight this little baby entered the world and our lives changed forever.  It seems they have gone by in a blink. Toddler days... preschool days.... elementary.... middle school... 

Every year needing me a little less than the one before it.  I'm still the mamma hen that circles around my brood.

"Do you have your shirt?"

"Don't forget your shoes."

"Did you take your allergy medicine?"

"Are you sure you have everything?"

And the teenager will often roll her eyes and groan "yes yes... I have everything mom."

So, I've been trying stand back and let her be who she wants to be, make her own decisions, and it's hard.  Don't worry - I'll be waiting in the wings for when she does need me to swoop right in.

Somehow this kid has a mind of her own - imagine that!!

Somehow now she's in high school and old enough to learn how to drive. 

Somehow she has a boyfriend. (????!!!)

Somehow my little girl is fifteen.

Wishing the happiest birthday to my dear ValGal.  Love you always.

Friday, December 20, 2019

Light 'em up!

This is our fifth year running our light show - Bayou Blue Dancing Lights.  Every year we try to change it up a bit and add a little something new.  It takes hours and hours to sequence one song. Our Facebook page has grown a lot and we are at 4300 followers.  Word of mouth has helped also!  Somehow, we were featured in an article published in "Only in Your State."   There's been a few busy nights, but traffic hasn't been all that bad over all and we've only seen one party bus. I expect this weekend will be pretty busy with the kids getting out of school and it being Christmas weekend! 

Wednesday, December 18, 2019

Monday, December 16, 2019

Is it live? Or is it Memorex?

Back in the 70s and 80s, owning a video camera was definitely a luxury we didn't have.  My parents had the means to buy a camcorder if they wanted to, but they didn't see it as necessary.  (How times have changed with everyone now having a camera at their fingertips 24/7!)

My Dad made do with what we had:  a cassette recorder.  It was his way of capturing the moment.  He'd pop in a blank tape and press record while we were doing ordinary things.  He'd ask me questions about my day.  We played games.  We sang songs.  We looked at books.  All while the tape was turning.  It became part of my routine too, as over the years I'd record endless doll playing sessions and sleepovers.  Sometimes we'd just be silly and talk to the tape recorder.  I recorded myself singing and playing my keyboard.  I even recorded the noisy cat we had.   

After my Mom died, my Dad told me he'd lie in bed and play some of the old tapes at night.  I guess he couldn't sleep, so he'd go back in time.  Days before he died, he told me the best time of his life was when I was little and watching me grow up.  I can see why he made the tapes.  

I hadn't forgotten about the tapes, but they aren't something I think about often.  Out of sight out of mind basically.   In the middle of clearing out some stuff to make room for our new furniture, I ran across one of the boxes of cassette tapes.  

Ironically, the first tape I listened to just happened to be Christmas Eve.  From what I sound like, I'd say it was 1975 and I was three.  I was taking a bath, getting ready to go to grandma's house for our family Christmas gathering.  Then we move on to opening gifts. I got some books - Bambi and Cinderella.  I still have them. Its an odd feeling hearing voices of ghosts from the past and moments that I have no recollection of.  That's me with the little girl voice.  A much younger Mom and Dad, doting over this little kid.             

Something I had forgotten was the name I had given myself.  I don't recall doing this at all but my Mom told me often.  I've mentioned before that my Dad's name was Jack Russell.  Little kid me would refer to myself as "Melanie Jack Russell Frances."

It's going to take quite some time to listen to all of these as I probably have a hundred cassette tapes.  Quite honestly, I don't even know if I can.  

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Sunday Stealing

1. If you saw a dog locked in a hot car, what would you do?
Call the cops. 

2.  Is it easy for you to accept help when you need it?

Usually no, but I guess it depends on who and what kind of help it is.

3. Have you ever been in a fashion show?

No and no desire to

4. Would you like to be famous?

Definitely a no

5. What is your most compulsive habit?
Probably grinding my teeth 

6. What do you most strive for in your life: accomplishment, security, love, power, excitement, knowledge, or something else?

A combo of security and knowledge I suppose.

7.How close and warm is your family?

There's only 4 of us so I'd say we are all pretty close or as close as the teens allow at this point in their lives, lol

8 Does that fact that you have never done a thing before increase or decrease its appeal to you?

Depends on what it is

9. If your friends start belittling a common acquaintance, would you defend that person?

It depends on how well I know that person that needs defending

10.  Do you make a special effort to thank someone who does you a favor How do you react when you aren’t thanked for going out of your way for someone?
Yes, definitely show them I appreciate it.  I hate that and I probably will not do anything for that person ever again.

11. Since adolescence, in what 3-year period do you feel you experienced the most personal growth and change?

Probably 30-33.  Got married and had kids!

12. When you do something ridiculous, how much does it bother you to have other people notice it and laugh at you?  Some, depends on what it is and who is laughing!  

13. Do you believe in capital punishment?

If it fits the crime.

14. Do you find it so hard to say “no” that you regularly do favors yo do not want to do? 

I've gotten much better at saying no

15.  What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

Can't think of anything at the moment.  We all make random inappropriate jokes around here.  

Saturday, December 14, 2019

Out with the old, in with the new

It was time for a change.  Out with the old...

In with the new!

All the drawers are cedar lined!
This was our Christmas gift to ourselves:  A new mattress and a whole new bedroom set.  I LOVE it so much!  Now I'm on the hunt for new lamps and a new quilt.  Probably new curtains too!