So very True - Image by Anne Taintor

So very True - Image by Anne Taintor
I would like this on my very own business cards

Friday, December 30, 2011

Reasonable Resolutions

This is the time of year when people start touting their new year's resolutions and they really mean it.  With intent.  The sad part is most people fail.  I only know one person who has held true to a resolution for a full year.  My former boss, Gerard, made reasonable resolutions.  One year he decided to eat a "wafer thin sandwich" everyday for lunch while at work.  It was rather easy to achieve.  2 pieces of white bread; mayonnaise; sometimes mustard; 2 pieces of Carl Buddig beef, ham, or turkey and a slice of American cheese.  He achieved that goal.  Another year he dedicated his resolution to taking a photo each day.  It didn't matter if it was a bush covered by snow on his walk to work, his children smiling or a picture of his foot.  He almost achieved it except for one day when he had the flu or sickness so bad that he thought he was going to die so he didn't follow through.  In my mind, he made it.  In his, he didn't.  You decide....

Too many people set unrealistic goals.  I am going to lose 70 pounds; wear the same size I wore in high school; quit drinking; quit smoking; eat healthier; blah, blah, blah.  If you really want to do those things, just do it.  Don't wait until some epic event to make you start.  

This year I have resolved to set attainable goals.  My goals are listed below.  I think at this point there are more than are possible but I have another day to decide and wean out those that I don't will happen with certainty.

  1. Drink a beer at least once a week (This I can almost guarantee is possible unless the government enacts prohibition this year or the Coors Corporation ceases to exist.)  I would say a beer a day but that would make me sound like an alcoholic.
  2. Smile more often--or actually smile at someone I don't know daily.  
  3. Play the kinect and learn the dance to California Girls by Katie Perry so Anne and I can perform our flash mob we keep joking about.
  4. Be nicer to my family.  Not just nod when they speak but actually be nice.  Interact more even though I might be in a cruddy mood.  Hug them more often and just "be".  Live in the moment.  I think this stems from the realization that the boys are growing up too fast and I already miss them in a younger form.  
  5. Eat vegetarian one day a month.  For some this is easy.  I live with carnivores.  This may be difficult.  I can usually get away with it when the family is not around however they don't feel like they have been feed unless some type of animal winds up in their stomachs.  I don't mean vegan either.  I mean the fake vegetarian that can eat eggs and dairy products.
  6. Lose one pants size.  Granted, I am one of those people who dreams of losing tons of weight but I am being practical.  I might achieve this by solely playing Just Dance on the kinect on a daily basis.  We shall see.
  7. One family involved activity every week.  Mormon families do this already but mine kind of does a hodge-podge of whatever they feel like.  Movies count as long as all 4 of us are together.  Not just Alan and I watching it while Silas plays the iPod and/or Cody uses his laptop.  This is the age of techie children.  I know I shouldn't condone it but I do.  Oh well.
  8. Write at least one post a month.  That should be something I do.  Just for me.  Sometimes I feel selfish writing to no one in particular then I realize that I do it in my journal anyway or daydream for long amounts of time so why not.  It might not be interesting to others but I am sure I can do this.
  9. Finish reading "Atlas Shrugged."  I just started this week.  It is so long the librarian asked me to report back to her when I finished.  She said she heard it was good but its size alone intimidated her too much to attempt to read it.
  10. Do at least one load of laundry a week.  Many may not believe this is a goal.  It is for me.  I hate laundry.  I resent it.  I can do my own laundry but I don't want to do it for others.  In the next year I will do more laundry and possibly put it away instead of putting it in the clean basket on top of my dresser.  
  11. Bring back a little more "Nikki" each day.  I have just felt like I lost myself somewhere.  If I keep looking maybe I can find me.
So that's what I have come up with to date.  Not a huge list but enough to choose from and possibly even complete at 75%.  Time will tell.  As I write this, I am realizing how difficult it may be since my husband is already making comments about me actually writing to no one again.  He thinks my blog is my boyfriend even though I have not  posted in three months. Wait until he finds out I have started using "Pinterest."  Maaaahaaahaaaa (evil laugh if you couldn't tell from reading that)

Happy 2012.  May you too have achievable goals.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

I have Graduated!

Tonight at dinner I found out that I have apparently graduated from the "Meanest Mom in the World" to the "Creepiest Mom in the World."  I am not sure if that is really a bad thing either.  For the past 15 years, there have been many times in which I have been accused of being mean.  Usually this "being mean" involves responsible parenting.  Examples would be having a child clean their room, do chores, finish homework, act appropriately or even *Gasp* accept responsibility for their actions while they are in trouble.  I have been very deserving of this title and have worked diligently at earning and living up to the role.  It took many years of training.

I have also found out that there are other mothers out there who may also qualify as the "Meanest Mom in the World."  To them I say "Excellent Job!"  It is rather difficult to have the title stick.  This mother may have earned it in her child's eyes but other mom's out there are raising our glasses of wine at night when the kids are in bed and saying "Cheers" and "Here! Here!"  Ma'am we applaud you!!

What has transpired tonight is a bit different.  One that I had never pondered.  One that I never knew I would be proud of holding.  Yet it is now here.  I have become the "Creepiest Mom in the World".  I do not remember the last time I was so verklempt by such an honor.  It will be difficult to give my acceptance speech.  However, I will persevere and wade through the emotions that overcome me at this time of recognition.

I always thought a creepy mom would look like this:

(Although, I must note, that Ann Coulter is always creepy)  Or, a creepy mom would look like this:

What have I done to begat this fame?  I informed my son that yes, he could indeed go hang out with his friends, however, I may at any time come and check on him.  Yep, that is right.  I confirmed that at any given moment in time, I may shatter his reality of coolness by verifying his whereabouts by making a public appearance.  It doesn't mean that I will.  It doesn't mean I will show up at the library when he is "studying."

It doesn't mean I will be peeking on him as he is walking downtown or through neighborhoods with his peers.

Or even making a discreet stop at the mall.

It simply means that when he tells me that he will be somewhere I will reserve the right to follow up and verify that he is there.  If he is truly going to be participating in whatever event he has told me then it should be no big deal.  BUT, if he isn't truthful and has different intentions then I guess it would be terrifying and possibly creepy.

Oh well, I don't mind being creepy.  At least I know where my kids are.

Friday, August 26, 2011

More of Aunt Nikki's World

While speaking with my sister tonight she told me yet another funny tale of where my niece, Ava, thinks I live.

Ava:  "Is Aunt Nikki's World part of this earth?"

My sister: "What do you mean?"

Ava: "Is it on this earth or is it's own world?"

Sister: "It is part of the earth.  It's on this planet."

Ava: "Oh...." pauses, "Is it it's own country?"

Sister:  "No.  It's a state."

Ava:  "Oh, it's not a country..."

Sister: "No, it's a state like where we live..."

Ava:  "Um, ok."

I have to wonder what is going through her mind.  I love her vivid imagination....

PS.  Props go out to my sister and her husband on the birth of my newest nephew, Nathan.  He came into the world a few weeks early but he is healthy and cute as all get out.  I can't wait for him to start talking.  I hope his imagination is as active as Ava's.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

The Devil Living in My Yard

My husband thinks I might be the only person in America who hates deer.  In my defense, with good reason.  This year I actually have a bumper crop of apples in my yard.  I was so excited until the deer showed up.  It is a little buck about two years old.  He has little horns with nubbins.  He was here Sunday night when we got home from being gone all weekend.  I told him he could stay the night in the back yard and then he had better be gone.

Monday--He was there when I woke up, came home for lunch and got back after work.  When Alan got home he suggested I try to scare him away because he was eating apples and then headed to my garden to gobble up my strawberries.  That did not sit well with me.  I have struggled to get my garden going a midst the local city wild life of squirrels, raccoons and the stupid crows.

Going off of the husband's advice, I started hootin' and hollerin' at the deer.  He just stared at me.  I started running around on the deck and making noise.  He went from the apple tree to the garden again.  I was pissed!  I flew down the stairs and yelled as loud as I could.  Nothing.  He just kept eating.  I screamed louder.  I tried yelling in a deeper voice.  The deer took notice and inquisitively turned his head to look straight at me.  I again made same booming noises and ran towards him.  My arms extended towards the sky so I would appear larger (I have heard you should do that wildlife.  It doesn't really work).  Frickin' deer just glared at me and then.....charged me.  He started running towards me.  I had no other choice but to turn around and run like hell back up to the deck with Alan.  The deer then just stood in the yard with an evil eye turned towards me before proceeding to eat again.  Husband said it could smell the fear in me.  Sure thing!  Like I want to be hoofed to death or worse--maimed in the facial region for life.  Holy Buckets!!!

Tuesday--Tried again.  Same results.  My sister suggested I ask him nicely to leave.  I did so hoping he would abide.

Wednesday--Go out to feed the devil cat that lives on the porch and he is STILL THERE!! Aargh!  This is going too far.  Lunch he was there.  After work he was there.  I decided to take matters into my own hands.  This is a deer.  A stupid little one too.  I should be able to outsmart it.  Scare it away in some manner.  If he would just stop eating my apple tree which by this time has lost 50% of its leaves and is now loosing apples non stop.  Damned deer can't just eat the ones on the ground.  NOOOO!

Step 1:  I go out and make more noise.  I more or less yelled at him like I was fighting with one of my siblings when I was a teenager.  Didn't work.  I was defeated.  He just lays down under the tree across from the porch.

Step 2:  I dig through Silas' confiscated goods that we keep in our room.  No cap gun only caps.  However, I did find those annoying snappers that you throw on the ground to scare people.  Armed with a bag of the snappers I headed outside.  The deer must have known something because he got up and walked to the other side of the picnic table on the patio.  I started hucking the poppers on the deck.  Then the stone walkway.  Then I walked to the patio about 3 feet from the evil deer.  I started throwing them around me and he didn't even wince.

Step 3:  I am freaking out now.  I am mad.  I picked up a piece of wood and threw it at the deer.  He stepped about 2 feet the other direction but made no attempt to even act surprised by the crazy women having a freak out 5 feet away.

Step 4:  I go to the driveway and gathered two handfuls of gravel.  When I got back to the apple tree area the deer must have sensed something so by now he had sauntered over to the garden and was again munching on the greens of the strawberries.  He even ate the flowers off my poppies!!!!  The nerve!!!!!

Screaming and running towards him I launched an all out army style assault and pelted him with rocks.  I know I hit him but my throwing skills must be weak because he really didn't flinch too much.  He kept eating although he was getting antsy.

Step 5:  I am ready to cry.  I am a girl.

Step 6:  Desperate for something to work I started the lawn mower.  He looks up.  I run towards him while pushing the lawn mower.  He runs to the opposite side of the yard.  I do too.  He zigs the other way.  I zagged.  He circles around the fire pit.  So do I.  Mind you I am pushing a running lawn mower.  He goes to the garden, I follow.  We circle the garden then back across the lawn towards the apple tree.  He actually started to sprint!!!  Yes!!!!!  Although he stopped when he got to the trampoline.

Step 7:  I run with the lawn mower towards him, let go of it on the patio, grab a pile of sticks and pine cones and start launching them at him.  Finally he runs through the open gate.  Victory is mine--for about 30 seconds until he lays down under the pine tree in the front yard.

Step 8:  I realize what an idiot I am when I see how the lawn has a crazy path mowed through it.

Step 9:  I mow the lawn in the back yard.

Step 10: I mow the front yard.  The deer is clearly annoyed with me and walks across the street to Eva's yard.  Well, at least he isn't in my yard anymore.

Step 11:  Not having any deer deterrent spray or any wild game urine like numerous websites suggest I grab a package of fabric sheets and hang them on the branches of the apple tree.  Deer supposedly don't like soap or fabric softer.  We will see.....  At least now when I sit on the bench under the tree I get a nice spring rain scent.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Aunt Nikki's World

My niece has a rather different outlook on Montana.  She lives north of Portland, Oregon and has never ventured this far east.  To a 7 year old it is a rather exotic place.  Apparently it is is also a bit scary.  It never dawned on me how she envisioned it until my sister filled me in.

--She doesn't call it Montana.  When my mother and I were in a car accident last year she got very upset that we would not survive the fender-bender and she would never get to visit "Aunt Nikki's World".

--Her views of this area of the country have been painted with a vivid imagination.  She told my sister that vampires come out of "Aunt Nikki's World."  When she was questioned her logic made sense.

1.  We have icicles.  Big ones.  Ones so big that she thinks they look like vampire teeth hanging off the roof.  I have sent her pictures of them and she is fascinated by them.  She wants to visit in the winter so she can see them and hopefully lick one (yuck!).  Although she did say she wouldn't look up since they could fall into your eye.

2.  We have ghost trees here.  She has taken this idea from a children's book I gave her about "Snow Ghosts."  It is really just a nickname for awesome looking snow covered trees in the mountains.  They can resemble people and a forested area of them is a bit ominous.  She forgets the "snow" part and so we have "ghost trees."  I can't imagine what she thinks it is like at midnight on Halloween here with a full moon.

3.  Grizzly bears.  Yes there are bears here but they typically don't come into town.  At least not very often.  We do have enough bear spray for each member of the family when we go to the woods, camping and picking huckleberries.  This area does have grizzly bears and I am sure it is scary when you are seven.  However, going to city and being surrounded by sketchy people in the ghetto is much more scarier to me.

4.  Cowboys and Indians.  What else do you see on tv when they talk about Montana on the history channel? That must be very prominent in her mind.

5.  I sent her pictures of spider webs that were covered in ice.  She must think that we have cold loving spiders that can live in arctic conditions.  Not only do they weave webs on the porch but they weave webs of snow and ice.  Kind of a hybrid between a spider and yeti.  That is creepy.

6.  Weird drunk people break into your house, barf all over your bathroom and take showers while you are asleep.  Ok, that only happened to us once but it is was a very memorable happening.  It is not often that you get up to find a naked women showering in your bathroom.  We have since began to lock the door at night.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Summer Dreamin'

I am a dreamer.  I daydream.  Often.  Some may call me spacey or off-focus but I'm not.  I am really just living another life out inside my head.  In fact, I am the mayor of my own little village of idiots in Nikki-land.  It is a really rockin' coastal community somewhere warm.  The sun always shines and the wind never blows.  I can't tell you how to get there unless you climb into that little door that will also take you into John Malkovich's head.  You should stop by sometime.  We can have umbrella drinks.

Mostly I just go to Nikki-land to escape.  Honestly, life just seems so demanding and overwhelming at times.  I wish I could just sit down and veg out like my kids can but I can't--too much to do.  The school year is always a blur.  This past year working the job from Hell took a toll also.  I couldn't count on anything like making plans with friends or going to a movie.  Twice I went to funerals and actually got calls from my work while I was paying my respect to the deceased. (Note: I turned off the frickin' cell phone when I was at them so they didn't actually ring when I was in the funeral but as soon as I left and turned on the damned phone, I had messages calling me into work).  We made plans with friends and we had to cancel because I got called in because someone was sick or didn't show up so I had to go in and work the floor.  Blah!  I couldn't even get my drink on without the fear someone would call.  That combined with the hell of being unemployed for so long, catching up on bills, juggling the boys' needs and then Alan being out of work when we closed the pizza place left me longing for more.  Hence, Nikki-land sprouted forth.

This summer is a bit different.  The boys both left.  One is at Grandma's and one is traversing the Pacific Northwest visiting other family.  Alan has a decent job with regular hours and I have a job that I am currently Lah-ov-ing!  I cleaned the house the first week the boys left and the bathroom has stayed clean.  The trash only goes out every few days and the dishwasher is crying because it rarely gets used.  We stopped grocery shopping.  The nights Alan works we get dinner there for free.  The days he has off we defrost something from the freezer.  The only thing we really buy is beer.  That is the only store run I make now.  Every 2 weeks I also buy a 1/2 gallon of milk for coffee and maybe cereal if I want some.  Complete 180 from the usual life.

The sad part: I don't know what to do with myself!!!  Like I said, the house is clean, there is nothing to cook, the yard looks great.  Once a week I spend about 2 hours mowing or weeding and then it is done for another week.  I have been outside often but I get a sun rash because I am a freak of nature so I really only go out after the hottest part of the day.  I don't want to get the rash on my face!!!!!  I have gone through my clothes. Organized pictures and had a yard sale for three days.  Finally, that heap of crap from the storage unit is gone (Thank you Jesus!).  And again, not sure what to do.  I can't focus for long periods of time because I am so used to being interrupted with calls of "MOOOOOOOMMMMMMM!!!" every 5 minutes.  That means books are out of the question right now and I have read all my magazines cover to cover.  

Alan and I don't go to bars because we are old.  We don't eat out together because he works at a restaurant in the evenings and plus, I covered that already.  I have been trying to convince him to start walking with me but it makes us seem like old people.  :)  He is going to put my exercise equipment out for me so I can work out.  That is about all I have to do.  B-O-R-I-N-G!!!

I will be excited to have the kids come back.  I really miss them.  I guess I miss the hectic life more than I thought I would.  

This is how my summer has really been without the kids and that treasured work-life balance....

Thursday, June 23, 2011

In Which I Get a Job that I like!!!!

I have undergone quite the transformation in the past year and half.  I went from a highly professional job where I was valued for my knowledge and treated in high regards to some very different types of positions.  [It is funny when I think back to it.  Sometimes I remember events and for some reason everyone in my head speaks with an English accent and sometimes I am wearing a wig like George Washington.  Ok, so that is when I have dreams about my old job but is kinda odd don't ya think, chap?  End Rant Here.]  I was a pizza delivery driver, pizza maker, house keeper and finally an overqualified butt wiper.  I know my last job wasn't really all butt-wiping but it was the part that I had NO IDEA about before I had accepted it.  Granted, it was only when I had to work the floor or as a last resort, but just not my cup of tea (see, the English thing again).

Overall the dynamics where I worked for 9 months were not ideal.  Many times I felt like Lloyd in Dumb & Dumber (*Note, to truly understand the torment please click on that link).  I could go on and on and I am sure over time I will post little snippets of the hellish ordeal but for now I am trying to remove it from my memory and focus on the good.  Which is why I am writing in the first place and it brings us full circle to one year ago........

Last year I interviewed for a position that I knew I could totally do and was offered the job in a round-about way.  They basically said they couldn't afford me.  They said what they could offer and I agreed with them because at that time, my naivety about how dire the job market would become was unfathomable.  I was still expecting to find a job that made within $5 and hour of what I had been making.  So needless to say, I went on my merry way and continued to drudge forward through unemployment for another 6 months {Rant--my husband continually said "I told you to accept that other job" whenever I complained about the job I had accepted. Rant ends here}.

Fast forward 13 months later: While perusing through Craigslist I spied the same job that I had turned down last year!!!!!   No way!  Could it be?!?!  Since I had accepted the other job and "settled" for a lower salary that was commensurate with what they had offered me I wondered if I should go for it.  When I told my husband about it his response was "I told you to accept it last year!"  So I contacted them and told them my situation: the past year was pure hell and I had kicked myself for not accepting it before and I GOT THE JOB!!!!  That simple!!!!!!  Holy buckets!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I started at the new job about two weeks ago.  It is a job I can do.  It is a job that makes me happy.  It is a job where I am appreciated.  It is a job where I am no longer on call, ever!!  I can have nights and weekends and holidays free!  I can go out of town.  I can drink too many beers and not get a call that someone is sick or didn't show up or there is a major crisis that I can't deal with because I got my beers on.  I can take the kids to school in the morning and then go to work.  I can leave for a full hour at lunch and take my husband to work and not have to check out and let someone know I am leaving the premise on my own time.  Pay dirt baby!!!!

My new job is administrative--the kind of crap that I did before I went to college.  However, my experiences elsewhere have come in handy and I am actually highly-qualified!!!!!!!!!  My desk is behind a large counter.  You can't even see my head when you walk in unless I really sit up to peer over the ledge.  It is my happy place.  My very own happy place and I can't think of anywhere I would rather be from 8:30 - 5 pm, Monday through Friday.  Woot! Woot!

The Ghost of Christmas Past - I apparently forgot to post this back when I wrote it

It is the holiday season and I am trying to get into the "spirit."  I had Cody drag all the Christmas boxes out of the storage unit for me and load/unload them into the car.  They are now sitting in a huge wall/pile in my sitting area.  I had planned to decorate this weekend only work got in the way.  Being on call = not fun.  Being on call = not being able to finish projects you had planned.  Therefore, my laundry monster is still as tall as me and growling to be put away.  I was able to do laundry but I didn't feel like taking the time to fold after it came out because I was sleep deprived and being lazy.  I plan on taking a few days off this week while the boys are at school to kick the house's ass.  I am going to clean it like there is no tomorrow.  It is time to mop and glo again.  I love how shiny the floors will be.  It will reflect the lights of the artificial tree that I am using this year and I won't have to worry about picking up any pine needles.  Gotta love the fake stuff (funny for a girl who spent so much time on a Christmas tree farm while growing up).

My theme this year for Christmas is "I finally have a mantle!!!"  I am really going to bank on that since I haven't had a mantle since....hmmmmm...forever.  Wait, I guess we did technically have one but it was more of a ledge behind the wood stove in the trailer that we live in for 18 months while building our house.  That was a Christmas to remember.  It is also the Christmas we compare all of the Christmas' against.  That was the year that our family of four was living oh-so-not-comfortably in a 10' x 50' 1963 trailer.  The house was so small we didn't even have room for a tree.  Not even a little one.  So we had a wreath.  We all decorated little plastic ornaments from the dollar store and hung them on the wreath alongside the ornaments the boys made at school that year.  We put lights on the wreath and all of the presents were piled on a side table under the wreath.  All the house-hold items we received that year were put into storage until we moved into the new house as we had no room for them in the tin can we called home.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not putting it down, it was a house to live in cheaply it just wasn't ideal.  If we had known it was going to take that long, it would never have transpired the way it did.  The oven was so small we had a turkey breast.  Turkey wouldn't even fit in the oven.

Cody's bedroom was the little 7'x11' pop-out add-on/entry way into the house.  It had no insulation.  So during the day he would play in there and then sleep on the couch inside at night.  We had two dressers stacked on top of each other to hold our clothes.  The cars we owned were more expensive than the house and you know what it was ok.  Looking back it makes me thankful for what we have now.  It also makes me happy that I have room to put up so many decorations that it is going to look like Christmas barfed all over the house.  I can't wait!!!!