Tuesday, June 29, 2010


Ok, so I'm sure all of you are quite confused over the sudden onslaught of posts to my blog, and how they seem to be in no particular order and of horrendous age. Well, the fact is that these posts have been sitting, completed for quite some time all ready to get posted up, if only.... well, if only the ones prior had been ready to go.

So, I've discovered that I apparently have another OCD that is just now coming to light. The evidence indicates that I have little to no ability to post things out of order. I have all of these started posts on my blog, many of them finished, that I simply have not been able to bring myself to post until the oldest ones are all ready to go. The problem: my inspiration, creativity and desire for literary expression seem to have gone missing, and have been absent for quite some time. I'd call the police, or the FBI, or maybe even the CIA, but I'm sure they'd all tell me that it's a Cold Case by now, and too difficult to pick up after all this time. Plus, probably not worth their time! So, because I have several necessary items MIA, I just have not had any motivation to finish older posts. So, the completed ones sat. I did try. Really I did. I even gave my blog a makeover two + weeks ago thinking that would kick my creativity into gear. No such luck. Once the design was finished, I didn't want to actually write anything. So...nothing.

So what's the change today, you ask? I don't really know. Call it a case of giving up the ghost, maybe. Actually that doesn't really fit. I'm not giving up on those older posts. I do intend to eventually post them. Of course that will mean that every once in a while a post will pop up from a year ago, and you'll have to live through the confuzzlement once again. But only briefly, and then you'll get it all figured out. Just be patient with me. Besides that, maybe this will draw you back into reading again. Let's call it intrigue, shall we? Regardless, I guess for today I was able to zoom in on that "little" ability to post out of order, and posted everything I have finished at this moment in time. Look forward to more to come. I think I feel a little of that desire creeping back in...

BTW, what's the verdict on the makeover? Is this one a keeper? :)

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Blessings in Disguise

I recently met with a client of mine to make a few adjustments to their case. The adjustments involved filing a new budget to show the family's new living expenses. The unfortunate result of the time of their bankruptcy filing was the loss of their house, as they were unable to make the bankruptcy payment, the house payment and all of the utility deposits that were required of them all within the first month of their case. Despite the loss of a home they have lived in for over 15 years and where all of their children had lived their whole lives, I was surprised to find my client reporting to me that things were going much better since they had moved. They had found a house to rent just a block away from the school where two of their three children attend, for much less in rent than they had been attempting to pay in mortgage. There was enough room for everyone, and it was a much nicer place than they had been living, clean and healthy.

When I asked her what she meant by "clean and healthy", she said that they had moved all of their things out of the old house. Approximately three days later, they had returned to the house to pick up a few things they had left in the garage, make sure nothing had been left behind and do a little clean up. What they found was shocking. She proceeded to describe to me the scene when the opened the front door. They had walked into the house and found mold. And not just a little mold. Mold everywhere. She said what they assumed was black mold had appeared in every nook and cranny. It blanketed the walls, covered the floors and coated the ceilings. Even the counter tops and cupboards in the kitchen and bathrooms were enveloped in the black nastiness.

When I asked her where she thought it came from, she said she had gone back and looked at all of her sale documents from when they purchased the house. In the packet of paperwork was a document she said she had never seen before. It was an attachment to the home inspector's report. Scrawled across the document in big handwritten documents it said "Mold clean-up required". She said they were never informed directly by the inspector, by the sellers, by the sellers' real estate agent or by their own agent (all of whom would have had access to the information in the report) that there was a problem of this kind with the home when they purchased, either after the inspection or at closing. In fact, she didn't know how the document ended up in the packet of sale documents at all, though she admitted that, like most people, she had put their copies of the documents away, still in the original envelope they came in, and never looked at them again. She said that they were theorizing, since it had always been there, that the removal of their belongings had exposed areas infected with the mold to the air, which had thus been able to thrive, multiply and grow. What was amazing (and frightening) was the short amount of time it took for the mold to cover the entire inside of the house.

I asked if she and her family had had any difficulties associated with Sick Building Syndrome. She had never heard of such a thing. When I explained to her what it was (sickness in individuals caused by poor indoor air quality, sometimes associated with mold), she said that she and the family had over the years had ongoing sicknesses - that someone had always been sick, one after the other, at one time or another - but that she had just associated it with the everyday sorts of illnesses that all of us have at one time or another. She now thinks differently. Luckily it appears that no one in her family has suffered any long-term effects from living so long with a house full of mold. It also appears that they did not carry any of it with them in their belongings, which is a miracle in itself. When I asked how everyone was feeling now, she said that there was a period there of about a month that everyone seemed to be sick. She said she thinks that their bodies were simply expelling the mold and its effects, now that they had a clean environment to enable them to do that. She said now everyone is healthy (which is the first time she can remember in a very long time), everyone has more energy and everyone feels good overall. Everyone is happy, which is also something she can't remember happening for a very long time. That family is not only lucky, but so much better off than they were before.

My mom always says everything happens for a reason. I'm a firm believer in blessings in disguise. I'd say this was both. Without a doubt, that family was blessed with the loss of their house in the bankruptcy, and I believe they lost it for that very reason. Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?

Thursday, January 7, 2010

German Blog

Saw another awesome thing today. I checked my hits on my blog to discover a hit from Germany. This is not too unusual, because my cake posts get a lot of hits from other countries. What was unusual is that not only did it not have a referring link to my page, but the web page viewed did not begin with my blog address. Instead, it started with "translate". Having never seen a link like this before, I decided to click on it. And what did I find? Apparently someone had entered my blog into Google's translation site for German. When I clicked on the link, there it was, at least part of my blog translated into the German language. It was really kind of cool, being that I speak no other languages, (though I understand a large majority of Spanish). It looked as if I was fluent in German. LOL!

I did also find it amusing that there are some things that apparently do not translate. I had to laugh as I skimmed down the blog taking in all of these strange looking words that I wouldn't even know how to begin to try and type on a keyboard, and all of a sudden there was "Hey! That's me!", "On a side note" and "FIX IT NOW" (though I wonder if the last was because I used all caps. Hmmmm....) Also, "LOL" does not translate I guess. :-) I am wondering how good the translation is, though, because I noticed as I went a long that there seemed to be a lot of words just randomly not translated. As if they were missed (or were extra not needed in German.) And some of them were words that were translated elsewhere. I also noticed that only one of the titles was translated, and that the translation stopped part way through the last post on the page. Don't know why that is either, but regardless, I'm kind of excited that someone in another country actually wanted to read my blog, as opposed to looking at the pictures. Guten Tag, Deutschland! Willkommen! (That's about the extent of my German without a translator. At least I didn't have to find that upside exclamation point they use in Spanish.)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Christmas Toys

I find in the weeks following Christmas that I am spending a lot of time playing with Christmas toys. I don't mean that I am putting together the toys Sweetpea got for Christmas, (though that's part of it, too) or even "playing" with the "toys" (e.g. wooden teapot and teacup puzzle) I got for Christmas. No, what I mean is we've had this phenomenon happening the last few weeks that seems to always result in more involvement from me than from Sweetpea by the time it's all said and done. The scenario usually goes something like this:

"Mom, can I play with (insert new toy/craft here) tonight/today/tomorrow?"
"Well, I don't know, honey, I still have to put it together and I'm not sure how it works." "Well, will you read the destructions (i.e. instructions) then?" "Yes, just give me a few minutes to finish what I'm doing." Thirty seconds later: "Mom, are you ready to read the destructions yet?" "No, dear, I haven't finished what I'm doing. Please give me a few minutes." Fifteen seconds later: "Mom, I'm still waiting for you to read the destructions so I can play with my (insert new toy/craft here)." "Sweetpea, I'm aware that you are still waiting, it hasn't even been a whole minute yet. Let me finish what I'm doing, please." Forty-five seconds later: "Mooooooommmmm, are you dooooooooonnnnnnnneee yeeeeetttt?" "Oh for crying out loud! If I get it put together and tell you how it works, will you leave me ALONE?!?" "Yes, Mama." So, I drop what I'm doing - because, you know, making dinner so we can eat before midnight or moving a wet load of laundry that's been sitting in the washer to the dryer so it doesn't sour, or cleaning up a flood in the laundry room cannot possibly be more important than putting together Sweetpea's toys - to put the toy together or get out all the pieces of the craft and tell her how it works, or what she needs to do to make the craft. The time it takes to complete this depends on the toy/craft. If it's a stupid Polly Pocket something or other, you can bank on the fact that while the pieces may fit together, they don't stay together, and I will be there at least 10 years forty-five minutes trying to make the damn thing work. If it's a craft, I can usually count on the fact that explaining it to Sweetpea one time will simply not do. It's not that she can't/doesn't understand. It's that she usually hears step 1 and doesn't pay attention to steps 2 - 105. On top of that, if she doesn't like how they tell her to do step 1, she'll do it the way she thinks it should be done. Anyone who has ever followed any directions done a craft should be able to see the difficulty with such an attitude. After I'm relatively sure she probably understands, I go to finally try and finish whatever task I left undone to silence my demanding child. After about two minutes of working on my task, I will hear the following: "Mooooooommmmm! This isn't working right/I can't do this! Can you come help me?" "Sweetpea, you are old enough to be able to figure that out on your own. Why can't you do it yourself?" "This is booorrring! I can't do it." Side note: Sweetpea only kind of understands the meaning of boring. While she seems to understand the definition is "not fun, or uninteresting", she uses boring when she does not want to do something, or something is frustrating her. "It is not boring, you're just not trying very hard. Try again." Ten seconds later: "I still can't do it! Will you help me?" "*sigh* You can too do it. You just don't want to. Why did I put this together/get this out for you? Try again." Five seconds later:
*sound of crashing materials/toy pieces having been thrown across the table/room* "I'm no good at this!" Picture pouty lower lip and whiny 5-year-old voice. "Ok, that's enough. If it's that big a problem, maybe we'd better just take it back to the store." "NOOOOO! Maybe we could just do it together?" Translation: mommy, this is not turning out perfectly/the way I want it. Please do it for me. "*double sigh* Fine." So I once again drop whatever task I am currently (still) up to my armpits in, so my demanding child will stop whining. I go to try to help her do whatever it is she's trying to do. This will work for a little while, since I will once again show her how to do it correctly, (or put the stupid Polly Pockets something back together again) and still make her do it herself. This will have the effect of keeping Sweetpea occupied for about 15 minutes, maybe half an hour - if I'm lucky. Then what happens, you ask? Then she does get bored with what she's doing, and either stops trying to do it their way (i.e. the right way) and does it her own way, or she stops doing it at all. Which then leaves me to fix what she's done, or to do it by myself. Some examples? She got Melty Beads in her stocking this year. Do you remember Melty Beads? I loved these things as a kid. These are beads that you set on a peg board in a patterns to make a shape, then put a piece of waxed paper over them and iron the paper. The beads "melt" together and stick, permanently forming the shape. I'm not really sure what you're supposed to do with them after that. They may have some of the same uses as Pixos. Anyway, Sweetpea got about 3/4 of the way through the first shape, and accidentally knocked some of the beads off the peg board. Then came the "I can't do this" and so on. She and I fixed the upset beads and finished the shape together. I asked her if she wanted to do another, and she said she did. So, I carefully carried the peg board upstairs and set it down on the ironing board, and turned on the iron to heat up - thinking we could put the second shape together and I could iron them both at once. When I got back down stairs, Sweetpea had the second package open, and had emptied the bead packet into our bead bowl. But as soon as I sat down, she didn't want to do it anymore. There was something she was more interested in on t.v. And, of course, she didn't want to clean up the mess, either. So I ended up putting together the second shape myself. That's right. I put together the Melty Beads without my daughter. And then ironed them both, which took 10 times longer than it should have, since I couldn't seem to get them to melt evenly, regardless of the fact that I WAS using even pressure as I ironed, as directed... Next, she received do-it-yourself suncatchers from her Aunt for Christmas. These are made by Elmer's (that's right, as in glue.) The suncatchers themselves are already made. You just have to use the paint pens provided, and fill in the colors. When the paint dries, it dries with a look of stained glass, so the sun can shine through. The difficulty with these is that there are some tight corners that the pens don't exactly fit into, and squeezing the pens too tightly results in the overflow of paint over the black dividing lines that make the design of the suncatchers. With the first overflow I heard, "I'm just no good at this." The result? Instead of getting to paint my own suncatcher, as was originally Sweetpea's plan, I got to go behind her and "fix" all of the overflows on her suncatchers. I was actually still doing this long after Sweetpea had gone to bed. And guess what? The suncatchers are still not finished. And I don't think you even want me to get started on the stupid Polly Pocket race track that I spent nearly a million years 2 hours trying to get put together, only to find that it falls apart the minute you try to race a car on it. Needless to say, Polly Pocket playsets that require assembly have now joined Bratz in permanent banishment from our house. Let me tell you how very much I'm eagerly anticipating getting out the Candy Jewelry Maker. So far the attempts to start that little project have been successfully thwarted, but I feel my time is quickly running out...