Thursday, August 19, 2010

Fun times at the DMV

Today was a big day in our household.  Z turned 15 & 6 months old today, and that means, Learner's Permit.  Z has been waiting for this day since his third birthday.  By the time he'd turned 10, he was calculating the number of months and he's been counting down the days for the last few years.

Was he ready?  Had he studied?  Not that I was aware.  We'd picked up the study guide a few months ago, but he never asked me to call him questions or help him study.  Whenever I asked him if he'd studied the book at all, his response was always that he had an app on his phone and had taken the quiz a couple of times and gotten most of them right.

So today, we arrived at DMV with me thinking we were probably wasting our time and Z thinking he'd sail through the test with no problem.   Z even dressed up for the occasion.  Which means he didn't wear his pants with chains all over them.   Of course, he didn't wear shoes either.

S tagged along for my moral support and to make fun of Z when he failed the test.  Nothing like sibling love.

I don't know how your DMV works, but here in Virginia, you go inside and stand in line to get a number then you go sit and wait a couple of hours for your number to be called.  It felt like we waited an hour to get our number, but it really wasn't all that long.  Just long enough for me to consider the reasons the DMV needs multiple armed guards patrolling the place.  We got our number, sat down and prepared to wait the normal 30 minutes to an hour before our number was called.

Suddenly, after only five or ten minutes, they announced our number.  Wow!  This is going great, I thought.  Z and I went up to the counter, I handed over the necessary documents and the lady started typing away.  All of a sudden, she gets on the phone and starts calling for a supervisor.  Crud.  A supervisor??  Turns out, their computer said Z's social security number was already being used by someone else.  WHAT????   I think they must have seen the panic in my eyes because they were very nice, and calm.  They thought it was most likely a data entry error on their part but they needed to research it, so back to the chairs we went to wait.

Thirty minutes later, they called us back up to the counter.  All they'd been able to determine so far was that it was a child using Z's social security number.  They still thought it was probably due to a data entry error on their part.  They were still researching and back to the chairs we went.  I was appreciative that they were keeping us updated and I was glad to know it was a kid who had the number and not some 40 year old criminal, but still....   At least they were playing good music over the loud speakers.  Of course, my kids begged to differ on that one.  They were also getting rather embarrassed because I was starting to sing along and chair dance.  It is so much fun to embarrass my kids.  :)

It wasn't long before they called us back up to the counter.  Now what, I wondered.  The research was done.  It was a data entry error on their part and "a note had been put on their computer."  That was about all I could get out of them as to how the situation was being fixed.  At this point, I was ready to accept that answer.  I was getting pretty hungry, and therefore cranky, and at least they had fixed the problem in their computer so we didn't have to come back another day.  Unless of course Z flunks the test...

They handed Z a computer screen thingy to sign his name on and good grief!  You've never seen someone have so much trouble signing their name.  It was pretty dang embarrassing!  First of all, he doesn't write in cursive.  He learned it, never used it and promptly forgot it, but it's the DMV law  - you have to write your name in cursive.  He finally managed that task except he'd written his nickname, not his legal name.  Crud.  Gotta start all over again.  You'd have thought they were asking him to perform brain surgery.  Finally, his name is signed.  Now he has to take off his hat and get his picture taken.  We stood their and argued for a few minutes because I hadn't brought a brush into DMV.  Then the DMV employee made him put his hair back in a ponytail.  Z HATES his hair pulled back and really hates to be hatless.  But he really, really wanted that learner's permit so he pulled his hair back.  Photo taken, time for the eye test.  Passed that just fine.  Go sit back down and wait for an available computer so he could take the test.

While we were waiting, they called another person up to the counter.  This lady had to have been at least 130 years old.  Her son, who was at least in his mid 50's was helping her.  He had to help her get up out of the chair because she couldn't do it on her own.  He had to help her walk past the six chairs to the counter because she couldn't walk that far on her own.  I mean, this lady was OLD!  As they passed by us, the woman asked her son where they were.  He replied that they were at DMV renewing her driver's license.   OMG!  This woman can't walk and doesn't even know where she is, but she's getting a drivers license???  And yes, she got it!   A few minutes later, DMV took her picture, they paid and they walked out of DMV with a new license for the old woman.  Sheesh.  And I was worried about Z driving!

Finally, they called Z up to take his test.  He was there at the computers for quite a while so I assumed he'd survived the first part of the test and had moved on to the second part.  When he was done, he walked back over to the counter then over to me.  He needed $19.  Which means, he passed!!!

Aack!!  Woo-hoo!!  Aack!   I'm still not sure if I'm super excited or terrified.  A little of both, probably.  What I do know is that I need a drink.  And a big, gigantic bottle of valium.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Family Reunion

This past weekend was one of my husband's many, many family reunions.  The whole concept is a little strange to me.  My family seems to avoid each other like the plague, but hubby's family is a fairly tight knit group and get together frequently.

I have to admit, Hubby and I were sort of dreading the event.  The traffic we have to drive through is always awful, the location is a couple of hours away and recently, it's been horribly, disgustingly hot.  The thought of hanging around outside and eating potato salad that's been sitting out for hours in 100+ degree weather wasn't overly exciting.  But, we went and had a good time as usual.  The traffic wasn't great, but it could have been a lot worse.  The food was excellent and plentiful (a little too plentiful!) as always and the weather was perfect!  Mid 80's and cloudy, not too humid and a slight breeze blowing most of the time.  It was also nice to catch up with other family members.  I think this was the first year since meeting my husband some 18+ years ago that there hasn't been a wedding or funeral to attend.  That meant, we hadn't seen the majority of his family since last year's reunion.  We had a lot of fun and this year, there was even a photographer there to take a group photo.  Now, if I could only put names to all the faces...

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Electric plug madness

Minnie is obsessed with our TV’s electric plug.  She spends hours and hours a day staring at it, whining to it and unfortunately, clawing and biting it.  It seems she’s trying to unplug the TV.  Perhaps we watch too much TV and don’t spend quite enough time throwing the ball for her.  We do, however, tend to eat in front of the TV, and if we eat, she eats, so I don’t know what her problem is.  

At first, she only clawed at it.  She clawed at the outlet cover so much that she eventually pulled it partially off the wall and broke it in half.  I can’t believe she didn’t electrocute herself in the process.  I practically electrocute myself just plugging or unplugging an appliance and I have opposable thumbs!  

Once she had the cover off and it was just the plug and the exposed outlet there, she started trying to bite it.   She bites at the plug and pulls, like she’s trying to unplug the TV.  I really can’t believe she hasn’t electrocuted herself doing this.  
And how do we make her stop??

 Here, she’s trying to sneak under the table to get to the plug because we’ve blocked her other means of access.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

What's on the needles?

A fellow knitting buddy recently asked me what I've been knitting lately and unfortunately, my answer was  "Not much."  It seems that when I started running last year, I stopped knitting.  My new running addiction sort of took over my life and I was constantly either too pumped up, too tired or too sweaty to knit.  Plus, there's that whole New Year's Resolution thing where I said I was going to go a full year without buying any yarn.  Yeah, like that would ever happen!  Except it has, mostly thanks to the running addiction.

But I have been knitting a little. With my resolution to not buy yarn in 2010, it means I'm forced to look to my stash.  And it is a pretty big stash pile.   I used to be sock obsessed and I have an entire cedar chest full of nothing but sock yarn.  There are some new skeins just waiting to be turned into glorious socks, but most of it is odds and ends and left-over little bits that are too small to even knit baby booties.  And really, how many pairs of baby booties can you knit, specially when you're at that stage of life when you don't know any babies.

So, what could I knit with teeny tiny bits of left over, multi-colored sock yarn?  I decided on a scarf.  Very simple pattern.  Just cast a bunch of stitches onto circular needles and start knitting.  Knit alternating rows with 2 colors, one solid and one patterned yarn.   It turned out...  how do I describe it?  Pretty?   Bold?  Interesting?  The tackiest thing you ever saw?   I wasn't sure.   Actually, I'm still not sure if I like it or not, but no matter - I decided to make another one.  The first had black and gray as the solid "background" color so it turned out not quite so bold.  The second one had blue as it's background color.  It started out with a dark blue and as the knitting progressed and I had to move from one skein of blue to another, the blues get lighter and lighter until the last one is so pale it's almost white.  Again, I'm not sure if I like it.  Is it interesting or tacky?  I just can't decide.  Neither of them are completely finished yet.  I thought I'd really tacky them up by sewing some dangly beads on the ends, except I haven't bought said beads yet.  Haven't been able to find any that even remotely go with the multi-colored yarns.  But I will.  I'm confident.  But in any event, here's a picture of the unfinished scarves.

Obviously, I have a bit to learn about taking pictures of my knitting.  A white background would probably have been a much better choice.   And boy, those scarves look even tackier in the photo than they do in reality.  Oh well.

But no matter how tacky those scarves turned out, I kind of like them.  Or I should say, I liked knitting them.  It was fun and relaxing to just knit away and have the colors constantly changing.  And I have to admit, it was pretty satisfying to watch my stash of teeny tiny left-over balls of yarn disappear.   So, I decided to make a pillow the same way.  I decided to give the pillow a brown theme, cast on about three times as many stitches as I'd used for the scarves and started knitting.  Once I'd gotten enough knitting done to be able to tell how big the pillow would end up being (I was way too lazy to count all those stitches and figure it out mathematically) I realized it's going to end up being bed pillow size.  The tube I'm creating by knitting in the round fits onto a bed pillow perfectly.  And, as luck would have it, we have several bed pillows that stay on the family room couch, so, all I have to do is make the tube long enough and it will fit perfectly.   I'm sort of excited about the project.  The rest of the family just rolls their eyes.  What ever.  Here's a picture of what I've got so far -

Well, ok, it looks like a giant hat, but that's because it's still on circular needles.  And yes, once again, it would probably look better against a white background.  Guess if I'm going to keep up this photo taking, I'll have to invest in a white sheet.  What kind of family doesn't even own a white sheet?

Anyway...  I'm just pretty amazed that such a diverse group of multi-colored yarn can blend together so well.

By the time I finish that pillow, I'll still have more than three quarters of a cedar chest full of sock yarn left.  Any suggestions as to what the next project should be?

Monday, August 9, 2010

Drivers Ed

Phew!  I'm finally finished planning the coming school year.  I may have to make a few adjustments though.  It's looking like I've got about three years worth of history crammed into one for each of the kids.   Oops.  But other than that, it should be a good year.  Everything else seems quite doable.

Everything that is except the Drivers Ed.  Z gets his learners permit in a few weeks (assuming he passes the test) and as homeschoolers, we've opted to teach him at home instead of paying someone else to do it.  We've got the state approved curriculum which seems easy enough and yet, OMG!   Driver's Ed!  Aack!!  

Part of me has total confidence in his abilities.  He's been driving since he was old enough to walk.  First, he drove the Rescue Rider, a self-propelled riding toy, next it was a tricycle, then a bicycle, then an ATV, the lawn mower and a tractor.  He's even driven a backhoe and steered a great big dump truck.  He's got great hand/eye coordination.  The boy can drive.  And yet....  

And then there's the actual Drivers Ed curriculum.   It looks like it might be a bit mind numbing.  There are specific lessons you have to provide and a specific amount of time you have to spend doing them.  During the first lesson, the student must spend two hours learning to put on his seat belt, adjusting his seat and mirrors and practicing putting the car into Drive.  Two whole hours of that?  Aack!

The next lesson takes 3 hours during which time you move forward in a parking lot, moving at a speed of 10 mph and then 15 mph.  Three hours of driving 15 miles per hour?  It just might be worth paying someone to teach him!

Next comes learning to drive in reverse, then how to park, how to drive on the interstate and how to skid, hydroplane and drive off-road.  Now, that might be a fun lesson.  As long as we are in my husband's car, not mine.  I'm pretty sure I don't want my son learning to hydroplane off the road in my car.

Hmm...  Do you think it  would be horrible of me to hope and pray he flunks the learners permit test?

Sunday, August 8, 2010

They say it's a woman's prerogative

Changing your mind - they say it's a woman's prerogative, but apparently, it's a man's too.  After having argument after argument about the cost of our TV and whether we spend too much time in front of it or not, Hubby finally won the argument.  And of course, he made me call to cancel the service.  It was in my name after all.

So, I call and arrange to have it canceled on Friday which just happened to be the last day of our billing cycle.  I blogged about in on Thursday and told my husband I'd done it.  I'd talked to the kids about it and acknowledged that the first week of no TV was likely to be pretty hellacious, but we'd adjust and I was actually kinda, sorta looking forward to it.  The kids weren't overly pleased, but they were on board.  Sort of.

Then Hubby sat down to watch his nightly news and got to thinking about life without TV.  And he got scared.  Scared like a little girl.  By 8:00 a.m. on Friday morning, he was on the phone to the TV people canceling the cancellation order.

So yes, I am watching mindless TV as I type this.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Frugal or insane?

Remember that song... 57 channels and there's nothing on?  Well, that's pretty much how we feel about our T.V. service, except there are 900 channels and there's still nothing on.  Nothing worth the $75 we are charged each month anyway.  So, we've made the decision to disconnect our T.V.  


The first T.V. free week will be pretty rough for all of us, but we'll adjust.  We've been without before.  Actually, I'm sort of looking forward to no T.V.  It tends to suck me in and I waste way too many hours each day sitting in front of it.  The kids, well, they'll suffer a bit, but with school starting before long, they'll have other things to do anyway.  And Hubby will still get to watch the football games either at the local pub, a friend's house or at his mom's.  Most Sunday's find us at his mom's house anyway and she always has the football game on.  The races too, for that matter.

So, wish us luck.  I'm sure there will be quite a few posts about how bored we are in the beginning and later, what we are doing to fill the time.  Who knows.  Maybe I'll actually get the house cleaned, the closets organized, the books read and the gazillion craft projects finished.  Or not.

And just think of all the new yarn, books and closet filler I can buy with an extra $75 a month.  :)

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

The Children

Meet Minnie.  She's our Foxhound/Lab mix four-legged daughter.

Meet Max, our Great Pyrenees/Irish Setter mix four-legged son.  Max likes to sing.

My dear daughter who wishes to remain anonymous.   We'll call her S.

Meet Z.  He's apparently in the witness protection plan.

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Day 1

Wow.  It's obvious I have no idea what I'm doing here.  Please pardon my fumblings as I learn my way around this blog site.

I'm not sure where to start.  As my profile says, I'm a homeschooling mom of two teens.  I have a wonderful husband and two dogs that waiver between being wonderful pets and being the most annoying creatures on earth.  I love to knit, read, listen to music and run.  Running is a relatively new experience for me and I can't believe how much I enjoy it.   I like to cook although I tend to have as many goofs as successes in the kitchen.  I would love to garden but I've got two black thumbs.  I'm  a shopaholic that's trying to tame her ways and live a much more frugal lifestyle.  I'm also trying to live healthier life.  

This blog will be about all the trials, tribulations, successes and failures that make up my life.  There's never a dull moment so come join me in celebrating the craziness I call my life.