Getting Into The Groove...

Now that I'm a homeowner, there seems to be less hours in the day. When my eyes are open and I'm floating through what's supposed to be my real life (not a dream), I sometimes find myself on some bizarre and strict schedule which includes driving for THREE. HOURS. A. DAY. Not all at once - but pretty damn close. When it first started I thought I was going to drive myself right over the side of a bridge and end it all. Who ever heard of driving THREE. HOURS. A. DAY. to get to and from work? Even when the hubber helps with the carpooling and cuts about an hour off my time, we're still talking TWO. HOURS. A. DAY. And who'da thunk the simple act of buying a home would cause such nonsense?

Then, I got to thinking. I'm the dumbass that asked for this.

Moving to the country comes with certain inherent responsibilities. One being yard work. And lots of it. Another being driving. And lots of it. After a few weeks of swearing, honking and bashing my forehead against the steering wheel, I decided I'd better calm my ass down if I wanted to live a life free of migrains and ulcers.

So, I caved. I became a commuter. And a serious one, at that. I've learned how to apply makeup while in traffic. I've learned to quiz my kid on spelling words while in traffic. I've learned to allow people to merge in front of me even after they skipped to the front of the line while in traffic. I've learned to catch up on phone calls to family while in traffic. I've learned not to shoot the bird when other drivers won't let me merge after I've skipped to the front of the line while in traffic. Now, if I could just learn to send text messages without taking my eyes off the road like my sister does, I'll be all set!

Things that make it all worth while...

Sometimes, when I'm not behind the wheel, I find myself floating through life in a sparkling pool located in the best backyard EVER. Or piddling away in my greenhouse. Or walking J up the stairs while she says "good night" to Hubber 25 kazillion different ways. Or sipping on a Cruzan & Coke while Hubber's outside flipping Pappa burgers. Or staring in amazement at this huge thing I own - of this new, wonderful life I'm a part of. Those are the hours I lose track of. So, maybe they make up for all the time I spend driving.
1st Time Homebuyers

Back in December, when the Hubber and I first began our search for a house, we were so nervous and timid and unsure of ourselves. Back then, we didn't know what to expect....from realtors and lendors to inspectors and insurance agents...the thought of going through this process made us ill. Back then, we were clueless. We thought that once we found THE house, we'd be spending hours and hours in stuffy banks and offices with agents in power suits and ties. We thought it was the stuff we'd seen on TV.

Boy, were we shocked to realize that people are handling business right from their own homes. They actually work a 9-5 job and sell houses in their free time! They sit around at home in their underwear, scratching their asses with one hand and typing our financial info into their computer with the other. All the while, the dog is barking, the kid is crying and the TV is blaring. It's kinda hard to talk business with someone over the phone when you hear "Daddy...Daddy...Daddy" in the background on the other end of the line.

The other day, I listened to a voice message that went something like this: "Hello Mrs. Hancock. This is [So-and-So] Ward. I'm with [So-and-So] loan company and have been assigned your file. There are a few items I need clarification on. Please call me at your earliest convenience so that we can expedite your loan. *BARK*BARK*BARK*. I can be *BARK* reached at *BARK* [blah, blah number] until *BARK* 5:00 p.m."

There was a little yapper in the background. So, I'm thinking...hey, that's cool...they let them take their pets to work! Then, I started thinking a little more clearly...this "WARD" person....could she be related to our loan officer? Why, I wonder if she's his wife? The other day when we met him at his office [Starbucks], he said something about his wife helping out with the business. Hmmmmmm.

So, I call her back and I ask her if she is by chance [So-and-So's] wife. And she said she was! I thanked her kindly for the very professional message she left me and let her know that I thought the dog barking in the background was a nice touch. She laughed a little, but I could tell she was embarrassed. That's when the baby started crying. Well, I'll be.

Later Hubber and I share notes. Apparently this lovely lady called him today, too. She called him on his CELL PHONE....

Hubber: This is Hubber with [So-and-So] company.
Lovely Lady: Can you transfer me to HR please?
Hubber: Uhm. This is my cell phone. I can't TRANSFER calls.
Lovely Lady: This is [So-and-So] Ward calling to verify employment for Hubber.
Hubber: Well, this is Hubber and I verify that I work there.
Lovely Lady: I'll need to speak to someone in HR.
Hubber: Well call this #: [blah blah number]
Lovely Lady: Thank you. *BARK*BARK*CRY*CRY*


Very strange that one. Very strange. With a dog and kid like that, I'd probably lock those loud little heffers up in a sound proof room while I was on the phone CONDUCTING BUSINESS.

Maybe I'm in the wrong business. Is there money in processing loans from home? This is something I need to look into. My ideal job would be sitting my fat ass in a hot tub, clicking away on a lap top and yammering on the phone about hundreds of thousands of dollars each day....while people are sweating bullets and signing their lives away.

That's our new nickname for Rosie, the hell cat. At first we called her Stitch. Because she reminded of us know...from Lilo and Stitch? "Ohana means family and family means nobody gets left behind." We hated her. But we loved her.

Since we got her declawed, though, we haven't hated her so much. She's been pretty docile. And the thing I like best about the new Rosie is that she lets me manhandle her. I grab her up...I rub her down....I carry her like a baby....and she doesn't fight to get away from me (like Kali does when I show her too much attention). Rosie turned into a dog. And I love her for that. Because I love dogs. She's our new cat-dog. (I watch way too many kid shows). Anyway. My point? Yes. Well. As you know, Rosie's been recuperating from declaw-surgery. Which was a traumatic experience for the entire family. We've finally gotten our household back to normal. No more antibiotics to force down a cat's throat. No more fake (paper-type) stinky-ass kitty litter to endure. No more shit-stained leg bandages. Just plain ol' normal-ness. Or so we thought. First J noticed something odd.

Ju: Rosie's still got claws!
Me: That's absurd.
J: Seriously! Something on her paw got stuck to my shirt.
Me: Maybe it's poop.
J: MOOOOM! it's a CLAW!
Me: Can't be a claw. Maybe it's just the stitch. It probably got hooked onto your shirt somehow.
J: Nope it's a claw.
Me: Whatever. Go take a bath.

And that was the end of that conversation. I mean, seriously! It made no sense that a declawed cat would have a claw. My kid was obviously nuts.

So, then a few days later, Hubber notices the same thing.

Hubber: I think Rosie still has a claw.
Me: Not you, too!!
Hubber: Something sharp just poked me in the balls!
Me: Uhm. What?!
Hubber: I'm serious! (he said as he attemped to inspect each and every cat toe for a possible claw.)

Sure enough...Rosie had one claw...her middle finger on her left paw. Maybe it was her way of shooting the finger at us! That little heffer reserved the last laugh!

Me: How can she have a claw?!
Hubber: They must have missed one?
Me: They don't miss CLAWS when they declaw!
Hubber: Maybe they miscounted.
Me: How can she have a claw?!

So I call the vet. And I talk to a person named Kimberly who was no help at all. I explained the situation.

Kim: What do you mean she has a claw?
Me: SHE HAS ONE CLAW. She got declawed. But we found a CLAW!
Kim: I've never heard of that.
Me: Well, neither have I!
Kim: So, you say she still has one claw?
Me: (pounding my head against a wall) Yes. So, how do we handle this situation? Does she have to have surgery again? Do I get reimbursed for the one claw? Do I get free vet visits for life? What?!
Kim: I don't know. Declawed cats aren't supposed to have claws. (well duh!!) You'll have to bring her in so the Dr. can look at her.
Me: (very tired of this conversation) Ok.

Then later that night Hubber suggested we demand our $260 back so we can take Rosie to a vet who knows how to count to 20. Or that we demand free claw-clipping for life. But I don't want to take that heffer to the vet every week for a clipping!! He thinks that once a week is better than enduring the hellish-3-week-post-surgery lifestyle.

If anyone's reading this and you have advice regarding the demands I should me, quick!

Maybe I'll just leave the claw there and let her poke people with it. It's actually kinda cute.
Adventures During J's First Week of Winter Break

Since J's out of school for more than two weeks, this month, the plan was that she'd spend the first week with Momo (my mom). The day before her trip there, we got an email from J's teacher saying that she was chosen as the lucky kid with the great fortune of taking the class pet home for the holidays! YAY! So, off I go to school to pick up Crush, the turtle. I'm expecting a little, tiny turtle in a cute little hand held carrier type thingy full of leaves and rocks. I was wrong to expect such things. As it turns out, Crush is not tiny and Crush does not live in a cute tiny home. Crush is a medium-sized box turtle (about 8 inches long or so) and lives in a 3 foot AQUARIUM. Uh huh. Not so simple. So, anyway, I go pick Crush up, right? And I stare at the science teacher as she's spouting out instructions and rules and a bunch of other important mumbo-jumbo while in my mind, I'm thinking, "What the hell have we gotten ourselves into?!" There's heating pads to be left on and lights to be on and off and water to be de-clorinated and food to be sprinkled...and something about apples are good and plain iceburg lettuce is not. And probably other important crap I can't remember anymore. Plus, the turtle came with a book. To read. Over the holidays. About turtles. What?! So, we go home and set the turtle up on J's desk. And J starts going on and on about 78 degrees and sunshine and other such nonsense about turtles. And I'm thinking, "how the hell can you remember all these facts and instructions when you can't remember to wipe your own ass?!" I didn't say it out loud, though - didn't want to discourage her from learning about...turtles. Ugh. Anyway...

At this precise time in our world, Rosie, the hell cat, was waiting at the vet's for us to pick her up after being declawed. Finally! So, I drop J at Momo's. Then I pick Rosie up. I'll have to remember to post a picture here of how she looked all bandaged up! She was a puss in boots! Cuuuuutie Pie!! Anyway, Rosie had miraculously turned into the cutest, sweetest, most nicest kitty in all the whole world! Seriously, ya'll! Hu and I couldn't bebberlieve it. She was a whole new And we loved her more than life.

Cats and turtles were living in perfect harmony until Monday, the day Rosie's bandages came off. The hell cat was back! The moment hubber opened her cage, she sprang out, over the kitchen counter, through the window into the dining room, behind the sofa, under the christmas tree and finally under J's bed. Jesus. Then Huber notices little red paw prints everywhere. Hmmmm. What could that mean? So, he picks Rosie up to inspect her. The little heffer had busted several stitches!! So, he put her back in her cage. And that's where she stayed until I got home - an hour later. I'm like, "Hubber, what's Rosie doing in her cage with a bloody towel??" Then he proceeds to explain what happened and how he called the vet and they said he could bandage her back up himself if he wanted. Uhm. I don't think so. So we took her back. And had the vet people bandage her back up. And guess what, people? She became a little angel again. So, now we're thinking how nifty it would be just to leave her bandaged for the REST OF HER DAMN LIFE. What could possibly be wrong with that?! There was one other dramatic event that involved a bandaged cat paw covered with stinky, mushy cat shit. But, I won't go there now. That's one image I would like to forever erase from my memory.

On a lighter note: Every day while J's been gone, she's been leaving really cute messages on the answering machine at home. "Hi Mom. Hi Dad. It's me, J (as if we didn't know). I'm having fun at Momo's. I have so much to tell ya'll! Today I ate CRAB for the first time, ever! It was really good! And there's something else I wanted to tell ya'll....(long pause)hmmm...I forgot. Anyway, I love you, I miss you, Bye!" BEEEEEP.... "Hi Mom. Hi Dad. It's me, J (CUUUUTE!!!). I'm still at Momo's. Popo just came back from the store. He found a wet dollar in the parking lot and said I could have it. He also said he didn't want it because someone probably spit and pee-ed all over it. Momo says he's lying. Ok. I love ya'll. Bye!" BEEEEEP.... "Hi Mom. Hi Dad. It's me, J. Why haven't ya'll called me back? Ok. That's all. Bye!"

So, now it's Thursday. Cat is still bandaged. Turtle is still alive. And Julie comes back home today! It's been interesting. The End.

So, this year, Hubber and I decided to start a new family tradition. Seeing the Nutcracker ballet. Since we don't have enough crap going on during the holidays, we figured, what the hell, let's throw in 3 $60 seats to support the Houston Ballet. We have some extra cash...and we're high-roller-wannabes, so it was the perfect plan! That is, the perfect plan that turned into 2 hours of hellish torture. It wasn't the performance that nearly drove us to a murderous rage. It wasn't the children, laughing, talking, crying, running around, bumping our seats, either. It was the lady sitting directly behind us. She hummed every fucking song...loudly and OFF KEY! We didn't blow nearly $200 on tickets to hear this beyotch ruin christmas, we spent money to listen to the orchestra and watch a goshdarned BALLET! It took every ounce of patience I could muster not to turn around and smack the shit out of that lady. What the hell was she trying to prove, anyway? Did she want us all to know that she KNEW those tunes? EVERYBODY knows those damn tunes - they've been pounded in our heads every holiday season since we were babies! I hate that lady. I hate her for ruining our first annual trip to the Nutcracker. I hate her for being the one clear memory I'll ever have of that event. But I hate her even more because now every time I hear a Nutcracker song, I'll think of HER! She was ugly, too. I think she even stunk. Like shit. Baking in the hot, hot sun.
The Devil's Spawn.

J got a new kitten (Rosie – a gray tabby) for her birthday last month. Before you die of utter sadness at the loss of our beloved Kali-cat, DON’T. She hasn’t been replaced. She’s still with us – in all her declawed gorgeousness! Rosie, on the other hand, is a 4 month old cat with more claws that friggen Moofasa. Seriously. That cat can rip you to shreds in 2 seconds flat. Sis is the one who bought the little she-devil. And she proooooomised that Rosie was nothin’ but a little lovey – all purrs and rubs and cute meows. And she WAS. At first. It lasted a total of 48 hours. Then, the little, cute puuuuuurfect kitty turned into hell cat. Sometimes she’s a sweetie pie…other times, she’s terrorizing Kali…clawing that beeeyotch up! She spies….she creeps…she POUNCES on the poor, unsuspecting DECLAWED Kali. At first, Kali would fight back, thinking, “I’m bigger than this little shrimp…I’ll show HER who’s boss!” But it didn’t take long for Rosie to realize that Kali was defenseless against her sharp, wolverine claws! They bounce around the house, jump on the furniture…Rosie on Kali’s damn tail the whole time. There’s nowhere to hide! Poor Kali. We’ve since resorted to squirting Rosie with water when she won’t listen. Cats + Water = Peace and Quiet.

We can’t get her declawed until she’s at least 6 months old. That’ll be Kali’s pay-back time! Uh huh! The little scrawny cat shall pay!

Oh, but get this…when we’re not home, the two sworn enemies roll up together in a little furry ball and sleep. Go figure. And, David’s figured out a way to calm Rosie down. First he holds her up high around her middle, legs dangling, and he sings “It’s the ciiiircle of liiiiife…and it moves us all…” While J and I laugh hysterically. Then, he squeezes her to his chest until her eyes pop out of her head and she meows and moans and prays for her life. I’m like, “Hubber, she’s going to tear your ass up with her claws!” But he’s all brave and muscular and manly taming the 2-pound-beast. We’re so proud. After a few minutes in the death grip, watching her super short life flash before her glazed eyes, Rosie is her cute, lovey little self. At least until she sees Kali…that’s when the tiger instincts kick back in and no living creature is safe!

Kali-cat-chicken-rat Posted by Hello

HELL CAT!!! Posted by Hello

*KISS* Posted by Hello

Cuuuute kitties! Posted by Hello
FALL is here!

Well, Summer is over and we’re officially in Fall. As J and I stepped outside this morning we were welcomed by a nice, cool breeze and low humidity. It was wonderful. And J is so smart and perceptive…she said… “Wow! Today really IS the first day of Fall. See how cool it is outside?!” The joke’s on her, though, because tomorrow, we’re supposed to be up in the mid 90’s again.

...I almost forgot to mention J's birthday party...

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The girly-girls! Posted by Hello
School started.

We’re back to the usual hustle and bustle that is our lives. I’m awake at 5:30 a.m. and I’m in bed at 9:30 p.m. Routines are supposed to be good for kids – but our kid hates it. She’d rather watch TV than do homework. She’d rather watch TV than have dinner. She’d rather watch TV than take a shower. Those damn TV shows are hypnotic, I think….they reel the kids in and they turn them against their parents. After one 30-minute show, those cute, adorable, loveable kids suddenly become rude, whiny, deaf, evil little brats. I don’t get it. Maybe the music they play in the background is one of those satanic, backwards-playing, Beatles albums? Maybe the commercials are filled with some secret code language that only kids can hear – like those dog whistle things? Our children are being brainwashed right under our noses! We might think the cute cereal commercial is harmless – but when we hear “I’m coo-coo for cocoa puffs…” our kids are really hearing, “Ignore your parents. Whining is good – it’ll get you anything your heart desires. Writing on walls is good. Homework is bad. Homework is the devil!”

...these boots are made for walkin'... Posted by Hello
Summer Lovin' Happened So Fast!

We had a great Summer. Disney World was a lot of fun! Hot. But fun. Exhausting. But fun. We walked and walked and walked until our feet threatened to fall off of our legs, shrivel up and die. But we loved every agonizing minute of it! J took TONS of pictures with characters…we had breakfast with Winnie the Pooh…we swam in the Fantasia swimming pool…we screamed our heads off on scary rides…we pigged out on junk food….and we bought more crap than any one family deserves to have in a lifetime of trips to Disney World! It was a crazy, expensive, amazing experience.

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One of my favorite things about our family vacations is the road trip itself. Talk about family bonding! This year we had a DVD player on both trips, which (although it was highly entertaining) took away from some of the usual deep, witty banter the three of us enjoy so much. I’m amazed at how J’s little brain works sometimes and how witty and sharp she is. She’s a little sponge, soaking it all up and squeezing it back out appropriately. Sitting in the car with J and hubber, I realize how truly happy I am – how content my life is. I’m free of worries and conflict. I’m enjoying life with a family I cherish more than anything. I’m so thankful…I’m so grateful…I’m so fortunate.

Last weekend we celebrated our second anniversary as a family. We stayed at the Boardwalk Inn in Kemah. Unlike Disney World, Kemah is relaxing.

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We spent a couple of hours, sitting under an umbrella, sipping on fabulously sweet, alcohol-loaded concoctions while taking pictures of Julie playing in the dancing water fountains.

We had nice dinner and we played in the amusement park before settling in for the night.

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The next morning we drove to Galveston and played on the beach. Galveston beaches are nothing to brag about, believe me, but just sharing a carefree afternoon with my two most favorite people in the world made me feel like I was in Hawaii.

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4th of July

I almost forgot to write a little about our 4th of July excursion! If you live in Houston, the place to be on Independence Day is downtown at the Elenor Tinsley park. There's a huge festival there - with live music, great food, and tons of freaky weirdos (Hang on to your kids!). Obviously, we stayed home most of the day. But, true to our family tradition, we ventured out into the world around 7:00 p.m. in search of a fun place to view fireworks. Here's how cute we looked:

Our happy little family...waiting for the fireworks on the 4th of July! Posted by Hello

...Unfortunately, people got wise to our secret spot (in the parking lot of the Houston Police Federal Credit Union) and closed it off. Where to go... Where to go?? Why, to pee-pee of course! It doesn't matter where we're going or how long we're gone, J ALWAYS has to go to the restroom when we're in the car. Unless she's watching a DVD, of course - in which case, her bladder goes into hibernation or something. Anyway, we found a restroom then continued our search for the perfect spot for watching fireworks. Finally, we found this place:

Oink Oink! I felt right at home! Posted by Hello

Sis and friend joined us at the Pig Stand for tailgating & fireworks! Posted by Hello

Don't worry - our view of the fireworks was NOT obstructed by this gorgeous sign! Posted by Hello

What the heck do they put in the drinks at Starbucks? I’m beginning to wonder if there’s some underhanded, illegal activities going on there. I’m not a dope head and have no idea what it’s like to be addicted to crack – but if it’s anything like the addiction I have to the toffee nut latte, iced caramel machiato and the caramel frappuccino then those crack heads have a serious problem! And I know that it’s not just me this epidemic is affecting because J is hooked on those damn non-coffee frappuccinos! The vanilla bean frappuccino to be precise. The kid starts salivating every time we pass a Starbucks coffee house or when she gets a glimpse of one of their billboards. She’s like Homer Simpson, “mmmmmm, starbucks!” She turns into a zombie. Nothing can snap her out of it! She yearns for the sweet vanilla cream…she craves the fluffy whipped cream doused in… CRACK! When I tell her we’ll stop there on Friday, she counts down the days! “3 more days till starbucks!” This is not normal, I tell ya! I’ve even found myself hoarding dollars for the stuff (instead of using my debit card) so that hubber won’t know how often I go! But now, I think he’s on to me. I’m a crackuccino addict.

J - going looney - maybe all those crackuccinos finally caught up with her! Posted by Hello

Boardwalk Beast

Last weekend we went to the Saltgrass Steakhouse at the Kemah Boardwalk to celebrate my sister's birthday. Her birthday isn’t really until July 23rd, but we’ll be living it up in Disney World that day, so we figured we’d hook up before hand. Sis had the brilliant idea that riding this thing would be fun. According to her, you get a little wet – like walking through the rain for a few minutes. Apparently, my cute little sister is a lying sack of crap! We got DRENCHED. It was like someone was standing over us, pounding us with 50 kajillion gallon buckets of stinky salt water. And it didn’t trickle cutely over us. It GUSHED. It was a good thing I didn’t wear a white t-shirt! We walked off of that boat as if they’d just rescued us from the middle of the ocean and didn’t have the common decency to offer us a towel. And, as if that weren’t FUN enough…we got caught in the STORM OF THE CENTURY. The sky opened up, and in 10 minutes, that place was covered in 5 inches of water! And it wouldn’t stop – until, of course, we finally reached our car. By that time, it was bright and sunny with not a cloud in the goddamned sky. J thought it was the “funnest day EVER!” She wants to do it all again next month when we stay here for our anniversary.

This was before we got DRENCHED! Posted by Hello

The ride we never got to ride! Posted by Hello