Thursday, May 31, 2007

So This Isn't Just a Passing Thing...

Nicole just called my cell phone this evening. It first came up restricted. She called at 9:46 pm. Then, she called again at 9:51 pm, which I decided to ignore. I answered the phone the first time to no one talking and then hung up.

The third time, I answer the phone.

"Hello," I said.

"Where's my dad? This is Nicky." she said.

"He's working," I said.

"Well, if you talk to him, tell him I called. Oh, do you want my phone number? ########" she said.

I hung up the phone and sent Rob a text message that his daughter was looking for him. Then a second msg that she called me. Then a 3rd msg with the phone number. Then finally a 4th msg telling him to call me after he was done talking to her.

This is not a passing fancy. Something serious is going on. Why don't people listen to me? I think she's going to have to move in here pretty quickly. I don't know what to think.

I do know one thing. This isn't just a passing fancy, especially if she is calling him dad. He hasn't seen her in over 10 years. As Lynda said, I am a good person. But, I don't have to be happy about it. I was starting to feel better today. Not now.

Not happy.

Update: 10:40 pm. After Rob called me at 10:15pm, I asked him what she wanted. He told me she wanted our mailing address so she could send him a letter. But, after I told him how many times it took that she called before she would talk and how she talked with me, he was not happy. She did have an attitude when she said where's my dad? He didn't know what phone number she used to call me. I told him I kept the number in my cell so if she calls again, I know who it is. But, I asked him if I could read the letter when it came (open it). He said no, but we would open it together and read it together. I told him that I knew something was coming and it was going to be fast. I told him, "You just don't listen to me. I know." Marie, maybe this is my psychic powers working for me, just different that what you can do.

The Story...

Ok. Here's the story. First off, thanks to everyone who read the last post and commented. It's nice to know you've got friends out there, even those you've never really met in person. That makes it extra special.

I'm feeling better today. Not including last night, over the past 48 hours (Tuesday and Monday nights), I got 6 hours of sleep (2 on Tuesday and 4 on Monday).

I'll start with the beginning. This will be a LONG post. Go grab yourself a cup of coffee, tea, CAFFEINE, and I'll explain.


I know I've talked about this about how Rob and I met, but I'll rehash. Just after Valentine's Day in 1997, I met Rob through We dated for 3 weeks. Our first date was to Lonestar (steakhouse) Restaurant and "The Empire Strikes Back" movie (that's when George Lucas redid the original 3 movies).

Our second date consisted of laundry at my house, dinner made by me at my house, and meeting my parents. The third date was his spending the night at my place. (Yes, everyone now knows that I'm a hussy!) By the third date, we both said to each other, "Let's get married." Then, I backed off and said, "Hey! I've never been married. If you want to marry me, you have to get down on one knee and ask the question." So, he did.

The day he came for the third date, I had to relocate my car. The apartment complex I lived in only had space for 3 cars. At the time, my parents lived across the street. So, this is where my car went. The next day, I went across the street after work to retrieve my car. I went upstairs to see mom and dad.

Dad says, "Er, I see you had company last night." (I didn't tell them I was bringing my car over.) "Where did you meet him?"

I say, "Through the Internet."

He says, "Oh, oh, you have to be careful. You have to watch who you meet through the Internet. Now, remember, if you look in his trunk and find a bowl and some flakes, run like Hell 'cause he's a cereal killer."

(everyone can laugh here)

At this point, I just KNEW Rob was the one. In the 4 years I dated "love affair," not once did my dad pick on him like dad just picked on Rob after meeting him on our 2nd date. You've got to understand, when you meet my dad, he's a smart ass. He likes to pick on you. If he doesn't like you, he doesn't pick on you. He obviously liked Rob.

And, as it's turned out, Rob is just like my dad, a smart ass back.

Rob was very honest to me in the beginning. He told me about his first marriage. According to Rob, the first week after going into the Navy, his now-ex-wife, decided to wipe out his savings and checking accounts. By the time they divorced, he was pretty much in financial ruin. He was living in an apartment when we met that was found by his parents, through a friend of his. He told me about his daughter and how he couldn't afford to care for her because of his ex-wife. But, his ex-wife got remarried about a year after their divorce and the guy asked Rob to adopt his daughter to which he agreed.

When I started living at Rob's apartment, he called his grandmother one day (Rob's mom's mother). She asked him if I worked. He told her that not only did I work, but I was making more money than he was. At the time, I was.

When my parents found out we were getting married, they were ok with it. They liked Rob and realized it was my life and couldn't tell me what to do. When his parents found out we were getting married, they absolutely shut Rob out of their lives. At the time, Rob was given a car from his father. Rob was continuing paying on the car, but it was still in Rob's dad's name. Also, Rob had a desktop computer that was an extra computer from his dad. They were so nasty about us getting married, they demanded that Rob take his car out of their name and give back the computer. This was fine by me because I had a laptop I was using from work. And, I had the money to pay for the transfer and taxes on the car.

We also got married because it was financially good for both of us.

So, we got married. We just got married quickly through the Elyria courts, with a judge. It was a 5-minute process and about $25 for the license, plus the rings and dinner after. At first, mom and dad couldn't come. My mom had a dentist's appointment and dad had to work. Mom then at the last minute changed her appointment but dad still had to work. Rob's parents refused to come to the ceremony. After, they completely shunned us because, since Mom decided to go, we didn't call them and ask them to come to the ceremony.

A month later, they apologized to us and gave us $100 in a card for our getting married.

Then, in 1999, I got pregnant. Now, you've also got to remember, through all this time, Rob's brother, Michael had a 2nd child. Since Rob gave up Nicole, his first-born child and also the first-born grandchild, Rob's parents continually guilt-tripped Rob for giving her up. In return, Michael's 2 girls were then the golden grandchildren of the golden child.

So, I got pregnant. By that time, Michael and his wife were then divorced. Through all those years, they continued to treat me like dirt. They had done some moving. Rob's dad got transferred to a Ford plant in Michigan; then he retired and moved to Florida. From those changes, they had to downsize their household goods. The first time, they gave a complete bedroom set to them. We got a recliner. The comment, "Jeanne has never had a bedroom set before." Ah, excuse me. In my ENTIRE life, I've never had a bedroom set, nor any room grouping of furniture that matched, EVER!

Then, after they got divorced, he immediately shacked up with a girl. When they retired, they gave a complete living room group, including big screen TV to them. But, with all the trouble he gets into, because of drugs and such, they no longer have any of the stuff.

As I said, I got pregnant. In October of 1999, at about 7 months, we moved into a house in Grafton, about 15 minutes from where we live today. Our phone number was unlisted. One day, after Cassi was born, I got a letter in the mail from ex-wife. She talks about how she's happy for Rob that he met me, that she's now found God and is at peace (of course she is for the she screwed him), and that she was happy he had had another child. I was SO upset. We asked all of his family who told her where we lived. No one fessed up. (Ironically, she told us Tuesday it was Michael.) I didn't want ANYTHING to do with her.

When Cassi was about 8 months old, she and I took a plane trip to Florida. I took a week off work so his parents and grandparents could spend the week with her. After 2 days I was ready to come home. The whole time I was there, all his mom could talk about was his ex-wife and how Rob gave up the "golden grandchild." To top it off, she told me how they got Rob out of financial difficulty with his ex-wife by paying off all the debt to his child for child support. And, basically, "We have no money for you." This is what she told me. And she has kept to her work ever since.

After Rob got into nursing, he was working at a hospital just south of the airport. One day, he stops at a Speedway gas station just off the highway for cigarettes (yep, he smokes. Yuck!). And who should happen to be there, but his ex-wife, working. Then, while working not once, but twice, he runs into ex when her brother has a motorcycle accident and her husband has had a heart attack. When the husband had come in, Rob asked ex if he could see his daughter. Not to tell her who she is, but have her come in to the hospital so he could see her even from a distance.

No. That was about 2003.

But, he found out where they lived. They lived in an expensive house in Strongsville. At this point, I don't know if they live there or not now, but I'm investigating.


As you all know now, we've been doing renovations on our house. With the front room completely cleared and the entertainment center on the front lawn, Rob, with the help of our friend, Dan, is sanding down the hard wood floors. We got rid of the carpeting because we found gorgeous hard wood flooring underneath. And, as I've seen on HGTV, hard wood flooring will raise the value of your house 6%.

Anyway, I'm on the side lawn with Cassi, Alexis, Morgan (Alexis and Morgan are Dan's girls), Kendria, Jo, and Hailey (Kendria is mom to Jo and Hailey). All of a sudden this woman and guy walk up to Rob. Rob and Dan were taking a construction-worker break of smoke and drink. I don't know who these 2 are. He waves for me to come over. Before I can get there, I see a 3rd person standing behind the woman.

He says to me, "This is Tina. And, this is my daughter, Nicole."

To say the least, I didn't know what to say. Rob says, after they left, that Tina came up to him first because she didn't want him to say anything bad about her to me. Well, too late. I know it all. I guess she didn't want him to say anything bad in front of their daughter too.

But, the guy she's with isn't hubby #2. It's boyfriend. Huh? Rob thinks he died because he was so overweight, which is very possible. But, she looks very hard and old, even though she's younger than Rob and I. Come to find out she's on dialysis because of kidney failure and is on the transplant list for a kidney. Supposedly, mom and daughter have been talking. Nicole is going to be 16 this year and asked to find her father. Her birthday is the day after mine, on June 20. She has decided she wants to go into nursing. Another, huh?

This is maybe because of the fact that her mom is dying. Rob and I both agree. After they left, Rob asked me what my first thought of Tina was. "She's dying." I said to him. He agreed. Typically, people who go on dialysis like she did only live 4-5 years if they don't get a transplant. She started in 2004.

I looked at Nicole. She looks exactly like Rob. But even more, she looks exactly like Ann, Rob's mom. She was very quiet.

Cassi came up while we stood there. I didn't have much to say because I didn't know what to say. I told Cassi who the girl was. "Cassi, this is your older sister, Nicole."

Cassi IMMEDIATELY ran up to her and hugged her, wet body and all. Cassi was in the pool with the neighborhood girls. She wanted her to stay. Rob had asked me to get a notepad so he could give her phone numbers. At first, he gave her his cell and the house line. I told him to write down my cell too. But, I also suggested, get their number to which he replied it wasn't a good time yet.

And, they left. I immediately wondered how they found us. Rob told me because our old house number was public, along with the new one. They probably looked us up.

So, my life is IMMEDIATELY turned upside down. Here are my thoughts, in no random order:

  1. they are coming to us now because she is dying and needs Nicole to come live with us.
  2. because she is dying, Nicole needs someone to pay for her to go to college.
  3. Rob is going to be screwed again. Tina screwed him financially once and will do it again.

Let's just say I didn't do very well Tuesday and all day yesterday. Rob called his parents. (this is another story too). Remember when I talked about the incident back in October about the Marshalls at my house coming to get Michael? Well, from that incident, Rob's mother called me a Bitch, a liar, and that all their family problems were because of me. And, after that incident, that's why we had to shut off our house phone and have our cell phone numbers changed. We got harassing phone calls from both parents and brother. She has never apologized.

Rob's parents are coming up from Florida at the end of June and bringing Rob's grandmother. They were coming here to visit. I told him flat out that unless I get an apology from her, she was not welcome in MY house. So, as he says, he did the dirty work and told her. She denied she ever said what she said. Rob told her, "Talk to grandma. She was sitting next to you when you said it."

This has made her very mad again at me. That's fine. So, they are not coming here. Hmmm. Seems to me that she means what she said and she's not apologizing for what she said.

But, after Tuesday, this is all going to change about coming. My thought then went, "Rob's mom is going to demand to come here to see Nicole. She is the golden grandchild. She'll bring all kinds of gifts for her and still treat Cassi like dirt."

Rob called his parents. They asked if he had taken a photo of her. No. In the utter shock, no pictures were taken, even though my digital camera was sitting right on our steps because I was taking photos of the rehab of the floor.

Tuesday night, I got 2 hours of sleep. Wednesday, I went to Dan's house, even with only 2 hours of sleep. Rob was helping Dan with his side business and I was watching his little one, Morgan for the day at his house. Also, she and I baked cookies at his house. But, with so little sleep and so many thoughts going through my head, I was mentally exhausted. Here are so more thoughts that I thought:

  1. What would I have done if Rob had to go to work. The time they arrived, he would have been in bed. I would have been waylayed by their arrival and not prepared by myself, even though I was DEFINITELY not prepared when they arrived and Rob was up.
  2. We will have to prepare this 3rd bedroom for her. After a year and a half getting the closet done for my business, this was all for a waste of time and money. Now, all the office equipment has to go to the basement.
  3. How dare she come to my house? and lots of foul language.
  4. She only wants to come to us now because of money.
  5. Rob's parents will come to visit. Rob's ex and daughter will come. Cassi will fawn all over Nicole because she so wants a little brother or sister. She loves having a big sister. I will be alone. There will be a family at my house, but none of them will care that I'm even there.
  6. If I cry, I don't think I'll stop.

So, after Rob and Dan got done with the side jobs, they came back to Dan's house. I was so depressed, I just couldn't smile for anything. I think Rob knew just to leave me alone. Dan kept Cassi with his girls while we went home. He knew how tired I was. I was to get a nap, which was only 10 minutes. Then another 10 at about 5:30.

But, last night I decided, "I want a beer." Dan had brought some Monday to our party. I drank that bottle of beer in about 3 minutes. I relaxed and played a new Shrek game with Cassi. She went to bed and we went to bed. I think I was becoming my logical self. I slept all night, like a baby.

This morning, I was very calm and logical. I told Rob what I was thinking. He said he didn't want to talk about it because there really wasn't anything to talk about. He doesn't even know if she will call him. And, as far as the closet is concerned and the office move, he isn't doing anything until the time comes that she needs to come here. Don't prepare for anything. And, as for the visit from his parents, if they want to see her, they'll go see her at her house, not here. He says, "I'll get their address and they can go there."

Ok, but didn't he say when I suggested about the phone number to not ask for it right now. That makes me think he has it but doesn't want to tell me.

So, for right now, everything is dropped. I definitely want him to have his time with her. But, I know what's going to happen. When issues like this happen, I have been right every time to their conclusion to almost 100% accuracy. But, I can't think about that right now.

And, Marie, no I'm not going to tell mom and dad about this right now. I'm concerned that dad will do EXACTLY like I did, except he might be worse.

Other than that, there's not much else to say right now. I did sleep all night last night. Rob and I spent the day together before he went to work early today. He's working a double, than will be off 5 days straight before going to work again.

And, I promise to have photos of the flooring and the tidbits I found that were removed from the room shortly.

Lots of love to everyone,
8^ )

Now mother to 2, even if not legally yet.

Tuesday, May 29, 2007

The Bomb Dropped...

I knew this day would come. Today, as we were working to sand the floor in our great room, Rob's ex-wife showed up at my front door. In tow was their daughter. Yes, you read that right. I have a step daughter who is turning 16 in June (June 20).

We've never told her where we live.

But, that's about all I can say right now. I'm too much in shock.

I'll talk more when I've come out of my shell shock.

Oh, and pictures of the sanded floor, which looks beautiful.

Love to all,
8^ )

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Been Out of It...

Wow! I didn't even realize how out of not writing I've been this week. AND, I've thought of some doozies. Well, just goes to show you the power of school. When I'm in school, I write about it.

And write...

And write...

But, this week has been a little crazy. My poetry professor asked for 6 more copies of the class manuscript. I think they turned out beautifully. Got them to her and got 2 of the first set back. I've got to take the comb binding apart and put a new title page in them. Then, I'm going to meet her at school and give them back.

She's asked me for my help. Since she loves the way I put together manuscripts so well (I've had YEARS of training with putting together books) that she's asked me to come speak to her 2 summer classes about their class manuscripts, personal manuscripts, etc. Talk to them about the importance of getting your act together. I think I'll go Friday. That's the best day for me, but more about next week later. She also asked me if I have time and wanted to make some extra money if I wanted to help them put together their class manuscripts and charge them what they would be charged to go to Kinko's to get it reproduced.

What does everyone think? As of right now, I'm still jobless. (more on that later too) I could charge them $5 a piece because I still have the supplies for the binding of the books. There would be about 20 or so for both classes combined. Plus, Nuala would give me paper to cover the use of my own paper, for which I've gotten a case after doing the ones for our class plus money for the supplies I bought on eBay.

So, I'll give her a call tomorrow about coming in this week.

Rob was off a few days this week as he works 3 12-hour shifts a week. We finished taking the carpeting out of our living room and dining room. Pictures to follow in another post. Cassi's friend's dad, Dan (also the PTO treasurer) is going to help us on Tuesday after the kids go to school to sand down the floor. So, after we pulled up the carpet on the living room side of the GIGANTIC room, there, by the front door was this rectangular spot. I say to Rob, "It looks like another spot they never finished." As you can recall, I found where there was a corner cabinet where it also looks like the floor under the cabinet was never finished.

At first, Rob says to me, "No. That's water damage. What am I going to do about it?"

But, after stopping and looking a few times, he decides to agree with me. At my front door, as you walk in, to the right of the door, and on the floor is this rectangle spot. It looks like there was a half wall at my front door, which probably made an entrance way at the front door since it opens right to the living room. Well, subconsciously, I've been making this "wall" myself out of our new furniture, with the couch coming out from the wall. Very strange indeed. Plus, when you run your foot over the spot, the wood is raised higher than the rest of the floor, meaning it looks like the floor was refinished once before. We did find one problem in the coat closet. It appears wet shoes lived in the closet too long. There looks like there's a little mold on the floor. Hopefully, when the guys sand, it will help.

So, this is why I can't go until Thursday. And, I've got cookies to bake for Thursday as Thursday night is the school's picnic night. We decided we would bake cookies for the night to donate the dessert.

Friday will be the best day for me to go to the school. AND, Cassi's officially got 2 weeks left of school, this coming week and the next. Her last day is June 8. They're having field day that day. I've got popsicles in my freezer for them. Since I've got a LARGE chest freezer, I told them I would hold them in my freezer until then because they need 400 of them. I think the girl at Marc's thought I was crazy picking up 24 boxes of popsicles. Who cares? I bought them last year and stored them here. It was easy enough because the school doesn't have a freezer that's big enough for that many freezers nor does it freeze them quickly enough. So, if I'm not working by then, I'll be going to field day.

As for my interview, there's no news yet. This could be good or bad. Good because they haven't made their official decision. Bad because they might have picked someone else and I haven't gotten the letter yet.

Poll for the masses: Should I call them on Tuesday? I know they said they were interviewing until this past week, mid point. But, do I call them? Do I want to know? Yes, of course I do. I guess knowing ahead of time is better than nothing. Maybe they really wanted to look at my writing samples as I know they were going to print out what's on my site. And, maybe they wanted to talk with my references too.

But, until then, I've decided to start designing my tea bag envelopes again. I've decided to take them to the local flea market (where we got the floor tiles) and try to sell them there. We'll see. I just designed my American Pride ones. And guess what? I've bound the samples into a booklet. Hmmm? I think this comb binding machine is going to work out OK. I'm going to work on making new templates to bind of my other's already done while working on designing new ones. I've got for all the major holidays plus, birthday, American pride, new baby, wedding, friendship, thank you, get well, etc. If anyone has any suggestions for new catergories, just let me know. And, as soon as I get them posted on my online store, I'll let everyone know too.

Tomorrow, we're throwing a party. Can you believe it? My first official party at the house. We've invited Dan and his girlfriend, Mary Beth, Alexis and Morgan (Dan's girls), Dan's step-mom, and my mom and dad. Everyone will be EATING! Burgers, dogs, tater salad, salad, chips, strawberry shortcake for dessert, watermelon (from mom and dad), ice cream (if the kids want it), etc. I don't think anyone will be hungry when they leave my place.

With that said, it's midnight now. I've got to potty and go to bed. I'll watch a little of the boob tube to quiet down before bed. I'll be up again by 8 washing dishes, laundry, baking biscuits, prepping food for the day, etc.

Lots of love to all,
8^ )

P.S. Since my husband is a Gulf War Veteran, and to all the Veterans reading this:

I am proud of what everyone in the military does to keep me safe and free!

Freedom IS NOT FREE!

Monday, May 21, 2007

The Pictures...

These are the pictures from the trip.

Cassi on the bus trip there.

Brandi, Jo, Cassi, and Cierra.

Momma and babies in the lake when we arrived.

The farm.

Cassi grinding the wheat seeds into flour. Go girl!

Cassi gently touching the udder.
I don't think she even tried squeezing.

But she did pet this cow.

Calm Mr. Sheep. We need your wool!

Ok. This is very ticklish.

A shovel made just for Paul Bunyon.
Wonder if he ever used it?

Let's plant!

What do you mean I don't like people? Kiss my A*@!

A farm isn't a farm without sheep.

Now, who can I give a gift too? Hmmm. Time to lift my tail!

A couple lamas out in the pasture.

Artaveus on Mrs. Palcos' leg after being moved from her hand.
Lots of love to all,
8^ )
P.S. Hope you enjoy the pictures!

The Trip to the Farm...

Or The Kids Can Act Like Themselves...

As you know, this past Friday, Cassi's first grade class took their field trip. They tripped to the Lake County Metroparks. For those of you not from the Cleveland Area, Lake County is the county directly EAST of downtown Cleveland and Cuyahoga County. We went to a place called, Lake Farm Park. If you're ever in the area, I do suggest making a trip to visit.

It is an actual working farm. You can see about the farm at:

The place is REALLY cool. With Cassi's group, we
  1. Listened to the story of Henny Penny and the kids learned about making flour and corn meal. They even ground some of the seeds of each to see how much flour they would make, which is not much.
  2. Got to learn how to milk a cow and why it is so important to have cows. Of course, my daughter decided to ask my a cow has udders. That's like asking, why do women have BOOBS! The kids didn't like the feel of the cow's udders at all.
  3. Then, they learned about the different types of sheep. They got to pet the sheep and saw a momma pig who was ready to pop any day.
  4. They watched a sheep get sheared. Because of the nervousness of the sheep, all the kids had to be absolutely quiet, which was difficult for them. It was a little cold under this tent. The day was a little cool and breezy. Just so happened it got cold for the kids here.
  5. We then went up the hill (and got some heat). The kids planted potatoes here. And, of course, it was potty time.
  6. Had lunch
  7. Got to visit with the Budweiser Clydesdales that were in town for a horse festival that weekend.
  8. Got to see pigs, sheep, a cow, chickens, lamas, and alpacas.

Some funny stories:

At the end of the trip, the two little girls in my group were petting a cow. All of a sudden, someone shouts, "Back up!" So, I started shouting too because I see said cow lifting it's tail. You should all know what it's about to do. Plop plop! The girls got a free souveneir for being so close. And, the one girl is worse than Cassi when it comes to being clean. We thought she was going to faint. She said, "Boy does it stink." I told her, "You're lucky it's a cool day. Just wait until it gets hot. Then, it will REALLY stink!"

After lunch, we went to see the clydesdales. There were two of them left at the farm as the others were out in a parade before the weekend's festivities. Anyway, we got to the first one. As the kids were shouting at the horse, he turned around with his rump in their faces. The kids walked away. But, I was able to get him to turn around to let me get a picture. It was like he was saying, "Kiss my a##!" The other mom's agreed.

On the way home, all of the kids in Cassi's class slept on the bus. I even fell asleep on the way out of Cleveland toward home. One child decided he was falling asleep on the teacher's hand. She was able to move his head from her hand to her knee. Of course, Cassi slept too.

Before we even got back to school, "Mom, can I go to someone's house and play. I'm bored." We really need to work on this because she had a friend come over for a few hours. We then took her home Friday night and stayed until almost 11pm. On the way home, "Can someone come over and play with me. I'm bored." Does she not realize she's been up since 7am and going ever since?

But, she did sleep like a rock.

Love to all,
8^ )

Saturday, May 19, 2007

Advice for all my Female Friends...

Just thought I'd share a tid-bit of information I learned at the Lake County Metroparks. First, Lake County is the county to the east of Cuyahoga. We went to Lake Farm Park with the first graders for their field trip. It is a working farm.

In one of the areas, the kids get to milk a cow. In the questions and discussions, someone asked what a female cow is called before she has her first child? Answer: a heffer.

So, I told the 2 moms behind me, and to my blog friends who've had children:

Remember, when someone calls you a heffer, you tell them, "I'm sorry. I can't be a heffer. I've had children. I'm just a cow!"

Now, on the flip side, those of you who haven't had children yet can say, "Thank you. But once I've had a child, I will no longer be a heffer." (just thought of that one now)

Lots of love,
8^ )

P.S. More on the field trip and pictures later today.

Thursday, May 17, 2007

The Closet...

She is DONE! If you can remember, I have mentioned that in our office (AKA, the third bedroom), we have been working to redo the closet. When we first started, in February 2006 (yes, that year is correct!), the closet was "L" shaped along the back wall. The half of the back and the right side of the closet, as you face it, butt up against the front wall and cubby for entrance.

So, Rob, the love of my life, the man who can't do anything NOT perfectly, decides he is going to gut the closet and fix it 100% correct. Ah, but little did he know what was hiding behind that 50+-year-old plaster.

Typically, when someone thinks plaster, they think plaster on wire mesh, on lap boarding, etc. NOPE. There was about 3-4 layers of plaster on top of drywall! Hmmm? Very strange indeed. Especially since I've said we've found the wire mesh in the plaster ceiling.

Needless to say, I have been waiting since 2006 to get my office back in order. What I wanted to do, and you'll say, "You've watched too many home improvement shows," is, I wanted to add shelving to my closet. Yes, I've seen way too many home improvement shows, especially dedicated to organizing spaces. In this case, with all the paper, labels, etc I use when I design invitations (anyone need a party invitation? I make custom-designed stuff), I wanted to put shelving in the closet to organize all that stuff.

So, before we started the project, everything needed to be boxed. Boxes have been: in my bedroom on the floor, in my closet, in my hallway, in my basement, in Cassi's room, in my living, room. Need I go on?

Last week, Rob finally completed the drywalling, spackle, sanding, and painting. Yesterday, we spent the whole day, figuring out where the shelves would go and drilling. That was a trip in itself too. It took us 2-3 hours to put up 1 shelf, the very top, that is also only 12 inches out from the wall. All the other 4 shelves are 16 inches out from the wall. The rest of the shelves (yes, all 4 of them), took only about an hour.

But, the shelves are all in and about 90% of everything that I want in there is there. Oh, and by the way, we had to take the shelves back to the home improvement store twice after the original purchase to get them trimmed.

I can see my floor now. We vaccuumed, spring cleaned (got rid of old files, etc.), boxed up stuff that can go to the basement. Can you believe we've taken two 39-gallon garbage bags of CRAP to the can from this room and stuff stored? Things that we no longer want or need.

So, without further ado, here's the photo:

Lots of love to all,
8^ )

P.S. No, Rob will NOT come to do anyone else's closets. He's already told me if we don't hire a professional for our closets (Cassi's and ours), they WON'T get done.

Wednesday, May 16, 2007


Yep, that's right kids. I got a 4.0 this semester. It's true that I took two classes, those being Poetry Workshop and Technical Writing. BUT, both classes were English classes. Plus, I had to schedule the lives of 3 people (Rob work, Cassi to Pa's or home or to Dan's, and myself), run Cassi's School's PTO as President, run my house, AND go to school. I was running 7 days a week (could have been 10 if the week was 10 days).

So, for those of you wondering, what's my GPA now? My cum GPA is 3.53. We'll see how things go in the fall. I've got 3 classes scheduled.

AND, I had my interview yesteday. I was the first person interviewed. This means I won't know any results until next week. AND, they understand that I am still in school and that for next year's school year, I would be working in more of a part-time hour basis. This job could work for me for school too because I could design an internship with the job. Hmmm?

I'll get more into the interview later. It's time to paint.

Lots of love,
8^ )

Monday, May 14, 2007

The Fuzz....

After I saw this, I just couldn't NOT talk about it.

The county that Cleveland resides in is called Cuyahoga County. OK. For the month of May, the Ohio State Police have beefed up their patrols to catch speeders on Rt. 90 (north part of the county) and Rt. 480 (south part of the county). And, it's just not a few cars here and there.

The Thursday of my final, I was driving into the county because I live in Lorain, the next county to the west of Cuyahoga. So, coming into town and almost to my dad's exit, there are 3 state troopers in the left burm, all tagging drivers.


Drive a little further up and you've got another one on the left burm, with a car, giving him a ticket.


A little further from there, there's an incline that goes over one of the city streets, and with traffic heavy on the highway, you see this trooper get out of his car on the left burm.

He walks out into traffic to point at a driver 3 lanes over (of a 4 lane highway), points to the driver, and motions to him him to get to the left burm for his ticket. Now, this is tough to describe without a vid to see how he sharply pointed, YOU ---- HERE!

I'm so glad I've been watching my speeding. But, I have to admit, even though I like to speed, I typically only go 5 miles over.

For the first week of this sting operation, the police wrote tickets for over 600 drivers.

I just had to share that. I couldn't believe this cop being so obnoxious that he didn't care about his safety to walk right out onto a busy highway to tell someone to pull over.

Love to all,
8^ )

Been Away...

Sorry, guys! I know Vegas Princess just left a comment on my last post. In short, last week was HELL! Remember, you asked for it.

Even though I had 2 finals, I had other stuff going on. Here's just a rundown:

Monday: have my journal finalized and turned into my poetry professor. Just so everyone knows, if you've left me comments on my blog, you also contributed to my 3" binder of journal. The journal consisted of one entry per day of personal interaction (life in general) and poetry interaction (writing a poem, research, etc.). Also, on Monday, everyone finalized their poem submissions for the class manuscript. AND, even though I thought we would be able to do our memorizations for a grade, it was only a "dress rehearsal."

Tuesday: after finalizing the layout and paging for the class manuscript, print 14 copies, hole punch them in my comb binding machine and bind them. I did have help from 2 of the gang from class. It was a good thing too. I had all 14 copies completed printing and hole punched by 11pm that evening. All except the cover. Michelle, who came over to help, drew the cover. I scanned it on Wednesday and printed 14 copies. But, for the folks who came over, I promised them din-din for their help. Everyone had to eat, eh? I made my famous home-made Chicken Alfredo (that I just finished leftovers yesterday).

Wednesday: As I just stated, I printed 14 copies of the cover. Or, rather, Rob printed the copies for me, while I was in the living room, working on the "putting together" of the printed copies with the combs. We also went out for a few hours and played with our camera, taking pictures of the Canadian geese, etc. Pictures to follow this week. This day was my final in my poetry class. I had memorized a 35-line poem. I even got into the theme of the poem. It was "Vanity Fair" by Sylvia Plath. Basically, it's a poem about a woman who is tarnished by the reality of love. She was a real BITCH. I had fun! A! Because Rob was working Wednesday and Thursday nights, Cassi went to Pa's. I picked up Cassi and went to Marc's grocery store to pick up makings for cake and popsicles. Last week was also teacher appreciation week. The principal ordered lunch for all the teachers that the PTO will get billed. I made 2 of my famous Bake N Fill (like the one I did for Marie's birthday) for the teachers. I made a "Strawberry Shortcake" cake which was yellow cake on the top, strawberry cake on the bottom. It was filled with vanilla pudding and sliced strawberries. This time, I added a little strawberry extract to the sour cream frosting to give it a pink look and flavor.

Thursday: This morning, I completed making the second cake, a "Banana Split" cake. It was a chocolate cake on top and strawberry on the bottom. It was filled with banana pudding and bananas. With the frosting, I added banana extract and gave it a yellow-ish tint. Today, I took the cakes to lunch, had a PTO meeting, and had my final in Technical Writing. I definitely had lots less to worry about on this exam. I was done in an hour.

Friday: I walked with Cassi to school. I was told by Dan (the treasurer of PTO) that there were tumblers in a closet to be given out to the teachers for teacher appreciation week. Hmmm? I got them out and walked around the school, handing them out. VERY Cool! The teachers simply adored the gifts. My guess is that they don't get treated as well as we treated them this year. Next year, we'll have to do what we did at the Kindergarten Village school (goodies every day).

Saturday/Sunday: Cassi went to Pa's. We got her a new pair of roller skates. She's enjoying it, but needs to practice. I was told the other girls were going so fast, much faster than her. She was sad because they didn't want to stop and be friends with her. Well, she'll get better in time. Also, her buddy, Nick, was not working. He always spends time with her, showing her how to skate. But, Saturday morning, my throat started to hurt. I figured, maybe it's because I'm now done with school. Last week was CRAZY. But, it didn't go away. And what's more, it was getting worse because I couldn't breathe (stuffed nose). Rob worked and I stayed home sick. After talking with Marie today, who also suffers terribly with allergies, it's probably my allergies causing this problem.

Today, I'm better. I find out on the news that the tree pollen is well above the 600's. Just so happens I'm allergic to trees (and grass and perfume).

So, that's how it goes. I've got more tidbits, but I'll hold them until tomorrow after my interview.

Ooops, did I let that slip out. Every time I tell people I've got a job interview, I end up not getting it. Wish me luck on this one. My Technical Writer professor has suggested applying with this company all semester. The lead guy even came into class to talk with us about what they do. The job, you ask? It's a Content Developer, writing online learnings for the manufacturing industry. Before you ask, No you do not have to be an expert in the manufacturing industry to write these classes. Rob thought that. You just have to know how to write and interview and prepare information from those "in the know." You know, those Subject Matter Experts (SMEs). I REALLY want this job. Why? Because: 1. I'm perfect for the job with my past experience, 2. I was referred to this job by a professor who should be giving me an A in Technical Writing (a grad/doctoral/undergrad class), and 3. I REALLY need to work.

So, everyone, wish me luck. I've got my questions together. I was told to make sure I've got my references and resume because I'll be filling out an application when I get there. AND, make sure I bring writing samples. Got all 3! The job is on the east side of Cleveland, at E. 152nd Street and Rt. 90 East (the shoreway), a little bit further than I drive now to get to school. An easy drive indeed. I would love to start work in the next week to 2 weeks. We'll see. And, I promise to update everyone.

With that, I'll close this for now. It's after 11pm. I've got to get up early and get Cassi to school. This week is equally as crazy. Tuesday: interview. Thursday: IEP major meeting with Cassi's teachers. Friday: parent mom for 1st grade field trip to Lake Farm Park (photos to come of that too.).

Love to all,
8^ )

P.S. I also hadn't written because I really wasn't sure what to write about. Guess I had more fodder than I thought!

Sunday, May 06, 2007

Adventures in Garbage Colleting...

...or the collecting of other people's aluminum to pay for your need to take you and your family to see Spider-Man 3 at the theater.

Yes, you heard that right. Sunday night is garbage night around here. Last week, Rob had picked up a few things around the neighborhood that was aluminum. When he took those things and the cans we had in our garage, he got $8.25. Aluminum here is 55 cents a pound to recycle.

So, this evening, after Cassi got home from Pa's, we went out around the neighborhood and picked up from the garbage line a few aluminum lawn chairs and cans galore. Cassi was really excited. In some cases, daddy had her get out quickly to pick up the smaller bags, while he jumped out and picked up bigger bags. When daddy explained to her about how the cans would get money, she was excited. She said she wanted a new kite. Then, when daddy said the money was going to go to the movie, she REALLY wanted to help.

We ended up going around 3 times, with 2 dropoffs before the final when we returned. We've got 39 gallon garbage cans. You know, those things from Rubbermaid with the really hard tops. Anyway, they are pretty large. The 33 gallon bags fit, but 39 is better. Well, with a 33 gallon bag, Rob got to work crushing the cans. With cans crushed, he filled the garbage can from trips 1 and 2. The last trip hasn't been crushed yet. After we took the bag out, he asked me how much did I think the bag weighs? Well, I thought the bag was about 30 pounds. Hmmm? Should pick up about $15 for it. Plus, the third trip and the 3 chairs.

The art of garbage collecting is a weekly occurrance with some people here. You'll find many trucks filled to the brim with stuff. So, at least on the weekends that Rob's got off, we'll be collecting cans.

Things of interest this year that people were throwing to the garbage:

  • Whirlwind Vaccuums
  • Toilets
  • Wood
  • Fences

Going around the neigborhoods, just about every other house is for sale. Then, about every fifth house has been abandoned or evicted. Some of the houses look really nice too. It's tough to see someone just giving up their house when they really need to fight to keep it. But, not knowing anyone's circumstances, it's just tough to see houses going the way they are. To top it off, builders continue to build brand new houses. I'd like to know who's going to buy and KEEP brand new houses.

Okay, I'll get off my soapbox now. Didn't mean to do that.

By the way, my memorization is ready, all 35 lines. I'll just have to recite it tomorrow. My journal is also ready, a 3-inch binder that feels about 20 pounds. The class manuscript is ALMOST finished. Just need poems from Nuala and the cover, which is being painted by Michelle. Then, I'll print-print-print. Michelle is coming over Tuesday to help me finalize printing and binding. I told her I would cook if she came over. I'm making my FAMOUS home-made Chicken Alfredo. She told me it's her favorite.

Lots of love to all,
8^ )

Friday, May 04, 2007

The MAN's B-day...

I know it's late in the day, but...


This is to the one man in my life who's made the most impact in my life. Any idea who it might be?

Yep, it's my husband. He calls himself "The Man" and is very boastful about it.

BUT, I love him all the same. We get to share our lives together, which is the best part of being married to this wonderful, kind, thoughtful man.

I only got him something small for his birthday. He said, "What another one of these tool sets? I'll have all these sets and no where to put them."

He didn't understand, I bought this set for him because of how many didn't ratchets (wrench pieces) it had to the screwdriver handle. AND, what I didn't realize what how many different screwdriver choices it had too.

But, it was on clearance. Can you beat getting something shipped to you via UPS and only being charged $2.50 for the shipping? Anything else I would want to get him is just way too expensive right now. I'm a "starving" college woman right now, sans job. He actually paid for his gift.

Hopefully, he will use it while we spend the summer fixing up the living room.

With that, I'm going to close. Too much on the brain. I need to drain and relax before going to bed.

Everyone pray for me. I told my child she could sleep with me because, Rob's working tonight. Yes, on his birthday. Cassi will kick the crap out of my back tonight.

Love to all,
8^ )

P.S. So what did I do for his birthday? I made him a red velvet cake in my Bake 'N Fill pan with vanilla pudding in the center and the sour cream frosting I made for Marie's cake. He really enjoyed it. He's not a cake eater but likes red velvet cake. We also had left over spaghetti for dinner before he went to work.

National Dean's List...

Well, my concerns were eased today. In the mail, I received an envelope. I was hoping I would get this envelope, but didn't think it would come until after this semester was over and grades calculated.

I made the National Dean's List...


This will be the second year in a row. Hmmm??? A little maturity goes a long way for focus. Right now, currently, my GPA is 3.38. Not bad at all. After next week, my GPA should go up to 3.7-3.8, depending on how the grades get calculated. This semester should land me a 4.0.

Yeah! This should help me with getting scholarships for next year.

Lots of love to all,
8^ )

P.S. I've got 4 stanzas (20 lines) out of 7 stanzas (35 lines) memorized for Monday's Poetry Final. Everyone pray I get it done this weekend!

Tech Writing Update...

Tuesday this week, we did our oral presentations. The writing was good. I got my paper back on Tuesday as well. I called it my final draft because I won't be editing and submitting again. But, Professor Mary calls it the second draft. Symantecs, gotta love them.

But, as Mary says, presenting, especially in a job setting, is a major part of being a technical writer. You need to be able to present your findings.

But, (ooh, I just like the word But), there's so much information and only 5 minutes to give my presentation. Giving the presentation wouldn't be a problem. When I worked and travelled with E&Y, I gave presentations and taught new technology to up to 100 new hires. So, speaking wasn't a problem for me. My problem seemed to be how to present what I needed to present.

As it turned out, the class didn't remember even sitting in front of an interactive whiteboard. If we had had time to request one, it would have been a big hit for everyone to use it with their presentations.

But, I had to, as a classmate stated, "freelance" my presentation. I should have done one major task in the beginning. I used the chalkboard to compare what is done on the chalkboard and the interactive whiteboard. When I came to that point of my presentation, the information would have already been on the board so I could have just pointed to it.

I gave out handouts. My presentation only briefly talked about what was on the handouts. The other problem was that we couldn't even use PowerPoint. I've learned the best ways to use PowerPoint over my time in employment and have also expeienced when it wasn't the best use of the software.

Compared to other students, I had 1 (one) 4x6 note card, which I didn't even really look at. I knew what I was talking about. I'm so for having technology in the grade school classrooms that this subject was not just a professional calling, but also a personal calling.

The results? After watching the video, I was okay with watching myself. I really wasn't that bad. As Mary noted, my tone was good, my pace was really good, and the fact I talked to everyone, not just looked in one spot was really good. I will know next week the nitty gritty specifics on what I might do to improve. Everyone thought I was good too.

For my paper, I had one additional task to do. Mary had us upload our papers to a Web site: It is a generic software program that takes papers and determines if there's any plagarizing involved. Throughout my paper, it found 4 instances of exact quotes, followed by their citings. So, out of the 8 pages of paper body, there was 4% quoted. So, as it appears, my paper was my own, original work. And, I needed those citations anyway to help drill in my point.


Lots of love to all,
8^ )

Wednesday, May 02, 2007


Note to self, make a new template that's patriotic that will last through Labor Day!

Thought everyone would like to know!

8^ )

Just a Few Thoughts...

Okay, last night, was my oral presentation. I knew what I wanted to say. Then, my brain got in the way, thinking of other things to say. I don't think I gave enough information. I know it really would have been good if I had had an interactive whiteboard available to show live what the unit does. Also, I could have used a 10-minute timeframe to present. So, when it came to being the 4-minute mark, I think I rushed. Now, tomorrow, I have to suffer through watching myself. This will be the one grade that will bring me down. I got my journal back, which had the note, "Great Job Cathy." She wanted the journal to be readings each week from a professional periodical. At the time, I was getting the Wall Street Journal daily and for free. This was an approved writing that I could read. The goal was to read one story each week and write up a short summary about it, 4-6 sentences. I know in some cases I went 10 sentences, but for the most part, it was within the limits. With each week's summary, I also included the story from the paper. At first, I scanned the story, but as the weeks went on, the stories got longer. It was just easier to cut them and put them in sheet protectors. Good thing I had sheet protectors. This helped keep them together and clean.

So, with my journal, I also included all of the papers we did each week for our exercises/ homework/etc. With each of the assignments, I have the original, the original with her grading, and the revisions, if necessary with that grade. For all of my assignments, depending on the point values, I achieved 24/25, 25/25, 4/5, and 5/5. So, for the most part, I've got an A in the class. I got my second draft, not final draft like I would like to call it, of my term paper. I still need to do some better work on my organizing/summarizing. My final grade? 24 out of 25. And another note: "Nice Job." Last night, I had one more thing to do with my term paper. Mary asked us to upload our papers to a Web site called The site reviews the paper for originality and shame on the person who decides to plagarize. As of this morning, 4% of my paper was reviewed. No results yet. I think I like this idea.

What I've got left? Watching my terrible performance Thursday and my final. The final isn't really something that I can study for. The final is reading something someone wrote and making suggestions for improvements and edits for the paper. Just because I can write a paper doesn't mean that I can read and edit someone else's. That's part of being a technical writer. The final is scheduled for May 10, Thursday, along with 2 cakes I'm making for teacher appreciation week and a PTO meeting on the same day. Hmmmm! We could have had the test on Tuesday, but the grad students have a final scheduled the same day from 6pm until midnight. A conflict indeed!

My poetry still has lots to do. Today, I turn in my personal portfolio. I took the dividers and scrapbooked them, adding photos of me, Marie, Cassi, Rob, mom, dad, etc. The photos go from now back to when I was a baby. The title of my portfolio? The Many Faces of Cathy (that's me). I also included commentary with each picture.

I'm at stanza 4 of 7 to memorize. My goal is to have it memorized for Monday. If I can present it in class Monday, I won't have to do it Wednesday. Then, I've got the class manuscript and class audio. The audio will be easy. Half of us are done, edited and added to the playlist to create the CD. I'll be able to do it on another computer while I'm compiling the manuscript. Just like last summer, I'll be running 2 computers at once.

With that, I have to leave early. I'm bringing binding stuff and computer and camera and microphone. I know at least one person needs to bind her stuff before class. So, I'll be there early. Plus, I'll get to talk to Nuala before class.

I've got to go now. I need to brush my teeth and do my hair before leaving.

Lots of love to all,
8^ )