Friday, August 29, 2008

Craig's List and Black Widow Spiders

Wednesday I took on a new venture. Mine started off as the 'uncertain outcome' kind. However, it turned out to be, "An undertaking that is dangerous, daring, or of uncertain outcome. A business enterprise involving some risk in expectation of gain," as well.

What could I do that was so dangerous, you ask? Well, I decided to sell some things on Craig's List. OK, 'decided' is a loose word for what I was trying to do.... Just hear me out.

First, a little background for you: Husband and I went through
FINANCIAL PEACE UNIVERSITY several years ago to help us not only get out of debt, but to attack the root of why were were in debt in the first place. (Well, I can tell you that! All you have to do is max out (my bad) 13 department store credit cards while making about $400 a month. Seriously, I was am an impulse buyer...still am at times.) I did this before we were married.

This $100 Financial Peace program we did at our church really tackles the habits people create and myths people buy into concerning money. Financial peace is 20% head knowledge and 80% behavior. That is so true, because most of what we learned we knew, but didn't have the personal skills to execute it.

We paid off about $4700 in the 13 weeks we were attending the class. Now that's REAL peace-giving! Besides, the class was so much fun! Dave Ramsey is hysterical and I really felt proud of myself rather than condemned. We had finished paying off all of our credit card debt in 4 more months (about $15,000 in 7 months). We were ecstatic...and still married (an important fact)!

So, now we're on the cash-flow (notice I refuse to say 'budget') system where you take out an allotted amount of money at the beginning of the month and put it in corresponding envelopes (i.e. $200 for Groceries, $30 for Cosmetics, $20 for Toiletries, $30 in individual Blow money (spend on whatever you want) , etc.)

Well, we are still trying to get the grocery envelope figured out now that Ham is eating more solids and prices have sky-rocketed. Here's where pawning selling stuff comes in for me.

I had finished off all the money in the grocery envelope the week before. Well, we still needed bread, milk, Gerber Graduates meals, and eggs. Basic stuff. So, I had a dilemma, right?

I got my wheels turning and began thinking about how to make some extra money. (BTW, this is cheating on the envelope system. It's supposed to be that when you run out of money, you're out. And no 'borrowing' from other envelopes. It creates accountability.) The up side is that we need to talk about putting a little more money in the Grocery envelope next time so this doesn't happen again.

ANYWAY, I thought about this Dogloo dog house the previous home owners left two years ago that's just been sitting in our back yard. It was in perfect condition, but just dirty (I had no idea). I went online and researched the price of these things. OK, for a large one like we had? Over $100. Sometimes more. So, I listed it for $50. I didn't really know if anyone would buy it, but hey, worth a shot, right?

Within 45 minutes, I received an e-mail asking if the Dogloo was still for sale. STILL? I had barely enough time to get ready for the day after I had listed the thing! I'm not complaining. I was elated. She said she didn't want to pay $50, though. I asked her how much. She said $35. I asked, "If I cleaned it really well, would you pay $50?" Ahh, just what she wanted to hear. It was sold in under an hour.

Unfortunately, this was also the day I had a doctor's appointment with a new doctor and it took 2 hours! Ham and I got back with only an hour to spare before the lady was going to show up. Ham was asleep in the car, so I left it running with the A/C on (haha...inside joke) and after detaching the base, proceeded to roll this MASSIVE and heavy thing out of the backyard and into the driveway.

Here I am, rolling it, and every time I can see inside, I think,
"Was that..." roll, "Did I just see..." roll, "OK...great."

Halfway, I realized there were spiders inside the dog house. Lots of them. I gingerly finished rolling it and then turned it over to look inside. My stomach kind of knotted up. I counted eight spiders. Not to mention the 4 inch long, 1/2 inch wide millipede...I'm not kidding. GAAA-ROSS! (That's Southern-speak for 'gross.')

The reason my stomach knotted up was because I thought the spiders looked familiar, but I had never seen one in person. I went inside and looked up 'poisonous spiders' and yep...they were black widows. Eight of 'em.

I debated on whether or not to finish the job, but I bucked up, rolled up my sleeves, and grabbed three different bottles of cleanser.

The Mister Clean just made them mad. The Scrubbing Bubbles didn't phase them...they would just crawl lazily out of the foam. However, the Fantastik w/ Oxy Power did the job...sorta. They were at least immobilized.

I then stood back and blasted them with the hose. It took thirty minutes to get those suckers to stop clinging to the side or racing back up to the top when they would break free from the streaming water. I finally had to get a sponge and wipe out the webs. They were really strong!

After all was said and done (Ham woke up crying just as I finished), the Dogloo looked like new and I thought, "This was SOOO not worth $50. I should have asked for $75." ;) I mean, I could have been killed! Next time, I'll sell it 'as-is' and not run out of money in the Grocery envelope!

Well...I couldn't have let someone ride home with a dog house full of Black Widows, right?

BTW, yes, I did frantically change out of my wet and sudsy jeans, brush my hair a million times (and wash it) and continue to swipe at my skin the rest of the day thinking there might be a spider on me!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Am I a Redneck?

My husband posed a question to me that I really hadn't thought of and I guess I have tried to ignore ever since he asked it.

Ham often crawls around in a diaper. Just a diaper.

And she never wears shoes (I have been told by the pediatrician and my chiropractor that it's best not to put babies in hard-soled shoes). That may be why she has excellent balance and can stand while clapping or 'dancing' without holding onto anything.

So, the other day, Genius asked me how many parents we knew that probably let their babies crawl around in just a diaper. My reply, "I dunno."

He mentioned one of my friends in particular who has quite a bit of style and has grown up with quite a bit of money. He said that he couldn't imagine her letting her baby go all day (around the house) in a diaper. He wasn't trying to knock me...I don't think...or her...I'm sure of that...but he was "just wondering."

This is the thing. Ham HATES clothing. I think she would even rip her diaper off if she could figure out the Velcro and something tells me that she isn't far from learning how to do that.

She also hates shoes (I've tried putting some cute little soft-soled shoes on her).

However, she acts like she doesn't even know how to crawl when she has shoes on.

It's like when you put clothes on a cat. They just lay there like they've gone catatonic....

OK, I didn't even mean to do that!

So, I don't make her wear clothes if she doesn't have to, right? I don't make her wear cutesy shoes, so what? I mean, it's been a blazing 90-something degrees for a while now (not counting the unnaturally cool nights we've had lately thanks to El Nino).
Does my half-naked baby mean that we are rednecks?

I don't cart her around like that outdoors! Uhh...I mean.

Do you notice that I also let my child eat dirt and leaves?

Well, it was hot these days!

If anything, I go TOO far when we go out to run errands.

Dress, check. Diaper cover (I prefer to call them 'bloomers'), check. Bow in her sparse hair, check. What else is there? A purse? Lipstick? Glitter fingernail polish? Diamond earrings? BLLLLEEEECCCKKKK! No thanks. She doesn't even get to take her lovey with her!

I'm such a meanie.

Besides, I love looking at her, count 'em, FOUR rolls that get hidden by clothes she doesn't even like. If I'm a Redneck, then I guess I'll just have to live with it.

However, I will say that this is totally unnecessary exposure. This was at our Family Reunion. Usually at least 10 people are around at any given time.

Monday, August 25, 2008

I'm an's OFFICIAL!

Ha! What do you do when after more than 20 years of drawing, coloring, sketching, and painting, you sell a painting the second time you try?

Apparently, you go bananas! At least, that's what I did.

I had written here that I put a piece of artwork up for sale on on August 12th. It sold today! For $75! To someone in California! SOOOOOO cool!

I am so shocked. I really didn't think that it would ever sell. Or at least, I thought it would be up for sale for so long that I would forget I listed it and then someone would buy it in a few years and I'd be like, "What in the world? When did I do that? And more importantly, I hope I didn't throw that away!"

I can't believe that this was only up for 13 days. That's less than two weeks. I just can't believe it. I guess I have to stop lying to myself now and put myself out there more.

I don't know what to do with this information. It makes me want to create more art. Not necessarily to sell, although I will continue to try, but just because it makes me happy.

Sister's Birthday

My sister is the best! Her birthday was on Sunday. I wanted to give a shout out to her because I love her so much.

Reasons I have the best sister in the world:

  1. She is always honest.
  2. She is always sincere.
  3. She gives the best advice.
  4. She is hysterical.
  5. Even though she lived through exactly what I did, she maintained so much integrity and didn't get into half of the stuff I did.
  6. She is such a great mother to her three beautiful children.
  7. She loves her husband with deep passion.
  8. She supports those around her with unabashed love.
  9. When she commits to something, she goes all-out.
  10. She has always cheered me on with my art and writing.
  11. She cared enough about me to witness to me even though I didn't want to hear it.
  12. She was the reason I heard about Christ's love on a daily basis when I was at the end of my rope.
  13. She has always told me (and been right) to stay away from certain boys.
  14. She has an incredible voice and she's the only singer that can make me cry.
  15. She and her husband are doing the hard thing of getting out of debt and doing a great job!
  16. She knows what is important in life.
  17. She's my sister!

I love you my Big Sis!

BTW, I don't know how it happened, but I am really sorry that the cake was chocolate and the icing was kinda like the whipped icing. It was supposed to be yellow or white cake with REAL chocolate or white icing.

Clone Wars

Coming Soon to T.V.

Clone Wars

This weekend was very relaxing. We went to go see Clone Wars this past Friday and it was good. A little more ridiculous fluffy than I expected. However, as Genius pointed out, it is George Lucas. He's right. What can we expect? This is the man responsible for directing Star Wars I & II (the story of Anakin Skywalker as a little boy and early padawan). However, III Revenge of the Sith, was actually a very strong movie and more intense. Lucas did an outstanding job on that one.

OK, of course this is probably making me look like a big dork for knowing any of this, so how can I judge George Lucas? He's a billion times richer than me and obviously knows what he's doing!

So, this animated feature is the second installment of what will now be continued on t.v. I am kinda bummed that we don't have cable because I really would watch this. I had fun watching the first Hannah Barbera-ish Clone Wars cartoon which came out on t.v. before Star Wars II: Attack of the Clones, came out at theaters. The animation is definitely better in this new one and it is supposed to tell the story of what happens between Star Wars II and Star Wars III: Revenge of the Sith.

I'm excited to see the final results.


Friday, August 22, 2008

No, no. I'm the worst mother ever!

You hear it from every mom at one point or another...
"I'm the worst mother in the world!"

We really do believe it...even if we are secretly hoping someone will say, "Oh gosh, no you're not! You're a ___________"(insert: Goddess, Saint, Powerhouse, Queen of Clean, Mrs. Wonderful, Mother Teresa of Mommyhood, My idol, A Dream Come True to any child, etc.) BTW, I like all of those, thank you.

However, all moms, dads, aunts, uncles, Grammies, etc. have moments when they do things that truly and accidentally endanger a child's life, realize they can't be everywhere at once when something dreadful happens, or do something really stupid.

I'm on the latter end today.

So, Ham has fallen off of our bed twice in a week and a half. The first time was pure stupidity. I needed Genius' help on something and went back to the bedroom to enlist him. Ham was in bed with him, playing, and what do we do? We BOTH leave the room to go figure out the all-important so-important-I-can't-even-remember-what-it-was thing and leave Ham on the bed. TOTALLY NOT THINKING!

Half way down the hall, we hear a thud and a whimper. Then a full-on cry. I raced back down the hallway....

(I make our hall sound like the one from The Shining.)

Really, it's only about like this:

ANYWAY! I hustled into our bedroom and couldn't see Ham anywhere. I then heard her whimper again and went around to my side of the bed...and almost laughed. There she was, in the midst of two pillows, laying in that awkward position where you are trying to sit up, but can't because whatever your sitting on is too soft...or face it, you've gained too much weight and can't get your fat patootie up.

I cried, "Oh baby!" Mistake. She began crying again and I felt horrible. I lifted her up and cuddled her. It took 10 seconds for her to get over it. At that moment, I was so glad I had thrown the pillows off the bed that morning. I'll bet $100 that she fell off trying to reach anything and everything on my nightstand.

My Genius husband's reaction? "Why did you leave her? I thought you knew she was on the bed!" Come on...of course I knew, but that doesn't mean my brain translates everything into readable code as fast as his computer processor! I was gracious enough not to remind him of the time he pinched Ham's arm in the highchair and gave her a nasty blood clot.

So, the other time she fell off the bed, I was right there. Not helping my case, you say?

She was near the edge of the bed on hubby's side and sat up with her back to the chasm that is our bedroom floor. She just disappeared off the side, with me grabbing at nothing but air. When I peered over the side (she wasn't crying yet) her legs were up against the side and...oh, here. I'll just sketch it out because I can't describe it.

She whimpered a little bit and then she was done.
I was SO glad that she didn't get hurt. (Our bed isn't that far off the ground.) Of course, I picked her up and cuddled her. She lasted 5 seconds and then she pushed me away and wanted to play again.

I hope it's pointless to say that we watch her a lot closer now. We do. I promise.

So, this is my argument of why I am the worst mommy ever, right? NOPE.

The reason I am the worst mommy is because last night, I grilled chicken, steamed veggies and made my absolutely yummy, creamiest mashed potatoes. I though Ham would enjoy a bite of this delicious, buttery (OK, margariney) goodness. I had sampled it several times. I had tested the surface of the serving I was about to give her too see if it was wasn't. However, when she bit into the piece of potato I didn't know was in there, it was piping hot. It was AWFUL! She wouldn't even drink the cold water I was trying to give her. I can't even write any more about it. That's how bad it was.

You know what Genius said this time? "That wasn't nearly as bad as when I pinched her arm with the highchair tray."

God love him.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Michael Phelps at a Young Age

This was sent to me by my friend Meredith. I just about blew apple juice out of my nose and I DEFINITELY woke up Ham! Thank you MER!!! LOL. I needed that!

Whoever thought of this and made it up is hilarious. It's all over the Internet, but I can't find the original artist. Ah, well.

Wow, I read this amazing blog called Because I Said So and this momma of six kids wild gibbons is HILARIOUS! (BTW, she is the one that calls them 'gibbons,' I would never say that about someone else's kids.)

Seriously, she's a hoot...and I don't go around recommending blogs. If I ever have a 'bad' day with Ham, all I have to do is read her blog and know that what I am going through is normal and right now, I only have one gibbon.

I really want to do something about my lack of organization (don't we all?). My husband is a perfectionist and I am the opposite...what is that...oh yeah, apathetic. However, there is still clutter everywhere. It's not just mine, either. Mine is like an art store or consignment store threw up in various parts of our house. Genius' clutter is mostly papers. I keep thinking that I will take pictures of all these clothes to sell on eBay or take them to a consignment place, but it doesn't happen. Why? Because 1)I can't ever find time to list things anymore and 2)it's the inevitable What if's? that keep all that junk here.

What if we have another the same season?

What if someone we know has a the same season...and is the same size as Ham?

What if I am a size 4, 6, 8, 10, or 12 one day again?

What if something really valuable accidentally got thrown in the lot?

What if I could make a quilt for Ham one day out of her old clothes? HAHA

Anyway, I would love to go to that organizer store and get a new closet built, but we don't even have a place to put a new closet! Our closets are tiny and we don't have much storage space. Now, we have an unfinished basement that is literally the length of our house and that should be enough space, right? It is, but that's pretty cluttered, too. Not in a dirty sense, but in a "here are the moving boxes we used 2 years ago," "here are all the boxes that all our appliances, gadgets, baby items, etc. came in," "here is all the stuff we don't know what to do with," "here are some of my art supplies and makeshift desk I made."

I wish I could be one of those people that have shelves with labeled boxes and everything all tidy. Those great steel shelves cost MONEY though and I don't want to do it by myself, either. The most organized I've been is when I numbered all of my acrylic paint bottles (about 60 of them), put them in an old boot box and typed up a sheet with all the colors and numbers of the paints. Ham got into it once and I haven't reorganized it since. Grrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr.

I keep thinking, if someone just came to watched Ham for a day or two, I could organize my entire house, bring everything to a consignment shop or give it away, list some stuff on eBay, make the jewelry I want to make, finish gifts for people, yadda, yadda, yadda. It would take more than that. And Ham does sleep for about four hours in the day between two naps. It's not like I can't do some stuff then. However, when she's asleep, I'm so scared any noise will wake her that I end up just reading or going online.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Too many candles burning

So, when you are an 'artist,' it is completely possible to have too many things going at once and never finish a thing. I am one of those people. I have many lofty goals...scrapbooking, cameo making, painting, stamping, jewelry antiquing, mural painting, and name a few.

I have never enjoyed my ADD when it comes to getting things organized. I go from one project to another without completing my first goal.

For instance. You know the Owl in the Sky with Diamonds? Well, it is supposed to be the first in a series of paintings. I was going to do another painting that features the little purple house that is in the background of the owl piece. I was going to paint the outside of the house and 'tell' the story of who lives there...a ninja panda trying to learn the art of throwing stars (cliche, maybe). Then I was going to go inside the house and paint what the inside looks like (complete with the owl tree in the background, of course).

Have I even started on the next painting? No. Instead, I got intrigued by trying to paint a peacock (not an easy task) and that has taken WEEKS.

Then, I found this rubber pad and cutting tools that I had gotten a few months back and began my first attempt at making a stamp...totally forgetting about the painting projects.

Does anyone else do this?

The Zoo

I went to the zoo with my sister yesterday and it was a blast. I still can't get over the fact that I can hang out with my sister any time I want. For the last eight years, I have kept myself silent about wanting my sister and her family to move to Birmingham, but it wasn't until this year that God finally moved them stay...I hope. :)

Anyway, it was my sister, her 2 year-old (A), a little girl (B) she is keeping a few days a week, Ham and me. My sister's 2 year-old truly believes she knows what's best for Ham. She will feed her (sometimes forcibly), give her a sippy cup and push her stroller like a champ. Sometimes, the outcome is pretty funny. Sometimes, we have to intervene.

One funny moment was when we were in the monkey house (appropriate, no?) and little "A" went over to Ham, shoved Ham's sippy cup in her mouth and said, "Here." Before Ham could take a sip, "A" had taken it away and said, "OK, you're done." Things like this go on non-stop when these two are together. Thankfully, Ham was too tired to protest anything that was done to her. She was a dream. She was up at 8 and didn't go down for a nap until 1PM. I was really surprised. If she was at home, she'd be pitching a royal fit. Not that I would blame her. Five hours is a long time for a 10-mos-old to be up.

The zoo is OK. I mean, they have just about anything you could want to look at. However, we haven't seen the elephants, rhinos, or hippos in a while. Also, I wish they would do something about habitats always being 'under construction' or 'renovated.' Thank goodness the zoo doesn't charge me for Ham, but when we go, we'd like to at least see a bear or two. That's another animal I haven't seen in at least two years at the zoo.

We actually made it on time to see the seals being fed. OK, one seal being fed and doing tricks, the other seal was laying in the sun and I swear it didn't move the entire time. I really thought something was wrong with it or that it was dead. I hate to say that, but seriously, the seal didn't move at all that I could see.

It was a cute show. The seal reminded me of a big, water-drenched dog.... Without big ears. Or paws. Or a tail. OK, so they aren't much like dogs, but the do bark!!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

W/out our Internet for a week!

Ok, so it's been too long since I've written. I hate when I go this long because then you feel like you have to cover everything to play catch-up. I'm not going to do that. I'll just tell you some basics and then get on with it.

I have created two new pieces of art. One of which is Here:

I created an account McTigerlily and am going to list this piece at a rather high price because, let's face it, when we create something we like, most of the time, we don't want it to sell. Perhaps I should be embarrassed for the price. However, I will say that I used some rather 'different,' luxurious materials to make it more interesting.

The stars are made out of Aurora Borealis Swarovski crystals and the eggs are six white freshwater pearls. I even calculated how much those embellishments would cost on their own and it was around $10. So, add a few dollars for the vintage wooden knobs for apples and the labor of love and I think $60ish isn't that bad of a price. However, it's only like, 7x6." It may sell one day, it may not. That's OK.

I've been doing some really fun stuff, creatively. I have made a few stamps. One is a little bird sitting on a vine and the other is my signature faerie that I've been drawing since I was 13 years-old. I'll have to post pictures of those later because our Internet is down and I'm having to use a wireless connection and I can't get on my computer to download the images.

That's been rough. It sucks to be looking at your computer, thinking of all the places you want to surf and all the important things you want to do like playing free poker advancing your career as an artist and not be able to do anything about it at the moment.

It's amazing how much we rely on the Internet(s) these days. We've tapped into an unsecured wireless connection from a neighbor (not illegal, btw...I don't think) and it's a pretty weak signal, but strong enough to get online every now and then. I find myself looking at the bars saying, "Come on, baby. Come on. YES!! Three bars! Connect, connect!" Sometimes it does, sometimes it doesn't.

On a different note, Ham is teething. I really, really, think she's teething this time. LOL. She has been chewing on things since she was 3 months old and we have had some false alarms, but now she really does have ALL the signs. She is drooling like CRAZY. I'm not talking a little spit on a block she's devouring, OH NO! I'm talking, when she's crawling from Point A to Point B, drool pours out of her mouth. She seems pretty surprised by it sometimes. That's the price of teething a little later than most babies.

Another thing is that this morning she began sneezing a lot. Her nose is runny (oh joy) and that is another sign. The last sign is not so if the others are.... It's the other runny end that is getting to me.

BTW, why is it like that? I mean, the kid is going to be in at least some discomfort already with the teeth busting through tender gums, so why do we now have to treat chaffed skin on her butt, nose, and chin because of all the runny, sloppy, icky stuff that comes along with teething? Poor girl.

Welp, I have a lot to blog, but I'll start another post later. I don't want this one to be too random.