Sunday, October 26, 2008

By the way....

I do apologize to those who find my smoking cessation to be a boring subject.
It's new to me and I'm really trying to succeed.
And although it is boring, it will lead to better things than remaining a smoker would for me.
And by no means will I ever become an Anti-Smoking Cigarette Nazi. Smokers will always be allowed to do so in our home, and there will always be an ashtray handy.

But on the subject of boring blogs: If I EVER post a blog strictly about my pets complete with pictures, affectionate nick names and their adorable antics, please feel free to tie me to a stake and start me on fire. Oh.My.Gawd! I am strolling through blogs here at blogspot and I could literally choke at the number of bloggers whom it seems need to ramble on about their pets in every other post!

I wouldn't mind an occasional "Yeah, here's the doggie. He's my bud." But NO! They go on to post 10 pictures of the same animal sleeping, eating, sleeping, eating, giving their owner a dirty look for disturbing them, and oh yes, another pic of them eating, and why not just one more of them napping. Argh! Get a life, people!!!!!!

But while we're on the subject, here's a shamefully gratuitous pic of Octavia. Muwahha haahaahaa

I am one tough biatch

It's been in the works for months now. The long awaited wedding of two very sweet people.
The big day finally came yesterday!
Hubby stood up as best man.

This was one of the factors that I really had to consider when I had made my decision to quit smoking. I would really have liked a little more distance between quitting smoking and facing this stressful social situation that I knew was looming in the future. I know my Hubby. I knew he would spend the majority of the reception standing out in the parking lot chain smoking, and when he would be in doors, he would be doing Wedding Party stuff. And me, no longer being a smoker would be left inside in a room full of people that I really don't know, standing alone looking snobby. I can't help it. I make friends slowly. I can't just jump into a room full of strangers and be best pals by night's end. That's just not me. I end up trying way too hard to come up with interesting conversation topics and focusing on asking open ended questions to that I would get more than a yes or no response. Eek! Stress!

Luckily, the Bride has a really wonderful family. One of her many brothers and his wife came and sat at my and Jerry's table during the dinner portion of the reception and had both Jerry and me in stitches.

But back to the point of it all. As I was getting ready for the wedding I was suddenly over come with the Mother-of-All Cigarette cravings. I'm having an internal melt down because the night before, I thought "Okay, we need to leave at noon. That means I need to be in the shower by 10AM so that Hubby can have at least an hour in the bathroom to get ready before we go and so that my hair will dry properly and not look like total shit. Well, guess what. At 9:55, Hubby gets up, grabs his clothes and heads to the shower. And proceeds to hog the bathroom for the next hour! The neighbour kids decide to come over and play in the living room, and I'm just feeling the stress mounting. So I get in the shower, get out and try blow drying my hair. I NEVER blow dry my hair. I despise hair driers. Plus, they blow our electrical circuits if you use them on high. And what good is a hair drier used on low? So, yes, the hair is looking like crap no matter how much product I squirt onto it. And I'm looking in the mirror thinking that I really hate the clothes I bought for the wedding, which is naturally followed by "Dang, woman! You are so Fing FAT!" (My saying to myself, of course). So next thing I know, I'm up stairs digging in my closets for something - anything to make the wardrobe work. And I run back down, shoo Hubby out of the bathroom again (Sheesh! Quit primping, ya Nancy!) and that slow nag of a nicotine fit starts growing into a full-out fiend. I told myself "Give it three minutes and it will pass." Um, no. After three minutes, the feeling only grew even stronger. Another three passed and I was taking deep breaths. And in the mean time, Jerry is playing loudly with his friends in the living room, Hubby is cussing because he's popped a button on his suit jacket, and although the wardrobe is coming together, my hair looks like absolute crap no matter how I try to style it.

Hubby comes into the bathroom once his Button Crisis is amended and says "What's that look for?" Ooh! It was THAT noticeable! I told him I was really wishing we had some Orange Juice in the house because that is supposed to thwart cravings to smoke and I was having a major fit at that moment.

Hubby went out and jumped in the van and ran to the nearest gas station and came back with not one but two bottles of Orange Juice for me. How sweet and supportive! Major kudos go to that man! And amazingly, the orange juice really did help to curb it a bit. It didn't leave entirely, but it did take the edge off.

My hair still looked like crap. I still sat alone in the church. I still ended up standing alone looking dopey several times at the reception. But I faced all of that stress and I made it through smoke-free. Not bad for it still being less than two weeks of being a non-smoker. Go Me!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Flu Shots and other random topics

I really need to poll other people who received the flu shot. I got mine a few days ago and man! Am I WINDY! WTF!?!? It isn't anything I've eaten, so it absolutely has to be the flu shot. And let me tell you, I don't appreciate waking up smelling like a dirty fart! That's just not who I want to be!

I received an E-mail from Cousin Terri last night. They're moving back to Wisconsin next month! I am so happy to hear this! They moved to Florida last year in an effort to be closer to her boys when they got to come home on leave from Iraq. But it's been quite an eventful year for them, and it's time to load up the wagons and head north once again! Hey! Maybe they'll come to our Thanksmas party!!!!!!!!!! W00t!

I have the day off work today. I'm being a lazy sot and I don't care either. I mainly took the day off to irritate someone. And it did irritate that someone. So my work is accomplished! However, I do have to go in for a mandatory meeting at noon today. Yay. If I were smart, I'd have jumped in the shower already and have my hair drying so that I could go in all gorgeous and well coiffed and have everybody be saying "Wow! You really look fantastic today!" and I'd be all "Oh, really? Must be cuz I had a little extra mirror time than normal, being a vacation day and all. If you all let me come in an hour late every day but still paid me for that hour, you could have me beautiful every day instead of only on my days off. Think about this offer. It may be worth it in the long run."
Yeah. I'm not in the shower. My hair will likely end up in a pony tail. Not happening.

What I would really like to know is how do I always manage to pick rainy days for vacation days? Does God not like it when I stay home? Or is he telling me that I ought to be ripping the rest of Jerry's ceiling out this morning and slathering some mud on those cracks so it looks pretty. I would like to, but we have a wedding to attend tomorrow and that will keep me from further diving into the ceiling venture uninterrupted. So it probably doesn't pay for me to invest a lot of time on it. But on the other hand, since it IS a vacation day, I really WOULD be getting paid by the hour for whatever I do accomplish today, whether it be Ripping a Ceiling or just Ripping Wind!

Perhaps I'll spend my day photoshopping the heads of Smiling Water Buffalo on to Obama's body! Woo hoo! I'm off to Google to collect images! Have a great day, my loved ones!

P.S. 11 days and no smoking. I shoulda had people place bets on me so I could collect!

Monday, October 20, 2008

Thanks, Shayla!

We received a note from our son's school the other day.
His school is actually where we go to vote in our district.
The school wants to hold a bake sale and they want all the parents to donate some
cookies for them to sell.

Shayla just gave me the most awesomest idea ever....

Vote for my guy or you get a grumpy cookie!

Oh, yeah! I made a promise!

Better late than never.
I did promise to post progress pictures of the Porch Step Project.

Well, you remember the old steps...
The Landlord decided it would be a brilliant idea to put carpet on them to seal in all of the moisture so that they could rot at an advanced rate and always look like crap.
Well, I said GO! And Go! I meant! So those crappy old steps, they got up and went!

Now, this is still a work in progress. I'm still waiting for railings, which the Hubby did purchase, we just haven't had time to assemble them.
Hubby has also finished staining the bottom step as well as the vertical boards since this pic was taken. It's been too cold and rainy for me to want to go out and take a new pic.

Stay tuned for the final picture! It will appear some time before the first snow fall!

Water Buffalo

I know most of you are wondering where the fascination with Water Buffalo comes from.
A few weeks ago, Jerry and I were bored, so I dug through our collection of old vhs movies and found Veggie Tales Silly Songs.
And one of these silly songs is The Water Buffalo Song.

Yes, it gets stuck in your head.

Then, at work, the boss asked Robin to do a survey with our patients. She was to ask them 5 questions, they were to answer her and she was to write down the responses.
After they'd walk away, I'd tell her "You forgot question number 6!"
And she'd say "There is no number 6."
"Have you ever owned a Water Buffalo?"

And it's grown from there. Another coworker was on the phone one day and hung up saying "Dang! That person just ripped my face off for no good reason!"
My immediate response was "Did you ask if they've ever owned a Water Buffalo? It coulda been a totally different conversation if you'd have asked that."

Then, the other morning, I saw that Jenny over at The Bloggess had a video (a faster loading link) about Water Buffalo! And how some people in the USA actually found some people in China who were willing to go out and find a Water Buffalo and purchase it with the money provided by the Americans and deliver the Water Buffalo to a needy Chinese family. It sounds like something so very simple. And actually, it really is! A family could use a Water Buffalo to till and plow their fields for 15 years, and then they could butcher it and eat for 6 months or more. In essence, providing a water buffalo to a needy family in their eyes makes them very rich.

So, I'm thinking maybe I ought to take some of the money I'll be saving from not smoking and use it to buy a water buffalo for a needy family in China! Would that be the coolest or what?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Yet another Perk...

For those of you reading my blog and have no interest in my trying to shake the monkey off my back, I apologize. Feel free to skip this entry entirely. I promise I'll try to think of something else to blog about next time. It's just that it is day #5 and it has been a tough one. I'm not sure if the cravings are physical or mental today, but I've been arguing with myself all day saying "Quit bargaining with yourself! An alcoholic cannot have just one drink. You cannot have just one puff! You've come this far and if you had a down slide now, the whole thing starts over from point A, so don't even bother trying to bargain with yourself.".

Jim, for the most part is trying to be supportive. He's been trying not to smoke around me if possible. But that really doesn't bother me so much. Actually, smelling the smoke sort of soothes the cravings a bit. But, it is the weekend. During the week, I am able to keep busy. I can't smoke at work, so days are not a problem. But the weekends are a different story.

I'm supposed to go to a wedding shower tomorrow. The Bride-to-be called and asked if I was planning to go. I was perfectly honest with her. I said "Well, I don't think I'm going to make it to the shower. We have a list of stuff to get done before your wedding, plus I am trying to quit smoking right now. Attending a wedding shower where I know only one other person in the room is not a good thing to do when you're trying to quit smoking. I need a calm environment with no stress and that would cause me stress."

She obviously didn't understand. She started saying "Well you met everybody a few weeks ago, so you'd actually know everybody there. How could that be stressful?" No, I may have met them, but that doesn't mean I want to hang out with them on a regular basis or that we have anything to carry on a conversation about. No. I'm not going and I'll be damned if I'll feel guilty about it. Wedding showers are supposed to be for immediate family or for those who cannot attend the wedding itself. And besides, they just made us attend an "Engagement Party" which was in actuality a wedding shower. So we got to feel like a couple of asses for showing up without a gift because we weren't told it was a shower!

Any way, on to the Perk portion I was aiming for ... our new kitten is very sweet. But if she was on my lap and I lit up a cigarette, she would get up and run away. She doesn't like cigarette smoke. Since I've quit smoking, she has become the loviest little kitty ever toward me! I've become her lap of choice! And after all, that's really why I adopted her to begin with. Our other cat has always been less than affectionate and I had hoped this one would be a cuddler. So that's a bonus for the non-smoking side.

I keep making lists. Reasons why I am quitting. Reasons why I should not take even a single drag of a cigarette. It's a lot of mental wrestling because I've been smoking off and on since I was 12! Being a non-smoker is not natural to me. And I tend to trust people who smoke over people who do not smoke. It's a personality thing as well. So in quitting, I need to find my non-smoking personality and hope that I actually like that person. I know I'm doing this mostly for health reasons. I know that I need to do this. But, damn it's hard!

And I know I'm doing this so that I'm not putting such a financial drain on our budget. But that doesn't really hold a lot of sand with me right now. Cigarettes are pretty much the only thing I actually buy for myself with my pay checks. There's not a whole lot that I WANT for myself. I could buy a new wardrobe, but I hate the size I am right now and refuse to commit to that size by purchasing expensive clothing. However, it is nice to know I have cash set aside for when the bottom falls out. And it often does. Emergency dental visits, Jerry getting strep... stuff happens.
In this household, "stuff happens" far too often.

I know the first two weeks are the hardest. Once I get beyond these first two weeks, the physical addiction go to the background and it's all mental from there. I need to be more positive. I can do this.

Say! I know what I can do! I'm gonna put my recent Water Buffalo Fetish to good use!
Stay tuned for further details!

Thursday, October 16, 2008

So, I'm $15 to the good!

It is officially Day 3 of not smoking.
It took me 3 tries this month to get this far.
I had planned to quit October 1. Well, October 1 was filled with stress. No way it was gonna happen that day!
So then I tried again last Tuesday. You see, it had to be on a Tuesday. Mondays are far too out of control at work and at home. An absolute stress-fest. And it couldn't be on a Wednesday because Jim is home Wednesday nights...still smoking. But, Last Tuesday didn't go so well either. But I wouldn't let myself slide on this resolution. I know I have to do it.

One thing I had forgotten about myself as a Non-Smoker - I have no idea what to do with my anger (and believe it or not, I have a LOT of anger inside me). The Smoking Me would just go off and have a smoke and calm myself down. The Non-Smoking me goes from Zero to 60 in 3 seconds and wants to see some actual blood for the most minor of offenses.

But, hey! On the bright side, I've earned myself $15 so far. TOTALLY EARNED that money. The cravings are so gripping it's unbelievable. I actually get muscle tremours! WTF!?!?! I don't remember feeling that the last time I quit. But then again, the last time, I was on Chantix. This time, I'm cold turkey, save for half a Lorazepam at bed time so that I can actually sleep. Mainly because I know it is a major priority to be able to get a real night's sleep while putting my body (and brain) through something like this.

Rewards.... I can head off to the hardware store and buy a gallon of paint for Jerry's room this weekend without the Hubby saying "We can't afford that." We CAN if I decide to use my No Smokie Bucks toward paint. And I do believe I will. After all, the busier I keep myself, the less withdrawl cravings I have to endure. But the best rewards by far... I told Jerry I'm trying to quit smoking and that I need him to help keep a calm environment while I go through this so that I will be successful. And he has been so wonderful and supportive! What a great kid!

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

There's a Sex Offender on Our Street

We had heard earlier this week that there is a registered Sex Offender moving to our street.
He will live directly across the street from Jerry's Buddy.

My Sis-in Law was kind enough to shoot me a link to the article in the Gannet about this guy.
And as I'm reading it, I'm saying 'Why does this guy's name sound so familiar?" He's 26. Hmmm.

Well, I got on that Lovely State Of Wisconsin web site and looked him up because the Sex Offender web site, although it shows a picture of him, did nothing to jog my memory. But The State of Wisconsin Web Site lists every offense this individual has ever orchestrated. And lo and behold, in scrolling through, I see a name we all knowlocally is listed as a plaintiff suing him. Turns out he's the baby daddy of her first grand child. THAT's where I know that name.

I also see several counts of drug possession and theft listed in his "carreer". Yay. We just get rid of some dealers on our street and now they give us one with a sex offender record as well.
Lucky us! But at least this one is originally from our fair city and not a transplant. I have no proof, but I've heard that our city gets certain "perks" for agreeing to house said stereotypes.
I'm just getting really tired of them all ending up on my street!

Ouch! It's just a little obvious I'm going through nicotine withdrawl. Go ahead. Cross me. I double dawg dare ya! Ha ha! I am strong. I can do this. I am strong. I can do this. I am a Nicotine Kicking Ninja MoFo. And I've got GUM! Oy!

Note: My friend Robin's Mom says FoMo instead of MoFo. I kinda like that!

Monday, October 13, 2008

Where the heck did the weekend go?

Jim and I have been talking about repairing our front steps before the snow starts flying.
They were in such bad shape that we've been starting to live in fear of everyone slipping on them this winter. And it's a real fear because some of our friends HAVE taken a ride down those steps in the winter! So has Jim for that matter. Ouch.

As usual, what looked like a simple task has turned into a huge ordeal.
After Jim removed the old warped and badly cracked treads, he saw that the risers also had to be replaced thanks to carpenter ants having a great meal. So, it was yet another trip to Lowes for some ready cut risers. One problem with the new risers was that they were made to be a 5 step and ours was a 4 step.

Our Mr. Fix- It pal Doug came over Sunday morning to help get the construction under way.
I hadn't even finished my first cup of coffee and he there, was all ready to get to work on those steps!

Jim and Doug decided it would be easier to go with 5 steps instead of trimming off a step on the risers and attaching them to an apron like it was. This of course meant Jim had to run back to Lowes for a 5th tread and a bunch of hardware.

Meanwhile, Marty scootered over to provide moral support... and to have a cup of coffee.
The two of us got out lawn chairs and cheered on Jim and Doug.

Then came the decision "Do you want a vertical board between each step or do you want to leave them open?" Well, of course I want it closed to keep out the leaves and critters. So that meant another trip to Lowes for vertical boards.

They made great progress, and the steps are looking really pretty. Except now, since they went with 5 steps, we can't use the old railings because they won't match up!

Even though we're going to submit the entire bill to the land lady, it is frustrating that it went from being a $50 project to a $150 project.

The railings will have to wait until Thursday when Jim gets paid. As will the before and after pictures. Can you believe it? I actually remembered to take Before Pictures of a project!

Stay tuned Thursday for the latest update on that. They really are looking quite pretty!

On a related note, I was sitting in Jerry's room the other night watching television while he and Daddy were watching something I didn't want to watch on the Living Room Television. As my mind wandered, I looked up at his ceiling and got to thinking. It's a dropped ceiling. That fake foam insulated type. And it looks like hell. And I got to wondering just how bad does that ceiling look underneath? So I started pulling out ceiling tiles, and seriously, it's not as bad as I had feared! That's real plaster and lath on his ceiling - as are all the rooms in our house. It's mind boggling that the old land lord felt it was easier to put up an entire false ceiling instead of repairing two bad stretches of broken plaster. I don't know what a dropped ceiling cost in the 90's, but I'm sure the cost of one sheet of dry wall was a mere $10. And that ought to be all it will take to fix that ceiling. That, and a few tubs of plaster. But first, I need Jim to move the light fixture and reattach it to the real ceiling so that I can start taking down all the metal parts of the dropped ceiling.

I'm sure this will be yet another one of those tasks that starts out simple but ends up costing more than I bargained. I know I'll need another gallon of paint as well, because the yellow walls end at the false ceiling. But, Jerry's room needs a little love any way. And I really like doing this sort of thing!

I'll have to remember to take some... well.... almost before pictures (I've already torn out the tiles! Ha ha!). And I'll keep you posted on my progress.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

We've got a Little Black Box!

We've all seen the little ticker tape flashing along the bottom of our television screen saying "In February 2009 all analog television signals will be turned off..."

Well, we've never been ones to buy cable or a dish network, so we had to go out and buy The Box. We've only had it for just a few days, but I am already seeing pros and cons to the whole ordeal.

First off, hooking up the boxes was quite simple. Although when we did a scan on our living room television, at first, it would only receive the 3 stations from Channel 2. That's because the box still relies on your television rabbit ear antenna to receive the signals and our antenna was old, and WFRV has the strongest signal. So even though we saved $80 on the two boxes, we still had to invest in a new antenna for our living room in order to get in 9+ channels. And the salesman said they have a special roof antenna we may want to consider buying so that we can receive even more channels. Why does something so simple have to become a big financial ordeal?

Secondly, the picture quality is amazing! It's not a wonder our friends would come over and NOT want to watch our television before. The image was was grainy and would occasionally fade in and out. HOWEVER... with the box, we STILL get poor signals, usually right at pivotal points in a show we're watching, and I STILL have to get up and adjust the antenna to get it to come in clearly again. And sometimes, I just give up and go in Jerry's room to watch my shows, which is sort of a kick in the pants. We bought two different boxes. The one for Jerry's room cost $10 less than the one in the living room but it works better! Although that may just be because his television is newer. Our livingroom television is older than Jerry.

One more advantage Jerry's television has over ours is that his is a built-in DVD/VCR type television. He doesn't need to make any adjustments to watch a movie when he wants to. In the livingroom, it's a different story. We already had a little adaptor box for the DVD player. And the new black box doesn't like the DVD adaptor box. So watching a movie will become a pain in the ass.

I also noticed the other night when an airplane flew over our house that the signal crashed for a good five minutes. So I know EAA is going to TOTALLY suck this year. We live too close to the airport!

I do like the idea of being able to watch my favourite shows on T.V. now, though. I've been watching most of them on line for the past year because we couldn't get in ABC or CBS. We do get them with the new box. But I am still probably going to be catching a lot of them on line simply for the fact that I really hate watching sucky shows while waiting for the show that I DO like to come on. Most of the shows I like don't come on until 9PM anyway. I suppose I really ought to be getting some housework done while I'm waiting for those shows to come on instead of numbly watching something irritating like Heroes.

Jim is liking the classic TV channel, though. It's amusing for him to watch Black Sheep Squadron and Kojak and other shows from our childhood. I do get a kick out of watching Emergency. The clothing styles and home decor is just as amusing as the way they practice medicine!

So I guess buying the box was sort of a step forward. But it's definitely not all it is cracked up to be. And, I suppose when the T.V. in the livingroom dies and we go shopping for a new television, we'll be looking for one with a built in DVD / VCR. But that is years away. Until then, we'll just have to deal.

Monday, October 6, 2008

I'm on that fence again...

So, I've been telling myself that I must quit smoking before the snow flies.
The top two reasons being 1) we simply cannot afford cigarettes AND the heat bill this winter.
and 2) I REFUSE to trudge through a mountain of snow just for a smoke!

At work, we are not allowed to smoke on campus for obvious reasons. So if we want one, we are expected to go over to the Grocery store across the street to smoke. That's fine and good for 3 seasons of the year. But come winter, the Maintenance guys run out of places to dump all of the snow. And there is no clear path to quickly cross over and back. It sucks! And it's not worth it!

Of course there are many other reasons why I need to quit smoking. My family health history is a blatant reminder that I just can't keep doing this. Especially if I want to see my youngest son grow up.

It's a costly habit. Drinking is much cheaper! (Joke!)

I also hate going to work wondering if I smell like a stale cigarette. And I'm sure I do.

And of course there's the health aspect. It really isn't fair to subject my son to second-hand smoke. And HE smells like a stale cigarette too!

The last time I quit, I tried Chantex. It worked somewhat. But it gave me horrible gas and digestive issues.

My doctor then gave me a sample of nicotine gum. YUCK! That is the most foul tasting crap ever!

So this time, I am going to try it cold turkey. And I know it won't be easy. But I have done it before. The difference this time will be that I will hopefully never go back to it.

So... I need to put stoppers in place to ensure that I do not go back to it.

I need to save the money I would otherwise have spent on cigarettes.
To the average person this sounds simple. Oh, but in my house, NOTHING is simple!
The last time I quit, I had started saving the cash I would have spend on smokes and my husband protested to no end. Maybe he saw it as a threat to his own smoking habit? I just don't know. But I know it caused so much stress that I gave in and put all of that money toward bills instead of saving it for something special.

THIS TIME, I'm not budging. I'm going to take out $35 a week from our checking account for the next year and sit on it. The most I would be wiling to sacrifice toward bills and household expenses is $15 of that $35. This is not going to be an easy journey, and damn it! I DESERVE a reward for it! I'm going to spend $1200 on myself come next September. Maybe I'll use it on a trip to Florida to see my cousin. Maybe I'll buy new kitchen cabinets. Who knows. I have a whole year to decide.

In the mean time, this blog will be a constant reminder of my goal. I MUST achieve my goal! I WILL achieve my goal!

I tell my nieces that they can do anything if they set their minds to it. It's time I live up to that belief.