finding happiness in everything

It’s been a year & half since the boys began learning to drive. We’ve made a slow go of this process due to everyone’s busy schedules. Each of the 3 boys had their turn behind the wheel and my insurance premiums have flown through the roof! I am happy to report there have been no accidents and each of them have improved substantially. Boys will be boys…and they have had  a lot of fun helping and making fun of each other through the process.

While teaching them to drive,   I experienced 3 major issues:

  • 1 lead-foot driver
  • 1 terrible at judging distance
  • 1 Granny driver

They each had several learning opportunities to overcome, but had one trait more prevalent as described above. My lead-foot driver had to learn to slow down. He also had to learn that when backing out of the driveway, accelerating so quickly lead to ditch & mailbox type problems. Thank God, during his learning he was safe personally and the car did not receive any new dents or bangs. The neighbors mailbox post was (and still is) as removable as a Lego piece, so it survived also.

Ah, let me tell  you about the neighbors… As soon as I decided it was time for the boys to begin learning to drive, I walked across the street and spoke to our long time neighbors. They offered me prayer and said they would understand any accidental mailbox bumps. They were sweet and very understanding. Each time the kids bumped the their mailbox, I made them walk across the street and apologize. To the kids, this was more embarrassing than a nuisance. None of them wanted to eat cake and publicly admit that they had made a boo-boo. So, this rule of our house stood as a deterrent and each tried their hardest to judge distance appropriately to avoid it. This rule also applied to their friends who were driving. If their friends knocked that mailbox over, it was their responsibility to fix the mailbox and apologize – if their friends drove off without taking ownership. Needless to say, that mailbox took the plunge so many times I lost count and most of the incidents were not caused by our boys, but by their friends!! After seeing several of their friends taking out the mailbox, I didn’t feel so bad about our boy’s driving skills at all :-) I did wonder about the ethics of their friends though…because ALL of them sped away (sometimes squealing tires) when they realized they had knocked it down. Teenagers!

Back to the 3 extremes, the lead-foot driver did everything too fast! He had to learn to go the speed limit and had a hard time grasping the concept of slowing down further if weather conditions were not the best. Riding with this driver felt like being on a rollercoaster ride around curves, up & down  hills, and coming to an abrupt stop at intersections. My nerves took a toll as well as my tummy with this one behind the wheel. I am happy to report that he did, in fact, pass his driving test and did learn to sloooow down. Yay :-) We were all proud of him… but I still don’t offer him the keys much now. He doesn’t have a job, nor any desire to work. So, I have no desire to allow him to drive independently until he shows financial responsibility & can remember where his wallet is.

The boy challenged with judging distance scared me probably a bit more than the other 2. We only allowed him to practice driving on clear days at low traffic times on back roads. The door handle on the passenger side now has a permanent indention of my grip. That boy scared me pretty bad while he rode the very edge of the pavement. Occasionally I would pee myself and so began to wear the old lady incontinence pads while teaching  him. My nerves were unravelling and my stomach was twisted into knots. Occasionally there was a need for me to screech and my son would scold me, “Mom! Stop that. I’m doing fine!” He never seemed nervous behind the wheel & this was hopeful. Still, his wide turns and distance judging was frightening. Some days I would come home with a strained voice after squealing an entire ride with him. Over the last 6 months, his driving ability has improved dramatically though and he is due to take his driving test in a couple weeks to become an official licensing driver. I am proud of his progress AND he has a job! He has been showing financial responsibility through the use of his bank card and managing his money.

The last major driving issue was the Granny driver. This boy literally drove as I’ve labeled  – like a Granny. He couldn’t accelerate above 30 MPH, slowed down even more on curves, and would get caught in the same traffic light at least twice. He experienced some distance judging issues during his slow motion turns and he rode the brake frequently when driving straight. His start was abrupt  as the car would lurch forward and then he would slow down to turtle speed again. Other cars on the road would fly past us at a whopping 45 MPH. People would honk and make gestures as they sped past us. Bless his heart, he would ask, “Are we going to fast mom?” Then he would break into a sweat as he was cruising down the highway at 30 MPH (in a 55 MPH zone). Each time a car would pass us, he would slow down to 15 or 20 MPH, so you can see we never really even made it to the speed limit at all. He would be so nervous that his poor little hands would shake while holding the wheel. While on back roads, when a car was coming toward him to pass on the other side, he would scoot the car over as far as he could without going into the ditch. Oh Goodness, I felt so bad for him. I’m thrilled to report after much practice, he can now drive without the nervous shakes, feels comfortable at the speed limit, and is much better judging distance. In my mind, he has been upgraded to Teenage driver now and has left Granny in the ditch. I was (and still am) proud of his progress. This one is not driving independently yet due to not showing financial responsibility also. I anxiously await his future employment!!

To sum up this entire process, through much prayer and nervous diarrhea, I have survived this process and everyone is still alive. Oh – and I’ve only changed the brakes once!


Freaked out at Brother's driving...1

Freaked out at Brother’s driving…1

Freaked out at Brother's driving...2

Freaked out at Brother’s driving…2

Freaked out at Brother's driving...3

Freaked out at Brother’s driving…3

Date Night Concert

My husband & I spent a couple of months re-connecting this year & I finally got to see my first real concert! My husband scored free tickets to a Tim McGraw concert back in August. It was standing room only, but it was super cool. At first I was able to sing along with a couple of songs and then he sang some of his newer stuff and he lost me. When I say newer, I mean anything he cut & released after 1997. This is when I realized why the kids think I am old.  After 1997, I began listening to Christian music almost exclusively – not completely, but almost.  Anyway, all the songs & music were beautiful though.  IMAG3130 IMAG3131 IMAG3139

I looked around and most of the people there were our age older. Then I noticed that Tim McGraw was no longer a spring chicken. Isn’t it funny how we go through life, living day to day, and time slips away from us? Think about it, can you remember each day of your life from 20-30? 30-40? 40-50? I can’t. My mind doesn’t realize that I am older, so why is my body aging?

This question  is as amazing as the great pyramids.

Old Man Puddy

In several articles, I have mentioned my feisty long time companion Puddy. Mr Puddy is a special breed of kitty. He’s the kind of cat that thinks he is human…seriously! He also thinks that we are the dumbest owners on the planet. He shows his frustration more and more as he ages. In this past year, he has begun to lose patience with his stupid owners (or servants in his mind).

Since January, his aggression has grown and he shows his frustration with us in new ways leading up to present day. I’ll try to sum it very briefly. After the new year began Addy, our dog, was missing for a few days. We received a call from a neighbor that she had been hit by a car. We kept her inside the house while nursing her back to health and continued therapy. Puddy was not happy. He would pace through the house and hiss. He would sneak into the sick room and stare at the dog and growl. He decided he would begin marking his area inside the house (something he had never done before). So basically, he started peeing on anything that was laying in the floor.

I know that there are “cat people” and “dog people”, but I have always been both. Mr Puddy has been with us for over 8 years now & he was an adult when we got him. He was a rescue in 2007 from a veterinary office, where he had lived in a 2×2 crate since he was a kitten. He was neutered and had never “marked” anything before.

Back to the story, he marked Addy. The poor little doggy who could no longer walk was peed on by the cat! It was sad, Puddy was scolded. As the dog healed and went to live back outdoors in March, one of my grandbabies came to spend the weekend with us. The cat was angry and promptly went into the laundry room and marked all the clean clothes in a basket. He was scolded and not happy. On the 3rd day, his behavior was better because my grandbaby went home. He strange behavior continued throughout the year. If his water bowl or food dish was getting low, he would leap out from behind a piece of furniture and attack anyone walking by – then go mark something.

He had a love/hate relationship with my middle son. He would pee on my son’s belongings if he left them in the floor (which he did regularly) and then purr loudly and then compete for his attention when he’d get home from football practice each day. My son would yell at him, scoot him out of his room, and then I’d catch them sleeping together or loving on each other.

Anyway, the strange marking activities continued. He used every opportunity to mark something. He was slowly becoming a markaholic. He was happy, he’d pee on something. He was mad, he’d pee on something. Someone has a birthday, he’d pee on something. Someone knocked on the door, yay – he’d go mark something!! It was a holiday, he’d pee on something. Each time was the same…there was an event to celebrate or be upset about, he’d sneak off & mark something. Then filled with regret, he would come to one of us with a sweet meow, begin meowing, purring, and loving on us. I began to wonder if he was suffering a bi-polar condition.

He was always a very clean kitty, never messy. A couple of months after the strange markings began, he started kicking all of his litter out of the box and carelessly slinging his food all over the floor. All cleanliness had left him and it seemed as though he became a different cat. It was sad, frustrating, and we were all perplexed. His attacks were becoming more vicious and he was dangerous to live with. After eating one tiny piece of cat food, he would demand more be poured in his bowl or risk meeting his sharp blades (claws). His weight increased to 14lbs. He had always carried extra weight, but he was eating non-stop! His addiction was controlling him. I searched online for a resolution and found many possible reasons for his behavior, but none of those fit. It got worse. He stopped obsessively cleaning his fur and began to stink. I called the vet and was told it was a phase that would pass. “But,” I exclaimed, “this he’s addicted and we don’t know how to help him!” This occurred for months and then the worst thing happened.

We woke up one morning and he was laying in the floor covered in slobber. I freaked out! He was sick…very sick. An intervention was imminent and no longer could anyone tell me this phase would pass! We rushed him to the vet and there he stayed for a week while they performed multiple procedures on him to save his life. The vet advised me he was near death.  He had an IV, a urinary catheter, antibiotics, and I’m not sure what else. His diagnosis: stones. He had urinary blockages that he couldn’t pass and his bladder had filled up inside his body to the point of bursting. They put him on a special food and I warned them that he wouldn’t eat anything different. After a self-imposed starvation strike of 5 days, he finally began to eat the prescription food. During a lengthy recovery, he was the sweetest kitty :-) $880.00 later, we thought we had a new cat – but with no warranty expressed or implied!

Once completely healed, he resumed his natural personality traits and begun the hateful-old-man-Puddy traits. The Vet reminded me that he is 10yrs old & much like someone with dementia, I needed to have patience with him. After several months had passed, his marking was much better. He now only sneaks to his addictive behavior rarely and has almost completed his recovery program.

I never in my life would have thought that I would help a family pet through addiction recovery, but now I can say I’ve seen it all…nah!

A sticky situation

The last few posts have been about DIY projects and this is not a DIY website, I promise! If you can bare with me through one more post, I will get back on track soon! I guess this one could be seen as an adventure…nah!

My insomnia was still an ever growing issue and my late-night compulsive googling was filling my mind with all these crafty little ideas. I knew I was not a crafty person and it had actually resulted in many personal injuries but for some reason I thought one day I would get at least one project right! Besides, I assumed there must be at least one project out  there on Pinterest that was accurately detailed enough that I could follow foolproof instructions. Late one night, when the world was asleep, I found an amazing product online: Mod Podge

Mod Podge

Mod Podge

I found women everywhere (and a few guys) that proclaimed the wonder and amazement of this fabulous product. It was hailed as the greatest crafting invention ever and had accumulated several million loyal customers, followers, and advocates. It was so infamous that there were knock off products on the market to mimic it and people freely share “recipes” for cooking up your own batch at home to save money. With so many rave reviews and obsessed consumers, I decided I had to find out what this incredible product was and give it a whirl.

In my searches, I found that this life-changing product comes in multiple formulas!

Mod Podge

Mod Podge

How exciting…I thought. I ran out the next day to a local craft store an purchased the biggest bottle they had. Oh glory! I had the coveted product of all products that millions of people raved about. Once I brought it home, I realized I didn’t know what to do with it :-( The googling resumed. After locating some projects online, I decided on a photo transfer project.

I followed the directions I found online and the project wasn’t too bad…I thought.

Us - Mod Podged onto a piece of wood

Us – Mod Podged onto a piece of wood

You see, it was simple. I printed off a color photo to use with our printer. I selected a piece of wood – Cut the photo to fit – Slathered a thin layer of Mod Podge onto the wood – Layed the photo face down on the wood – Trimmed off the edges – smoothed out air bubble pockets and allowed it to dry.    See? Simple! The entire process took maybe 20 minutes (as a beginner) and was not difficult at all.

This Mod Podge product has a glue consistency and reminded me of elementary school. It said on the label that even though it goes on white, it dries clear AND it cleans up easily with basic soap and water. The dry time is about 24 hours though, so some patience would be required.

I was excited! I was going to accomplish a craft with no personal injuries and it was going to turn out nicely!! Yay me…for an hour…

After cleaning up my work area and washing my hands, I came back to the office, took off my shoes and began working on some paperwork. I happily made my way through a lot of internet work and then moved to filing within 25 minutes or so. When I stood up, a customer invoice was stuck to my elbow. Not thinking much of it, I pulled it off and moved to the filing cabinet and put away some files. As I moved away from the filing cabinet, my foot stuck on the wood floor. I stumbled, almost tripped, and regained my composure. I can be so clumsy sometimes. So, I put my shoes back on.

In the restroom, the toilet paper stuck to my hand. At this point, I realized something wasn’t right. On the way back to the office area, I picked up a dryer sheet from the laundry room…on the bottom of my shoe. As I leaned down to peel it off, I lost my balance and leaned back against the wall for support. My shirt peeled off the wall as I attempted to reach down and remove the dryer sheet. My mistake was lazily leaning back up against the wall when I had the dryer sheet in my hand. That’s when my hair stuck to the wall…

I was loosing patience with myself and my surroundings. I didn’t feel sticky, so why was everything sticking to me?  MOD PODGE!

Oh NO, that wonderfully fabulous, incredible invention that went on white and dried clear was all over me!! It’s glue. How do you not know that you have glue on you? Well, I’ll tell you… this thoughtfully incredulous material goes on smooth, thin, and sleek. It is only during the seemingly forever drying process that the tackyness appears. I went to the place where I had placed my photo transfer project to dry (on the dryer in the laundry room) to check it also. The cat was stuck to it :-( There he stood shaking it as roughly as he could to get it off his back paw. When he saw me, he bolted off the dryer, down the hallway and into the living room dragging my project with him! He was not happy. I was not happy. My house was slowly becoming covered in glue.

The kids would be home from school in under an hour and then my husband would be home. I had to get the house cleaned up! My problem was that I had no way to see what I was cleaning! This miracle product of the ages turns clear as it dries, not after it is completely dry. I grabbed my shoes and cleaned them. Then I started cleaning the house. I cleaned the floors, door knobs, washing machine top, dryer, and anything that I thought I may have touched. I thought I did rather well covering up my goof.  :-)

After supper, everyone usually retires to their rooms or does their own thing. I showed my husband the nice little picture on wood thing I had created and he thought it was awesome :-) I was happy once more.   Then, my youngest son yells “ouch” from the livingroom as he tried to get up from the recliner. His arm and his head had stuck to the recliner as he tried to move. “Mom!” he called out to complain. “Oh you kids,” I said embarrassingly, “Y’all clearly need to eat in the kitchen. I bet there’s something sticky on it. Just wipe it down.”

I got away with it… or at least I did until they read this ;-)

Garden + Dog = Disaster

I was so happy with our little garden and went out to water and tend to it daily. I tried to be as economical as I could be with this project and was using the water from my rain barrel as well as a recycled coffee can to water with. I watched it grow, produce flowers, then fruit, and finally was able to pick and eat from it. We even used some old paint containers cleaned out of course, as planters for cantaloupe and some left over tomato plants. It was great!



Bell Peppers

Bell Peppers



Tomatoes after 2 weeks

Tomatoes after 2 weeks

After 3 weeks, we realized the garden needed more space, so we compensated by adding more running room for the watermelon & cucumbers. We should have staked the tomatoes at this point too, but we didn’t:

The watermeleon needed running room at 3 weeks

The watermelon needed running room at 3 weeks

Cantaloupes at 3 weeks

Cantaloupes at 3 weeks

Cucumbers needed room at 3 weeks

Cucumbers needed room at 3 weeks

The cucumbers began to "curl", so I added some additional compost to the soil. They straightened up nicely after that.

The cucumbers began to “curl”, so I added  compost to the soil. They straightened up nicely after that.

During week 4, we adopted a dog from a local kill shelter. She was suppose to become an inside dog, but she wanted outside so badly.  We bought puppy pads for her to pee on while inside. She ate them or shredded them. My husband wanted her to comfortable, so he bought her a big pillow type bed…and she ate it. She couldn’t be  in the room with the TV on. When she heard the voices, she would run to the door and whine to get out. To this day, she is still afraid of the mystical box that makes noise! We have a very old indoor kitty. She wanted to eat him, or at least, we thought she did from the way she acted. So, in short, we made a comfy home for her outside. She LOVED it. She was (and still is) the happiest pup in the world now!

Our adopted "mutt". She's half Lab, half Shar pei

Our adopted “mutt”. She’s half Lab, half Shar pei

Back to the garden, in week 5 we were getting 8-10 cucumbers a day among other items:


At first we ate them daily. My youngest son was eating probably 5-6 a day. We made cucumber salad, cucumber sandwiches, put them in salads, made home-made pickles, and of course at them raw after washing them. We all became overwhelmed with cucumbers! We started giving them away. We were pawning cucumbers off on everyone we met. We gave them to neighbors almost daily, and co-workers, and customers, and family, and ….anyone that would accept them!! We had cucumbers coming out our ears!!

Week 5 Water Melons

Week 5 Water Melons

Week 5 cucumbers, water melons, etc

Week 5 cucumbers, water melons, etc

Week 6: IMAG3035 IMAG3026

In week 7 we lost 1/2 the garden…    The newly adopted dog saw a field mouse and dug all night to capture it…. in the garden beds!!!

She was so proud of herself

She was so proud of herself

She dug up the center of the tomatoe roots

She dug up the center of the tomatoe roots

She killed the water melon and dug up the green peppers

She killed the watermelon and dug up the green peppers

My heart dropped out of my chest :-( But hey, we sure had a LOT of cucumber memories!

End of story :-(  :-)  :-(

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