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Archive for the ‘Extravaganza’ Category

Paladin is off at therapy.  I just realized that I haven’t been here in like 2 weeks.  Ya’ll need a quick catch up.  So here goes: 

* We’re doing a menage a therapist thing now.  That’s right.  It takes 3 of them for us.  lol  Nah, it’s not quite that dire.  Dr. Mark went on a rotation for 2 months and handed us off to Dr. Max and Dr. Randy.  Dr. Randy is just for Paladin.  That was good because a fair amount of our time in therapy was being spent as one on one time between Paladin and the docs.  He needed his own thing for a while to sort through everything he’s gone through since his illness began all those years ago and to build this new life and find a direction for himself after his forced medical-retirement.  I kind of wish I were there though.  Paladin has significant short term memory loss, and I’m not there to be his short term memory bank.  As for Paladin and I, there are still issues but they are no longer BIG fights.  Just small quiet ones.  That’s progress.  Right?  Eh…

* Brian’s truck broke down and we spent several days shuttling his brother, Manjina around to temp jobs.  Manjina finally got enough cash together and the truck is back on the road… for now.  Brian’s step-brother, Ralph Jr., wants the truck back and since the VA has now taken Brian’s entire $900+ check, it’s a matter of time before the crap hits the fan on that one.  We’re keeping our fingers crossed that it happens off our property.

* The last kids weekend was spent coloring pumpkins (we’ll carve them this Saturday) and then Sunday after church, we had a picnic/tea party.  They had fun and I took a bunch of video for Youtube (honeywine2000 is the username if you’re curious) to send to the grandparents.  Paladin’s Dad got very emotional over the video.  He is a sweet man.  He and Paladin are both big ol’ girls.  🙂

* Here’s another kick in the lady balls for those of us with no children.  Did you know that if you’re married to someone on Social Security disability you only get benefits if you have children with them or are 62 or older?  Isn’t that lovely?  Doesn’t that fall under some sort of discrimination?  Seriously?

* Then Tina called asking if I’d talked to our Dad recently.  I haven’t.  Heck, I barely get the time to scratch my own butt half the time.  Tina couldn’t get anyone on the phone for a couple of days and finally started calling around.  Where was Dad?  JAIL!  Why?  Apparently, he and Step-slag got into it and he threatened to off himself.  She had the cops take him away.  I guess there’s a backlog of some sort because he’s been in jail a week now in protective custody waiting to see the regional head-shrinker.  Tina called Uncle Jim who lost his mind over this.  I was even surprised at the names he was calling the Step-slag.  At any rate, the last I heard a few of my uncles were getting together to go break him out.  Tina, Uncle Jim, and I have all offered to put him up over here.  Step-slag isn’t answering at their place in Mississippi and for all we know, she’s jumped ship with the contents of the house.  I guess he’s taking too long to kick the bucket.  All those multiple insurance policies must be getting expensive to keep up.  So, I guess I’ll find out eventually what’s going on there. 

* We’re also busting our humps to get everything around here done in preparation for spending more than 2 weeks in San Antonio starting the middle of next week.  A lot of it is that little stuff you do to get ready for winter like build a dog house and take out the air conditioners and repair a broken window.  But, when you’re trying to get all of that done, keeping several medical appointments, taking care of the kids, and taking care of paper work (Paladin is still trying to get his TDY crap fixed…we decided to get an advance for the trip because they’re backed up on TDY payoffs to the point that if we’re lucky we’ll get our last 2 TDY payments sometime in 2010), it all gets to the point where you don’t know what you’re doing from one minute to the next.  I haven’t even thought about what to pack yet!  And then there was special paperwork.

Yep, it took us forever and a day, but we finally got wedding 2 done.  🙂  I think it was my favorite.  It was sweet and simple and something of an international affair at that!  We just headed up to Natchitoches to Front Street and had the parish Justice of the Peace meet us there.  Front Street has such great scenery and even though it was a wet morning, we got great pictures.  We even had a local photographer who is also the Cane River Heritage Area office manager pop out and take a few pics for us and she posted them online here.  Then an older gentleman popped out and took our picture telling us that he only spoke French.  Before I could use my extremely limited high school French to ask “French Canadian or France?”, he disappeared.  Then when we went into the Les Saison candy shop for our wedding dessert (handmade chocolate truffles…mmm…so good…I get at least one every time I go), we were congratulated by a gal from London.  We were a real sight, I guess, because people were stopping and waving.  I do love living in the South sometimes.  🙂  Everyone seemed so happy to see us everywhere we went.  I would have thought they’d be jaded seeing people taking wedding pictures all the time on Front Street.  It was truly lovely.  It made me wish I’d skipped the first wedding and just had this one.  We had lunch at The Landing and then before heading home, Tina and I went into the local Goodwill.  If we were a sight on Front Street, we must have been something else at the Goodwill!  lol  One lady stopped me and asked if I was buying my dress because she was putting on a bride of Christ passion play.  😀  I’ll say it again:  I love the South.  Just to put the cherry on top of such a Southern experience, I bought several pairs of tap shoes for my Borrowed Girls (they look just like plain mary janes and I was desperate to find them inexpensive dress shoes for the holidays).  On the way back, we stopped at the Nat’l. Guard Armory and Tina dropped off the last of the ex-husband’s things (he’d left some stuff including his paternal grandfather’s coins behind and I wanted to make sure he got them before they deploy in the next couple of months) and he told her that his maternal grandfather died back in May shortly after he’d moved out.  I feel really sorry for them.  I loved his grandfather.  I really did.  Then, after all of that, we stopped at Mom’s to drop Tina off.  I wish I’d had the camera running because Mom was so happy she was about to jump out of her skin.  She said, “So now I really CAN say that they’re my grandkids!”  I just told her that I thought she already was.   They’ve been calling her Grandma for months now.  It was just a really happy day.  And here’s the proof:

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My fancy shoes!

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Of course, if you’re on my Facebook, there should have been a link to all the photos over on Walmart’s site.  I won’t even lie and begin to promise to talk to everyone any time soon.  I’m hoping that with all the down time stuck in the hotel room in San Antonio that I can catch up for a while at least.  I’ll talk to you soon-ish though!  🙂

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The way my head feels (or should I say has felt for the last 5 days) I’d like a Squish and he can have my brain.  That’s from Lexx (so’s the title).  Man, I wish they’d put it back on Scifi channel or Syfy or however the heck they’re spelling it these days.  I guess an abbreviation of actual words wasn’t cool enough.  Whatev…  Like I said, my brain is bound and determined to escape by force.  Sucks to be it though because all that bone and skin is trapping it.  There’s a freakin’ cage fight goin’ on up in here.  Paladin is WebMDing me to death because he hates being helpless and oh yeah, he’s a hypochondriac!  Straight up!  He even occasionally admits to it.

I’m just going to giggle at your posts to forget and show off wedding dress numero dos:

No, I'm not pissed just dying inside.

No, I'm not pissed just dying inside.

I should be beaten for not putting on my upholstered strapless bra with that.  The only people in my life who know how to corset are Dave and Will.  The Brothers can and will tie you in until you can’t breath.  Tina and Paladin always seem to be afraid of getting it too tight and with a corset, that’s kind of the point.  I barely had the patience to try it on this morning.  I couldn’t stomach the idea of putting it on with the bra and then having to take it all off again because the bra was showing.  So, I just went for it. 

Closer view of the front.

Closer view of the front.

I think I may have to add a dart under each arm because the bust is pretty roomy and it’s that or stuff.  HA!  I’m a DDD.  I don’t stuff!  Still, I like it considering that it took less than 2 hours to make and only cost $2 (I had to buy a spool of ivory ribbon to edge the underarms and to make the waist band).  Some of you are probably wondering how the heck that is possible.  Well, I had a wedding dress from my first marriage:

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I did love that dress.  It was beautiful and covered my arm flab!  So when it came time to make the first wedding dress this time around, I made the decision to let go of my superstitious nature and use the sleeves of that dress.  They are simply dazzling.

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With all of that beading they weigh a freakin’ ton!  I was able to cut them off of the original dress without damaging the bodice at all.  Since I was all “in for a penny, in for a pound” about it, I also used the side panels, which are also heavily beaded, for dress number one.  Part way through this, I noticed that the way I had cut the dress apart it would take no time at all to make a second dress out of the original wedding dress.  Literally, I had to restitch some of the seams because of the way the panels came off and put that ribbon on.  Nothing to it.  The only real hiccup was that the points at the top of the bodice wouldn’t stay up (they were attatched to the sleeves before and now had no support).  I just added a loop to each point and the extra lacing from the back (which was original to the dress) is looped through before tying to make spaghetti straps!  I picked up the wrap a while back at a shop down the street (JCS in Deridder had them for under $15 with lovely beading and embroidery!), and voila!

To be honest, I feel a little like I escaped from a prom in it, but I like it and adding my 100+ inch mantilla style veil and Queen Anne style tiara and my bouquet should prove me bridal enough.  Oh, and I finally got another cord for the other camera.  So, here are some pics of the bouquet and other decor up close:

Bouquet and veil

Bouquet and veil

Bouquet and veil 2

Bouquet and veil 2

Each of the men had these arm bracers.

Each of the men had these arm bracers.

Tina stamped our tree with birds and a deer design on each of the leather bracers that we bought from a guy named Boric on Ebay which turned out to be a girl named Dana.  Ebay you are a mystery.  Oh, and the book is one of about a dozen books of love poetry classics that I had lying around as decorations.  Did I mention that I had to decorate the black cardstock myself( i.e.-spray paint a gold stencil)?  Now, I know why people don’t use all black invites!

The invites.

The invites.

Each invite came with a peacock feather.

Each invite came with a peacock feather.

This was one of the flower arrangements in the dining room.

This was one of the flower arrangements in the dining room.

That’s mostly feathers.  Told ya, we’d have made a gay man proud!  I’m glad we didn’t have a real theme for this wedding.  Well, other than key words like: dark, mysterious, fairies, warriors, birds, trees, exotic, sparkle.  I guess looking at the pictures it doesn’t look all brought together really, but in the night with blue lights strung overhead and highlighting the big oak tree on the side of the house and all of the bushes, we pulled off exotic, mysterious sparkle!

Top of the altar.

Top of the altar.

All of the wall hangings were sheets we bought at Walmart ($13 for the king size…no hemming!  just rip part of the seam at the top edge to open up a pocket for hanging) and were painted by either me or Tina.  I did this one which was a copy of the stamp we used on the bracers and in the background of the parchment of the invitations.

This arrangement was odd but it worked in person.

This arrangement was odd but it worked in person.

The top of the altar was a board that my Dad had sawed on our sawmill back when I was a kid.  That flower arrangement was kind of odd, but it did work.  You can’t see it in the pic but there were peacock feathers all through it and that fuzzy looking stuff is baby’s breath covered in glitter that I got at Hobby Lobby (it’s also the stuff filling in my bouquet).  I’d like to go on record as wanting an entire hangar covered in that glittered baby’s breath.  I am in love with that stuff and it was only like $13 for a bouquet of it.  I got mine half price during a sale which is how I got all of the flowers.  I loves me some silk flowers, glitta, & feathers!  Woot!

gold tree branches with xmas ornaments

gold tree branches with xmas ornaments

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We cut a lot of branches back in the spring and I gathered them up and stored them.  Then I forced poor Paladin to spray paint them gold.  We added some simple Christmas ornaments (also a half price sale at Hobby Lobby…that’s about $1 for 6 ornaments…we used about 10pks.).  The red lanterns were an impulse buy from a Walmart Memorial Day clearance sale at $2.50 each.  I covered the bottoms of them in glitter and I so wish I’d bought twice as many!

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We had masks and mini-tambourines as favors (about $100 from an online Mardi Gras shop), and you’d better believe I sent plenty of tambourines home with the kids.  😀  The garage was favors and entry way central.  The next morning I woke up to find this:

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Blondie fell asleep in her dress and I let her wear it most of the next day!  Everybody complained about me letting her wear it so long.  She’s 6.  She won’t be able to wear that dress forever, and unless she starts doing pageants, this will be one of the few times she gets to dress up.  Besides these pics say it all!

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The little girls wandered around the next morning in their jammies.  I fed them wedding cake and punch for breakfast.  I know, I shouldn’t have.  But, it was a special day.  With all that extra sugar, Blondie and Savvy decided they should put on a play!  Aunt Teeni (that’s what they call Tina) had to help, of course.

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Indie wore those masks around for days.  She kept wearing them to the hospital to visit Mom.  She’d sneak up beside Mom and go, “Boo!”  Then Mom would go, “Oh!  You scared me!”  They did that for hours.  🙂

Ok, I think I’m done for the week.  If I survive, I’ll see ya’ll Monday or Tuesday.  In the meantime, I intend to hunt Rachel down to see if I can get digital copies of the pics.  It’s so nice that she wanted to send me hard copies, but I’m dying to see them!  I’m off to find Squish…

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Wedding Day #1!

Paladin and I were married last Friday evening.  Sort of. 

 

Where to start?  Ahhh…the day before the wedding.  At 9:30am, Will called me.  Mom was throwing up cupfuls of blood.  They rushed her to the ER, and it took until 6pm to get Tina on the phone to tell us that Mom was being admitted to ICU.  They gave her several pints of blood and plasma and stopped her vomiting.  She was stable and out of pain, but it’s several days later and the doctors are just today taking her in to get a scope of her stomach.  

 

At about 10am, Paladin got his papers from the lawyer.  Oh wait.  Nope.  They weren’t the final papers because the d**k lawyer hadn’t bothered to file a damn thing.  He hadn’t even bothered to type anything up until Monday when Paladin had called him to ask where the papers were.  That’s right.  We had a ceremony that was not legal on Friday.  If you’re in Leesville looking for a lawyer, DO NOT pick the first one in the alphabetical list.  Trust me.  He may have done a great job for someone else, but he has f**ked Paladin at every turn.  Paladin is now paying for Mull’s van because it’s cheaper than paying another retainer.  This is after he walked into court with an affidavit signed by Mull proving that she left the marriage of her own accord and was in fact pregnant by another man when she filed.  The F**KING lawyer STILL turned around and gave her everything she wanted, and poor defeated Paladin just gave in to shut them up and because he wanted so desperately for us to be legally married on Friday.  It makes me sick to my stomach.  Bring on the apocalypse.  It can’t be any worse than the world we’re living in where all sense of justice and honor are obsolete. 

 

At about 2:30, our officiant called.  The poor lady was outside.  When I came out, she was almost crying.  She’d found out that since we didn’t have a license, she’d be risking her credentials to marry us.  Near as I can figure, it had something to do with the state’s battle against gay marriage.  Apparently, if she married us and then gay marriage was made legal, all of the civil ceremonies that were performed *could* be considered legal too making Paladin a bigamist.  So, here I stood at my front gate covered in food (NEVER CATER YOUR OWN WEDDING EVER!) and comforting this poor woman while my own world was falling apart.  As I told her, at that point, if Hitler had come back to life right there in the middle of the ceremony, I’d have told him to pull up a chair because this wedding was happening come hell or high water!

 

Are you keeping up?  It’s about 24 hours until the wedding.  I haven’t even made a hair appointment.  My mother is in ICU.  The officiant has dropped out.  And it was just me and Paladin doing EVERYTHING.

 

The day of the wedding wasn’t much better.  We had promises of help from my girlfriends and Tina.  Everybody swore they’d be there that morning.  Tina wandered in come 1pm.  Rachel and Rebecca finally showed up at about 2.  I had made most of the food.  We had done all of the decorating outside.  But, finally, I could hand over some of this work and relax and find someone to do my hair, right?  Wrong.  Half of them wandered off to get ice and didn’t come back for over an hour.  When they did get back, they filled some Chinese mini-takeout boxes with mints (Mom insisted I have mints) and folded one basket of laundry (which I was grateful for, but I was hoping they’d at least do the other 2).  Then they left to get ready.  I still didn’t have a hair appointment.  Tina and Paladin finished heating up the food (I had premade almost everything and the rest just had to be popped into the oven for the most part).  About 4pm, I gave up on trying to find someone to do my hair and drove down to the Walmart and let the girls there do it.  It was the first minute I’d sat still in a week.  I almost cried.

 

When I got home at nearly 6pm (the wedding was scheduled for 7:20pm), Savvy and Blondie were playing out front in their dresses.  Tina was trying to get the crown to stay in Indies hair (mega-FAIL, but I had a back-up flower).  Dave & Will had shown up, and I started directing people again (leaving a list behind was not effective…the next time Paladin suggests that I don’t know how to delegate, I have all the ammo I need to argue it).  Rachel should have been back by then.  She was nowhere to be found.  That’s right the speakers hadn’t been set up, only half of the food was put out, and the matron-of-honor was MIA.  At this point, Tina and I were the only ones not dressed though, and finally, for the FIRST TIME, since this whole damned thing began, people were acting like they gave a damn about it (and not just concerned with what they got to wear) and actually pitched in to help. 

 

About 6:30pm, I got to stop working on preparing everything (ok, I freakin’ gave up and called it a day), and went into my room to get ready.  I helped Tina get dressed.  Then I tried to keep people out of the bathroom while I stood topless putting my make-up on. 

 

I have come to the conclusion that I hate weddings.  Period.  Through all of this, I wanted one thing only:  I wanted to get ready alone and come out all by myself to a few gasps.  It’s that moment that most women who do the big wedding dream of when they pick out their dress.  On no less than FOUR occasions over the last 3 months, I asked to call this wedding off.  Each and every time, Paladin talked me out of it.  It was for his sake, for Savvy’s sake, for Blondie’s sake, for Bell’s sake.  It may have been my vision, but I knew the truth all along was that it could end in nothing but disappointment for me.  Still, each time everything was looming over me, I held on to those gasps.  In the end, I couldn’t keep people out of my bathroom much less the bedroom where I was trying to get dressed.  I love my friends.  I love the children, theirs and ours.  And, I know that I’m going to look back and find the charm and beauty in everyone piling into those rooms around me, wanting to help and to watch me get ready.  I do love that they wanted to be there.  I swear I do.  It probably wouldn’t have mattered to me if more than 5 people besides them had shown up to the wedding to gasp.  That’s right.  Five people.  Actually, that might be generous.  The neighbor down the road came with his son, and Brian’s brother Jon brought a couple of skanks (I think he’s currently sleeping with the one with the 4 or 5 lip rings…I’ll have to count them the next time I see her).  Of course, that’s not counting my girlfriends.  Even though they weren’t in the actual wedding party, Rebecca S. and Rebecca A., felt like bridesmaids.  Rebecca A. and her husband Glen played photogs and did all of the filming using Rachel’s fancy SLR camera and my ancient camcorder.  And, both ladies were right there in my bathroom helping.  I do love my friends, but I wanted those gasps too.  They’re supposed to be the pay-off for months of torture.

 

In the end, I had to shove people down the aisle.  Everyone went the wrong way.  When I asked why they didn’t go down the aisle and went up Brian’s ramp instead, Paladin complained that we should have practiced because he didn’t know what was going on.  After all, how could he when all I’d done was give him a written copy of the ceremony complete with directions for the action in italics a week before?  It’s not like it was complicated.  Wait in garage until everyone is welcomed to the wedding and then walk up the aisle; stop when you hit the altar.  After the men go, send the little girls, then the maids, then the bride.  I spent the entire night herding people and telling them what to do DURING the ceremony.  It broke my heart a little.  Instead of getting to smile and be grateful to be marrying this man, I had to fuss to get everyone to stand on the damned porch. 

 

The only way it could have been more beautiful was for me to have draped the entire house walls and to have had that big fog machine I wanted.  It would have been nice if my own family had called to say they weren’t coming instead of telling me, “I can’t wait!  I’ll have to dress up!” and then never RSVPing. 

 

Like most weddings, it was a thing of beauty for everyone except for the person in charge of making it all work.  😦  But it was beautiful.  I’m very grateful for that.  I just wish I could have had a few moments of happy during it.

 

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I painted the sheets hanging behind the altar and the top of the altar was one of the boards that used to be on the outside of my parents house (we sawed them on our sawmill over 30 yrs. ago). 

Bustle view of Bell.

Bustle view of Bell.

Rebecca S.'s son Alex & Martian

Rebecca S.'s son Alex & Martian

Jon & skank #?

Jon & skank #?

Indie & Rachel's son Tristan

Indie & Rachel's son Tristan

We made Jon read the ceremony.

We made Jon read the ceremony.

Blondie was dying to turn on that flower.

Blondie was dying to turn on that flower.

Martian took this one of Bell pre-wedding.

Martian took this one of Bell pre-wedding.

The little girls fussing with their veils.

The little girls fussing with their veils.

Waiting for Paladin to say his line & take my hand.

Waiting for Paladin to say his line & take my hand.

Paladin reading his 2 sentences off his glove.

Paladin reading his 2 sentences off his glove.

Indie carried a book with Paladin's ring inside.

Indie carried a book with Paladin's ring inside.

Kiss.  I wish I'd told him no frenching.

Kiss. I wish I'd told him no frenching.

I promise we were happy but chainmail is oiled.  Ick.

I promise we were happy but chainmail is oiled. Ick.

Rachel's girl Naudia and Indie wanted into the icing.

Rachel's girl Naudia and Indie wanted into the icing.

I cut the first slice after Paladin hacked it with his sword.

I cut the first slice after Paladin hacked it with his sword.

See told ya we were happy.  :)

See told ya we were happy. 🙂

I was happier with it all in the end.  I wish I could load the video for you right now, but I’m trying to figure that out still.  There are more formal pictures coming from Rachel’s fancy SLR camera including pictures of the rest of the guests.  It really was beautiful.  The music from www.freeplaymusic.com was perfect (Brooding, Harpy Cries, Holst’s Neptune, and Tristeza were a few of the selections).  The flowers would have made a gay man proud.  🙂  The cakes were from Bailey’s Bakery in Leesville and cost only $50 for both (it was a great deal and they worked very hard on them…I didn’t have the heart to tell them they weren’t at all what I’d wanted when I told them a fancy chocolate cake…I should have never said “wedding” it makes people’s brains go to the twee place…all I wanted was dark ganache with some chocolate shavings).  There are more pictures to come for sure!  Oh, and the next time I get married, I do it alone!  😀  lol 
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I hope this is the first of many blog posts.  I have lost months of your lives and mine.  I want it all back. 
*hugs*
Anna

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I just put this up on Facebook and I wanted ya’ll to see it to.  It’s a sucky post but it’s the best I can do at the moment.  I miss you and thanks for thinking about me (especially you, Heather  🙂  ) and for still looking at this thing.  If you have Facebook, please add me (Anna Lee Meade from Alexandria, LA).  I’m not abandoning the blog…yet.  It’s just that I need to consolidate for now.  I’m going to try to come back here in the next couple of weeks to put up pics of the dresses etc.  Anyhow…here is the so-called “short” version…

 

 

First, THANK YOU for all of the lovely birthday wishes.  I do appreciate them.  Although I didn’t get on Facebook, I did check my email twice in the last month.  What?  That’s some kind of speed record for me!  😉  I wanted you to know that I got them and that I felt very cared for when I saw that even though I’ve been MIA for months you haven’t forgotten about me.

 

For those of you who don’t know, my mother had a bad fall at the end of June.  She fell in her kitchen while she was alone and broke her left femur, her right wrist in 2 places, and her right shoulder.  Mom has been shuffled from hospital to hospital for the last 2 months.  The break in her left femur became infected and she had a second surgery to take care of that.  She got home this last weekend, but we’re still watching for infection.  All in all, she is doing much better even though she is still on a wound vac.  And for any of you behind the Obama health plan, just keep in mind that the current system is what kept Mom being shuffled around and kept Tina in doctors offices for TWO DAYS just to get her 15 prescriptions filled; that’s the plan they want to tighten the controls on.  And, yes, Mike has read the actual plan and kept me well-informed on it.

 

And that was the easiest part of my last 2 months…

 

Also, for those of you who don’t know or haven’t noticed (and I’m not trying to make you feel bad about it because I’ve been living under a rock!  🙂  ), I’m getting married!  I’m marrying Michael Bradley Jackson on September 4th if the good Lord’s willin’ an’ the creeks don’ rise!  This has been made more hectic and more interesting by the fact that Mike has 5 children.  Yeah, I said FIVE from the age of 3 to 16 and only one boy in the bunch.  His ex has been neglecting them and treating them like a three year old with a formerly well-loved doll; she loves them but ignores them the vast majority of the time.  Recently, her neglect has taken a very serious turn.  For months, we had been trying to get it through to her that the 3yr. old is supposed to have a poop more than once a week.  A couple of weeks ago, we ended up taking the baby to the ER twice (first visit the doc gave her a suppository and a 10gram dose of laxative…17grams is the adult dose…and it didn’t work).  On the second ER visit, Mike’s ex showed up with military police and tried to prevent him from getting the baby care.  It didn’t come out in her favor, but the cop flat out told us to call CPS on her.  We have.  That was over a week ago and CPS hasn’t even interviewed anyone.  So, yeah, we’re a bit preoccupied with that.  If that’s not enough, this Monday is Mike’s final divorce proceeding (it was supposed to be in June but his ex didn’t bother to file the final motion…his lawyer had to do it).  Because his divorce isn’t final and a crap storm may hit with CPS at any moment, the wedding invitations won’t go out until after Monday.  Yep, with luck I’m marrying Michael Jackson next month.  And, yeah, I’m pretty sure we’ve heard all the jokes.  😉  But this Jackson is so white he can’t moonwalk.  Did I mention that I’m making all of the dresses and all of the flower arrangements and we haven’t found an officiant or found a cake or bought rings yet???  Breathe…

 

Finally, I’ve just been informed that with the state budget cuts in health care I will be losing work hours…over HALF of my work hours.  I’m tied up in knots about it, but Mike’s all, “We’re doing great.”  He’s right.  Our income, I should say HIS income, finally leveled out this last month, and now he’s making about $300 more a month than when he was in the Army.  It turns out that a brain tumor is profitable, but only if you live through it.  The VA ended up rating him something like 240% disability, but they only pay the 100% which is still very good.  But, I don’t like that I’m not contributing as much as I used to even if it’s nothing compared to his.  The worst part is that because of the nature of the job.  I’m still going to be doing the same amount of work.  It’s just going to be done out of the goodness of my own heart now.  😦

 

There were lots of little day to day kicks to the gut around here recently, but these three things are what have kept me hopping and running to keep up with my life for months now.  Mostly it’s the kids that have kept me running.  We’ve had them most of July and part of August.  I love these babies to death, but every time we have them, we find out more about how crappy their lives are.  It’s been one long festival of this ex trying to take the 14yr. old boy out of school to take care of the 3yr. old (which was a long battle, but thankfully, he’s in school now) and right after the ER thing, we found out that she’s been letting the 6yr. old sleep with her and her boyfriend most nights.  Where the heck is CPS?  They know all of this and more and they are still not showing up.  Now, you know the real reason I haven’t been online.  If I stay online like this I’ll keep talking to everyone and these bustles will not get finished today and I’ve got about 2 weeks and my dress hasn’t really been started.  Life is hard.  No doubt about it.  I would love nothing more than to be able to catch up with ya’ll, and I hope I can some day soon.  In the meantime, I’ll at least try to show up once in a blue moon to share and peek at your lives.

 

Give me your addresses to get your invites!!!  Oh, and if you know I have your address, confirm it anyhow, pretty please?  I have the most messed up address book!  lol

 

Talk to you as soon as I can!  Oh and when you don’t get on this enough, you find weird pics like people petting parrots that may or may not be ceramic.  This disturbs me…

 

Hugs, Anna

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Are the Go-Go’s playing in your head too?

If I had written this post last night or early this morning it would sound something like this:  AAAAARRRRRRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!

Fortunately, I’ve come to grips with what happened yesterday.  Well, I’ve pulled my head out of the oven anyhow.  Here’s a quick run down of what the first 10 minutes at the lawyers sounded like:

Lawyer- What’s going on?

Us- Indy…rash…infection…fake choking…

Lawyer- Why aren’t we asking for full custody???  Why hasn’t CPS been called???

Us- Uuuhhh…we were taking what we thought we could get, and we don’t know if the doctor called in CPS or not (base docs let crap slide a lot and I wasn’t at the ER to ride the guy about it). 

We found out that the copy of the original agreement that we got from the lawyer back in January wasn’t a full copy.  According to the agreement, we should have been getting the kids every other week beginning in June.  So now we don’t know why Mull was all, “When are you taking them for 2 weeks?”  Is she just sick of them or was she trying to put some points in her corner or is she just worried that she won’t get paid if we keep them half-time or did she forget that we were supposed to have them too?  I’m always saying that Paladin doesn’t give Mull enough credit for being sneaky, but he swears that she’s disorganized and not too on the ball to boot.  Time will tell especially since we just found out from Sanjaya2 this afternoon that she starts her paid training at the nursing home next week and that she made Bell come to work with her there last Friday leaving the kids with blind Jeremy.  When the lawyer heard that she might be going to work, he was practically salivating, although he didn’t really say why.  He did look like the cat that caught the canary pretty much the entire time and he didn’t even let me get more than 3 sentences out about the state of the children.  It literally was “Indy…rash…infection…Bell wanting out desperately and taking care of the kids 90% of the time.”  It was two hours of strategy and the lawyer pontificating while we were sitting there going, “We get it; let’s do something about it.”

The lawyer’s game plan is this:  Get divorced.  Get married.  One month later, sneak up and bite Mull in the ass with the property settlement.  Keep the kids like they’re a bag of weed and we’re Rastafarians through September.  Then show up at court with all our evidence and go, “Hells nah!  Gimme dem kids!” 

I took it hard.  Really hard.  I completely freaked.  I don’t completely freak too often but I did this time.  Paladin got paid a grand total of $1400 last month and $1100 plus a $200 car note went to Mull.  Does that give you an idea of how hard up things have been here?  We had a little savings and once-empty credit cards and we’ve been making do.  Then I turn around and hear: You need to feed and shelter 5 kids for the next month (if Mull lets us have them the entire time…we’re going to go in stages and play the “we didn’t have them in June the way were supposed to; why don’t we just keep them a little longer” card).  Yeah, I completely freaked.  I admit it.  I didn’t know how we’d do it.  I was stressed already and worn to the bone with Mom.  Now, here I am taking this head on.  Yes, I know it’s what we’ve been hoping for.  The difference is that we weren’t expecting it until after Mull had to give up some of that cash.  It’s damned hard to feed 5 kids under any circumstances and at this rate, she’s actually going to be getting about half of his income and the mortgage takes up nearly the entire other half.  Of course, at the same time I realize that this is temporary and if we can get through the next 3 or 4 months, we might actually get the kids MORE than half time. 

For now, though, I’m being pouty.  I’ve already warned Paladin and freaked him out over it.  If this legal bill gets big enough (and it probably will), it may mean losing the Extravaganza altogether and losing our chance to try to have a child.  I couldn’t help but cry over that.  I told him the truth.  If that happens, I’m just not so big a person that I won’t feel the tiniest twinge of resentment.  In my mind, I would literally be giving up my children for his.  It’s wrong of me to feel that way.  I know that.  I know its unfair of me.  But, I just can’t help it.  As much as I love him and as much as I love these kids, I still want something of me. 

I don’t care if Mull does fall off the side of the Grand Canyon tomorrow; she will always be their mother.  I don’t get that role.  I don’t get the satisfaction of standing up and saying, “That’s my girl/boy” when they graduate or get married.  They won’t be giving birth to my grandchildren.  All I get to do is sacrifice and work and try to make life better for them.  All the thanks I will probably ever get is the karmic satisfaction of knowing I did all I could for them, their smiles and good night kisses.  I feel like an absolute ASS, but yeah, I’d still feel that I’d lost out on something if I don’t at least try to have one of my own.  It won’t ever stop me from being there, but there would be this same hole inside that I’ve been living with for the last 3 1/2 years. 

Let me tell ya.  If you want to scare the crap out of a man that you’re practically married to, that’s a damned fine way to do it.  Paladin always goes to the “you’re leaving me?” place.  Heck, this time even Tina went there.  NO!  I’m not going anywhere.  I’m just telling you how I feel.  He  hadn’t thought of it that way, and he tried to understand.  He also didn’t know about what happened with Mom in the last post.  It came out of left field for him, and I was sorry about that.  But, I’ve been living my life one day at a time for so long now that I’ve just been desperate for down time and for something that’s about me and not about how to avert the latest crisis. 

Today, I spent all day trying to put a game plan together.  Turns out, I AM a Duggar!  Thank the lord!  I now have chore lists and menu plans at the ready.  I just have to figure out some things for these kids to do that won’t cost anything and will keep me from strangling them!  Oh, who am I kidding?  I don’t care if I strangle them as long as its cheap.  Ha!  And, by this afternoon, I was worried less about how to take care of the kids and had enough time to be sad about losing the 2 pieces of our puzzle that have been keeping me going. 

Paladin insists that we’ll make both our baby and our wedding happen.  It didn’t excite me one bit.  His actual words were, “We can do something (for the wedding).”  Yay.  I know exactly what that means.  It’s the same thing I did last time.  Scrape and dig and crawl for something that’s “ok”, but don’t ask for special.  My face told him how I felt.  Then he said, “GET excited.  Dammit!”  At least, it made me smile for a minute. 

Just before Mom fell, Tina gave me some wedding magazines.  I had ripped out a few pages of ideas and had them on my nightstand.  Last night, I couldn’t help but be a total drama queen.  I didn’t even want to see them.  I’m still having a wedding, but as of right now, it’s more for Savvy than for me.  Savvy has her heart set on being a flower girl and has explained to me exactly how it must be done.  Paladin wants it too.  As for me, I want to pout and throw a hissy fit and knock the wedding cake onto the floor.  That’s not going to happen though.  I’m just going to chug along and hope that the creative desire will overcome the destitution desperation.  I’ll be a recessionista bride, right!  Woot??  Meh…

Frankly, I’m a little sick of coming in last but getting Miss Congeniality.  Nobody ever remembers Miss Congeniality.  They see her smile and then she just fades away.  Sometimes I feel like I took an invisibility potion.  I swear I look down and I’m staring right through my hands.  I know.  Welcome to motherhood.  Where’s my badge and taser?

If you’ve got ideas to keep the kids off the streets, send them my way!  Mind you, I refuse to spend half my life cleaning up craft projects that they aren’t going to care less about a week later, but if it’s cheap or free, I want to hear it!  I’ve already looked at the library and all they’ve got is one bug expo and a Wednesday story hour.  😦

P.S.- Mom is coming home in the morning!  Thanks again for all your prayers.  🙂

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I’m actually sitting here avoiding wedding planning. Paladin has given me a budget of $5k. Stop laughing. It’s exactly 12.5 times the budget of my first wedding. If given the option, I will come in WAY UNDER budget. That’s just me. I like things creative, beautiful, and most of all…cheap! But budget talk takes away all the romance of the day.

 

I was really happy when Paladin liked my ideas. The Extravaganza is almost my perfect wedding. In truth, I’d like it to be near a waterfall under full moonlight and for everyone to ride half a mile on horseback to get to it. I’d like it to be beautiful and desolate and magical. And, if I happened to have Eliza Dushku’s body, that would be even better. Instead, I’ll get something pretty and hopefully people will enjoy themselves eating and playing music or games. It never really lives up to your vision and that’s a bit depressing. I hope by my next wedding they have those virtual reality helmets perfected. Then I can just rent a ton of those and have my dream become a CGI reality.

 

The whimsy and joy of the idea phase has already given way to the reality of spending the next few months spray painting tree branches in the garage. It’s time to start actually walking through the mundane, “Where do we set up the tables? Can we park 40 cars there? Is a 4 tier cake big enough?” crap. So, today, I’m just not feelin’ it. It makes me want to go to Nottoway (weddings there used to cost $4-6k but you still had to dress everybody and get the cake, booze and favors) and say, “Here, planner person, you do it.”

 

Sadly, I am not a cookie cutter person and would never be happy with it. The first wedding was cookie cutter enough, and it made me very unhappy to even think about it. I would show you the pictures but the only 3 I have that show any décor or the cake I made for it are so crappy that you can’t tell anything from them (the cake and floral arrangements all look like blobs). It was “nice”…as in it was perfectly ok and most people would have loved to have a wedding like that (especially considering most people in that position just go to the Justice of the Peace and have a thrown together dinner with a sheet cake). I had the big fancy dress which I’d picked up the year before for a Mardi Gras ball that I never went to. He was in his “class A’s” which is the green fancy uniform. We had the best $400 could afford complete with a big buffet (that I got up at 4am to cook) and flower arrangements cobbled together from the Dollar General’s silk flower selection (they were lovely and very Victorian, btw). I went completely Scarlett O’Hara and pulled every lace curtain in my house down to use for pretty table cloths and to drape off the very visible kitchen at my Aunt Jo’s house. The wedding was reminiscent of a WWII era “he’s-off-to-war-leaving-behind-his-bride” to-do probably because that’s what was happening. It was nice. It sucked.

 

I want more this time. I want special. I want memorable.  And, yeah, I want this body…  Where’s my freakin’ wand!

 

Eliza Dushku of Buffy, Dollhouse

Eliza Dushku of Buffy, Dollhouse

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Today, Paladin is having surgery.  So, I’m sitting here at work waiting desperately for a text or a phone call or an IM that says, “I’m alive.”  *deep breath*  Obviously, I’m not on a next-of-kin list, but he’s made sure that his Dad will call me if anything goes wrong.  He likes to remind me that it’s a simple “procedure” and only a local anesthetic (he’s having fat from his belly inserted into his vocal chords to allow him to speak easier…his voice is very raspy and he loses his voice after talking for a while).  But, it’s not like that will keep me from worrying.  I was worrying yesterday when I was blogging and waiting for him to get back and tell me what the time frame was for the surgery (I was worried that they’d do it spur of the moment).  I hate not being there, but that’s the idiotic Army hospital system.  😦  Instead, I’ll sit here and speak inanely of future plans and the house.

 

Here are some pics of the house.  Naturally, I forgot to get pics of the outside but at least you can get an idea of the “before” (heh just wait until I get a hold of it…that’s one of those benefits of a guy that likes being in a union…he’s used to letting me take the lead on most things already). 

 

These are of the living room:

 

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This is the dining room next to the living room (the wood spindles separate the two rooms):

 

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This is a view of the kitchen (with its little U-shaped area which is FAR too small, but it will do for now…alas, there is no dishwasher…the horror!): 

 

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Paladin was under the mistaken impression (obviously given to him by the real estate agent) that the house is a 1970’s build.  HA!  It’s a dog-run style 40’s/50’s house that was probably remodeled in the 70’s.  This room is the old entrance/lobby which they let Bell (the oldest) use as a bedroom:

 

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This older part of the house still has good sized rooms, but they’re only 12 feet wide.   Both of these other bedrooms are each about 16 feet long or so.  The lilac is the girl’s old room and the yellow-orange (yes, it’s actually yellow-orange…I know because one of the kids stuck a yellow-orange coloring pencil to the wall…Mull picked the color…it is so GONE…I like orange, just not THAT orange) one is probably going to be the new Master bedroom (it’s attached to a bathroom/laundry room and it’s easier to heat just one side of the house):

 

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Both of those rooms open onto the kitchen.  The “west wing” attaches to the dining room.  The west wing has a pass through area/room and a small bedroom/nursery which Martian (the second child and only boy) had begged to have as his own (it was too dark to photograph).  The west wing’s main addition was a HUGE 16×30 (I’m guessing here) Master bedroom and bath:

 

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There’s a lot of work to be done.  The cabinet doors all need to be cleaned and refreshed/refinished.  And the bathroom/laundry needs some new flooring laid.  There’s a couple of odds and ends repairs that can be done quickly and easily.  The pass through area and Martian’s room are largely unfinished and need to be fixed up.  There are some doors that need to be put up including a French door that I’m sort of nudging/insisting upon in the dining room (there’s NO door leading directly into the backyard…it drives me nuts already).  There’s also a lot of poor gardening ala Mull that needs to be rectified (mostly nonsensical placements including putting 2 Camelia shrubs less than a foot apart and less than a foot from the gas meter that’s attached to the house…that’s just stupid).  It’s a lot of little things, but by this summer it should all be dandy!  🙂

 

Why this summer you ask?  Paladin and I are sort of engaged.  lol  Yeah, I could hear that collective, “Sort of???”  As he likes to put it, the intent is DEFINITELY there.  He’s very old-fashioned and he won’t “officially” ask until his divorce is final.  The reasons are simple: Mull.  Since we started dating, Paladin is standing his ground with her more and refusing to play Sugar Daddy as often as he was.  Without a doubt, Mull thinks I’m behind this, and we’re basically laying low because…well…why screw up a perfectly good divorce unless you have to?  That’s what I told Paladin anyhow.  He really overpays Mull ASTOUNDINGLY so.  She gets $1100 just in alimony from him and that doesn’t include the couple of hundred dollars per child and the stipend from the couple in California that’s adopting her next kid.  He’s also paying the payments on the van that she’s driving.  On top of that, he’s been playing Sugar Daddy because he can’t stand the idea of his kids going without.  I certainly don’t want the kids to suffer a bit, but as I told him, she’s using that to take advantage of him and it’s sort of a mystery where all that money is going because I don’t see it being spent on the kids.  Besides, as I keep reminding him, it’s better to buy the kids things yourself so you know they are getting the benefit of that money and not some fella that Mull may be taking up with.  Yeah, I’m a suspicious sort of ho!  No doubt! 

 

As far as Paladin and I are concerned it’s a fait accomplis.  We are in a committed relationship heading toward living together in the coming weeks, and will be married this summer either just before or just after Independence Day.  Fitting, no?  lol  Was it fast?  Absolutely.  But, it’s not as fast as our first marriages, and we’ll have the benefit of living together for almost 6 months prior to marriage.  So, if I don’t kill him before July, we’re good!  🙂  I honestly don’t consider my marriage to M. to have been a mistake nor do I consider it being fast a mistake.  The mistake was in not having a man that didn’t just talk about commitment, but acted on it.  Paladin is that and more.  He’s a country boy, and he’s used to at least trying to fix it himself before calling in an expert.  We have different faiths and political views, but they aren’t so different as to be incompatible.  When we are together, the conversation rarely lapses.  We are both reasonably learned people who talk about all sorts of subjects.  We have already made our union, and act accordingly.  We have picked out the furniture for the house together (as you can see it’s empty, but a budget means that we’re getting just a few things to make do with such as a futon/sofa and dining chairs to go with an old dining table of mine…very Modern Country is what I’m thinking…I’m moving my king size bed out there and we’re replacing it with a cheap queen size at the trailer since I’ll still be spending a couple of nights each week at the trailer to make commuting to work easier).  We make decisions together.  We’re at the same level of maturity and it’s EXCITING to have someone in your life that FITS you. 

 

As far as the elephant…yeah, I’m probably going to have to make a paper mache one.  Lol  But, Ron’s idea about the fire jugglers was great!  I doubt I can get them out here in podunkville, but Tina heard that and said I should call the local dance troupe, the award winning Dixie Darlin’s.  We’re hoping we can find one of those fire baton girls!  If she’s cheap, she’s in! 

 

So, yeah, if you’re taking a vacation in my neck of the woods this year, you are ALL TOTALLY INVITED!  Ya can’t say I didn’t give you enough notice!  🙂

 

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