image courtesy of stock.xchng
That is not our cat, but it actually looks very much like Samantha (a.k.a Sami or Sam). Poor Sami. I had always loved cats, and when I was living by myself prior to marrying Mr. Incredible, I decided that I would get a cat of my own. I knew that Mr. Incredible didn't care too much for cats, but we were only dating at that time, and I figured he didn't have a say in my decision. I found a cute little kitten that was feisty and thought that the name Samantha fit her personality perfectly.
Little did I know that Mr. Incredible would propose to me only a couple of weeks later. Oh, well! At that point, the cat was part of the package deal. The only problem was that when "the gang" would come over to my house, Mr. Incredible and his/our friends took great delight in teasing poor Sam. Consequently, she became quick tempered and highly unpredictable in her responses. She would be purring one moment and ferociously biting your hand the next. She remains so to this day, although she has mellowed a bit since we had the girls.
As time went by, Mr. Incredible became more reconciled to having Sam around, and I became annoyed at her unpredictable behavior. (Hence the title of this post.) Mr. Incredible actually pampers and plays with her more than I do now. He's the one who suggested buying her a cat bed, and he even considered getting her what I would call a cat condo hotel - those two-tiered cat apartment thingies (very technical name, I know). He's the one who pets her most often and plays with her regardless of the bites and scratches he receives.
Even though I only tolerate Sami now, she is definitely a part of our family. She is mostly an indoor cat, and the girls alternate between telling her to shoo and coaxing her to let them pet her. I've warned them that she will bite, but all of them have learned that lesson firsthand and still go back for more.
I'm not sure how the girls would react if something happened to Sami. I suspect they would not exactly be brokenhearted. Pookie Bear has already begged me to give Sami to someone else so we can get a nice cat or, better yet, a dog. (I'm not interested in getting a dog and always tell her to talk to Daddy about that subject.) I suspect that Sami will only leave us when she dies of old age. After getting hit by a car - at least that is what we surmise happened, she sticks very close to home. Our neighbors have told us that they never see her leave our yard unless we do, and most of the time she prefers to be indoors.
I think that the next cat we have will be strictly an outside cat. Sami has ruined too many couches for my taste. Does your family have a pet? Do you allow pets inside?
Thursday, March 27, 2008
For some random reason I wanted to post something funny about safety cutters, but all I could find were horror stories about people who didn't take care in using them. (No, I'm not providing any links. I was searching for something funny.) Oh, well. I guess that's just not a really funny subject.
Do any of you have any funny stories to relate tonight?
After I read yesterday's post about OTC medicine abuse, I realized I had not informed you of the actual ingredient that provides the effect the abusers are seeking and had only briefly alluded to the serious consequences of this abuse.
First, multiple sources state that the ingredient that produces the high OTC medicine abusers are seeking is dextromethorphan (DXM). (Run a Google search for otc medicine abuse, and you will find all kinds of information.) If you take a look in your medicine cabinet, you will quickly see that this is a common ingredient in many nonprescription medicines such as cough syrups, gel caps, and tablets.
Second, while I mentioned that "OTC medicine abuse can lead to addiction, disabilities, and/or death" and also stated that going through a drug rehab program may be an embarrassing yet necessary consequence of this drug abuse, I didn't give specific examples of the adverse effects caused by overdosing on OTC medicines.
DXM FAQ, a website aimed at combating this growing problem, lists the following short-term consequences:
Common effects can include confusion, dizziness, double or blurred vision, slurred speech, impaired physical coordination, abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting, rapid heart beat, drowsiness, numbness of fingers and toes, and disorientation. DXM abusers describe different "plateaus" ranging from mild distortions of color and sound to visual hallucinations and "out-of-body," feelings of detachment from the environment and self, sensations, and loss of motor control.
Long-term effects listed include central nervous suppression (which can lead to death due to your brain neglecting to inform your lungs to breathe), possible serious or even fatal interactions with other ingredients in the medication, and the possibility of entering 'a hallucinatory state which can lead to "accidents" that result in death.'
According to DrugFree.org, "DXM abusers describe different "plateaus" ranging from mild distortions of color and sound to visual hallucinations, "out-of-body" dissociative sensations, and loss of motor control. Side effects can be worsened if the dextromethorphan-containing cough medicine being abused also contains other ingredients to treat more than just coughs."
As seemingly harmless, even helpful, as non-prescription drugs may seem, misusing and/or abusing them makes them anything but harmless. The consequences of abusing these medications could very well haunt the abuser and their family for years to come. Please educate yourself and your children regarding the dangers of abusing any medication or drug.
illustration courtesy of fotosearch.com
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
My girls are quite young right now. The oldest is five. However, I pay attention to issues that could affect them as they grow older. One such issue about which I only recently heard is that of children abusing cold and cough medicines to get high. Frankly, such a thought never occurred to me during my childhood, and I hope it never occurs to my girls, either.
Unfortunately, this appears to be a growing problem, and kids are so brazen as to upload videos to YouTube showing themselves getting high from the medication. (I'm not going to link to any videos; you can find them yourself if you really want to see them.) What they don't realize (or don't care about) is that an over the counter (OTC) medicine that is abused is just as dangerous as illegal drugs purchased off the streets. Just like with any other drug, OTC medicine abuse can lead to addiction, disabilities, and/or death. The road to addiction recovery may include an embarrassing but necessary stint in drug rehabilitation, and there is no guarantee that an abuser will escape physical problems related to the drug abuse.
Although my children are young now, I am creating an offensive plan in hopes of saving them from heartache in the future. First and foremost, I will ask the Lord for wisdom as I train my children, for eyes to see what they may not want me to see, and for protection for my children. I will also talk to my children about the seriousness of taking only the proper dosage of any medication and will explain to them the possible consequences of failing to do so. I will keep an eye on our medicine supply, watching to make sure that its use appears consistent with our needs.
Have you considered this threat to your children? Do you have a plan of action?
We used to have a Sam's Club membership... before we had kids. While we could find good deals, we could also count on spending $100 or more at every visit. Once we had children, we simply didn't have that much excess cash to add to our normal grocery budget and decided to let our membership lapse. We have found that places like Aldi's do not require a membership fee and yet offer good savings over normal grocery stores and discount stores, such as Harris Teeter and Wal-Mart.
At some places, the membership fee is negligible in comparison to the savings you will receive. Take, for example, DirectBuy. This company is a showroom type of company (you cannot order from them online) that offers their members a wide variety of products at manufacturer prices. Their products range from home furnishings (such as mattresses, window treatments, and furniture) to home improvement supplies (cabinetry, large and small appliances, wallpaper, and the like) to entertainment and outdoor equipment (home theatres, outdoor furniture, grills, and more). Being able to purchase such items at manufacturer prices would certainly result in savings that would far outweigh what you would pay for membership.
So what do you think? Do you love membership clubs? Hate them? Why? Have you seen any real savings from your membership?
image courtesy of fotosearch.com
Saturday, March 22, 2008
I've already told (and shown) you a bit about the farm. Here is a little of what the farm means to our girls.
The farm is where anyone can be a cowgirl; no horse and no special equestrian clothing are required.
The farm is where children learn to fish and then squeal with both delight and consternation when they actually come face to face with their catch. (Can you believe Mama still has no clue how to fish? Grandma and Grandpa are the ones who usually bait the hooks and help land and unhook the fish. After being duly admired, the lucky fish are thrown back in to be caught another day.)
The farm is where you get to try to copy Daddy's new skill acquired through the schooling that took him away from you.
For these reasons and more, the farm is ... fun!
Sunday, March 16, 2008
Oh, man! This past week just blew by! I surprised Mr. Incredible on Tuesday evening. He said he wasn't shocked to see me - that my showing up at his door was about par for the course with me. The girls and I got home late Wednesday afternoon. I cleaned like a maniac on Thursday and Friday morning, then we spent Friday afternoon and evening at the farm. I cleaned some more Saturday morning, and then my brother and sister-in-law dropped off their two kids for us to watch until Tuesday. As usual, we had church both this morning and tonight, and Mr. Incredible said he can't wait to go to work tomorrow. *laugh*
After putting it off for three years, Mr. Incredible finally has his HDTV. I must admit it's nice, and I'm glad he's happy with it. Not only is it High Def, but it also runs at 120hz instead of the normal 60hz, meaning that fast action events and high quality movies (like in the BlueRay format) are crisp and clear.
I love seeing the improved quality brought by new technology. I don't know how many of you have to use Ethernet cables, but I am told that the Category 5 cables are nearly obsolete and have been replaced by the Category 5 enhanced (CAT5e) cables. I bet they do a better job than the old cables.
How has your week been? Are you going to do anything special for Easter?
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I've mentioned Mr. Incredible's grandparents' farm a few times and thought I should share some photos and stories to help you see the place and people we love. There is so much to tell about the farm that this may turn into a multi-post series.
Speaking of cows, everyone loves to feed the cows. (That's Mr. Incredible kneeling down, Miss Muffet is the one wearing the purple shirt with the jean shorts, and Baby Bear is the one between Miss Muffet and Mr. Incredible.) We have pictures of Pookie Bear at less than one year old being held by Daddy so she could offer bread to one of the cows. The girls know that our hamburger comes from the cows, but that has never seemed to bother them.
Still, can you believe this cute little calf will be hamburger in our freezers in just a year or two? My mom commented one time that eating that hamburger was like eating ground steak. When a cow is slaughtered, most of the meat is made into hamburger, but there are also plenty of cube steaks, ribeyes, T-bones, and other cuts for all five families to enjoy. (The meat and vegetables Mama and Papa raise are consumed by our family, Mr. Incredible's grandparents, his parents, his brother and sister-in-law, and his uncle and aunt.)
I'll tell you more about the farm another time. I don't like my posts to be too long or to have so many pictures they are hard for dial-up users, like myself, to load.
Hasta luego! (See you later, if you didn't speak Tex-Mex growing up. *laugh*)
Monday, March 10, 2008
Well, nothing has improved here at home. In fact, I told Mr. Incredible tonight that he had better not die before me or his children would most likely quickly follow suit! (Of course I wasn't being serious, you understand.) I am not cut out to be a single parent, and I have a new respect for those of you who are single parents. God bless you!
Don't worry - I am not going to spend this whole post complaining; I really don't like doing that (out loud, anyway). Instead, I'm looking forward to a little later in the week when I am going to surprise Mr. Incredible by showing up at his hotel unannounced. I hope I surprise him but good! I can't wait to see his reaction. *smile* Besides, I really need the break. (I'll leave the girls with my parents.)
It was so much fun to spend time with Mr. Incredible last Thursday. I even got to spend the night with him. (Doesn't that sound risque? *laugh*) Since he only had a half day of class on Friday, I sauntered through a mall until he was done. He met me at the mall, we enjoyed walking, window shopping, and talking, and we even got to eat out for lunch.
Since he will soon have every other Friday off, we intend to plan a couple of mini-vacations for just the two of us. I have been surprised at how much he has enjoyed my couple of visits to see him. I knew that I would enjoy getting to spend time alone with him, but I didn't realize he would be as enthusiastic about it as he has been. He was actually the one who suggested we plan to get away for a couple of days later. It's nice to know he wants to be around me.
Anyway, if you happen to see him, don't spill the beans, 'k? I'd like for him to be really surprised.
clip art courtesy of fotosearch.com
Tuesday, March 04, 2008
Why is that the girls are at their worst when Mr. Incredible is gone? I guess the girls weren't trying to be horrible yesterday, but they sure knew better than to do what they did!
I was intent on a design I was creating, and when I emerged from my extremely narrow focus, I beheld a scene that looked like it could have come straight out of Twister - no lie. The girls had gotten into the flour and sugar. Three quarters of each bag were strewn all over my kitchen table and floor with traces edging onto my living room carpet. Blankets, toys, couch cushions, plates, and crackers littered the living room floor, making walking through there nearly impossible. I was too mad to grab my camera to document the disaster. The girls were in big trouble, and they knew they deserved it.
I didn't even attempt to clean up last night; I was just too mad and discouraged. After punishing the girls, I sent them to bed and followed suit. As soon as we got up this morning, I informed them that we would not do anything else until they had cleaned up the living room. I sat on the couch (after they cleaned off and replaced the cushions) and told them what to do. Surprisingly, they did a pretty good job in fairly short order.
There was no way I wanted them to touch the kitchen, and I am still working on getting it clean. Grrrrr! Flour and sugar are everywhere, and sweeping produces little "dust" storms. I know air purifiers are not intended for this purpose, but I have wondered if turning one on would help reduce the amount of flour/sugar in the air.
I hope your day is going better than mine. I'm cranky and ill-tempered today, and I know I need to be loving and patient. I sure don't want to be right now! I want to be the old lady who lived in a shoe and sent her children to bed!
The one bright spot in this day so far is the fact that I was finally able to get the fingernail polish out of the girls' princess comforter we bought them for Christmas. They hadn't even had it for two weeks before Miss Muffet and Baby Bear got hold of Pookie's play fingernail polish, also a Christmas present, and proceeded to paint one pillowcase, the flat sheet, the comforter, and two walls next to their bed. (That was not a good day, either.) Anyway, I'm thankful for little blessings - the comforter looks like new again.
Sunday, March 02, 2008
The past few days have been really busy around here, and I am not quite sure why. Possibly because we had to get everything ready for Mr. Incredible to go to his second (and final) round of classes for the year. We'll all be glad when he is done. The girls miss him when he is gone, and you can be sure that I do, too!
Although Mr. Incredible is encountering minor irritations caused by working with others again, he is enjoying his new work. We are particularly pleased with the prospects his new position presents for our future. The Lord has been really gracious to allow Mr. Incredible two years to work alone and gain confidence with this company before gently moving him into this position. When he first started working with the company, he emphatically declared that he did not want to be in the position in which he now finds himself. We can laugh about it now, but at that time he simply was not ready for that work.
I mentioned before that his benefits are good. I am glad that being in a semi-dangerous line of work does not mean that Mr. Incredible has to purchase high risk life insurance. Policies for both of us total less than $20 per month, and our family health insurance policy costs significantly less for much better coverage than was included in the policy offered by his former employer. Regular contributions to his 401k plan decrease our tax liability and are a wise choice for us because of his employer's matching contribution plan. A yearly merit evaluation and a mid-year cost of living increase have meant that his salary has increased significantly in the two years he has worked for this company. God sure was good to us when He gave this job to Mr. Incredible!
In addition to routine benefits such as those listed above, this company also sets yearly goals for the different regions. If a region meets a minimum number of said goals, the employees receive a bonus check. The number of goals achieved determines the bonus percentage. Mr. Incredible's region attained 10 out of 10 goals last year, meaning that he will be receiving a very welcome bonus check in the hear future. Thanks to his bonus check and our income tax refund, by the end of March, the only debt we will have left will be our car payment and our mortgage, and we will be able to boost our savings and still have money for a few special things we have wanted. We nearly always pay off any credit card debt as soon as we get the bill, and it will feel good to have a zero balance again after carrying a small balance for a couple of months. Debt-free living is so ... freeing!
So how have you been doing? I hope you are all well. Take care of yourselves. *smile*