Thursday, December 20, 2007

Good Things

I just had my year review - a $1.00 an hour raise!

Couldn't have come at a better time. It's also retroactive - going back to 10/23/07!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Christmas Traditions Part One

I was reading Maggie's blog and she was talking about traditions and instead of leaving a nice little comment over there, I think I managed to knock out my own post. So I thought since things here have been bleak lately, I would talk about my Christmas Traditions as a child. This is after all my favorite holiday, second only to my birthday (which is in 25 days, shameless plug, I know. But I'm going to be 28!), and everything about it makes me bubble inside. I love the lights and the sounds and most importantly the smells! Oh the smells! And egg nog. With lots of brandy. Yummmm.

This Christmas things aren't done to the hilt at our house. We didn't get a tree because of the puppy. I don't think it would last more than a few minutes to be honest and who wants to spend all that money and time on something that will get pooped out in the end? Not I says the cat. We also didn't get very many decorations up outside. In fact, I just the other day took down the scare crow and flowers from fall that were on our front porch. We did manage (and by we I mean me) to get some garland with lights hung over our outside living room window and some lighted nets on a bush out front. But I never did figure out how to get the bush to light, so.yeah. It's kind of sad at our house. Maybe next year we will have an all decked out Christmas. It was hard with Mr. Sparky and the academy to get anything done around the house at all.

I can remember Christmas time at my house growing up as a special time. A time of magic and wonderment and awe that a little baby who was born in a manger was the one who would change my life. The day after Thanksgiving my parents would hall out the bajillionty boxes of Christmas stuff from the garage (no attics in AZ) and plop it in the middle of the living room. As my mom would start to unpack everything I would sit there and take in the smell of pine and evergreen(even if was kind of a dusty smell) and marvel at all the little trinkets and ornaments like I had never laid eyes on them year after year.

Once my brother's were out of the house (they are 11 and 13 years older than I so that happened while I was still fairly young) we would have a tree decorating night and travel around to everyone's house putting ornaments on the trees. We always started at my brother's house and worked our way through my aunt and uncle's and then to the grand finally at my parents where there would be hot spiced cider and egg nog with brandy along with some treats we had baked earlier that day. There was only one rule - you had to have the lights and garland(if that's your thing) on the tree before everyone got there. Then we would come and hang the ornaments. It was a wonderful time, even if we only did it for a few years. Some how helping everyone in our family decorate for Christmas made it that much more special. There was always some story that would be told about the year before when someone would do something goofy, either because they just ARE goofy or there was too much brandy involved!

Christmas Eve would come and we would all dress in our best and I would sit in the bathroom and watch my dad get ready. It fascinated me to watch him shave and get ready for a special night. And he would always let me put the finishing touches on him - his foo foo dust (it was really cologne, but to a little girl it was magic), which was gently patted onto his face and then somehow I always ended up getting tickled after that. Not too sure how that happened, but again, with magic anything can happen. Then he would take his watch and rings from his chest on his dresser and let me help put them on. That chest was magic, it held all sorts of interesting things that I coveted - his pocket knife, his money clip with the turquoise stones on it, a book of matches, some mints still in the wrapper. If I was lucky, I might have even gotten a few coins out of it.

My dad and I would inevitably be waiting for my mom to finish getting ready, watching It's a Wonderful L*fe in black in white while we waited or singing Christmas carols with the radio. My mom would pop out at the top of the stairs, always looking like she had just stepped out of a beauty pageant. Hair, make-up and nails done to perfection, dressed up so beautifully, and never failing - always putting on the last earring as she walked down the stairs. That moment was always worth the wait.

Everyone would show up at my parent's house, dressed in their best, dropping presents under the tree and taking a quick taste of mom's clam chowder that was simmering on the stove before they got caught. After piling into the cars we would make our way to church, the anticipation of O Holy Night and the Christmas story being read could be felt throughout, never dwindling. And my favorite part - they would dim the lights and one by one every being in the church would have their candle lit and the glow was surreal. I would close my eyes and listen to the voices singing praise to the new born king and wondering what it would have been like, that first Christmas so many years ago.

Things are different now. We've all gotten married, started our own families and traditions, and some have moved away. Yet, these memories will always bring a smile to my face and a lump to my throat. In fact, tears are accompanying this post. Remembering what it was like as a child with the magic and anticipation, waiting for what felt like months between the first day of winter break and Christmas Eve. I miss that feeling, but somehow, putting everything on "paper" makes it all very real again.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

MIL Stories and Other Such Nonesense

First of all it snowed over the weekend and has been bitterly cold here. I love it! Unfortunately the snow didn't stick in town, but the mountains are all covered and it is so pretty. We might even get a white Christmas!

Ok, now that I got that out of my system, let us move on to more interesting topics. My MIL. I'm sure that I have mentioned my feelings for my MIL once or twice on this here blog of mine. However, if I haven't made it too clear in the past, I will detail it out right this very moment. I know you all are sitting on the edge of your seats, waiting with baited breath to hear about the evilness (or stupidity as I like to call it) that is my mother-in-law.

Mr. Sparky's graduation was the second most important day for him in his entire life. Of course marrying me was the most important day of his life as I changed his world upside down, but that is neither here nor there. Ahh, there could not be two people on this planet that are more different than he and I. It's weird how that works out. But I digress (as you can tell I get side tracked really easily. You have no idea how many projects I have at home waiting to be finished because something caught my attention. More than likely it was shiny or smelled good or involved a nap.) and must get on with the story of my MIL.

Like I said, his graduation from the police academy, which is the hardest thing he will ever have to go through, was really important for him. It was an epic struggle of mental, physical and emotional crap I have never seen the likes of, nor do I ever want to again. And that was just the stuff I went through! We made sure all week that she had the correct directions, she could get lost on a cul-de-sac people, and double checked to make sure she new what time, yadda yadda yadda. My parents drove up Thursday night so they wouldn't have to drive up from Phoenix really early on Friday (cuz my parents are smart). My MIL had to work late - like 9:30 late and the grandparents will not drive/ride on a road at night- so they (her, her fiance(whole other story sometime, I don't think the internets can handle Mr. Cowboy) and her parents who drove up from Tucson Thursday) were going to leave Phoenix at 7:00 am to get to the graduation by 10:00. She lives on the South East side of town and to get to us you have to get to the North West side of town. Normally it takes us and hour and a half max to get from us to her, with traffic(95 miles from us to them). They didn't want to wait in rush hour traffic so they decided to go up the East side of the state and cut over. Which adds an EXTRA hour and a half to the drive( and like and extra 100 miles).

Lets do a word problem (hate, hate, hate word problems. If this train left at this time and this train left at this time, BOOM!! they would smack into each other at what time?hate, hate, hate). A car carrying a load of intellectually challenged people left point A at 7:00 am to reach point B at 10:00 am. It is very IMPORTANT to be at point B ON TIME. It usually takes 1.5-2 hours to reach point B from point A. Now, the driver of the car carrying the intellectually challenged people (Mr. Cowboy to be exact) decided that they shouldn't drive through town to get to point B. He decided (and MIL agreed) that they should go up the East side of the state (which is a two-lane highway the whole frickin' way up so if a car as much as puts on a turn signal traffic backs up nine bajillionty miles) and cut ACROSS the state to make it to point B. Supposedly on time.

Ok, my patience with the word problem has ended and I will just continue this sad sad story on my own without the help of visual aids. At 7:15 am my MIL calls the house to say they are leaving. Late. Of course. Mr. Sparky has already gotten dressed and left for command inspection by this time. So I say ok we'll see you a little before ten. Remember, it is only an 1.5-2(max) hour drive from her house to ours. My parents and I left our house at 8:15 to get coffee and so I could be there by nine to take pictures of the formations and yadda yadda yadda. I call MIL on my way there to see where she is and she says,

"Hwy 87, does that sound right?"
and I'm all,
"Yeah, you're funny cuz that's on the other side of the state!"
and she says,
"Where just outside of Payson and the traffic is horrible. We'll see you when we get there"
and I'm all,
"WTF????(of course this is in my head, I do not swear in front of my mother, except if I've been drinking) Woman are you kidding?"
and she's all,
"No, Mr. Cowboy and I thought it would be better to go site seeing all the way on the other side of the state on the second most important day of my only son's life to beat the traffic we would have to go through to get to you the normal way which would have been about 1/2 hour shorter than the route we've decided to take" (the site seeing part is totally made up of course, but the idea of what she said is true)
and I'm all,

So in between the yelling at the phone and trying not to cry because I am so mad, my level headed mom says we should pray. And I do. It went a little something like this:

"Dear Lord, please strike that woman down dead."

And my dad laughed and my mom kind of scolded me, but I think He got the picture and I thought it was VERY appropriate for the situation. And really, in the back of her head that is EXACTLY what my mom was thinking too. Cuz she rocks and doesn't get anything that MIL does.

Now, I should preface that this day was the worst weather day the state had seen in like 150 years. It was raining so hard all over that I could barely see out the car window. It was snowing where the car full of intellectually challenged people were, and there was construction too. Hmm, don't you think it would have been a smart idea to check the road conditions before you decided to take a short cut that added an extra hour (on a two lane hwy the whole time)!

My parents dropped me off at the college(where the ceremony was being held) and went to breakfast while I took pictures of my amazing husband and his crew. I wasn't going to tell Mr. Sparky about the stupidness that is his family, but decided I better if he looked out and didn't see them. I didn't want him worrying they had been delayed or worse because of the weather. It was much better to let him know they are complete morons (which he already knows, it wasn't something new I was pointing out, so no gasps at how mean I am). He took it well and said, F*^% it, that is my mom for you. My parents got there and we got some great shots of our family before the ceremony (by family I mean us and my parents - the normal family).

The ceremony was about to start and still no sign of them. I called her cell and asked where she was and this is how that conversation went:

me - "Where are you now? It's about to start."
her - "We're in a cloud somewhere."
and her call is dropped.

So that could have been anywhere in the whole DAMN STATE! I need a break, writing this out is making my blood pressure rise. Plus I should be doing some work. I'll be back.

Ok, I'm back. Lunch was good, pizza and breadsticks. Yummmmm. But where were we? Ah yes.. the cloud conversation.

We all headed into the performance hall and sat down waiting for the ceremony to start. It was scheduled to be a 2 hour ceremony what with awards and the swearing in of 29 officers and the handing out of certifications and whatnot. The whole time I kept thinking she was going to miss everything and then I was going to have to hurt her. I don't think I have ever been so mad at anyone in my life. And I wasn't mad at her for me, I was mad at her for Mr. Sparky which I think makes it 100 times worse, no? They started the class video which was kick butt good and half way through my dad said he would go wait outside for them so they would know where we were sitting. This is why I love my parents. They sacrifice something they so truly wanted to see so that the idiots would know where we were sitting because he knows how much I wanted to be there to see it. Love, love, love my parents.

at 10:45 I finally see them walk into the auditorium. I couldn't even look at them I was so mad. In fact I sat there for the rest of the time grateful my parents were in between us because I would have hit her. When we got ready to pin (where you put the badge on the uniform) Mr. Sparky instead of walking the short 5 spaces past my in-laws to get to the right place, I walked ALL THE WAY AROUND THE AUDITORIUM (hmmm, I just realized that this is exactly what they did. Perhaps I wanted to site see a little, hmp) just so I wouldn't have to see them. By the time they got out we were done with the pinning and I only had the opportunity to take one, ONE picture with Mr. Sparky and his family after his swearing in. And it was a crappy picture too. Oh well. I'm sure I'll hear about it later, but if you could get there on time you would have better pictures of you and your son on his second most important day, moron. Then his grandmother (whom I love dearly but is a little batty) said and I quote, "We need to go eat now because your mom has to get back to work right away!"

Oh how the blood does boil. Needless to say, Mr. Sparky graduated and the people he cares about most were there to see it (thank goodness she didn't miss his swearing in, there would definitely have been murder afoot then) and that is the most important thing.

Can I just say, I'm very glad that Mr. Sparky is adopted and there is absolutely no chance that we will ever pass any of that crap on to our kids? Praise the Lord. And that concludes the latest story of my MIL. I hope you enjoyed it, but stay tuned, I'm sure there will be many more to come.

Monday, December 10, 2007

A post that is better than nothing at all

I have so much to say about the graduation and the weekend, but cannot write anything that doesn't sound ridiculously bitter. It was a great time with a few exceptions from his mother and the weather. Stuff I would love to get out, but I'm afraid the ending to our wonderful, relaxing weekend was not good. The couple that leads our small group announced they are pregnant last night. They have 27 month little boy and an 8 month little girl. Bitter doesn't really even begin to cover it.

I don't want to be bitter, I'm happy for them. I 'm just really mad that it isn't us. I think I'm past the sad stage. Nothing makes me sad anymore, just really, really angry. And I'm tired of sounding like a depressing git. I want to be happy, to share the happy thoughts and feelings I am having right now. All that wants to come out however is the anger. So, a few good things that maybe won't sound too bad.

Mr. Sparky graduated and I was there to support him in that.
We are doing TONS better in regards to our relationship.
I am going to make a boat load of cookies this weekend.
Our concrete is being removed by a friend for only $400!!!! (the people we bought the house from put in concrete flower beds the are 12" deep (of concrete!!) and 6" wide (of concrete!!!) and it has re bar in it. Morons. Other people quoted us $2500 to remove it)
I met some really cool wives at the graduation party.

Hopefully more when I am not so openly bitter because I have some serious MIL stories that would just knock your socks off!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Proud Wife

Tomorrow Mr. Sparky graduates from the police academy. I have never been more proud of him than I am right now. He has worked so hard, put so much stress on his body, and stretched his comfort levels beyond belief. He has passed every test with a B or higher, he has improved his physical condition, raising his stamina to unbelievable heights. I could burst right this very second.

This has been a long time coming. Not just the 16 weeks of the academy, but since he was little. The only career he has ever talked about (since he was 3) has been law enforcement. He used to go around at family functions arresting people and hauling them off to "jail". He has never once wavered in his determination to realize his dream. I am so excited for him. I do not know too many people who really know what they want and go out and accomplish it. It has taken him a while to get here, he's almost 31. He spent 8 1/2 years in the jail, moving his way through different departments, working his way up to Sgt., and now, finally moving to the patrol side of the Sheriff's Office.

Tonight we have his graduation party where all 29 recruits can let their hair down, have a good time and relax before jumping into their new positions (some have to report Friday night after the graduation). My parents are coming up, his mom and her fiance and her parents are driving up. All the people that have supported him through his career are going to be there, watching as he is sworn in as an officer. I could just burst (I think I said that already, but I really could!).

Mr. Sparky - I love you and am so proud of you. You have accomplished something many people cannot, and you are my hero. You have always been faithful to yourself and your dreams and I admire that in you. Even though not every day is perfect between us, you are the best husband and I couldn't have asked God for a better one. Thank you for choosing to make the sacrifice of a "normal" life so that other's can be safe and protected. So that your family can be safe and protected. I love you with all me heart.