Wednesday, July 30, 2008


When we lived in Alabama and were so broke we couldn't see straight, one of our payday treats was to take the kids to Krystal's. The itty bitty burgers were .39 ( I think) and the kids could have as many as they wanted. We'd share some fries and everyone was fed and we had a treat.

I miss Krystal's. The burgers weren't that good but there are good memories for me there.

For a very short time, there was a Krystal's in Lake Charles. We only ate there once when we went to see Jennifer and Daniel but it was great.

During all my driving around in Killeen (Fort Hood), I found a Krystal's. It was the middle of the afternoon and I wasn't really hungry but I had 2 Krystal burgers just for nostalgia's sake.

We're heading to Alabama next week to see Birdie. I hope there are still Krystal's there so Steven can have some. If not, he can have his the next time we go see Rowdy.

Fort Hood

Stephanie, Greg and Rowdy are moving to Fort Hood. Greg has to report on August 1.

They ask if I'd be willing to go with them and watch Rowdy while they search for a place to live.

Since Rowdy has been in Virginia for 6 months, what do you think I said?

Actually, I was a bit concerned since Rowdy tends to have a fit if his mom gets out of his sight or he thinks she might be about to leave his sight but what the heck, I can handle fits.

I said I'd be happy to put him in his stroller and cruise the mall while they're looking for a place to live.

Not exactly. Rowdy hates his stroller. But he likes to ride in a shopping cart.

OK, we can hit a store or two or three and let him ride in a shopping cart.

We had the best time!

Our first stop was HEB. He loved looking at all the fruit and anyone that was stocking was of great interest to him. We got bananas, watermelon, a light avocado (I'll make some guacamole with it tomorrow and report on flavor), a cantaloupe, a deli sandwich for me and some tea for me

We found a shady parking lot and ate our lunch. He was exhausted so we rode around till he fell asleep then I found a parking lot and read till he woke up.

We also hit Target, Dollar Tree and Petco. He loved looking at all the animals.

I got a great tour of Fort Hood and now know where all the important things are for when we go visit.

Stephanie and Greg found a place to live, I got to spend some time with Rowdy, he didn't have the first fit and all is well.

AAA Rocks!

In less than a month, with only 2 uses, AAA has paid for itself. How awesome is that?

Steven called yesterday afternoon. He was broke down on the HOV lane in Houston. He'd called AAA and the wrecker would be there in about an hour. In about 15 minutes, he calls back to say the wrecker is already there.

I head to Houston to pick him up.

Have I ever said how much I hate driving in Houston? I'd almost rather give birth. Almost.

Come to find out, the only wreckers allowed on the HOV are wreckers contracted with the City of Houston.

It cost $143.50 for the wrecker to take him ~2 miles.


It only cost ~$63 to have the bike towed about 15 miles to Huntsville the last time he broke down.

I'm very frustrated because we paid for AAA and we've had to fork out $143.50 for towing. But, it's just money and like Steven said, the good news is that we can afford to pay it.

Actually, this is how he put it:
The good news - we can afford to pay for it
The bad news - the bike will be in the shop for 2 weeks
The worst news - it cost $143.50 to get towed

It actually works out this way:
The good news - the towing costs nothing
The bad news - I have no vehicle for 2 weeks
The worst news - we have to pay for gas for Steven's commute for 2 weeks in the truck
The good news - we won't have to do without anything to afford it

So, how does the cost of the towing go from being the worst news to being the best news?

One phone call to AAA.

One reimbursement form.

$143.50 to be reimbursed.

If you don't have AAA Premier, go get it.

Friday, July 25, 2008

I Have the Best Husband!

I've been having an overwhelmed kind of day today. So what does my most wonderful husband do?

He stops on the side of I-45 in the 99 degree weather (I just looked it up). He dials my phone and lets me listen to Ring of Fire ( my favorite song) in its entirety because he knows it will make me smile. He never says a word because he still has his helmet on. He hangs up his phone and continues on home to help me.

How awesome is that?!?

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Getting Older

I'm officially getting older.

I've been wearing reading glasses for several years now because my arms are no longer long enough. My distance vision is still OK. Not 20/20 but the only thing I was having any kind of problem with was reading road signss at a distance.

A couple of weeks ago I went and got glasses. I found some really cute ones and got a lined bifocal becuase I've had a progressive lens before and couldn't get used to them.

Big mistake. First off, the guy never got the glasses adjusted correctly and I wasn't happy with them. Second off, I had no intermediate vision at all. So, I wasn't wearing them. Not to mention that I wasn't wearing them because it was such a hassle with sunglasses. I *have* to have sunglasses, my eyes are super sensitive to sunlight.

Lenscrafter has a 30 day guarantee so last week I went and took advantage of it. The cool glasses I had chosen weren't big enough for a progressive lens so I chose different glasses and got them today.

I went to W-M to get some clip on sunglasses. I was sure I wasn't going to be happy with them because I need large sunglasses that don't let in light on the sides and I didn't want fit-overs because they are UGLY.

I tried on clip-ons. Jenny reminded me that I wasn't going to be happy with them so I looked at the fit-overs. Come to find out, they had some that weren't huge but still covered well and were somewhat stylish. Did I mention that they're polarized? Polarized sunglasses are awesome!! Everything is so crisp and clear and there's no glare at all.

So, I have progressive lens glasses and fit-over sunglasses. Somehow that says getting older to me...

I think I have to take the glasses back though because the left eye is fine with the intermediate vision but the right is blurry. I'm going to give it until Monday and hope that it's just a matter of getting used to them.


My brain makes me crazy.

I know there are over a thousand children's names stored there but don't you think it come come up with a recent name easier than an older name?

The first year I worked at the school, I was the cafeteria clerk. I knew the name of every single student at the elementary school, PK-3 - about 500 names. The next 3 years were pretty easy because I knew all the kids except the new ones when they got to 3rd grade. The 4th year wasn't too bad because lots of them had gone to PK. The year I went back to the school, I was only in 1 classroom and it was Rachael's group so I knew them all already. The next year I was back in 3rd grade and learning ~150-170 new names every year for the next 5 years.

Usually, I remember their faces until they get older and their facial features start changing. Sometimes I can come up with either a first or last name. Sometimes not. Depends on how well I knew them. Sometimes I come up with their name minutes or hours later, just out of the blue.

Luckily, calling them sweetie when they're still young or just speaking to them when they get older works well. They just like to be acknowledged.

So what brought this on?

I was at W-M earlier this week. I saw one of the students in my homeroom cross the end of an aisle. Luckily, she didn't see me because I *could not* come up with her name. I remembered her last name, I remembered her sister's name but hers just wouldn't come. I actually stood in the aisle determined to remember her name in case I saw her again. I'm of the opinion that if that student was in my homeroom less than 2 months ago, I need to say her name when I speak to her. I finally remembered her name but never saw her again so it really didn't matter.

As I was leaving the store, I saw a student who will be in 6th grade next year. His name came to me immediately. Now, he wasn't a troublemaker (you always remember their names!) nor was he anyone that stood out for any other reason, just another student and his name came to me immediately.

There is something wrong with this picture. My brain should work better than that. It doesn't though so I guess I'll continue to muddle through. The good thing is that I only have 60 names to learn every year now and about 20 more if I do after school tutorials.

Monday, July 21, 2008


I love the sound of jelly jars popping as they seal.

Actually, I love making jelly.

It's been several years since I've made any. Working full time and going to school was grueling and jelly making was one of the things that fell by the wayside.

Jenny had some blueberries and wanted to make jelly so today we did. I've never made blueberry jelly before but it's not any different. :)

We also made peach jam - I'd never made that before either.

Steven is picking up some more plums because I grossly underestimated the amount of plums needed. I love the color of plum jelly. It's a beautiful, rich shade of red. I can't wait to finish the plum jelly.

I missed blackberries so I'm going to get some frozen ones for more jelly. Actually, I just talked to Steven and he's getting them now.

I'm pretty sure I've missed grapes but I think we'll take a drive down the dirt road and see...

Did I mention that I love making jelly? :)

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Mmmm, Mmmm Good!

I've been using my crockpot a lot this summer, inspired by A Year Of Crockpotting.
Last night we had Peppercorn Steak and it was delicious! Probably the best thing I've ever cooked in the crockpot. We don't care for mushrooms so I left them out and I only used a little more than 1/4 cup of the W sauce (not even going to try to spell it!)

I've also fixed these:
Tamale Pie
Salsa Chicken

There are lots more things there I want to try, especially some of the soups.

I've also fixed some of my tried and true crockpot recipes and have made the salsa chicken either 2 or 3 times. Once I added some cream cheese but didn't like that as much.

The real delicioso thing I've made this summer though, has nothing to do with the crockpot.

Back in May, we had a First Place celebration/orientation and someone brought the best, light key lime pie. She said the recipe was on the back of the label of the reduced fat graham cracker crust.

I promptly went out and bought a reduced fat graham cracker crust to get that recipe. The best $2.00 I've spent on a recipe in a long time.

Imagine my surprise when I discovered that the recipe calls for yogurt.

I detest yogurt. Let me rephrase. I detest the thought of yogurt. I've never eaten yogurt because it smells horrible and I have a mental block about putting it in my mouth.

I am so shocked that this delicious pie uses 2 containers of yogurt and I love, love, love it!

I want to try some different flavors but then again, I don't want to leave my key lime...

What prompted this, you ask?

I made the pie yesterday. We each had a piece after we ate. We both had another piece before we went to bed.

After lunch, we had another piece. Since there were only 2 pieces left, we went ahead and ate them.

Less than 24 hours after I made the pie, it's gone.

Did I mention that it's delicious?

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Rachael at Camp

Rachael finally had a day off today and called. The camp she's working at does not allow the workers to use their cell phones except on their days off. They keep them in the office, turned off.

She's having a good time and working hard. She's a "kitchie". She does all the grunt work in the kitchen - setting out the food, refilling things, sweeping, mopping, doing dishes, taking out trash - you know, all the fun stuff. :)

Her address, if anyone is interested:

Rachael Last Name
1380 Eternity Lane
Shell Knob, MO 65747

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

I Heart AAA

I joined AAA when we went to Missouri. With as many miles as we have on the truck, I wanted to be safe. It cost about $210 for the 3 of us to have the Premier plan.

Our membership cards came Saturday. I glanced at the synopsis of benefits and put it aside.

Monday, out of the blue, it hit me that one of the benefits was a locksmith. It just so happens that we're in need of a locksmith. The benefit is $150. Guess how much it cost for the locksmith to come out and make a key? That's right...$150.

We are now the proud possessors of two brand spankin' new motorcycle keys for free.

AAA has almost paid for itself and we haven't even had it a month.

It took several hours for the locksmith to come out but it didn't make any difference since Steven had to work.

If only we'd had AAA before Steven had to have the bike towed a couple of months ago, it would have already paid for itself.

AAA, you're a wonderful thing! :)

Sunday, July 13, 2008

It Gets Better

Steven had to go to Houston Friday night for a Conroe team get-together and then work on Saturday at the Houston office. He asked if I wanted to go. I decided not to since I would just be sitting in the hotel room Friday night and I detest driving in Houston so I'd probably just sit at the office with him Saturday.

When I got up Friday morning and called Steven, he had some distressing news.

On his way to work that morning, he was passing a car in the left lane of I-45. As soon as he got around the car, there was a piece of tire rubber that he could not avoid. He didn't lose control of the bike but it jostled him around pretty good. When he got the bike lined back out, he noticed the metal plate right below the keys was up. He put it down and discovered that his keys were missing (the keys come out easily even when the bike is running).

He was just past FM 2989 so he turned around and went back to the scene of the "crime" to look for the keys. No can do...

Of course, he'd lost his spare key in the trailer when he lived in Austin and never found it and never bothered to have another key made.

A locksmith is going to be a couple hundred of dollars and he can't get to it until next week. The bike shop can maybe get another key, depends on whether they can read some number on the ignition. If not, they have to replace the entire ignition (several hundred dollars). The bike shop is moving and can't get to it until Wednesday. That means Steven will be taking the truck every for a few days. So in addition to the cost of getting another key, we've got a couple of tanks of gas to deal with.

It's just money, right?

I was scheduled to work in the kitchen at church for the Kairos prison ministry until 3:00. I left there, packed a bag and headed to Conroe to pick up Steven and head to Houston.

He goes to his dinner, I watch TV and stitch and all is well.

Steven's calling me at 10:30 to make sure I'm up and ready to go by 12:00 when we have to check out of the hotel. He calls and tells me to open the hotel door. It's only 9:30.

He can't get logged on to a computer in the Houston office and there are no tech people working to help him. We decide to go to Conroe and he'll work there.

We get to Conroe and the custodial office has locked his office door. His key is on the side of I-45 somewhere. He'd left the door open Friday night because he didn't have a key (he has a key card to get into the building).

So much for working on Saturday...

So as to not waste the trip, I go to the resale shop (bought nothing), Card and Party Factory (bought nothing), Dollar Tree (bought nothing) and the teacher supply store (bought stuff!). When we got to Huntsville, we went to Home Depot to get cinder blocks for my compost heap.

Tile is on sale.

We now have tile for the bathroom floor, the tub surround and a bathroom light fixture.

We don't have any cinder blocks.

They were out of cinder blocks.

They won't be in until Thursday.

What kind of home improvement store runs out of cinder blocks?

When we get to 2989, we exit and look for keys. Steven says he heard a jingle when he exited there.

No luck.

A couple stops and asks if they can help. They live just down the feeder road and have a metal detector. They don't know how to use it and neither do we. We figure it out but it's not very sensitive to keys (we tried it on the truck keys). Off we go to the off ramp again. No keys.

We go back to where the rubber is. Steven uses the metal detector and I use my eagle eyes. They almost never fail me. Today they did. I walked all the way to the bridge and back on the other side of the interstate and the only thing I found that was of any use was a single dollar bill.

Do you have any idea how very exciting it is to walk down I-45 with big trucks whizzing past at 70+ mph? It's not really.

We gave up, came home and decided that it's just money and what the heck...

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Isn't That Special?

Yesterday was Wednesday and Steven had a test seminar in Dallas. I go with him to drive home so he can sleep since he has to get up early to go to work. When he got home about 2:15, he was in a tizzy. Steven is *never* in a tizzy. He had left his billfold on top of a gas pump at HEB in Conroe. He called, they had it and would hold it for him at customer service. No problem.

We stop at Subway to get something to eat. I give Steven my card to pay and I fill up our drinks. He puts the card back in my billfold and off we go.

I start off driving so Steven can talk to someone at the office in Houston. We stop for a bathroom break in Ennis. Steven drives and I reach in the back to get my glasses out of my purse.

My purse is not there.

We're almost in Dallas. Neither one of us has our driver's license, neither one of us has any cash, neither one of us has a credit card, neither one of us has a debit card. Isn't that a fine kettle of fish?

Luckily, we had plenty of gas, the seminar provides pizza for the people attending and there's always enough left for me to have a piece and I had brought water.

The bad news is that I didn't put any reading glasses in my stitching bag so I can't stitch or read. I don't do well just sitting and doing nothing, especially for 3 hours. I was able to get the book far enough away to read somewhat comfortably so I wasn't too frustrated,

I called Jennifer and she went to Subway and picked up my purse. Yes, I left it sitting on the counter there. Thank goodness it was in Madisonville.

On the way home, Steven called HEB to find out what time they close and open so he could get his billfold. What I didn't know was that he needed to be in Houston at 6:00 this morning. He also had to have his billfold because he had to pick some things up from the Conroe office and his key card for his office was in his billfold. HEB closes at midnight and opens at 6:00. Yep, you guessed it. We're heading to Conroe when we get home at 10:30 (the seminar only lasted 2 hours instead of 3 - thank goodness!!).

But wait!! Becky had a wonderful idea! Since Steven needs to be in Houston at 6:00, why doesn't he just spend the night in Houston. That way he can get his billfold, be in Houston at 6:00 and we don't have to go to Conroe and back in the middle of the night.

That's what we ended up doing and it all worked out. Unbelievably, both our contents were untouched. I'll monitor card usage over the next couple of days to make sure cards weren't used but it doesn't look like they were. We are fortunate and very happy there are still so many honest people in the world.

Friday, July 04, 2008

Date Night

Steven's been working long hours the last 3 weeks to get a project ready to print. They printed today and he promised me a date Saturday after we took Rachael to the airport to go to Missouri.

There's been a change of plans.

We're having a date in Branson tonight. We're going to see Bill Medley and Paul Revere and the Raiders (if there are tickets available). We got a hotel for $40 plus taxes and fee ($52) plus the tickets to the show (more than we should pay but what the heck).

You're probably wondering why we're going to Branson and that would be an excellent question.

Rachael piddled around about getting her plane ticket to Missouri and it was going to cost the entire amount of money she was going to earn at camp. Her loving mother (me) offered to take her if she paid for everything - gas, food, hotel. We figured about $400 - lots cheaper than the ticket. The camp she'll be working at is 45 miles from Branson. She has to be there no later than Saturday but we have to be back for church Sunday so we're taking her tomorrow.

We decided that since we were going to be that close to Branson, we might as well go see a show since we may never be that close again and we won't make a special trip there.

Steven's going to have a difficult time topping this date...

We're leaving early so we have some time to see some sights in Branson soI have to get up in 4 hours and 45 minutes. I'm totally wound up and won't sleep much but I better go try...

Yes, we've lost leave of all our senses...

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

Debt Reduction

Yesterday I listed 7 books for sale at Before I went to bed last night, 4 of them had sold and another one this morning. I now have $55.20 more towards debt reduction. Hooray!!

Two books were textbooks that I never got around to listing, one was a book that ended up not being what I thought it was and the other four were fairly current novels that I have no interest in rereading.

Maybe, as I'm cleaning house, I'll come up with some more books that will be worth more than 1 cent on Amazon. I really need to get the camera out and figure out how to sell things on ebay. Maybe that will be my next project. It would only be for the summer because I don't think I really have time for it during the school year. But then again, I'm sure this year will be easier and I'll feel like I have more time so we'll see.

Off to package up my debt reduction items and put them in the mail to their new owners...