Patio, Pollen, Portal, and Planning

Kevin is making some major progress on our patio.

Space for Back Patio - 4/17/2011

He finished digging the space out this past weekend and in fact, got the gravel poured in yesterday. He is going to rent some sort of compact contraption so he can smash the rocks down, then he’ll buy some sand and we’ll spread that around. We already know what pavers we want and in fact went to Lowe’s yesterday to order them, but figured we’d save ourselves $65 bucks delivery fee and all four us can work as a human conveyor belt and pass them off to each other.

This is really coming along nicely! I wasn’t too thrilled at first (mainly because of the cost – gotta watch that money, don’t ‘cha know), but now that it’s materializing before my eyes, I’m getting excited! I saw a patio set at Lowe’s that would look really nice in that area …

Oak pollen has skyrocketed. It was over 700 particles per blah-blah-blah (I have no idea how they measure pollen) and over 300 today.

That’s enough to cover everything in sight. We’ve reached that point in the season where you go out to your car only to find it covered with a lovely green dust.

Jazz is holding up well. He’s been coughing, but it’s pretty minor and I plan on keeping it that way. I’ve been drugging him up these past few weeks – Singular during the day, Zyrtec at night. He’s also been using nose spray (though only sparingly, you have to be careful with nose spray) and I’ve been possibly OD’ing him on vitamin C.

My eyes have been watering, which is sort of unusual for me. I don’t usually have a problem with spring allergies (now Ragweed is a whole different monster).

Hopefully, we’re peaking on this spring allergy thing and levels will start dropping very soon.

Did I mention I HATE this time of year??

I’m a bit upset with the makers of the video game Portal 2. I personally haven’t played it, but I’ve watched the boys play it and it looks pretty cool.

And I HEAR about the game every, single. cotton-picking. day. from the boys.

Well. The second installment of the game released at midnight – last night.



But that didn’t deter the boys. OH no. Not at all. Jazz got up at 4:30 this morning and Dude got up at 5:00 this morning to play it for a few hours before they had to go to school.

I can’t even begin to tell you how WEIRD it was for me to get up at 6:00 only to see their lights on. Normally, I have to virtually drag them from their beds every morning. (In fact, I have to physically stand at Dude’s door and wait for him to sit up before I can walk away – otherwise, he goes back to sleep. *MAJOR GRR*).

It was hard to tear them away from their computers and push them out the door for school today. And I’m quite sure that neither of them concentrated on school today, but what are you going to do.

But the fact that the makers of the game picked a SCHOOL NIGHT to release their game, well … I can well imagine I’m not the only irked parent out there.

I’m sure the boys will have more adrenaline to play their game when they get home today. And I’m quite sure they will be cranky and pretty much jerks at dinner tonight because they will be:

1. Tired.
2. Grumpy because they want to get back to their game.
3. Grouchy because as per usual, I will turn the internet off at 10:00 p.m. tonight to yank them from their internet trance.

Oh yeah, fun times.

Jazz text me today and asked about his English grade. Since I didn’t have an ID number to access his grades online, I wasn’t able to help him.

The kids are given travel privileges during “C” time (if I give you the name, you can tell which school they go to, which, whatever. But I would prefer not to willingly divulge that info at this time). Only today, Jazz wasn’t allowed to travel (Dude can travel all the time because he’s a senior – senior privileges rock) and because he wasn’t allowed to travel, he was worried it was because of something to do with his grades. So he contacted me to ask me about them.

Only, I couldn’t access them without the ID number. (Lost yet?)

To put his mind at rest, I went up to the school at lunch time to get assigned an ID number. (I was planning on going anyway, this just pushed the issue).

When I gave them my name, the gals behind the desk both smiled and said, “You do our website! OH, we just LOVE our website and brag about it all the time.”

It makes me feel SO GOOD to hear things like that!!! Though it also embarrasses me.

I’d like to pack those ladies up and use them as my portable testimonies. ha!

So the short hair thing is … going.!/writefromkaren/status/59700980035489792


I had a pretty fierce moment of regret the other night after I worked out. I sweat something awful whenever I work out, and I wear my ball cap mainly to keep the sweat out of my eyes.

Anyway, after I was done working out, I took that ball cap off … and nearly cried. I mean, granted, NO ONE looks good after working out (unless you’re just eye candy and don’t work out enough to break a sweat – but I don’t do that, when I work out, I mean BUSINESS), so I wasn’t expecting to look like something out of a SHAPE magazine or anything, but with my flushed face, my raccoon eyes, and my sweaty, matted, BOY hair … well, like I said, I nearly cried.

“What have I done??” I thought.!/writefromkaren/status/60072534019817472

But, BUT, I’m getting used to it, I think. I’ve been playing around with it for the past few days, using more products than I think I have EVER used on it (root lifter, thermal protection for when I use my new one-inch flat iron [I use it like a curling iron], shaping spray and finally a stiff hairspray). It’s pretty easy to fluff since the gal used a razor to cut it, it’s all sorts of textured and I love it on windy days (like today) when it virtually doesn’t move (which could be a bad thing, too, I suppose) but still … I feel so … exposed.

Which is funny because the salon gal said something about me hiding behind all of that hair which … COULD be possible, I suppose. I hadn’t really thought about it before, but she might have some psychological insight right there.

I KNOW I’m going to love it when it grows out a bit more, but right now? I feel like a boy and if it’s not “fixed”, I think it just looks hideous.

Oh well, I’ll live.!/writefromkaren/status/59997107565768704

The school opened up summer school registration yesterday. I registered Jazz for TWO summer courses – poor kid. But I sort of have to because of his insistence on taking Jazz band class. Which takes up slots that would otherwise be used for required courses.

Hopefully, if I played the cards right (and assuming he’ll actually get the classes I registered him for), he won’t have to take ANY classes next summer.

Right now, he’s registered to take Personal Finance in the morning from 8:00 to 11:00. (It’s a required course, but pretty easy – it’s a class that teaches you how to balance a check book, etc), and his last stupid P.E. class from 11:30 to 2:30.

He’ll have 30 minutes for lunch.

The kicker? The classes are not at his school – they’re at another high school. They switch off schools every year.

So … I talked to Kevin and Dude last night and depending on what is going on and work schedules, Dude may very well be his taxi this summer.

I also told Dude that even though he’ll be out of school, he still needs to get up with the rest of us in the morning because I’ll be damned if the boy sleeps all day and stays up all night while living with us.

Ain’t gonna happen, Jack.

At any rate, Jazz will also have band camp the first and last weeks in June. So this means the first and last weeks of June for Jazz will look like this:

8:00 – 11:00 – Personal Finance
11:00 – 11:30 – eat lunch
11:30 – 2:30 – P.E. class
2:30 – 5:00 – take shower, have an early dinner
5:00 – 9:00 – band camp

He’s going to be one busy boy. And we’ll be busy carting him around.

He’ll have the month of July off and then it’ll be a gruesome and intense seven days of band camp from 8:00 5:00 the second week in August.

Since the Portal 2 game came out and that’s all Jazz can think about right now, I thought it might be cruel to make him study for his driver’s permit test this week, but next week, he’s going to hit it pretty hard and we’ll get that permit so I can teach him to drive this summer.

Now I need to make sure Dude stays busy and out of trouble. I have a feeling THAT is going to be my biggest challenge.

A to Z Challenge

O is for Obstinate – Am Not, Are Too

Definition of OBSTINATE
1: perversely adhering to an opinion, purpose, or course in spite of reason, arguments, or persuasion
2: not easily subdued, remedied, or removed

Come now, I’m betting you can think of at least ONE person who fits this bill …

I can. And BOY HOWDY, can this woman be obstinate – so much so, that I avoid talking to her at all costs because not only is she obstinate, she doesn’t even make sense in her arguments half the time.

Not to mention, she’s extremely vocal and extremely annoying.

And if there’s anything I can’t stand more, it’s a person who refuses to even entertain the thought that he/she may be wrong.

There’s a time to be stubborn, there’s a time to be confrontational, there may also be a time to be obstinate, but there’s also a time to concede a point and swallow that dose of humility like an adult.

Hey. I’m not saying I can’t be obstinate, in fact, I’ll be the first person to admit that I am probably one of the most obstinate people on this planet, but I also know when I’m wrong and I’m also willing to waver on my point if (and that’s a big IF) the other person can LOGICALLY convince me otherwise.

I don’t respond to emotional outbursts very well. I completely lose self-control if someone gets in my face and starts yelling – the conversation/debate/argument, whatever you want to call it, is OVER for me. Done. Moving on. Follow me, pursue it, at your own risk.

But I’ve learned that there is an art to discussing sensitive topics – it’s called the art of rhetoric. It’s all about ethos, pathos and logos and though there will be people out there that roll their eyes, that are convinced that they are great debaters without knowing these “tricks”, I’m here to say, you’re wrong. It’s all about language, it’s all about finessing that language and using it so that your point gets across without offending someone or putting them on the defensive.

It’s all about tricking (I’m not sure that’s the right word, but I’d say that’s a pretty accurate description of what our politicians do, wouldn’t you?) people into listening to our point of view. It’s all about PERSUADING people into believing what we’re saying is valid and right.

Obstinate people will not listen. Obstinate people are wildly irrational (most times). And I’m telling you right now, it’s a waste of time, energy, and breath trying to “debate” an obstinate personality.

So hear this, obstinate person, I will not debate you because you’ve already made up your mind; you’re not mature enough to listen and/or concede when you are wrong.

And you ARE wrong. So, so wrong.

I’m participating in the A to Z challenge. Just post something every day with the appropriate letter (except for Sundays), and then submit your link to one of the hosts and don’t forget to visit other participants! Also, you can find other A to Z participants on Twitter via the #atozchallenge hashtag. (This trying to relate the alphabet to your life thing is HARD. It’s taxing my brain and oh look! A puddle of brain mass. Sweet).