Friday, August 31, 2007

Gotta love three-day weekends!!

Yippee!!! A three-day weekend!!!

This has been a rather odd week and I'm not quite sure why. It started off with me in a "shopping mood" and, let me tell ya, I did pretty darn good indulging that one!! One of the things I spent money on was a matching set of MP3 players for Mike and I. We have talked about buying them for quite a while and just never seemed to get around to it. To be an appraiser in 2007, you have to be pretty techno-savvy, but I don't own really anything that is a techno-TOY. I do now! And I'm loving it!!! Of course, Mike and I are down-loading totally different music to our respective MP3s. Very funny to see how blatantly different our musical tastes can be. (Of course, the difference would be that I HAVE musical taste......Back at ya, Baby!!)

And somehow, I became once again buried in work again this week. I've got a whole host of complex orders again on my desk!!! While I admit that I am gaining tremendous experience and knowledge in the process of researching all the value complexities involved, the brain power that it requires is unreal. Then again, I have to admit that I bore very easily and this keeps me from getting bored--never a bad thing. And I'm developing a great library of research material, and a brilliant peer group whose opinions I seek out and trust to tell me when I'm headed in the wrong direction. I've also taken some big career steps recently, which I'll have to blog about at another time, and all these complex orders will come back with interest later on. However, even Mike had to tell me to quit obsessing this week, from one Type-A personality to another.

We're off tomorrow to have some GREAT fun!! Don't want to jinx the day, so I'll post about it on Sunday, while I'm working. Yes.......I will be working quite a lot this weekend. Gotta catch up before Tuesday arrives with a whole set of new orders. But don't worry....I've played plenty lately, so this is just the grindstone hunting me down.

Have a good weekend!!!

Wednesday, August 29, 2007

Where do you get those meek, mild children?

In the past few weeks, I have had to come to terms with the fact that I think Mike and I have officially become "those" type of people. You know the kind. The ones with the rowdy kids. Sigh...

As mentioned in a previous post, last week was our County Fair. We went several times, of course, and the girls got more confident with every trip. On Friday night, we could have given them some money and we're about 99% sure that they would have happily run off to the carnival without a single worry. WE would have worried, obviously, but they would have been totally oblivious to anything except the rides. In fact, we didn't even make it in the front gate that night before they had partnered up with another little girl that they know from the Day Care and they were off and running with Aubrielle!! LITERALLY running through the crowds of people while we were frantically trying to slow them down and get them to listen to us. Both girls were just so totally confident and comfortable in this moving mass of people.

And then, with our new bicycles, we have been riding in the evenings quite regularly. The girls ride in a little cart behind Mike. It was very warm yesterday, so many people were out on the rail trail enjoying an evening stroll/ride, which is where we also chose to ride. Of course, all these people seemed to be relaxed and leisurely and peaceful. And here we come!! The girls are yelling and laughing and making all kinds of racket in the cart. For awhile, we tried to keep telling them to lower their voices, but we reached a point that it seemed like we were making more noise telling them to be quiet than the amount of noise that they were making! So.....we gave up!! At least they were HAPPY and not fighting or crying!!

And on Sunday, we ended up in JCPenneys at the mall. Jennica took off!! We turned around and she was GONE!! Once again, totally confident in a completely strange place. We panicked, of course, and split up to find her. Mike found her looking at some things just totally unconcerned that we were out of sight! AAAHHH.

So I want to know---where do you get those kids that you see clinging to their parents' legs? And those kids that are so shy that they bury their faces if a stranger says "hello" to them? And those kids that walk across the street holding their parents' hand, or ride meekly in a shopping cart through a grocery store without trying to climb out??

Because we have FOUR freakin' kids and NOT ONE OF THEM has been meek and mild!!! At Dane and Grant's ages, their self-confidence is becoming a tremendous asset. But at ages 3 & 4, its a great big pain in the neck for us as parents!! I remember wanting to throttle the boys when they were toddlers for exactly the same behaviors that the girls are exhibiting now. What are we doing wrong??!!?? The girls have very strict rules and are consistently disciplined and the whole works, but you can't take a confident child and MAKE them afraid to leave your side!! AAAAAAAHHHHHHH!!! I guess I just have to keep reminding myself that someday it will be a good thing. And I will have a lot of gray hair.

Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Awakened by loud trucks

Very early this morning, we awoke to very loud trucks in our driveway. Yahoo....The concrete trucks have arrived!!! Even as I write this, the contractors are still outside working the huge slab that is about to become the foundation for our new garage. The weather has been less than cooperative, so they've been sitting at a standstill for over a week with the forms complete and afraid that if they poured, the sky would surely open up and dump huge amounts of rain. But today is the big day!! Progress!! Hopefully, the framing and all that jazz will go quickly, because there is only so much time now before winter and we want it totally complete, with paint and all.

And with that said, fall is definitely arriving. We're beginning to have those evenings where the fog rolls in shortly before dark and there's a different feel in the air.

The boys are both hard into football now and loving every minute of it. Grant is covered in bruises, and even got his hand smashed into the ground by a cleated shoe at practice last night. When I picked him up, I could tell just by the look on his face that he was in pain from something, but he had "toughed it out" and made it through practice without quitting. Its pretty swollen this morning, but fortunately, just a bad bruise. His team doesn't practice today, so he's got a day to rest it.

As for Dane, his football cleats look HUGE. Not sure when his feet got that big. And he seems to have grown another inch or two. Or I'm shrinking... :) He said that there first day of conditioning yesterday was "easy." He'd better not let the coaches hear him say that. And now on top of football practice from 3:30-6:30 every day, he's going to add Pep Band practice from 7:00-?? on Tuesdays and Thursdays. He's been invited, along with a few other Junior High kids, to play his trombone with the High School Pep Band for High School football games, so that will be one more thing to keep him busy.

Things are getting back to normal.

Thursday, August 23, 2007

Trying to get back in the swing of things

After my lengthy vacation, I'm having a really hard time getting back into the swing of working. My brain has a serious case of concentration-itis and I can't focus on ANYTHING. I sit at my desk and nothing seems to be motivating me to get it in gear. Maybe if I spit out some of my thoughts here, it will help. So here goes.

1) Grant has started football practice. His head coach taped his name across the front of his helmet, followed by a number. So Grant's helmet says, "Camenzind 95". The name thing I got right away, as their practice jerseys are not numbered and all the kids look the same once they get helmets on. Duh. But whats with the number? I asked Grant and he said that it is his weight. I about died laughing. Positive PROOF as to why most girls don't play football. Even at age 12, I don't know many GIRLS that would let a coach write their body weight for everyone to see. Now, you have to realize that in Grant's league, you have to weigh below a certain amount to carry the ball, so it makes sense to plaster it on their head while they are building the team, but still......It was good for a hearty laugh.

2) Dane entered a pencil sketch in our County Fair, and also the sunset photograph that I posted a week or so ago. He's always received wide acclaim for his sketch work, but this is his first attempt at photography. Lo and behold, he crashed and burned on the sketch, while the photograph received "Best in Class". He's still scratching his head over this one.

3) I had an interesting day of appraisals earlier this week. First, got attacked by fleas in a very infested house. Lovely. And then had a job at a home where the property owner has a medical-use license to grow and use marijuana for his/her personal treatment of their medical condition. The property owner was very forthcoming about it, showed me their licensing paperwork, but was a little weird to see all of this stuff under grow lights and all. WOW! Yeah......I know.........I live under a rock and I'm very naive. I like it that way, so leave me alone. :)

4) Once the kids all start school, is the weather actually going to be really nice? Its been a very wet summer for us, and its going to stink if the sun comes out AFTER they go back to school.

5) The suburban is covered with Mt. St. Helens ash from our road trip last weekend. The sun is out at the moment. I could go outside and wash it. But then I wouldn't be getting any work done. But I'm not getting any work done by sitting here blogging anyway. Hmmmm.......Its a dilemma.

On that note, this seems to be deteriorating, so before I talk myself into going outside to wash the suburban, I'm getting off of here.

Monday, August 20, 2007

Ho hum, Ho hum, Its back to work I come...

Vacation is officially over. Today, like it or not, was back to business as usual. In the last month, we've had a steady stream of family from far and wide through our home, followed by 10 days of being gone, so the return to routine is actually welcome in some ways. Being the control freak that I am, there is comfort for me in habit and routine. Two weeks from tomorrow, and the boys go back to school. Another 6 days after that and the girls start preschool again. I'm actually looking forward to regular schedules and bedtimes and all that.

On the down side, I came back to the appraisal world with the mortgage industry in continuing chaos. The largest mortgage servicer in the country is Countrywide, and all of us in all areas of the industry and waiting to see what their fate will be. We all knew that the robust market of 2005 wouldn't continue forever, but I don't think any of us imagined that the downturn would reach as high as Countrywide. Then again, investment carries risk and I think it is wise for all of us to remember that.

So.........I am home. I went on vacation to get a break from work. Now I'm back from vacation to get a break from........playing too hard? Go figure.

Friday, August 17, 2007

Friday Folly

I'm still on vacation!! Neener neener neener. Making the most of it!! The below is my Friday silliness. It was sent to me by my eldest sister, so its all her fault!!

Mahatma Gandhi, as you know, walked barefoot most of the time, which produced an impressive set of callouses on his feet. He also ate very little, which made him rather frail and, with his odd diet, he suffered from bad breath. This made him a super calloused fragile mystic hexed by halitosis.

Happy Friday!

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

10 things learned while camping

1) I admit that I WANTED to go camping. I have great memories of camping when I was a kid and wanted to build those same memories for my children. What I didn't understand was that the reason I have great memories of camping was because there was no work involved for me. As a parent, camping is an entirely different experience. So...take it from me...What I really wanted was to go camping again as an eight-year-old where the day consisted of sleeping, eating food that someone else prepared, sitting around a fire that someone else built, playing, bicyle riding, swimming, eating again.......

2) Sometimes when there is blue sky in the west, it really does sunshine the next day. Whaddayaknow.

3) A 6-man tent is an oxymoron. No tent should ever hold more than 4 people. Period.

4) Choosing a campsite near the bathrooms was a smart move. Choosing a campsite away from the lakeshore was a smart move. Choosing a campsite VERY near the playground was not really such a smart move. Our little girls were naturally drawn to the laughter of other children swinging and playing. That would be okay for part of the day. But ALL day EVERY day got to be a bit much. Almost enough to make you wish that you were a neglectful parent that could just say, "Go!!! I'll see you when it gets dark!!"

5) Give a 14-year-old a digital camera and he can take a LOT of pictures. Sure glad we're not developing all that film.

6) Give a 12-year-old a fishing pole, with which he catches two fish, and he is suddenly the world's largest teller of tall fish tales. Very funny!!

7) I like frogs. I don't like thousands of little tiny hopping frogs all in one place. Not kidding here.

8) Wearing shorts around a campfire makes your legs hot and you eventually pick up your chair and move farther back.

9) I taught my children to make toast on a campfire. :)

10) What is with the people that camp in big RVs and never come out? Why go camping if you're not going to go outside? I don't get it...

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Just dropping by...

...for a quick update. Vacation is going well and I'm trying not to even THINK about the fact that its not going to last forever. I will post again tomorrow with a little more detail, but for now, enjoy the attached photo. My 14-year-old son, Dane, got control of the camera for several hours over the last three days and took some really fantastic pictures!! He's been a sketch artist forever, but this is a new outlet for him and I'm really impressed. Good night!!

Saturday, August 11, 2007

On Vacation

I am just dropping by for a quick update as we're ON VACATION!!! WAHOO!!! I'm trying to stay away from the computer as much as possible, as I find it irresistible to check my email.....which reminds me of work......which ruins the whole point of vacation.

So.....I will be updating when I officially return to the computer-based world of appraisal on the 20th. Until then.....maybe I'll drop by and maybe I won't. :)

Have a good one!!

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Time to buck up...

After my "the sky is falling" post the other day.......I've made a concious effort to buck up. We all have our down-and-out days, but enough is enough. And my life, even on the very worst day, could be a WHOLE LOT worse. is looking up again. The pile on my desk is slowly diminishing as I have stopped accepting new orders until we return from our vacation. The last of the particularly-difficult orders are gone, and the weight of those brain-crushing bruisers has lifted. Whatever backlash is what it is. I do not and will not unethically fabricate numbers. Period.

My sisters and their families are both here visiting. One of them lives in Minneapolis, so yesterday's bridge collapse is being closely watched and hits close to home. Its good for all of us to be together, and our parents will gain a new appreciation for the peace and quiet when everyone goes home again. The four boy cousins, ages 15, 14, 13, & 12, continue to be close and enjoy their time together with wild games that none of the rest of us understand.

And last, but certainly not least, today is our 5th wedding anniversary. It has gone by incredibly fast, and this particular year was a specific milestone for me for personal reasons. So Michael.......we made it. Thanks for the five best years of my life!! I love you!! 1, 2, 3...... :)