Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Cleaning for my own Oscar and Felix.

I cleaned today for a long time customer.  The renter's are actually the ones responsible in me securing this twice a month gig.  The owner pays me monthly since she lives out of state and if the renter's want something additionally done than they pay me the extra.  It has worked out very well over the past year. 

Today, I did a spring clean for the two bachelors.  They had me clean out all their cabinets and cupboards.  They wanted everything wiped down and all the expired products thrown away.  No problem, I actually like things out of my normal routine.  It makes the day go by faster really.  Although I was there for five hours. Made more money but boy was my back sore.

Cleaning for the two bachelors is sometimes amusing.  They remind me of the Odd Couple.  One is older, just for giggles I will call him Oscar, and he could be the other's father but they click in a very amusing way.  They complete each other but not in a romantic way, just in a live together way.  The older gentleman works for himself.  His company is more of a management company for other companies.  He comes in and tells you what to do differently to make your own company prosper.  More like an advisor. 

The younger gentleman, just for giggles again, I will call him Felix,  is my age, but he is very successful.  He is a professor at the nearest university.  He teaches classes online. He also helps the older bachelor with the financials of his business.  Felix has a son a few years younger than my Katie.  The little boy spends every other weekend with his dad and his dad's room is busting at the seams with all the little boys toys and video games.  Sometimes just walking into his room is like walking through a landmine field.  I normally just put the son's toys into the closet so at least you can see the floor.  They are both clean but Felix is by far the most cluttered.  His desk is the epitome of organized chaos.  It is very difficult to get to everything but I do it.

They both have amazingly beautiful girlfriends.  I sometimes wonder if they are in the relationship just because the men have more money than they know what to do with.  Seriously... these guys are not hurting for anything.  They may live together when they could easily afford places of their own but I think they also like living together.  Oscar if more serious and Felix has his quirks but when they are both home there is always humor. 

While I was cleaning out Felix's medicine cabinet I could not believe all the acne products he had stuffed in there.  None of it was beyond it's expiration date but I had to be able to organize it differently so I made room under the bathroom sink for all of it.  Felix actually likes that arrangement better.  None of it was actually his but his girlfriend's and seeing her plenty of times, I am a firm believer that the stuff she uses works because I have never seen a blemish on her.  She is one of the socialite types.  Always looks pristine but she is also very down to earth and sweet.  When I cleaned for them a few days before Christmas, on top of getting a bonus from the guys ( money) she also gave me a basket of chocolates and Bath and Body Works lotions and pampering goodies.  I remember she told me that although money is always nice, getting things to make you feel more like a woman is better.  I have to admit that I did enjoy the basket. 

Oscar's girlfriend is a little different.  Maybe it's because she is Norwegian and not all that familiar with our culture in the states.  She is used to being pampered and taken care of.  Apparently her ex husband bought her a house on the Keys so that she would be as far away from him as possible.  Her statement exactly.  She kids about needing a man to take care of her but she has never demanded anything like that from Oscar.  In fact when she has been there in the mornings that I have cleaned, she has always made him breakfast and laid out his clothes and then has taken him shopping.  She bought me a Coach purse with wallet and money inside for Christmas.  I still don't have a clue as to what I will use it for.  It's not an every day type purse.  I still thought it was sweet but she seems to be the type that gives people things in order to win your friendship over.  Not that she is a mean person but maybe she thinks she has to. 

Oscar and Felix are one of my favorite customers to clean for.  They treat me with respect and are always going out of their way to make me comfortable.  They may have money but they do not fit the "I am far better than you are" mold.  I wish I could have taken a picture of their Christmas tree.  It was a white one with huge themed ornaments.  Star Wars, Wizard of Oz, Star Trek, Roger Rabbit. I have never seen anything like it.  It was definitly a bachelor Christmas Tree.

In the shadow of Alzheimer's.

When I was a young girl, about 10 years old or so, my great grandmother on my mother's side of the family was diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  My great grandmother, Bubba, the name is a Czech term meaning old woman, who was my grandfather's mother was always a busy woman.  The most vivid memories I have of her, were of when she had to move in with my great aunt and her daughter.  My cousin, Theresa, mainly took care of her while my great aunt worked.  And then my great aunt would take over so so that my cousin could go to school.  One Christmas they had given her a My Buddy doll.  Bubba treated that doll like a real baby.  She never went anywhere without it.  When she could no longer walk on her own was the day they had to put her into a nursing home.  She died less than six months later.  Her My Buddy doll laid next to her in her casket.  I was 16.

Fast forward to today.  My mom's mother has Alzheimer's.  She denies it.  She throws out any prescriptions she thinks she doesn't need.  Doesn't help that she is a retired R.N. because she will go through her medical dictionary for drugs to look up her newly acquired prescription.  If she sees that it is for depression she will throw the prescription out. It is common for anti depressants to be prescribed for individuals diagnosed with Alzheimer's.  She won't take what she needs to and she is always missing her medications but you can't stop her from her vitamins and supplements.  She has more bottles of l-carnitine fumarate then she knows what to do with and it's not like she needs the protein and fat burning qualities of it.  She has hypothyroidism and even though having that makes it difficult for you to lose weight, she is not overweight by any means.  And on top of that she has been screwing up my grandfather's medications. 

 My grandfather has heart disease and he also keeps his nitro necklace on him at all times. Ever since my grandmother has been descending the depths of reality, he has been taking at least one everyday.  We found out shortly after he was admitted to the hospital that she was overdosing my grandfather.  He has gotten so bad that no surgery will help and it's all about borrowed time.  The meds are just prolonging his life.  He is very frail and I will bet that he doesn't weigh more than 120 pounds soaking wet. Every time I see him I am reminded of how little time he has left.  He will probably not see this Christmas.  I try and spend as much time as I can with them and cleaning for them every two weeks gives me some alone time with them.  They are just a fraction of the grandparents that I remember in my youth. 

My mom and her two siblings have been talking a lot lately about what to do with my grandmother when my grandfather passes away.  It is very clear that she will need to go into some type of retirement home.  They don't really want to put her in a nursing home and the appeals of a ALF (assisted living facility) is far too independent for her.  She needs her privacy but also needs the structure of getting the meds she requires at the proper time.  My aunt and uncle have tossed around the idea of having her move in with them, but they know that it is going to be a living hell while she is there.  You can only be in the room with her for a short period of time before your patience runs out.  It's devastating to say that but 100% true. 

Monday, January 17, 2011

Keeping a cork on Mt. Vesuvius.

It has been a long while since I have had to deal with an ulcer of any type.  Decades really... then all of a sudden... WHAM! Right out of left field it hit! 

It was so bad this afternoon that while we were out shopping, I had Chris go to CVS to get some Gaviscon.  As soon as we came out of the store I was ripping into the bottle like a crack fiend looking for their next hit. After popping four of those puppies into my mouth and chewing like there was not tomorrow the burning pain stopped.  Oh how I love Gaviscon.  Nothing else can stop the pain. Not Tums, Rolaids, Mylanta...nothing! I won't be needing any appetite suppressants since I won't be eating much for the next few days.  When my ulcer is aggravated there is only so much I can eat that will not set off Mt. Vesuvius.  I have stress to blame this episode on.  When I get severely stressed the production of acid in my stomach grows by leaps and bounds.  I just have to reset my mind into letting things go and stop worrying and stressing on things that I can not control.  I have to remember that God has this and leave it in his hands. 

The first time I was diagnosed with a peptic ulcer, I was fed intravenously for over a week.  Nothing was allowed to enter my stomach .  The ulcer was the size of a half dollar and it was almost through my stomach lining. If it had been any bigger, surgery would have been needed. When I was allowed to eat, the only diet I could go on, consisted of foods that wouldn't take much acid to break down.  I was on nothing but baby food for two months.  Then gradually I could eat soft palate foods, like mashed potatoes and cottage cheese.  Once it completely healed I found out that I could no longer tolerate spicy foods.  Even mild salsa will bring a twinge of discomfort, so, I eat all that in moderation and limit it to a few times a year.

I have eaten cottage cheese with a few pears today to keep the acid from eating away at my stomach and  I have been chewing Gaviscon on and off to help settle the too much acid that has already invaded my stomach. I may just be able to sleep tonight without too much discomfort and the Gaviscon will be on my nightstand in case I need it. I sure hope not.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Fresh Start and Fresh House.

Although I may not have the Condo Complex anymore, I am still staying active.  I cleaned today for a long time customer.  Jeannie and her husband, Bob, have been so instrumental in passing out my cards to just about everyone they know.  I have cleaned for some of their friends and do get repeat calls for cleaning but several of them, like Jeannie and Bob, are snowbirds.  My business has been profitable during the busy season which typically starts in November and runs until June.  So I am searching different avenues to keep the business thriving during the off season.

I was approached yesterday by a real estate agent that deals with rental properties.  I gave her my card and she is calling me next week to meet with her to discuss pricing and availability.  This weekend I will have to sit down and really think about how to price this out.  I just wouldn't be cleaning a house but going through it with a fine tooth comb to make sure it is ready for the next renters.  I have also been asked to look into new construction clean outs.  That is a hefty job but if I can get my foot into that door, well I would have to hire help.  Which I think would be a positive step in helping out in employing desperate individuals in dire need of  a job.  So, I am open to that. 

Also, Chris has been asked to replace a kitchen/hallway tile floor.  So that is more money in our pockets.  He would have to do the job on the weekend since he has school during the week but they know that and they would prefer that anyway.  The only thing holding them back is whether to replace tile with tile or have a wood floor instead.  Chris is pricing the difference as I type this and will visit them tomorrow to show them their options.  Chris's dad has had several neighbors inquire about Chris' painting prices.  Last summer, Chris painted their neighbors house.  So now everyone in their neighborhood is aware that Chris paints.  Funny thing is that Chris really doesn't want to be a painter.  He is a good handy man but painting is not one of his favorite things to do.  So maybe while I figure out which direction my company goes, Chris may be the one bringing in the money on the weekends.  Which is fine with the both of us, just in case it takes awhile for mine to push forward. Not that I am going to slack off in pushing mine forward, but it will take that stress of having to have something yesterday anxiety looming over my head.

Besides cleaning today, I have also started to organize the house.  I figure since it is a new year and everything is going to get overhauled. I might as well include my house in that too.  Katie and I went through all her clothes and I just could not believe how much stuff she has outgrown.  We had two kitchen bags full of clothes for the Salvation Army.  I have also found a half dozen of those skinny ties  that were on the top shelf of her closet.  I know they don't belong to her so I assume that they were here when we moved in.  However, I am positive that we got rid of most of the previous tenants belongings when moved here.  In any case, they went into the bag for the Salvation Army, because neither Chris nor Jeff would wear them.  Tomorrow we will finish Katie's room and then tackle my office.  I don't have a lot of space but I have a ton of  stuff that I can not get rid of so, my next project is going to be putting up more shelves to accommodate everything.  Good thing Chris is handy, because I can't be trusted with a drill or a hammer.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Fool me once.. shame on you.

I am glad that yesterday is done.   Today is a new day, one with many opportunities and decisions. 
From now on I will make the rules and if you do not like it then, Hats Off to you! As in nice seeing ya, Adios and Sayounara!

For too long I have been a people pleaser. I have done whatever it takes, to make other people happy,  especially in my business.  I don't mean that I don't like what I do anymore, but there is a line that people should not cross.  I am NOT a maid.  I AM a house cleaner.  There is absolutely a difference and it's about time people figure that out.  Most of my long time customers knows this.  They treat me wonderfully and with respect.  Others that have not lasted, due to my choice, had this air about them that stank so bad I had to cut them off.  The entitlement syndrome is what I like to call it.  They may have money so they think they are ENTITLED to special treatment.  Special Treatment is not free!  My service is not expensive to begin with, even with providing all my own equipment and cleaning supplies, I am fairly priced.  However, there are services that are not included in a standard cleaning and if you want additional services then there is an extra fee period!

Which leads me to the subject of what happened yesterday.  For six months I have bent over backwards to make the people in the condominium complex happy with my work, to insure that I kept the contract going. After all, it was the bread and butter that held my family together.  For four of those months, I did not get one single complaint.  I went above and beyond to make them happy and even did things that a normal cleaner does not do.  Granted commercial cleaning is a whole different ball of wax but, I prided myself by going two steps beyond any hum drum commercial cleaning company.  I really don't think it was the people so much as the managing office of the complex. In fact the people always complented me and thanked me for doing a wonderul job.

 The general manager was ok but his assistant?  We have found a new wicked witch of the west in her.  She was never in a good mood and never smiled.  I always thought that she must have been born with a frown or a scowl.  I avoided having any contact with her because it reminded me of nails running down a chalkboard.  There were times though that I had to speak to her because the general manager was off on vacations or personal days.  I now understand why he was rarely in the office. 

She tried so hard to get me to do things above and beyond what was stated in the agreement.  I told her I would have no problem doing it but I would have to charge them extra for it.  My perogative and your choice.  Although when the invoice was done and turned over they would always manage to not pay the extra, stating that things that were included in the agreement were not done to their standards.  Which I would reply,  "No they weren't done to YOUR standards but ABOVE your standards". I also told her flat out that she must not have read the agreement because it clearly states that anything performed above and beyond the agreement would be subject to additional charges. If she chose not to pay it would just keep racking up interest and eventually going to collections. That was her choice.

 It got to the point that they went and hired a supervisor for the maintenance staff specifically to try and boss me around.  Instead of her coming to me with the extra stuff that they wanted done, she sent him.  After the first week of him being on the job, I brang in my copy of the agreement, I wasn't going to have some drone try and tell me what I have to be doing without him knowing any better.  So I educated the man on my responsibilities as a vendor and not an employee.  I told him if he wanted to be personally responsible for the extra charges than I would be happy to comply.  I told  him that I would need a credit card on file to be able to charge accordingly.  I was kidding of course, but I really think he thought I was serious.

I think the light bulb went on with him and he backed down. The maintenance staff in general were very nice people. I have been told often by all of them how much they hated working there and if they could get another job some place else they would leave in a heartbeat. I finally got fed up with the association not paying what was due and went into the office. When I  inquired about unpaid balances on their account the witch told me that they no longer required my services, becasuse the board of directors have decided to have the cleaning go in-house. Which meant that they would be hiring people on their payroll to clean.  She then told me to track down the supervisor to get my last months check. My mother was with me and I know it took everything in her to not go off on this woman. I felt bad for my mom because the general manager is actually a friend of my parents. He knew I cleaned for a living, and he wasn't happy with the company that they have had for two years, and he was the one that came to me and asked me to put a bid in. I even went and obtained general liability insurance because without it I could not clean for the complex.  He was there when the confrontation took place and he was the one that broke it up.  My mother and I went to his office and we talked behind closed doors.  I think that pissed off the witch even more and intensified her hatred of me when she was told the conversation was private.

Apparenlty, this year will be his last year with the company.  He is retiring. The witch has put in a bid for his position and to prove to the board how valuable she can be she has taken some of the general managers duties. That includes the budget for the entire complex.  She was the one that instructed the board to go with in house cleaning, stating that she could save them more than half of what they were paying to outsource the cleaning. Yes, she can do that but only by under paying the employees.  Which of course is what they will do.  The one person that they will be hiring will make about $300.00 before taxes a week. She will be part time which means she will not be entitled to benefits.   He was not aware that the board had voted on it so soon because he was in the middle of doing a rebuttal to show the board that in house cleaning is not going to be beneficial for them in the end. The meeting was supposed to take place this past Monday.  He left early last Friday as he always does and the board met and voted on Friday afternoon.  By the time he came into the office on Monday, the witch had already cut my last check and typed up a letter to explain their decision to cut ties with me.  Instead of needing his signarture the witch and the board president had already signed it.  He felt betrayed and was angry but he could do nothing. His hands were tied and that was that.  He apologized to me and he asked my mother to forgive him.  He did not want to this come between their friendship. He attempted to pay the outstanding balance out of his own pocket.  I told him no.  I have legal recourse and I am choosing to use it. He understood.  I felt bad for him but the respect has dwindled.  I think he could have least warned me of what was about to happen.  I wouldn't have been so blinded otherwise. 

Now with this behind me, I will NOT let another soul try and swindle me again.  My contracts have been revised and clearly worded so that something like this will never, ever happen to me again.  Even if they try, the contracts are so binding that the only way of termintating my service for any reason will come with financial consequences.  I am done being a door mat.

Now I am off to start a whole new campaign and to drum up more business so that my family will have roof over thier heads and food in the tummies.  I am a firm believer in one door closing many more will open!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Meme Time....

I haven't participated in Memes for a while now.. but this looked fun.  Stole it from Amy.
If you are wanting to do this too, here are the rules.. no cheating!

1. Put your iTunes, Windows Media Player, etc. on shuffle

2. For each question, press the next button to get your answer.



Fat Bottomed Girls - Queen I can’t even begin to describe how eerie this was LOL!


Should I Stay Or Should I Go – The Clash


Until The Whole World Hears – Casting Crowns


Prince’s Of The Universe - Queen


Pictures Of You – The Cure


One Thing Leads To Another – The Fixx


Puttin’ On The Ritz - Taco


What If I Stumble – DC Talk


Opportunities – The Pet Shop Boys


Roxanne – The Police - LOL... Chris liked this one!


Say It Isn’t So – The Outfield


Come Sail Away - Styx


I Wanna Be With You Everywhere – Fleetwood Mac


All I Ever Wanted – Depeche Mode


I Am On The Rock - Petra


What I Like About You – The Ramons

Answered Prayer...

For a long time, I have been denied myself from the truth.  A truth that has both hindered me and made me one of the most negative thinking person that I have known in my life.

For over twenty years, I have harbored resentment and mistrust.  I not only built a wall around myself, but a barricade upon barricade, upon barricade. Refusing, even the people that I care about, entry into my safe place.  Right up until two weeks ago.

Chris and I have been together for over 12 years.   A rocky relationship, at its best, from the start.  I can't even begin to understand how we lasted so long.  Until two weeks ago. 

Besides our daughter, Katie, there really wasn't anything that connected us to each other.  Going through the motions, day by day ruts, and wondering really how long our "relationship" was going to last.  I was always looking for the "other shoe to drop" and anticipating that day for a very long time. Until two weeks ago.

I have never fully given my heart to a man.  Some were able to penetrate into the thick, overgrown thorn patches that I considered the entry to my fortress of solitude. They, however, have never earned my trust nor my heart but, there were some that I wanted so badly to work out.  In the end, it was never meant to be and even though I would always get hurt, I bounced back faster each time.

When I met Chris, I was actually running away from a roller coaster of a relationship.  A relationship so toxic and clearly unhealthy, that I had to move 1200 miles to break free of him. A relationship that had me so distraught and unstable, that for the first and only time in my life, I was given anti depressants to cope.  That man wasn't a bad person. We just weren't compatible for one another.  We were the very reason why oil and water do not mix. 

When I met Chris it was months after I moved to Florida the first time.  In fact when I first met him, I thought he was a jerk to the nth degree.  So cocky and arrogant.  But, he was also very manipulative and smooth... two things that at the time were my weaknesses.  He never lied to me about who he was.  A player like no other.  Never deceitful, just full of himself. He embodied a confidence of epic proportions.  And I fell hard.  I got pregnant and then I left Florida during my third trimester.  I left because I figured he was like all the rest.  And up until two weeks ago, I still felt that way. 

I am not sure how it happened but even after I moved to Ohio, we still kept in contact.  He even called me at the hospital the day after I gave birth to our daughter.  We became friends, and then parents, that shared an interest in our daughters welfare together.  The first year of our daughters life, he visited us twice.  Then a short time after Katie turned a year old, he moved to Ohio.  Looking back at the first years, I can't explain how we stayed together.  They were very hard years that were full of resentment and based on no trust. At the beginning, Chris stayed for our daughter.  He wanted to make sure that this time, he was involved in her life, that this time she had both of her parents living under the same roof. We played happy but deep down we knew we were on borrowed time. Chris made the decision to move back to Florida after living in Ohio for three years.  He was miserable and hated every aspect of Ohio and its weather. I remember the night he broke the news to me. Whether I wished to follow or not, he was going back to his home. I made the choice to follow him four months later.  

Chris and I have both done things to hurt one another.  Maybe not intentionally but hurtful all the same.  I lied to him constantly about what really affected me and he...well... it doesn't really need to be said.  Up until two weeks ago, I felt as if we were just coexisting.  And the truth of the matter is that is exactly what we were doing.  We were affectionate towards one another but affectionate or not, without trust, it just doesn't matter.  I will say that the three years in Ohio changed Chris. He became a different person.  One with more tolerance, patience and a new understanding of what true love is.  I on the other hand, wallowed in misery.  I loathed the very idea of love.  I just did not have any room in my heart and life for it.  I refused to let another man hurt me.  And I blocked Chris out. 

Over the years, Chris had tried repeatedly to get me to confide in him on why I was the way I was.  It always failed because I didn't see that I had a problem.  I was stubborn and obstinate and there was no way I was going to tear down my walls.  But, I did try on several occasions. I was not honest with myself and therefore it always failed. 

Then, two weeks ago, exactly two days before Chris' 40th birthday, I snapped, and as always something so trivial and stupid started the avalanche of hurt feelings.  Then the truth came out.  I did not trust him.  Even after years of telling him that trust had nothing to do with it, it finally burst through my wall.  For hours we talked, cried, screamed and cried some more. I don't know if it was the possibility of losing him or if I just was too tired of lying to myself, but I finally poured out my heart to him.  We brought up past issues and like a big magic eraser all the hurt feelings, hatred, and resentment went away.  I can't even describe how in one night, everything that I held on so tightly to, just disappeared.  For the first time I looked into Chris eyes and I saw his love.  He loved me even though I did not deserve it, he stuck around because he believed that this was not how it was going to end.  He loved me because he wanted to. He loves me today because I finally told the truth. He and I both know that our prayers were answered two weeks ago. We may not fully understand why it took over twelve years but it is never in our time, but Gods time.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

My Own Little World - Matthew West

Very moving song isn't it?  Speaks volumes and whether you like it or not.. it reaches inside your heart and tugs more than a little. 

God has been pulling on my heart for many, many years.  Sometimes I would stop and listen and other times I would pretend I didn't feel a thing.  I won't pretend anymore. 

I started a campaign to raise awareness and donations for a dear friend that is battling with cancer, known as Multiple Myeloma.  If you are able to, please donate whatever you can. Just click the donation button under the heading: Help Phil Battle Multiple Myeloma in the top right hand side of the tool bar.
If you are among the many who are struggling financially yourself, You can still help by spreading the word.

And I thank you from the bottom of my heart!

Sunday, January 2, 2011

My parents memorable trip to Germany.

My parents had a good time in Germany.  I won't say great, because as my mom put it, "It was a comedy of errors." Nothing went as planned, but that doesn't make it a bad trip, just a more memorable one.

My dad became ill the first two days of the trip as well as a handful of others.  He spent the first two days sleeping in the hotel room. Others in the performance started to come down with the sickness as the days progressed.  My mom on the other hand didn't get sick until Christmas evening. 

Out of the 1,800 troops that were supposed to be entertained by the Singing Christmas Tree performances, there were only 15 soldiers and their families. Apparently the other 1785 were transplanted elsewhere. The biggest recipient of the Churches generosity and kindness turned out to be the locals of Weisbaden, Germany.  Many of them came to more than one performance.  It wasn't a total loss.  They had fun with the locals and my parents enjoyed mingling with the kind and generous locals.

One of the women in the choir, fell and broke her shoulder bone.  She was immediately sent back home to have surgery.  While the crew was in Weisbaden, they were treated to the worst snow storms in over 100 years.  This made coming back home a nightmare.  My parents flight was due in Detroit on the Tuesday before Christmas, they never left Germany until Wednesday evening.  They finally made it home on Thursday.  Twelve people were stranded until Christmas eve.  They finally got home Christmas night.  My parents and 160 others flew Delta.  The 12? They flew American.  Goes to show ya who really took care of their passengers. 

My dad told me about a gentleman there that came to all five performances.  Always with what looked to be a one of those nikon spotting scopes, turns out he was legally blind and used it to see the people in the performance.  The man was so grateful to be able to see the performance for free, all five times, that he treated the whole crew to dinner on their last night.  Turns out he owned one of the most prominent restaurants in the village.  Go figure.

My parents really enjoyed shopping in the open Christmas market, which is a tradition through out Germany.  My mom, bought my sisters and I, an ornament that says Frohe Weihnachten, wish is Merry Christmas in German and my dad bragged about tasting every local brewed beer and loving it.  He would since he is of German nationality. He brought back several beer steins, one for my grandfather and the rest for himself.  He now has over 100 steins.  Who needs that many steins? And who, I wonder, will be the lucky one to inherited them?

Back to Normal..somewhat....

I have been dealing with some kind of bug for the last few weeks.  Working when I shouldn't have been probably didn't help and on Saturday morning I woke up feeling like crap.  I am still not up to par but again, I have to work tomorrow so... this may take awhile to feel human again.

Kids are well.  Katie starts back to school tomorrow.  Chris and Jeff have another week before they start. So it's back to the grind for most of us.  My mom is well enough to help me clean tomorrow so that will help me and business is slowly starting to pick up. Hopefully, 2011 will be a good year for my household.

We have had to return a lot of clothes in the last week.  Katie is growing like a weed and the sizes that I thought would fit her are now two sizes too small.  We even had to get some bras for her.  She is not happy about that but she is going to have to deal with it.  Jeff has been buying his own clothes for awhile now.  He prefers rocawear jeans and mall brand clothing stores.  They may be a little more in cost but the quality of the clothes more than make up for it.  They last a lot longer than retail store brands.  Jeff justifies this as you may pay more upfront but you won't have to pay more often because he could buy retail store brand three times more than what he buys now.  So cost wise it's about the same. 

Katie is growing so much that spending that kind of money on clothes would not be worth it.  She is almost as tall as I am (not saying much, since I am a shorty at 5'2") but she is going to be taller than I am, that is a given.  She hasn't quite hit full on puberty yet, but it's close.  She is already getting the "tude" so, we are just waiting for the other shoe to drop. I keep kidding Chris that he is going to have to hurry up and get his man cave all set up, because he is pretty much going to be spending a lot of time in it.