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Eclectic Thoughts from a Homeschool Mom » 2008 » May

Beware! Watching Indiana Jones can cost you $250

May 27th, 2008

Lego Indiana Jones SkullFor our family, going to see the new Indiana Jones movie is going to cost us $250. Why you ask…let me tell you.

On Sunday, our entire family went to the Alamo Drafthouse (the BEST movie house ever) to see Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. After two hours at the theater, we walked to our car. While we were inside, someone (thinking numerous descriptive expletives now) decided that crunching into the back of my car was a good idea. It looked like a large truck with a big grill thought that taking out my license plate and denting in my trunk would be fun. MAN, was I angry!

Whoever crunched my car did not leave insurance information or a note. They didn’t say they were sorry. They definitely didn’t park close to my car after hitting it. They just got away, scott-free.

I called State Farm on the way home to report the hit-and-run. They asked if we had called the police. My husband and I thought that since no one was injured (and it was a holiday weekend), that we didn’t need to trouble the police. Apparently, we did. Insurance needs a police “blue form” filled out and sent in. If we don’t send in the form, our deductible will be $500. With the form, it will be $250. It will be covered under uninsured driver with the form. We will also be given a rental car while the repair work is done.

I know I am TOTALLY NAIVE because I was really upset that the person that hit our car didn’t fess up. My husband thinks I am naive and too trusting of the world. I do recall wishing leprosy on the driver. I know it wasn’t nice to say. I was (and still am) really mad.

So…we have to go to an approved repair shop on Thursday for an estimate of work and time frame. That is time out of our crazy schedule. It will probably take 2-3 days for the repairs. I will have to ask a family member to drive me to the rental car place. All because someone decided that they could squeeze into a parking space with their big car.

Beware of summer blockbuster movies. Movies = Busy parking lots = Stupid parallel parking idiots

(P.S. Although we loved Shia in the new Indy movie, the flick didn’t rank above #1 or #3 in the series. We are hoping that Shia “takes the hat” and carries on the Indy movies. He seems like a sweet guy.)

Wouldn’t it be great if you could buy more time?

May 19th, 2008

Ever have times in your life when you get to the end of the day and you think: “WOW! Where did the time go?!” I feel like I am in an endless loop of “not enough hours in the day” mode.What time is it?

First of all, we are finishing up with our academy courses. I am crossing my fingers, but I think our son did really well in his two classes. That is a relief to me. He didn’t start the year off right. For the first month, I don’t think he did much, if any, homework for them. When my husband and I noticed, we put an immediate stop to his slacking. I think he will pull a strong B, if not A in both classes. We are getting our monies worth. Whew! Our new classes don’t begin until August 2008. That should free up some time. Nope.

We need to remodel our master bathroom. A month ago, I was taking a shower and slipped. To catch myself, I fell into the shower wall. The wall caved in and sent about 20 tiles into the shower. Don’t you just love cheap home construction? Thanks so much, Milburn Homes, for cutting corners. We found out that the drywall was decayed/wet and that the whole thing needed to be ripped out and replaced. We found a great deal on a whirlpool tub (normally $700+, we got it for $400). Now, I need to find the time to rip out the tiles/walls, pull down wallpaper, pull up sticky floor tiles, pull off the baseboards, and on and on and on.

On top of all of that, I have three book sales coming up. This is my chance to go through our school room and downsize all that we have outgrown. There is quite a bit this year. Our school books are starting to take on a more mature feel. Our elementary books are all going out and being replaced by thick readers and books that make you ponder every subject under the sun. It is also a sad time for me. My baby is almost a teen.

Although summer is almost here, we won’t be stopping some of our activities at all. We will continue to do math with Grandpa, martial arts, Scouts, and guitar on a weekly basis. We homeschool year ’round so once we finish with 6th grade, we will jump into 7th. Well, after one month of rest. I try to give us mini vacations here and there. We usually take the whole month of December off too. I found a few years ago that I wasn’t giving us enough breaks. I really need to do that for everyone’s sanity.

So…I am reaching the point where I wish I could buy some more time. I could use it. I have so much that I want accomplished in the 14-16 hours that I am up. Where do my days go? It seems like I can just never fit in everything that I want to get done. Why is that?

Four Tornado Sirens Means Head For Cover

May 17th, 2008

Our family was in the middle of watching I Am Legend on Wednesday evening when we heard our community tornado siren go off. We have heard this siren on many occasions. Each time was a trial run on the first Saturday of each month. This wasn’t Saturday. This was for real.

Old Austin tornado picWe stopped our movie and jumped to our local weather channel. All of our local stations said that conditions were perfect for a tornado, damaging/high winds, and hail up to 3″ across. The weatherman’s Doppler map showed that the perfect tornado conditions were on a path to our area of Austin. “Seek shelter. Move to the inner parts of your home. If you are in a trailer, leave it. Get away from windows.”

Our family has been through these warnings in the past. My husband and I have seen two tornadoes from our front lawn. One F5 tornado struck Jarrell, TX in 1997, killing 28 and injuring 17. We have seen walnut-sized hail land on our driveway. We have seen the sky turn a greenish color and the air become still and spooky. That is why our community put in a tornado siren. Just in case.

We kept an eye on the weather channels. We cleared out a hall closet and put in blankets, batteries, a radio, food, water, and misc. items. We were prepared to take the dogs and our family into a closet and ride out a storm. The tornado siren went off four times in one hour. That, in itself, was the most sobering thing for me. Hearing that alarm go off and screaming to the community: “Hold on to your hats. This could be a nasty one”, really got me.

Thankfully, the conditions changed and so did the course of the storm. It missed our suburb. We did notice the next day that several trees were knocked down in the next city over. That is where they also got baseball sized hail. Can you imagine having your car outside when those are falling from the sky? I can’t even imagine dodging chunks of ice that large.M&D down tree

As my in-laws are out of town this week, we went over to their house the next day to check on things. They live in the city where they got baseball sized hail. Their home was fine, however, their fence wasn’t. Their neighbor had a tree that broke in half and crashed into my in-laws yard and took down their fence. Thankfully, it didn’t hit their home. We dealt with the tree with a handy chainsaw and some muscles.

I thought that living with earthquakes was scary in California. Tornadoes are pretty interesting too. At least with an earthquake, you know where your stuff will be when it is done. They don’t whisk off your family or tear your house off of its foundation. I heard that the Jarrell tornado picked up a man’s wallet and it was found 45 miles away! Talk about force! Wow…..

I know that disasters happen all over the world. When you live through one, it humbles you. It makes you realize that all that matters is family and if everyone is okay. You can rebuild a home. You can replace a car or furniture. You can’t replace those you love.

Can’t the movie folks come up with SOMETHING new?

May 6th, 2008

I have said on here before that I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE movies. Maybe it is the visual learner in me. Maybe it is the artist in me. Maybe it is the fantasy daydreamer in me. Who knows? I just love movies.

I was looking up tonight upcoming movies for 2009-2011. I could NOT believe the amount of movie remakes that will be coming to theaters over the next two years. Have you ever heard of any of these:

  • The Birds (Tippie Hedren & Rod Taylor were GREAT in this Hitchcock classic)Birds Hitchcock
  • Tron
  • Conan
  • Day the Earth Stood Still
  • Thomas Crown Affair #2
  • Escape from New York (Go Snake Plissken! Love the eye patch.)
  • Short Circuit
  • Incredible Shrinking Man
  • The Invisible Man
  • The Lodger (GREAT Hitchcock classic)
  • Wolfman (Lon Chaney is turning is his grave)
  • Race to Witch Mountain (Remember the Disney Witch Mountain movies in the late 70’s?)
  • Alice in Wonderland (haven’t there been enough of these?)Logan's Run
  • Logan’s Run
  • Fahrenheit 451
  • Dune
  • Wuthering Heights

If you watched a lot of television in the past, here are some upcoming t.v. shows that are being made into movies:

  • Land of the Lost
  • G-Force
  • Greatest American Hero
  • He-Man and the Masters of the Universe

The movies that I am looking forward to seeing in the next 2 years are:

  • State of Play (remake of a BBC mini-series)
  • Akira (a classic anime story)
  • Night at the Museum 2
  • Terminator 4 (yeah, I know….)
  • Toy Story 3 (What can I say? I love that Woody & Slink)
  • Transformer 2 (Robots, Shia, big budget…where do I buy my ticket?)Where the Wild Things Are

Books that will be movies (Yippie!):

  • Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (Rick Riordan made kids love Greek history again!)
  • Watchmen
  • Inkheart
  • Guardian of Ga-Hoole
  • Coraline & Neverwhere (both by Neil Gaiman)
  • Where the Wild Things Are

No wonder English is a tough language to learn!

May 5th, 2008

21 Reasons why the English language is so hard to learn:

1) The bandage was wound around the wound.

2) The farm was used to produce produce.

3) The dump was so full that it had to refuse more refuse.

4) We must polish the Polish furniture.

5) He could lead if he would get the lead out.

6) The soldier decided to desert his dessert in the desert.

7) Since there is no time like the present, he thought it was
time to present the present.

8)A bass was painted on the head of the bass drum.

9) When shot at, the dove dove into the bushes.

10) I did not object to the object.

11) The insurance was invalid for the invalid.

12) There was a row among the oarsmen about how to row.

13) They were too close to the door to close it.

14) The buck does funny things when the does are present.

15) A seamstress and a sewer fell down into a sewer line.

16) To help with planting, the farmer taught his sow to sow.

17) The wind was too strong to wind the sail.

18) After a number of injections my jaw got number.

19) Upon seeing the tear in the painting I shed a tear.

20) I had to subject the subject to a series of tests.

21) How can I intimate this to my most intimate friend?

Oh, how I love used homeschool book sales

May 5th, 2008

The homeschool, used book sale is coming up this week. It is a sale that I look forward to every year. It is a chance for me to sell lots of homeschool books that we have grown out of. It is also a chance for me to buy books that I need at a fraction of their original cost.

This year, I only need a few items (i.e. Alpha Omega Language Arts T.M., some Sonlinght/Veritas readers, some books on Texas history, and a Heath Algebra T.M.). I am hoping to set up my booth early so I can do some shopping before the doors are opened to the homeschooling community. Last year, I made enough to buy all of our books for this year. I sure hope I can do that again this time around.

The downside to homeschool book sales is the effect it has on your teaching confidence. I don’t know about other homeschoolers, but I tend to doubt the materials I use when I go to sales. I might see a new program and hear how great it is from the seller. I then say to myself: “Maybe this is better then what we use. Hmm…maybe I should buy this and try it too…” That is definitely not a good thing. That is one of the reasons that my school room is FILLED with tons of curriculum that we don’t use. I see something that looks great and I add it to my shelves. Normally, those materials will sit there and collect dust.

Lots of books

I have been going through our school room over the last week. Our living room is full of items that I plan on selling. I really think I am a “curriculum pack rat”. Why do I have four language arts programs? When am I going to use all of these math textbooks? It is time for me to let go and only use what I know works for us. THAT is why being an eclectic homeschooler can be tough.

For me, I only attend used homeschool book sales. That way, I won’t be bombarded by new programs and sales people at the big conferences. I went to the homeschool conferences for one year. I think I walked away with $1K less in our savings account. Thankfully, I have learned over time not to go to them. They are too much of a temptation for me.

With two used book sales coming up and places like Book Mooch & Paperback Swap, I should be able to clear out our school room. That would be so nice.

When it takes a flame thrower & fire extinguisher….

May 4th, 2008

…..you know you are getting old.

Am I getting old?

Today was my 39th birthday. I was worried when I was about to turn 30. Saying good-bye to your 20’s is tough. It seems like the world expects you to KNOW what is going on. You should have your head on straight and know the direction you are headed when you become 30. Honestly though, who really knows all the answers at 30? 40? 50? Does anyone?

As I am a year away from 40, I find myself more confident in who I am. I wear many hats and have many jobs. I might not be paid for those jobs, but they are all equally important. Forty doesn’t scare me one bit.

My day started out with sleeping in and being woken by a chorus of “Happy Birthday” and a steaming breakfast in bed. Ahhh…luxury! The morning became busy after that with cleaning our house. We were going to have a bar-b-que with family and a quiet birthday celebration. Our bar-b-que had been acting up (it is only 12 years old…I mean….come on…..), so my husband went to the grocery store and Lowe’s to get a new propane tank.

Love my mixerI got a call from Lowe’s. It appeared that our 12 yr. old bar-b-que had finally died. It was time for a new one. My husband and I are famous for repairing items until they can’t be repaired any longer. We had our first car for 13 years. We have a dryer that we have had for 11 years. We maintain things and repair them as long as we can. So….I was being told that a new bar-b-que was coming home. Happy early Mother’s Day/Father’s Day to the both of us.

My husband came home about 30 minutes later with a new bar-b-que. As I have a small car, he had to put all of the parts throughout the vehicle and bring it home without a box. As I was unloading the trunk, I found a Kitchenaid mixer. Wait a minute! I said: “NO birthday presents!”. Obviously, my husband wasn’t paying any attention. I had been spoiled rotten. I have always wanted one of those mixers. Now, I have a black one on my kitchen counter. I love it.

I told my husband that I wanted him to pick up a simple cake mix & frosting so I could make a cake. He should have also picked up a flame thrower and fire extinguisher. He had purchased TWO BOXES of 24-countAnyone have a light? candles. *sigh* What ever happened to the demure 3 candles (past, present, & future) on my cake? I don’t really need to see 39 candles on my cake. Where is the fire department? Do we have fire insurance? Geez!

I have to say that it was a wonderful day. The only downside was that my husband had to fly out today for a business trip. Other than that, it was a great weekend. We saw Iron Man on Saturday (which was surprisingly good….really…I was shocked). I was spoiled with an expensive appliance. My mom-in-law made me jewelry which I know took hours to make. I ran out of breath blowing out my candles. It was a good day.

Just wait until my 40th birthday. I am sure I will need “assistant candle extinguisher technicians” to help me with my cake. Maybe I will get a fire extinguisher for my birthday? I think I might need it?