I've been lax in my blogging, again! And, as I am an amazing guilty-conscience rationalizer... I must offer excuses:
  • I am PMSing and am therefore more apt to growl than speak/write intelligently.
  • My little niece is visiting from sunny California and she's 16 so when she's not sleeping the entertaining must commence! (she's really very sweet and Doodlebug is crushing a bit, insisting he spend every waking moment with her)
  • I am Trying. To. Write. I don't know how all these writer bloggers keep a blog going while they are writing. When I'm not working, I'm attempting to work out, cook dinner, deal with spawnling issues, distribute hugs & cuddles, watch a little TV (guilty pleasure) and then Write. Blogging? I remember, "Oh crap, I forgot to blog" at 3:00am, when my body has finally decided to shut down for sleep.

Enough with the excuses. So much is going on in my world (and in my head) right now, I'm not sure which way is up.

After further examination of the market and a little discussion with a relative who's amazing when it comes to things like this, Mr. Clean and I have decided to put off breaking ground for the house (i.e. getting the loan to break ground) for at least a year. Construction costs right now are Out. Of. This. World. A year ago, we would have paid out maybe $140k to do this house (much of the labor ourselves). Right now, we're standing at $210k. It's disgusting. And the interest rates have gone up 2 points in the last year.

Instead, we're going to spend this next year burning up our debt like a mid-summer wildfire. Shaggy is fit to be tied about the whole thing. I think he's more disappointed than anyone. Me? Meh. It's all good. I was wallowing in my overly cautious penalty box anyhow so it's a bit of a relief to come out and say, "Whew!" and not get burnt at the stake for it. We're going to continue pricing, etc.. That way, once the time gets here, we'll be ready with the lists and it'll make things much smoother in the long run.

Fourth of July - Well. It certainly was intersting. Mr. Clean and I piled the spawnlings (plus CaliGirl) into the truck and headed into one of the nearby towns (we have a choice of 4, which are all 30 minutes away) for fireworks. But first, we stopped at a BBQ place my sister, GypsyRose, has raved about. Rave. Rave. Rave. Umm, I think she's smoking the funny stuff and it's messed with her taste buds. Not one person at our table was happy.

The chopped beef sandwich was soggy and the meat was fatty. CaliGirl got a big honkin' piece of chocolate cake (cuz she's 16 so she can get away with eating stuff like that and still stay a size ZERO). It tasted like freezer. Blech! Mr. Clean got a plate of different stuff and although he ate it, I could tell it wasn't the greatest. He will not, however, admit it was a total waste of money because it was his idea to go there in the first place. Shaggy ordered soft tacos (already a mistake) and took all of two bites.

Hmm... I have to retract my above statement. There was ONE person happy. Doodlebug, having eaten something earlier, only had a little bowl of banana pudding and he liked it. Then again, he often reminds me of Mikey from the Life cereal commercials way back when. Heh.

After the disappointing dinner, we raced to Starbucks to soothe the hurt feelings in our mouths. My tongue was particularly pleased with its Venti Mocha Lite Frapp with Peppermint. Their new Tangerine Frappucinno, however, is now and forever Off Limits! to Doodlebug. We might as well have given him a fifth of Jack Daniels. Schnockered on sugar, folks. If it's any indication of things to come, my baby is going to be one of those FUN schnockered people - you know, the kind who run around like hooligans, play practical jokes on people, and make all of the onlookers laugh until they cry. The one people Go to parties to see. Yeah, that was him. You wouldn't believe the Looks you get from strangers when your 8 yr old is stumbling around like he's been sneaking into the cooler for alcohol. I wanted to hang a sign around his neck: "Sugar, people. It's SUGAR!"

This year's fireworks were at a slightly different location than previous years - due to a lot of booming construction in the town. Instead of parking on the side of the main highway there, we had access to New! Big! Parking Lots! And it was Lovely.... except that it was RAINING. Yes, folks, we sat out in the warm, wet rain to watch fireworks. And we had fun doing it! At one point, we actually thought they might call it off but then I forgot we live in Texas - where rednecks will do fireworks Anywhere, under Any conditions.

I will say, they must have spent a fat wad of money on them this year. It was a great display. Granted, the middle of it became somewhat lost in the smoke of the previous explosions, which decided to just hang out in the sky like a great grey beast. The entire show then took on the surreal quality of a re-enactment of War of the Worlds. Shaggy noticed.

Have I ever mentioned that Shaggy is a bold, brave young man who is only scared of.... ALIENS? This is a child who Lost His Shit watching Mars Attacks! (that stupid, stupid movie about the little aliens) Since then, we've subjected him to Signs and then War of the Worlds. It's okay. We payed for it on the 4th.

He started babbling about how it looked like War of the Worlds and what if... Oh, but What If?!! To the point that we all sort of looked up there and began to wonder. And then our hair began to stand up on end, In. The. Rain. (it was really freaky)

The finale was exceptional and we all piled into the fogged up truck (did I mention it was humid?) for the drive home. Except, Shaggy kept talking about the aliens and the what if... and this is a kiddo who can talk for hours and hours and hours about the Same. Damn. Thing. We were just to the point of saying "Shut up already about the aliens" when one of those public service emergency announcements came Bzzzzzzz Bzzzzzzzz-ing over the radio.

The entire truck grew silent, waiting.

And then we heard them say it was not a test... and then.... STATIC.

If one person in that truck does not admit their heart began to race just a little... they are LYING. Well everyone except Doodlebug, who bounced up and down on the back seat like a jackrabbit, hollering, "The aliens are here, Shaggy! They're here for you!"

We never did hear the announcement (couldn't understand a word of it) but found out later it was an Amber Alert. Even so, I don't think we'll be watching alien movies any time soon. We're an overly-imaginative bunch. CaliGirl's parents are going to think we're smoking crack down here when she goes home and tells them about her time with us.

Other things (short version) - We went to see The Devil Wears Prada. Run, don't walk and go see this movie. It was great. I thought it was a lovely adaptation from the book but you don't have to have read the book to enjoy it!

Did you know teenagers can stay up until the sun arrives, playing Monopoly? It's a sure sign of age when you can no longer handle all-night Monopoly.

In the age of cell phones, it's much harder to find an excuse as to why your teenager cannot be on the phone after midnight during the summer. I would much rather mine be on the phone than loitering around My Space (no My Space accounts here).

I have somehow pulled muscles in my BUTT. I can't figure out how I've done it, though. Beyond spending time on my treadmill, there have been no strenuous butt activities going on. It's been decided that I've been mountain-climbing in my sleep. That's the only rational explanation for it. Seriously, folks. I'm having a hard time sitting, standing, walking. Where's The Fruitbat?!

Wordplay E is coming soon!

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