Thursday, July 29, 2010

Video Stores on the Verge of Extinction?

As most of you know, my husband and I own a video store.  You may also recall that I owned another video store with my SIL which we sold last April.  So I have, in effect, been in the movie business for the past 6 years. 

Move Gallery has recently closed it's rental business and is now in the process of liquidating their stock.  I am informed that Blockbuster is about to die as well and even that Roger's wouldn't be doing half so well if they didn't sell cell phones at their locations as well.

The demise of all these top video rental franchises has prompted a series of news reports all in which discuss the demise of the video rental store business.  A news report aired today entitled "Why Would You Go to A Video Store?".  The premise being why would you leave the comfort of your own home to travel the short distance to your local video store. (Okay some of you live in rural areas but a lot of you if not most live in urban areas).  If we were all about convenience from the comfort of our homes then why don't we stay home and make our own coffee instead of going to Tim Horton's or Starbucks.

What these reports do not discuss is the cost of PPV and VOD.  While we have been in a recession of the past year and a half, have they cut their costs?  No way.  Not only are their new release movies more expensive than a rental in my store, they also charge more if you want it in HD.  Not to mention, they only offer the top new releases.  While those of you in the US may benefit from companies like Netflix etc, those companies are not available to us in Canada and I can't imagine why you'd want to fill out your selection and then wait for titles to arrive in the mail. Maybe if I lived way out in the boonies, it would be convenient.

With rising gas costs it seems that everyone around us are raising their prices, from the pop guy to the candy man to the chip guy.  However, if we raise our prices barely 25cents we'd have a mutiny on our hands.  Change our programs or day specials a wee bit and literally customers have left slamming down their movies and walking out.  They always think that there is a better deal down the road and some times there is but most often we feel we're pretty reasonable. We're not getting rich, we're supporting our family... barely.

Still the perception out there is that with VOD and PPV out there that it is only a matter of time before stores like mine are closing.  Indeed at the pig roast this weekend, I was questioned by two different sets of people throughout the afternoon as to whether or not we could actually make a living running a video store.  I thought this bordered on rudeness.  After all, I wouldn't go up to any one in construction and ask how much money they made, whether they could support their family. 

What people don't realize is that VOD, PPV, Netflix and downloads are only a small portion of the multibillion dollar industry.  Even if their portion of the revenues added up to as much as 5%, it still leaves plenty of room for DVD sales and rentals for the rest of us.  And believe me, they are not attracting more than 5% of the market at this point. 

People also don't realize that the power behind things like VOD, PPV and Netflix are movie studios who want to cut out the middle man as much as possible.   In fact, they are constantly discussing ideas like providing all new releases to Blockbuster and VOD 30 days before they allow the rest of us to rent them.  By the time, I would be allowed to rent the movies, I might as well save my money.   Why would they do that when Video Stores provide them with the biggest revenues even over and above what even Walmart generates?  I just don't get it.

I am not completely naive.  I realize that eventually we will get to the point where everything is done online and that even one day we won't even refer to it is as being online (it's not for nothing that I've watched 1984), it will just always be there. I just don't think it will be as fast as people say.  If it was free, maybe but so long as we are having to pay to be online, pay for cable, pay to order movies, I think we have quite a few more years still.  I think it's those who are really into ordering or downloading movies (often illegally) that spin up this whole hype thing that the mom and pops video stores are dying. 

So why are places like Movie Gallery and Blockbuster suffering?  One, they are publicly traded companies.  Once you go public you have to pay presidents, vice presidents, CEOs, stockholders etc. It becomes extremely expensive for them to run.  These companies are extremely top heavy and when trouble hits they aren't able to make the cuts necessary.  Add to that that it is often difficult to keep stores running well when they are not owner run.  Most successful business have their owners involved in the day to day business.  I have seen more businesses go under because of an absent owner relying heavily on a manager who doesn't always have your best interests at heart.  Think about it.  How many times have you gone into one of these stores and been disappointed by the quality of service and the 3 or 4 giggling teenagers gossiping behind the counter who could care less about helping you.  I'm not saying all stores are like that but many are.

Then they eliminated late fees.  That was a huge mistake.  Think about it, you tell your customers that it's okay to keep your movies out late, you won't be charged until 30 days go by and then they will charge your credit card the price of the movie.  Okay. you keep your movie out for 29 days, take it back and all is forgiven.  Tell me how much potential revenue did they just lose on that one movie that was unavailable for rent?  Sure, BB and MG have tons of copies but only of the top new movies.  So if they had 100 copies and you can bet they have an average of 2000 customers or more going through their store a week, what happens to the other 1900 customers who wanted to see the big new movie?

What it we were to go to the public library and take out as many books as we wanted and just kept them for as however long we wanted, no charge.  The library would be empty.

Yet people constantly bitch at us about our high late fees (we charge $1.00 a day) and how MG was so much better.  Yeah, and they went out of business.  Then people like to make snide comments of how we make all our money off them being late and how we must just rake it in because they are so bad at returning movies.  Um yeah, that's right. Would you like a tour through my mansion or even take a look at my $9.99 fake weddinng ring from Walmart because I can't afford to get my real ones sized, or how about that wonderful staycation we're taking this year.  Don't even get me started on people who say they've returned movies when they actually didn't only they argue with you, swear at you and then 3 days later show up with the movie and no apology.

The point of this whole post is to make people aware that there is more to these companies going under than just a decline in rentals.  Part of a successful business these days means you have to be diversified and we try to do that by bringing in movie related products and electronics for sale.  It's true that if we want to stay afloat we need to turn our business into an "entertainment destination" rather than just a mere video rental store. 

So if you're tempted to order PPV or VOD just remember that sometimes it's better to have spent the money upfront than to get a whopping big bill at the end of the month.  Also, don't forget that the little video store around the corner is some guy or gal just trying to make a living.  Cut them a break and give them a chance to get to know you by name.  Going out to the local store becomes more than just an errand, it becomes an opportunity to socialize and you never know who you might run into. 

What do you think?  Do you VOD or PPV?

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Recipe Tuesday - A Change

I know I haven't always been faithful to post up a recipe on Tuesday, a week often goes by that I do not think about it.  While I often have many good intentions, I just as often find myself uninspired and have to fall back on the good old stand bys.

This week; however, I am bypassing Recipe Tuesday here in order to announce a little project I have started with my daughter E, and rather than referring to her as E all the time I decided to call her Emma. 

That project being "Cooking With Emma"

In the interests of connecting more with my growing girl and in an attempt to find a fun way of encouraging her to read, I've decided to start a new blog documenting our cooking together.  We are going to be pouring over the cookbooks looking for delicious things to try and my only rule is that we have to eat what we make. Which is easier said than done. ;)

So if you have a moment please check out my Cooking with Emma site.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Lasagna in your Dishwasher?

Well, it's still sunny here on the west coast and what with shuffling the kids off to swimming lessons, laundry and hanging outside supervising the kids in the pool, I haven't had a whole lot of time to actually post lately.

However, here's a fun link that was sent to me this week.  It's How to Cook Lasagna in your Dishwaser.  Yup.  In your dishwasher.  There's a little video you can watch and while I may not go so far as to do this (not in the summer anyways), it definitely gave me a great tip on how to snazz up my lasagna skills a little. 

So check it out at   Cooking Lasagna in Your Dishwasher Video

And if any of you try this... let me know how it turned out.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Still feeling resentful

My husband and I recently shared our 11th wedding anniversary.  Unfortunately, this year we had no funds and no babysitters so this day passed almost unnoticed by ourselves.  I was too pooped from trying to manage everything to even desire to put any effort into even something small for him and he.. well he just didn't think about it. We never exchanged gifts in the past, choosing instead to put the money to going out to dinner or even away for the night once we had children.  However, seeing as how we couldn't do anything this year, I would have appreciated even some flowers.

Some times I wonder if we are on that slippery slope towards...  I don't know exactly what. I'm not talking divorce or separation but sometimes I just feel like we've lost our closeness, our desire to be with each other.
I don't think he sees it this way at all and I can only go by what I am feeling.  It's just that sometimes I get so resentful of seemingly doing everything around here that I don't want to be close to him. I entertain thoughts of "why should I do something special for him when he can't even help with...  I do everything else, why can't he surprise me for Valentines or Anniversary... ".  You know what I'm saying?  I struggle with this because I don't want to tear my heart away from him, I don't want to be grumpy or miserable with him yet... some times I just get so frustrated it's hard not to.

I used to think that we could resolve everything because we are such great communicators but 11 years of marriage has taught me that sometimes men just get tired of all our crap.  They get tired of our sensitivity, our hormones, our desire to talk everything out.  Add to the mix of working with a bunch of hormonal, overstrung women in the work place eight hours a day and my man just no longer has the patience or desire to even hear me out any more. 

Also, when you have two different perspectives on the issues doesn't help either.  I think I do everything, he thinks he helps out just fine.  Which he does, on occasion.  In his mind he is a regular helper, in my mind it's more like once a month kind of help. I've tried talking it out with him but it only gets his back up and I get the "you want me to work all the time and have no break" back from him, it's time to quit talking because he's just not getting it.  All he hears is... "you never help, you do nothing, contribution is nothing".  It doesn't matter how much I tell him that I am aware of what he does etc.  So it's this bizarre circle that we just go around with.  I get mad and become alternatively grumpy or silent and he shrugs and says "I'm not taking this on", which makes me even more mad or sad. 

I sense the problem is more in my mind than his.  I think he simply takes for granted all the things we do, he may know that I am not always happy but manlike, he also knows he can't fix it so that it is my problem.  I am sure other than my occasional grumpiness, he's quite content. I would be too if someone made me dinner everyday, did my laundry, looked after the children etc, etc.

Every time I come across some mess that he's left for me, I have to remind myself of how he worked like crazy on the backyard to get it ready for E's birthday and how he mows the lawn and waters the flowers and the other things that he does do even if it is only occasionally. 

I just wish I could stop feeling resentful about these things.  Because after all, I am the one staying at home all day every day with the kids while he goes off to work. Since I've stopped working, it stands to reason that the bulk of the work falls on me.  I can give myself a good lecture, shrug it off for a few days and get into a better frame of mind but then the next infraction brings it all back up again (like the soap dispenser or leaving his stupid dental picks all over the place). 

We will get through it   Marriage really is a complex thing.  Just when you think you have it figured out, life changes and so does our expectations.  The problem is learning to adjust our expectations into some sort of acceptable form.  If that makes any sense. 

I don't really feel like I have things down the way I had thought them out while bathing O this a.m. But the kids need me to take them to swimming lessons so I will just have to ponder this a little further.

Monday, July 19, 2010

Oh No He Didn't - A Wifely Rant

So I am feeling like a much put upon wife these days.  Between being busy and sick with a sore throat, hubby hasn't exactly been all that helpful around the house these days.  As you can imagine, some days I stew on this a lot as I am forced to do something I had been waiting for him to do... like move the cabinets out of the front room that he bought at a garage sale over a week ago, haul the desk from the family room to the living room, pick up his drill, the drill battery and case off of my kitchen counter and *gasp* put it away. 

Now I get that since I'm not working outside the home at the moment, a lot of the chores are expected to be done by me. No it wasn't an agreement.. it's just one of those silent if not reluctant understandings.  Still, I expect him to take out the garbage and shift the heavy stuff.  These days it doesn't seem to happen.

So the other day when he was in the bathroom, I just about snapped.  You see he went to wash his hands and I guess the soap dispenser was out of soap.   I heard him mutter .."... what's the point of having this if it's out of soap."  OMG he so did not say that. That dispenser literally just ran out of soap. It's not like it's been out of soap for days and as far as I am concerned the implication was that I should have filled it.  I was so mad I rushed in there, jabbering at him that I can't believe he just said that.. it takes like two minutes to fill it up... as I filled up the soap dispenser and all he said was it wasn't meant as a criticism of me.  Oh yeah?  Who was it a criticism of then, the soap fairy? 

He then proceeded to explain that it's just frustrating to him to find things empty when he hardly washes his hand in that bathroom yada yada yada.  But he wasn't criticizing me.  Hubba what?  Has he forgotten that he uses this bathroom daily to do his business since he can't stand sitting in any of the other bathrooms so that I can't even have a shower in peace if he decides he needs to do a number 2 at that precise moment.  Yeah, and they say romance is dead.  

This is not the only thing he finds empty around the house.  He hates finding the sugar bowl almost empty and seems to think it's a conspiracy and only happens when he goes to make the tea.  He fails to remember that 90% of the time I end up making the tea since apparently I just make it so much better.  Yeah, it's called "things taste better when you sit on your ass and don't have to fetch it yourself".  That's what it's really called. 

I have to admit sometimes I leave things empty on purpose, like the kitchen soap dispenser just to see if he will actually fill it up.  HE NEVER HAS.  He gets the container out from under the sink and uses that until I actually take the extra two minutes to fill it up myself.  Still it's aggravating trying to play these mind games with someone who doesn't have a clue.

Cause really it doesn't matter that I cleaned the bathrooms, washed the floors, did all the laundry AND put it away, cooked supper, tidied up the kids toys, dusted, washed and made beds, hauled the cabinets out to the garage, shifted the desk around.... those things all pass by unmentioned but I miss an empty soap dispenser...

well just take me out back and shoot me because obviously I have lost my usefulness around the house.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Kids Drive Me Crazy

Kids Drive me Crazy.

What kid law is out there that says the minute your mother gives up and decides to grant you your request to have your water baby back, making your sister take her own water baby instead, after you put up a big huff, rant, rave and all around meltdown about the fact that your sister was playing with your water baby (which your sister was admittedly taunting you with) that you sneak back after I leave and give your sister back your water baby.  ?!?!?

This absolutely boggles my mind.  You hear that... it's the sound of me banging my head agains the wall.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Kids make you smile

I wish I had a photo of this.  O had used his dollar he "earned" from our garage sale selling lemonade to buy himself a cheapo watergun.  I'll have to admit this water gun was cool because it had two barrels and a switch on the end to make the water spray in different directions.

So it was with great expectations that he took his water gun up to the beach to visit my folks.  Nana obligingly filled it up for him but then he was disappointed when we all told him not to shoot water at us.  (spoil sports I know). We then told him he could spray Papa's truck.  Which he enthusiastically did unknowing that his dad switched the nozzle so that it'd spray in all directions including straight back at the person who is spraying it. 

You cannot imagine the chuckles we all got out of it as my son would persist in spraying Papa's truck only every time to get sprayed in the face, which he would then startle back surprised, wipe his face and shoot again.  Did he lower his water gun so it'd spray his shirt? No.  Everytime it'd hit him straight in the face. This went on and on while we, the loving adults we are, howled. Really, who was the three year old in the bunch?

However, I was later able to see my son's mischievious side as I looked up to see him with his sister's, dorothy the dinosaur hat.  This is a sturdy hat made out of denim.  The little sneak was half ducked behind a log squirting his gun into her hat repeatedly and then I heard him say... "Here J" in a sing songy voice.  Well, that cracked us all up again as we pondered the pure sneakiness of the trick he had ready for his sister.  Unfortunately, his sister was busy playing in the sand and so was not interested in donning her hat.

It still makes me smile to think about it.   Of course this is probably be one of those moments when you had to be there to fully appreciate the joke but at least it makes me laugh.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

1st Annual Blog Bash & A Little More Me

Blog Bash




I am participating in the Blog Bash being held over at Not Your Average Teen. It's sure to be a fun week of checking out other blogs and there is always the possibility of winning a prize.


To participate you need to head over and grab her Blog Bash button, read the rules and link up.


So here's a little more about me...


I am "Zeemaid" a mostly stay at home mom to three children aged 7, 4 and 3.  Since May when my video store sold I have become a full time stay at mom.  I pretty much had already considered myself to be a SAHM mom because I worked evenings. I spent the bulk of the day with the children while leaving only the last two hours of their day.  I haven't completely left the movie business though as my husband still owns his store in the community we just moved to.
 
I love to do many things but can't seem to find one particular thing that I am truly great at. I love to be creative whether it's coming up with something interesting for dinner or making some sort of crocheted blanket. I love to sing and I love to read. I really love to read. I devour books as fast as I get them. Funny coming from a video store owner but there it is.

I have been married to my wonderful husband for over 10 years. It's hard to believe it's been that long. I have to say I truly did marry my best friend and am happy to say that even three kids and 10 years later, we still never run out of things to talk about.

I am very much a living in the moment kind of gal. While I try not to do too much "drama", I do find myself succumbing to the if it's good, it's all good and if it's bad, it's all bad theory of thinking. I love my husband and kids 95% of the time the other 5% they plain old just drive me crazy. (To be honest that 95% is probably a little high)

Unbelievably I had become a blogger long before I ever knew what that term even meant.  When I was expecting my first child in 2003 I had begun chronicling an online journal hosted through geocities.  Sadly Geocities is no more so I had to download and save as much as I could.  Little did I knew that years later it would become such a big thing.  I really wanted to journal something about our lives, work out a little frustrations here and then, vent about my inlaws (I love them really) and then it gradually became this cool thing where I started connecting with other women out there and started to stumble upon all these amazing creative sites.

It's hard to believe that I have been blogging for over two years now.  At first I struggled to be consistent but the more I got into it the easier it became. I don't think I'm just a "mommy" blogger though because while I do talk about my kids I tend to talk about a lot of random other subjects like books, movies, craft projects and even recipes.  I even do the odd movie review. 

I really love blogging because it makes me feel so connected to other women out there. It's not just me struggling through the ups and downs of this chosen path. There are a lot of other women going through the sames things as I am. 

You may be curious about my chosen name, Zeemaid.  See I blog 100% anonymously which is why I don't post a lot of photos.  I really wanted this to be a place where I can say whatever I want without fear of reprisals from any relatives or friends that may stumble upon my site.  But why Zeemaid?  It's really simple.  I used to love playing Sims but got tired of making the little slobs pick up everything so I created a character to be in their house to do solely that.. clean.  She was, in fact... zee maid.  (get a little French accent going there) and voila (more French for you) it stuck.

One more unknown fact about me is that when I read to my kids, I often do it with foreign accents.  My kids think I'm crazy and often when a British accent slips out, E will ask me why I sound like Mary Poppins.  I just tell her I've been reading too much Jane Austen. 
So that's a little more about me.  If you'd like, click here to check out a few of my favourite posts to date. 

Thanks to Brittany over at Not Just Your Average Teen for hosting this blog bash and I can't wait to check out all of your blogs!

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Waiter, there's Soap in My Soup!


There is a famous story that goes around our family concerning my husband when he was young.  He wanted to help clean up and so poured dish soap into a pot of spaghetti noodles figuring it needed cleaning too. Unsuspecting, his older brother served himself a helping of soapy spaghetti.  K has never since lived it down and rather the man that he is rather enjoys his inventiveness and the good joke he had on his brother so many years ago.

So I should have been rather suspicious of my son this morning.  He had been up before all of us and I guess after mommy's tearful awakening yesterday decided to entertain and feed himself.  We came down to little pieces of foil all over the carpet... ah ha Bear Paw cookies, then the stool was in the middle of the living room with brown and yellow on the top step.  I could easily figure out the brown for chocolate chips but not the yellow until I spied the soap bottle sitting by the t.v.  It made all sense now.  He tried to clean up his mess.  Fair enough.

I help him finish cleaning up and think no more of it. That is until I go to drink my tea.  See I have no qualms about using my tea cup from the night before.  Don't judge me all you germaphobes out there!  So I grab my cup from the coffee table and here's where I deviated... I usually at least rinse the cup out only I didn't.  I happily made my tea and my breakfast and after several interruptions finally got to sit down and drink it.

Only to discover that it tasted odd and smelled a little like perfume.  A quick taste of my husband's tea confirmed that it was only mine.  Well it didn't take long for the light bulb to go on and for us to discover the soap residue on the coffee table where my cup had sat.  O had put soap in my cup.  Oh yum.

Question is did he do it with a sense of mischief... wait till mommy drinks this or was it simple curiosity?  Considering he is only three, I can't really imagine him pre-planning such a joke but then still he is his father's son through and through. So let's just say I am going to be considerably more careful drinking out of any cups left hanging around.

How did your tea taste this morning?

Friday, July 9, 2010

Summer Has Finally Arrived - but Do I want it?

Well I can officially say that summer has finally arrived.  For the past two days it's been almost unbearably warm.  It's funny how we complain about the weather and how we want nice weather then we finally get it and after only two days we start complaining about it.  I say warm weather is all fine and dandy but when it messes when my comfort... well let's just say I'm not a happy camper.

It's fine when it's warm during the day... there are lots of ways to stay cool, hang out in the pool, sit in the shade, eat freezies, do as little as possible.  At night time, however, there is little you can do but toss and turn in your now sweaty sheets.  Because our bedrooms are all on the second floor, the kids can't even have their windows open more than a crack.  There's the whole safety, not falling out the window issue, and trust me with O it is a real  possibility.  Two have ceiling fans in their room so that helps.  Only J's doesn't actually seem to create a breeze.  How could a fan not create a breeze?  Bizarre.  So after one restless night we went out and bought a couple of stand up fans. 

These worked great in our room, we managed to move fans into the other two bedrooms that needed it and I was able to sleep somewhat comfortably.  That is until O decided it was time to get up at 5:00 a.m. and despite being repeatedly told to go back to bed, he decided to stay up and wake up the girls.  So E came into my room at 6, 6:30, 7, and 7:30 asking me if it was morning time yet.  Hello the sun is up.. obviously it's morning it's just too damn early!  As soon as I turned the fan off I was blasted by heat.  Obviously it had not cooled off overnight.

Add to this that I have a headache so bad that just moving my head causes it to flare and you can imagine the scene was not a good one.  By 7:30 I was in tears and angry. I dragged my butt out of bed, slammed around the kitchen trying to make the kids their breakfast.  You know it's bad when you have to try and refocus your eyes so you can tell whether the toast you're giving to the kid has just jam on it or if it's the one that has both jam and peanut butter on it because heaven forbid you give the peanut butter hater one teeny smidge of pb on his toast. 

So many drugs later, half a cup of tea I am somewhat better but let's now add exhaustion to a dull headache and I just know it's going to be a great day.  sigh.   Plus I've just had to give the lecture to my oldest that she better behave and try to get along with her siblings (can we say bossy betty) or I'm not wasting my time sitting outside supervising them in the pool when I could be having a rest inside. 

yeah... it's gonna be a great day.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Big Stringy Mess

I've been enjoying making rag rugs.  When I get the opportunity that is.  I found several tutorials online took what I wanted from each and so far have successfully made one rug.

However... while I enjoy the crocheting I do not enjoy the prep work to get to the crocheting part.  One recommendation was to tear a bed sheet in alternating strips so that you get one continuous string so to speak.  That's all fine and dandy but what the person failed to mention was the frayed threads that accompany this.  I probably spent over two hours de-threading the whole thing just so I could wind it up into a ball.  I was heartily tired of the process and when it looked like I'd need at least one more sheet to finish off my rug, I was bummed. So I thought maybe if I actually took the time to cut the sheets I wouldn't get so many loose threads. I was right I didn't get too many frayed, I was happy and in no time at all I was crocheting again.

That is until I washed the rug.  The entire part of the rug that was cut... had loose threads all over it.  I'm going to have to spend some time trimming it all away to make it look better. That project since has been put away.

So this time around I knew it was going to be a time consuming process but I had forgotten just how much it was.  But money is tight and I really would like new bath mats upstairs.  So I found another worn sheet, thanks to my MIL and starting tearing away.  Well, it seems like it took forever and now I only have one ball and if I am going to be able to make a rug big enough, I am going to need another sheet done.

Does anyone know out there how to rip a sheet with having a million threads.  Am I ripping it wrong?

I don't know, maybe I can convince hubs to be on string duty.  If not, I think I may have to give up making these rugs.  I don't mind frayed edges, that's all part of having a rag rug.. but frayed loose threads... that's another story.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Are you a Pocket Checker?

Are you a pocket checker? I am not.  I absolutely refuse to check pockets.  #1 because I am lazy and I find checking pockets tedious, #2, I don't relish getting lint and grit under my finger nails and lord knows what I might find and #3, my husband is a grown man and so should be fully capable of checking and emptying his own pockets BEFORE he throws it in the hamper. 

So... when your wife finds three long screws in the bottom of the washing machine let's just hope that there weren't four and that it's not damaging the insides in some hideous way.  That if the washing machine does break down, it will in no way be the wife's fault. 

Just remember ladies, the more you do the more he will LET you do. 

Monday, July 5, 2010

For Once We've Accomplished our Goal

Even though we've had the pool up for over a week and the grass was put in last week.  The weather really had been too cool to contemplate swimming.  E's birthday party was the first  bay any of us swam in her pool.  The forecast was grim but a thanks to a few extra prayers being cast up, we were blessed with a warm if not slightly breezy day.

The children were still shivering like mad but then again what kid doesn't like to shiver a little. As for the RSVPs. Only three out of the 9 kids invited came.  Those three were actually the only ones that called to let me know they were coming. What has happened to common courtesy?  I have goody bags all prepped and ready to go waiting for little girls that never came.  Of course I had to have them ready because you just never know who might turn up.  What with her brother and sister, E wasn't really disappointed and agreed with me that it was nicer with fewer kids because there was more room in the pool.

It wasn't particularly warm yesterday either so we didn't get in the pool at all.  Although they just about plagued my life out asking to go in saying they didn't mind if it was cold.  Yeah right.  Only E really stays in for any length of time, still shivering despite the warm sun so I can only imagine how cold she'd be if the day was overcast.

It's warm again today so here I sit by the poolside while they play.  This is peace indeed after the constant bickering and fighting of last week.  It's unbelievable how adding one more kid back into the daytime routine managed to throw us all for a loop.  E had been bossy and demanding and it's about time that her sisters started to stand up to her and tell her to back off.  I've been reading a new book and learning how to deal with their fights etc but that will be another post.  Still we are only on the first real day of warm pool weather.  I wonder how quickly the novelty of swimming will wear off and I will be back to having to referee them again.

However, I'm not going to borrow trouble.  Right now I am going to finish this post and get back to crocheting while I watch the kids play.

So as promised here are a few before and after pictures of our backyard.

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Let's Recap the Week Thus Far

It has been a busy week. With E's "fake" birthday party looming up this weekend, we've been hard pressed to try and get our backyard in order.  You see we promised her a pool party when we have no pool, no grass and a dismantled deck.  All that and only two weeks to get ready.  Week #1 we were taken down by Puke Fest 2010.  Which left us week #2. 

Fortunately due to the generosity of my wonderful brother, we did not have to pay the digger guy to level our yard.  So with moolah in hand from our wildly successful garage sale, we purchased sod.  Only now the ground had be even further prepped and with K busy with assembling the pool and arranging the bricks around it.. said manual labour fell on my shoulders.  All I can say is that rocks breed like rabbits.  The more I raked, the more rocks would appear.  After raking almost the entire backyard 5 or more times over three days, you can well imagine my dismay when my husband told me that I needed to now "fine" rake it so as to grab all the twigs and sticks that were on the lawn.  Shazbut.  By the end of it, my back is out of wack and I was only saved from blisters on my hands by the fact that I grabbed a good pair of work gloves on the second day. 

But it was all worth it..  K picked the sod up on Tuesday afternoon and by 7:00 p.m. we had a lush and green backyard.  Pinch me.  It still feels like a dream.  Especially after living in a dustbowl for what seemed like weeks.  Even the kids didn't like playing outside anymore... it was too dirty for my dirty kids.  Can you believe it? 

Last night K got the deck finished and while it will have to wait to be stained I no longer have to worry about the kids stepping onto the wrong part of the deck and flipping themselves off it.  The only thing that could spoil her party now is rain.  We've been having a lot of mixed clouds and sun and today the sun has deserted us completely leaving us with rain.  While rain is good for the lawn, I'm just hoping that by Saturday it will be warm.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed.  Also only one child has RSVP'd so far.  One mom had told us right away that her two kids wouldn't make it so we were down to six.  I'm really hoping the other five show up or E's party is going to be disappointing for her.  How can you not RSVP? 

Add to that, that I'm still waiting for K to release some funds to me so I can buy party favours and groceries and I'm beginning to wonder just how well this party will even turn out.    Still his store has been extremely busy this week so hopefully he will have some money for me today. 

I will be posting some before and after pictures of my yard.  You just have to see it to really understand what a difference it makes.