Saturday, December 28, 2013

The Very Last Time Ruby Climbed The Christmas Tree

Kittens and Christmas trees do not a good combination make.

As soon as I brought the sections of the (apparently no longer) pre-lit tree up from the basement Thanksgiving weekend  and laid them on the floor of the living room, I knew we were in for trouble, as immediately, there was a kitten playing hide-and-seek in the branches. 

The big kitty boys were not immune to the tree, either, especially Fletcher. He was in the middle of everything as well. (Pete would have been, too, if not for still being so pissed off that Ruby came to live with us in the first place.)  

I secured the bottom third of the tree in the stand; Ruby climbed up the middle and poked her head out, eyes snappy and black.

I added the middle third of the tree, and she shot up that.

The only reason Ruby didn't climb up to the very tip-top of the tree was because the branches in the top tier were too close together and angled upward. But she was content to zip up and down the middle of the bottom two-thirds of the tree, occasionally stopping to chase her tail or do a little kitten spaz or to poke her head out an opening in the branches and peek out.

She helped me add string after string of lights to the (non) pre-lit tree.

She watched as I wrapped fishing line around the center post of the tree and secured it in two places to the wall, hopefully preventing her from tipping the tree over.

She even helped me put ornaments on the tree, although, to the casual observer, it looked a lot more like she was taking them off and running away with them.

Think "Where's Ruby?" instead of
"Where's Waldo?" or follow Fletcher's nose
Ruby had several methods of getting up inside the tree. One was to sit below it, wiggle her behind, and jump up. Another was to stand up on her back feet, hook her front feet over a branch, and pull herself up into the tree, chin-up style. The most exciting way Ruby gained access to the tree was to run full-tilt into the room and under the lowest branches, then leap like a flying squirrel up into the tree. She would then scamper up the inside of the tree as if she were on a spiral staircase.

We took pictures of her in the tree, eyes bright. She was so STINKING CUTE!

Then, she got sillier and crazier. The whole tree would shake (and we had an alarm bell of sorts on the tree: a tiny wind chime ornament that would ring when she started climbing the tree). She would chase her tail endlessly, making the wind chime dance and sing, but the tree never toppled over.

By this time, she had quit exiting the tree by climbing back down the center in the same way she climbed up, and instead, would stick her head through a hole in the branches and ski down the outside of the tree, ornaments flying in her wake (I wisely didn't put any of the precious or breakable ornaments on the tree this year, thinker that I am).

Preparing for dismount.

It was at this point that it ceased to be so cute that Ruby was in the tree, and we were resigned to saying, "Dammit, Ruby, get out of the tree!" and trying to extricate her before she knocked any more ornaments off the tree.

But finally, it was Christmas morning! Our family was gathered in the living room, everyone emptying their stockings. Santa remembered the kitties, too, and they had new toys scattered about already. We were just getting ready to open gifts when Ruby decided to make a dash up the tree. My husband was filming the kids with his phone and turned the camera on Ruby to document her Christmas tree climbing skills.

And that's when it all went wrong.

She was about four feet off the ground, chasing her tail, when she started crying, sharply. Then she began thrashing and making the worst sounds I have ever heard come out of an animal. The other two cats ran towards the tree, hesitated, then ran right back out of the room, their tails poofed out, their fur standing on end.

I jumped up and thrust my arms through the tree, where she was screaming and thrashing. As I grabbed for her, she sunk her needle sharp teeth into my finger, her claws scratching me, so frantic that I didn't know if I would be able to help her. I finally got my hands around her little body, and as she twisted and writhed, my fingers found the fishing line that secured the tree to the wall, twisted and wrapped around her hind foot. Since there is some stretch to fishing line (and this was very thin line), I was able to hook my finger under it, pull her foot free, and remove her from the tree.

Bitten. To. The. Bone.
She was still terrified, as was I, and continued to fight me for a bit, but I held her tight and soothed her, finally calming her down. My husband, who had abandoned the video at some point, came over to see if I was okay. I was shaking so, I could hardly walk, but I made it into the kitchen and began to run cold water over my bitten, clawed hands and arms. My son ran upstairs for peroxide and bandaids. The kitty boys slunk upstairs from the basement where they had been hiding, tails still poofed, eyes black. 

My hands were shaking so hard that I couldn't pour the peroxide over my bites and scratches myself, so my husband did it for me, bandaged my hands, held me until I stopped crying. What if I couldn't get her loose? What if it had happened when we weren't home? What if, what if, what if?

About that time, Ruby sauntered into the kitchen, headed to the food dish, and had a little snack, as if nothing had happened, the little shit.

We all assembled in the living room again and opened our gifts. Ruby hung around the periphery, but didn't get very close to the tree. The boys didn't get very close to her. And as soon as all the gifts were opened, I cut the fishing line and removed it from the tree. 

The tree didn't get knocked over.

Choosing an ornament
to take off the table
And the next morning, I took the tree down. I just didn't have a happy feeling about it anymore and wanted it put away for this year. Ruby was nearby while I took the ornaments off the tree and laid them on the coffee table. She even snagged a few off the table and played with them. She watched me unwind what seemed like miles of lights. She played with the branches of the tree once it was disassembled and lying on the rug.

But she didn't try to climb the tree, not even when my fingers were wiggling inside it, fighting to untangle the strings of lights.

I don't know how long Ruby's memory will be of this event, whether she will remember next year when the tree goes up that horrific event of the last Christmas (my husband says I'm giving her way too much credit in the brains department in that case), but I do know her memory is at least 24 hours long, and she didn't climb that kitten-eating tree again.

One life down, Ruby. Eight to go.

Watching me box up the ornaments

Saturday, December 21, 2013

10 Things of Thankful - The Renegade Edition

The beauty of being the host of a blog hop is you can break the rules. 

See, the 10 Things of Thankful has a secret rule book. And one of the secret rules is that it's okay to change your mind and do a renegade TToT link up even if you have declared a 2 week vacay from it. Here's mine:

1. We actually had school all five days this week with no snow days.

2. In spite of me doing half the project upside down, the Primary class finished their gifts for their parents, and we got them wrapped and sent home in the nick of time.

3. The Pre-K class got their gifts finished as well, although the wrapping didn't go quite as smoothly as planned, although IT WASN'T MY FAULT, FOR A CHANGE! I pre-cut 16 pieces of wrapping paper, setting about a dozen of them in the window sill, the other four on the art table about 6 inches below it. My Pre-K assistant teacher, Melissa, (a) did not see the ones in the window sill and cut a dozen more and (b) wrapped about half of them before I let her know that, if she turned the paper 45 degrees before wrapping, the finished project would fit neatly within the boundaries of the paper and not have the dowel rods poking out the ends. 

4. By cutting another 12 pieces of wrapping paper, Melissa kept me from having to cut paper for the Primary class the next day.

5. Other than having one pee pee accident earlier in the morning, the Primary class Christmas party was a success, and NO ONE cried when they went to see Santa and get their pictures taken with him, although three or four of them didn't want to sit on his lap and opted to stand next to him for the visit, holding my hand.

6. We had our preschool staff Christmas party this week. It's wonderful to work with a bunch of lovely ladies who get along so well with each other!

7. I collect snowglobes, the tackier the better. My daughter's club volleyball coach sent out an email recently while he was on a trip to Denmark. I replied to whatever his query was, then added a p.s. that he bring me a snowglobe. After Monday's practice this week, he handed me a box WITH A SNOWGLOBE IN IT. It's a fancy one, not even plastic, with the Little Mermaid inside.

The kind of snowglobes I usually get.

My new, fancy snowglobe, with a very nekkid
Little Mermaid inside (no, you freak, not the
Disney version, the Hans Christian Andersen one).

8. I followed a woman all over Walmart who had a kitten stuffed in the neck of her t-shirt. Most fun trip I've had to Walmart since the time I saw the transvestite in the dairy section.

9. Another holiday party, this time at my friend Dawn's home, where we enjoyed delicious food and a very lively game of Dirty Santa. 

10. Freezing rain began to fall while we were at the party last night, and by the time we left, our car was fully encased in ice, but the streets were just wet, so we made it safely home. Freezing rain fell all night last night and all day today, so we have spent the day just being lazy. As a matter of fact, I am still in my pajamas, and bedtime is not that far away. So far, we haven't lost power, although others in the area have, and as long as the wind doesn't pick up, we may make it through this unscathed.

When Ruby wasn't picking fights with her brothers, she was doing this:

There you have it, the Renegade Edition of TToT.

Ten Things of Thankful

12 Days Of Preschool, The Remix

My final exam-exempt high school freshman daughter finally got to come to preschool with me this week, getting to visit both my Primary class and Pre-K class. This is something she is always wanting to do but never can, as our preschool follows the public school schedule, and when we are out of school, she is out of school. 

Thursday was not only Primary day, but also Christmas party day. My daughter was enjoying the kids, their funny stories, their extreme cuteness. She was good help, too, running errands for us, playing with the kids at table time, and even taking them to the bathroom (where she was entertained with one girl's lively description of the status of her poop). Then, shortly before we had our special snacks and headed to the actual party (yes, including Santa), my daughter called to me from the other side of the room, where she was sitting in the Home Living center with the kids playing there.

"Mom, there's a liquid on the floor over here!"

Never words you want to hear at preschool.

Upon closer inspection, I found that there was a pee-pee accident, which I took care of posthaste, and we went on with our party. By the end of a morning with a dozen hyped-up 3 year olds, however, my daughter proclaimed that this day had been the BEST BIRTH CONTROL EVER. (Can I hear an "Amen" anyone?) And so, in honor of my daughter, here is a repeat broadcast of this post from last year:

The Twelve Days of Christmas, Preschool Style

(originally published Dec. 20, 2012)

On the 12th day of Christmas, my preschoolers gave to me:

12 smashed goldfish crackers

11 broken crayons

10 runny noses

9 block towers

gluey messes

7 squabbles ended

6 playdough sculptures

untied shoes

4 boo boos kissed

3 juice spills

2 pee pee dances

Aaaaand one sitting in the sad chair 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Wordless, I Mean, Speechless Wednesday 12.18

I am a cat person. I'm not ashamed to admit it. I love my big boys, Pete and Fletcher. And I'm a little bit ga-ga over Ruby. And who wouldn't be? She has made cat, well, maybe not quite lovers but tolerators, out of some pretty die-hard cat not-lovers. 

Ruby joined our household exactly 7 weeks ago. She's gone from the tiny baby who cried for her mama and had to be held and soothed to sleep to a sassy 2 lb. ball of fire. She picks fights with the boys, especially Fletcher, who has adapted to Life with Ruby much better than Pete has. Like any smart female, she makes sure she gets the last word in any argument; any confrontation between her and Fletcher ends with Fletcher slinking away while Ruby gives him a parting smack with her paw as he walks by.

She has eschewed the kitten food I got for her (the VERY EXPENSIVE Science Diet kitten food I got for her) and chooses to eat the boys' food. They, in turn, eat hers. 

Ruby raiding the boys' food bowl; the boys knocking
 over the bag of kitten food and eating what falls out.

Poor, starving Pete, having to eat kitten food....

I can even still see the cuteness in Ruby when she climbs the Christmas tree, although I'll admit that is starting to wear thin. Instead of, "Oh, look at cute little Ruby! She's chasing her tail inside the tree!" more often, you hear, "Dammit, Ruby, GET THE HELL OUT OF THE TREE!" This is especially true because her latest M.O. for getting OUT of the Christmas tree is that she pokes her head out through a hole in the branches, climbs out as far as she can, then skis down the outside of the tree to the floor, taking any ornaments in her path with her.

But when I say I am a cat person, I would like it to be noted that I am NOT a CRAZY cat person. And I know this from the following:

I was walking in the doors at Walmart this afternoon when I got this text from my friend and co-worker, Debbie, who, coincidentally, was inside Walmart (and who happens to be the owner of Ruby's mama and is why I now have a hyperactive kitten wreaking havoc on my Christmas tree):

Let me show you a close-up of that accompanying picture.

Photo credit to Debbie - she earned it

Yes, friends, this woman had a kitten IN HER SHIRT at Walmart.

Debbie reported that she last saw the woman in the toy section, so I hightailed it over there, hoping to catch a glimpse myself, and I was certainly rewarded with that and more. I tracked the woman all over the store, equal parts fascinated and repulsed. I tried desperately to get another picture, but for a big woman, she was FAST. In fact, the only time I had an open shot of them, the kitten had COMPLETELY DISAPPEARED inside her shirt. 

Debbie and I continued to text while I stalked the woman, and Debbie suggested I try walking up to her and asking her if I can take a picture, because the woman seemed quite proud of the fact that she had a kitten sticking out of the neck of her t-shirt, especially when the man in the photo department leaned over to pet it (let that one wash over you a minute...).

I followed the woman to the check out line, stopped, looked surprised, and said, "Oh, what a sweet baby!" at which time the woman pulled her out of the neck of her t-shirt to show me, thus ruining any chance of a photo op.


So Wordless Wednesday? More like Speechless Wednesday.

And be assured, no interventions shall be necessary. Ruby will stay home, in the Christmas tree, where she belongs.

Saturday, December 14, 2013

'Twas The Last Ten Things of Thankful For 2013

This is our last Ten Things of Thankful link up for 2013.


Since the next two weeks will see most of us long on thankful but short on time, the hosts of TToT will be taking an egg nog break until January 4. Well, I will be having a Diet Coke and peppermint ice cream break (not at the same time), as I don't like egg nog, but you get what I mean. 

All right, truth be told, I have never tried egg nog, because it has "egg" in the title. And I don't do nog, so....

Ten Things of Thankful starts now.

1. Another cold, blustery, snowy, icy, white crap falling from the sky week. Many schools in the area were canceled on Monday, but not us (our preschool follows the same calendar as the Joplin public schools, so if they are closed, we are, too). We worked like crazy all morning in Pre-K, because Christmas is coming and the elves have a lot to get done, plus more wintery weather was predicted for later in the week. We got the most important thing done that we needed to get done: our Christmas gifts from our kids to their parents are painted. Whew!

2. Having not seen the weather forecast that morning, imagine my surprise when I exited the bowels of the Mall to find frozen white crap falling from the sky Monday afternoon when it was time to pick my daughter up from school.  Got her picked up and home before it got slick, then we got to enjoy hearing school was closed for the next day THAT VERY EVENING, instead of waiting until that 5:30 a.m. phone call that serves to tell us of the cancellation AND startle us out of five years of our lives. 

3. Tuesday evening, everyone was speculating whether or not we would have school the next day, as many of the rural schools had already cancelled classes. Our superintendent, Dr. CJ Huff, sent out a tweet that he was going to go out and check the roads and hoped to make a decision later that evening. I was so amused by the high school students who replied to his tweet. A few of them weren't exactly nice (there's always a few), but most of them were quite witty, such as:

     "You all right, CJ? You've been gone awhile."
     "Stay safe. I've heard it's pretty dangerous out there."
     "What would Jesus do?"
     "As a teen driver, I'm scared to drive in these conditions...."
4. The students were all pretty disappointed that Dr. Huff returned from checking the roads to say he was 90% sure we would go to school the next day, and he was 100% correct; we did go. thus inspiring the follow-up tweet "Jesus wouldn't have done THAT." It was a little slippery, but I was actually glad we went back, because we had a Christmas program practice scheduled that morning at preschool with all the kids from both the MWF and T-TH classes practicing together in the sanctuary, on risers. And we REALLY, REALLY needed this practice. 

5. As  soon as preschool was over on Wednesday, I drove to Springfield to pick up the College Boy from school and bring him home, as he finished his finals earlier that day. And was he packed and ready when I got there? What do YOU think? Oh, well, I got to sit in the common area of his suite and watch several episodes of "Friends" while I waited for him to gather up all his dirty clothes and throw them in a laundry basket pack. I love "Friends."

6. Since we missed school on Tuesday for snow (or "inclement weather" as our district puts it when they call you and SCARE THE HELL OUT OF YOU WITH THE PHONE RINGING BEFORE THE BUTTCRACK OF DAWN, we had a lot to squeeze into our morning in my Primary class. 

First and foremost on the list was going to be to assemble our Christmas gifts for the parents. The gift is a Rudolph wall hanging, made by tracing the child's foot and hands onto brown felt and cutting them out (by me - they're THREE).  The pieces are then glued onto a 9" x 12" piece of white felt with a casing sewn along the top in which to insert a dowel rod for hanging, and it is embellished with a piece of green rickrack along the hem (the Pre-K gift is very similar, only we trace a hand onto white felt, paint part of it red and make it into a Santa head which is glued onto a green felt background).  I write each child's name and the year in gold glitter paint along the bottom, just above the rickrack, and each child glues on eyes and a red nose and it's done and it's a pain but it's cute. 

I had taken all the pieces home and had written the names on them and let them dry Wednesday evening. Thursday morning, I decided I'd go ahead and glue the head and antlers down before I even took my shower, so they would be dry and ready to embellish when the kids got to school. I picked up the first one, pre-arranged the pieces on the background (because I wouldn't want to MESS ANYTHING UP), and realized there was no casing for the dowel rod. (At this point, I would appreciate it if you would bear in mind that I don't usually teach a Primary level class, but because of a shift in enrollment this year, we had the need for more Primary classes than we did Pre-K. And that this is my 14th year teaching Pre-K. 14th. 14 years in a row.) One of the other Primary teachers had done the sewing, and I couldn't for the life of me figure out why she hadn't made a casing. Did she GLUE the dowel rods on? Not very practical, but the Rudolph is pretty big, being made with a foot and all, and there's not a lot of extra space on the background piece, so maybe THAT'S why she didn't add a casing at the top? I decided to wait to glue the pieces on until I got to preschool and see how this teacher had attached the dowel rod on the ones HER class had already completed.

I walked into the preschool office Thursday morning and started telling the director how puzzled I was about the lack of a casing, picked up one of the felt backgrounds, and stopped mid-sentence. Then I said a very, very un-preschool like word or ten, because there was, indeed, a casing for the dowel rod, and it was right there at the top where it was supposed to be. Because in the Primary class, the rickrack on the background goes at the TOP of the felt piece. In Pre-K, it goes at the BOTTOM. If you're following this very convoluted story, I thought the top was the bottom and the bottom was the top and  I JUST WROTE 11 NAMES IN GOLD GLITTER PAINT ON THE WRONG END OF THE FELT BACKGROUND. 

(Here's the thankful part.) My assistant teacher, Miss Janet, took the upside down mess that I had made and was able to make a casing for the dowel rods and still leave enough room for Rudolph. Crisis averted, and I didn't have to throw myself off the bell tower after all.

7. My Primary kiddos had asked if they could make ornaments to go on our handprint Christmas tree on the hall bulletin board, so we did that with glittery fun foam and sequins (which I didn't notice until the kids were sticking them onto the ornaments that the bag of sequins included little sequin champagne glasses, forcing me to pick them off the ornaments and replace them with something a little more wholesome). 

8. Baked some gorgeous bread this week, because that's what I do on snow days: bake.

9. Thursday night was our preschool Christmas program. No one peed, pooped, threw up or cried, so I declare it a success. 

10. And we ended the week with, yes, another Snow Day, although Mother Nature pulled a fast one and the frozen white crap that was predicted stayed to the east, giving us nothing but a cold, rainy day.

Hook 'em up here.

Ten Things of Thankful

 Your hosts

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

The Thanksgiving Post

This Thanksgiving, as we prepared to travel over 200 miles to my brother's home by car with my parents, my husband stated that his only goal for the trip was that we could get there and back without anyone pooping their pants. (Don't ask.)

The first hurdle we had to overcome for the trip was what to do about Ruby. We've had her for one month, and while she and Fletcher have become pretty friendly, Pete is another story. He still hisses at her with little or no provocation (although sometimes, she really does ask for it), and I worried about leaving them together for three days with no human running interference. Then, I had an epiphany: take Pete to stay at my parents' house while we were all gone.

We packed our car with the four of us, Pete in a very large pet carrier (he's a very large pet - he weighs in at 25 lbs.), suitcases, coats, scarves, hats and gloves (because it was FREAKING cold),  four laptops, two school backpacks, two pumpkin pies, a coffee cake, a tub of caramel popcorn, sugar cookies, and a ukulele. We drove to my parents' house, an hour to the north, and transferred all of it (minus the cat) to THEIR car, along with their suitcases, coats, two pecan pies and a cranberry salad. We left a bewildered Pete at their house and piled in their SUV. I drove, my dad rode shotgun, my mom and the college boy sat in the middle seats and my daughter sat in the far back, with my husband wedged in beside her, where they intended to watch movies the entire trip.  We were off.

I. The drive:

We took a windy, two-lane highway, as suggested by my dad, despite my warning that three of the people I brought with me get carsick.

My mother pointed out every single Casey's General Store (a convenience store chain, for those of you not in-the-know) we passed, saying she wished HER town had one, to which all of us responded with, "They're BUILDING one there!"

My kids fought over the bag full of candy that my mother brought for them TO SHARE, because you would THINK that when they are 14 and 18, they could manage that, but you'd be wrong.

My husband complained that I swerved all over the road (I didn't).

II. The Game

We made it to my brother's house in plenty of time to attend the last volleyball game of the season for the Mizzou Tigers. They were 33-0 going into this game (against University of Arkansas, incidentally). Considering it was the night before Thanksgiving, Hearnes Arena had a pretty big crowd. My volleyball playing daughter was in Heaven.

The volleyball team won the SEC title, the first Mizzou team to win it since joining the SEC. YOU HEARD IT RIGHT. THE GIRLS WERE FIRST. And since the football team blew it in their game against Auburn this past weekend, the girls remain the ONLY Mizzou team to win an SEC title. But I digress.

We had a rare sighting of The Antlers, an unsanctioned student group that formed in 1976. They usually reserve their antics for the basketball team, but having been ejected from Mizzou Arena two games in a row for what the University deemed inappropriate chants, the ones who were still in town had nowhere else to go. They were on good behavior. 

Some of the things The Antlers yelled, each time as the other team was getting ready to serve:

"There's a bee!" (accompanied by screaming like girls and swatting the air)
"Probably Team Jacob."
"Snape killed Dumbledore."
"Still has a MySpace."
"Peeta doesn't love you."
"Hates Forest Gump."
"The bees are back!" (accompanied by more screaming like girls and swatting the air)

These comments, incidentally, are not what got them kicked out of the basketball games.

Truman the Tiger was in attendance, as was the Governor. 

This one is Truman.

This one is the Governor.

The volleyball team beat Arkansas in three games, ending the season 34-0.

We had Shakespeare's Pizza after the game.

III. Thanksgiving Day

My brother might be considered a bit of a control freak. He would not be offended by that description.

He had a spread sheet that outlined what time each item for the dinner needed to be prepared. I kid you not. My sister-in-law is a wise woman and just lets him go for it. 

Dinner was delicious. The only thing it lacked, in my opinion, was pickled beets. I like pickled beets.

IV. The Jam Session

My brother is the one who bought my daughter her ukulele. She has been teaching herself to play by watching YouTube videos, and she has gotten pretty good. Her playing tastes lean toward artists like Ingrid Michaelson and Bruno Mars. My brother plays the mandolin extremely well. He plays bluegrass. In other words, their musical tastes are pretty far apart. So they compromised. They played bluegrass. It went something like this:

We went home the next day via interstate; no windy roads, no complaining from the backseat that I was swerving (I WASN'T), didn't pass a single Casey's General Store, and nobody pooped their pants.

The End.

P.S. Pete had a relatively uneventful stay at my parents' house while we were gone (or so we hope, unless he watched pay-per-view in the absence of adult supervision), his reunion with his kitty siblings was anticlimactic, and Ruby made me promise I'd never leave her for that long ever again.

My children not behaving while trying
to get a picture with their cousin.

My parents with their grandkids.

Saturday, December 7, 2013

Always Look On The Bright Side Of Life

Let me start this week by saying I CAN'T GET CAUGHT UP WITH ANYTHING. I'm behind on decorating for Christmas, behind on reading blog posts, behind on writing my own posts (haven't even talked about Thanksgiving yet), and I have purchased exactly ONE Christmas gift so far. I woke up early today to this:

That does not make me real keen to get out. 

Then I spent the better part of half an hour trying to help my mom OVER THE PHONE find some pictures she saw on Facebook. My brother's going to pay for setting up that account, and that's all I'm going to say.

10 Things of Thankful. Go.

1. I set the Christmas tree up, and let me say that pre-lit Christmas trees are fantastic for exactly one year. Then the lights stop working. But only in sections. So I bought a gizmo that's supposed to fix it. And it does, but only for everyone who has borrowed it from me; mine are still dead. Ruby, of course, thought the tree was put there for her to use as a jungle gym and shot right up the middle. The good news is, she didn't turn the tree over.

Ruby "helping" with the decorations.

2. I went out and bought about 100 (or 8) boxes of Christmas tree lights to put on the tree, since none of the attached bulbs were lighting (okay, not NONE, but maybe only 27% of the tree was lit). I may never get them all unwound when it's time to take the tree down, but by golly, it's lit NOW.

3.  I took the College Boy back to school last weekend and ran by Charming Charlie's on my way out of town, because I JUST HAPPENED to have a coupon. Bought myself two scarves that will surely end up in my daughter's room and a pair of earrings that better not.

4. Monday night was the end-of-season volleyball banquet for my daughter's school volleyball team. I helped the head coach decorate for it, then my friend Melinda joined me in time to help with getting the drink station set up. The high school 9/10 Center cafeteria has a little coffee bar that has been built along the back wall of the room, and students operate it before school and during lunch. We went behind the counter to fill cups with ice and make tea. And I SAW a handwritten note in the left side of the double sink that said not to use the sink, but as it was lying in the left side, we assumed that meant the right side was okay.

It wasn't.

Soon, we realized we were standing in about half an inch of water. And the water was a little, well, dirty. It seemed to be coming from underneath the ice machine, so we figured the water was just dirty from dust and crud that was under the machine and sent our girls to find a custodian and a mop. They came rushing back, saying, "Don't use the sink! There's something wrong and the sewer is backing up!" 

We were standing in sewer water.

The good news is we didn't contract e. coli. Or typhoid. Or ptomaine.

Coach V and daughter at the banquet.
Headbands were a gift from the coach
and they're stinkin' cute.

5. The College Boy forgot the power cord for his laptop when he went back to school on Sunday (in spite of me repeatedly asking him if he had everything, SPECIFICALLY asking about power cords and chargers), so as soon as preschool was over on Tuesday, I headed to Springfield with the cord. It was nice to get a little time with him one-on-one, and we went to 5 Guys for a late lunch before I had to head back. Before I hit the highway, I took a little detour to Gordman's, where I bought myself a sweater, because I HAD A COUPON.

6. That night was the vocal music department's Christmas concert. It was very festive, I sat between my friends Amy and Donna, and my husband managed to make it through the whole thing without his ears bleeding, although he chose to hang out in the back of the auditorium where he could prowl around when it got to be too much for him (he might not be considered a fan of show choirs). He picked my daughter up from school that afternoon, while I was delivering the power cord, and said the street was closed off behind the school by workers, and as he drove by, there was water spewing up out of a hole that was dug into the street.

Might it have had something to do with the sewer water back-up in the coffee bar? I'm guessing yes.

7. I picked up a few groceries on Wednesday in anticipation of a snow day later in the week. Everyone else in Joplin had the same idea. I went to Sam's Club (Walmart's version of Costco, for those of you not in the midwest or south) to pick up a couple of items, including yeast, which is less than $4 for two 1-lb bags, and they were COMPLETELY OUT. Located someone who worked there to ask if there MIGHT be more somewhere, and he not only found out there WAS more in the store (about 15 feet above my head, actually), he got someone to bring a fork lift (which necessitates closing down the entire aisle) and got it down for me. How nice is that?

8. We made an awesome bulletin board in my Primary class this week, and yes, it did involve me holding one of the twins upside down by the waist so she could put some handprints in the middle of the picture. We added the decorations on Thursday, and it turned out totes adorbs.

Sweet little hands.

9. I told all my preschoolers to wear their underwear to bed backwards Thursday night AND put a spoon under the bed, and we would get snow that night. AND IT WORKED!

10. Snow Day! Snow Day! Snow Day! I LOVE snow days! No school on Friday, as it was snowy and slick and f-f-f-freezing cold. We stayed in all day, watching Netflix and other movies (husband and daughter) and baking (me). Did I say I love snow days? I LOOOOOOVE snow days! 

Come one, come all and link up to 10 Things of Thankful this week. And read Lizzi's entry, because there is a contest that you are surely going to want to enter, even though I'm already planning on winning it.   

Ten Things of Thankful

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