Friday, December 26, 2008

Holiday Rundown

As always, the holidays have gone by way too fast.  We've had a great time together.  We're worn out.  Late nights, lots of cooking, constant cleaning up, games, games and more games!  We played Loaded Questions, Pack the Car, and Texas Hold 'Em.  Texas Hold 'Em was challenging---to put it mildly.  The kids bet like crazy on absolutely nothing. They are really into bluffing, but haven't quite honed those skills.  That makes it really frustrating for those of us that actually know how to play the game.  Mitchell won $12.00 one night, so there was no telling him how to bet!  Morgan also won about $13.00.  Jordan was busy texting while she was playing. Victoria and Elizabeth played around on the floor UNDER the table. People getting up for drinks, bathroom breaks, food, spills, etc.---it is pretty much chaos. Our card games would totally drive the Zimmermann's nuts!  We do have the noise level in common with our Zimmermann family gatherings.

Damage Report:
Vacuum cleaner power head "frozen"
Drinking glass (actual glass) "stuck" in the garbage disposal (that can't be good)
Drinks spilled---9
Remote control for the television---LOST (I'm hoping it will turn up rather than think that it might have gotten thrown away)

Food Consumed:
4 cases of soda
7 lbs. beef tenderloin
7 lbs. ham
5 lbs. boiled shrimp
7.5 lbs. turkey breast
3 dozen petit fours
14 dozen cookies
120 cakeballs
2 bottles of champagne
3 bottles of wine
Not to mention all the veggies, dips, spreads, crackers, beer, vodka, gin, seagrams 7, assorted breads, pizza, nuts, toilet paper, paper towels, etc.  

Movie Review:
We saw Marley and Me.  Even those of us that do not like animals---loved it.  Bring a box of kleenex!  Also, a must see for anyone contemplating acquiring a dog!

Santa was very good to all of us this year!  

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Mindy is a Gift That Keeps on Giving!

How else can you describe a kid that keeps you on your toes?  Here's the story:

Several weeks ago, Mindy told us that it was unlikely that she could get off work to come home for Christmas.  Ever the optimist, I booked her flight for Christmas Eve anyway (returning the day after Christmas).  I gave her a deadline of December 17 to let me know one way or the other.  All along, she kept saying that she felt bad asking for time off since everyone wanted off for Christmas.  And when she handed the business manager her request, she said he just laughed.  

On the Monday after Thanksgiving Mindy called me to whine that she wasn't getting any days off for the next two weeks.  I immediately responded, "That's ridiculous!  You need to tell your boss that you need a day to take care of personal business (besides her car issues, her brand new dryer hasn't been working for months)."  She quickly cheered up and said, "Oh, no, mom, it makes me feel really important!  I just wanted you to feel sorry for me!"  I swear, if she was standing in the room, I would have smacked her.  After that, we discussed the possibility that if she was working so long and hard, that surely she would get Christmas off. (Her longest day was 5:30 a.m. to midnight---but she averages 12 hour days. Butch and I figure that the great salary she makes really averages out to about a buck 65 an hour).

Last Wednesday, as I was sitting at Stephanie's for 4 hours waiting on the plumber (yes, we're back to those kinds of duties again), Mindy called to say that she couldn't come home.  Although I didn't ask, I knew that she didn't ask.  I think she knew they would have said "yes" and then she would have felt guilty.  I swear, if she was standing in the room, I would have smacked her!  When I got home, I was happy to be able to change her flight for Christmas day, but unhappy that the first flight was booked.  That meant that she wouldn't get home until after noon.  Oh well, better than nothing.  

After much discussion with the family, we decided to completely switch all of our festivities around---no small feat as it involves changing things with the "in-laws" and "ex-laws" with the Lapps and Jacksons.  We got it all worked out.  

On Saturday night at 11:30 p.m. Mindy called to say, "Mom, guess what?  I'm off on Christmas Eve!"  I swear, if she had been standing in the room, I would have smacked her!  Here I am at midnight, keeping my fingers crossed that I could change her flight.  I guess God really wanted her home with us because I was able to book her on the earliest flight. Yippee, we were all happy!  We went about re-arranging all of our plans back to how we usually do things:
Christmas Eve
Big breakfast in the dining room
Santa of the sleigh
Clean-up and food prep for the evening
Family movie (this year A Christmas Story)
A Christmas Story trivia game
Fun, food and gifts begin
Late night poker game

Butch got up this morning first---a little before 6 a.m.  I got up shortly after and was reading in the living room in front of the fireplace when the phone rang.  Not unusual as Mindy always calls to let us know if her plane is on time.  Butch answered and I immediately knew something was wrong.  He kept saying, "Mindy, Mindy, calm down.  I'll have your mom see what she can do.  We'll call you back!"  She missed her flight!  She was sobbing that her phone, upon which she had set the alarm, battery died during the night, thus didn't go off.  She was hysterical and she couldn't do anything with Southwest online.  I swear, if she was standing in the room, I would have smacked her!

I got on the phone to discover that there were still some seats available on the 10 a.m. flight (thank you God).  There was a slight catch, she had to check in by 9 a.m. as Southwest has a 2 hour grace period for no additional charge.  The woman told me that they are very strict about the time limit. Not wanting to take the chance that the few remaining seats would be gone, I was willing to pay $172 for the flight. The agent told me that I really didn't need to do that as there were plenty of seats.  (Side note:  Southwest is by far the best and easiest airline to work with---cheap and flexible and you don't have to pay for luggage! How is it that the other airlines can't follow their business model?).

We called Mindy back with the good news.  But, I swear, when she gets here, I'm going to smack her! After that, we're going to have a very, merry Christmas!  I hope you all do too!!

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Eads Family are Trivia Winners!

Yep, we won!  50 bucks to be exact!  This is one of our favorite family activities during the holiday season.  We started it 3 years ago when we invited all of our friends, their children and grandchildren to compete in a trivia contest.  We had each family bring 10 questions, $10. entry fee, and an appetizer or dessert.  We had 36 people that first time (pretty much the size of an average Zimmermann gathering). I announced that the losers would have to host the party the following year.  Last year we were at the Black's house.  They lost again this year, so we amended the rules so that if you already hosted the party, you didn't have to do it again until everyone had a turn.  That means that the Potter/Bohan team came in next to last, so the Bohans volunteered for next year.  The Potters have a reprieve---they better start studying for 2009!  Malinda and Drew might be in town to help.

We really enjoy seeing our children and grandchildren together.  With so many living out-of-town, there aren't many opportunities for all of us to be together.  

We try to make sure that it's a friendly game, but a few still don't get it.  There was a set of questions where it was more than just a single answer---like, name all 7 of the Harry Potter books,  or name all 4 of the Hogworth buildings.  As it turns out, our questions were pretty hard too---which kind of surprised us since we used the Junior Trivial Pursuit game (ages 8 and up) to put our list together.  We had questions like---in a 14 oz. bag of M&M's which color has the fewest (orange) and who is Phoebe Anne Moses better known as (Annie Oakley) and which of these does the average American family eat the most of in a year, bananas, ice cream or potato chips (bananas).  We felt kind of bad after as we didn't think our questions sounded so hard.  Either that or our friends and their kids aren't as smart as most 8 year olds!!  Really, I should talk---we came in second to last in 2007.  Everyone thinks that since we have the largest team, we have an advantage.  But, as I told them, we have a problem with that.  With so many "know-it-alls" in the family, we tend to decide on the "wrong" answer only to have the person who actually had the right answer give us the old "I told you so".

However, this year, we really kicked it!  The kids were really an advantage---especially on all of the history and geography questions---oh and Jordan got those Harry Potter answers.  Mitchell called the 5 sided Nepal flag for us when we had no clue.  Morgan was our team captain and Victoria was our "police woman" making sure that no one spied on us.  Elizabeth was our spy---listening in on the other teams. Looks like we've settled on a winning strategy.

Tuesday, December 9, 2008


---or however the heck you spell it!  The oven is working again.  It started out a little dicey yesterday when the 12 yr. old showed up.  He started in on how he had been thinking over the weekend and now thinks my problem is electrical.  He said he should have checked that first.  If that is the case, then the appliance company would not be responsible and I'd have to find an electrician.  Not exactly how I want to start a Monday.  About an hour later, he called me down to report that it was electrical---sort of.  Again the lecture started about the self-clean feature---"when you use the self-clean, the oven gets so hot for such a long period of time, that it can do all kinds of damage.  See these wires?  They have completely melted.  If it had been these wires (at which time he points to some blue ones), you would have had a serious fire"!  Duh, I consider ANY fire serious!!

To make an already way too long story short, he made a trip back to the office to get some new wires.  He fixed me up, told me that I would be reimbursed for the initial service call due to my 5 year extended warranty, and headed for the door with these parting words, "I'd think twice before using that self-cleaning feature"!  Again I say, that's the best part of an oven! For sure I won't be cleaning the oven while I'm away from home---which everyone knows is the best way to do it so you don't have to endure the smell and burning eyes---or in the middle of the night for that matter.  Even this self-proclaimed, non-worrier will be worrying about this.  What to do...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Oven Update

Well, the 12 year old showed up today to finish fixing my oven.  Just my luck, the new parts didn't fix it!  He spent 2 hours working on it and now I'm still without an oven.  Apparently, there is tech support for oven repairmen, but, they aren't open on the weekends.  He's coming back on Monday morning and will call tech support from here to be "walked through" the repair.  While he had the ovens out, he had me look inside the top---about a million wires---resembling our tv/sound system wires.  I guess I was supposed to feel sorry for him.  I didn't, just made me feel like maybe he's an idiot or something.

On a happier note, when I got out the manual, I had all the other paperwork and bill of sale with it.  Holy Cow!!  I had paid for the extended warranty!  It must have been really cheap, because we never get the extended warranties---as they wouldn't sell them if they didn't make money on them.  The repairman called the office, but they couldn't find anything in their system about my sale.  So he took my paperwork with him.  I guess I should have made a copy in case it would suddenly disappear, but I'm not that paranoid.  Now I'm going to fight with them to get my service call refunded from the last time.

Now I'm back to "how in the heck am I supposed to bake my cookies for the cookie exchange".  About that time, Steph walked in.  As soon as I saw her, I started smiling.  She said, "What"?  She actually agreed pretty quickly to bake them for me in her Easy Bake Oven (my nickname for her mini oven that a regular size cookie sheet won't fit in).  Unfortunately, I can't help because we're going to be at the Titan's game all day tomorrow.  

Actually, Steph volunteered Jordan because she needs service hours for school.  I sort of freaked at that as Jordan doesn't cook (Morgan does and is quite good). Jordan is a space cadet besides.  I already had the dough mixed, it is just a matter of baking them---and no eating until they figure out if there are 9 dozen.  Steph promised to oversee the baking and will let Jordan do the "bagging"---at which time, I told her to remind Jordan to wash her hands and handle the cookies carefully.  Steph sort of rolled her eyes in that "mom, is being mom" kind of way---like she doesn't know what she's doing, so I have to tell her every little detail. What was I thinking---Jordan has a problem with washing her hands too much anyway.  In fact, they stay chapped all winter long.  

I look at it this way, even if my cookies are crap, my friends are getting a nice meal and evening out of me.  Now, if the oven isn't fixed by Wednesday, they won't even get the nice meal.

You know, you don't realize how much you use something until you don't have it.  I had some bananas that were getting over-ripe, so I thought, "darn, I wish I could make banana bread, but I can't because the oven is broken, darn, what a waste of good bananas".  Then I said to myself, "Barb, who are you kidding, you haven't made banana bread in 10 years"!  But this week, I wanted to!  Maybe I would have made banana bread if I had an oven, but probably not.  Actually, I really only miss the clock!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Christmas Decorations

The battery died on my camera before I could get more photos.  I'll add more later.  This is my Murano Christmas tree collection.

Thanksgiving Pictures

Here are a couple pictures from Thanksgiving.  Steph's girls were in Virginia with their other grandparents.

Monday, December 1, 2008

It's Snowing in Nashville!!

I don't ever remember it snowing this early here---since we rarely get any snow!  Not to get too excited as it was in the 60's last weekend, so there's no way we'll have an accumulation.  I would prefer this on Christmas Eve, to remind me of Christmases growing up and walking up to midnight mass.  But, I'll take what I can get.