why I hate my birthday

January 3, 2013

Happy New Year!!!

My birthday falls on New Years Day and it has got to be the worst birthday ever.

Baby New Year

I know I get a Rudolph cartoon character with giant ears to represent me (my ears are fine by the way), but I can’t think of a worse day to be born.  In fact when we were thinking about having children I absolutely refused to have one born in December or January.

Here’s why…

It starts out bad as a baby…

  • Your parents miss a tax write off so right away you start out costing them money.

You get shortchanged as a kid…

  • Your birthday falls over school break during the holidays so everyone forgets 
  • You will forever be hearing “Here’s your Christmas/birthday gift” that is if they remember about your birthday
  • Your birthday gift, will always be wrapped in left-over holiday paper or be delivered in gift bags sporting Santa or snowmen.
  • You are expected to open your combo Xmas/birthday gifts when you receive them at Christmas so there are no gifts on your actual birthday.
  • The timing is terrible, did I mention that it falls one week, seven short days after Christmas?  You wait all year for Christmas and then your birthday and then spend 11 months waiting again…how I envied those summer babies with their every six months of gifts!

Now that I am an adult, and I have outgrown a lot of the present hype (although who doesn’t like a present, maybe I am lying a bit) it still hasn’t gotten much better.

  • You receive all those lovely Yankee swap gifts that people want to get them out of their house and are so excited to have your birthday arrive to relieve them of them
  • You start getting all those holiday bills so you are flat broke, waiting for payday and not really in the mood to spend any more moolah on your birthday

This year my sister had the flu so we exchanged gifts on her doorstep – quickly transferring the bags of presents away from the germs.  She said, “The little purple bag is your gift from last year.  I haven’t gotten you one this year yet.”  I think at that point she should have just pretended…

My Mother however, takes the cake.  Literally.  She asked what I was doing for my birthday this year and I told her that I really didn’t have any plans so she said she would come visit me and bring a cake.  I said that sounded great.  She called me that morning while she was baking to ask what kind of frosting I wanted.  We settled on a chocolate cake with whipped cream frosting like she used to make when I was younger.  She was worried about transporting it in her car so she decided she would pick up the cream at the market by my house and we would finish the cake together.

The husband took the boys off on an outing while my daughter and I waited for my Mother.

Well…she arrived late and breathlessly came in the door with an exclamation of “You will never guess what I did.”

Uh-oh.  “What, Mom?” I asked, with a sinking feeling.

“I got to the store and realized that I forgot my purse.”  Ok, I can work with that.  “Then I went to look for it in the car and I realized I forgot the cake.  I must have left if sitting on my kitchen counter.”

Wait, let me repeat that, she forgot her purse and the cake and drove an hour without noticing.

Of course I told her she had to turn around and drive the hour back home and go get it, to which she told me that she didn’t have any gas and needed to borrow cash.  I gave her my last $10 plus $ from the kids piggy banks.  Then she left to go to her friend’s house for dinner.  Thanks, Mom.

The husband arrived home with a cheesecake to smooth things over.  I think even he pitied me, which says something.

So that was my birthday.  Pretty poignant.  Definitely memorable.  Can’t wait for next year.



November 29, 2012

I have been terribly remiss on updating you about the goings on, but I have been busy on writing a 50,000 word novel (more on that later)…  I do have some fabulous pictures of the incredibly ugly roof the husband made for the duck pen, and also the outdoor hawk proof enclosure…

I have some pictures of the work that has begun on the office – started plastering the walls.  The husband seems to avoid this project and keeps coming up with other distractions like stringing Christmas lights and worrying about the main electrical panel and obsessing over the crooked kitchen floors and how he needs to raise them up and oh about a million other things.  He has created a bracket pattern to recreate the wooden brackets that used to be on the roof line.  I try my best to keep him on track.  I gave him a deadline, but he is so distractible.  Our friend Mick came over with trowel in hand and said, “Come on we are going mudding…” practically dragging him along by the hand and not listening to any excuses.  That’s how the second coat got done.

He tried to talk to me about insulation and finishing the front, and moving the electrical service, and starting on the dining room and I stick my fingers in my ears and send him back into the office to f-o-c-u-s.  Well, okay that might be a slight exaggeration, but you get the point.

I actually am just as bad.  My friend Michele does this write a novel in a month thing called National Novel Writing Month or NaNoWriMo and I had the brilliant idea of joining her this November.  Basically, you commit to writing at least 1667 words per day during the month of November and finish a 50,000 word novel in 30 days.  Mind you, it’s all about getting words on paper and the amazing thing is that I actually just finished it on November 29th, one day early with 50,015 words.  Now of course it needs some serious editing, plot fixes, details fleshing out in some areas and major condensing in others, before I will let anyone go near it, but the thing is done (well about as done as our house) or should I say the thing exists, in rough form, but still…

So now that I have written a novel in one month I can possibly get back to blogging.  Blogging is much easier, much shorter and much more visual!  Long live the blog!  More about the house coming soon, I promise.

NoNoWriMo Winner 2012

Duck update…

November 11, 2012

Snowball and Sweetie grazing in the yard

My friend Cora tells me that I left her hanging with the duck situation. Back in April I was complaining about our over-loved hens and over-amorous drakes… See here to catch up .

We got a new female duck, Daisy to help with the ratio, but it just made things worse…  The two males turned their attention to the new duck.  She couldn’t move without one of them pinning her to the ground.  They were so mean.  It wasn’t long until her neck was going bald and bleeding from duck “love” bites.

So we spent most of the summer scolding boy ducks and rotating the males from the females. It was a lot of work, we had to section off the pen and be vigilant about who we let out when. We knew this was a temporary solution because winter was coming and at some point they would all need to go in their house…together.

We decided instead of adding more hens we should subtract one drake.

We had a few offers from people to take one of our male ducks. One wanted to eat him. Another needed a companion for his other duck who had lost his partner and someone else had a big flock of drakes (no females) and we weren’t sure if he would be happy there…

As it turns out, the neighbor behind us got ducks. She had four females and one male, but her male had recently died. The ducks weren’t the same breed as ours (Pekin), but they were also heavy breed (big) ducks. So we dumped Nibbles over the fence and he happily became an alpha male duck to his new harem, I mean flock.  We can see him happily swimming in his pool with his new ladies.  Sweetie has been much better behaved around Daisy now. Apparently the two boys were fighting over her and neither wanted the other to win so they worked this out in true boy fashion, by beating on her.

Peace had been restored to the duck pen. Sweetie has his three girls and Daisy’s neck feathers have started to grow back in. Since things were going so well we decided to go to a poultry swap and came home with two new ducks. A male/female pair. They are light weight, black east indies ducks that are iridescent green and blue in the sunlight.

Black East Indies Duck

J named them Ana and Jones (get it – East Indy Ana – Jones). Thankfully Sweetie is not threatened by this small drake. The Pekins seem to have accepted them into the flock and while they keep a bit of a distance from the bigger ducks, they all fit comfortably in the duck house.

Ana – who almost didn’t make it onto the blog…and looking a bit rattled after her morning encounter with a hawk.

Lately our biggest problem is hawks. We have a juvenile hawk that keeps attacking our ducks. This morning was the closest call we have had yet. My daughter actually saved Ana’s life. She looked outside and saw a hawk next to the ducks pool (while all the ducks were in it). J ran outside yelling at the hawk. It had picked up Ana and was trying to fly away with her.

Thankfully J caught up to it in time and the hawk dropped the duck. She was unharmed, but a bit rattled. Her mate, the drake had hidden behind the pool.  Coward!  Sweetie and the other ducks just sat in the pool and watched the whole thing.  These ducks run in their house when a plane flies overhead, but they sit and watch a hawk attack.  Odd.  I believe there comments were, “well at least it’s not me…”

We may have a Red Tailed hawk looking for a duck dinner.

Diet (from wikipedia http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Red-tailed_Hawk)

The Red-tailed Hawk is carnivorous, and an opportunistic feeder. Its diet is mainly small mammals, but it also includes birds and reptiles. Most commonly reported prey types include micegophers,voleschipmunksground squirrels and tree squirrels.[22][23] Additional prey (listed by descending likelihood of predation) include lagomorphsshrewsbatspigeonsquailcorvids, waterfowl, other raptorsreptilesfishcrustaceansinsects and earthworms.[4] They can also prey on marmotsWhite-tailed Jackrabbits, small domestic dogsdomestic cats, or female Wild Turkey, all of which are easily double the weight of most Red-tails.[4]

File:Red-tailed hawk02.jpg


It looks like we may be building an outdoor bird pen and covering it with netting to keep the ducks safe while outside in their pool – so much for free-range ducks  (sigh).

the current flock – Sweetie, Snowball, Ducky, Daisy, Ana and Jones.

The blasted door lock

October 18, 2012

I am still on my hunt for an appropriate privacy doorknob (aka way to keep out the lockers see Knockers and Lockers for full details) for the new bathroom.

We purchased one of these and thought we had a workable $7 solution…

Gatehouse 4" Oil-Rubbed Bronze Surface Bolt Set

Alas, the door is flush on the outside not inside.  I am sure there is some appropriate door lingo for this involving door jams and pre-hung doors, but I prefer to broadcast my ignorance of such things.  All I know is we would have to install this type of latch on the outside of the door which would be great for locking folks in the bathroom, but not so good at locking people out of the bathroom while it is in use…

Inside of bathroom door- no way to have a flush latch.

So we are back to the hook and eye solution  which we both decided was not ideal.

I have been scouring the Internet for some affordable, appropriate looking door knobs with privacy locks.  The issue I am running into currently is that I have a 1 1/4″ width door.  New doors apparently are 1 3/8″ and most of the knobs I am finding fit a 1 3/8″ – 1 1/4″ door.  My husband tells me that doors are like 2x4s which are no longer 2 inches by 4 inches.  He says a 1 3/8″ door knob will fit fine.  I am skeptical about that other 1/8″, but cannot get Google to confirm this.  So, I am ordering the door knob and hoping for the best…

I did find some nice door knobs made by Weslock at handlesets.com.  Of course they were all back-ordered.  So now let’s just hope it arrives before party time (2 weeks, three days) and that it FITS!!!

Weslock 2710I

Roof replaced check and check!

October 18, 2012

October has been a bit rainy and it has been tricky to finish up stripping and replacing the roof over the front door and the bay window on the front of the house.  I am happy to say that that project has been completed.   The old mossy shingles and metal under-layer have been scraped off.  New ice and water and shingles have been nailed down and we are ready for the winter (well as ready as we ever are…)

Scraped doorway and metal roof

Man wrestles roof

one man, one sawzall 

Another action shot – one that resulted in a bloody finger. Tetanus up to date?
Don’t recommend trying this one at home…




About this summer…

October 3, 2012

I know I have been remiss about posting this summer.  To be honest, not a lot on our to-do list got done.  The Husband will tell you that he has been working all summer.  By working he means…

#1 Tending to his garden.  Have you seen this monstrosity?  Just keeps growing every year…

R in the jungle with the 8′ tall corn

View from the backside

#2 Mowing the Lawn.  Every time I turn around the lawn needs to be mowed again.  Honestly, I think someone likes mowing (especially on his new lawn tractor) much better than sheet rocking.

#3 Bombing me with Tomatoes.  Seriously, this has got to stop already.  I open the fridge and gag.  There is nothing grosser than rotting tomatoes, except maybe the fruit flies they attract.  I am begging, please cut back on the tomato plants next year.  100 should be plenty.  This is so out of control someone may need an intervention… It’s October – here are pictures from this morning.  Apparently we have a second fridge just for the purpose of storing tomatoes.  Oh and what is in the other fridge?  three 64 oz juice containers full of sauce.

Some people keep food in their freezer. We have bags of frozen tomatoes.

Drawers full of tomatoes and yup! guess what is in the pot…

Ducky takes First Prize

September 9, 2012

House progress is moving slowly…but we did have some exciting news on the agriculture/animal front…

Ducky our female mallard, won first prize in her division for size and Nibbles won a second prize ribbon for color.  Ducky went on to the next round to win a second first prize ribbon for her class.  My son was thrilled with his prize winning ducks!  My husband won Fair Champion for largest cornstalk.  Yes he did.  My youngest son took a second place ribbon for his lego creation and my daughter scored some cool prizes playing games.  Overall it was a very fun and rewarding weekend at the Sterling Fair.

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