Saturday, February 26, 2011

Amazed and Thankful!

This morning I worked more on removing the rock mulch. I got about half of the rocks removed – 8'x2' worth. I filled the wheelbarrow, which deflated the tire and ran it off the rim when I tried to move it. Oops. Tanner loved that.

Then, I took pictures and posted the rocks for free on Craigslist. I was very skeptical that anyone would want the stupid rocks that I was trying so desperately to get rid of!

At the last minute, I also joined the Weatherford Freecycle group on Yahoo groups and posted the rocks on there.

I was SHOCKED at the number of responses I got. I received about four responses from Craigslist and 7 from Freecyle. I actually started to feel bad, knowing that only one person would get the rocks. I started to wish I had more rocks to go around, then realized that what I REALLY wished was I never had rocks to begin with.

Anyway, Tanner walked me through the agonizing, guilt-stricken process of deciding who to respond to and how long to wait to hear back from them before moving on, etc. The long and short of it is, someone came that day to get the rocks, and they are coming back tomorrow to get the second load that I plan to have done by the afternoon.

Awesome! While I got responses from Craigslist, I thought Freecyle was really cool, and I liked it better. The people were all extremely local, as in they lived in Weatherford, as opposed to Craiglists which goes to the whole DFW area. Also, because it is a Yahoo group, most subscribing group members get the postings delivered immediately to their inbox so you get responses much sooner. The other main difference between the two, is everything posted on Freecyle has to be FREE, duh. Craiglist is usually used for selling things. I wonder if people would have paid for my stupid rocks?

Now, for the other side of Freecycle, the side where you look for free stuff, I'm one who hates getting emails sent to my inbox from anywhere about anything because I already feel overwhelmed by the number of emails I get. Thankfully, joining didn't mean I have to be bombarded with emails about free Sony Walkmans and nonfunctioning toilets. I was able to adjust my personal settings on the group so that I have to log into Yahoo Groups to see the free-stuff posts. They don't come to my inbox. However, the direct messages people sent in response to my rock posting were sent right to my email inbox. Handy.

All in all, Freecyle rocks. You should look into it to see if there's a group for your area.

I'm hoping there will also be be people interested in the larger 3"-5" rocks from the planters that are surrounding our whole house! Who knew rocks were in such demand.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Justin Bieber's Girlfriends

I babysit on Wednesday nights for a group of absolutely sweet, hilarious, rambunctious and CREATIVE kids! No matter how tired I am from the day, I so look forward to our play times. Each child is so beautifully unique and each Wednesday evening they gather together under one roof like a colorful patchwork quilt.

Did I mention there are usually 7 kids? So it's a pretty substantial quilt. Queen/King size, at least. But last night, because of the flu, only 4 kids were there.

R, K and J are siblings, and we all get together at their house. R is the oldest, 7. She's a beautiful brunette who's kind and considerate. She has a beautiful voice. She is creative and confident; she is "in charge" of all the other girls. She decides what games they're playing and, ultimately, what is and is NOT cool that given day. She's sweet and cheerful. She is also very sensitive.

K is 5. She is a gorgeous blond, and she's a bundle of energy – so easily excitable. She's sincere and cuddly, and falls in love immediately with almost everyone. She is very theatrical and loves to dance and act and pose and do anything that puts her in the spotlight.

J is two and he is the most cheerful, happy, smiley little boy I've ever known! And I can not understand a SINGLE word that he says!

T, who is 6 or 7, usually comes with her brother, C. T is a tiny thing, freckle-faced and cute as a button.
She's athletic and nimble and amazed me the other day by doing a back flip in the living room. She is what I would call incredibly "agreeable" – she's always up for anything, goes with the flow and has yet to get in an argument with anyone. She's amazingly selfless for a little girl. Needless to say, she's everyone's best friend.

Wednesday night is always entertaining, whether we're putting on a fashion show, playing hide-and-go-seek in the dark or having a dance-off on the trampoline. But this week, this week it was particularly hi-lar-ious.

The girls decided to put on a concert. They rallied in R's and K's room for at least a half an hour to decide on their band name, outfits and makeup. They presented themselves as the newly signed artists, Justin Bieber's Girlfriends. The band was comprised of Taylor Swift (K), Selena Gomez (T) and Hannah Montana (R).

Next, I was forced to decide who should be the lead singer. The each made "ah ah ah, ah ah ah" sounds. Kind of like a mix between Mariah Carey and the Little Mermaid. I picked R, only on the premise that everyone would subsequently get a chance to be a lead singer. Everyone got pouty-faced, but R explained that "first is the worst, second is the best, third is the one with the treasure chest." Phew.

Then, they sat down and each wrote out songs to perform. K needed help writing. Her song went something like this:
We are the best of the rock stars. We like to sing together always, with my brother and my sister. I love my sister and my brother. I like to sing with my mom and dad and also my nana and papa. Because I like to sing with you. I like to sing always because it is fuuuunnnn."

T's song was significantly shorter:
We may be young, but we can still sing. We are the Justin Bieber girls. Our names are Taylor and Selena and Hannah.

R just wrote out all the lyrics by memory to "Love Story" by Taylor Swift. They R decided she wanted to go last – as the grand finale – and had to, after much objection from the chorus, re-explain that "third is the worst and the rest are the best."

I wish you could see how serious and intense they were when they read/sang their lyrics under the spotlight of a hand-held flashlight.

I didn't get each of their solos, but I did catch two encore performances. The first is K singing and original/made up on the spot/rambling song while the other girls play instruments. The second is K singing a solo of "Soul Sister," or is it "Scone Sister"?

J spent the night trying to make eat his shoe with a huge pelican from a pop-up picture show and pointing at the refrigerator and babbling out instructions. I can tell you in hindsight that it wasn't macaroni and cheese that he wanted, oops, and I think it might have been strawberry yogurt.

Monday, February 21, 2011

YOU Can Make the World a Better Place

Forget global warming.

Forget world peace.

If you really want to do something to make a difference for future generations,

If you really want to make the world a better place for your children,

Or, at the very least, if you want to avoid the SCORN of your children and keep future generations from CURSING your very name and BURNING an effigy of you in the streets,

Then good people of the Earth, DO NOT, I say DO NOT, use ROCKS as MULCH!!!

Rocks belong along riverbeds and lake shores. How lovely. You can skip them across the peaceful water, feel their cool smoothness in your hand, or accidentally hit your dog right in the noggin when you're aiming for a tree stump. (The fact that the dog is two feet in front of you and the intended tree stump is across the river is of no consequence.)

Rocks do not belong in your yard, and they certainly do not belong in a PLANT BED that was obviously, undeniable constructed for the exact and specific purpose of digging holes in the ground for in which to place plants.

I mean, hello, farmers curse the ground that is full of rocks. It breaks their plowshares and stubs their wittle toesies. Rocks + planting x cultivating = I'm very angry.

As you can see, the previous owners of our new home did not have someone as wise as myself to warn them of the curse they were casting on the innocents to come behind them.

Sunday was supposed to be spent planting my flower bulbs and some dewberries Susannah gave me. The harmless little layer of pebbles on the plant bed ended up being a malicious shield of pebbles at least several layers of the earth deep. I swear I got at least to the outer core.

I spent the better part of Sunday afternoon trying to remove the pebbles. I started out with a hand trowel, a kitchen sieve and a little bucket. Then, I realized that I pretty much wanted to shoot myself in eye. Then, I complained to Tanner, lamenting approximately 23 different ways about how stupid the previous owners were, how helpless I was and how my planter was doomed to a rocky death. Then, I wrote a short, sad ballad and played it for the dogs on the recorder I still have from my kindergarten music class at William B. Travis Elementary. Then I played Hot Cross Buns.

Then, I figured out a better solution. I took two wheelbarrows and set them side by side. Over one, I placed a metal grate that used to be on Tanner's utility vehicle. I took shovels full of dirt and dumped it on the grate, then, once I got a good pile, moved the rocks and dirt around until the dirt was sifted through. Then, I dumped the rocks into the other wheelbarrow and started all over again.

I was also battling a wild, killer onion with roots like spaghetti noodles that had taken over the planter.

Oh yeah, and for some reason, someone had buried plants in terracotta pots. In the ground. They put the plant in the pot, then buried the pot. So far, I've found four.

I spend several hours shoveling and sifting for rocks. It was kind of like sifting for gold, but more like the time when I was a child and swallowed a marble and had to poop in a bucket and someone had to sift through... never mind.

I made about 5 feet of progress that Sunday afternoon sifting for rocks.

The planter, which is along our shop, is 20 feet long.

There is a cumulative 113 feet surrounding the house that is also "mulched" with rocks.

I'd say I have a nice little project on my hands. (The rocks around the house are larger than the rocks around the shop, which are more like pebbles.)

And we have no clue what do with the rocks.

Any suggestions?

I don't know where the previous owners live, or else... never mind.

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