Wednesday, August 29, 2007

I "Heart" Your Heart

So we've been really busy lately. It seems like Darling Hubby and I have aways been doing something. Then something happens to make me slow down and think. My mom called me yesterday day afternoon to tell me that my dad had just been released from Wilson Hospital in Binghamton after having what they are calling a coronary episode. I guess it wasn't a true heart attack, but he was having chest pain caused by a clogged artery. It started Sunday when after having pain most of the afternoon, she rushed him to the ER in our small town shortly after midnight. They kept him there, monitoring him and ended up transferring him to Wilson Hospital in Binghamton sometime on Monday. There they did the surgery with the balloon where they inflate the artery to clear it (I'm not all up on my medical terminology so I don't know what this is called.) There was some complication with that as his BP bottomed out, but they got him stabilized. He's home now resting and is taking his medications as prescribed. I'm sure my mom is watching him like a mother hen and that he's not allowed to do much of anything aside from sit in bed or in the living room.

He really does over do it outside so this has probably been a long time coming. He cuts his own firewood, grows his own garden, mows the grass, installs fencing...things that a nearly 69 year old man probably shouldn't be doing.

Here's a picture of my dad taken on Father's Day this year. He's on the phone with my brother Victor.

I love my dad dearly even though we haven't been super close since I was little and tagged along everywhere behind him, needing to be just like him. Things like digging potatoes, hauling firewood, driving the tractor, going fishing and I even had to soak me feet like he did after a hard days work. I was such a tom-boy. So, if you are the praying type please send some prayers his way, or even just some positive thoughts.

I know that my dad will never read this (they don't have internet) but I just want to say, "Dad, I love you and I "heart" your heart. Please take care of it."

Thursday, August 23, 2007

The Campaign Ends...

Many of you may know and many may not. I'm a gamer. Yup, I play a Dungeons and Dragons type campaign called Rothnoran. The world of Rothnoran was created by a friend, Sean and is based on DnD. It's a world filled with magic weilding Vizards, croca-toads, and jerky loving Diregons. I started playing a character, Dalara, shortly after I found out I was pregnant with Bug in 2004. It was supposed to be a one shot deal. I was only playing because I was at the game session where Darling Hubby was playing. Dalara was supposed to later become an NPC (Non Player Character for those non-gamers) or possibly be eaten by The Beast that she was spared from (she was the soul survivor of the Greenbrass Massacre which The Beast caused...Poor, poor Doru! *tear*. (game joke...)) I played that night and had fun. That was the last time I played for a while. Dalara slipped into the realm of NPC-dom and I figured she's be never seen again. Shortly after Bug was born Sean decided that since he had such a large interest in the game (12+ people is a lot to deal with at one gaming table) he would break the campaign into 2 groups, Red and Blue. Sean wanted me to play so it was decided that the Red session would be held at my house so that Bug could still be cared for and we wouldn't have to have a sitter. I was cool with that. Bug "gamed" with us right from the start. Here he is at 2 months old with Mommy at the game table and 6 months with Dave who played Erem until his son Aiden was born in July 2006. I think because of our gaming Bug has a dice obsession (just like Mommy). He's an awesome dice roller and mostly rolls "six" according to

Oh, and I am the only girl currently in our whole group. In away it's been fun being the only girl player (one of the guys plays a girl character) and it's also been hard. I've been the brunt of many sexually oriented jokes both about me and Dalara. I take it all in stride and even give as good as I get some nights. I will never, however, forget the "horse show with my black stallion." Don't ask...really...

Two years later, the campaign is coming to an end. Tonight is our last session. It's a combined group session, the blue group and the red are merging together for the finale. I'm looking forward to it as I want to know how the whole thing is going to end, I'm sad because I've spent so much over the last 2 years playing and I really enjoy it but at the same time, I'm dreading having 12 people in my house all night.

I'm not sure what we are going to play after this campaign ends. Will the world of Rothnoran survive? Will we save the kingdom? Who knows if Dalara will even remain alive at the end. I'll be sad if she or any of the other player characters bite the dust, but they are only fictional characters. However, having "been" her for the past 2 years, I've kinda become fond of her. She's part of me so to speak. Is that totally silly to say? Yeah, it is, but it's true. However, I won't have to take an entire year off from gaming if she dies...I'm not that die-hard of a player (another inside game joke.)

I've also been the red group note taker. Since Sean's game is so detailed, we needed a way to keep track of what happened when and since I love to write, I was automatically designated as note taker. My notes are so in depth I've practically written a book. And that's kinda what I want to do. I'd love to turn the game notes into a book, depending on how well it ends tonight, which with Sean running the show, the ending will be awesome. I have most of the notes typed so it would just be a matter of expanding on them and getting corrections for Sean. We'll see where that leads. Maybe one day I'll have my name published. That would be fun.

Fingers crossed that I'm on a roll tonight and roll lots of natural 20's!

Let the battle commence!

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Made in China

A few days ago I read a blog post from my friend Amanda about her Boycotting Chinese Made Products. I've checked out all the recalls and know that Bug doesn't own any of the contaminated toys. Amanda's post made me think about what toys currently in my home are Chinese made. I've come to the conclusion that practically everything I own has been made in China. Scary! If I decided to remove all the Chinese toys from Bug's collection he'd be a very sad (and toy-less) little boy.

Just a few of Bug's toys that are made in China:
1. Little People (we have a ton of these)
2. Peek-a-blocks and the Incrediblock (we have a ton of these, too)
3. Little Tikes Heavy Hauler trucks
4. Plastic Play food
5. Assorted Play Tools (we have a ton of these)
6. Vtech Musical Phone
7. Disney Store Winnie The Pooh
8. Hasbro Spider-man Figurines
9. Mr. Potato-head (we have several parts kits for this)
10. Ball Mania Inflatable Ball Pit
11. Weebles
12. Parents brand Bee Bop Band Drum set (this is a favorite toy)
13. Thomas the Tank Engine toys (we have several of these)

Toys I've noted that are NOT made in China:
1. Fisher Price sorting blocks (Mexico)
2. Toy airplane (Made in USA - Was given to me when I was 5)
3. Little Tikes desk (USA)
4. Matchbox car (Malaysia(

Honestly, I think it's terrible that we have to outsource so much of the production of items we buy just because we want lower prices. There are thousands of people right here in the US who would love to have a job to support their family and they would be doing a great service to children and adults everywhere, but because we want those cheap prices for shoddily made toys laced with lead and who else knows what, we go to other countries where their standards just don't meet ours. When are people going to wizen up and realize that we are only hurting ourselves?

Monday, August 20, 2007

One More Thing!

So right after I posted about the possible final episode of our Assessment Saga Darling Hubby sent me a link to a list of the assessed values of the homes on our street. In perusing the list, I notice that of the single family homes ours is listed as the 2nd largest. Cool, we have a big house on the block. Then I look at the one that is listed at 2600 sq feet and notice it has 6 bedrooms and is only valued at $85,100...Ummm...That can't be right...Can it? Seriously? Are my eyes playing mean and nasty tricks on me. Nope. It's right. The state owned house right next door to us which houses mentally and physically challenged (just to be PC) is valued at just over half of our value. Shouldn't that lower our value. Obviously that house must not look as nice as our house. It's gotta be a piece of crap, right. Nope. It's a beautiful brick 2 story with a relatively well kept yard. So obviously, the state doesn't have to pay taxes to itself, that would be stupid, so they lower the value of the house. I just don't get it...

I guess the good thing is that our house is bigger than the couple right across the street (directly next to the annoying parking lot) and they are both assessed at the highest value. Granted the one has a manicured front yard with trees and flowers while the other is just a single story brick house. They kinda put our house to shame.

The Last of the Assessment BS???

Ok, so I really do think that someone out there has it in for me. I don't know who I've wronged or how I went about it, but I must have pissed off someone somewhere down the line. Maybe it's that sign I have hanging on my front door telling the Jehovah's Witnesses and Mormons that we didn't appreciate their visits. Betcha that was it....

Anyway, today was the final meeting for the Assessment Board of Review. They did lower our assessment, but not to where we wanted it, nor did they reduce it to the value of the homes in our area that are nearly the same as our house. At least it dropped to $150,000 from $164,000. Now to figure out how to pay the taxes on it....There is one more step that we can take in an attempt to get it lowered more, but chances are that won't happen (getting it lowered). I talked to the Commissioner today and he said that the board is very fair in their review (that's what he thinks) so even if we go through the next step it may just be a waste of time. Once I get the final assessment notice in a couple days I have 10 days in which to file a Small Claims Review. I'm going to talk to Darling Hubby about it. Chances are we will just forgo this and let the city win. Either that or we are moving... and I'm not really in the mood to move...I like this house...we've put a lot of effort into making it home.

As for some good news (I have to have a little, don't I...I mean I do deserve something good once in a while) we've made the house look a wee bit still isn't worth $150,000 but what can you do. Darling Hubby and I have worked hard to fix up the porch (new paint, clean windows, new floor) and we even painted the exterior side door, windows and frames along with 2 sections of the foundation. We also put up a bamboo privacy fence in our backyard. It makes it much nicer now. I'll have to take some pictures when I get the chance. We are attempting to put in a patio in the backyard, too, and are tearing out some of the blacktop driveway that would better serve us as grass. Our yard is a big mess now, but I'm sure it will look great when we are done. Maybe then we can get $150,000 for it. Yeah...right!

Oh, and I'm feeling a bit better. This cold seems to be on the way out. Thankfully Bug didn't get hit with it as hard as I did. He got the cough but his was more productive from the start and he didn't cough at night (woot) and his stuffy nose wasn't terrible. Darling Hubby managed to live with us sickies for several days and made it out unscathed. That's something good, right?

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sick, Sick, Sick!

I hate summer colds! I want to die curl up into a little ball and go back to bed, but alas, I can't, not with 2 kids to care for. My throat is sore, I'm stuffy and runny nosed at the same time. I'm coughing and sneezing and with every cough and sneeze my throat hurts ten times worse than before. I can barely talk. Darling Hubby called and said I sounded wonderful.

This lovely summer cold is courtesy of the little girl I babysit. She had it first and just like any daycare situation, it's been passed on. I just hope that Bug and Darling Hubby don't come down with it. It's really no fun! to make more hot tea to help soothe my poor destroyed throat.

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

An Awesome Give-Away!

5 Minutes for Mom is giving away a flat-pannel tv from Best Buy. So get on over and comment on 5 Minutes for Mom (the page is loading slow for me because of all the comments) and enter for your chance to be the proud owner of a new tv.

I know that I could sure use some good after all the bad that's been happeneing to me! lol Fingers crossed!

Oh, Yeah! There's Still More Assessment BS!!

It just doesn't end, does it? You would think that someone out there would have at least one intelligent bone in their body when working for the government...nope...just doesn't happen.

So in my prior Assessment post, I wrote about how the Assessment office didn't have our paperwork and they had to talk with Mike (who was on vacation) to see what was going on. They were supposed to call me this week. We'll it's Wednesday and I still haven't received a call, so, I picked up the phone and gave them a ring. Here's what I learned during this call.

They still didn't have my paperwork...I even spoke with Mike who came to my house. He said that at the next meeting (Aug 20th) to fix any mistakes made, he was going to present out property, and based on his discussion with Mr. McDonald, the Commissioner, was going to request a reduction from 164,000 to 150,000 since nothing was filed. I out right told him that was bull crap as I have a certified mail receipt stating the paperwork was accepted and obviously there was some sort of paperwork filed because there would have been no reason for them to even come look at the house. Also, I told him that 150,00 wasn't fair as the houses around us have all been lowed to around 125-130,000 and the houses are pretty close in design. As far as the paperwork goes, it turns out that some lame brain secretary who doesn't know how to read filed our paperwork under TAX instead of TWE for our last name. And, it was entered into the computer wrong, too. Luckily, Mike found it so we at least have that on our side. Fingers crossed that it doesn't get misplaced again. Grr!

I did bring up that we asked on the paperwork for 130,000 and that when Mike was at our house, he thought that was a fair value. So, he said he was going to discuss everything with Mr. McDonald again and see if he can get it lowered even more. So apparently, he has to look at the houses in the neighborhood again to see how our house is compared to them. Hopefully, he will see that it really is only worth about 130,000. If not, I know know what's going to happen... I don't know if we can afford the taxes and still make ends meet with all our other bills and needs... And the government wonders why they can't get people to move into the city. Everything is ass deep in BS.

God, I hate the government! Will this ever end?